Transcript: My Top Tools for Breastfeeding

Welcome back to The Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I'm your host, Jacqueline Kincer. And today I'm gonna be sharing with you my top tools for breastfeeding. So these are things that are tried and true as a mom who has breastfed both of her children for three plus years each. And as a lactation consultant who's worked for the past six years, in my own practice seven years if you're gonna count before that, I have seen it all. And I've worked with parents all over the world. And, you know, through telehealth and all of that. And though I will say there are some things that are consistently great. And then there are some things that I just see a lot of people over buying, I absolutely just see them over buying and thinking they need to use all of these things. And when you register for something, and you get it, and you think because I have it, I must use it. Sometimes those things actually lead to problems. 

 

And so I'm going to be talking about that as I walk you through this list of products today. So before I get started, I did just want to say that this week is World breastfeeding week. And if you're not familiar with that everyone kind of rolls their eyes when this comes around and they go why do we need a world breastfeeding week? It's the same reason why we need weeks to celebrate certain minority groups or what have you. It's because breastfeeding is still completely underrepresented and supported worldwide. This is not something that I made up. This has existed long before a lot of the other celebratory weeks and months that we have out there. It's actually something that has, you know, I guess I should have looked and seen what year it started. But it was started by the world alliance for breastfeeding action. So we call that Wahba for short. And it's a global network of individuals and organizations that are dedicated to the protection promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. 

 

So let me see here annually. Yeah, I guess it's since 2016. I actually thought it was a lot longer than that. I could have sworn I have heard about world breastfeeding week before that. But typical events that we'll see around world breastfeeding week are more posts on social media about it from maybe accounts that don't normally talk about breastfeeding. Usually there's the big latch on events, although those can sometimes coincide with different times of the year. And so I just think that it's a great time to bring more awareness. And you know, the thing that I'll have to say about this is that there's two prongs to this, right. There's systemic issues in terms of breastfeeding support, where it's sometimes difficult to access, although with telehealth these days, it's not so difficult to access. You know, and I will say that there's a lot that has been done to promote breastfeeding. And these last several years, there are a lot more ibclcs out there in the world. When I became an ibclc, there were not that many in my huge metro area. Today. There are a lot more. And there's just there's more funding. I think there's more awareness and all of that. But there seems to be this backlash to breastfeeding. And I've got to tell you, it's not systemic. It's not coming from doctors. It's not coming from government policy. It's not coming from public health policy or organizations. It's coming from mothers themselves. 

 

And I find that really, really sad. This huge backlash of well, I couldn't breastfeed, so therefore we shouldn't be talking about it, you're shoving it in everyone's face. Why do you need to promote breastfeeding? Well, the reason is, is because there's people like that out there that still think that breastfeeding and formula are equal somehow, or that promoting breastfeeding means that we're somehow shaming moms who don't breastfeed. That's not it at all. It never has been. And it's only actual mothers themselves who have created this argument that promoting breastfeeding is bad. I find that incredibly sad that they're essentially blocking access to breastfeeding support for other moms when they do that. I cannot tell you how many lactation consultants I know out there who are often terrified to post on social media because they're afraid of the backlash that they're going to get from moms with those attitudes. It's quite sad. We're over here ready and willing and able to help you but when you shut us down, it's like well, why are we even doing this work? I've seen

 

I've seen people leave the field. And so I would just say that, you know, if you see someone out there who is anti-breastfeeding for whatever reason, you know, that's they've got some story. They're probably right. But you know, just because someone has had a bad experience with breastfeeding does not mean that breastfeeding is bad. And I think that we can take this time during World breastfeeding week to talk about that, I would absolutely love for you to share your story about breastfeeding. If it's good or bad, it doesn't matter, you know, share your story. And if you have a great story about how you've overcome something, your story can serve as word medicine for someone else. Absolutely. I would encourage you to share your story to do things to promote breastfeeding. If there are accounts you found helpful if you find this podcast helpful, like please share this, go on your LinkedIn, go on your Instagram, go on your Facebook, Twitter, whatever, you know, YouTube channel, I don't know Just wherever you are, like, share about this podcast share about accounts that have helped you books that you've read that have helped you classes you've taken that have helped you individual lactation consultants that you've worked with that have helped you leave a review for those people that have helped you. If you find this podcast helpful, please, please go leave a review. 

