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My Breastfeeding Essentials with Baby #2

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Before I had my first son, I planned to breastfeed, but I wasn’t sure for how long. I REALLY struggled at the beginning for various reasons and every few months, new challenges would pop up (typically when his sleep schedule changed), but I’m so glad I stuck with it.

I exclusively breastfed and/or pumped until he was 14 months old, and then I introduced a non-dairy milk option, but he still breastfed 2-3 times a day even at 19 months. I ended up breastfeeding for almost exactly two years – I didn’t wean; he just woke up one day and wouldn’t nurse and that was that.

Now I’m breastfeeding Charles, my second, and I’m relearning everything again. Similarly to when I had Thomas, breastfeeding hasn’t been without its challenges, but I have great support this time which has made all the difference.

Since I’m breastfeeding what feels like all the time these days, I thought I’d round-up and share all of my favorite nursing essentials in case it’s helpful for you! I also shared the rest of my postpartum essentials in this blog post.

My Breastfeeding Essentials

If breastfeeding is a good option for you, it has lots of benefits for you and your baby. It obviously provides excellent nutrition for your baby, but there are lots of other things it may help with:

  • Decreases your baby’s risk of allergies and lactose intolerance
  • Increases resistance to infections
  • Decreases the mother’s risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size

But, it can be SO SO challenging and stressful at times. Trust me, I know. Add the stress on top of challenging postpartum hormones, and it can feel overwhelming. (This post has my postpartum essentials.)

So today, I’m sharing the items that make breastfeeding more comfortable for me, in hopes that they can make it easy and enjoyable for you too.

1. Comfortable glider that reclines

I was so surprised by how much seating mattered to me as I was breastfeeding. The first glider we bought with our first son was the basic Pottery Barn Glider. However, we learned that a recliner option would have been better, so we bought the reclining glider option for our place in Boone. While the recliner was great, I’m so short that it was very hard for me to close the leg rest.

So, for the new baby, we bought a glider with a power recliner and I absolutely LOVE it. (You can see it in our nursery here.) I didn’t realize that it has a plug for my phone too, which is nice since I spend so much time in it.

2. Nursing Pillow

I love the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow best. I orginally packed a soft and pretty breastfeeding pillow in my hospital bag when I went to have Thomas and it was TERRIBLE. I had SO many issues breastfeeding in the hospital, for a few reasons, but once I got home and used the Brest Friend pillow, things improved dramatically. The first one I used was soft and cozy, but did NOT help with positioning, so I HIGHLY recommend My Brest Friend Pillow. I upgraded to one with super cozy fabric which has been my preference with Charles.

I ended up buying three eventually – one for upstairs, one for downstairs and one to keep in my car.

3. Pump

With my first baby, I used the Spectra S2 Plus Hospital Strength Double Electric Breast Pump with a cord, but I wish I had the battery powered Spectra so I didn’t have to sit near an outlet each time. So, this time around, I got the battery powered Spectra (through my insurance!) and it has been a complete game-changer. I can also tell this one is stronger than the other, which may be because I used the corded one for two full years. Either way, get the battery powdered Spectra and thank me later.

Whichever pump you get, take it with you to deliver your baby since the hospital’s lactation consultant can help you use it. Some babies have a hard time latching (mine did) so it was nice to be able to pump at the hospital with the same pump I’d be using at home.

You may also want to get a hand pump. This is a great option to start the flow if your baby is fussy and impatient. It’s also very handy if you’re on the go.

4. Elvie Catcher Cups

Haakas are so hard to get on when nursing and baby often kicks off. Plus they can mess with supply and fullness when baby is ready to nurse. Elvie Cups catch what you’re leaking without pulling – like a breastfeeding pad – but then you can actually use the milk. I just stick in my bra!

5. Kids Snack Tray to Hold Pump Bottles

This is a little hack I learned this go round!

6. Pumping Bra

I didn’t know that pumping bras were a thing until I was about 3 months postpartum and my doula suggested one. Unlike nursing bras which make it easy to access to breastfeed, pumping bras help make pumping more comfortable.

I used this pumping bra from Amazon and it was great so I didn’t have to hold the flanges in place. I was still hands on while pumping to maximize output, but the pumping bra definitely helped. It’s not cute but it did the job. But it was annoying to take on and off since it’s not the type of bra I’d want to wear all day.

