Breastfeeding may be one of the most natural things in the world, but that doesn’t always mean it’s effortless. So why not benefit from a little help along the way? For example, taking advantage of the latest breastfeeding essentials can make your nursing experience much more comfortable, convenient and fun.

It’s a good idea to start thinking about which breastfeeding essentials you may need before your baby is born. After all, once your little one arrives, things are going to get a bit hectic! The good news is that, with a little planning, you’ll be ready for almost any situation.

Before you start shopping for breastfeeding essentials, there are a few questions that you should ask yourself. For example, do you plan to breastfeed full-time? Or will you and your partner/family split up some of the feeding responsibilities in order share the bonding experience; giving you a break? How long will you provide breastmilk to your infant? If you plan to provide it for 2 or more years as recommended by Health Canada and the Canadian Paediatric Society, how will your lifestyle change over that period? Will you be going back to work or school? Will you be returning to a sports or activity group? Will you be making more local trips out of the home, or travelling long distances more often? Whatever your concerns are about breastfeeding, it’s likely that someone already has a way to make this part of your experience easier.

Let’s take a look at some of the most useful breastfeeding essentials on the market – some from Medela and some not. We hope that this article will help you to choose a few items that will make your breastfeeding experience easier.

Choosing the Right Breast Pump

For most moms, a breast pump is an essential item. With so many breast pumps on the market, it’s difficult to know where to start. So, we’ve created this handy chart to help you get the perfect breast pump for your lifestyle.

Medela Canada - choosing-the-right-breastpump

However, since we’ve covered this topic in “How to Find the Best Breast Pump” post, let’s move on to the other breastfeeding essentials!

Milk Storage Accessories to Complement Your Breast Pump

Storing breastmilk is essential for many breastfeeding moms. Perhaps you are planning on returning to your job and want to pump milk at work. Or, maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom who wants the flexibility to pump milk so that you can have the occasional night out. No matter what your particular situation, it’s a good idea to have the right milk storage accessories on hand.

Breastmilk Storage Bags

Medela offers “Pump and Save” breastmilk storage bags that are simple to use and make storing breast milk easy. The bags are made from BPA-free, food-grade, materials, and are safe for use in the fridge, freezer, and for warming breastmilk. In addition, each bag has a self-stick strap, which makes it easier to pump milk directly into the bag. You can learn to learn more about Medela’s breastmilk storage bags on our website.

Breastmilk Bottles

Medela’s breastmilk bottles are BPA-free and work seamlessly with our Medela breast pumps and the Calma Feeding solution. Made from food-grade materials, these bottles help protect your milk through each stage – refrigeration, freezing, thawing, and warming.

For more details on Medela’s breastmilk bottles and the technology behind Calma, which mimics your baby’s natural breastfeeding behaviour, go here.

Sore Nipples? Here are a Few Accessories to Save the Day!

One of the biggest challenges that new moms may face, in the first few weeks of breastfeeding, is sore nipples. This is just a natural part of the process as your baby gets used to latching on and your nipples get used to being used in a new way. The good news is that your experience can be much more pleasant if you take advantage of the preventative and healing products that are available.

If you do experience some discomfort, having the right nipple care essentials can help you overcome this discomfort so that you can enjoy bonding with your little one.

Tender Care Products

While you and your baby are adjusting to breastfeeding, you may want to consider using Medela’s Tender Care Lanolin or Tender Care Hydrogel to treat your sore nipples. These treatments are safe for your baby and will help you to keep breastfeeding while your sore nipples heal. Tender Care products are made from natural, hypoallergenic moisturizing, ingredients – so there’s no need to wash them off before feeding your baby. Lanolin has also been shown to reduce inflammation, kill bacteria and help protect the skin’s moisture barrier.

Contact Nipple Shields

If you need a little extra help healing your sore nipples, try using a Contact Nipple Shield. It can help your baby latch better if he’s having trouble, and protect a sore nipple during breastfeeding. Plus, the cut-out allows your baby to get more skin-to-skin contact with your breast while using it. Medela SoftShells have a soft, flexible membrane that reduces friction and helps to protect your nipples between feedings.

Breastfeeding Accessories to Pamper You and Your Baby

Nursing Pillows

Most breastfeeding moms love their nursing pillow. Nursing pillows give your baby a soft, supportive place to fall asleep after a long feeding! They also help you to hold your baby in the most comfortable position for both of you by elevating your baby closer to your breasts. This helps to lighten your load and take the pressure off your back, which is even more important if you have twins.

Boppy has a popular line of nursing pillows, as does My Brest Friend. Since each style fits differently, it’s a good idea to ask your friends for recommendations and try each pillow before you buy.

Breastfeeding Bras to Help You Feel Comfortable All Day

Most breastfeeding accessories are focused on helping moms and their babies to be comfortable and healthy. But, just because you’re a mom, it doesn’t mean that you have to abandon the simple pleasure of looking good and feeling great about your body! This is why the best nursing bras and accessories are made to be both practical and pretty.

Bras and Nursing Tanks

Nursing bras have come a long way since the early days of purely functional designs. Bravado Designs (a Medela company) offers a full range of nursing bras, including nursing, sleep and fashion options. If possible, consider getting a few nursing bras or tanks so that you can have one to wear, while the others are in the laundry.

Check out the Bravado website for a range of beautiful nursing bras and tanks, and their online tools that help you to find your perfect style and size. Here are just a few of the many comments that women in our Medela Canada Facebook community have made about Bravado bras:

“I love these bras, super soft and supportive, it makes breastfeeding so easy especially when in public.”

“I LOVE Bravado bras! I may keep wearing them after nursing they’re so comfortable!”

Nursing Bra Pads

For many moms, one of the less pleasant aspects of breastfeeding is breastmilk leakage. While it’s completely normal for breastmilk to leak from your nipples from time to time, it’s important to keep your breasts and nipples healthy and clean by avoiding excess moisture, which can lead to infection.

A good way to deal with this situation is to use nursing bra pads that can absorb any excess breastmilk and keep you feeling comfortable throughout the day.

Nursing bra pads come in different formats, but can be generally considered as either “reusable” or “disposable single-use”. If you are using reusable nursing bra pads, ensure that they are cleaned thoroughly between uses and dried in the dryer or in direct sunlight to help prevent bacterial growth. If you are using disposable nursing bra pads, remember to change them after each feeding or pumping session to minimize the risk of developing an infection, and to prevent your clothes from developing stains or a sour-milk odour over time. Medela offers both reusable nursing bra pads, as well as high capacity, super-absorbent, disposable nursing bra pads that are easy to use. You can get more details here.

The 4 types of breastfeeding essentials mentioned in this article can help to make your breastfeeding experience as positive as possible. The more comfortable you are, the less time you will need to spend thinking about the process of breastfeeding and the more time you will be able to focus on your wonderful new baby.

Have you found any breastfeeding essentials that have made your breastfeeding experience easier or more comfortable? Which ones? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Medela Canada Facebook page.

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