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World Breastfeeding Week: From nursing bras to pumps, these are the products that help

Whether you want to soothe sore nipples or are on the lookout for a dress with easy access to feed when out and about, we've got you covered

Louise Whitbread
Monday 03 August 2020 13:13
Breastfeeding can often be difficult, tiring and painful, so in our round-up we've compiled the products that offer a helping hand
Breastfeeding can often be difficult, tiring and painful, so in our round-up we've compiled the products that offer a helping hand

Starting 1 August 2020, this week marks World Breastfeeding Week, an annual event observed by more than 120 countries around the world.

First celebrated in 1991 by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, a network of individuals and organisations committed to the support of mothers breastfeeding, its themes centre around healthcare systems, women and work, community support, education and human rights for women who have chosen to breastfeed their babies.

This year’s theme is “supporting breastfeeding for a healthier planet” with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF calling on governments to promote women's access to breastfeeding support and counselling.

The two organisations recognise that breastfeeding is not always easy: "Mothers need support – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding."

Recommended support can take the form of lactation counsellors, healthcare providers and peer support in clinics, home visits and through community programmes and WHO has stressed the importance of finding innovative solutions to provide support to new parents during the Covid-19 pandemic where many essential services have been disrupted due to the lockdown.

For many women, breastfeeding can be very difficult but it isn’t the only way to feed your child, with bottle-feeding of course being totally fine too.

If breastfeeding is possible for you or your partner, we’ve rounded up the products that can make it easier, more comfortable and less painful for new parents.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Breast pumps

There are many different types of breast pumps to choose from, ranging from electric to manual, single or double.

Their purpose is to collect milk to feed your baby, increase your milk production and manage any excess supply.

In our guide to the best breast pumps, this Medela freestyle flex 2-phase double electric breast pump (Medela, £349.99) impressed our reviewer the most.

Express milk easily with this easy-to-clean and comfortable to wear breast pump (The Independent)

Tech-savvy, you can connect it to the “MyMedela” app which tracks your pumping patterns and will notify if the battery needs charging.

According to our tester: “The pump interface lights up, which was useful for expressing in the dark. We also appreciated the delay start function, giving you an extra 10 seconds to get the second pump in place perfectly without rushing.”

We also rated this for the flex breast shields which gave a strong but smooth suction and is easy to clean.

Nursing bras

As your body changes so dramatically in the months of pregnancy and postpartum, it’s important to find a comfortable nursing bra that will help with backache, sore nipples and stretched skin.

In our guide to the best maternity and feeding bras, we explain that nursing bras are designed to be worn while breastfeeding, and come with a second layer with clips securing the cups to the straps for easy access when you need to feed.

Our favourite style was this Figleaves flexi wire moulded nursing bra (Figleaves, £38) which we found to be comfortable, lightweight and a pretty style that we’d gladly wear once we’d weaned little ones.

Your bras can still look and feel nice while your post-partum and breastfeeding

It’s a balconette style with a soft plastic underwire and supportive cups, adding only a slight layer of padding under T-shirts and dresses.

A great everyday choice, it still keeps a touch of femininity without compromising on practicality.

This JoJo Maman Bebe two-pack maternity and nursing sleep bras (JoJo Maman Bebe, £19) is an affordable, fuss-free option that we would also recommend.

For an inexpensive style that can be worn during pregnancy and after, we loved this soft cup design (JoJo Maman Bebe)

“The soft cotton cups, designed as two crossover triangles, can be quickly pulled down for easy breastfeeding; and pre-birth, the simple style means they can grow with your body as you progress through pregnancy,” said our reviewer.

While not quite as suitable for daytime wear, it’s ideal for lounging around the house.

Breast-feeding friendly clothes

Thankfully the high-street has plenty of clothing options for when you’re breastfeeding, that isn't frumpy, ill-fitting or dated, so when you go for a coffee catch up with friends, a stroll around your local park or a long drive to see family, you can still feed easily.

This Mamalicious nursing batwing jersey top (Asos, £20.50) is a simple style that can make you feel more pulled together on a bleary sleep-deprived schedule.

Perfect fo summer, this white top has easy access for feeding and can be dressed up or down, depending on how much time you have

A modern take on a white T-shirt, it’s a great go-to for a "nice top and jeans" outfit, with a double layer design to give your baby easy access.

We also love this striped maternity and nursing dress (Seraphine, £52) if you’re looking for something stretchy and easy to throw on. Especially as with a new baby, there’s almost no time to get yourself ready before leaving the house.

This soft, stretchy fabric will keep you covered and comfortable

Cut in an A-line shape, you can wear this during your pregnancy too, and it has a lift-up panel at the front for breastfeeding when you’re out and about.

Perfect for summer, simply pair with sandals and you’re good to go.

If you want to feel a little more dressed up, perhaps for a date night with the baby in tow, try this mama long nursing dress (H&M, £39.99).

You don't have to compromise on feeling and looking stylish thanks to this on-trend, breast-feeding friendly dress (H&M)

The unlined wrap over style can be easily adjusted to fit breasts that are constantly changing shape and it has a discreetly concealed inner top for easy access to feed.

The balloon sleeves and tiered skirts are bang on-trend too.

Nursing pads

It’s very common for breasts to leak milk when you’re not breastfeeding and it can result in messy, stained clothes (which is easily washed out of course) and can be uncomfortable to have to wear until you make it home to change.

Which is why nursing pads can be very helpful in soaking up any excess milk stains, such as these Lansinoh washable nursing pads pack of 4 (John Lewis & Partners, £6.99).

These soft nursing pads will help manage any leaks (John Lewis & Partners)

They’re washable and reusable, saving on waste while being super-absorbent and soft on the skin. Discreet too, they cut in a tear-drop shape and promise not to leave any visible lines, with a waterproof outer layer too.

Simply place in the accompanying wash bag when you’re done with them and wash at 40 degrees.

Nipple creams and ointments

Breastfeeding can result in dry, cracked, sensitive and sore nipples, all of which add up to a lot of discomforts and often pain.

This balm will soothe sore nipples 

Try this Dr Lipp original nipple balm (Dr Lipp, £12), made from 100 per cent, cruelty-free lanolin.

It’s a nourishing, balm-like texture that soothes chapped skin and adds a protective layer over sore areas.

It’s also a fantastic lip balm, so keep it in your handbag or back pocket at all times for a top-up, housed in a handy, recyclable plastic tube, free from perfumes and synthetic colourants.

This Lansinoh HPA lanolin nipple cream (Boots, £10.49) is another one to keep on your bathroom shelf.

Apply as often as needed for instant relief

It’s hypoallergenic and you’ll only need a pea-sized amount for relief for cracked nipples, and you can re-apply as often as you like.

It also doubles up as cream for nappy rash, itchy stretch marks and dry skin patches too.

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