Your Infant Feeding Journey - Products I Love
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
Hi mamas. I want to share a quick post about all of the products I love to gather to prep for breastfeeding and pumping/bottle feeding. I am currently in the home stretch of my pregnancy, and nesting in every single way! I have been prepping freezer meals, prepping my postpartum supplies for my recovery, gathering my newborn supplies, washing baby clothes and blankets, and physically and mentally preparing my body for labor. As I was getting out all of my feeding supplies for baby, washing and sterilizing pump parts and bottles, I wanted to share with you real quick what my favorite products are for infant feeding.
I use the Spectra Breast Pump. I used it for my baby boy and I plan to use it again for baby girl. I highly recommend checking into your insurance company website to see what they may provide for you in terms of a breast pump. Often they will cover a breast pump completely, depending on the brand or type of pump. This pump was covered by my insurance at the time, and I had heard great things from other mamas about it. This pump worked great for me! It is small enough to pack in a bag and bring pretty much anywhere, the parts are simple and easy to put together, and I like the different settings they offer. I recommend looking into getting a pump even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed your baby! I think it's so important to have on hand for any scenario... if you plan to go back to work after a certain point, or you want to run errands or skip a breastfeeding session during the day or at night, it's important to pump - not only to leave milk for your baby to eat by bottle, but to keep stimulating and emptying your breasts so your milk supply remains stable.
Hands Free Pumping Bra
Ok if you plan to pump at all, this is SO important to have! I got mine from Target. But holding your pump with both hands while you pump for 15 minutes, however often you're pumping, is just a lot! It's so nice to be able to multitask while you pump, using your phone, writing, doing dishes, folding laundry, working (if you're pumping at work), etc. So I feel like this is a must!
Steam Sterilizing Bags
These are great to have on hand and important for keeping both your pump parts and your bottles/pacifiers clean and sterilized. You do not have to sterilize your bottles and pump parts in between every single feeding. But it's recommended to do it once a day with your pump parts and bottles. In between each pump session or bottle feeding I just wash my bottles/parts with a gentle dish soap and water. Once a day I sterilize them in the microwave (especially if you're bringing your parts on the go out in public with you).
Breast Milk Storage Bags
I think using bags is important if you plan to pump a lot and build up a supply, or are going back to work and will be pumping and using expressed milk frequently. These are convenient and take up so much less space in your freezer, where you will be most likely storing most of your milk! There are a lot of different options for milk storage out there, but I chose these in order to save some space and conveniently put them in coolers and bags to take home from work after pumping all day or to pack for childcare if you will be away from your little one.
Also note - breastmilk can be stored in the fridge safely for up to 96 hours (4 days), but in the freezer it will keep for up to 6 months. So as you start to build up a supply in your fridge, make sure you are diligent about writing down dates and times that you pumped the milk. And if you're ever worried about milk expiring, just throw it in the freezer! Also note that if you are feeding your baby frozen milk, you want to make sure they eat the milk within 24 hours of it being thawed.
Haaka Breastmilk Collector
This product is new for me but I am really looking forward to trying it this time around while I breastfeed baby girl! I have heard from so many moms that this helps to boost milk supply and start to build up a supply in the fridge/freezer without having to actually pump. Basically you place it on one breast while you nurse the baby on the other breast, and it collects milk from your let-down via suction. After you're done feeding you can either feed that collected milk to your baby if they are still hungry after eating both sides, or store the milk in your fridge or freezer. I will keep you posted after I try it out, but I've heard great things about it! With Weston, I struggled to build up a big supply. I always felt like I was just making enough, and struggled to really "stock up" for days I was working or on the go. So this I think will help out a ton to collect some of that milk that may naturally "leak" while I'm nursing baby on one side. Breast milk is like liquid gold, so every drop counts in my opinion!
