The breastfeeding routine can get exhausting. Dragging yourself through sleepless nights and cluster feeds, a mom can’t help but wonder: will this ever get easier? Can a lady just relax once in a while? If you’re having trouble getting into a nursing routine, or just looking to make feeding time less stressful, consider creating a space where you and your baby can intimately bond.
Consider a nursing nook.
A nursing nook is an area set up for relaxation and bonding while you feed your baby or pump. Think of it as a mini retreat, where you and your baby can take a step away from all of the stress, noise, and trouble of the day. You can create a cozy nursing nook based on your specific breastfeeding and pumping needs, enabling you to spend peaceful quality time with your baby (or your milk supply) as you nurse.
Let’s create your breastfeeding area oasis!
Creating a Breastfeeding Nook at Home
The first step in creating a cozy breastfeeding nook for nursing is to identify a space where you and your baby can chill. It can be as tiny as a corner in an apartment, or as spacious as a whole room. Find someplace uncluttered where you feel calm and your baby will feel the calm too. Then, purposefully add items to your nook as you need them.
Here are a couple items I have found to be most critical to actually relaxing as I nurse my baby:
Having a seat where you can lean back is the cornerstone of your breastfeeding sanctuary. A nursery glider or recliner are great options for having comfortable space to yourself, but a couch will do just as well.
Side or End Table
An essential piece of furniture for any lactation space, a table that holds your supplies for easy access will prevent you from bending and lunging for items you need while nursing. No need to get fancy—this Amazon Basics table should hold everything you need.
Outlet Access/ Phone Charger
Pick a place where you can plug in your phone while you nurse and consider picking up a multi-access outlet with USB ports to make your life easier. Also, pro tip: make sure you can actually reach said phone when it’s plugged in, because there’s nothing more frustrating than being trapped under a sleeping baby and not being able to reach your phone. (Sorry if that offends you, but it’s the truth.)
Quiet music or white noise may help your baby settle down and soothe your mom nerves at the same time. The Hatch Rest nightlight and sound machine can be controlled using your phone, making it easy to play quiet sounds without getting up to adjust volume or brightness. And, if you’re on a budget, a plain old box fan works wonders for blocking out other noises in your household and providing white noise to lull your baby to sleep.
Nursery Breastfeeding Products to Have on Hand
A key feature of an effective nursing nook is having everything you need while breastfeeding or pumping easily accessible. To avoid having to stand and search for stuff with a baby attached to your boob (it’s not enjoyable, I’ve done it!) make sure your space includes these items:
- Water bottle. Keeping properly hydrated is critical to maintaining a milk supply. Make sure you have a water bottle on hand filled with some high quality H20 or your favorite flavored electrolyte beverage. It sounds silly, but I’ve loved having a water tumbler with a straw to make it super easy to hydrate, even one-handed.
- Nursing supplies. Having nipple cream and reusable breast pads on hand can be a huge relief for those early breastfeeding days. It can also be useful to have supplies such as cooling gel pads and ice packs readily available.
- Pumping supplies. For moms who exclusively pump, having an area already set up with your pumps and all their charging cords makes a big difference. Try setting it all up on a side table, or having a basket filled with nipple shields and bottles for easy, ready-to-go assembly.
- Nursing pillow. Using a nursing pillow is a great way to get some back support without having to hunch over while breastfeeding or pumping. It also makes getting your baby in the correct position very easy. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the Boppy pillow and couldn’t imagine nursing a baby without one.
- Diaper caddy. If your nursing oasis isn’t near a changing table, consider stocking a diaper caddy with wipes, diapers, a changing pad, diaper cream, and waste bags for easy, mid-feed changes.
- Bottle/pump holder. One genius product that I discovered way too late in my pumping game is the The Bokee is a unique solution to holding bottles or full pump bottles when you’re running short on hands yourself (you know, because they’re pretty much always full of a baby?) It’s a bottle prep accessory that can be used for prepping a bottle, storing a full bottle pump, fixing a cup for your little one—the sky is the limit. It has a suction bottom so it sticks to a flat surface and allows you to safely put your pumped milk in it without the risk of spilling. Let’s all breathe a sigh of relief there, shall we?
- Lots of receiving blankets. Pumping and breastfeeding can be messy sometimes. I stocked a large basket next to my recliner with a lot of receiving blankets and other blankets to grab easily from the chair—they’re great for cleaning up quick spills, spit-up, and I always keep a large blanket on hand for myself if I get cold for those middle-of-the-night feedings.
A Pumping Paradise: Your Nursing Nook at Work
Working moms know that finding the time in a stressful work day to relax can be difficult. Add pumping to your breaks and the relaxation becomes even harder to find. If you have the ability to create a pumping nook at work, consider setting it up with the following items on hand.
- Outlet and extension cord– This goes without saying, but finding a space with easy outlet access is important when you have a pump that needs to be plugged in. Bringing your own extension cord can open up some flexibility for where you can park and pump. If you haven’t yet, it’s also worth checking out those amazing options for cordless pumps.
- Pump wipes. Wipes that clean your pump without soap and water are great for quick cleanup without having to scrub out your pumping parts in the sink. These work well for cleaning milk in between pumping sessions.
- Nursing cover. For discreet pumping, having a large scarf or a nursing cover on hand can make a big difference in where you can pump with some peace and privacy.
- Pumping sign. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but you could stash a simple piece of paper (or laminate one if you have time) that you can affix to the door outside if you are using a shared space to pump. Something like, “Pumping in Progress, Done at X:00 PM” can be helpful to alert your coworkers of when you will be exiting the room so they can use it if needed.
Don’t Forget Your Own Care
Don’t forget to incorporate aspects of your own self-care in your breastfeeding nook. After all, the purpose of your breastfeeding nook is to cultivate your own relaxation as well as baby’s. It’s important to include some of your own enjoyments into your breastfeeding routine. You might want to have a book to read, a podcast downloaded, an episode of a cheesy show on queue or a meditation app ready to play in your breastfeeding and pumping space.
Now you can kick back and relax, embracing those baby cuddles as a slice of heaven itself.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a lactation room need?
Can you walk around while breastfeeding?
Yes you can! We recommend using feeding time as a time to get a little bit of rest though, if you can.
Is it safe to use a phone while I’m breastfeeding?
Yes. Just make sure you aren’t so distracted that you aren’t in tune to your baby’s physical needs. And be careful not to drop the heavy phone on their heads- it can hurt.
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Reviewed by Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN…