You’re excited and ready for your bundle of joy to make their appearance, but you want to be prepared for all their needs once they arrive. If you’re planning to breastfeed, you’ll want to research information about it to ensure that you have a successful breastfeeding journey with your baby. Some items are essential, while others are extras and might make breastfeeding a bit easier for you, especially if you’re a first-time mom.
Nursing pads are an essential for most moms, at least at the beginning. As your milk supply establishes itself you might overproduce or produce at odd times. You won’t notice until you see the spot on your shirt. Test them out before stocking up so they don’t go to waste if you don’t need them. An alternative to disposable pads is cloth ones that can be thrown in the laundry and re-used.
Some women experience sore nipples while or after nursing. It can be painful to have your baby latch on when your nipple is swollen, dry and cracked. Give yourself some relief with nipple cream for breastfeeding moms. It doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients, meaning that you can nurse your baby without cleaning it off first.
This is a hit or miss item. Some women love it, while others consider it useless because they got no use out of it. A pillow helps position your baby for feeding and takes some of the strain off your back from hunching over to nurse your baby. It frees up your hands more to position your breasts and baby. Once you get some experience, you might be able to multitask while your baby has their meal. If you experience lower back pain it can help to prop your feet up on a stool or something similar in height to raise them up.
Nursing Bras or Tank tops
These are more of an optional and convenience thing for breastfeeding mothers. Special clothing gives your baby easier access to eating, but you can just as easily pull your shirt up or down to give your baby access to the breast. The tank tops may be more useful if you’re going to be feeding your baby in public a lot.
A nursing cover helps if you’re shy about nursing. You can choose to use it in your home or in public to make it more discreet to feed your baby. Some babies prefer not to have something covering their head while eating, which could be problematic if you are trying to hide what you’re doing. Alternative options include using a baby blanket or shawl to cover you.
Whether you need a breast pump or not largely depends on your lifestyle and how you expect to feed your child. A stay-at-home mom who can feed on demand without other obligations might choose not to use a pump, while someone who works or wants their partner to feed the baby needs a pump to express milk. Milk can be frozen and thawed for use at a later time, such as for going out on a date night or if you have to work unexpectedly. Pumps come in many forms ranging from a manual to battery operated or ones that you plug in. Some allow you to pump on both sides at once, while others require you to do the right and left sides individually. You’ll want a more efficient and powerful pump if you need to have a larger stock pile.
If you decide to store breast milk, you’ll also need to purchase bags to store it in. They can lie flat to allow more storage space in the freezer and allow you date them so you know which ones to use first without any going to waste. Bottles are necessary to put expressed milk in. Look for bottles that have nipples most similar to your natural body to increase the chances that your baby will take it and not refuse it because they aren’t getting fed directly from the breast.
These can be controversial. Some individuals feel that using a nipple shield means that baby will not learn to latch to the breast naturally, while others feel that it helps women with inverted nipples or babies with tongue or lip ties to get a better latch for efficient feeding. Start with the smallest size to begin and move up into larger sizes if they aren’t efficient at helping baby get milk.
Breastfeeding is an enjoyable time that allows you to bond with your baby, but it isn’t without hurdles. Take advantage of the products designed to make the process easier and help you learn what is most effective for your nursing relationship.