Breasts and a baby are all you really need for breastfeeding. In the interests of comfort and sanity, however, you may wish to invest in some of the following:
Really useful stuff
- Nursing bras – These have either drop-down or zip-open cups for easy access to the parlour. For night-time, opt for nursing bras made of softer fabric. It’s best to buy nursing bras during the last few weeks of pregnancy, bearing in mind that your breasts will have a growth spurt once your milk comes in.
- Breast pads – Some leakage is inevitable, especially during the early weeks of breastfeeding: many mums’ breasts react to their newborn’s cry by spontaneously secreting milk. While being able to squirt your husband in the eye from six feet away is a useful skill, there will be times when you want to be a little more discreet. Tuck a breast pad into your bra and the next time your let-down reflex kicks in before you’re ready, no-one else will notice.
- Waterproof mattress cover – Because you don’t want to wake up crying over spilt milk (see Breast pads, above). Depending on your ‘flow’, a large soft towel may suffice instead. It’s sensible to protect your mattress once you’re in the third trimester, because it’s not uncommon to leak colostrum during late pregnancy.
- Nipple cream – Being chomped on around the clock can hurt, and it’s important to, er, nip it in the bud: if you’re not careful, soreness can quickly escalate into cracks and bleeding. Apply nipple cream regularly to keep your nipples moist, which promotes healing.
- Muslin squares – These are invaluable for protecting your clothes and mopping up regurgitated milk.
- Breast pump and bottles – You’ll need a pump and pads if you’re planning to express your milk.
Non-essential, but nice
- Treats – Books, magazines, DVDs, chocolate… breastfeeding is a way of life and although you’ll undoubtedly find it fascinating to gaze into your baby’s eyes while he feeds at first, a little extra-curricular entertainment makes it even more enjoyable.
- Breastfeeding pillow – This doughnut-shaped device will help you get comfy.
- Breast shells – Slip these milk catchers into your bra.
Now tell us what worked for you…
What couldn’t you live without when you were breastfeeding? Tell us about the products that make it easier for you…