 

You know, if you've bought our advanced lactation formula, and that's been helpful, please go leave a review on Amazon on walmart.com. That immensely helps us out show your support for those who are out there, doing the work to support breastfeeding, and promote them as much as you can during this week. Because this week is going to provide a lot of traction for those people to sort of get ahead and drown out the naysayers. So anyway, in support of world breastfeeding week, I'm gonna do what I usually do, which is create an episode for you that is all about ways that we can continue to breastfeed despite certain obstacles or what have you. So again, I'm going to talk about really my favorite products out there, the ones that I think are really kind of essential for everybody to have. And I'm going to start with the manual breast pump. So these sometimes get a bad rap, because people are like, oh, man, I have to sit there and like crank my hand to just keep squeezing this trigger, and I have to pump? Well, I'm not saying you should, like use this if you're exclusively pumping. No, absolutely not. That's unrealistic, right? If you have carpal tunnel, the manual pump is probably not a great choice for you anyway, but the manual pumps are an essential item that I would say is something you should always have on hand. 

 

So whether it's at home, like let's say, you know, your pump died, or your power went out or your pump wasn't charged, if it's if it's cordless, let's say, you know, I would if you're going back to work, you work outside the home, this is something I would keep, honestly I would I would get multiple of these, keep one in your car, who knows what if you're out and about somewhere your car breaks down, I mean, I'm not trying to be like a disaster planning person, I'm not trying to tell you to always expect bad things to happen. But when you're lactating, and you are in a situation where you can't get that milk out of your breasts right away, a manual pump is going to be your best friend, I promise you. So I would keep an extra one in your desk drawer, I would keep it in your car, and I would keep it at home. I mean, they're so cheap, like they're just a little bit over $10 Like just get multiple TVs, everyone's gonna go which one I'm like, you know, there's really not that many on the market, they're pretty much all the same. I really have no complaints about any of these, you know, medalla Lansinoh are kind of the two big ones. So it's kind of your personal preference. You know, they They're an amazing tool, amazing tool to clear clogged ducts to clear to relieve and Gordmans because now you're in charge, you're in charge of the suction level, you're in charge of the cycle speed, because you're using your hands to manually move that lever and to create that suction and to pump. You're in charge of the duration of that pumping period. 

 

It gets you more familiar with your breast anatomy, and you're let down and all of that. So I would say it's just a really excellent tool to have on hand, not just in case of like an emergency scenario, but I see plenty of people that actually get more milk out when they use the manual pump. So this can be a really great tool for the occasional pumper. And it's just a wonderful tool to get to know your body a little bit better. I much prefer these to the haka. The haka is not something that I would put into the manual pump category. And as much as I think there is value in the haka for some mums, this is one of those tools that I will say I think is completely overused. Most people enjoy the haka. They pop it on one breast while their babies nursing on the other, and they get the quote unquote, extra milk. That's a myth though the haka is creating suction. It is not simply a milk catcher, it is a pump, it is collecting milk by virtue of creating suction. The problem that I have with the haka is that it creates constant section. And that's not something that your breasts should really be going through. Whether using an electric pump, whether you're nursing, whether using a manual pump, you're not creating constant section. So that continual pull on your breast tissue and milk ducts. I don't think that's great long term. Now, I think on the occasional use, it's not problematic.

 

And I don't think the suction is so incredibly high that it's going to cause any sort of damage. But a lot of moms find the haka, very painful to use. And I can understand why. The other thing about the haka is that it's definitely not fitted properly, like a flange should be fitted for a breast pump. And, you know, I think that's because they want maybe a larger pouring spout or something like that. They want it to be able to accommodate all breasts. But that opening is so ridiculously large that you know, I mean, I can imagine there's probably a handful of people on the planet that have a nipple that big, but it just is not ideal in terms of, if you actually wanted to pump to remove milk from the bras of the haka is not the tool for that. I also keep seeing these videos circulating online. I've done with trying to correct the misinformation out there. But people think the haka is like some magical tool for removing clogged ducts. It's not any more magical than a manual pump, or an electric pump, or a baby that nurses, it does not do anything different or special. So I just want to be really clear about that. The other thing that I find really odd is that people think that filling the haka with saltwater does something special to remove the clog. It does not the saltwater is not even touching your breast, it generally isn't even touching your nipple, and it doesn't do anything. In fact, it actually decreases the suction because now the haka is filled mostly with water it is there's less of a vacuum that is potentially created because you cannot compress it as much, it can actually be extremely messy. But I see these videos that are posted of the milk coming out and going into the water. 

