Every mother wants to know what items they need to buy in preparation for the
arrival of their newborn baby, and breastfeeding requirements should be included
in this list!
With so many items for sale on the market and never having any
previous experience, where does an expectant mum start? These are some of the
areas that need to be considered: -
1) A BREASTFEEDING VIDEO, DVD, OR BOOK. This should provide adequate
educational advice and information to make a pregnant mother feel equipped to
breastfeed. It should be comprehensive and include all aspects of lactation,
benefits of breastfeeding, risks of not breastfeeding, breastfeeding techniques
such as correct positioning, latch on, suckling reflex, and let-down technique.
Explanations about how long to feed, how often, having enough milk, fore milk
and hind milk, pumping, storage of breast milk,returning to work, breastfeeding
multiples, special needs, and premature babies, and safe medications. There are
a wide range of these on the market and they all vary in the length, depth of
teaching and content, so look for one that meets your requirements. They can be
found on the internet.
2) SEVERAL GOOD BREASTFEEDING BRAS. These can be purchased at a good mother
and baby store or online. Make sure you are measured and have the correct size.
It is important to put the bra on and then lay down to adjust the straps. This
gives the correct 'lift' to the breasts and helps to prevent engorgement. If the
breasts are allowed to sag, gravity takes its course and the breast milk does
not distribute evenly. The milk tends to collect underneath and causes pain and
engorgement which could in turn lead to mastitis.
3) BREASTFEEDING COVER (also called Nursing cover). These provide freedom to
feed in privacy outside the home without the worry of having to find somewhere
discreet to breastfeed. They simply hook over the mother's head and cover her
front completely. A curved wired border at the top, provides space for the baby
to feed easily and gives eye-to-eye contact between mother and baby. They come
in a wide choice of attractive designs and can be purchased online. Failing this
a shawl or pashmino scarf could be draped over the baby and mother's shoulder to
4) BREAST PADS. These provide protection from any leakage on your clothes.
They are available as disposable pads or washable/re-usable pads. They can be
purchased at a pharmacy, supermarket or online.
5) NIPPLE SHIELD. These are useful when the mother has sore, sensitive, or
cracked nipples, to allow the nipples time to heal. They are shaped like a teat,
and are made of ultra-thin flexible silicone. They are positioned over the
nipple for baby to suck on. Make a note of a shop that stocks these in case you
need to purchase a pack at short notice!
6) BREAST SHELLS. These are helpful if you have flat or inverted nipples.
They are worn in the bra before and after birth to help nipples become more
erect and prominent. This prepares the nipples and makes it easier for the baby
to latch on. They can also serve to collect any excess leakage of breast milk.
7) THERMAL GEL BREAST PACKS. These are useful for 2 purposes. If they are
used as a cold pack, they can relieve painful breasts such as in mastitis. If
they are warmed, they help with blocked milk ducts and engorged breasts by
improving the flow of milk and congestion. If they are difficult to obtain, a
cold or warm flannel can be applied to the breast to offer some relief, but the
temperature will obviously change a lot quicker.
8) BREAST PUMP. This is a useful aid if you wish to express milk. If you plan
to return to work or need your baby to be bottle fed breast milk in your
absence. It is recommended that this is preferably commenced after the baby is 6
weeks old to allow your milk supply to be well established. There are manual or
electric pumps on the market at various prices to suit most budgets.
Alternatively you can learn to express by hand.
9) NIPPLE CREAM. This keeps the nipples supple and helps the healing process
when they are sore or cracked. Special creams are now on the market that are not
harmful to the baby.
10) BREASTFEEDING PILLOW. There are many of these on the market that either
strap around the mother or rest on her lap. It is crucial that the breastfeeding
mother has good posture and she needs to sit in a comfortable low chair, or in
bed with her back well supported by pillows. A comfortable pillow positioned on
her lap for the baby to lie on , bridges the gap between lap and breast to stop
her 'hunching up' and getting backache. In my opinion an ordinary pillow is
adequate, so this does not need to be prioritised. It is essential to be relaxed
and comfortable when breastfeeding.
Research these items and then you will be well informed and prepared for
breastfeeding your baby. This is the first step to successful breastfeeding -
I am a Qualified Midwife, and Pediatric Nurse - having trained at the world
renowned Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond St., London, U.K. I have over
35 yrs experience of working with mothers and babies and have successfully
breastfed and raised 3 children of my own. As a district midwife, I witnessed
first hand the struggle many mothers have in breastfeeding their babies through
lack of confidence, information, and encouragement. They are very tired,
vulnerable, and emotional, in the early days, and often become discouraged and
discontinue breastfeeding through lack of support. I created
BestBreastfeeding.com after my daughter gave birth to her son. I was shocked and
saddened to see how much she was left to cope on her own, with minimal
professional time and assistance. My goal is to give you access to excellent,
comprehensive information and advice through these resources, to make
breastfeeding a relaxed and pleasurable experience for you and your baby.