I was lucky enough to breastfeed Cullen for fourteen wonderful months (and two weeks!), and we finished up that journey together earlier this month. Since then I’ve been thinking about and reflecting on that experience quite a bit. I’ve adjusted to our new normal – cuddling and reading books at night, instead of nursing. But I will admit, I still miss it from time to time.
So many baby items are useful for very narrow windows of time – the jumperoo, the swaddles, that stupid squeaky giraffe. But many of the things I bought for breastfeeding, I ended up using all the way into our last month of nursing. Of course some things, like nipple cream and breast pads, I happily quit many moons ago.
But here are 8 things that I was able to use from our first feeding, until our last!
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A breastfeeding pillow 1 of 8I personally love my Boppy, although I know a lot of other moms swear by My Breast Friend. I read a lot of posts about how this is only useful for the first few months, and that once the baby is bigger the pillow gets tossed in the closet. But I used ours from my very first feeding, to my very last. I took it with me on every trip, and used it on airplanes all over the country. Even now that we're done breastfeeding, I still pull it out sometimes to give Cullen a squishy seat while we cuddle and read books.
Organic Boppy pillow on Amazon for $22.
A breast pump 2 of 8This is one of those things that will serve different purposes as nursing continues and changes. At the beginning, I used it to get some extra milk and build a freezer stash. In the middle, I'd use it here and there to make bottles if I knew I'd be out for the evening. Toward the end, I used to to relieve pressure during mastitis and weaning. But I can't say I was sad to pack this one up once we were done!
Medela Freestyle pump on Amazon for $289.
A breastfeeding book 3 of 8I bought this while I was pregnant, on recommendation from my midwives. In the early days when I would sit and nurse for 45 minutes at a time, I'd flip through and read about different nursing positions and look at diagrams of a correct latch. As things progressed, I'd read about problems like clogged ducts or mastitis. And I pulled it back out when Cullen was a year old, to learn about weaning. It has been a valuable resource!
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding book on Amazon for $13.
Breastfeeding support groups and websites 4 of 8While breastfeeding support is generally geared toward new moms getting the hang of nursing, it is definitely not limited to new, or even first-time moms. I highly recommend talking to a lactation consultant from the get to, but it's also good to keep that number handy as the months go on. I called our local breastfeeding support nurses several times when I hit bumps in the road, and they were always a huge help. I also read through many breastfeeding support websites to learn about how nursing changes as babies grow!
Visit La Leche Leage to find support!
A glider 5 of 8Ohhh the glider. My sweet, sweet glider. Everyone told me you were ugly and unnecessary, but you and I knew we were right for each other. I can't even begin to imagine how many hours I've logged in this chair. I sat in it as soon as we got home from the hospital, and I read a book to Cullen in it ten minutes ago as we got ready for nap time. It might not be our prettiest piece of furniture, but it's one of our best investments.
Dutalier Glider & Ottoman on Amazon for $610.
Mother’s Milk tea 6 of 8Some moms struggle with oversupply, and if that's the case, then this is not for you. But at the beginning, most moms are just doing their best to establish and maintain a decent supply, and this tea is a great way to get a boost. As babies grow and nursing needs change, I relied on this tea quite a bit to help keep up with my dwindling supply. Bonus - it's pretty tasty!
Mother's Milk Tea on Amazon for $4.
A nursing phone app 7 of 8When Cullen was a newborn, I never left the room without my cellphone glued to my hand. This isn't because I was obsessively checking my email (more like ignoring it), but rather that I was obsessively tracking all his feedings. I didn't track diapers for very long, but I tracked his feedings for 3-4 months. I can't quite remember when I stopped, but I know we were in a pretty well established routine at that point. Even though I haven't tracked a feeding in a loooong time, I actually still use this app (I use the Baby ESP app, although there are many others.) There is a feature where you can track growth, and at every doctor's appointment or weigh in, I add the current measurements and watch the growth curve change. I love having a record of all his growth at the tip of my fingers!
Find the Baby ESP app here for $4.99.
Nursing bras and tanks 8 of 8One of the things no one told me when I was pregnant was that I wouldn't be wearing normal bras again for over a year. For fourteen months, I rarely say any underwire, or anything even remotely flattering. Nope, it was all stretchy fabrics, removable flaps, and scoop neck shirts. My boobs were saggy, but I was very comfortable. There are some great nursing bras and tanks on the market, and I wore mine to the threads over fourteen months!
Medela Sleep Bra on Amazon for $19.