However, with Charles, I got this cuter Kindred Bravely pumping bra from my Amazon registry and it’s the BEST. It’s super soft and comfortable. You can easily sleep in it if you want and it comes in two sizes so it’s perfect for so many new moms. I shared the rest of my favorite nursing bras in this blog post.

7. Nipple Shields

I used the Lanisoh nipple shields every time I breastfed Thomas for the first few months, but Charles does not use them.

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These can help if you have inverted nipples or latch problems that cause pain or bleeding. I wouldn’t plan to use these (because honestly they’re annoying) but it’s worth having a pack on hand in case you need them to troubleshoot challenges. I’d talk with a lactation consultant before you start using them, but know that they exist!

8. Water bottle with Straw

You will be VERY thirsty if you’re on a breastfeeding journey. Keep a water bottle filled at all times and sip throughout the day. I like this Simple Modern water bottle since it’s slim and lightweight. But I also really like the Owala since it has a straw-less option too (and I couldn’t use a straw for a while after my C-section).

You will likely want to supplement with electrolytes if you’re pumping and/or breastfeeding. I discovered LMNT electrolytes when my first son was 6 months old and it helped my thirst so much. I’m obsessed with them now. I also really like coconut water these days.

9. Earth Mama Nipple Butter

I love this Earth Mama Nipple Butter. Just trust me and order it.

10. Lactation Supplements

The best thing you can do for your supply is to remove milk more often through nursing or pumping. However, some supplements can help support your supply. I’ve been using the Legendairy Lactivist Organic Sunflower Lecithin to help with supply this time.

I also used these last time and will likely use them again at some point:


I love Lexi’s lactation cookies, That’s It bars, RX bars, Go Macro bars, Lactation Cookie Bites, prunes, and oranges.

12. Pull down night down + button front PJs

You’re going to want pajamas that make nursing super early. My favorites right now are the Pima Ruffle Nightgown from LAKE and this pair of button front PJs from Joy Street.

13. Button-Down Tops

I love button downs even without considering nursing, but they do make nursing significantly easier when you want to look nice. This button down cardigan is from Amazon and looks much more expensive than it is. The fit is TTS but relaxed, which is a great option in terms of comfort. I also love that it’s striped which will distract from any milk stains. I also have a ton of nursing-friendly tops linked on LTK since everything I wear these days is nursing-friendly.

14. Nursing Friendly Dresses

Great for when I want to look nicer but need easy access. I shared all of my current favorite nursing-friendly dresses in this blog post.

15. Lactation Support from an IBCLC

Last but CERTAINLY not least: work with an IBCLC. One of the best things I did throughout my breastfeeding journey was establish a good relationship with two lactation consultants. Ideally, try to find International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® since they have more extensive training.

I worked with one local IBCLC and another one virtually (Katie Pipinich) and they both had slightly different approaches which was helpful. Breastfeeding, like motherhood, is so wonderful but also so challenging at times. Having someone to support you who is appropriately trained to make recommendations can make all the difference.

If you have questions or need recommendations to troubleshoot, please leave a comment. I’ve dealt with lots of challenges along the way (clogged ducts, oversupply, undersupply, latch issues, timing challenges around running, sickness, you name it). I’m NOT an IBCLC but I’m happy to share my personal experience if it’s helpful!

If you breastfed your babies, what essentials would you recommend to a new mom?

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    One response to “My Breastfeeding Essentials with Baby #2”

    1. Pumpstrap was a game changer for me, I had to EP for 4mos then I chose to wean (which I’m so glad – wish I had done it earlier and had spent more actual time with my baby in my arms instead of w a machine on my chest. I will not be EP ever again- only nursing with pumping for stash or away from baby + bottle feeding w formula from birth as well).

      You don’t need a bra to use it, and the neoprene helps compress your breasts to improve output and it’s hands free. 2 sizes too! Just have to be careful the Velcro doesn’t grab your clothing because it will snag.

      The pumpables genie advanced is a phenomenal hands free pump that gets similar output to a spectra bc it’s a corded motor. It also has a programmable button, just record your settings then push the play button and have hands free for anything else (uses flanges liquid kits are comfy and max output too), it clips on a waistband. It can be hacked with in bra cups but those really stink for output.

      I actually don’t feel nursing is sustainable to do exclusively for most women unless they cosleep (not very safe) or can function + not become mentally unwell on very little sleep already.

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