When it comes to feeding their babies, there's nothing new moms won't try. But especially when it comes to nursing, moms are often convinced they need a whole lot of tools to do it successfully.
And that means a whole lot of online (and in-person) shopping. But when it comes down to it, many mamas are buying all kinds of things that just aren't necessary. Sometimes, they're not expensive, but just items that turn out to be junk in the end. Other times, it's stuff moms buy thinking they'll need, but later it turns out the product just winds up in the trash because mama doesn't use it.
Just like any other facet of parenting, there's an entire industry that revolves around convincing mamas to buy things to nurse their babies. While on the face of it, moms would think they only need two things to nurse (that would be their milk makers!), there are some products that turn out to be helpful.
These 20 items though? They're the things moms spent time and money on but turned out to not be crucial to nursing at all, leading those mamas to regret the purchase altogether. From expensive pumps to plastic pieces that become landfill material, here are 20 things moms bought for breastfeeding but later regretted.
20 Fancy Nursing Covers
They're cute, they're fashionable, and they're a must-have. Right? Not exactly so. Nursing covers serve a purpose, sure, if your baby is okay with having his or her head covered while they're eating. But most babies, especially older ones, tend to yank the cover off their head anyway. Can't blame them, it's stuffy in there.
So a fancy nursing cover often turns out to be a mom's most-regretted purchase. Unless you can use it as something else (there are plenty that also double as a car seat and grocery cart covers), this is one purchase that will probably turn out to be pretty wasteful.
19 Super Cute Nursing Bras
Yes, nursing bras, in general, are helpful. There's nothing like easy access when you have a hungry baby. But those super-expensive, high-end boutique bras? Pass. Because as soon as you buy an expensive (and possibly even cute) nursing bra during your pregnancy, you can bet you'll grow another size or two.
Then, when the baby comes and you start nursing, the fit can vary from day to day, or even hour to hour depending on milk capacity! Plus, lots of expensive bras turn out to be really uncomfortable anyway. Aim for soft-structured bras if possible, and go cheap until you figure out what you like and what works!
18 Those Super-Popular Nursing Pillows
If you're one of those moms who think you just need your milk-makers to nurse, this will make sense. Just imagine: your baby is hungry and possibly even crying, and you're ready to whip out their meal when you realize you don't have your Boppy! Do you go searching for it before feeding the baby, or do you just feed the baby?
Sure, the pillows are cute, and sure, you can prop your newborn in it to cradle them while you tend to other tasks. But are they necessary? No. And do tons of moms have them lying around the house even though they never get used? Yes.
17 All Kinds Of Creams And Lotions
If I had a dime for every lactation consultant that recommended lanolin for sore lady bits, I'd have a whole lot of dimes. But that stuff doesn't exactly look appetizing, so why slather it on when you know you have to nurse again in like, 30 minutes? Lots of moms invest in all kinds of creams and balms only to find that either their babies resent the taste or the creams don't do what they promise in the first place.
And at the end of the day, most mamas just express a little milk to soothe their soreness anyhow. It's free, it's easy, and it can work wonders, too. Besides, we don't want to cart around a whole bag of accessories just to feed our babies.
16 Tools For Making Milk Access Easier
For a while, it seemed like every lactation consultant was telling moms they had "inverted" lady bits. Basically, they were blaming mom's anatomy for the baby's inability to latch on. And yes, in some cases, there truly is a case of the anatomy being inverted and the baby having trouble getting latched on.
But is a separate "device" really necessary to help "fix" this issue? You can hand express a bit of milk, pump for a while before feeding, or just manually help the baby latch on. Instead of carting around this silly clown horn looking device for every feeding. It may look fun, but it's not.
15 A Super Expensive Pump…
Ah, pumps. There's always so much controversy over pumping: how much, how often, when, for how long, with what pump? The thing is, every mom's body is different, so needs tend to vary pretty widely. Plus, a super-expensive pump might wind up sitting in the closet because a mom realizes she doesn't need it to make enough milk for her baby.