 

I mean, it's fascinating to watch. But it doesn't do anything special to fill the haka with water, you're actually decreasing the suction. So and why on earth, you would put salt water in there when it doesn't touch your breast tissue at all. I mean, like salty air does not do something special to your breast. I just that kind of stuff just irks me, because it's like, now you've got this series of moms out there doing something that they think somehow makes a difference, but it doesn't and if you just the basic science of it all like why would saltwater that's not touching your breast and a haka. Do anything special for your breast? It just wouldn't. It's not possible. So anyway, I get really tired of seeing stuff like that, because these moms who answers out there, have decided that this is so cool. And everyone needs a haka, and everyone needs to fill it with saltwater. No, you don't. 

 

There is value in Epsom salt soaks and things like that, but they go on the breast, and you don't need a haka to do it. I usually recommend a paper towel. Anyway, I just I'm a little bit annoyed by that, because I don't think the haka is right for everybody. I also think that they're completely overused, I generally find that people find them a little bit painful after a while it also contributes to an oversupply and excessive encouragement for a lot of moms, they start popping it on from day one, that level of section is sending a signal to your body to make more milk. It is a pump, people think it's benign, but it's not. And I've definitely seen oversupply is created by someone using the haka. So, anyway, all of that, just to say, I don't think it's a bad tool, I think it's fine. But I think you would get much more use in value out of a plain manual pump than you would have haka, just being totally honest and transparent. So if you have a haka, that's great, I would just say like, it does not need to get popped on every single nursing session, it can create problems, I just don't think that it's the end all be all that it's been made out to be. So it kind of ended up replacing manual pumps, manual pumps are much more in favor before the haka came along. And I get it, you don't have to sit there and move your hands to get the milk out. But a lot of people don't get any milk with the haka at all. 

 

And so they're disappointed. And when I, when I see a tool like that, that just doesn't work well, for everybody that can cause pain. For a lot of people that can not remove milk for a lot of people, it starts to make people not trust their bodies, it starts to I see this, I have a YouTube video that I can link up here for you guys. It's how to use the haka properly. The other issue is that people don't actually know they have to fold that flange back to get stronger section and so it doesn't fall off the breast so easily. So I'll link that up. If you haven't seen it. That video has been passed around the internet. So many times, I actually just found it embedded on a very popular mom blog the other day. I don't even remember how I found it. But somehow I did. And I was like, Whoa, I had no idea my video was being shared there. That's great. It's awesome. Because if you want to know the proper way to use it, the instructions are in that video, I would just say that. It's just I get a lot of comments on that video where people are saying it doesn't work for me, I don't get a lot of milk, what am I doing wrong, you know, and if it starts to create this distrust of themselves, this distrust in their ability to make milk in their bodies, whereas using a manual pump, I mean, unless you're just using it totally wrong, which is really, really hard to do. You're gonna get milk and if you I mean you get to control the suction and how it feels. So it really shouldn't be painful because you're completely in charge of how functions.

 

So something like a manual pump is going to work for pretty much everybody where a haka won't. So I'm a huge fan of products that don't create distrust in people's bodies. So hopefully that makes sense. Okay, let's move on, I spent a lot of time talking about that, I'm going to talk about electric pumps, I do think that unless you, if you're planning on just exclusively breastfeeding, and you're going to directly feed out the breast, that's great, I would just say that, you would probably want to have a manual pump on hand, just in case, but you do not need an electric pump. Now, if you're in the United States, and you have health insurance, you are entitled to an electric breast pump through your health insurance. So most people are getting those these days, most people are needing to pump because they're going back to work because they want to be able to leave their babies for a longer period of time, or what have you. So I don't think an electric pump isn't essential for everybody. 

