5 Basic Breastfeeding Products All New Moms Need

There are millions of baby related products out there, but when it comes to breastfeeding, all you really need is a good milk supply and a hungry baby.

I compiled a list of my favorite breastfeeding products because, while I could have still done it without them, they all provided me with one important thing – C O M F O R T!  And being comfortable while breastfeeding is so important to developing that good milk supply.

5 Basic Breastfeeding Products All New Moms Need
*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.
5 Basic Breastfeeding Products All New Moms Need

1. Boomerang Nursing Pillow

Jolly Jumper Boomerang Nursing Pillow
I received this Jolly Jumper Boomerang Nursing Pillow as a gift at my baby shower and it has become a staple in my house.  It is so much more than just a breastfeeding pillow…

During pregnancy, it was the perfect shape to both support my stomach and tuck between my legs while sleeping.  The boomerang shape was also perfect to tuck behind me in bed for extra support while sitting upright.

I loved it for breastfeeding because it was so versatile.  I could fold it half if I needed firm support under just one arm, or lay it across my lap.

The little fold at the end of the pillow case acted as a pocket – perfect for stashing washcloths and nursing pads (ok, let’s be honest, for my cell phone).

The shape was just right for propping baby up at any age.  Whether I laid baby on their back or tummy, I found that the “V” shape was better for supporting them than the “U” shaped pillows and I could easily bring the sides in for more security.

It’s so soft!  This may be a disadvantage to some who are looking for firmer support in a nursing pillow but I loved how flexible it was compared to other ones.

I stopped breastfeeding a long time ago, but this pillow is still my favorite one to have around the house – specifically for cuddling up on the couch or propping myself up in bed.  (It’s recently come in very handy during my battle with chronic pain.)


2. Medela Breast Pump

Medela Swing Single Breast Pump
Like many first time moms, I didn’t buy a breast pump before the baby was born because I wasn’t sure if I’d even be able to breastfeed.

After my first child was born, I inherited a brand new Medela Swing breast pump from a friend.  Since I had never used a breast pump before, I thought it was fantastic – but I didn’t have anything to compare it to.

So when I was pregnant with my second child, I stupidly sold my Medela Swing and “upgraded” to a fancy double electric pump because I assumed that two was better than one. BIG MISTAKE! It had no where NEAR the sucking capacity of the Medela…

Medela Harmony

I went back to the basics with the third one. Since none of my kids were big fans of bottles and I wasn’t going back to work – my pumping requirements were very minimal.  This time I chose the Medela Harmony manual pump.

My favorite feature was the ability to stimulate the nipple with the pump to initiate a let down.  This is super important when your nipples aren’t as sensitive anymore (i.e. after breastfeeding three kids).  I also found that I could pump more milk simply by being able to manually control the rhythm of the suction.

The Medela Harmony is a great little breast pump for days when you’re away from baby or feeling extra engorged.  It’s perfect for traveling, easy to clean and is a no-fuss solution.  The Medela Swing is a better option for more regular pumping.


3. Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads
I had an excess milk supply and an overactive let down reflex which meant that I leaked milk A LOT.  

Because of that, I tried SO MANY different brands and types of nursing pads before deciding that these Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads were beyond compare.

They are SUPER absorbent.  They resembled a full diaper when they were soaked, but they didn’t leak no matter how much milk spilled into them. Like a sanitary napkin for your boobs.

They have a sticker on the back so they stay in place! So simple, but so important.

You can’t see them through your bra.  They’re not bulky or “papery” and they don’t have weird lines or patterns on them.

They are super comfortable.  Even with raw, sore nipples.

They’re individually wrapped.  Not in pairs which is great because I often had to change just one at a time.  They’re also easy to throw in the diaper bag, purse, gym bag, even small enough to keep in your pocket.

They usually included a free gift (sample) in the box like breast milk collection bags, or individual packets of baby wipes.


4. Tank Tops with a Built-In Shelf Bra

Women's Camisole Built-in Shelf Bra Adjustable Spaghetti Straps Tank Top Pack
Amazon.com
I bought way too many nursing bras.  I thought I was going to need them all but what I wore almost every day while I was breastfeeding is one of these tank tops with the built in shelf bras.

If you’re going to buy them, buy them in bulk because you’re going to get milk and baby spit up on them, and you’re eventually going to have to do laundry, but you’re going to want to put another one on right away.

The built in shelf bra is important because you need the support and also something to hold your nursing pads in place (those stickers can’t do it all).

They’re comfortable enough to sleep in.  In fact, I think there was barely a moment when I wasn’t wearing one of these tank tops during my breastfeeding years.

