In the first few weeks after having a baby, it’s important to focus on providing the best possible care and nurturing to your newborn. The first method you’ll likely use to feed your baby? Breastfeeding. While there are many benefits of breastfeeding — and even if you’re not able to breastfeed, you can still provide your baby with valuable nutrition — it’s not always easy to make sure both you and your child are comfortable during this process.
What Breastfeeding Essentials Do I Need?
During pregnancy, most hospitals will give you an envelope with everything you need to take home with you. A lot of women will throw these things in a drawer or closet for months or even years before they use them. It’s easy not to think about how breastfeeding is going when your little one doesn’t arrive for several weeks. But if breastfeeding is something you want to do, now is not too early to start putting together a few things that will make it easier for both of you. Be sure to have some breast pads on hand – many women find that their milk comes in days or even weeks before they deliver, so having some extras on hand can be helpful until your supply kicks in.
Feeding your baby is an intimate act; support that bond with a nursing pillow. Made to fit behind you, these pillows are specifically designed to ease your baby’s latch onto your breast—reducing back pain for both you and baby. Like other pillows, they can be used for propping up babies during tummy time or even sitting; they’re also great for supporting babies who can sit on their own but want some help reaching things. Look for one with a wide base so it doesn’t tip over when it holds baby weight. The best nursing pillows can be machine-washed so they’re easy to clean after feeding sessions.
Nursing friendly dresses
Nursing wear is more than just a trend; it’s an essential part of breastfeeding. Many women who are nursing their babies use clothes with panels, also known as breastfeeding clothes. These garments have openings built-in for easy access, allowing you to nurse your baby without being uncomfortable or exposing yourself. Nursing-friendly dresses are particularly popular for first-time moms because they help them adjust to their new roles as mothers. Popular brands include these nursing-friendly dresses from Sweet Salt Clothing.
When you’re pregnant, your doctor or midwife will likely recommend nursing pads. These sticky patches help prevent your nipples from leaking onto your clothing while you’re nursing. Once you give birth, they should continue to provide a layer of protection against wetness while remaining comfortable for baby to latch onto. The best way to use them is by putting a little olive oil on each patch before sticking them on, which can help reduce skin irritation and protect sensitive skin from rashes. Other breastfeeding essentials include nipple cream—applied before feeding—and a breast pump if you plan on expressing milk at all.
To make nursing easier, buy a few good nursing bras. A bra will support your breasts better than a regular bra, which may shift or become less supportive during breastfeeding. Look for a bra with multiple clasps in front to make it easy to get in and out of quickly. Nursing bras come in a range of styles that allow for more coverage when you’re feeding or less when you just want some modesty from onlookers at home. If you’re feeding outdoors, be sure to pack a Sandstone Avenue swaddle with you for extra coverage for both you and your baby, especially if outdoors and he needs to feed under shade from the sun.
There’s a lot of pressure on new moms to breastfeed, but if you can’t, don’t sweat it. There are plenty of other ways to keep mom and baby comfortable. Talk with other moms about what worked for them so you can create a routine that fits your family.