The Breastfeeding Mom’s Ultimate Survival Kit (PHOTOS)

Sasha Brown-Worsham | Jul 7, 2014 Baby

breastfeeding survival kit

Breastfeed, they say. It will be easy, they say. Oh how "they" lie. After nursing three children exclusively for six months and off and on after that for years, I can say unequivocally: there is NOTHING "easy" about breastfeeding.

This is not to say it's not a worthy endeavor. It is. So much so. But it can also be a long hard slog, especially in the early months, and it never fully gets easier. To be 100 percent responsible for the nourishment and growth of another person is both an awesome and overwhelming responsibility, and that's to say nothing of the pitfalls -- mastitis, nipple scabs, engorgement, TEETH.

Now that I am three kids deep and five months into my last nursling's exclusive nursing phase, I can say I have learned a few things along the way. So what does a new mom need for her nursing survival kit? Here are the basics:

What was your must-have for nursing?

breastfeeding survival kit


Images ©iStock.com/Zurijeta (top) and ©iStock.com/evgenyatamanenko (bottom)

  • Nursing Pillow

    1

    Your arms will quickly get tired from holding the baby no matter how little he or she is. I've nursed three babies and used nursing pillows with each one. I know some women swear they can do without them, but not me. It's so much more comfortable to have one.

  • Nursing Cover

    2

    If you want to go in public and you are modest like me, a nursing cover is an absolute must. Any old blanket will do, but don't leave home without it.

  • Gummy Bears

    3

    The pain the first couple weeks is unbearable (pun intended), but I found gummy candies made it easier. I have no idea why, but every time she latched on and the pain felt like more than I could handle, I would sink my teeth into one of these and feel remarkably better. Try it!

  • Breast Pump

    4

    If you ever want to go anywhere while you are nursing, a breast pump is an absolute must. There are dozens of different kinds to choose from, but I always love the double electric. You can do in 10 minutes what it takes the baby 40 minutes to do.

  • Nursing Pads

    5

    You will leak in those early months. Do yourself a favor and have several pairs of these on hand to help with it.

  • Fenugreek

    6

    At some point all moms worry about their milk supply. There are dozens of home remedies out there and teas and tinctures and cookies. But I always found Fenugreek to be the best option. Take a few (you can buy it in capsules) each day and soon your milk will be flowing.

  • Nursing Tank

    7

    Yes, we need nursing bras, but in the early postpartum months, you will NOT want to pull up your shirt and show any skin. Enter the nursing tank. I have four of these bad boys and I am obsessed. They keep your tummy in its place and covered at all times. They are also fantastic for sleeping when you need the support but don't want to have to wear a bra.

  • Nipple Creams

    8

    I used coconut oil and breast milk this time around but have used lanolin oil in the past. All are fantastic. All are vital. Those early weeks = OUCH.

  • Water Bottle

    9

    Nursing makes moms THIRSTY. Get a nice big water bottle to keep by your side all day and have dad fill it up every time it gets low. You will need it!

  • Binge-Worthy TV Shows

    10

    Whether you borrow the DVDs from your friends or have a subscription, you will need this. My attention span was too low for reading in the early days of new motherhood, so I binge watched Six Feet Under, How I Met Your Mother, Gilmore Girls, Game of Thrones, and True Blood. It's a great way to catch up on pop culture.

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