Happy World Breastfeeding Week! (Or Happy National Breastfeeding Month if you’re reading this after the first week of August.) What a year it has been for breastfeeding—from the contentious TIME magazine cover to news coverage across the nation, breastfeeding has been the center of parenting debates. Campaigns going on around the country this month encourage women to breastfeed for at least the first six months after birth, but we’re not here to tell you how to make a very personal parenting choice. That being said, for women who do choose to breastfeed, we’ve compiled a list of gear and other goods that will help you on your journey to master this motherly task.
Nursing pillows are a must for breastfeeding moms—they help you and your baby stay comfortable during those all-important feedings. My Brest Friend snaps around your body to fully support the baby while feeding and comes with a pocket to keep anything you need within reach. And twin moms rejoice—they make a pillow for two. Alternatively, the Boppy pillow is perfect for lots of activities. It’s excellent for feeding and also makes a great lounging or tummy time pillow.
For those who want to cover up when breastfeeding in public, a nursing cover can keep your private time with the baby concealed. Bebe Au Lait is the champion of covers; special technology keeps the cover open and away from the baby so airflow and eye contact are still possible. For those with less space in the diaper bag, MiniMe BabyGear created the Breastfeeding Buddy, a clip that will turn any blanket into a nursing cover, saving you money and space. Many babies, however, don’t like covers—and that’s where MoBoleez comes in. Its breastfeeding hats cover the baby’s head, protecting him or her from sun, while also shielding your body from the public.
Shopping for flattering and functional nursingwear can be daunting. Glamourmom has long been a favorite of nursing moms for style and convenience. We love their Nursing Bra Long Tank (available with tummy control). It’s quite stylish, so most people won’t even know you’re wearing a nursing top. The same can be said about BOOB nursing tops. The super cute short-sleeved shirt is a reliable pick. Purchasing Bravado’s Essential Nursing Tank is like getting two tops for the price of one; the stretchy material is perfect for a growing belly and the built-in nursing bra is perfect post-pregnancy. And don’t forget about PJs. Aimee Nursing Pajamas are braless, keep nursing pads in place (if you use them), and allow room for your shrinking tummy. Belabumbum’s Colette Ruffle Chemise is a comfortable sleepwear gem that will help moms feel beautiful. For the dreaded social event or regular workday when you know you’ll need to nurse or pump, look no further than the Milk Keyhole Dress (or any of the Milk brand’s threads). It’s comfortable, dressy, and easy to nurse in.
A good nursing bra is invaluable. You want one that’s easy to use and doesn’t look like something your great-grandmother would wear. Cake Lingerie adds the sexy factor to easy feeding, while La Leche League International is known for its comfortable and affordable wire and no wire varieties. Bravado’s Allure Underwire Nursing Bra features spacing fabric, which is lightweight, breathable, and allows air to circulate while hiding breast pads. And if you’re pumping, make sure to check out the Medela Easy Expression Bustier and the PumpEase Hands Free Pumping Bra; both are created so you can pump sans hands.
Any mother who has breastfed will tell you that doing so has side effects you might not expect. Lansinoh HPA Lanolin is the best of breast creams; mothers have been using it for years to help relieve the pain that comes with nursing. Bamboobies are economical and washable nursing pads that are fantastic for absorbing any leakage without showing through most clothes. For a night out on the town, try LilyPadz Nursing Pads. They put gentle pressure on the breast to keep it from leaking, are reusable, and are designed not to show through tops.
A pump gives Mom a break and Dad (or grandma/grandpa/baby nurse) a chance to bond with the baby. Medela’s Pump In Style Advanced is a terrific option. Though a bit pricy, it comes in a tote bag so you can take it anywhere, and it features Medela’s patented 2-Phase Expression technology that pumps just as your baby would feed. Ameda Purely Yours is another great choice, with a regular and a pricier ultra version that comes with tons of accessories. Both versions come with CustomControl to monitor suction and speed, a CustomFit Flange System, and a car adapter (for when you’re stuck in New York traffic). The First Years miPump Double Electric breast pump is an affordable, under $100 option for moms who don’t want the fancier versions, and it even includes bottles.
Picking the right bottle is important to avoid confusing your baby when switching back and forth between breastfeeding and bottles. The First Years Breastflow Bottle’s patented 2-in-1 nipple allows the baby to control the flow of breast milk. The Adiri NxGen Nurser not only feeds like a breast, it’s shaped like one too. The similar feel and flow is the ultimate in comfort. Another great option is the BARE Bottle—the only air-free bottle on the market with a nipple that extends and retracts when feeding.
While reading may fall off your to-do list after having a child, you should take a few moments to check out If These Boobs Could Talk. The hilarious take on motherhood will make you feel a little less lonely and a little more sane. For practical advice, get Mama Knows Breast, which is full of handy tips on all things breastfeeding.
After pumping, you need to make sure your milk is stored properly. Moms love the Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags; they’re strong, pre-sterilized, and BPA-free. For those who feel like they’re losing precious milk that gets stuck to the side of the bag, try the Sensible Lines Milk Tray. Milk is frozen in one-ounce serving trays, eliminating waste and taking up very little freezer space.
Many moms will admit to “momnesia”—their uncanny habit of forgetting even the simplest things. Milk Bands Nursing Bracelets were created to help you remember the most important thing: your baby’s feedings. They’re designed so you can know which breast was used last and even track how long or what time your baby fed.
The Nursery Works’ Cole Glider and Ottoman isn’t your average rocking chair. The ottoman has a storage shelf underneath, which is the perfect solution for any city apartment’s cramped quarters. The glider and ottoman combo can adapt to any living space after the baby stops nursing.