Finally, the pregnancy journey is over. Your little bundle of joy has been born and has joined the family. It’s now time to start thinking about how to make sure baby grows to be healthy and strong, proper feeding and nutrients are essential for this.
If you choose to breastfeed, it’s important to know that there are certain items you will need to make the whole process comfortable and convenient for you to make sure baby is.
Here are 7 things you’ll need for breastfeeding
- Nursing Pads: Most women find that their breasts leak, with different frequencies. Nursing pads are pads you place over your nipple when you’re not breastfeeding to absorb milk that leaks.
- Nursing Bras: These are special kinds of bras that make breastfeeding a whole lot more convenient. First, they provide extra support to your breasts, which are bigger and heavier than normal. Second, they dispense with the need to take off the bra whenever you want to breastfeed because they’re made with flaps that can be opened to uncover the nipple.
- Electric pump or Manual pump: A breast pump is simply a device that’s used to express/extract milk from your breasts. You may be asking, why would you need to pump your breastmilk? To ensure that your baby can continue having breast milk even when you’re not around, especially if you are planning to go back to work. The breast milk you extract will then be placed in bottles or collection bags, and can later be bottle-fed to your baby.
- Bottles or Collection bags: Once you’ve pumped out your breast milk, the next step is to store it properly for when baby needs it. Storage is done either freezing the milk in either a bottle or a collection bag. Refrigerating can be done provided that the breastmilk is to be used within a few days.
- Nipple Creams: Some women develop dry, cracked or sore nipples while breastfeeding. Nipple creams or ointments are used to relieve the soreness and assist/speed up the healing of the nipples. Some even prevent the cracking and drying of the nipples from happening in the first place. There’s an overwhelming variety of nipple creams on the market. You should always ensure you get one that’s made from ingredients that are safe for your baby to ingest, as traces of it may still be left on your nipple when you’re feeding him/her.
- Nipple Shields: These are artificial nipples worn over your nipples when you’re breastfeeding to help with latching. This is because some women have flat or inverted nipples which can make breastfeeding a bit tough, as the baby would find it hard to latch on to the nipples.
- Nursing Cover-ups: Some nursing mothers feel uncomfortable when they need to breastfeed in public. If this is you, a nursing cover or shawl will serve you well. A nursing cover should be made from breathable material or you run the risk of suffocating your baby. Ideally, it should also be easy to clean. Note: Nursing covers are not ‘a must’. There’s nothing wrong with breastfeeding publicly without a cover. You should only use one if it’s truly your preference.
Nursing pads can either be reusable or disposable. If you’re getting reusable nursing pads, which is more economical, make sure that it’s made from 100% cotton. On the other hand, if you’re purchasing disposable ones, they could be made from either cotton or absorbent paper. To reduce your risk of infection, you should take off pads and throw away (if disposable) when they become damp or wash them (if reusable).
Also, there are silicone nursing pads, which don’t absorb leaks but work to prevent them from happening by exerting light pressure to your breasts.
There are numerous types of nursing bras, and it’s important that you choose one that fits comfortably. It is also advisable to avoid nursing bras that have underwire as that can obstruct your milk flow and cause mastitis (inflammation of the breast tissue) or cause your milk ducts to be congested.
The breast pump can either be electric or manual. Manual pumps are best for infrequent pumping or pumping on-the-go. They eliminate the need to have to find an electrical outlet whenever you want to use it, as they can be powered by hand or foot. On the other hand, electric pumps are the wiser choice if you plan to withdraw milk regularly.
Breast pumps can also be used to relieve engorgement or to stimulate lactation for women who have low-supply.
Using a breast milk collection bag allows you to save freezer/fridge space, and the milk thaws faster. The downside to them is that they are not reusable, as they come pre-sterilized. Milk bottles are made of glass or BPA-free plastic and they take up more space than collection bags, but they’re reusable.
Avoid nipple creams that you have to wash off before breastfeeding. It means the ingredients may be toxic to your baby, and the constant washing off may dry out your nipples even more! Most mothers choose 100% lanolin nipple creams which are safe and effective. But if you’re vegan, you may want to go with plant-based alternatives.
Nipple shields are not intended for long-term use. They’re to aid with drawing out the nipples to a point where you no longer need them to breastfeed. Nipple shields, in some cases, help to regulate the flow of milk for women. And they are also used to protect sore or cracked nipples. Nipple shields are associated with an increased risk of developing clogged ducts or mastitis so it is advised to only use them when your physician or lactation consultant recommends them to you.
All in all, breastfeeding can be a bonding experience for mother and child. And these items are created to make it a more comfortable experience and help you overcome difficulties that may be encountered along the way.