I'll be honest--I've never been good at breastfeeding. I just naturally don't produce that much milk. Before I had Brooks, I was dead set on nursing. No questions asked. No matter what.
But, then he was born with...A TOOTH! We didn't even realize at first. When I was nursing at the hospital, I was in such pain. Breastfeeding does hurt...but this was a different type of discomfort. I ended up finding a tooth a few days later. Since I was in such pain, the milk wasn't coming in. But, I still wanted to nurse. I was stressed and I was frustrated.
With nowhere else to turn, I reached out to SUPER lactation specialist, Linda Hanna here in Los Angeles. She was a literal angel sent from heaven. Linda helped me nurse with what I did have which made me less anxious. She definitely took me away from a dark place.
With Scarlett and now Grey—I knew I wanted to try again even if it was just for that colostrum aka liquid gold (which Linda got me past!)
With that said, I respect women who decide it's not for them. Breastfeeding to me is a JUDGEMENT-FREE ZONE! These days, breastfeeding guilt is everywhere...but remember that it's a personal decision.
Since this is my third time around, I definitely have my list of breastfeeding must-haves. If you are about to give birth and plan on nursing, I highly recommend these products to the new momma:
1. Nursing Bra Pads
What's worse than breast milk leaking through your shirt? Um, nothing. That's where nursing bra pads come in handy. I've always loved and used a brand called Bamboobies. They are soft, don't slip off, and can be thrown in the washing machine.
2. A Breast Pump
Out of all the breastfeeding must-haves, this is the most essential. I feel like all I've been doing lately is pumping. I'm not kidding! Medela is the trusted brand they use at the hospital so I went with that. It's a lifesaver especially as a working mom.
3. A Nursing Pillow
You've gotta have a nursing pillow. It makes everything so much easier on both you and the baby. It helps holding the baby up while feeding, supports your back, and snaps in place so it doesn't move around. The brand, My Breast Friend, is literally...my best friend.
4. Mahmee Breastfeeding App
When I had Brooks, I started working with Linda Hanna who is a lactation consultant. Breastfeeding can be really stressful and she helped me out... a lot. Luckily, her and her daughter have made a support app for your phone called Mahmee that can be available anytime, anywhere.
Mahmee is a postpartum healthcare app offering super-personalized, on-demand care and education to new mothers with infants 0-12 months old. Got a sore nipple or low milk supply? You can create your own physician-approved care plan to treat it, or start a text or video chat with a registered nurse. Download it here.
5. Lactation Supplements
Some women get lucky when it comes to milk supply. Not me, though. I tend to have a harder time. That's where lactation supplements come in. Look for labels that contain Goats Rue, Fenugreek, and Moringa. These herbs help milk flow and production. With Grey, I've been taking the Motherlove More Milk Special Blend supplement and I'm loving it.
6. A Seamless Nursing Bra
Two words: easy access. Who wants to change everytime they need to feed? Not me. The nursing bras on the market these days are fantastic. They are soft (which is great on sore nipples!) and can slide right off. The brands Rosie Pope and Boob Design have styles that are actually really, really cute. I would wear them even if I wasn't breastfeeding. My top pick? Boob Design's Fast Food Bra. The name says it all!
7. Breast Milk Storage
Since I pump during the day, I need something to keep the milk fresh. Medela actually makes small glass BPA-free storage bottles that are easy to take on-the-go.
8. Soothing Gel Pads
UGH, SORE NIPPLES! Get yourself some soothing gel pads for after feeding. You'll thank yourself.
9. Lactation Tea
Along with the supplements, I also drink lactation tea. It has the same herbs and benefits but I find it a little more enjoyable. Nothing like a cup to tea to soothe any stresses or worries. This tea also tastes...amazing. I switch back and forth between Earth Mama Angel Baby "Organic Milkmaid Tea" and Traditional Medicinals "Organic Mother's Milk."
10. Glass Bottles
Since I don't produce much milk, I also supplement with formula. It's important to get the BPA-free glass bottles for their health and safety. A friend recently told me about a brand called Natursutten, which is 100% natural. They are great!
11. Nipple Shields
Nipple shields are for those moments when you can't handle the pain...but still need to feed. They also help when your baby is having issues latching on. I only use them in emergencies but they are always good to have on hand, just in case. A brand called Lansinoh, which is sold at Target, makes a version that is super thin and flexible for easy use.
12. Nipple Balm
Nothin' like rubbing nipple balm on while fighting back tears from the pain. Yeah, I'm sure we've all been there. I've used Earth Mama Angel Baby's nipple cream for years but recently found a new healing salve from a company called Twig + Petal. It smells amazing and feels really soothing for both pain and skin irritation.
13. A Nursing Gown
Just like a nursing bra, a cute gown is also an essential for that easy access. I prefer all black because...well, it's slimming. Only Hearts (here) and Ingrid + Isabel (here) have gowns that I've been wearing non-stop!
For mommas who need a little extra help, check out these lactation recipes that are just as delicious as they are effective:
BTW--I'm still breastfeeding so if you have any tips, I'd love to hear them! Comment below! I need all the help I can get.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.