My Favourite Breastfeeding Items

Just a little preface before getting into the fun stuff! This post will be different from other “mama suggestions.” I’d like you to keep in mind that not only am I a mama, I’m also an LC and herbalist (among other things), and my breastfeeding journey wasn’t smooth or easy like most people would assume.

Every blog for breastfeeding suggestions will offer different viewpoints, mine will as well, but mine will also come from a place of qualified education. Which sounds pretentious, but this isn’t just another mom blog post.

With all of that yucky boring out of the way, let’s get down to the fun stuff! Pull up your amazon registry or wish list and get your clicking fingers ready!

I’m going to try to make this organized and cohesive, let’s see if I can stick to that!

I have multiple different types of breastfeeding bras, but these are probably my favourite. They don’t offer a ton of support, but they’re comfortable, easy to breastfeed in, and don’t give you a uni-boob.

Obviously there’s multiple different brands you can get. I like this one because there are a lot of different colours (which is actually hard to come by, surprisingly enough), and it’s a set of four! More bang for your buck!

If you need larger sizes, this brand has sizes E, F, G, H, I. Which is incredible! Also, some cute colours!

For the majority of my breastfeeding journey I wore tanks. Tanks are great because they’re easy to nurse in and they also provide coverage for your tum if you’re self conscious about that, or if you’re like me and have a winter baby and you want to be as clothed as possible!

I personally like the tanks without built in padding. Padding always looks odd on me and is very obvious. If you’re concerned about leaking, you can easily put in some breast pads (coming up next).

There are SO many different breast pads on the market. I personally prefer reusable breast pads because they’re better for the environment and you’re already doing laundry, this doesn’t make it any harder, you know?

I really like Bamboobies, they’re so incredibly soft!

(If you have a business where you make re-useable breast pads, please get in touch with me! I’d love to chat).

So those products kind of cover things you can buy and use whilst you’re pregnant as well as during nursing. Keep in mind some women leak whilst they’re pregnant, others don’t. Whether you do or not is in no way indicative of your milk supply when baby arrives.

Let’s talk now about products to use when baby is here, during the first few days maybe weeks.

This pillow was a LIFE SAVER for us and in my opinion 100x better than a Boppy pillow which I could never manage to use easily. I didn’t find this “My Brest Friend” nursing pillow until around 3 months post partum when we were getting my LO’s ties revised. The dentist’s office had one and I immediately bought one the second I got home.
Incredible, I’m telling you.
They also come in a variety of colours, which again, is always nice. It’s a firm top, unlike the Boppy, so baby won’t sink down. It buckles around your waist (is adjustable) so the pillow itself won’t shift and suddenly your baby is in your lap vs the pillow. It has a pocket for a drink, snacks, tv remote, phone, whatever you want to put in it.
Before we figured out how to side lie whilst nursing, this pillow was a dream!

Another thing some women might have issues with is flat or inverted nipples. Make sure you’re consulting with a professional before just assuming you have flat or inverted nipples. There are many things you can do to help loosen the nipple, so to speak, so that baby can have a better latch. Also remember that it is called breast feeding… Not nipple feeding. The baby should never be attached to your nipple alone. Instead should be attached to your areola. Don’t worry, I’ll make a whole post about that too.

With that said, there are some products to be used after baby arrives that can help with extracting the nipple, along with massage and other techniques. This shouldn’t be used in place of a professional opinion nor should it be used instead of getting baby checked for ties.

This Lansinoh Latch Assist is a great product, it comes in two sizes and is a gentle suction. Use this in conjunction with massage to help release some tight fibers that are holding the nipple (everyone has them, some are just tighter than others). Your baby will also help extract your nipple and loosen the fibers, so don’t worry, or try not to.

Another product you can use is the Medela Soft Shells. These are different from shields and can help extract the nipple just like the Lansinoh Latch Assist, but you can wear them in your bra or tank whereas the Latch Assist you can’t.

