You have chosen to breast feed your baby, but what do you really need? Breastfeeding is so important for your baby within the first year of life. There are many supplies that people are going to recommend you have for breastfeeding, but these are the bottom line essentials. We also are sharing some links of where you can purchase these items! If you choose not to breastfeed or can’t, that’s ok too. You do what’s best for you and your baby.
If you plan to go back to work after your maternity leave having a breast pump is critical. It will help you maintain your supply and stock up for the sitter. Before purchasing a breast pump check with your insurance company because sometimes they cover one or offer a discount. If you are able to get a double-electric breast pump, we think that’s the best way to go. There are still single-electric pumps and hand pumps that can be very effective as well. We LOVE the Medela Breast pump
Nursing covers are stylish and fun! Many have a variety of purposes. You can wear it as a scarf and use it as a nursing cover. The nursing cover is used for when you are in public and want to nurse your baby; you just cover yourself up. These are super cute and stylish for the new mom.
If you are pumping you are going to need some sort of milk storage system. You will want some ready to use bottles that you can have right in the fridge as well as plastic bags that you can freeze. You also will want some ice packs if you are on the go. You can typically freeze milk for 2-3 months, just make sure it is sealed properly and labeled/dated. Here is an example milk storage set.
Nursing bras are so comfortable. They help to make access easy so you can feed your little one when needed. Nursing tanks have a built in bra. We’ve even worn nursing tanks with cardigans or an open jacket. Personally, I loved the tanks because my back and middle were always covered when I nursed a baby. Sometimes pulling up a shirt can expose skin which may make you uncomfortable or cold. Most all maternity stores will carry nursing tanks. Some of our favorite stores are Motherhood Maternity, Target, Pickles and Ice Cream, A Pea in the Pod, and Rosie Pope. Amazon also has great deals (plus for prime members two day shipping!)
Boppy pillows are a life-saver for nursing mom's. This versatile pillow lifts baby to a more ergonomic position for comfortable feedings, then transitions to the perfect spot for propping, tummy time and learning to sit. You can find some boppy pillows at Pottery Barn, plus even get them embroidered.
There are different kinds of nursing pads: reusable (cloth) and disposable. Disposable nursing pads are made of super absorbent materials to prevent leakage and maintain dryness. Cloth nursing pads come in a variety of prints, are 100% cotton (some even organic), and can be washed and used over and over. Nearly all nursing mothers will experience breast milk leakage at some point. Leaking occurs when mother’s milk “lets down”, due to the MER (“Milk Ejection Reflex”). It’s better to be safe than sorry with a wet spot on your shirt.
Nipple cream helps any irritation after breast-feeding. It can relieve sore or chapped nipples from nursing. It is really simple and easy; just rub some on your nipples after nursing and you will relieve chapped nipple pain and help prevent any infections. Make sure that your hands are clean before applying it on your nipple.
However you plan to feed your baby it’s a good idea to read up and be informed on how best to accomplish the feedings. Many new moms expect breastfeeding to be a breeze and become frustrated when they don't get the hang of it right away. If breastfeeding is hard for you or if you have any problems, a great resource is the lactation consultant at your hospital. Give her a call and she’ll be able to help figure out what could be wrong. Remember to take it easy on yourself. After all, you are a new mom and there really isn’t an instruction booklet on how to handle everything. Do your best and reach out for help when you need it.
Take this breastfeeding checklist printable for your own reference. Have fun planning!