*We’re still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the vaccines rolling out in many countries, the pandemic is still widespread and that means international travel will still have to wait a little more. That being said, local travels and staycations are still possible. It’s an unprecedented time to be a travel blogger, so I’m taking the opportunity to write more about things close to my heart, and my grounded life now. Read more about my Malaysian travels here, and my motherhood journey here.
It’s almost mid-2021, and and to be honest, I haven’t been moving much at all since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Learning to be a mother, and taking care of my little Ava has taken up so much of my time. I’ve been breastfeeding Ava ever since she was born, and it is one of the most fulfilling and beautiful experiences ever. And so, I thought I’d write a post on the Top 10 essential items needed by a breastfeeding new mum, especially one that is traveling and on-the-go! Because someday in the (hopefully, near) future — that might just be me again.
1. Nursing Pillow
I was super nervous the very first few times after I started breastfeeding Ava. I didn’t know how to hold her or position her that would make it comfortable not only for her, but for me as well. Luckily I found myself a nursing pillow that suited my needs — it positioned my baby by lifting her up to the level of my breasts, helped manage my C-section pain, and basically saved my back and arms (the baby can get heavy after holding her for too long)! For the traveling mum — a nursing pillow is a great assistance when you’re traveling long distance in a car/train/plane, and will definitely help in places where you can’t find anywhere comfortable to feed your baby. And later on, the pillow can also be used to cushion sitting babies, cradle a baby or as a tummy-time prop.
One of the most popular nursing pillows out there is the Boppy Nursing Pillow, purchase it from Shopee here.
The Mamaway Hypoallergenic Maternity Nursing Moon Pillow is also a good choice. You can find it here, and enjoy RM25 off for purchases over RM200 with this code:- “MAMABLOG-MYNN”.
The one I decided to buy was a much cheaper nursing pillow — I found it useful and it served me well. Check it out on Shopee here.
2. Nursing Cover
Some people are comfortable without a nursing cover, but I still prefer to nurse Ava discreetly. A nursing cover should be easily wearable (without all the snaps and buckles because when a baby is upset, you’ll just want to latch immediately), is made out of soft and breathable fabrics (especially in a hot and humid country like Malaysia, or any other warm country you may travel to), and one that is machine washable (hello spit-ups). For the traveling mum, even if you’re used to not using one — it’s always best to keep one handy especially when visiting places (or countries) that are not too open about breastfeeding (yet).
Bibado just launched its new nursing cover called “Poppit On“. It’s got multiple uses, designed for discretion, and made out of bamboo fabric. Will definitely get my hands on it once its available in Malaysia.
For now, I’m using a cheap and simple light nursing cover (with cute designs) that I found on Shopee. Check it out here.
3. Nursing Pads
When you’re breastfeeding, your breasts may leak. It usually happens during the first few months, when you’re still adjusting to the milk supply — and it can just suddenly happen anytime and anywhere! I’ve had embarrassing moments (when I decided not to wear one), and I’ve also had instances where I had a fast flowing leak for hours! So for cases like that, you’ll need nursing pads/breast pads. They are disc-like pads that are placed inside the bra to absorb and soak up the excess milk that leaks. You can either get reusable or disposable ones. For the traveling mum, I would say that disposable nursing pads will make it easier while on the go, so stock up on a whole bunch as they’ll keep you out of a ‘wet’ situation!
I initially started using disposable nursing pads from Lansinoh, and I really liked them cause they were super absorbent and I could wear them for hours. Purchase it online on Shopee here.
However, as I was going through them quite quickly, I found a much cheaper disposable alternative that was just as good. Check out the Yikoumi nursing pads on Shopee here.
Mamaway also has the Triple Absorb Instant Dry Disposable Nursing Pads that has a breathable top lining that stays dry and separated from the core even when wet. Find out more here, and enjoy RM25 off for purchases over RM200 with this code:- “MAMABLOG-MYNN”.
4. Mamaway Nursing Bra
It’s very important for women to have the right bra that fits perfectly. And for the breastfeeding mum, it is a good nursing bra. A good nursing bra needs to provide you with the support and comfort you need, especially with breasts that are constantly full and heavy (especially during the first few weeks when you’re still getting to use to all the changes). A good nursing bra should also be able to stretch to fit the constantly changing breast size and transforming body. Most importantly, the special feature of a nursing bra is that it has cups that can be clipped and unclipped to be pulled down for easier access to nurse the little one. For the on-the-go mum, a good nursing bra will make it convenient to nurse anytime and anywhere.
On my breastfeeding journey so far, I noticed that the right bra is essential to help support my breasts and help relieve the strain of engorged breasts on my shoulders and back; and having the right fit is important — when it’s too tight, I usually end up suffering from blocked ducts, and if I am not careful I might end up with mastitis!
I really have to recommend Mamaway Ultra Light Antibacterial Seamless Maternity and Nursing Bra because it has all the features of a good nursing bra. They come in 5 colors — pink, light blue, black, nude and dusty purple; and sizes from S to 2XL. What I like about this nursing bra is that it stretches up to 3 cups that can fit me at any point of my breastfeeding journey; it is made out of breathable fabric that doesn’t get too uncomfortable in the Malaysian humidity; it provides my growing breasts adequate support while being wireless so it doesn’t feel uncomfortable or tight; and has 4 sets of hook and eye that is flexible enough to adjust to my changing body. The material used for the Mamaway nursing bra is also antibacterial and germ-free so it is odourless. Oh, and the paddings are fixed-in so it won’t come out when washing. It’s so comfy and convenient that I think I’ll continue wearing the bra even after my nursing days are over. Check out this seamless bra here; and enjoy RM25 off for purchases over RM200 with this code:- “MAMABLOG-MYNN”.