So instead of buying the most expensive pump ever, which she'll surely regret, mamas should 1. try just nursing if they don't have to be away from their babies, and 2. try a less expensive pump that has good reviews or at least decent specs.
14 …Or A Manual One That’s A Bear To Use
For moms who know they need to pump (or if they're choosing it from the outset), forget our last piece of advice and definitely go for a nicer pump. You don't want to be stuck with a manual pump when you're exclusively pumping because, above all else, your arm will get ridiculously tired. Plus, it's tough to maintain a full supply with a manual pump that only expresses one side at a time.
Basically, something in-between a manual and a high-end pump is best for most moms, including those who pump exclusively. Fortunately, insurance usually helps moms get a decent pump these days, so there's no regret involved.
13 Special Bottles For The Baby
If you ask any nursing mom what kind of bottle her breastfed baby would take, you'll be in for the longest lecture of your life. Not every bottle works for every baby, even “nursing-friendly” ones, and that means you're up for a ton of trial and error when it comes to figuring out what bottle your baby will drink from.
Some babies don't care at all and will drink from literally any bottle. Other babies are so picky they'll barely sip from a bottle that doesn't resemble mom's anatomy closely enough. So instead of buying a ton of some exclusive bottle, try one at a time, and start with the cheaper varieties. You never know until you try!
12 Expensive Nursing Tops
There is something super tempting about the adorable maternity and nursing fashions out there. But when you think about it, is it really worth buying a $50 nursing top you'll realistically only wear for a few months? Okay, you might be a mama who nurses til her kiddo is three, but even then, it's not a timeless wardrobe staple.
Most mamas agree that nursing tanks are the way to go because you can keep your tummy covered (for some reason we worry more about this than our milk-makers) while feeding the baby, and this is a budget-friendly regret-free method of dressing ourselves.
11 Timing And Reminder Apps
I always had to giggle when reading articles that guided new moms on nursing techniques. Wear a bracelet or a hair tie on one wrist and switch it to the side you last nursed on to remember where your baby fed last... Right, so my two lopsided gals won't make it clear enough? It's usually pretty tough to forget which side you nursed on last, let's be honest, so those apps are probably a waste of time.
Even if you don't spend any cash on these apps, you'll likely regret them later because it made you feel inadequate or like you weren't "doing things right." Intuition counts for more than most new mamas realize!
10 Well-Meaning Mothering Books
Although most expecting mamas tend to read up on everything under the sun while pregnant, nursing is one of those things you need to do in real life. Sure, it's a good idea to have a good grasp of how supply and demand works and the biology of making milk. But those diagrams and techniques for holds and getting a baby to latch? Not so useful.
I can't say to rely on intuition alone here, because for some mom and baby duos, that's nearly impossible. Everyone needs some guidance sometimes! But instead of clearing out the shelves (digital or otherwise) of your local bookstore, wait til baby comes to get professional feeding help.
9 Supplements For Making More Milk
This is another big money-maker for the lactation industry! Plenty of mamas are either insecure in their milk-making abilities or legitimately cannot make enough milk to nurse or pump exclusively. And the answer? Many moms think it's a long list of (sometimes gross) supplements that will magically enhance her milk stores.
But most of the time, an increase in milk output is due to other factors, like the good ol' supply and demand scenario. Sure, some supplements help some moms, but it's far from a one-size-fits-all type of thing, and there is, regrettably, a lot of trial and error (and cash flow) involved.
8 Lactation Cookies And Snacks
If you're not down for buying all those weirdly-named supplements online and sipping or swallowing your milk-enhancing magic, snacks, and cookies probably sound a whole lot better. But these are another lactation support item that mamas often regret. Not only can these pre-baked cookies or packaged snacks be expensive, but sometimes they're just yucky.
