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What essentials do I need for breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding may not have been much of a concern to you before you got pregnant or became a mother. It was just something that you’d figure out. How hard can it be to do something so natural and instinctual? However, breastfeeding isn’t always straightforward, and sometimes you might need some supplies to make it easier. Here are some things that you might find useful in helping you create a comfortable feeding routine.

Make breastfeeding more comfortable

Here are the essential items you’ll need to make your breastfeeding experience less stressful:

  • Breastfeeding pillow

A comfortable U-shaped pillow nursing pillow can help support your tot by elevating them to the level of your breast. Nursing pillows are especially helpful if you’re nursing twins, recovering from a C-section, or if you have heavy breasts. They are also useful if you want to try new breastfeeding positions, such as the ever-popular side-lying position.

A nursing pillow may also be helping in alleviating the strain on your arms, neck, shoulders, and back so that you’re comfortable even during long feeding sessions.

  • Creams, lotions, and ointments

Most breastfeeding mums experience sore nipples at one point or another. Nipple creams, lotions, and ointments are useful for soothing and healing dry, cracked nipples. There is a wide range of nipple creams to choose from, and with so much variety, it can be difficult to know which one to go for. Lanolin-based varieties are popular thanks to their soothing qualities.

  • Nursing pads

Nursing pads, sometimes known as breast pads, are absorbent disc-shaped pads that you can place inside your bra to soak up any milk that may leak from your breasts. Not all moms experience milk leaking, but if you do, you’re more likely to leak in the first few weeks after you have your little one. You can either go for disposable or washable and reusable nursing pads; no matter your preference, make sure you have plenty of them on hand for the first couple of weeks.

  • Breast shells

These are circular lightweight discs that you can wear inside your bra between feedings. Breast shells can be used to help draw out and correct inverted or flat nipples. They can also act as a barrier to protect sensitive nipples from rubbing against clothes.

  • Nipple shields

Not all nursing moms use a nipple shield, but if you feel you need to, it should be strictly under the direct supervision of a lactation specialist or your doctor. Nipple shields come in handy when breastfeeding with inverted or flat nipples, breastfeeding a preemie, or if your little one is having trouble latching on to your breast.

  • Breast pump

Expressing milk with a manual or electric breast pump can be handy when you need to collect milk to feed your tot in your absence, manage an overflow of milk supply, relieve engorgement, or increase breast milk supply.

  • Muslin cloths

Muslin cloths are useful for wiping up throw-up and for wiping any spit-up that may come up when you burp your little one.

  • Breast milk storage bags and containers

These are specifically made for collecting and storing breast milk. Breast milk storage bags and containers are a necessity if you intend to pump your milk. They are made to withstand repeated freezing and thawing and can be used to store milk for long periods.

Your breastfeeding corner

A dedicated breastfeeding area is essential for making feeding time more relaxed. In addition to the aforementioned essentials, here are some other things you can include in your breastfeeding area:

  • Nursing chair

A nursing chair, sometimes known as a baby rocking chair or glider chair, is designed for your comfort as you feed your tot. These chairs are typically lower and wider than standard chairs, and they offer extra support. Some models have a variety of adjustment settings with a lockable position, allowing you to explore and discover a position that you are most comfortable in when breastfeeding.

  • Healthy snacks and water bottle

One of the most effective ways of maintaining your milk supply is to stay hydrated. You may experience an intense thirst as soon your little one latches on and starts to feed, so make sure you always have an easily accessible water bottle in your breastfeeding area. It’s also just as important to stay well-fed. Make sure you have a couple of easy-to-grab snacks during feeding time.

  • Entertainment

No matter how precious your baby is, there are times when breastfeeding can be boring. Having a tablet, e-reader, or smartphone for entertainment can be helpful especially during night feedings to keep you from dozing off.

Breastfeeding clothes

Having bras and outfits that allow easy access for breastfeeding, but still suit your style, can make you feel more at ease

  • Nursing bras

A quality nursing bra can provide you with ample support and comfort. Additionally, nursing bras are designed with cups that can be easily unhooked and pulled down so that it’s easier to access your breasts when it’s time to feed your little one. A well-fitted model will also help alleviate the strain on your back and shoulders.

  • Layers

Wear a nursing tank under any shirt or cardigan, so that you can easily lift the top layer and pull the bottom layer down and avoid exposing your tummy.

  • Wrap tops or dresses

These are one of the most popular outfits for breastfeeding, and with good reason – all you have to do to expose your breast for your baby to latch on is pull one section of your top or dress out of the way. 

  • Buttons or zip down the front

Whether on tops, shirts, or dresses, choose items with front openings to allow for easy access.

  • Nursing cover

A nursing cover can help provide privacy and make you feel more at ease when you’re breastfeeding in public.

Final thoughts

Welcoming your little one and embarking on your breastfeeding journey is an exciting experience. That said, it can also be a difficult time for many moms. While breastfeeding can be an amazing bonding experience, it's not uncommon to encounter challenges, especially at the beginning. With essential breastfeeding support items and some helpful resources, you can make your experience a bit easier.

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