An item I’m going to skip posting about because they are used too often and incorrectly are nipple shields. Nipple shields should only be used under the direct guidance of a trained professional. Unfortunately too many hospitals and well meaning loved ones just hand them out like candy, and it’s one breastfeeding product that is the bane of my existence. The use of nipple shields can decrease milk supply substantially, and are also super annoying to use. Are there times in which a nipple shield is useful, yes. However, just like in my “my milk never came in” post, you’ll see that the numbers do not add up for how often something actually needs to be used. Skip the shield, instead grab the numbers of multiple local LC’s and IBCLC’s as well as multiple local and non local preferred providers for oral ties. Don’t be afraid to go to multiple different people for breastfeeding help. I can’t tell you how many different people I went to, to get help. You mesh with some, others you don’t. People’s level of education varies too.

Some people enjoy gel pads they can put in their bra to help ease nipple pain or ,depending on the product, any type of breast pain.

The Medela hydrogel pads are a great option, though you can’t warm them I don’t think.

Another similar product is the Lansinoh TheraPearl pads. These you can use warm or cold.

Let’s talk about lotions now. This is a super popular market, almost as popular as lactation snacks.

I don’t hate nipple creams or salves, but I do think they are sometimes over rated and are glorified coconut oil. I’m sure there are tons of wonderful creams on the market, but honestly the best nipple balm is breast milk. Express some milk, rub it in and leave it to air dry.

With that said, I do have two recommendations for nipple salves.

One is my own “Mama Love” nipple salve. The ingredients are purely to help heal any discomfort like cracked nipples and unlike other creams it does come with a reminder on the back that nipple damage of any kind (including cracks) is not normal and you should not be having any type of pain or trauma to the nipple. If you are seek the help of a trained professional to get the latch checked and any oral ties checked.

You can buy it and other incredible breastfeeding items in my shop HERE

Another product that was a total life saver was Mother Love Herb Diaper Balm. I know, I know, everyone takes a second glance at that whenever I recommend it. The reason I recommend this product specifically and not the nipple cream they have is because the Diaper Balm does triple duty. You can use it as a diaper balm or nipple cream, but it also used to be called Diaper Rash & Thrush. When I tell you this product clears thrush/yeast within days, I’m not joking. So if your kiddo or you are stricken with yeast/thrush use this! The ingredients are also lovely for healing wounds like cracks (but again, please know cracked nipples are not normal).

Moving on to products to remove or catch milk.

If you weren’t aware, contact your insurance company and see if they provide you with a free breast pump! Most insurance companies do. I personally am a fan of Medela products, however, every mama is going to have their own preferences.

I won’t be linking specific electric breast pumps because they are more expensive, and like I said, most insurance companies send a free pump.

One thing to remember with pumps, you need to make sure your flanges fit perfectly. Sometimes the flanges sent with the pump are not the right size and you will need to buy new flanges. This is something I wish insurance companies let you customize, but it is what it is. You also might notice that your flange size will change with time, or that you need two different sizes and whilst this is annoying, if you’re an exclusive pumper or someone who depends on an electric pump to keep up their supply, it is imperative to have the correct size flange.

Another product you might need is called a pump cushion. These are used if you have elastic nipples, but it’s best to get that checked by an LC before just buying some. Sometimes they can be difficult to use and there is an issue with less suction if they don’t stay in place.

One thing I don’t like to recommend, but won’t stop you from doing is buying a pump second hand. They can’t be totally sterilized and especially if you have a preemie or a baby with compromised health I surely wouldn’t recommend. Again it’s up to you, it’s just not something I suggest. This does not include hospital grade pumps. Hospitals are able to completely sterilize their pumps.

Another pumping related item is hands free pumping bras. They do make hands free pumps, they are expensive and I’ve never seen one covered by insurance. I’ve also had mamas with larger chests say they never stayed in place or they never kept their suction. And with that I just wouldn’t want to spend $400+ on a pump that might not work well.

Pumping bras, you’ll notice there are a ton on the market, and you’ll have to find one that works best for you, but I enjoy these two styles personally because they can be used as regular nursing bras.

When used properly, the haakaa is a good product. However majority of mama’s are using them too soon and don’t realize it is a manual pump. Hear me when I say it is a pump, treat it like a pump. It’s even advertised as a manual pump. Using the haakaa or any pump too soon can cause an oversupply, which is not something anyone should strive for. Yes, yes, I will make a whole post on that too, don’t worry!

You can also go the more traditional manual breast pump route and use a Lansinoh or Medela. Two of the more popular manual pump brands.

If you’re looking for something to just catch your milk, a milk catcher is where you want to look! Don’t forget to save that milk for later use.

Haakaa makes milk savers

You can also use the Haakaa pump above to catch milk, just don’t suction it on to your breast.

Another company is Avent and they are on the more inexpensive side, which is always nice.

Another product I do recommend for babies who are having difficulties is a supplemental nursing system. They can be tricky to use, just a warning. They are an incredible product to keep baby at the breast and to work on latching and gaining weight whilst other issues are figured out and fixed.

One more thing that I super recommend is education. Please educate yourself on breastfeeding, what is normal, what is biologically normal, what to expect, etc, and do so from someone who is properly trained. We all have those well meaning friends and family members or well meaning facebook groups, but as an LC the amount of misinformation I see from family, friends, and facebook groups is just… appalling. Please know pediatricians, IBCLCs, LC, ENTs, Dentists, etc we’re not created equal. A lot of professionals do not keep up with current education and current standards. The amount of pedi’s I see saying to cut milk out and switch to dairy formula or to give solids at 4 months is staggering. The amount of IBCLCs/LCs I see saying to moms that ties are normal and they’ll grow out of them, is appalling. Dentists and ENT’s need to be trained specifically in the detection and removal of oral ties.

I’m always here for a virtual consult and can be reached via email oakbornco@gmail.com

One of my ALL TIME favourite breastfeeding books is The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

Another all time favourite book is The Breastfeeding Book

This book isn’t specifically breastfeeding related, but I always recommend parents know about this book and know about their baby’s leaps and spurts. This can explain, what you think is, random bouts of fussiness or clusterfeeding.

Some other good info to have on hand is your local donor groups. This include Human Milk 4 Human Babies (Your Location) and Eats on Feets (Your Location).

I hope this post gave you some info on what are some really great products to have for your breastfeeding journey.

Somethings you’ll probably notice I didn’t mention, that we can have a quick chat about:
Lactation snacks

I always see beautiful pregnant mamas say, “I want to breastfeed, but I want formula on hand just in case.”

There is so much information and proof out there that having formula “just in case” sets moms up for failure. This is why I despise seeing hospitals immediately give a breastfeeding mom formula. “Well it’s just in case.”
In case of what? In case the hospital LC’s don’t feel like educating mom on what to expect during those first few days and weeks? In case society, pedis, well meaning friends and family fail mom by not offering accurate information?
In case of what exactly? Because I’m sure if you’re on this blog post you have already, or are about to go read my other blog post “My Milk Never Came In” and you will see the number of mamas who actually cannot breastfeed is incredibly low.
The Dr. Sears book I recommended above has one of my favourite quotes, and I’m going to paraphrase it, but he basically says something like, If you think you cannot breastfeed, then you’re right, you won’t be able to. Not because there’s something wrong or you literally can’t, but because you won’t do anything to fix it.
You already have in your head “I can’t do this” or “something is going to go wrong” or “well just in case.”

This is society failing you. This is your brain failing you. Stop doing that.

The numbers are there. You 9/10 will be able to breastfeed. Having formula on hand can and will set you up for failure, because people think it’s easier to reach in the cabinet and make a bottle of formula than it is to seek professional help (this logic is also wrong).

What about lactation snacks?
Get them if you want, but they won’t boost your supply. What you eat and drink isn’t going to boost your supply. Why? Because what’s in your stomach doesn’t create milk. What does? Your baby (or pump) getting milk out.

Enjoy the cookies and brownies and whatever coconut and red #40 drinks they are trying to market to you, but please know that’s not going to help your supply. In some cases, depending on the ingredients, they can actually do more harm than good and/or are contraindicated whilst breastfeeding (meaning you’re not supposed to be ingesting that whilst breastfeeding).

This also sets mom up for failure. “Oh you’re having supply issues, just eat this cookie and do nothing else! Your supply will increase 10 fold.”
If you’re not demanding milk, your breasts will stop supplying milk.

Don’t fall for the scam. If you want a cookie, just go buy the $3 cookie mix from the store and make some. Be careful not to drop crumbs on baby’s head as they nurse. 😉

What products would you add to the list??
Comment below and let me know!

-Kaylan Cordell

Certified Lactation Consultant

Please feel free to follow us on social media

Facebook Oakborn & Co. Birth and Postpartum

Instagram OakbornAndCo

Leave a Reply