 

But I do think it's a handy tool for times when you're away from your baby. If you have a baby that won't latch, of course, or if you're needing to increase your milk supply, if you need to increase your milk supply, you must have an electric pump, and you must have a good one, I'm just going to say that that's a blanket rule across the board. There's other things you can do, of course, but I would say that that's the foundational piece. And if you don't do that, it's gonna be a lot harder for you. So let's talk about electric pumps and the brands out there. I don't normally love naming brands, but I know everyone's going to ask me. And so I will say my top two that I've seen the best results with personally tried and see how they work and how they feel. And I've tried a lot of different pumps. And I'm gonna say spectra, the ES one or the ES two specifically, I think the synergy gold is complete overkill. And I'll talk about that in just a moment. And also the pump bubbles pump. 

 

The pump bubbles Genie advanced, I think is really great. And the other one is great too. And the name is escaping me for some reason right now. So let me talk about the spectra first. So the spectra s one or s two, they're the same pump, except the s one is also battery powered. So you can plug it in, or you can charge it and run it on battery power. The s two is a plugin only model. The only difference is the color of the faceplate. The s one is blue, the S two is pink. That's it. There are no other differences. The section is not different. I've tested these pumps, multiple model or multiple, you know, actual of these pumps, there's no difference other than that, so stop thinking there's another difference. I get DMS about that a lot. I'm like it's the same pump, just one has batteries. That's it, that's all it is, um, you you can buy a battery pack for breast pump, you don't have to buy a battery powered breast pump, any pump can be made to be battery powered, you're just gonna have a battery pack that's attached that's plugged into the AC adapter port. So they're great pumps. Why? Because they're a closed system. So meaning they have a backflow protector on them that prevents breast milk from entering the pump motor or any part of the breast pump inside of the pump. So that's, you know, this specter was the first pump to make that standard. It was the first consumer-grade pump that had that ability. Otherwise, you could only ever get that in a hospital rental pump. So there's that now it's become standard on pretty much any breast pump that you buy, that's a newer breast pump on the market that's a little more innovative. 

 

The synergy gold, the difference with the synergy gold is that the same suction level, but you can individually set different cycle speeds and suction levels on each breast. I don't think that this is necessary. I don't, I think that it complicates pumping for moms. I honestly cannot think of a time as a lactation consultant where I wish that a pump like that existed. I cannot it's just not necessary. There's the use case for that would be so incredibly rare that I don't think it even needs to be available for consumer purchase. I know this might sound harsh, there's another newer pump on the market that is doing the same thing, where they're allowing you to control you know, the cycle speeds and things like that differently on each breast. The problem is, is that the average pumping mom out there does not understand the importance of the cycle speed and the suction levels. And so if you allow them to individually control that I think that you're potentially compromising the amount of milk that this person can remove or that they'll ultimately produce. Setting those things too low is problematic. And as a pump manufacturer, I think that you have a lot more responsibility to educate your consumer on how to properly use your product, not just talk about that this is a feature and it's like cooled have all of these options. So I think spectrum does a better job of educate educating their consumers. They always have from the get go. They've also made it a priority to educate ibclcs about their pumps. So I have a lot of appreciation for spectra and their company. I think it's very ethically run. 

 

I think that they honestly care about their consumers, I think that they've made an incredible product at an absolutely incredible price point. And there's not a single thing I would probably change about the way their pump functions, because it just is really the gold standard for me. And pump bubbles has now come on the block, and they're a newer pump, right, they have a smaller portable one, and then they have a larger one that's not as large as the spectra. So that's nice, because the spectrum I think, is a little bit of a fluff pump like, like the body of the pump, the handle, all of that takes up real estate that realistically doesn't need to be there. So the carrying handle is actually kind of convenient. I do you like that in some ways. But having something small and more portable is really great. And you know, pump bubbles has created a pump that it's suction, as you get to higher suction levels, it doesn't actually increase the level of pressure that's generated. What it does is it changes the way that pressure works. And that is actually more akin to breastfeeding. And if you create a pump that has too high of a level of suction, that can actually cause internal damage to the milk ducts. A good example of that would be like the baby Buddha, or a lot of the other China cheapies out there, these pumps that claimed to have you know, super high section levels 320, you know, millimeters of mercury or higher or something like that, I think that is just way too high. 

