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Breastfeeding can be messy and painful, but it doesn't have to be! Nipple creams and shields can prevent cracking and soreness, while nursing pads will soak up leaking breast milk. Find out which other products are crucial to have on hand while nursing your baby.
Sarah Bernard is BabyCenter's Pop Culture & Lifestyle contributor. She covers parenting, health, fitness, fashion, and trends of all kinds. She lives in New York City with her husband and twin girls.
Video by Sarah Bernard
Sarah Bernard: When you're pregnant, it's all about your belly, but now it's all about your boobs, and your boobs have their own new set of accessories.
Kind of looks like a superhero mask, doesn't it? But what it is, is a hands-free breast-pump bra. You can multitask while you're filling up the bottles. It's pretty awesome, even if you look a little crazy.
This is a nipple shield, and some women use these if their baby's having trouble latching, or if their nipples are really raw from feeding, or if they have inverted nipples. Kind of looks like a little pacifier, but it's even softer, and it has little holes on the top for the milk to come through. Honestly, your nipples really have to put up with a lot. They can be sore, they can be cracked, they can even bleed, so in between feedings, you really want to take care of them.
These gel cushions are a great idea. They offer some serious relief. You can actually put them in the fridge, and then put them on for a really nice cooling sensation. When you're done, you just rinse them off, and you can stick them right back on the pads, because they're reusable.
I did not realize how completely essential these are. Cotton nursing pads – they're almost like sanitary pads for your boobs. Actually, they pretty much are sanitary pads for your boobs. You put them inside your bra and, when milk leaks out of your boobs, which it does, the pads will be there to keep it from getting onto your bra and getting onto your shirt. And they're also really good to use while you're nursing. You're nursing on one side, when the milk comes in on the other, the pad is there.
There are so many uses for these supersquishy hot and cold gel packs. If you put them in the microwave, then put them on your boob, they really help relieve mastitis and the tenderness that comes with plugged-up ducts. Or you can throw them in the freezer, and they help relieve the soreness and engorgement, which is really helpful when you're weaning.
Nipple cream. Yep, that's actually a thing, and if your nipples are cracked, you're definitely going to want to use some to help them heal. It's a little bit greasy, so you only need a pea-size amount, and you can put it on right before a feeding, because it's totally safe for baby. So nipple care – it's no joke.