Now the fun part — let’s go shopping!
Gear, people. You gotta have the gear. Having good gear makes breastfeeding easier, more convenient, and more fun. Here are my top recommendations.
1. Silverettes. I could (and have) gone on and on about these. Long story short, they protected and healed my nipples more than anything I’ve ever tried when, with both babies, I experienced the following, not necessarily in this order, and in various combinations: sore nipples; sores on nipples (not to be confused with sore nipples); bleeding; pieces of nipple torn off, with wounds in various states of healing; scabs that were torn off repeatedly with each nursing session, causing babies to spit up my blood; and with my first, because I had nothing to prevent infection from setting in to this gory crime scene, thrush, followed by mastitis. (With my second, I felt like I was teetering on the edge of the thrush – mastitis path when Silverettes swooped in and saved me.)
What a riot.
So please. Order Silverettes (or put them at the top of your baby registry, if you have one) and wear them from Day 1. Don’t wait until you have Freddy Krueger nipples. Yes, they are pricy, but they last forever and once you have nipple pain/wounds, you will be willing to pay any amount to make it stop, trust me. And personally, I spent more on all the combined creams and lotions I tried before, and they didn’t even work. You can use my coupon code, PS5, for $5 off on silveretteusa.com. Also available on Amazon. No creams should be used with them, so you’ll save money there.
5. Bun Maternity Nursing Tops. I have tried a million and one nursing tops, and without fail, they all looked terrible on me. Too many layers and too much fabric, horribly unflattering and made me look like I was still pregnant, didn’t fit my enormous nursing rack (come on, people, I can’t be the only mom out there whose mammaries become more gigantic when nursing?), and there were a few I just couldn’t figure out. Like, I’d end up lost with my head trying to go through the arm hole, my arm trying to squeeze through the nipple hole, etc., muttering, “How does this thing go?!”
After lots of trial, too much error, and weeks of wondering if I would ever find a top that would fit me while nursing, I found the perfect thing:
This baby is a game changer. It enables the holy grail of being able to nurse a baby and yet still maintain a feeling of privacy and modesty, without a cover. The ingenious design allows you to simply unsnap and fold down the side you need. Underneath is a second layer of (thin, breathable) fabric, so only the smallest amount of nipple is exposed — quickly hidden from view by your baby’s head. It beats pulling your giant boob out from the neck of your baggy tank top in public, hands down. I am asked about this ingenious top almost every time I nurse in public.
This is literally the only shirt I wear anymore. In summer, as is. In fall and winter, with a sweater or cardigan on top, and maybe a scarf. They are good quality, even after lots of washing/drying, and made in the USA, which I love. I have it in blue, black, purple, coral, and turquoise. The Medium fits perfectly.
Bun also make this great tee:
You just pull up the first layer and pull down the second to nurse. The fabric is almost sheer, very thin, and a little drapy (perfect for skimming over the mushy postpartum tummy). I have it in gray and coral, and I feel great in it. Here’s a pic:
(The jeans are Not Your Daughter’s Jeans Clarissa Ankle Jean, Petite, in Burbank. I mention this because since I got them, a few people have asked! They suck everything in, yet are soft and comfy — a perfect combination.)
Bun also has a new style of tee that is more fitted and has a deeper V neck line, and a cute poncho. The people at Bun are super nice, and sent me one of each to try. I will post pics here on the blog soon — stay tuned.
They also gave me a coupon code to share: BUNLOVE takes 25% off orders over $50. Tell them Shepardia sent you!
6. A comfy, thin robe and PJ/yoga pants. That was my uniform in the early weeks of nurse, nurse, nurse. You’re postpartum, you’re catching sleep whenever you can (people pooh pooh the “sleep when the baby sleeps” advice, but I actually think it’s quite good), you’ve got a baby on you almost all the time, and you need to be comfy. Do yourself a favor and have a couple of nice, cute pajamas, sweats, super soft leggings, or yoga pants ready. I got a fabulous pair of pink leopard print, micro fleece pajama pants at Costco, and lived in them, along with my favorite super soft, decade-old Stanford shorts and yoga pants.
I also really liked having a short, thin robe to wear, so I could be topless (in just a soft nursing bra) but still be able to cover myself if I had to answer the door or run out to the mailbox. It was also perfect to wear at the hospital for my first baby’s birth in lieu of a hospital gown. The one I have is by a now defunct company called Nap — I got it at Fred Segal in LA over a decade ago. But something like these would work:
I still wear my robe almost every night as a PJ with my nursing sleep bra. Come to think of it, I could really use a second one . . .
7. My go-to breast milk freezer bags are these ones by Medela. They’ve never let me down, even when I had hundreds of ounces to freeze with my first. (And the easy connect adapter really does work.) Expensive, but totally worth it, because this is some spilled milk that you really *will* cry over.
8. And finally, the Babytec Autofade Bedside Lamp. This magical, ingenious lamp helps prevent the dreaded day/night confusion, while allowing enough light to get your latch right & get yourself situated in the middle of the night. Get them while they last — they run out of supplies quickly and often!
What did I not include in this list of gear?
Nipple Cream. Don’t need with Silverettes.
Breastfeeding Pillows. I tried a couple, and the “Breast Friend,” too, but they felt awkward to me, especially with my huge rack fighting them for real estate. In the end, adopting a laid-back position with the baby lying tummy-down on top of me, my hand supporting his head and a pillow wedged under my elbow — and side lying at night — was what worked best for me. And we still nurse like that almost all the time, ten months later.
Nursing Covers. I personally don’t care for them. A couple of times, at the pool, when I pulled my giant boob out of my low cut bathing suit to nurse, I used an Aden & Anais muslin blanket (they rock) to drape over the top half of my giant boob, just because I felt weird sitting there with my massive white boob, the size of my (huge) head, reflecting the sun like a second moon.
Reader, if you have a cover you like, please suggest it in the comments!
So, that concludes Shepardia’s Breastfeeding Basics. I hope they helped someone out there who, like me, was up at 3 AM desperately Googling things like, “bleeding scab nipple baby sucks off,” topless not by choice, and a leaky mess.
You’re not alone, mama! We are all in this together. Let’s milk it for all it’s worth!
Please note, some of the links above are Amazon Affiliate links. This means Amazon gives me a small credit if you click through & purchase. (I may even become a dozenaire!) Thank you.