Plus, a lot of known galactagogues (like fenugreek, for example) are known to cause gas and tummy upset in babies. So something a new mama purchases to try and make more milk might just give her little one tummy rumblings, and that turns into pretty regrettable snack time.
7 Ice And Heat Packs For The Girls
Here's another theoretically useful nursing mama apparatus that's more trouble than it's worth. It's often said that heat is good for releasing clogged milk ducts or for helping moms get their milk flowing. But first you have to microwave these things, then you have to figure out how to keep them on you, and then you have to work around them to get the milk out.
Who has the time and the dexterity for that? It adds a few minutes to your pumping routine if that's the route you're taking, and if your kiddo is trying to nurse directly, ain't nobody got time for that. Personally, I regret buying mine.
6 Nursing Protection For Your Downtime
Here's another item that I've personally purchased and later thought "What the heck?" about. These plastic shells are intended to protect our sensitive bits from the rough fabric against our chests. They usually have vents to let some air flow through, and they can also catch any milk that drips out.
But really? They're uncomfortable, you can't lean over or the milk collected will spill, they tend to leave marks around your lady parts, and don't tell me you wear a bra 24/7 when you're at home all day nursing your baby? They're not expensive, but it's just wasteful to buy these and then discard them when they start to annoy us.
5 Lazy Nursers Thanks To Nursing Shields
Nursing shields are one of the most debated nursing assistance devices out there. Lots of lactation consultants say that they can be detrimental for nursing moms in the long run. The idea is that it makes it easier for the baby to latch on to nurse, but the fact that you have to "suction" the shield on means the baby is doing less work.
So over time, the idea is that a nursing shield can mess with a mom's milk supply and also make her baby a lazy nurser. Whatever you believe or personally experience, these little silicone things are annoying, hard to clean, and it's another piece of equipment that you have to carry around and finagle to suit your nursing session when your baby's impatient to eat.
4 Elaborate Milk Storage Systems
Remember what I said about nursing babies potentially being picky about bottles? That's the number one reason not to go with an all-in-one nursing system that comes in a set. You'll probably be shelling out big bucks, and as convenient as the bundle seems, there are no guarantees that your baby will like the bottles. You might get frustrated with it later, too.
I really wanted the Kiinde system with my second nursling (I pumped mostly), but I'm kind of glad I didn't get it because the refills are expensive, it's a whole lot of plastic going in the trash, and the bottles are really tough to find in-store if you're not in a big city. A regrettable purchase indeed.
3 Specialist Support In An Office
Some mamas get so exasperated with nursing that they schedule specialist appointments through their insurance. The problem with that is it can get super expensive. After all, in most places in the US, the healthcare system is exorbitantly costly. You are even charged per pill for over-the-counter pain relief (at a really high price!), so I'd avoid a formal doctor's visit for lactation support.
After all, there's free help like La Leche League, and many hospitals offer lactation support groups that are led by specialists. There's no need to pay someone to help you with nursing when there's so much expert and free advice available.
2 A Designated Pump Bag
Pump bags are adorable, I know; I always wanted one. But really, are they worth the cost? For some reason, pump bag makers are trying to influence moms to choose hundred-dollar bags when it's nearly impossible to reuse the bag later due to the weird-shaped compartments and extra holes.
Of course, if you want one, go for it, but it's often a regrettable purchase when it costs more than the pump itself. Plus, how long will you be pumping for, and what will you do with the bag after that? A standard diaper bag often makes more sense, too.
1 That Just-In-Case Can Of Formula
I'm usually a fan of "just in case" backups. Extra diapers, wipes, and clean clothing come to mind. But when it comes to new moms and breastfeeding, having a "just in case" can of formula can later become one of that mama's biggest regrets.
First, if you don't wind up needing it, you've just thrown away the cash on a can of super expensive baby food. But if you aren't sure about nursing and don't feel confident, you might wind up feeling pressured to use the formula when you didn't even need to. And for most healthy babies, there's not really a need for formula anyway, leading moms to regret supplementing when they didn't have to.