Melissa Portunato, IBCLC
If we’re being honest the only thing you really need to “breastfeed” is your baby and your boobs. But sometimes, things don’t go as smoothly in the early days or maybe you’ve already decided to pump for your baby exclusively – pumping is breastfeeding! With so many new devices, gadgets, and tools on the market to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide what you will really need. We break it down below into the absolute must-haves you should grab for your breastfeeding journey.
✅ Hospital strength pump
If nursing is going well, you won’t need to introduce pumping right away, 3-4 weeks is a great time. You can start with once a day in the early morning about 30 minutes after you nurse your baby. If exclusively pumping, the first 12 weeks aim for pumping every 2-3 hours, which is about 8x per day. Pumping sessions should be 15-20 minutes. No matter if you are triple feeding to increase milk supply, returning to work, or exclusively pumping quality breast stimulation with a Spectra Baby USA hospital strength pump will express milk efficiently and comfortably.
✅ Nursing / Pumping Bra
Choose a bra that is supportive and not loose or too restrictive. Measure your back size in your last trimester and go up a size. You should be easily able to unclip the strap to bring your baby to your breast. “Hands-on Pumping ” is a technique that uses breast massage to drain the breast better and stimulate healthy milk production. With a well-fitted pumping bra, you will be able to massage and compress without breaking the flange seal. Studies tell us combining hand expression and breast massage can increase milk volume by 48%. That’s a considerable amount of more liquid gold to store or give fresh to your baby!
✅ Storage Milk Bags
Milk storage bags are a super must when going back to work. You can pump directly inside the bags, transport them easily, and store them flat in your freezer to maximize space. Whether in the fridge or freezer, breast milk should be stored in clean food-grade containers such as BPA-free plastic, glass, or silicone as well as disposable milk storage bags. Spectra Baby USA’s quality high-standard milk bags won’t leak or tear like most bags on the market.
✅ Extra Accessories
Load up on accessories! Duckbills should be changed every 4-6 weeks depending on how often you will be pumping. Most insurance providers are covering the cost of replacement parts. Check our insurance look-up tool here for more info.
✅ IBCLC Support
This is the most important breastfeeding must-have! Never underestimate the importance of quality skilled lactation care. Connecting with local lactation support prenatally and after you deliver your baby is critical to your breastfeeding success. An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, IBCLC will provide evidence-based information, counseling, and support to continue to meet your breastfeeding goals. In addition, surround yourself with like-minded families that encourage breastfeeding.
🗑️ Breastfeeding Pillow
Babies nurse with their entire body, not just their head and mouth. They are looking for a place to anchor their chin and push off with their tiny feet which are called the Babinski Reflex. This newborn reflex creates brain development and assists your baby to pull themselves upwards in a crawling motion to latch to your breast completely on their own! Breastfeeding pillows are great to support your arms, legs, or back but should not be used to support your baby. They can interfere with the latch, proper positioning, and adequate milk transfer.
🗑️ Nipple Shields
Far too often, nipple shields are used to mask breastfeeding issues without getting to the root cause. Truth is, most moms do not need them at all. Nipple shields essentially create a barrier between you and your baby. They are infamous for low weight gain, clogged ducts, low milk supply, and a ton of other breastfeeding challenges. Some newer research tells us temporary use of nipple shields could possibly salvage a breastfeeding relationship if it’s combined with skilled lactation support early on. Proceed with caution and under the discretion of an IBCLC.
All major baby experts agree parents should wait to introduce a pacifier until breastfeeding has been well established. Baby should have gained back their birth weight and be gaining weight appropriately (around 3-4 weeks). Avoid supplementing with a pacifier if the baby is hungry. When using a pacifier, limiting to naptime and bedtime is best.
At Spectra Baby USA, we believe breastmilk is the perfect composition for your baby and every mother should have access to support. Connect with us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We believe in breastfeeding and we believe in YOU!
Holmes, A. V., McLeod, A. Y., & Bunik, M. (2013). ABM Clinical Protocol #5: Peripartum Breastfeeding Management for the Healthy Mother and Infant at Term, Revision 2013. Breastfeeding Medicine, 8(6), 469–473. https://doi.org/10.1089/bfm.2013.9979
Widström, A. M., Lilja, G., Aaltomaa-Michalias, P., Dahllöf, A., Lintula, M., & Nissen, E. (2010, September 14). Newborn behavior to locate the breast when skin-to-skin: a possible method for enabling early self-regulation. Acta Paediatrica, 100(1), 79–85. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01983.x
Combining hand techniques with electric pumping increases milk production in mothers of pre-term infants. J Morton, JY Hall, RJ Wong, L Thairu, WE Benitz, and WD Rhine: Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA: Journal of Perinatology (2009) 29 757-764