The Nursing Basket: A Breastfeeding Mother’s Help

nursing basket

 

Written by Courtney, Contributing Writer

The birth of a new baby brings an abundance of joy and excitement…and lots of rest, for both mom and baby. Frequent nursing keeps a new mother from extending herself too much, forcing her to sit down and relax often. In those first weeks, it’s important for a new mother to keep her focus on recovering from birth and nurturing her new baby, but eventually a more normal schedule will resume and the demands of the household will return.

I’m anticipating the arrival of my sixth baby in April, and nesting is in full swing! One of the things I’m planning for is the frequent nursing that allows me to sit back and fully soak in the abundance of the blessings before me. Sometimes it feels like I’m glued to the couch for the majority of the day in those first few weeks, though!

I always get a lot of reading and writing done in those newborn days. Homeschooling thrives as well, as we get a lot of reading aloud in as we sit together in the living room. Since I am nursing so much throughout the day, I’m usually always available to go over lessons or help with explanations.

The “nursing basket” has revolutionized my life in those early days with a new baby. It has really simplified my days and relieved a lot of stress. Just knowing I have essentials close at hand helps me to manage my home even though I can’t always get up and do things.

The nursing basket is basically a basket (tote, bin, bag, or crate) that holds mama and baby essentials. It keeps everything in one place and can be moved easily from one spot to another. I find that I tend to favor one spot for feedings, but it’s nice to be able to move everything from one spot to another when needed.

It can be completely customizable to meet any mom’s needs, from the container you use to the things you put in it. My basket changes as my needs or baby’s needs change over the course of the nursing years, taking away or adding to what I start out with in the newborn days.

My Nursing Basket:

Bible: My number one parenting tool! Instruction manual, guide, and encouragement all wrapped into one. With the amount of time spent nursing in those first months, there’s no excuse for a new mom to fall behind in her personal Bible reading/study.

Home Management Notebook: Keeping this at hand helps me to maintain some control of my home even when I’m occupied with a new baby. It contains the daily master schedule, homeschooling schedule. cleaning routines/chores, menu plans, budgeting forms, business/blogging planning, family health information, and anything I need to keep track of.

Notepad/Sticky Notes: A simple notepad is useful for so many things.

Books: Either non-fiction or fiction, keeping a book or two at hand gives me something to reach for when I sit down for a 30 minute feeding. I also tend to keep our current read aloud handy, as well as any books I’m using with my preschoolers.

Journal: I journal frequently. I start keepsake journals for my children before they are born and continue to write from my heart throughout the years. I record special stories and milestones as well as my thoughts and prayers for them. I also keep my own journal where I can organize my thoughts as a mother,writing down blessings, praises, and prayer requests.

Clipboard: This is an “inbox” of sorts. It’s where I keep papers that need my immediate attention, like important documents or bills, homeschool papers to correct, or important notes or plans for projects.

Whiteboard: For homeschooling, I like to keep a small 8×10 sized whiteboard on hand for lesson explanations and illustrations, working through math problems, diagramming sentences, etc.

Pens/Pencils/Markers: I do have a zipped bag in my home management notebook that hold pens, pencils, and markers (highlighters and dry erase), but it’s nice to keep a few in a little cup for easy access.

Laptop: My laptop is typically open nearby on a table or desk, but at times, it’s nice to tuck it away in the basket.

Phone: I never keep my phone on me, for health reasons and to avoid that “always reachable” feeling. To fully embrace motherhood, I need to be “unconnected from the world” and available to my family. I do like to keep my phone in one place so I know where it is at all times and can check it periodically. It’s usually in a basket in my kitchen, but there are days during the nursing stage when I like to keep it close by in the basket if I know I will be expecting calls or texts from my husband or others.

Yarn and needle/hook: Whether you’re a seasoned knitter or expert at crocheting or just learning one of these skills, keeping your tools and materials close by let you pick up and set down your project as needed. My goal was to learn to knit (better) during the first half of this pregnancy and then learn to crochet (beyond the basics) during the second. I now have nine weeks to go and still no blanket to hold my sweet baby when she arrives. Good intentions aren’t any good if you don’t follow through! All hope is not lost, though, as I am encouraged by this crochet series for beginners and plan to whip up something simple in the next couple months!

