What do you really need for breastfeeding? In this article, you will find out my recommended breastfeeding supplies that will make your nursing sessions more comfortable and enjoyable.
First, please note that breastfeeding is the best way to nourish your baby in the first year of life. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all mothers breastfeed exclusively (not allowing your child to eat any solids) until their child is six months of age.
The Surgeon General of the United States is also making a huge push to get more mothers to breastfeed. So, if you are able to do it, you try and breastfeed your infant.
Human breast milk has the perfect combination of protective antibodies, fat, vitamins and other nutrients – everything your baby needs to thrive. When you breastfeed, you’re getting your baby off to the right start in life. Not only does breastfeeding protect your infant from getting sick (due to all those healthy immune-boosting antibodies), but he also has lower risk of cancer and other diseases in the future.
Be sure to read my related article: Why Breastfeed?
Breastfeeding Supplies – The Basics
You really don’t need anything to breastfeed. After all, mothers have been nursing their babies for thousands of years without any expensive bottles or equipment. But in today’s modern world, you don’t want to breastfeed in discomfort. Nursing products will make your life much easier, and much more comfortable.
Breastfeeding gear that you’ll want to stock up on include:
1.Nursing Bras – In the third trimester, it’s a good idea to start stocking up on one or two comfortable and supportive nursing bras. You only need three to start with: one for wearing, one to wash, and one that’s clean and ready for wear.
Don’t go overboard in buying too many nursing bras before giving birth, since it’s possible that your breasts will increase in size once your milk comes in.
2. Nursing Pad – Your breasts are going to leak milk, even when you are not nursing. Also, it’s also common for your baby to nurse on one breast, and have the other one leak at the same time. Since you don’t want your bra to get wet and soaked from the spillage, stock up on some nursing pads.
You simple stick a nursing pad inside your bra to soak up all that extra leakage. You can find both disposable nursing pads, or a washable nursing pad at any maternity store or online.
3. Nursing Tops – This isn’t a must-have, but some moms like to wear clothes that are made especially for breastfeeding. These special tops have easy access panels that make nursing your baby very easy. Nursing tops make you look stylish, and it prevents you from having to lift up your shirt for each feeding.
4. Nursing Pillow – Many nursing moms swear by Boppy pillows. They help prop your baby up and give you support while you breastfeed. Since breastfeeding can definitely make your arms tired, nursing pillows can definitely be a life saver.
If you don’t want to spend extra on a nursing pillow, you can also just use any study pillow (or two or three) and put it across your lap to prop your baby up.
5. Nipple Cream – In the early days of breastfeeding, you will have to deal with sore, cracked nipples. Nipple cream – like the popular brand, Lansinoh HPA Lanolin (which is the only prouct endorsed by the La Leche League International) – can soothe and heal your sore, uncomfortable nipples.
And if you don’t use up the entire tube, since sore nipples typically go away after your baby is nursing well, you can use up the rest of the tube as diaper rash cream.
6. Nursing Covers – If you plan to breastfeed in public, you should buy a few nursing covers. Many brand name nursing covers come in a variety of stylish colors, and they help conceal both your breast and your baby while you are nursing in public. Everything stays hidden, so you can breastfeed without strangers’ eyes on you.
If you don’t buy a fancy nursing cover, you can also just use a baby blanket and make your own nursing cover. It’ll save money, and you will get a ton of baby blankets as baby shower gifts.
7. Breast Milk Pump – Stay-at-home mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding probably won’t ever need a breast pump. But if you have to go back to work, or if you just want to pump so that your husband can feed your baby, you definitely need to invest in a breast milk pump.
There are two types of breast pumps available: hand-powered, manual pumps and electric powdered pumps. Both of these types of breast pumps come in a variety of styles and prices.
Manual pumps typically are less expensive. They are perfect for moms who just want to pump occasionally.
Electric pumps can be more expensive. They pump both of your breasts at the same time, but they get the job done much quicker. They are the best option if you are a full-time working mom.
8. Bottles and Storage Bags – If you plan to be using a breast pump, you will need bottles or storage bags to store your milk.
When it comes to bottles, glass bottles are better if you plan on freezing your milk. The milk will be better preserved in the freezer when it’s in a glass bottle. If you’d rather not risk breakage, you should get a hard, clear plastic bottle. These are probably more convenient for every day use – like if your baby is at a daycare.
Although colored baby bottles are cute, you should avoid using them. Sometimes, the dyes in the bottle can enter your breast milk.
If you use storage bags, make sure that you double bag the thinner bags. Store the bag in a hard plastic storage container that has a lid in the freezer. This helps decrease the risk of tears in the milk storage bag.
Breastfeeding is Cheaper
Although the breastfeeding gear (above) does sound like a lot, it’s actually the cheaper alternative.
Mothers who bottle feed will spend $2,000 (on average) to feed their infants. In contrast, breastfeeding mothers will make a one-time investment of $500 (breast pump included) for their breastfeeding gear.
Breastfeeding is still the cheaper, more economical way to fed your baby. Breast milk is free, and the price of formula keeps increasing. (Not to mention there are always baby formula recalls.)