While you certainly don't need anything special to breastfeed your baby I've found some favorite items that make breastfeeding easier and more enjoyable. Some of these are favorites that I used with Dashiell and continue to use with Cedric. Others I've only found recently and wish I had known about earlier.
1 My Brest Friend. I used this pillow every single time I nursed Dashiell and still use it every time with Cedric. When I travel I love to bring the travel version. It provides back support and places the baby snuggly at the right height to comfortably nurse. I think this might be especially important for me because I have a long torso. Other pillows, like the Bobby or a bed pillow, position the baby too low and I find myself feeling uncomfortable and frustrated. Using the My Brest Friend lets me use just one hand to support the baby and I can use the other to read, look at my phone or eat a snack.
2 Camisoles or stretchy tanks. Even though I loathe to wear extra layers as the weather heats up I prefer to wear a camisole or stretchy tank under my shirt. This way, I can pull up my shirt and down the camisole to nurse, preventing exposing my midriff and invariably the elastic waist of my maternity jeans, which I am still wearing rocking.
3 Medela Symphony hospital-grade pump. I rented this pump when Dashiell was about nine months old and my supply seemed to be dipping. I found this pump to be significantly more comfortable to use and was able to pump more milk compared to my Medela Pump In Style. I decided to start off with this pump this time around in order to make sure my supply was strong for returning to work and to make pumping sessions as efficient as possible. So far I think it has been helping and I've got a healthy freezer stock of milk. My insurance does not cover breast pumps at all so we are paying $50/month for the rental.
4 Sleeping nursing bra. This is a recent purchase that I wish I had the first time I nursed. This is a very soft, comfortable bra that essentially just serves to hold breast pads so that I'm not leaking breast milk on my shirt.
5 Snacks! I remember one evening when Dashiell was young when I had finished dinner and then proceeded to eat peanut butter straight from the jar. Breastfeeding makes you so hungry! Plus it can be hard to find time to eat and so having easy-to-eat, protein-full snacks is key. We love Heart Thrive bars and I gifted Chris a big box of them for Christmas and I knew he wanted to share with me. Our favorite are the chocolate chip Heart Thrive bars and the Chocolate-Orange Suncakes.
6 Bravado nursing bra. I got by with cheap nursing bras from Target during the 15 months that I nursed Dashiell. As soon as I put on this bra I cursed myself for doing so. So much more supportive and attractive. I only have one but should probably buy another. I think nursing bras are an item where it's OK to spend more money to make sure you are comfortable, especially if you are large-chested. I also have this nursing tank and it actually is as supportive as a bra, unlike most other shelf-bra camisoles I've tried.
7 Comfortable chair + ottoman. A lactation consultant visited us when Dashiell was just a few days old. She was helping me to find a good position to nurse and pushed an ottoman under my feet and said, "Lean back, relax." Putting my feet up instantly puts me at east and makes nursing more comfortable. My favorite place to nurse in our home is in the red armchair that sits in the corner of our bedroom. I bought the chair and ottoman at a garage sale in Connecticut during graduate school for $25!
8 Kindle + iPhone. If Cedric is happily nursing then I have a free hand to hold my Kindle or iPhone. Being able to nurse while also reading a book, listening to a podcast or shamelessly indulging in social media is relaxing and a current favorite past-time.
9 Camelbak water bottle. Between living in an arid climate and breastfeeding I need to be constantly drinking water. This water bottle is always within reach. Added bonus of being spill-proof since Dashiell is sure to make a grab for it a few times a day.
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I'd love to know if you have any favorites to add to this list that I should check out!