Baby Carrier: I keep my baby carrier nearby since I use it frequently throughout the day. It’s not always folded neatly and in my basket, but I try to keep it there!

Nursing Cover: I don’t use a nursing cover for every feeding at home, but I have learned that making a habit of covering baby during the feedings that lead to naps is helpful with encouraging sleep. It also gets them used to being covered so they don’t pull the cover off when it must be used in public. I also like to use a nursing cover when I have company because it stays on and covers so much better than a blanket. For these reasons, it’s useful to store one in the basket.

Blanket: Keeping an extra blanket or two at hand is helpful. Even though my babies don’t usually spit up and diaper leaks are not an issue since I use cloth, blankets laying around and not in use do get taken around here. Little boys tend to seize the opportunity to grab them for making forts or capes. Keeping one or two tucked neatly away in the basket gives me a back up.

Burp Cloths: Some of my babies don’t spit and I have no use for burp rags, but for those that do, I like to keep a good stash of them close by.

Clothing: Keeping an extra shirt or outfit nearby can come in handy.

Diaper/Wipes: I like to keep a few diapers and a small wet bag of wipes close by for quick changes. We do have a changing table, but it’s used for storing diapers and blankets and we rarely actually do diaper changes there. Most diaper changes are one in our room, but I like to keep a diaper or two handy for those times when I can’t easily leave the room.

Pacifiers: My babies hardly every take binkies, but I’m going to encourage the use of them this time. I think they can be a useful soothing aid once breastfeeding is well-established and if not used as the sole method of soothing. A nursing baby will (and should) be soothed at the breast beyond nourishment alone, but there should be other methods of soothing as well. I’ve heard about the idea of encouraging thumb sucking, and I will try this, but having a pacifier will be helpful, too.

Rattle/Toy: There always tends to be one special toy that is chosen and preferred by each baby pretty early on. It’s nice to keep that rattle or stuffed animal separate and in safe keeping.

Lullaby CD: I have several different lullaby CD’s, but I tend to favor one or two of them. It’s nice to keep one in the basket so it’s readily available when needed.

Other things as baby grows: I find that other things are added to the basket.

nursing basket 2

I love to just to sit back and completely soak in the wonder and awe of motherhood, cherishing the simple small moments with baby, and nursing brings plenty of these beautiful moments. Breastfeeding gives me a lot of downtime to sit back and rest. It’s also nice to be able to get a lot done! Multitasking is very easy with a nursing baby. Sometimes it seems I get more done during this season of life as a breastfeeding mom.

So, what can I do with the nursing basket?

Start my day right and replenish my soul: Motherhood is no doubt a truly rewarding experience beyond words, but it’s no easy task and we can become worn out and weary if we try to do it all on our own. Keeping my Bible at hand helps me to stay in the Word and maintain the right perspective. It’s where I gain my strength for what the day brings. Other books and devotionals are also nice to keep at hand.

Plan and manage my day: I find joy (exhillaration, really) in planning and list making. With my home management notebook and a simple lined notebook, I can schedule our days (homeschooling, chores, appointments, etc.), write up lesson plans and evaluate school progress, write up menu plans and grocery lists, plan for my weekly “kitchen day”, work on the budget and bill schedule, edit my writing/blogging calendar and plan/outline posts, business plans, plan household projects, and so much more. I’m always planning something.  Having everything in one place keeps it all simplified and organized. And even though I don’t strive to ultimately be in control of my household (striving to be led by the Spirit), this helps me to not feel so out of control!

