“Fourth Trimester” Nursing Essentials
If a new baby is headed your way for the first or tenth time, it’s time to get together all the essentials you’ll need for those early breastfeeding days.
I noticed that for myself, I felt most prepared for my baby mentally when I was PHYSICALLY ready – once the car seat was installed, the nursery was decorated and stocked, and once my bags were packed. Breastfeeding essentials are a big chunk of this preparation pie.
Let’s talk about all the nursing-related things you’ll want and need in your “fourth trimester”, shall we?
Here’s a list of 11 essentials, but keep reading for a breakdown of each item plus some links and recommendations.
1- nursing bras
2- nursing tanks
3- bra pads
4- breastmilk saver
5- nursing packs
6- nursing pillow
7- nursing app
8- nipple butter
9- something to watch or read
10- snack and water stash
11- breast pump
This is first because in my opinion, it’s probably the most important. If you aren’t familiar at all with how these work, basically the cup of the bra is attached by a clip so it can be partially detached during nursing sessions. For the beginning stage of breastfeeding, a bra like this one tends to work the best since breast size can be so variable. Trust me, you’ll be living in your nursing bras, so you’ll want to make sure you choose one that’s comfortable and fits well.
Very simply, it’s just a tank top with an integrated bra that unclips at the straps. Sleeping in tanks is recommended over bras since they are less constricting and therefore decrease the likelihood of clogged ducts, mastitis, etc. This one has great reviews.
You’ll probably be shocked at the amount of milk leaked during the night and throughout the day when your baby isn’t nursing. And then when they are nursing, the opposite breast will usually leak as well until everything gets more regulated. (I promise, everything WILL get more regulated!) Breast pads come in a disposable form, or washable cloths. In the beginning and for longer periods of time, like overnight, disposables will absorb more than the washable kind.
This genius little tool takes the premise of a breast pad and couples it with the ability to collect all that precious breastmilk that otherwise you would be discarding by wearing a disposable or washable pad. It can hold about 2 oz of milk!
NURSING BREAST PACKS
These gel-free breast packs can be used warm for let-down and preventing clogged ducts, or cold for engorgement relief. Definitely a must have for the first month or so.
Getting the best positioning for feeds can be really tricky. You want the baby to be comfortable and YOU want to be comfortable. There are a variety of nursing pillows on the market, so it’s best to try a few out and decide which one is the best fit. Some are C-shaped, some are L- or V-shaped, many are firm and others are really cushy. One important tip is to make sure the pillow is thick enough that you aren’t hunching your back while nursing. As much time as you’ll spend breastfeeding, proper posture is a must. If you do find that your pillow isn’t as high as you need, you can place a regular pillow on your lap first and then the nursing pillow on top for extra height.
Like I mentioned already, you will be spending a crazy amount of time nursing during your fourth trimester, while you establish breastfeeding. Keeping track of how long, when the session started, and which side you nursed on last is honestly too much to ask of your postpartum brain! A new baby/breastfeeding app will help you track everything about your nursing sessions. So incredibly helpful!
For moisturizing sore and dry nipples, you need this stuff! Trust.
SOMETHING TO WATCH OR READ
During all the time spent sitting while nursing, I know what you’ll be tempted to do: scroll, scroll, scroll on your phone. And certainly, you can do that. But this is also a great opportunity to work your way through a new book or tv series! Each time you nurse you can pick up where you left off before. Bonus: an intriguing new show might help you stay awake during those middle of the night feeds! If you choose to read, you’ll probably want some type of e-reader or an iPad just for ease of use and convenience since you won’t have both hands readily available.
SNACK AND WATER STASH
This one’s self-explanatory. You will be hungry and thirsty constantly so invest in the good snacks and the biggest water bottle you can find. Welcome to postpartum. 🙂
A breast pump really is an essential, even early on. If your milk is late coming in, pumping can help stimulate your production. Plus, many moms like to start a pumping regimen early on when there is often an “oversupply” of milk to begin building a stockpile of breastmilk. Wyatt’s Pharmacy can help you obtain your breast pump through insurance. Just fill out this online form!
These eleven must-have’s are specifically for the very beginning stages of nursing when you are mostly at home. If you’ll be out and about fairly often, another good thing to have on hand is a nursing cover. I have loved Milk Snob brand, but there are all kinds of brands and styles out there! Find one that makes you feel comfortable.
We hope this list helps you get yourself all set up for a successful breastfeeding journey. It might seem like a lot of work up front, but it will ease your postpartum days so much if you have everything ready before your baby arrives. We are cheering you on, mama!
Please feel free to leave any additional tips or advice for the “fourth trimester” below!