I wore them as a base layer under all my other shirts so that when I had to nurse in public I just pulled up the top shirt, and then pulled the tank top down to expose the nipple.  All that was visible between the two shirts was a small opening (covered by baby’s head anyway) and I didn’t have to fuss with an annoying nursing cover.  Not that I cared, but most people couldn’t even tell I was nursing.


5. Breast Shells

Philips AVENT Comfort Breast Shells Set
Philips Avent Breast Shells
No one even told me these existed, I found them by accident…

When I breastfed for the first time – my nipples felt like they were on fire.  I expected some pain with breastfeeding, but it turned out that I had a cracked nipple and developed mastitis. My nipples hurt so badly that merely a shirt or bra touching them was enough to make me wince in pain.

So I went on the hunt for something to help.  I was looking at nipple shields which I didn’t buy but found these Philips AVENT Comfort Breast Shells instead and they ended up saving my nipples and ultimately, my breastfeeding relationship.

Basically they are a protective dome for your sore nipple. There is a soft silicone part that is shaped like a donut and goes against your breast.  Then the hard plastic cup shields your nipple from chafing or being hit or poked by accident.

They are comfortable enough to wear to bed they are designed to collect any breastmilk that leaks out.  So while you’re nursing, you can wear it on the opposite breast to collect and save that precious liquid gold.  

If you’re extremely engorged they can be a bit painful to wear.  But they will greatly help to reduce flat nipples and even release a bit of pressure from engorgement.  Pop them in the fridge when you’re not using them and the cooling sensation will also give you relief from engorgement! 

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Breast Compression

Breastfeeding Products

For more breastfeeding help, check out Milkology 

Milkology Online Breastfeeding Courses

Milkology is a 90 minute online breastfeeding class run by certified lactation specialist, Stacy Stewart.  For less than $20, you can get some amazing tips for breastfeeding success – with a money back guarantee!


Sleep Training: How To Start The Moment You Bring Baby Home

Sleep training a newborn is all about establishing a good routine and developing the sleep habits that will become an important part of their lives.  It’s about teaching them how the world works – when we sleep, when we eat and when we play – in order to be a functional human being.  Sleep training a child is a long process, and the earlier they can learn, the easier it will be in the long run.  By following a strict routine with a newborn, you may even be able to avoid sleep training in the future.

The goal of this sleep training guide is to:
  • Help your newborn baby identify the difference between day time and night time. 
  • Establish a daily routine that focuses on healthy sleep habits.
  • Lay the foundation for stricter sleep training at a later age. 
  • Help you predict what your baby needs and recognize the reason they are crying.

The reason why sleep training a newborn is so essential is because sleep at this age is instinctual and not something they have learned to fight (yet).  This promotes a much more positive experience for both parent and baby.  Remaining positive throughout the sleep training process is important to successful sleep training as the child gets older.

Here is a guide to sleep training a newborn (0-6 months), which includes routines to follow during the day, at nap time, bedtime and in the middle of the night.
How to Start Sleep Training The Moment You Bring Baby Home
* This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  ** Furthermore, I am not a sleep training expert, just a mother who’s been there and lived to tell the tale.

Sleep Training in the Morning

Open the curtains

Let as much sunlight into your home as possible or sit by a sunny window.  The point is to associate “daytime ” with brightness and noise.

Change baby out of their pajamas

It may seem like a tedious and unimportant task because many newborns stay in sleepers all day long.  But the simple, routine, act of changing  clothes in the morning will signal to your baby that it is time to start the day, and not just another one of their many wakeful periods.

Skin to skin contact

Several times a day, strip baby down to a diaper and lay them on your bare chest or cuddle next to them in bed.  This is a great thing to do while nursing or bottle feeding baby as it can also keep them awake and stimulated so they will feed better.

If you’re a busy mother, or have other children to take care of and don’t have the time to lie in bed all day, then consider carrying baby around in a wrap-style baby carrier while shirtless.

The benefits of skin to skin contact are also a great way to encourage bonding with baby and help to ease symptoms of the baby blues or postpartum depression.

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Give baby a really good feeding

A lot of effort should be put into those daytime feeding sessions.  Feed baby as often as they want to during the day, whether it’s breast or bottle.

If you’re breastfeeding, now is the time to master the latch and try out different breastfeeding positions.  Make sure to empty each breast even if it means feeding on the same side twice in a row.  That will increase your supply and provide baby with more hind milk.  Try using the breast compression technique to ensure baby is getting enough of the fattier hind milk and to help speed up the session.

Try your best NOT to let baby fall asleep during the feeding!  Sucking is extremely soothing for a baby and it’s natural for them to drift off or get tired halfway through.  If baby continues to fall asleep while nursing, they won’t get full enough and will wake up wanting more just a short while later.