I used Dr. Browns Glass Bottles with Weston, and plan to use them again with baby girl. I am comfortable using Dr. Browns brand bottles and assembling the parts, I know they are slow flow, and this is what our lactation consultants worked with and recommended for breast feeding mamas at the hospital where I worked. Remember to check in with what level nipple is in the bottle that you buy! Typically they come with a Level 1 nipple when you buy them, which is perfect for the newborn stage. If your baby is bottle feeding past the newborn stage, you can buy separate nipples (level 2 or 3) that are faster flow as they get older, develop stronger facial muscles, and are eating higher volumes. If you are breastfeeding, I absolutely recommend only using the Level 1 nipple! You want to make sure they are bottle feeding from a slower flow nipple so they don't get accustomed to the fast flow of the bottle and start to resist the work of pulling milk out of your breasts. It takes so many more facial muscles for them to breastfeed, and it's really great for their speech development down the road for them to be actively working those facial muscles (ideally via breastfeeding or with a slow flow nipple). I chose glass because I wanted to limit plastics with all of our baby products, and they held up really well! They are just like new for me to use again with baby girl.
These are really important to have on hand during the early stages of nursing. Once your milk starts to come in (usually day 4-7 after birth), it will typically come in in full force! You will wake up dripping milk all over your shirt and your sheets, or will start to leak from one side while baby is nursing on the other. I want to tell you this can be pretty surprising! You will literally just wake up with huge, painful, engorged boobs one day and know your milk is officially in. It may overwhelm baby at first when they latch and get your initial let down at the beginning of a feeding (because they are used to eating just small amounts of colostrum, so this is an adjustment for them as well!). But I want to assure you this goes away and gets better. Your breasts will even out, your supply will maintain a steady state, and you won't be leaking milk all over your clothes like this for your entire breastfeeding journey. Usually after the first month or so you start to establish your "normal" milk supply. Your breasts will not feel engorged or full, baby will get used to your let down reflex and will be getting what they need with each feeding, and you're not leaking everywhere all the time. But these pads are essential during the first few weeks! I like the disposable for the first few weeks when the leaking is at its peak, and then I switch to the soft washable pads (both Bamboobies Brand). I love the washable ones because they are way more comfortable to wear and you can't tell you have them on under your bra!
I like to throw all of my pumping supplies, clean bottles, pads, storage bags, etc. into a basket and keep it by my rocker in the nursery, living room, or bed (wherever you will be spending the most time recovering postpartum). It's just nice having everything together, especially for any middle of the night or early morning pumping sessions.
The last thing I wanted to talk about was Nipple Cream because it's SO important! During the first few weeks postpartum I highly recommend using Lanolin after every nursing or pumping session - it is all natural, a protective barrier, and safe for baby. It will help to heal and prevent cracked nipples. I also love the brand Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter - this is great to use in the beginning because it's really protective and healing for your nipples. And my favorite thing to do to prevent bacteria or yeast build up (which can lead to Thrush on your nipples and in baby's mouth - and it's no fun for you or baby!) is to use Coconut Oil on your nipples. I put coconut oil on my nipples after I shower typically while I'm nursing, but I also start to use just coconut oil in between feedings after a while. Coconut oil is antibacterial, anti fungal, moisturizing and healing, and totally safe for baby. Once you have been breastfeeding for a few weeks, your nipples won't be as sore or sensitive and you typically won't need all of the extra creams long term. But having them in the first few months postpartum is essential!!
I hope you found this helpful mamas! Prepping to feed your newborn is a lot, and I found it really helpful to ask mama friends and lactation consultants I knew what their favorite products were when I had my first baby. I think doing so much research, and fishing through all of the products out there can drive you crazy. It's helpful to get recommendations from mamas you know and trust.
And of course, if you plan to exclusively breastfeed your baby, you don't need to have any additional "products" right away! We live in a world where we are constantly being told we need MORE everything... you can just feed your baby. It's ok to not have specific brand bottles or breast pump or storage bags. Try not to get too caught up in all of the products the world tells you that you need to raise a baby. These are just things I learned with my first that were super helpful, and I wanted to pass it along mama to mama.
Happy feeding mamas,
Erin Becoming Mama