STUFF YOU MIGHT WANT TO HAVE
- I hate them. Many moms loves them & you may. I don't love bras in general though, so that is an issue for me. LOL I bought some, used them early on & then quit. If you are pregnant - buy 1 number up (so if you are 34, buy 36 & go up 1 cup size from where you are at pre-baby. Do not stock up. Your breasts will peak in size in the first two weeks & then start to settle. You don't want 6 bras that fit awesome for 2 weeks & then are useless. Once baby is here you can buy or order more.
- Very similar to nursing bras, but less restrictive around the center IMO. I just don't like to fuss with the clasps - but larger breastfed women often NEED a bra or tank bra of this type for proper support & comfort.
Instead of those I found that *personally* (I am smaller chested) I preferred a tank from regular clothing that had a slight padding (helps cover leaks and disguise the outline of a breastpad and that has a built in shelf portion. They most often come with underwires & I just cut that out. When my babies were bigger & leaking was infrequent & light, I could skip wearing a breastpad & the foam in there was enough to prevent me from leaking through *if* a small oops happened. I just found I could buy those by the dozen for about what a good nursing tank seemed to cost. They also cover your belly if you are lifting a shirt to nurse & if you own them in a ton of colors, no one can even see that it's a tank. I have them literally in the rainbow...so if I want to wear a teal shirt, I have a teal tank that goes under it.
(most common seems to be medical grade lanolin) - everyone knows the name Lansinoh - but you can get others. You can also use olive oil, coconut oil, Mother love herbal makes a vegan one
(no animal products) tha tis all organic. I end up plugging them a lot - but it's only because they carry stuff & make stuff that I don't know where else you can get it. If anyone does - feel free to share! I am not affiliated with them in any way - wish I were, I end up advertising for them I guess.
(disposable or washable) - not much to say here. Washable is great because they save money & I thought they felt better. You can make your own
super easy if you sew. I didn't even bother to make mine cone shaped after a while....that IS nice on new nips though. For disposables my personal favorite is Johnson & Johnson. Whatever you do - change often. Keep your nips dry. It helps them heal if there is any irritation AND it helps prevent yeast growth. If you can leave the girls hanging out to air dry as much as possible DO. It's the best thing for early nips. I just tell people to think of my house like Africa. Well not everyone just the females. I don't actually leave the girls flopping for my dad or FIL or anything.
(manual, electric, dual or single) -First of all you don't NEED a pump, especially if you will be home. If you do NEED one, you will likely need it for work or school, in which case you want the best you can get, seriously. If you are signed up for WIC in the US you can get a FREE loaner that is a GREAT pump, so ask. If not, you can have your Dr write a prescription & some insurances will cover them (you have to go through a durable medical equipment place to get it)...most women say it is the Medela brand to go with. Many swear by the PIS (pump in style ) or swing. I have a dirty little secret that i start there & think the playtex double embrace is better. :/ I know it isn't as durable, but I got about 1/3 more milk output with it....so to me I don't care. It has inner soft flanges that do compressions while pumping that medela doesn't offer & that was much more comfy & much better output & this was after a year of doing Medela. The moral? There is no one size fits all. The ONLY thing I know for SURE - YOU DO NOT WANT TO TRY TO PUMP MANUALLY on a regular basis. It is MUCH harder than it seems like it would be. So if you know you will need to pump regularly - get an electric...do it. Seriously. You WILL thank me. (there will be a much bigger/thorough post on pumping later)
Milk storage systems
(bags or bottles) - I used bottles when I was working because I only pumped today what would be used tomorrow & I pumped right into the bottles themselves. For freezers no one will argue bags are the best. Research a bit - some leak more than others. Most are fine.
Bottles & nipples
- This requires a different post. I will just say there is NO nipple that helps ensure your baby won't get nipple confusion. The ones shaped more like a breast help a breastfed baby be willing to take the bottle, NOT the other way around. So if you are worried about nipple confusion, don't spend uber bucks trying to avoid it. The bottle nipple WON'T matter - DO NOT get fast flow nipples though. Stick with a low flow nipple ALWAYS if you intend to keep nursing. Faster flow nips ARE known to cause nipple confusion/bottle preference/nursing strikes.
- Wear one if you want, don't if you don't. They ARE often handy for the early weeks when you are trying to get latch down with baby. They are pretty much a must if you end up using something like a nipple shield. If you want to skip it, then do. If you feel nervous - practice nursing setting in front of a mirror. You will soon see you can nurse your baby with no issue and never show a thing. I *would* recommend the kind with a metal wire in the front so it will stand out away & you have a clear view of baby. Those are much handier than trying to use a blanket & keep it in place & latch a fussy newborn.
- used sometimes when needed, often because the hospital staff doesn't know what else to do to help mom get baby latched. We'll cover hits in another topic.
- Can be used to help draw out flat or inverted nips - also useful in keeping really sore nips from rubbing against anything, including clothing.
- kind of pricey, but well worth it. Available at most pharmacies now. They are hydrogel wound care bandages in the shape of breastpads & are AWESOME if you have nipple damage. One set lasts 72 hrs.
- Boppy, breastfriend, etc. They are really handy & helpful, not a must. In fact I thought my Boppy was good - then I used it to set on for postpartum healing while tearing through my rectum. BEST.BUTT.PILLOW ever!!!! SO I bought two. I swear to you - best thing EVER to set on for hemorrhoids, so if you got the 'rhoids now, buy yours TODAY - don't wait for baby.
AND THE MOST underutilized tool - BOOKS
(I personally swear by The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
Seriously - your BEST tool is what you know. The more you are ready for what it will be like - the better you will avoid unnecessary issues, pain & problems. You will still probably struggle a bit - the difference is, knowledge helps ensure you get through it easier & faster & make it to the other side.