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Get a good burp

Different methods work for different kids but this is so, SO important.  Try gentle bouncing or laying them on their tummy across your arm or leg instead of patting their back.  Adding a little bit of pressure against their tummy with the palm of your hand, or holding their stomach against your rib cage as you bounce up and down can help to eliminate gas.

The number one reason why newborn babies cry after a feeding is because of gas. Often, babies will put their hands to their mouths or root around when they need to burp which can be confusing if they just finished nursing.  For babies who are struggling with gas, try using colic tablets or  essential oils to ease their tummies.

Get a good poop

This will usually happen on it’s own, so it’s really just a waiting game.  You can try “pumping” their legs or holding them in a “sitting position” to get things moving along.  The reason why you want to watch for this before putting baby down for a nap is so that they will be comfortable as they sleep and will have no reason to wake up before they’re ready to.

Newborn babies can poop frequently throughout the day (especially breastfed ones).  Make sure to use a good bum balm to help avoid rashes with frequent changes.  With time, you will learn how often and when they need to go.  Their specific habits and routine usually remain constant as they grow older so this is just another way of getting to know your baby.

Encourage playtime

Talk or sing to baby, have tummy time and lots of skin to skin contact.  A colorful play mat is a great tool to have for keeping young babies entertained.  The environment should be stimulating and playful but not over-stimulating, so watch for cues that baby is done with a certain activity.

If you’re not sure exactly how to play with a newborn, then just take them around with you as you go about your day and talk to them while you do it.  Babies don’t need a lot of entertainment at this age but they love to hear voices and watch faces.

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MommaSociety.com

Watch for signs of sleepiness

Throughout the day, keep an eye out for signs that they are ready to sleep.  Some babies get very fussy, others may simply stare off in one direction and start the “slow blink.”  As soon as you catch the hint that they are sleepy, prepare yourself to initiate the nap time routine.

The best advice for sleep training
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Sleep Training At Nap Time

Put baby to sleep in their bed

Wherever you want baby to sleep at night time is where you should put them for naps as well.  It may be tempting to hold and rock that baby for the next 2 hours but the sooner you can get them accustomed to sleeping in their own bed, the better (don’t worry, you can get in lots of cuddles during “playtime”).

Try to avoid letting baby nap in a car seat, bouncer or swing, as this can develop bad habits as they get older.  Remaining consistent about where they sleep will help them get used to their bedroom and learn not to fear it.

Make sure that baby’s room is as comfortable as possible.  Try using a warm or cool mist humidifier to make sure that their room is set up with the right conditions for them to sleep.

Keep the curtains open

Daytime sleep needs to be different from night time sleep, so keep the room bright.  If it’s a dark or cloudy day, then leave a light on while baby naps.  Make sure that there is a significant difference in baby’s room during nap time versus at night.

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Make noise

It’s common to try to avoid any and all noise while baby is napping, but that will become something you need to keep up for years.  Most newborns are deep sleepers (hence the term “sleeping like a baby”).

Play music in the background, use a sound machine or open a window to let in street noise.  If you have older children, don’t shush them while baby naps.  Basically, go about your regular every day activities.  This will teach baby to nap despite life happening around them.

Some babies tend to startle in their sleep when they hear loud noises, such as a dog barking or a car horn.  Swaddling can help keep the startle reflex from waking them up.

Wake baby up after 2 hours

… and start all over again.  It might sound cruel to wake up a sleeping baby but wouldn’t you rather save that sleepiness for 3 am?  Several smaller naps throughout the day work better than a few longer ones at the newborn age so that baby can eat more often.


Baby Sleep Daily Schedule
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How to Sleep Train a Newborn
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How to Sleep Train a Newborn
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Sleep Training at Bedtime

Make sure that baby has been up for at least 1 – 2 hours before bedtime

Even a 10 minute nap in the car can sustain a baby with enough energy to last all night. It will take some work to plan out baby’s nap times but it is much easier to put a sleepy baby to bed than it is to wrestle with an energetic one.

Dim the lights

The wakeful period before bedtime should be focused on darkness and quiet – different than the wakeful periods during the day.  Dim the lights, close the curtains or install blackout blinds.

You still want to make sure baby gets a really good feed, burp and poop

*Ahem* this is your life now…

Tone down the playtime

In the hours before bedtime, choose less vigorous playtime for baby.  Avoid swings and bouncy seats or over-stimulating toys.  Talk in quieter voices and play soft background music.  Try to avoid having the television on.

Bathing and massaging baby are a great way to wind down before bedtime. Opt for sleep-inducing essential oils and use calming bath products designed to help baby relax.  Let baby have some time without a diaper on before that longer nighttime stretch.  Make sure that playtime before bed is calming and soothing instead of stimulating.