Homeschool: We do a lot of our lessons in the living room anyway, so being “glued” to the couch makes me more available as a teacher. I can read books (read alouds with older children and story books to younger ones), work through lessons with older children, work on phonics skills and writing with younger ones, help explain concepts, help work through lessons, grade papers/tests, and watch videos. My big, black clipboard holds papers to go over and grade and also doubles as a writing surface. My miniature white board makes it easy for me to help with explain and illustrate concepts, too. The only downfall is having my writing utensils sitting “vulnerably” in my basket. Ticonderaga’s have a special way of “vanishing” into thin air in my house.

Write letters or thank you notes: Keeping stationary and thank you notes in my home management binder gives me no excuse for not sending Thank You’s for those much appreciated gifts and meals! I also keep stamps in a pouch in the binder. I just recently added notes an stationary to my HMN. I’ve always struggled with getting thank you notes and cards out in a timely manner, so I’ve decided to be more strategic in my efforts.

Blog/business: As mentioned previously, I can set my writing schedule, plan posts, and even type them up. I can respond to customer inquiries and correspond with my wholesale accounts.

Read: From enjoying a novel to researching something, I enjoy being able to get so much reading time in. I can also read with and to the children.

Hobbies and projects: There are so many projects, such as knitting and crocheting, that can be accomplished while nursing a baby. It’s easy to make excuses for not taking the time to learn some of the skills I want to become better at, but sitting down for 20-40 minute stretches gives me ample opportunity to focus on these skills.

The better question might be, “What can’t I do?” Okay, there are many things that will be neglected during this season of motherhood, but by organizing the most essential items and keeping them close by, I can still manage my home to some degree. When I multitask during feedings, I can focus on other thing that are more difficult to accomplish with a new baby, like working out, cooking, or doing laundry, during nap times or when baby is secure and content in a Moby Wrap!

I realize a first time mom might be overwhelmed with the concept of keeping such a stash of supplies nearby. It can’t be that hard to go to the next room to gather the things you need as you need them, right? Well, sometimes it’s not. But in the reality of life with a growing family, running across the house to gather a diaper might look something like this:

I notice baby needs a change and set her down on a blanket on the floor so I can run to our room and grab a diaper and wipes. On the way there, I hear my 10 year old daughter in a struggle against my 3 year old and 5 year old boys, who (after realizing Mommy left the room) decided to start gluing letters to the dining room table, where they’re supposed to be working on their “alphabet pages”. I come back to assist her in her efforts and get the boys back on task. The baby is starting to cry at this point, so I have my oldest son hold her while I make the second attempt to grab a diaper and wipes from my room. On the way there, I find my 2 year old starting to fill up the bathroom sink so he can make his wooden trains float. I drain the sink, dry him off, and walk to his room to get him a dry shirt. At this point, my daughter needs help with a grammar concept, so I give her a little hint and take the shirt back to the baby. No wait, that was the 2 year old that needed the shirt. I put the shirt on the 2 year old and then come back to the living room because the baby is crying. Oh yeah, diaper change. It’s been five minutes, but the baby still needs to be changed and I still have no diaper.

Okay, this is a made up scenario, pieced together by incidents that either have happened or could easily happen in my home on any given day. And while my boys certainly don’t always take the first opportunity without supervision to make trouble, there are those moments where everything seems to happen at once. Most of the day is peaceful and runs smoothly, but these little “glitches”, if you will, where everything seems to come unraveled at once, last only a few minutes but can really throw me off!

With a diaper nearby, I could have changed the baby without leaving the room and before she got upset. Nobody would have decided to take advantage of that unsuperivised time by making trouble. And I could have given my daughter a better example of the correct usage of nominative case vs. objective case pronouns.

I’m always looking for ways to make my home run more smoothly, and I’ve found the nursing basket to be a great help.

Do you like to gather your essentials and keep them close by in some sort of basket or other container? I’d love to hear about your creative solutions.

 

About Courtney

Courtney is passionate about natural and simple living. She believes in taking the time to nurture her family with nourishing food and healing through nature, knowing that God is the giver of life and that he has supplied us with ample resources for health and healing. She blogs at Simply Nurtured, where she shares her thoughts on raising a healthy family, with the belief that the foundation for a healthy life begins in the womb and in the early years. She also owns the Simply Nurtured Shop, where she sells natural products for mom and baby.