 

You should be pumping consistently on a level that high, it's really not good for your milk ducts. So no, no babies mouths, suction is going to be that high. That would be really incredibly rare. So I just you know higher section is not necessarily better. Pump bubbles has done a good job of understanding what that cap should be. And they've designed a pump that functions a lot more like a baby who nurses very well at the bras, especially with their liquid flange kit. They're also one of the companies that I really appreciate in terms of franchise franchise is so important. In fact, it's honestly more important than the pump that you're using, you need to have a flange that is properly fitted to your nipple, and I'm going to say it again, there are no hard and fast rules. But most of the time, I would say 90% of the time, you should have a flange size, that the diameter of the flange tunnel matches the diameter of your nipple, not your areola, your nipple, this is counter to a lot of advice that people have learned. It is not true for every single person. If you're in doubt, we do pumping consults, where we do flange fittings, we optimize your pump settings for you. And we set up a pump schedule for you. 

 

So how long you should pump how often you should pump all of that, like we do pump consults, they're 60 bucks, they're so reasonable, like if you want to book one, go on our website, I'll link it up in the show notes. Because I mean, if knowing the right pump settings and having the right flange fit is everything when it comes to pumping. So if you're going to be pumping a lot, because you're away from work, you're exclusive pumping, you're pumping, most of time you're trying to increase your milk supply any of those reasons, you should absolutely be doing a pumping consult with someone who knows what they're talking about. Who knows how to properly fit a flange, we can only tell you if the flange was properly fitted, if we can observe your nipple moving through the flange channel, so there's no other way for us to tell you that and we need to do it like really right when you turn on the pump. Not later, because the nipple can start to swell, especially if your flange size is too big. The reality is is that most moms are going to be under a 20 millimeter size flange. And when you order a pump bubbles pump, it does not come with a 24 millimeter flange or 28 Letter 26. Like some of these other pumps on the market, you actually have to select your size right then in there, they do have a virtual fitting room, I think that's really great. It's a nice option to have, I would say their information is more accurate than any other pump company I've seen out there. 

 

And they go as low as 15 millimeters on their franchise right now. So when you order your pump, you actually pick your franchise at the same time. That's incredible. That's how it should be for every single pump, I don't think that it should be coming with flanges because everyone's a different size, you know, you might be you might be an 11 millimeter, right. So you might need to hack your pump bubbles and not even use a pumpable flange, you might just buy the pump and use a totally different flange with it. So all that being said that I think the spectrum pump bubbles in terms of the motors, the power of the pump, the longevity, the option to be battery powered, they're pretty lightweight. Also, I think those are the two best pumps on the market. And again, I've really tried as many as I possibly can. I haven't dove so much into the China cheapies. Except to say that I just I just don't have a lot of faith in those. It's basically all the same pump, they're just white labeled by other companies, you might have seen that with a very popular brand on the market. It's not that they've gone and done all of the r&d to create a pump. They've been sold a pump by a Chinese manufacturer, and then they've put their own brand name on it, that happens quite a bit. And it's fine. It's totally fine. I just don't think that those are top tier pumps and it's not one I generally recommend especially to clients. The other thing I will say is I don't want to neglect this but hospital rental pumps are incredible. So that may be a good option for you. I think the spectrum on pump bubbles performed just as well. Some people see a tiny bit of a slight edge with a hospital rental pump. Generally, that's going to be the medulla symphony. 

 

And the advantage comes in here where like if your insurance will cover a hospital rental pump for you, but they won't cover something like the spectrum or the pump bubbles, then it's going to behoove you to just do the hospital rental. Like, if that's covered. And that's free for you then do that. And generally, another tip I would say is that most insurance companies in the United States are also going to provide you with an allowance for pumping supplies. So things like flanges, tubing, all of that that has to be replaced on a regular basis. And so you want to ask about that, in addition to the breast pump, so there might be some dollar limit cap that you have every year or something like that, but asked about pumping supplies, and you know, if you are allowed to get reimbursed for those, so you won't be buying them directly through your health insurance, you'll just be submitting your receipts to them sort of after the fact. Okay, moving on. Let's talk about pumping stuff, still, I'm gonna say pumping bra. 