The Honest Company Calming Bathtime Routine
The Honest Company

Change baby’s clothes

This is the other part of the day when it’s important to change baby’s clothes to signal that it’s bedtime.  It doesn’t really matter what you put baby to sleep in because it’s just the act of changing into pajamas that will create that routine habit.

Try NOT to feed baby right before bed

A feeding before bed is important to keep baby full but if you don’t want to nurse them to sleep every time they wake up, then you need to disassociate it with bedtime.  Aim for a half hour before bedtime so that they don’t fall asleep while nursing.  You can feed baby first, then gently bounce or dance around with them to get out all those gas bubbles.  Or change them into their pajamas after the feeding.

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Initiate the “BEDTIME ROUTINE

This is the last thing you will do with baby before you put them to bed for the night.  It can include a bedtime story or lullaby, turning on a projection nightlight, some gentle rocking or cuddling in a chair, or goodnight kisses and hugs from everyone in the family.

Over the years the bedtime routine will evolve as your child grows.  But it should always include a calming activity that is reserved specifically for bedtime so as to give your baby the bedtime signal.

Put baby to bed when you see the early signs of sleepiness

It’s worth repeating here – put baby down when they are sleepy but not actually asleep. The younger the baby, the more they are acting on instincts and as long as all of their needs are met, they shouldn’t protest when you put them down.

If baby cries when you put them down…

Try feeding or burping again until they get drowsy.  If baby falls asleep while nursing, just try to get them into bed as soon as possible afterwards.  Try your best to remain positive about the process, or baby will sense your anxiety.

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Once down for the night – DO NOT WAKE BABY UP TO EAT.

Newborns need to eat on a regular schedule, but because you have been pumping them full of food during the day, you can worry a little bit less about how much they are eating at night.  They WILL wake up when they are hungry but it should be longer than 2 hour intervals.  The older and bigger they get, the longer they will be able to go without a midnight snack.

Use a baby monitor to listen for when baby wakes up, and try to get to them as soon as possible.  Try not to let baby cry for too long, as this will stimulate them more than necessary.  Newborns will normally only wake up to feed so there is no point in letting them “cry it out.”

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Sleep Training in the Middle of the Night

If and when baby wakes up in the middle of the night…

Do not turn on any lights

Keep the room as dark and quiet as possible.  A soft nightlight or mood light offers just enough lighting for you to see what you’re doing but the idea is to help baby associate night time with darkness and quiet.

Keep baby dressed

Save the skin to skin contact for the daytime.  If you swaddle baby then it’s up to you whether or not to unswaddle them, but the idea is not to disturb or stimulate baby any more than necessary.

Feed baby

Because you’re pumping them full of milk during the day, you don’t need to worry about how much they’re getting in the middle of the night.  This is a great time to use the breast compression technique while breastfeeding.  Most likely, baby will fall asleep during nursing.  If they do, try to get them back into bed as quickly as possible.

Do not talk to or stimulate baby in any way

If you’re smooth enough – you might be able to convince baby that this is just a dream and that they aren’t really awake at all…

Only change a diaper if it’s poopy

If baby had enough poopy diapers during the day then the chances of a poopy diaper at night are slim (though they do happen). Some babies are prone to diaper rash so if you absolutely must change a diaper, use a warm wipe or washcloth and try to make it as quick as possible. 

Get a good burp

But don’t try any fancy positions that might overstimulate baby unless they seem to be having a lot of trouble with gas.

Immediately return baby to crib

Don’t make a big deal out of night time wake ups.  Try to make them as quick and quiet as possible and don’t take baby out of their room.

Continue this routine for all night time feedings until morning and then begin the daytime routine all over again.

Postpartum Anxiety Insomnia 1
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By following a routine with your newborn throughout the day, you will be able to get them on a consistent schedule.  This will help you to predict what they need and when, so that when they cry, you can rule out the common reasons.  Having designated awake and nap times will also allow mom to get more rest and/or work done without having to constantly wonder when baby will be ready to eat or sleep.  You could even try using an app to track baby’s sleep patterns.  The routine will eventually become second nature to mom and baby, and will continue to change and evolve as baby grows.  It will also help to reduce the stress and anxiety caused by sleep training at a later age.


see part two of the sleep training guide For more TIPS as baby gets older

The Trick to Sleep Training
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Have you tried all these tips and your baby is STILL not sleeping through the night?

There could be something you’re missing.  All babies are different, and there isn’t ONE plan that works for everyone.  Don’t be afraid to seek help from an expert.  Read my review of The Baby Sleep Site for more information.

The Baby Sleep Site Review
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For additional sleep training tips in kids of all ages, check out this article and infographic from BedPillows.com (formerly Dromma Bed)

Tips to Get Your Kids to Sleep
BedPillows.com
How to Start Sleep Training The Moment You Bring Baby Home