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BALBOA BABY NURSING COVER
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: Nursing in public, especially in the early days, was pretty terrifying for me. Getting my son in the right position — and keeping him calm while doing so — was a challenge. Thankfully, I did it all under wraps with this pretty nursing cover some girlfriends bought me. It's attractive enough that it doesn't scream "there is a baby feeding under here!" and is big enough that it covers him (and me) with room to spare.
Buy It! Balboa Baby Nursing Cover, $35.99; bedbathandbeyond.com
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Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: Simply a genius little pump to keep in your arsenal. The Haakaa is just one piece, made of medical-grade silicone and is comfortably held in place by suction alone. It can be used in the early days for some relief from engorgement, or you can use it on the side opposite where your baby is nursing to catch the milk from a letdown. A pain-free and effortless way to add to your freezer stash.
Buy It! Haakaa silicone breast pump, $21.99; amazon.com
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BRAVADO DESIGNS CLIP AND PUMP
Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: Bravado Design's new hands-free pumping accessory fastens in back and attaches right onto Bravado bra clips. It has a stretchy, criss-cross front that holds your flanges in place better than any other hands-free I’ve tried (no dreaded droop!), so it’s ideal for multi-tasking mamas.
Buy It! Bravado Clip and Pump hands-free nursing bra accessory, $30; amazon.com
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EARTH MAMA ANGEL BABY NATURAL NIPPLE BUTTER
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: For me, the first few weeks of nursing were so, so hard. And painful. A visit with a lactation consultant and a prescription for Dr. Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment turned things around, but for "upkeep" afterward, I counted on this lotion to help with any dryness and cracks. Knowing it's natural made me feel better about using it before feeding my baby (vs. the Neosporin I'd tried in the early days) and it goes on so easily, unlike some thicker nipple creams.
Buy It! Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter, $12.99; walgreens.com
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SERAPHINE NURSING TOPS
Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: This British designer makes a ton of cute nursing tops and dresses, and their viscose (bamboo) material is just dreamy and wears so well. The material overlaps on itself, creating a pleat across the chest and no-fuss access ... perfect for discreetly nursing in public. Plus, the brand is a favorite of Princess Kate. How fun is that?
Buy It! Seraphine long-sleeved bamboo nursing top, $49; seraphine.com
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LANSINOH SOOTHIES GEL PADS
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: Also a life-saver in the early days of nursing, these pads (recommended to me by Rennie!). Pop them in the fridge and then pop them in your bra after feedings and feel any tenderness fade away. They're reusable, and after I'd use a pair out I'd order more ... and more. At one year in I'm almost done nursing but I still keep a set in my fridge, just in case.
Buy It! Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads, $11.79; walgreens.com
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SIMPLE WISHES HANDS-FREE BREASTPUMP BRA
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: There’s no other way to say it, pumping sucks. What makes it slightly more tolerable is having the use of your hands so you can mindlessly scroll through social media or actually feed yourself for a change while your upper body is otherwise occupied. This strapless bra not only makes that possible, but it’s also pretty comfortable thanks to the adjustable Velcro back panel. My advice is purchase two so if one is in the wash, you’re not stuck holding those funnels to your chest for what feels like forever.
Buy It! Simple Wishes Hands-Free Breastpump Bra, $34.99; amazon.com
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MEDELA HARMONY MANUAL BREAST PUMP
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: If you're lucky, you can get an electric pump through your health insurance, but sometimes you don't want to lug that heavy (and noisy!) thing around. For days when I've known I'll be away from my baby for a while, this is an easy item to toss into my purse and pull out when and wherever needed (I've used it everywhere from airplanes to Nordstrom dressing rooms). It's surprisingly effective and very quiet.
Buy It! Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump, $28.49; target.com
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BOPPY NURSING PILLOW
Mia McNiece, Senior Entertainment Writer: Even though my son is now 4, I still remember that when nursing, I could not live without my Boppy pillow. It was so helpful when getting my baby in the right position when breastfeeding. It would prop him up to just the right height so I would’t have to hurt my back leaning over so much — he'd often fall asleep on it after feeding because it was so comfortable! It was one of the main items I brought with me when traveling. Between the comfort and the fact that the removable cover is machine washable, it ended up being a lifesaver!
Buy It! Boppy nursing pillow and positioner, $39.79; amazon.com
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BOOB FAST FOOD SPORTS BRA
Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: Sneaking in a quick workout is key to my sanity with a new baby, so I was delighted to find this sports/nursing bra combo. It pulls double duty really well, doing everything you'd want from both a nursing bra and a low to moderate-impact sports bra. (You couldn't pay me to run these days.)
Buy It! Boob fast food sports bra, $69; boobdesign.com
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NOM DURING-AND-AFTER WEAR
Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: Nom Maternity makes beautiful ruched tops (flattery will get you everywhere) that fit just right both during and after pregnancy. Their snap styles specifically — dresses, tops and tanks — don't scream "nursing wear!" but provide easy access to feed or pump.
Buy It! Nom During & After Snap tank, $68; nommaternity.com
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CAKE LINGERIE CROISSANT BRA
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: Real talk: My cup size didn't so much increase as it did explode in the early weeks of pregnancy and the stretchy bralettes and T-shirt bras I'd been wearing just couldn't keep up (literally). I researched the most comfortable maternity/nursing bras and Cake Lingerie was the winner (trust me, I went deep into the Amazon reviews). Their best-selling style — adorably named the "Croissant"— features a flexible wire for shape and support, a super-stretchy fabric (so important) and drop-down cups for nursing.
Buy It! Cake Lingerie Croissant Smoothing Nursing Bra, $67; cakematernity.com
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