Make no mistake: breastfeeding is hard, yo. Every new mama thinks it’s going to be a breeze, and for a lucky few, it is. I struggled in the beginning. I thought, “All I need are my nipples.” Right? Well, as it turned out, there were a few products that really made a difference and contributed to the success of my breastfeeding.
In fact, I was able to continue breastfeeding C for a year and a half! I am so proud of that.
So today I wanted to provide my fellow mamas with my favorite products to hack your breastfeeding game and save your boobs.
Grab your café au lait. We’re about to get sexy up in here (lol).
Best products for breastfeeding success
The following are 8 products I used and loved throughout my 18-month breastfeeding boobapallooza.
I tried a lot of different styles of nursing tops. Different cuts were good in different situations. But the kind I kept going back to was a crossed neckline. Talk about easy access!
Hack within a hack: if you don’t want to spring for tops that are specifically designed for nursing, you can turn any regular top into a nursing top by simply throwing a wide scarf over the top. Sometimes I threw a scarf on over my nursing tops for extra coverage (hello, air travel).
Just like regular bras, there are different styles of nursing bras. The two kinds that worked best for me were:
cups that folded down: great for daytime
crossed neckline: great for nighttime when you still need a bra to hold everything in—boobs and breast pads
Yep. We’re getting sexy up in here. *eyeroll*
Nipple shields saved my actual nipples. Seriously. They’re a bit of a pain because you have to wash them thoroughly after each use, but they will protect your nipples by providing a physical barrier.
I was in so much pain in the beginning, and it was still painful even with these, but much less so. I shudder to think what my nipples would have been like had I not used the silicone protection.
A word of warning: use these as seldom as you can. If you want your baby to learn how to properly latch on your actual nipple, it’s best to just breastfeed without a nipple shield.
These are really when you are in severe pain or at risk of crevices or other serious breastfeeding problems.
Even sexier stuff. Nipple cream also works by providing a barrier.
You can choose a 100% natural cream made from lanolin, which is a balm derived from sheep’s wool. There are vegan alternatives if you prefer.
Either way, your baby can still latch and feed even with this product on your nipples.
While nipple cream did the job, I didn’t really enjoy using it because just the application made my milk spill out again. TMI?
I used nipple cream sparingly as a result, and I relied more on nipple shields (see above) and nipple shells (below).
If you’ve never heard of these, you’re in for a sexy treat. They are exactly what they sound like: pads. For your boobs. Because you will leak milk, and it will leak through your clothes without the protection of breast pads.
In the beginning, I was doubling up on breast pads. I stashed them EVERYWHERE. I did not leave home without a few pairs, and they served me well for a good 4 months of breastfeeding until C decreased her feedings and the level of milk subsided somewhat.
In the beginning, I did use disposables, and I felt they held more than the washable kind, but to be kind to the planet I eventually relied only on my washable stash. At first I bought a set of 14, but I was always running out so I bought another set, bringing my total stash to 28. As a bonus, when you’re done breastfeeding you can reuse them to remove makeup!
If you are waiting for your milk to drop, or if you simply want to give your supply a boost, try fennel tea. It’s caffeine free, so you can even drink it in the evening.
I made a little ritual of it. I swear by fennel tea! The taste is actually quite nice, too. I made a habit of drinking this every evening when I noticed that my milk supply had dropped off a bit (while my supply was still enough for C, I wanted to increase my supply to pump it out and make a frozen supply, so I used fennel tea to supplement).
I also made sure to have a couple of fennel tea bags in my handbag and diaper bag. If I missed a feeding, I would try to drink an additional cup of fennel tea to boost milk production again, since breastfeeding works on supply and demand.
Bonus tip: when you are ready to stop breastfeeding, try peppermint tea (also herbal) to help stem the flow.
Probably the weirdest item on this list. I felt so stupid trying these but they provided instant relief!
They work by providing a hard plastic barrier between your nipples and your clothes. Since they stick out, there is a pocket of air around your nipples for zero friction. Super sexy stuff.
You can also use these handy breast shells to collect leaked milk. If you properly store it in a timely fashion, you can then feed the leaked milk to your baby. Absolutely genius product.
Pro tip: do not go out in public wearing these! You’ll look ridiculous.
These bad boys are yet another barrier you can apply to your nipples in between feedings for fast relief.
There are disposable ones as well as reusable ones. Disposables can get pricey, but you can get more mileage out of them by cutting them into smaller pieces.
Throw them in the fridge or freezer for a spell, stick them on, and you’re ready to roll.
Save your boobs with these breastfeeding products!
Don’t let your boobs suffer from breastfeeding! You CAN achieve breastfeeding bliss. If you’re struggling, try the products above.
For further reading, I would recommend you check out this post:
Jessica is an American expat living the dream in Normandy. She is wife to a French hubby and mama to a Franco-American daughter, born in 2018, and one whippet. Passionate about all stages of writing, this Francophile created her blog in 2020 to help others navigate motherhood with a focus on conscious parenting and bilingual parenting. Bonne lecture !
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