Surviving Breastfeeding: Nursing Slings, Boppies, and More

nursing sling
Day 3 of nursing and going strong!
This post is in partnership with Nakturnal.

Starting off here, I want to say - however you have chosen to feed your baby, you are doing an AMAZING job. I've known families whose kids started off as preemies and have done formula off the bat. I've also known families whose kids nursed until they were four years old. And I've known just about every family in between. This post just happens to be for those who have opted to breastfeed. 

Breastfeeding has probably been one of the most challenging things I've ever done. 

The first month involved soreness, exhaustion, frustration, and a general sense of feeling lost in the complex world of feeding my baby with my own body. Despite how beautiful and adorable my teeny tiny kiddo was, learning how to connect with her in this way was definitely an acquired practice. One that I am still navigating with her.

Juniper, now fifteen-months old, has been a ginormous fan of nursing since the beginning. And that has been a big reason why I've tried to keep up. As difficult as it's felt at times, I see it in her eyes when she begins to nurse - she's head over heels in love. She feels comforted, nourished, and safe in my arms. And since my kid is an incredibly independent and adventurous tyke, I can already see the value in giving her that closeness.

Rising up to this responsibility can teach a mama so much - the most important lesson being that our children often help us, against our better judgment, to let go of any best laid plans and just be present with them.

vegan mom
Note the peanut butter by my side.
Which is why, after over a year of breastfeeding, my nursing game is still going strong.

So, all that being said, how did I survive this past year of breastfeeding?

Below is a list of 10 must-haves that got me through it all:

1) A Boppy

My mother-in-law bought me one of these, and they are awesome. You basically sit your baby in one of these nursing pillows, and you can nurse them with ease while you watch episodes of Parenthood on loop. 

Recommended by many friends, a nursing sling not only helps with nursing on the go, but it's also wonderful for cradling your baby so you can be hands-free. Here's a great video review of one baby sling in particular. 

nursing sling
This sling helped me get through the airport!
While Juniper mostly enjoyed being held in my arms for the first six months or so, I've had tons of mommy friends tell me that nursing slings helped them stay sane amid marathon breastfeeding days. And the coolest part? Daddies can wear these too!

3)  Lots And Lots of Water (AND FOOD!)

Look, here's how it goes - she's going to get hungry, and you're going to do the scramble dance to get as much stuff for you as you can by the couch, chair, or whatever it is you're nursing on. Make sure you have bottles and bottles of filtered water and yummy vegan food. How do you do this? Well, in addition to having your partner help you with provisions, friends and family can be a HUGE help here. One of the best pieces of advice another mommy friend gave to me: do not hesitate to request food from visitors! 

4) A Nursing Bra

No need to get fancy - just find something you're comfortable with that does the job. Eventually, I just decided to forgo nursing clothes and began wearing regular clothes and bras that also were easy to nurse in. It's your choice here, folks! 

5) Remembering Why I'm Doing This

Whenever I need a pick me up, lists of reasons to breastfeed helped keep me going. Here's a great one on the benefits of nursing.

vegan mom
Remember to laugh through it all, too!
6) Towels

This may sound silly, but my boobs leaked a lot at night. So having extra towels under me helped out a bunch. Don't knock it till you try it!

7) Friends To Lean On Who Get It

Whether they're your mom, friends with kids, a support group, or really supportive friends without kids, you're going to need a tribe of ladies who get what you're going through and can cheer you on. Because you are going to want to give up nursing at least once. Or twice. Or maybe every time. And they'll help remind you of the bigger picture. 

8) Nipple Butter

Your nipples will thank you for it. All I can say is that mine got so sore and dry, and nipple butter was my best friend for the first six months. My brand of choice was Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter.

9) Coffee and Wine...

Guys - I've had lots of coffee and the occasional drink. And my kiddo and I are doing A-OK. I think it's important to moderate of course, but you're a human being. So please, if you need a cup of coffee or a glass of wine here or there, go for it. Of course, I'm not advocating for going nuts with the caffeine and alcohol. If you're really worried, just check in with your doctor, midwife, or doula. I did on the day of my birth, and she told me to have a stout beer to boost my milk supply. Ha!

10) Let It All Hang Out 

Hands down, the best thing I can share is that I chose to publicly breastfeed with no cover. Despite my best efforts, Junebug continued to knock the cover down, so I stopped even trying! And honestly? Only once did I have anyone say anything conflicting about it. I'm a big believer that the more mommies who breastfeed publicly, the more we help change the status quo, so that we can all learn as a society to accept this very natural and very necessary part of bringing up babies.  But this of course depends on your comfort level. If you feel more private about nursing your child, no judgments here. But if you do want the ease and accessibility of nursing anywhere with your kiddo, know that you can do it!

What have been your nursing go-t0s? Feel free to share in the comments!


Hey Lindsay -- Great blog shift! I nursed mine for 12 months and 18 months. I loved it. My last one was 19-20 years ago, so nobody was nursing in public uncovered then, but I nursed in public with a cape that had a stiff collar so I could still make eye contact with the babies. I still have it packed away with the baby shoes. Can't let it go. I enjoyed beer while nursing too! Keep up the good work!!

Lindsay Wolf said…
Thank you for the kind words and your beautiful history, Cheryl! <3