Breastfeeding can be a tricky beast for many new parents. After all, if this is your first time around, you’ve likely never used your boobs to nourish another human before — and the process can be somewhat painful, truly frustrating and downright time-consuming (definitely that last one). Add pumping into the mix, and you’re faced with even more potential pitfalls. And while correcting issues with latch, tongue tie or supply can work wonders — as can binge-watching Netflix — there are also plenty of breastfeeding-related gadgets available to help you out.
All the new products ahead are designed to ease nursing and make life a little easier for those in milk-production mode. But what the heck do all these weird boob gizmos do? Do you actually need any of these pumps and flaps and purple pearl-filled pouches? Well, in our opinion, anything that might provide a little relief during an arduous breastfeeding journey is worth a try. So, from charcoal-infused nursing tanks to a Wi-Fi-enabled pump to a milk-catching contraption to something that definitely looks like a sex toy, here are all the latest breastfeeding gadgets, demystified.
Elvie Wearable Breast Pump
Whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, one thing is true: Finding the time to pump is hard. But one company is looking to change all that. Meet the Elvie Pump: a wearable, cord-free, hands-free pump. Each "cup" holds up to 5 ounces of breast milk, meaning you can theoretically pump 10 ounces in one sitting. And while the pump fits comfortably in your bra or under your clothes, the best part is that it is silent — so you can pump anywhere and everywhere without anyone knowing.
Wearable breast pump (double unit), $479 at Elvie
TheraPearl Breast Therapy
This purple disclike thing is filled with little gel balls that allow it to deliver hot or cold relief to besieged breasts. Freeze the TheraPearl to alleviate pain from swelling or engorgement. When it’s hot, the TheraPearl can ease mastitis or plugged ducts. It's also microwave-safe for quick relief.
TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy, $13.99 at Lansinoh
LaVie Lactation Massager
This contraption isn't what it looks like — well, it is a “personal massager,” but not that kind. This one is for your boobs (so, OK, maybe still that kind? We won't judge!) Switch it on and the pulses can help break up clogged ducts — way comfier than using an electric toothbrush to do just that (hey, it's not pretty but it works). The LaVie is BPA-free and waterproof, so you can even use it in the shower after warming up those ducts. And if you have no idea what any of this means, congrats: You've never had plugged ducts. May it stay that way.
LaVie Lactation Massager, $39.99 at Amazon
Hands-Free Pumping Bra
If you can get the hang of this brassiere, you'll likely be freeing up your time as well as your hands; it’s designed to hold the pump pieces in place while you do the million other things you need to do. Clips at the shoulders also allow this to be a regular non-pumping nursing bra.
Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bra, $44.35 at Amazon
SmartPump Double Electric Breast Pump
This ain’t your grandma’s breast pump. (Did our grandmas have breast pumps? We'll Google that later…) The SmartPump uses Bluetooth technology to connect to the Lansinoh Baby app and track, well, everything. It also features three different pumping styles and a closed-design system (no milk backup in the tubes), and with the latest version, you can even pump directly into storage bags.
SmartPump Double Electric Breast Pump, $199.99 at Target
Silicone Breast Pump & Silicone Flower Stopper Set
What is that weird flower and what does it do?! It’s actually just a silicone stopper on this breast pump; it’ll keep the milk inside the pump. Haakaa’s silicone breast pump is completely simple and low-tech — just the one piece (well, two if you count the flower stopper). It's easy to travel with or keep in a bag, and there are no cords or batteries. It's available in 4-ounce or 5-ounce sizes.
Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump with flower stopper in 4-ounce size, $20.99 at Target
CharcoalFusion Nursing Tank
These nursing tanks use bamboo charcoal fiber technology as well as compression to support postpartum bellies. The idea is that bamboo charcoal can help to increase circulation and metabolism (although do you really need to increase metabolism even more while you're feeding another human from your bodily fluids?). As an added bonus, UpSpring says the antibacterial bamboo charcoal fibers can also reduce the risk of mastitis. And if you've ever had mastitis, you know that practically anything is worth trying if it might help you avoid recurrence.
CharcoalFusion nursing tank, $39 at UpSpring
This buzzed-about contraption collects breast milk that would otherwise just get absorbed in a breast pad or towel (or, you know, your shirt) and tossed out. It goes on the breast you’re not pumping or feeding from and catches that precious liquid gold. The Milk-Saver can hold 2 ounces and comes with a lid. This product does not contain BPA or phthalates, naturally.
Milkies Milk-Saver, $27.99 at Fairhaven Health
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