With my first son, I breastfed until his 2nd birthday and thoroughly enjoyed our breastfeeding journey, so hope that I have the same experience with Eli, who is due next month! While my husband so kindly pointed out that boobs are the biggest essential to breastfeed, I have put together a simple guide of breastfeeding products and accessories that make the special bonding time shared between mom and baby, just that much easier.
1. Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump
Breast pumps can seem like an expensive investment at first, and if you’re wanting to mostly breastfeed, you really won’t need anything more than a simple manual breast pump. Medela is well-known for promoting the benefits of mother’s milk and continue to develop top-quality products that help moms overcome challenges faced when breastfeeding. You may choose to pump for a variety of reasons, but I personally like that it gives my husband an opportunity to bond with our baby while I take time to shower, eat or nap.
The Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump is one of the most popular breast pumps in the world, and for good reason too. The easy-to-use breast pump is a compact and hygienic choice for occasional and discreet pumping, and is great for moms who are mostly with their babies, are travelling or have trouble breastfeeding due to inverted or flat nipples.
The Harmony is one of the few manual breast pumps that offer 2-phase expression technology which means that it is innovatively designed to copy the natural suckling of a baby.
To stimulate your let down (when your milk begins to flow) you will begin to pump with the shorter side of the pump’s handle, creating a faster sucking cycle, similar to that of a hungry baby. Once your milk begins to flow, you will switch over to the longer side of the handle which creates a slower sucking cycle, to express the majority of your milk.
2. Jeankelly Feeding Pillow
Jeankelly is a local brand, based in Cape Town, offering a beautiful selection of locally-produced leather baby bags and a variety of baby accessories. Inspired by her mom’s global company, Shoo-Shoos, Kelly launched her own company which has very quickly become the perfect place to find mamahood essentials and dream gifts for an upcoming baby shower.
The Jeankelly Feeding Pillow is the latest product to join their range, and is cleverly designed to slip over your arm. It is light, compact, easy to use and makes it simple to adjust your baby’s position, for a more comfortable feed. I noticed with other feeding pillows that I would often hunch over, resulting in tremendous lower-back pain, but found that this design allows me to sit in a more natural position providing comfort to both mom and baby. The pillow is made from 100% cotton which is great for sensitive skin and helps to absorb moisture. Best of all, you still have a hand free which means you can read, scroll through Instagram, or shop more from Jeankelly.
3. Love My Body Nursing Shirts
Another one of my local favourites is Love My Body Creations, who offers an incredible range of maternity, nursing and shapely wear. Their store stocks locally manufactured brands that are designed to encompass all aspects of your lifestyle during pregnancy, through to motherhood. Thankfully, their range aims to be size inclusive, so you can find a wide variety of options for ladies with a fuller figure, and clothes designed for expecting moms who are in search of plus size maternity wear. Stacey’s commitment to delivering exceptional service and premium quality products never goes unnoticed, and visiting her store always feels like catching up with an old friend.
Most recently, LMB launched the most beautiful range of nursing tops and PJs, which are cleverly designed to see you through your pregnancy and thereafter. The shirts have convenient and discreet layers that are great for breastfeeding, perfect for when you’re out and about or have friends visiting. As with all of their clothes, the range is made from the softest material and always seems to be cut in the most flattering way.
Being someone who usually just sleeps in a t-shirt, I love having my gorgeous pair of LMB winter PJs with a convenient feeding top, and no longer have to worry about freezing when trying to feed my newborn, during the cold of June/July. I haven’t even had my baby yet, and am getting such good use out of these comfy PJs – it is easily a must-have for all new and expecting mommies.
4. Mama Mio Boob Tube
Forget about using cabbage leaves to help ease the discomfort of engorged breasts, and opt for a much simpler solution from Mama Mio’s range – their Boob Tube cream. Mama Mio is a skincare brand that is developed to simplify your skincare woes during pregnancy – they’re the pregnancy experts and have a range of products that are safe for use throughout your pregnancy and after.