 

Like if you are pumping with an electric pump, you've got to have a pumping bra, I don't know why you would want to sit there and hold those slanders against your breasts for the next, you know, 1015 20 minutes, like, no one wants to do that. And it just when you have a pumping bra, it's not even just the convenience of it, it's really just the fact that you can do other things to help the milk flow. Like now you can massage your breasts, you can do hands on pumping, where you're compressing the breast, you're getting to different areas of the breast, you're creating some lymphatic flow, that's helping more milk flow, we have studies that prove this, the more that you massage your breasts and work manually to get that milk out while you're pumping, the higher the amount of milk that you will pump, but also that milk will have a higher fat content as well. So you can apply heat on top of your breasts to help dilate the milk ducts and help that milk flow. And to get more fat into the milk. You can use vibration tools if you need to, because you have a clogged duct or something like that. So you can do a lot more. You can also walk around, you can work you can, you know do other things, you can take care of your baby, if you're wearing a pumping brand, you don't have to hold the flanges against your breasts, do I have a particular pumping bra that I would recommend? 

 

No, I don't really I've used the simple wishes hands free for a while I like that bra, it works well for me because there's an expander in it. I like the zipper thing. But you know, there are so many other ones on the market. Now, there are a lot of nursing bras depending on the type of design that you can also just use as pumping bras. So it's really up to personal preference, it depends on your breast and chest size. So I would encourage you just to find one that you like, generally, they're not overly expensive. So I would just start with something that's kind of inexpensive, maybe, you know, fits you well, and all of that and then just go from there. But I do think a pumping bra is absolutely something essential if you're going to be pumping. So let's talk about nursing pillows. There's this idea that we all need a nursing pillow, if we're going to be nursing our babies. And I don't agree with that. I think that probably a throw pillow on your couch or bed pillow, whatever is great. The pillow is for you. It is not for your baby. People get this backwards. They think that they're supposed to lay the baby on the pillow. And then they just bring the breast to the baby's mouth and they latch on. And that's how you nurse know, you hold the baby close to your body, your body, your tummy, your arms are supporting your baby. And if you're freshly postpartum, you know what I'm talking about. 

 

You kind of have a built in nursing pillow there, your uterus hasn't quite gone back to normal size yet, your baby's very small. They're generally not heavy at this point, right? Maybe they're eight pounds, maybe they're nine if they were born big, maybe 10. But they're not very big yet. And so you're really supposed to be cradling your baby in your arms, holding them against your body, all of that. If you're holding your baby properly for breastfeeding, there's no way that your baby's going to be laying on a nursing pillow. So the nursing pillow is there to support your arms in supporting your baby. And if you're doing lay back breastfeeding, the nursing pillow completely becomes null and void. So if you're doing any sort of laid back or reclining position, you don't need the nursing pillow at all, not even for your arms. So they're overblown. But I will say as you're practicing latch if it's really hard for you to get a good latch. If it's breastfeeding is a struggle if breastfeeding is painful for you. I do think a nursing pillow comes in handy. And you may not have the right pillows laying around at home that really prop things up in the right place. So I don't like the Bobby, I very rarely would say that I recommend the Bobby The reason is, is it's way too firm. It's rounded. And so what ends up happening is when the Boppy is sitting against your torso, it's so rounded that the inner part of the bobby goes down and then you hit your tummy like the baby tends to roll into you. And it generally props your arms up too high, like unless you have super perky tiny breasts or a very short torso like or a very sorry, long torso. I would say that the body is just not going to align well with most people's bodies. And it's just very firm. 

 

It's not comfortable but again, it doesn't really come up to your torso it doesn't really actually meet with your body, it starts to roll downward. And you get this gap, this sort of cavernous gap between your body and the pillow and your arms and your baby tend to fall into that gap, it doesn't give you the support that you're looking for. So I don't like that pillow. The other big one is the breast friend pillow. And this to me just feels way too clinical. Like whenever I see a mom with this, I'm just going in, like it's just this really flat, almost cardboard feeling pillow, there is a slight bump where your baby's head might go. It straps around your waist so it doesn't move and it's flat, so you don't get that rolling in as the baby gets closer to your tummy. But I often find that it's it's way too low. And I just don't think that it's comfortable. I much prefer something that you can mold and shape to fit around your body that you can use it in front of your body on the side of your body that it can be folded in half if you need more height, or something like that. So there's a brand out there. There's many brands that are similar to this, but the one I'm most familiar with is blessed nest. Now these are a pretty penny. So please don't get this. If latching is going well for you. You don't need a pillow. Okay, if latching is a struggle, and breastfeeding is painful, and you really need to focus on that latch technique in the positioning, I do think interesting pull is going to serve you well. 

