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Breastfeeding

Nursing Bras & Gear 

Having good gear makes breastfeeding easier, more convenient, and more fun.

Here are my top recommendations. 

Early Days/Sleep Nursing Bras

In the early weeks, you will need soft, stretchy nursing bras to wear all day and all night. Later, once your supply stabilizes and you can move on to more supportive, “real” bras, you will use these as sleep bras – necessary because you will probably want to wear pads 24/7, including at night, to catch leaks. Note: You wear the pads over your Silverettes. (See below for more info on those.)

So, buy your sleep bras in advance and have them ready to go before baby comes. The sizing is pretty straightforward, just know you may go up a cup or two when your milk comes in, and plan accordingly.

Cake Lingerie Maternity Nursing Luxury Seamless Cotton Candy Bra

$53+

High tech, super soft fabric, with enough give to be somewhat supportive, and high quality clips that you can even undo one-handed. It also comes in many cute colors that look cute under a tank top -- I got the aqua. 

 

The downside: the sizing isn’t ideal for someone with a small band/large cup. I actually had to get a Large to accommodate the cup, and then alter the band myself to make it smaller around the rib cage. I did suggest to the company that they offer a size option for moms like me. But will they listen?

Bravado! Designs Women's Original Nursing Bra

$35

This baby is a workhorse. It’s made of a breathable, soft cotton blend, has sturdy construction and clips, and is perfect for sleep. It is less supportive than the Cake one.

Best of all, Bravado makes a version of this bra for small band/large cup moms. That version is below.

Bravado! Designs Women's Original Nursing Bra Plus

$35

As noted above, this is the Bravado! Original Nursing Bra, but designed for women with small band/large cup sizes. I have it in Butterscotch and White, and wore one every night to sleep in the first year. (It now comes in leopard -- meow!)

Seraphine Seamless Bamboo Maternity & Nursing Nightie

$59

This super-soft nightgown has been my go-to every night of my pregnancy. There is a very light shelf bra with nursing clip straps built in -- so I'm counting on this being a postpartum staple! I got a Medium (my pre-preg top size) and it easily covers my chest, and comfortably comes to about the knees and stays there, no matter how much I toss and turn in these sleepless nights. I got both the black and gray, and they are holding up beautifully to many washes. The bamboo fabric is also breathable and anti-microbial. And finally, it looks really cute! I'm obsessed!

Daytime Bras

If you're like me, by about 8-9 weeks, your size will have settled enough that you can move on to more supportive daytime bras. (I went and saw a magical woman who does nursing bra fittings out of her house -- the Bra Fairy -- whose info I hope to share here soon.) Below are my favorites.

Cake Lingerie Sorbet Nursing Bra

$34.99+

This bra doesn't have an underwire, but it's still very supportive and comfortable. It was the first "real" bra I got (I was wary of underwire at first) and I loved it! Pretty colors, too.

Cake Lingerie Croissant Nursing Bra

$44+

This bra is super soft and supportive, with molded cups that help create a smooth look under clothing, and flexible wires that don't dig in. I got it in the Raisin, which is really pretty. The only downside: it, er, squeaks a little bit? Totally worth it though.

Breastfeeding Gear

Nursing Bracelet

$20

When you're nursing and sleep deprived, it's easy to forget which side you last nursed on. To avoid this, I treated myself to a cute nursing bracelet! There are some bracelets out there just for this purpose, but I decided to go with something cuter. I used a Stella & Dot bangle last baby, but this time I got myself a lovely, hand-beaded Sashka Co. bracelet. Easy to remove when switching sides, durable (I think -- we will see!), smooth edged so it won't scratch baby. There are tons of colors. Also, this company provides fair trade jobs to women in Nepal.

How to use it? After you nurse, put the bracelet on that side. Next time, just remember bracelet means you nursed that side last time. 

Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads

$15

In the early weeks, you’ll constantly be going through these, so keep a stack handy at all times. You want to change them as soon as you notice they feel wet. Thicker pads like these are also essential with Silverettes (see below). (Note: These are very similar to the ones I used, which are no longer available.)

Silverettes

$59.90

Silverettes are silver nipple covers that protect & heal nipples in early nursing, reduce pain & inflammation, and prevent infection, all through the natural properties of silver. They are a total game changer, and I am not exaggerating when I say they are the reason I was able to successfully breastfeed my second baby, after experiencing wounded nipples, open sores, bleeding, redness, and overall pain & suffering in the first few weeks of nursing. (Nothing was "wrong" -- learning how to nurse was just a painful process for us! It was the same with my first baby, but without Silverettes, I had to quit!)

 

If you want to nurse without pain, or are struggling with any of the litany of evils above, order Silverettes (or put them at the top of your baby registry) and wear them from Day 1. Don’t wait until you have Freddy Krueger nipples like I did. 

I recommend these so often, they gave me a coupon code: Use code PS5 for $5 off on silveretteusa.com

Milkies Milk Saver

$29.95

In the early weeks, you will notice that your non-nursing side leaks — sometimes a ton. What a waste, right? Not if you have a Milkies Milk Saver! A friend gave me this as a gift (Thanks, Bre!) and it was brilliant — especially for me, as I tended towards an oversupply. I always had it and a screw top bottle in arm’s reach, and each day I was able to collect several ounces of liquid gold to store. Without a pump in sight, I was able to make a sizeable freezer stash from drippings! Pretty awesome.

Pumpease Hands-Free Pumping Bra

$40

When I pumped for 9 months with my first, this pumping bra was a lifesaver -- I could read, surf the internet, answer emails, etc. while pumping! It has soft, stretchy bathing suit type fabric, isn't overly constricting, and goes on like a tube top with hook eye closures in front, which makes it easy to take on and off. It travels well -- just roll it up and go. Washes well, too. I loved the cheerful Cherry print.

Dimmable Touchsensor Bedside Lamp

$26.99

When you nurse your baby at night in the early days, you will probably want some light to see what you're doing. However, it's very important to keep the room as dark as possible so baby gets back to sleep quickly, and you avoid the dreaded day/night confusion.

 

A dimmable, touch-operated bedside lamp is perfect for this. With a quick touch, you can turn on a super soft light to nurse by. I had a fabulous Autotec one with an autofade option, which slowly dimmed it to off in a 15 minute time period. Sadly, I can't find it online anywhere. But this one may be the next best thing. (Note: I haven't had the chance to personally use this, but based on the positive reviews I would give it a shot!)

Update: Casper (the mattress company) has just made a pricier, smart-phone enabled alternative called the Glow lamp. It looks like it will be great for middle of the night nursing. (It is even portable!) Mine just arrived, and I will be reviewing it here!

Medela Pump and Save Breast Milk Bags

$14 for 50

These are my go-to breast milk freezer bags, after trying a few different brands.They’ve never let me down, even when I had hundreds of ounces (900+ to be exact) 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 will literally cry over.

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