By now you have probably perused through the baby isle or gone to a couple of those BIG baby chain stores. Oh My! Feeling a little overwhelmed with your choices?! I know I was! Does this tiny little bundle of joy really need ALL this stuff? Those chain stores will say “Heck Yeah!” But in reality your baby is going to say “Nah, all I really need is you mama. Oh! Maybe some diapers, clothes, and if I’m not going to sleep in your bed (which I would actually love to do), then a safe place to sleep would be great!”
As for breastfeeding there are a few items that are nice to have, but really not all that necessary especially in the first few weeks when you should just be relaxing and recovering at home anyway.
Breastfeeding items nice to have:
- Nursing bra—these can be a bit expensive, but they are nice because you don’t have to take off your whole bra to nurse your baby. Just keep in mind in the beginning you will likely need to change bra sizes a couple maybe a few times. Be sure you are purchasing a good fitting nursing bra and stay away from under-wire. Any pressure on your breasts can cause your milk ducts to plug up and you may run the risk of getting a breast infection.
- Nursing shirts—again, not really necessary in fact I found for myself that a lot of them were more work than they were worth. Sometimes the nursing shirts were too bulky, hard to separate the layers, or too hot. With that said, I did find a couple of nursing shirts that I ended up loving; I just had to go through a few to get to them. Use what works easiest for you. A lot of mom’s like to use a nursing tank top and just have a regular shirt over the top. This is nice if you don’t like to have the side of your abdomen showing.
- Breast pads— some, not all moms leak breastmilk, when it does happen it can sometimes get pretty messy on your shirt leaving a nice big wet spot right around your nipples. Not the funnest thing to happen when you’re out and about or at work. Breast pads are a great thing to have for these times. You just stick them inside your bra and change them when they get wet. You do want to make sure to change them often, leaving them on too long creates a very moist, warm environment that can create problems like thrush. There are washable and disposable pads, which kind you choose is really personal preference. Many moms lean toward the washable because they like the feel of the soft cotton and that they are reusable, other moms prefer disposable if they don’t need to use the pads all that often.
- Pure Lanolin— This nice to have for those first couple of weeks while you’re getting used to breastfeeding and having your baby at your nipple often. Breastfeeding should not hurt or cause nipple pain. If your experiencing this be sure to get help as soon as possible to help get breastfeeding feeling good to you. But there can be a slight twinge of discomfort that you may experience as you settle into breastfeeding. Lanolin can help give you a bit of a barrier to the air and rubbing of your bra to allow quick soothing and healing to your nipples.
- Breastfeeding pillow— these are nice to have as they can help bring your baby a bit closer to your breast so you are less likely to hunch over your baby straining your neck and shoulders when latching and nursing your baby. You always want to bring your baby to your nipple to latch, never let your baby suck in your nipple as this causes sore and damaged nipples. OUCH! You always want to get yourself into a good position (lots of support with pillows and a good chair) before latching your baby and breastfeeding pillows can help you achieve this.
- A good breastfeeding book— I recommend reading a comprehensive breastfeeding book that covers getting breastfeeding initiated all the way through weaning. That way you can always reference back to the book when questions come up or your baby is going through a different stage of development. The book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by La Leche League is an excellent choice!
- Phone number of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)— If you’re starting to experience nursing issues, having concerns, or questions it’s always best to take care of them earlier rather than later. I suggest that you get to know a good Lactation Consultant before you have your baby then you won’t hesitate to call on her for breastfeeding support if the need arises.
Get informed, trust your intuition, do what’s best for your family!