 

So the blast nest, it's a crescent moon shape, it's filled with organic buckwheat, don't worry, buckwheat is gluten free. So it's not actual wheat, it's just it's another grain it's gluten free. So just anybody who's celiac or allergic to gluten, it's not going to bother you. It's an organic cotton cover a very washable, but these it's like a beanbag kind of and it's heavy enough that it stays in place. And a lot of moms will actually find these are great for sleeping, these pillows end up being great for tummy time and stuff like that later on as well. It actually looks nice in terms of a nursing pillow, it's not obviously a nursing pillow, there's different designs, you can get on it too, you know, I don't really care as much about how it looks, but it just functions incredibly well. You can kind of like stuffed the beans up higher on one side, if you know that's where your baby's head and you want to have that more elevated, and you can just mold it to fit whatever whatever way you want. It's way more comfortable, it feels more natural feeling it feels a lot less clinical. So a pillow like that whether you go with that brand or not, that would be my recommendation. All right, moving on. The other thing I think is is almost necessary for everybody would be nursing pads. Now this only works if you're wearing a bra of some type. But I would say I encourage you to go with the disposable nursing pads. I have a lot of people that like the reusable ones. And I've used those as well. What I will tell you is that the reusable ones stain over time, you have to be really good about washing these properly. Like you really want to get everything out of the nursing pads. And when it comes to organic materials, you have to use different cleansers. So think of breast milk akin to blood and like even think about it this way like pet urine stains. Those require some enzyme cleaners to remove those, you know, little just little bits of organic matter from whatever fabric it is that you're trying to treat. 

 

Same with breast milk. And so over time, those really aren't something that I would say you can get away with using for months and months. Because you really have to strip them down and it's very hard on the fabric and ultimately you're just going to need to buy new ones. So is it a little bit wasteful to use disposable nursing pads? Yes, do you use them forever, generally not. Even if you're a heavy leaker in the beginning, that tends to slow down the longer you go in your lactation journey. But disposable nursing pads are really great for if you're ever putting ointment on the breast, right. And then you want to use a pad you cover it and you change it every time you nurse or pump because that just keeps everything really clean and sanitary. It reduces your risk of infection. It reduces your risk of thrush, things like that. If you're using a nice clean disposable nursing pads that's hygenic every single time, right if you're having any sort of pain or nipple damage or anything like that, these are going to come in really, really handy. But they're also great at catching leaks. So there's many different brands on the market. I don't think you need to go with anything fancy but just getting a box of those in the very beginning is something that I would say is a really great tool to have on hand. Should you need this later on in lactation? No, I think this is really for the early days. 

 

Again, not everybody will need these but most people will need these in the very beginning. Last but not least, my other tool and I will just say check out the whole other episode I have on this topic, but it's a baby carrier. I think baby carrier is one of the best tools that you could have for a baby in general but it's also great for breast feeding wearing your baby in a properly fitted and worn baby carrier is going to put your baby in a postural position that is very similar to breastfeeding. It is excellent for their development. It does not hinder their milestones or their motor development or anything like that. In fact, it does quite the opposite. It's also something that you can learn to nurse your baby and imagine nursing on the go. Just adjusting the carrier slightly to get your baby at breast level and popping them on the boob and you're just at the park going on a stroll and then you just know

 

Is your baby and you barely had to do anything. This is the most incredible way to breastfeed. I cannot tell you how much of a lifesaver this was for me as a mom of two especially. Of course, I did it when I only had one baby. But when I had to, I could prepare a snack for my toddler while I was nursing the baby, like nothing was created so much less stress for me because I knew that I can meet both children's needs at the same time. And nursing was just something that sort of fell into the background. It was just a way of life. It was just like, Okay, so I'm wearing her and now I'm gonna nurse her and I can read my son a story, like, or just whatever. I mean, I've literally gone to the bathroom while wearing my babies in nursing them. Now that might be TMI, but I mean, c'mon, a lot of us have nursed our babies while sitting on a toilet. Okay? Especially like in a public restroom. I don't want to, I have to go to the bathroom. What am I going to do with my baby right now? I can't put them down. The stroller doesn't fit in here. Like you. It's gross in the public bathroom, I would wear my baby. Absolutely, I wore my baby and went to the bathroom. So I just think a baby carrier is completely indispensable. What I hear from people a lot of the time is my baby hates the carrier. That happens for a number of reasons. One, sometimes it's truly a structural issue, where your baby might need some bodywork like in terms of chiropractic or something like that, I would encourage you to check out the episode with Dr. Martin Rosen, if you want to go through a deep dive of that, and why some babies need chiropractic and how it's helpful. And just take take a listen to that. So that's going to be linked in the show notes for you as well. But most of the time, it's that you didn't start baby wearing in the early days. So some baby carriers are only for 12 pounds and up. So of course your newborn is not big enough, you're generally not gonna be able to do it until they're three months, you generally need kind of two types of baby carriers. So in the early days, it's going to be a wrap or something like a ring sling. 

