Top 10 Nursing Mother's Necessities

  1. A good... make that a GREAT Nursing Brahttps://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSPRxs_PBOhXBrY0k8YAM5Yhv-MSkDW-WA6YH5__RsA1eJKVbvpIt took me way too long to finally find a bra that I loved, but when I did... it was a life changing experience.  :)  A few tips... don't waste your time or money buying nursing bras before you actually start nursing.  Your boobs may be ginormous at the end of your pregnancy, but when your milk comes in after delivery, there is a very very good chance that they will get even bigger!  True story.  "But I need to bring a nursing bra to the hospital"... No.  You don't.  Stick with nursing tanks and/or sleep bras (shaped similar to a sports bra) that are sized S-M-L, etc rather than 34D, 36E, what not.  These are a lot more flexible and much better for the first few weeks anyway. 
  2. Nursing Tanks I lived in these for the first few weeks.  I was a big fan of the Gilligan & O'Malley brand from Target.  These have enough support to keep you comfortable and enough stretch to accommodate your magical growing and shrinking breasts throughout the day.
  3. Style-  There is no need to go out and buy a whole wardrobe full of fancy "nursing" tops.  Most of my favorite nursing tops are not nursing tops at all.  A few examples...   Cardigans... wear a cute cardi over a nursing tank and voila!!  Instant nursing friendly style.   Another one of my favorites is the button up shirt... think relaxed, boyfriend style.  These are also great for nursing!  And lastly this is a great style top I found at Target (on sale for $6!!  Woot!).  Also not "nursing" but the wrap/crossover style bust line works perfectly.  This is inspiring me to do a Top 10 nursing friendly outfits... coming soon.  :)
  4. Sleep Nursing BraI snubbed my nose at these for a week or two.  I didn't see the point in buying them since I loved my nursing tanks and just didn't think I needed them.  Well, when the sleep deprivation finally set in and I found myself fumbling around like an idiot while K was wailing in the middle of the night, I thought I would give them a try.  They are wonderful!!  They are also very supportive yet very stretchy... and... best part, no looking for clips to undo in the middle of the night.  You just slide the material off to the side, whip one out and nurse away.  Wonderful!
  5. Support Pillow- https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRbD0ScAbhgx7Sm0NaE4Iwqte0SPqxJg-m6BPmv_0zg9-NLowlbTwI went with the Boppy.  Some swear by the My Breast Friend.  Whatever you decide, save your arms and your back and invest in a support pillow.  This also makes middle of the night feedings a little easier.
  6. Cup With a Lid and a Straw- https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSz77gmDRv9VXg0bVk_TpIUI-GumNAZ_4S09sRfs6ZyjVk3x1Ii simple, yes?  But boy oh boy I can't count the number of cups of water I spilled before I figured out that this was a good thing to keep handy while I nursed.  Do yourself a favor and keep one around.
  7. Hair Tie- https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSVgRdGCQDyCjnpSLNe61hy3ssEDH5YDzPvPUQzp92M3xBwDcBxEAnow you can find designer nursing bracelets and nursing apps for your phone and all sorts of other tracking devices.  And at 3 am when you are up for the 5th time that night, you tell me how wonderful those apps and fancy bracelets are.  All you need to keep track of (if you can even remember to do this) is a hair tie on your wrist.  Put it on the side that baby is nursing on, so when you wake up for the 6th time at 4am you will know, in your sleep, which side the baby needs to nurse on next.
  8. Breast Pump- https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR6qgyInJqnllNtzUUAbXfOvXGoY6kyZcL1wmZ1ddIo3ZStY8ZKdepending on your plans to go back to work or stay at home, nurse exclusively or supplement, your needs may vary.  But... chances are you will need a breast pump of some sort.  I work full time and although Kennedy is exclusively breastfed, she needs to take her breast milk from a bottle while I am away.  Which means that I need to pump while I am at work.  I am a nurse on a very busy floor and often getting a lunch break is tough, so I needed a pump that could get the job done in as little time as possible.  I decided to go with a Medela Freestyle.  It is a double electric with the ability to pump completely hands-free.  This has been the perfect pump for me, I am even able to do my charting while I pump.  Nice, huh?  Your needs may be different, though.  I do really like the Medela brand... and on their website they have a very helpful tool to help you decide what pump would work best for your particular situation.  Also, some insurance plans now cover the cost (or partial cost) of breast pumps.  Before you drop big bucks on one, check with your insurance company to see if it is covered.  Always check first, because they may have restrictions on type and brand.  Once you get your pump, take really good care of it.  These things are pricey and you will want it to last through as many babies as possible!!
  9. "Back-Up" Manual Pumphttps://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRj19_Nsb7m3Pgwk8YIHKdNO4MPQusjyxm45-uOV8RkLT6xh4bTWhile I absolutely adore my fancy pants double electric hands free wonder pump... I will never ever forget the first time I went out after the baby without it.  While it is absolutely wonderful, it is also somewhat cumbersome to tote around (lots of parts, comes with it's own bag, makes noise, battery, tubes, bottles, etc etc).  I figured that I was just going to the mall "for an hour or two" with my mother in law, so I would be fine without it.  Mistake.  5 hours later I was crying in a dressing room with my boobs so engorged I didn't dare move another muscle.  I didn't want to lug my big fancy pump with me to the mall, but I would have given my left arm (or my left boob) for a quickie, cheapie manual pump.  The point of these pumps is not necessarily to pump enough milk to stash and store (because, let's face it, you would end up with carpal tunnel before that would ever happen)... but they are a quick fix when you are out and about and need some relief.  The alternative?  Take your cute scarf off and hand express into it before your nipples pop off.  Not pretty.  Buy the cheapie hand pump.  It stashes easily into your purse and is a lifesaver in certain situation.
  10. Know Your Rights- https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTd0mWTJlqGGqQ0MB-WMy80TAv_jJooy_0r_TGGpmPnOMGmvoCdevery state is different, but most truly support the rights of nursing and pumping mamas.  In NY, for example, large companies (>50 employees) must have a room available for mothers to pump in.  They are not forced to pay you on your pumping break, but they are mandated to allow you reasonable time to pump.  If you are unable to find your rights, per your state or company, contact La Leche League (see below) and they can advocate for you.  Baby's gotta eat.  :)  AND...  Know Your Resourceshttps://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQC9u2EmUZ-j8PRIoyLxZalXQ3CriLimCo2hE0wtnhujqjOAItXDgfriends and family who have (recently, preferably) been there, a pediatrician who if pro-BF (meaning they won't try to push formula the second you or your baby has an issue with breastfeeding), your local LLL (La Leche League), the Lactation Consultant from the hospital (they are available to you, in most cases, long after discharge), FB groups like the Badass Breastfeeder and others.  Bottom line... you are NOT alone.  Ever.  Right now there are thousands and thousands of breastfeeding mama out there.  If you are having problems, take a deep breath and nurse on.  Most of us have had some sort of issue be it latching problems, pain, reflux, supply concerns... at some point.  Don't give up.  Talk to someone, get some ideas, try something different, but just keep nursing, just keep nursing (repeat like Dory from Finding Nemo).  You can do it.  :)