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Comments

  1. I read this post back in February when I was newly pregnant with our third. Now my due-date is just three weeks away (and he’s been threatening to come sooner–which would certainly be a surprise since my first two were late!) and I’m going to try to get my basket together this week…a fun waiting-for-baby project that I know will be especially useful now that I have two bigger ones running around!

  2. I have one of these too! I also included finge nail clippers for my daughter because she only let’s me trim her nails after she asleep/nursing. :) she is our first but we are hoping for a large family and I love seeing how my basket will continue to be of help as we continue on through life! Beat wishes for a healthy delivery!

  3. Wonderful post! I did something similar with my first, though I concentrated more on food/water. I had trail mix and fruit, as well as juice boxes- I had a “thing” about wanting juice boxes during my first pregnancy and it carried over into those early weeks, after birth! : )

  4. thank you! i’m in the processing of re-organizing our little apartment for the arrival of our first child, and this post is really a God-send. i know exactly where i’m going to put my basket. :)

  5. Your made up scenario is hilarious but very realistic!

  6. Thanks for this helpful post. I am about to enter my third trimester and it’s my first time. I am so nervous and looking for good resources from been-there-done-that Moms. I am bookmarking this one and will make sure to include it in my nesting! :)

    • I’m so glad you found it helpful! I think I enjoy time with baby much more when I’m not worried about getting other things done, knowing I have a lot of things I need on hand and that I can still sit down and write out my “strategy” to conquer the house once baby is asleep.

  7. I did something similar this time around (baby #4) and it was WONDERFUL to have the things I really needed close at hand the first couple of weeks!

    I’ve had kids that used a pacifier and one that preferred his fingers. I’ve not had trouble with the pacifier kids giving it up, but the one that always popped his fingers in his mouth is still working on breaking the habit at age 4! The doctor and dentist are not concerned, but he’s getting blisters on his fingers and lots of canker sores because of it. So, even though a pacifier can sometimes be a bit of a pain, I’d choose that over a thumb or fingers! :-) I’ve not had any trouble with it interfering with nursing, but all four of mine have been good nursers. :-)

    • That’s good to know about the pacifier/thumb thing! Another reader mentioned the same thing. Those are great points and after looking at it that way, I’m sticking with a pacifier! Now, to get them to take one!

      I find this basket especially helpful in the first weeks, but I do continue to use it for many months because mine tend to be “lazy nursers” or “grazers”. Maybe “marathon nursers” might be a better description! Also, sometimes I just like to hold them after they fall asleep and can just reach down a grab a book or something.

  8. RaisingCropsandBabies says:

    I keep a c-section nest since recovery takes so long and getting up and down with newborns is too painful a lot of times. Unfortunately my “nest” is so large I don’t have a basket for it all. I keep handcraft things to do (handsewing, crocheting, etc), the kids memory journals so I can catch up on that stuff, baby book and a hoard of pictures to catch up on ( have 4 kiddos, 4 and under… so I’m behind a lot due to lack of time!), the computer, tons of burpcloths, the phone, etc… It seems to grow the longer recovery takes! haha. If I have another baby, I’m going to have to invest in a nice basket for it all because yours looks so much more organized!

    • It does look organized, but remember I took a picture specifically for this post, so I didn’t want it to look messy. :) While I am a “neat freak” and disorder really tends to stress me out, the reality is that it will usually get messier throughout the day. I like to tidy it up at night so I can start fresh the next day, though! :)

      I understand the extra recovery time from a cesarean. I’ve had five sections (unfortunately…long story) and those first couple months are tough. The recovery time seems to get longer with each one.

      This is especially helpful for you with four little ones! I do have bigger helpers, but I still like to keep things nearby.

