**Giveaway is now closed. Thanks for all the interest. I used random.org and have contacted the winner - Nichole Alvarado.**
I've seen a few posts like this recently that have inspired me to write my own breastfeeding essentials list. I'm a huge proponent of breastfeeding, but I won't get into all of the benefits right now. Some of my favorites though are 1) that breastfeeding helps protect both mother and baby from certain types of cancer and 2) the unique properties of breastmilk, including that it produces antibodies specific to illnesses your baby picks up. There are so many more great reasons to breastfeed- the money saved by not purchasing formula is enough to buy yourself a new appliance every six months. Even if you can't convince your hubby to buy you a new dishwasher, go ahead and pamper yourself with some of these breastfeeding items. In no particular order, here is my list of nursing necessities...
1) Books - I enjoyed reading a book during those many late night nursing sessions when no one else was awake but me and the baby. Some of my favorites are- Let The Baby Drive (wonderful book written by a mom learning to trust her baby and relax as a parent), The Breastfeeding Cafe (collection of short stories of mothers who were determined to breastfeed and succeeded - very inspiring) and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (great go-to book with information in an easy to read format).
2) Websites - If I wasn't reading a book, I was browsing the internet one-handed while nursing my little one. Kellymom.com is a great website full of breastfeeding information in a easy to use format. La Leche League also has a website where you can find breastfeeding help or information on where your local group meets. Here are some video clips of babies latching on which are extremely helpful to see.
3) Support - I first attended my local La Leche League group when Lucy was 3 months old, and I've been going ever since. I found a wealth of support and knowledge here that has been invaluable to me. I love that I can bring my children with me to meetings and some of the moms from La Leche League have become my best friends! I only wish I'd started attending meetings while pregnant. LLL leaders are available by phone or email to answer any breastfeeding questions you have. Don't hesitate to give them a call, they are volunteers who enjoy helping moms and have gone through an extensive training process with LLL. Find your local group here.
4) Pain Relief - If you experience discomfort in the beginning, see a lactation consultant or call your LLL leader. A few things that can help are: using lanolin or coconut oil to moisturize your sore nipples; if you are really sore you can use Second Skin Moist Burn Pads, they are similar to the Soothies gel pads made for breastfeeding, but I find that the burn pads work better. Hopefully you won't need to use these, and like I said, if you're sore, contact a LLL leader right away, its often something that can easily be fixed by adjusting the baby's latch just a bit.
5) Nursing Station - Make a nursing station next to your favorite nursing chair. Include things like a water bottle, granola bars or other handy snacks for mom, the telephone, books to read, toys for older kids to play with, diapers and wipes, ... everything that you can think of so that once you are settled you have what you need. You don't have to nurse in a chair all the time either - put a toddler bed rail on the side of your bed so that you can bring baby to bed with you and nurse laying down. You'll feel much more rested if you aren't getting up all night long and baby is close to you free to nurse when he needs to.
6) Pump and Bottles - With my first daughter I had an Avent hand pump and a few bottles, which I've since found out contain Bisphenol-A. I only used it a handful of times and my second daughter I don't think ever had a bottle. I prefer to keep my babies with me all the time so I don't need to pump often, but I like having one available. Medela and Lansinoh both make pumps and bottles that are BPA free and made of polypropylene. Avent makes a BPA free bottle now, but I'm not sure what type of plastic it is and whether or not the pump still contains BPA. Medela clearly says that their products are BPA free and has a press release right on their home page about the issue. Their Harmony manual breast pump looks like a good choice.
7) Nursing Bra - My nursing bras came from Target. I had a hard time finding nursing bras without underwire in them. Underwire can actually cause plugged ducts by rubbing and putting pressure on the breast and is not recommended. Try on several different nursing bras and find a good fit and then buy several.
8) Breast Pads - I used disposable nursing pads in the beginning because reusable pads just wouldn't hold up to all my leaking. After the leaking slowed down, I LOVE Lana wool nursing pads. They sound scratchy, but they are really sooo much softer than the paper disposables. I still wear these every day.
9) Nursing Clothes - My main nursing wardrobe consists of nursing tank top/ bras that I wear under all my shirts. This works well in the winter to wear the tank with a light long sleeve shirt over top of it. In the summer the two layers can get a bit hot. I've tried nursing shirts from Expressiva with some success, but they still have the two layers in them and I can't seem to get the right fit with their clothes. I've recently tried Boob Nursing Wear and am impressed! The opening is unique and doesn't require the shirt to have a heavy layer underneath. I'll be posting a review of their nursing line in a few days here.
10) Nursing Necklace - Every nursing mom should have one of these! At a certain age, nursing babies can get very distractible and refuse to stay on the breast, or pinch and scratch mom while nursing. A nursing necklace is a colorful safe necklace that baby can play with while nursing to keep him interested and happily nursing. Lucy and Julia both had their own Simply Snazzy necklace that is a cherished keepsake. I also have several nursing necklaces in various colors so that I can slip one on to match whatever I'm wearing.
Mommy Necklaces are actually made by a friend of mine and she has offered one as a giveaway to a reader of my blog. I have Meadow in Dangling Donut style to give to one lucky reader! Mommy Necklaces are tested for lead and phthalates as required by CPSIA and are extremely well constructed and safe. They have a special break away clasp that will pop apart if your baby pulls too hard on the necklace. Check out the safety information here. Mommy Necklaces are gorgeous and you will want one in every color. Raelynn is a stay at home mom and breastfed both of her children. She enjoys helping mothers succeed at breastfeeding through using nursing necklaces.
If you'd like to win the Meadow nursing necklace, leave a comment on this post. You MUST include your email address in the comment or have it available on your blogger profile for me to be able to contact you. For an additional entry, subscribe to my blog in whichever way you choose and let me know that you do so in a separate comment. I'll leave this open for two weeks and choose a winner on June 14th. Thanks for stopping by!