Clients often ask me what they should buy for breastfeeding. Technically, you don’t need much. Is everything on this list really that essential? Not everything. There are some ‘nice-to-have’ items too. My goal is help you simplify the process so that you continue and enjoy your breastfeeding journey.
Though our bodies are made to breastfeed, it’s not always that easy. Those first weeks after birth are some of the hardest you’ll live through with baby. You are both learning the ropes and some days you just feel like giving up. Patience and perseverance are key, as is getting help when needed.
A great network
I am sure you’ve heard that it takes a village to raise a baby, right? Well, it can also take a village when it comes to breastfeeding, especially when you are faced with unexpected challenges, such as a tongue-tie or a baby who doesn’t want to latch.
There are many resources out there so do find help. Your local clinic or pediatrician’s office may have nurses on hand who are skilled at breastfeeding. Many have weekly weigh-ins for baby, and during that time they can refer you to a hospital breastfeeding clinic if they see that you need extra help. Peer support groups, such as La Leche League, and Nourrisource (here in Montreal), can offer great in-person and phone support.
There is also La Route du Lait/The Milky Way, organized by Nourrisource, which helps you find places to breastfeed in public. Check out the interactive map for all the participating shops and restaurants – and you don’t have to buy anything!
Finally, ask around in your network for names of great lactation consultants or postpartum doulas. Sometimes just one or two visits are all you need to get things on track.
You can get amazing information from a book, prenatal classes, your mother or from your doula, but do get some information beforehand, even if it’s just the number to your local nurse. I think knowing a little bit about breastfeeding before you actually have to feed your baby can be very helpful. There are lots of videos out there too that demystify a ‘good latch’, breastfeeding positions, and more. That way when baby comes you’ll be prepared – at least somewhat!
I admit I actually enjoyed pumping when I was breastfeeding my three babies, though at times I did feel like a cow! You may want to occasionally pump to have a stash of frozen breast milk in the freezer for those times you want to go out with friends or on a date night. A single electric pump will do the job in this case.
If there are feeding issues and you need to pump more often, I suggest you rent or purchase a double electric pump. Many pharmacies and supermarkets rent them. Why electric? I’m all for simplifying my life and pumping is often quicker with an electric pump.
Not all women need to wear breast pads. But I’ll always remember that day I went to the store without baby. To my dismay there was another baby somewhere close by crying and my boobs started to leak. It was summer, so I had no coat and I was wearing a dark blue t-shirt! I learned the hard way.
I really like washable pads made out of hemp, wool or bamboo. I find the cotton pads, disposable and washable, stick to your breasts when they dry. When you remove them, you end up taking a bit of nipple with you. Ouch.
Milkies Milk Saver
They don’t call it ‘liquid gold’ for nothing! Instead of wasting any milk that may leak while your nurse, the Milk-Saver allows you to collect the milk in a small pouch that you place inside your bra. If you like gadgets, this is for you!
Yes, this probably dates back to your great-grandmother’s time, but having cold green cabbage on hand can help you with engorgement when your milk comes in. The leaves act like cold compresses though some studies say they work more efficiently. Wrap your engorged breast with a cabbage leaf and leave there for 20 minutes.
The nice thing about these is that they can be used cold or hot! Similar to the cabbage leaves, cold gel pads can relieve any pain or discomfort from engorgement. Warm gel pads can be used to get your breasts ready to nurse and help with the let-down.
Jack Newman’s Nipple Ointment
Pediatrician Dr. Jack Newman is our Canadian Breastfeeding Guru! He used to work at the Sick Kids Hospital and now runs his own breastfeeding clinic. He has created a great ointment to be used when your nipples are cracked and bleeding and need some tender loving care. It’s a medicated cream, but one that will not harm baby when breastfeeding, so you don’t have to wash it off. You do need a prescription for this.
Comfortable bra and clothing
You may be wondering how on earth are your boobs going to get any bigger, but believe me, they will! Having a couple of comfortable bras is a must – no underwire, just comfy cotton. Sometimes you’ll even go to sleep wearing a bra with a breast pad because you’ll be leaking so much. Being comfortable is key.
As for clothes, tops that are easily accessible for your feeding baby are the best. Don’t do like I did and go to a wedding with my baby, but not realize until I was there that I had to actually undress at every feed!! I missed half the party.
You’ll probably need a lot of these. Especially if you want to keep those comfy clothes clean! Babies can regurgitate often, so it’s a good idea to keep some handy in all the different areas where you breastfeed.
When I was preparing for my first baby, I spent a lot of energy decorating my son’s room. Crib, dresser, shelves, change table, rocking chair, etc. We were ready. Well, little did I know that I wouldn’t spend much time in there until he was about a year old!! It was lonely breastfeeding in his room, so I moved the chair into our dining room, which was the central area in our house. And closer to the TV!
Actually, I recommend having various breastfeeding stations around the house. Your room, baby’s room, dining room, living room, etc. Now you can breastfeed anywhere! This means having some pillows in each room, something to prop your feet up, books or magazines, and especially drinks and snacks.
Speaking of snacks, if you’re going to be eating cookies, might as well make ones that can boost your milk production! Lactation cookies are filled with ingredients that are known to increase your supply, such as fennel, fenugreek, oatmeal, etc. Check out these recipes on my Pinterest ‘Lactation Boosting Recipes’ board.
You may quickly find out that babies, particularly as they get older and more aware of their surroundings, like to pull, push and pinch your breasts. Wearing a nursing necklace allows baby to play with it rather than your boobs. Take a look at the colourful designs on Etsy.
Talk to each of your friends and they’ll suggest a different breastfeeding pillow. Why? Because everyone is made differently and each pillow fits your body in a different way. This might be something you want to purchase before your belly gets too big. Personally, after buying a few and finding I didn’t like them, I just took a normal pillow that I could fold, scrunch and plump in many different ways, and that worked the best for me.
What would you add to the list? I would love to hear from you. Just leave a comment in the space below.
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Wishing you a beautiful birth and babymoon,