  9. I’m expecting again any time now (#3). I find this post interesting, because for me, I have never found that I have enough time to “do anything” while nursing. My first 2 babies were fast feeders, even as newborns. I don’t know why. I’ve always thought it was strange. Seriously even from the beginning newborn days they would feed only about 10 minutes and be done. I do have a lot of milk, so maybe that is why. I would try to keep them going and they wouldn’t do it. I don’t recall EVER having a feeding lasting more than about 15 minutes. As older babies/toddlers, its more like just a few minutes. And this is without any other form of food, water, formula, pacifier…nothing but just nursing. So, for me, I’ve never set something like this up. But maybe #3 will be different and I will have to try this if she/he is not like his/her sisters.

    • Mine vary, some nursing longer than others. Typically those that nurse in short 10 minute shifts will drift off to sleep and then want to nurse again 10-15 minutes later. This actually adds up to more “down time” for me since I typically hold them between these close-together feedings. I’ve considered some of mine “grazers”, for this reason. :) All babies are different, though. I hope this idea can be helpful if this baby is different than your others.

    • That’s such an interesting concept for me! My daughter is a grazer now-nursing several times in an hour but in the newborn days she would nurse for hours on end-one time she nursed for 14 hours straight with no more downtime than 5-10 min. :) interesting how unique their personalities are!

  10. This is such a great post! My sister in-law is expecting her first child March/April this spring and she plans on nursing. The “nursing basket” is a great idea! I tried nursing my daughter but did not stick with it after the first couple weeks but do admire and relish those who can and do stick with it and I’m all for anything that helps any mom keep her sanity and sense of worth about her – especially in those sensitive infant months. I am an “order” freak myself and just love this idea.

    • And this is especially helpful for the “order freak”. :) One of the biggest benefits is just KNOWING it’s all right there. It does take away a lot of the stress of wondering when you can get up to get something done, allowing you to spend more time focusing on baby.

      You could give your sister-in-law a gift inside a nursing basket with a note describing the idea of the basket.

  11. Andrea Nagel says:

    I also have used a similar method for keeping supplies nearby but found it useful to have a basket next to our bed as well to change the baby at night and encourage baby to go back to sleep. In it I kept our diapers with covers and wet bag along with a small dim light and changing pad. We cosleep with our babies and this helped me get more sleep at night. The wet bag can be taken to diaper pail in morning.

    • That’s a good idea, too! We keep diapers in our room anyway, pretty close to our bed, but if you don’t a basket containing all the supplies would be especially helpful. I, too, like to keep lights off/dimmed and wake up as little as possible during the night!

  12. Thanks so much! I heard that a good “Dad” job was to bring snacks, magazines and water to a nursing Mom – this basket will take one of those items off his to-do list :) Looking forward to our first in the beginning of May!

    • With our sixth baby on the way, Dad will be plenty busy with the other five here! :) And during the day if he’s away, this is especially helpful. My older children are always great about bringing me the things I need, but it is nice to have things like this close by so they can focus on water and snacks…and dishes and laundry. :) Congratulations on your first due to arrive in May!!

  13. This is an awesome post! I am going to be a first time mom, and breast feeding. This basket sounds like a great way to stay organized when so much time will be spent feeding the little one. I am going to jot this idea down for sure! :D

  14. Thanks for the great idea! I’ve nursed all 3 of my babies, and never thought to make a basket for all the things I like nearby-tissues, water bottle, baby fingernail clippers, burpcloth, extra socks for the pair that slipped off somewhere in the house, etc.

    One thought–I highly encourage having a pacifier to push. I did this with all mine because they would use me as a pacifier in those early weeks and that of course creates more soreness for Mom. However….I have a thumb sucker who just turned four and after my experience with her, I would never encourage a thumb sucker again. I will avidly discourage at an early age! My first child took a pacifier and I weaned her to bedtimes/carseat/church only, and then took it cold turkey a week before she turned 2. My 2nd child only took a pacifier for 2 1/2 months before she went to her thumb and we’ve had to work HARD to get it away from her now. We’re using a bitter ‘thumb stop” called Mavala, but you have to remember to use it every few days or she gets back in the habit. Her teeth are affected and I’m not sure if she’ll get that alignment back naturally later.
    My 3rd child is 18 mons. and loves his pacifier, and I’m so thankful. Yes, it’s more of a pain to remember the paci and strap and stressful when you lose a paci, BUT….based on the experiences we’ve had with paci vs. thumb and weaning? I’d choose pacifier ANY day.
    ~From one mom to another.