The Boob Tube cream was one of my best discoveries with my first son, as it helps to soothe aching boobs, especially during that first week after welcoming your newborn, when your milk is just coming in. The Boob Tube Cream is packed with vital Omegas (which are naturally depleted during pregnancy) to help lock in hydration, strengthen and elasticise. It also contains red cabbage extract which serves as a source of Vitamin C and E, and green cabbage extract! So, it turns out that cabbage leaves isn’t a far reach and that they are known to decrease swelling and treat engorgement. Thankfully, Mama Mio have created a much more convenient product, that doesn’t have use stuffing leafy-greens into our bras.
The result is a product that helps to soothe your growing boobs while providing hydration to accommodate the change in size, as your milk comes in. It is recommended that you apply from below your boobs and up toward your neck daily, throughout your pregnancy and for the first 6 months as a new mom.
5. Purity & Elizabeth Anne’s Nipple Cream
I have probably featured this nipple cream more times than I can count, but I think that this is the very first time that I am doing so, for its primary use – nipples. The Purity & Elizabeth Anne’s Nipple Cream has long been a favourite of mine, for soothing cracked lips, dry feet, heels and elbows, and even works well to create fresh dewy cheeks, but it is also a great and very affordable nipple balm.
The combination of key ingredients like soothing Chamomile, skin repairing Lanolin, and cocoa butter creates an exceptionally hydrating formula that helps prepare your nipples for breastfeeding, and soothes cracked and sensitive nipples, while you adjust to feeding your baby. The cream is safe for use during pregnancy, and does not need to be wiped off before breastfeeding.
6. Woolworths Nursing Bras
Nursing bras – aren’t they just SO flattering? I really struggled to find ones that I liked, but finally settled on these 2-packs available from Woolworths. Nursing bras are designed with a gentle stretch to accommodate the ever-changing size of your boobs, when nursing. These are comfortable, soft to the skin and conveniently have the tiny clasp for that ‘one-hand drop’ manoeuvre, that you will soon become pro at. I really like that these nursing bras are practical, don’t have any poking under-wires, and while mostly linen, they have added some satin and lace trimming, in just the right places, for a softer touch.
7. Chicco Natural Feeling Breast Pads
I very quickly learnt the importance of having super absorbent breast pads, after my boobs would go mental, at the most awkward of times (like while standing in a queue, and hearing a stranger’s baby cry), so have already stocked up on a few boxes of breast pads.
The Chicco Natural Feeling Breast Pads has a special antibacterial fabric to help prevent the production of bacteria inside the cup, while providing a barrier to protect your breast. The pads contain super absorbent micro-pearls which work to retain liquid and prevent any leakage, keeping your skin (and clothes) dry.
In the past, I have tried other breast pads but found that they either irritated my skin, or kept coming loose, so I really like that the Chicco Natural Feeling Breast pads have a breathable layer to prevent skin irritation, and are designed with a practical adhesive strip and convenient shape to keep the nursing pad in place.
8. The Mummary’s Berry Nutty Lactation Granola
The Mummary is a locally-owned mom business which aims to empower moms through physical, emotional and informational support. As part of my curated birthing box, I received their Berry Nutty Lactation Granola which helps to sustain the supply of breast milk.
With my first son, I found that certain foods helped to boost my milk production, so I would spend a crazy amount of time trying to perfect my own granola or cookie mix, inspired by recipes found on Pinterest. I love that The Mummary is making it easier than ever for new moms – because really, who has the time to make their own granola, anyway?
The lactation granola is free of preservatives and refined sugars, and is high in protein and fibre. It can be eaten as is, with milk, yoghurt, or can even be added to your smoothie or muffin mix. The Mummary has also extended their range to offer a gluten free range, so that all mommies can benefit from their nifty nummies for mummies.
9. Baby Sense Feeding Shawl
Baby Sense have several products to help moms during feeding times, but one of my absolute favourites, is their feeding shawl. The generously sized shawl is breathable and made from 100% cotton, to ensure a comfortable and calming environment for your baby.
The Feeding Shawl has a unique weighting feature, to help keep it on your shoulder, while you discreetly and comfortably feed your baby, with full coverage thanks to its size. Simply, place the feeding shawl over your shoulder, with the weighted tip on your back to create a private and peaceful space for your baby to feed without any distractions.