5. Nipple Cream
A nipple cream is extremely essential especially during the first few weeks, and sometimes, months of breastfeeding. During the initial weeks of my breastfeeding journey, I experienced cracked and sore nipples, so my nipple cream was really my lifesaver. Some new mothers get it really bad with bleeding and extreme pain — and nipple creams help to moisturise, soothe, relieve the pain, and heal those sore and cracked nipples. For the traveling mum, don’t forget to bring the nipple creams along with you as you wouldn’t want to travel with tender and painful nipples!
The varieties of nipple creams out there are endless. Most mothers choose lanolin-based nipple cream that are known to soothe, and there are also some mothers who find relief in just natural coconut oil. After trying out a variety of nipple creams myself, the Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream is my favourite. It’s not too sticky, it really helped soothe my sore nipples, and its safe for babies — I honestly only used the cream for the first few months, and have been lucky enough not to need it since. You can purchase it online on Shopee here.
6. Lactation Massager
During the early weeks of breastfeeding, it is pretty normal to experience engorgement, discomfort, blocked ducts, and in worse cases mastitis. While hot and cold gel packs helped too, what really assisted me with clearing out those painful blocked ducts was the lactation massager. Not only that, the vibration also helped improve my milk flow, assisted with my let-down, and soften my breasts for latching — and I didn’t have to use my hands for all that. For the traveling mum, this is a simple and small tool to include in your luggage that is a pain relieve and a milk flow assistance. It’s so convenient that you can use it anytime and anywhere; and even just leave it in the nursing bra.
I used the LaVie Lactation Massager that comes in a unique shape and has multiple vibration modes. My favourite place to use it to clear those blocked ducts was in the shower! You can find it on Shopee here.
7. Portable Breast Pump
Breast pumps are the most essential item for the breastfeeding mum. It helps to remove breast milk from your breasts — so that you can use it to feed your baby; relieve blocked ducts and engorgements; help you manage your milk supply by either clearing it, or increasing it. Most importantly for the mums who have to be away, it will provide your baby with the milk they need in your absence. Of course it is good to invest in a high quality pump if you are planning to be pumping on a regular basis; but for the traveler mum, a portable breast pump is the most convenient. It has less parts to wash, and can be worn on-the-go by just leaving it in your nursing bra. My little one is almost completely directly latched, so the portable breast pump is my favourite item as it is lightweight and easy.
The brand that I am currently using is Yomum’s FIT Wearable Breast Pump. I love it because it is a one-piece design, tubeless and cableless, small and silent, and runs on USB charged battery. Find it on Shopee here.
8. Manual Breast Pump / Milk Saver
A manual breast pump is a great item to use to catch the precious milk on one breast while your baby latches at the other, that would otherwise get soaked up by your nursing pads. Yes, our breasts leak on one side while the other side is being used! Most of these pumps are compact in size; comes without cords, batteries and complicated assembly; and is easy to clean and use — which makes it perfect for the traveling mums. Best part though about a manual breast pump though, is that it gives you some milk supply without you spending extra time pumping. That makes it a definite must-have.
The manual breast pump that I use is the HaaKaa GEN 2 Silicone Breast Pump. It is made from 100% food grade silicone, comes with a suction base, and is BPA, PVC and phthalate-free. You can choose either the 100 or 150ml capacity. Get it on Shopee here.
9. Breast Milk Storage Bags
There are breast milk storage bags, bottles and containers that are specifically made for you to store breast milk; and is an essential item for mummies who are pumping all that milk supplies for their babies. These breast milk storage items should be sterile and BPA-free; and made to protect the milk from freezing and thawing, and over long periods of time. For the traveler mum, carrying a supply of breast milk storage bags (instead of bottles, as it is easy to pack) is essential especially if you are planning on pumping on-the-go.
There are tons of breast milk storage bag and bottle brands in the market — so just pick and choose, and then decide what brand suits you best. I have been using the Autumnz Double ZipLock Breastmilk Storage Bag since the beginning of my breastfeeding journey, so I just stuck with that. I like the double zipper, the oz/ml markings, the different sizes available, and the cute design. It’s affordable too. Buy it on Shopee here.
Mamaway also has their very own storage bags, you can check it out here, and enjoy RM25 off for purchases over RM200 with this code:- “MAMABLOG-MYNN”.
10. Breast Milk Cooler Bag
A breast milk cooler bag is an essential item for working mums, and in this case, the traveling mums who are pumping. Because how else can you store and transport your breast milk safely when you’re on-the-go? A cooler bag should be able to keep your milk cool for at least part of the day (a couple of hours); have enough space to fit your supply of breast milk storage bags or baby bottles; and for the traveling mum — compact and easy to bring around. I have not had the need to purchase a breast milk cooler bag yet because I haven’t been traveling; but once travel resumes again in the near future, I may have to.
After looking at several brands in the market, I noticed that the Medela Breast Milk Cooler and Transport Set is probably the best cooler bag for travel. It’s compact and light. Check it out on Shopee here.
I like the Sarah Wells Cold Gold Breast Milk Cooler Bags though, because it’s not only pretty, but good for storage! Find out more here.
*She Walks the World was assigned to write a review for Mamaway on this post (Enjoy RM25 off for purchases over RM200 with this code:- “MAMABLOG-MYNN) However, as always, all opinions (of that and other non-assigned product choices) stated here are my own.
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