    • Those things you mentioned, like water bottle, are great ideas, too! I have a plastic bin inside my basket to divide my things from baby’s, so keeping a water bottle in with baby’s things that can get wet (vs. my papers and books) would be a good idea! Thanks! And the clippers, yes. We have to seize the right opportunity to clip little nails, so having those nearby would be very helpful.

      Thanks for the advice on the paci/thumb sucking. Those are some great points. I’ve never had a baby take to a pacifier or a thumb, so that’s good to know. I have had a few babies who became too attached to me as a soother, though, and that can be a problem, too. Some have taken pacifiers at times, but it’s never been a habit. The thumb would definitely be more difficult to take away when they get older and it could affect the teeth, like you said. Good points. Good to know! Thanks!

  15. I definitely appreciate this post! My 6th is due in April, too… and I think putting this together now will actually be helpful, since I already have to spend a lot of time off my feet. Thank you for the idea!

    • Congratulations!
      I wasn’t going to put mine together until April, but I’m glad I put it together now because I’ve been using it already. I’ve been experiencing excruciating adhesion pain (from past cesareans) that sometimes prevents me from moving for extended periods of time, so I’m off my feet a lot lately, too.

  16. I love this, Courtney, and can’t wait to make my own while I wait for this baby to make it’s appearance! :)

  17. Good ideas…and ways a husband can resource his wife, if she’s around this stage. You may want to add a squirt gun, just for fun. Gets the other kids’ attention pretty quick. :)

  18. I love this idea and have used it for many of the nursing times of my 9 babies! I would add one idea that I didn’t see mentioned: Get a basket or container with a single handle, so you can pick it up and move it one-handed, while carrying baby with the other arm. I don’t see how I could pick up a two-handled basket easily with a baby in tow. :-) Fabulous post– most helpful!

  19. This is an excellent idea!! I am currently 21 weeks with our third, and firmly believe that every baby added to a family makes for adjustment and trial, whether it be #2 or #7! I tend to be scatter-brained at the best of times, let alone when I’m pregnant or nursing, so this is an idea I will be utilizing to the fullest. I am already working on a list of things to be added so I can have an idea of the size my basket will need to be.

    • I can just see you organizing your list now! I’m so glad you’re getting excited about putting one together! I just bought this basket a few weeks ago, to replace my older basket that was not in great shape anymore. I’m partial to baskets myself, but you could use any container that works for you and fits your decor. Congratulations on baby #3!!

  20. This is a great idea. I am due with our first baby in May and can see myself using something like this basket. While I might not have as much in it I see how it can be very useful! Thanks for the tip.

    • I find that mine changes from time to time and is not always this full. You’ll probably find that what you have in it will change as you go through different stages with your baby, too. With an older baby, things like diapers and an extra change of clothing are not as crucial and can more easily be kept in their/your room. And on busy days (Okay, what days aren’t busy?!), the baby carrier and nursing cover may not make it back to the basket, folded neatly and all. :) It’s still nice to be able to tuck everything neatly inside at the end of the day and at least START the next day off organized! :)

    • Congratulations on your first baby, by the way!!!

  21. What a fabulous idea Courtney, especially for moms with lots of littles and little help! I love this! Thank you for sharing…

    • “Lots of littles with little help”…that’s a great way to put it! I do have two older ones who are very helpful, BUT the three littles are three boys ages 5 and under, so they can put their little heads together and well, you know! :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] The Nursing Basket – This post outlines a handy way to put together a survival pack for those first few weeks after a new baby when it feels like all you do is nurse, change diapers, nurse, change diapers, nurse…… I thought this might be a good list of ideas for a new mom (or even some of us more seasoned ones – it does seem to get more crazy the more little people we get running around here). [...]