 

Or maybe it's even like Muay Thai or something else, it's more of a wrap style. And you can use that on smaller babies. If you get them started early and young, especially when they're still in that kangaroo stage, those first three months of early postpartum that fourth trimester, that's your best chance of success, because they'll fall in love with it, they're close to you, their skin to skin, that's all your newborn wants to be anyway. Otherwise, you're just holding them in your arms all the time. So why not just make life easier and give yourself a baby carrier. And you don't have to do that, right, you can easily go on walks and get things done around the house. And then you can graduate to something that's more like a soft structured carrier like an ergo like a backhoe, like all your so many brands, little a baby, honestly, there's just so many of these days, I can't even keep up with it, you can graduate to a more backpack style structured carrier for your larger baby. And these are much easier to snap on than a rap. Although I think a ring sling is super easy, and very convenient, it's easy to store all of that you can use it at any size. So from newborn to two years old. 

 

So I absolutely love those. But it's kind of personal preference, I would encourage you to check out a lot of those and listen to the episode that I did on baby wearing. And you know, she's an expert in baby wearing and he has a great free resource guide that's linked in the show notes for that episode for you. But a baby carrier is going to be your best friend. And it also helps avoid things like like breast aversion, like babies who go on nursing strikes or suddenly develop a breast aversion. A baby carrier is an excellent tool to get your baby to come back to the breast and to be friendly at the breast. And to want to keep watching there. Again, it just helps you fit in nursing sessions. When you're otherwise busy, it keeps your baby a lot more calm. It's great for their neurological and physical development, there's so many reasons why I would say that a baby carrier is great. But it also again just encourages really excellent posture for your baby. And that posture translates back to positioning at the breast. So it's an excellent, excellent tool. Those are my top tools for breastfeeding. So just to review, it's a manual pump, you know, a really good electric pump, a pumping bra, the correct nursing pillows and disposable pads and a baby carrier. Those are my essentials, everything else is a nice to have or only buy it if you truly need it. As someone who sells a product for breastfeeding. I would say that it really annoys me when people buy it that don't need it. So I see that a lot where people leave a review, like it didn't increase my supply. And I'm like, Well, okay, what kind of milk supply did you have before you started taking it? Why pump 30 ounces a day? 

 

Why on earth are you buying a lactation supplement, then you don't need to be making more milk like I don't that's a full milk supply. My product is not going to do something different for you. Your body is already making plenty of milk. Right? So sometimes they see that on all kinds of product reviews, people leave a negative review, you know, didn't work for me and I'm like, well, but I mean, you know, so I just I would just say take parental reviews with a grain of salt. I see this all the time with baby bottles, pacifiers. Well, my baby liked this bottle. You know, what does that mean? for a baby to like a bottle? Right? Like how do we know the baby likes it? And how do we know that the baby actually knows what's best for them? We don't. There's actually science behind what type of bottle a baby should be using. So, parental reviews, take them with a grain of salt. These people are not experts in infant feeding.

 

Being certainly not breastfeeding. You know, I would actually listen to experts on this. Ask your own lactation consultant if you're working with one for their specific recommendations for you. Because individual individualized recommendations are always going to be best. But this episode, I just wanted to kind of clear the air and talk about sort of the essentials that I would recommend for breastfeeding, and then let you go and decide from there. So if this episode sparked any questions for you, you know, definitely follow me over on Instagram at holistic lactation, share this episode with friends, leave us a review, post a screenshot and your stories tell us how this episode impacted you and if you learned anything, and then keep subscribing because we've got some incredible guest experts coming up in future episodes, and lots of amazing topics to help you through all things breastfeeding. So thank you for listening, and I'll see you on the next episode.