Robyn is due in just over 3 weeks’ time, now. My hospital bag is packed, her cot is built, her clothes are washed and the double pushchair has been delivered! EEK! I am officially ready! As it is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I thought I would do a post explaining what is or isn’t necessary to buy ahead of time if you plan on breast feeding. So read on to find out more about preparing for breast feeding. This list is my own personal view, and I am sure other mums will have a different list.
Preparing for Breast Feeding
When I had Sam, the only thing I bought in advance of beginning breast feeding was some breast pads. This time around, I have been a bit more prepared! I feel some of the items below are an absolute MUST HAVE when it comes to breast feeding.
Number 1 on my must buy list is Lansinoh HPA Lanolin – it is a natural nipple cream which provides a barrier between your nipple and baby’s mouth. In the early days, your nipples are likely to get sore and cracked, this cream cools, soothes and helps you to heal. It is 100% natural, so does not need to be removed before you feed your baby, either! I bought this myself! It has an RRP of £9.95.
Number 2 on my must buy list are breast pads. I found disposable ones worked best for me last time. They are available from many brands, but make sure you choose ones with an adhesive back to hold them in place. I have been sent several types of breast pads to review, so I will update this post in the future to let you know which I rate the best. They retail at around £2-£3 for 24, but are cheaper if you buy in bulk.
The 3rd must buy thing for me is not necessarily something every new mum will use, but cooling pads helped ease the discomfort a lot for me last time. I’d probably add these to your “might need” list, just in case you end up sore like I did. Cooling pads can be refrigerated, and I guess they are the modern day equivalent of cabbage leaves. They are a lot more discreet in my opinion! The RRP is around £4.99 for a 6 pack.
The other things I bought last time are a more personal thing. You may not need these items, but it is good to know they exist ahead of time just in case.
Nipple Shields are a thin, latex shield which creates a barrier between you and baby, while still allowing them to latch on and breast feed normally. They are good if you are sore or bleeding, and can be used short term while you heal, or permanently to prevent repeat soreness. Nipple Shields come in different sizes and some come with sterile tubs. You definitely need to see them before you buy them in my opinion, so you have a good idea which size will fit you best.
Breast Feeding Clothes
Some mums prefer to wear breastfeeding clothes, which allow discreet feeding. I personally used to wear one of my pregnancy bump bands under my top to cover my belly. So I could just lift up my normal top to allow feeding. If I am more successful at breast feeding this time, I may invest in some proper nursing tops. However, I found the bump bands were a cheap way of keeping covered while I got used to it all. Some mums use blankets or sheets, however, I never liked this personally. I found it difficult to see what Sam was doing and remain covered up.
Breast Feeding Bra
One other thing every breast feeding Mum will need is a breast feeding bra! My advice is to firstly get a cheap one as close to your due date as possible. Then go and get measured once your milk has come in, so you know exactly what size you need. When I was 35 weeks pregnant with Sam, I bought 4 nursing bras. Unfortunately, they were too small when the time came to use them! I have been sent a Bravado Nursing bra and a Vertbaudet one to review. So I will update this post when I have a recommendation.
Breast Feeding Care Kit
Medela do a Breast Feeding Care Kit, which retails at £15.99 The set includes a small Yellow toiletries bag, and in my opinion, this is perfect for your hospital bag. It also contains all 3 of the MUST HAVE things I mentioned earlier: disposable breast pads, nipple cream and gel cooling pads. (All Medela branded). This is a great little kit for any mums to be who are planning on breast feeding. I have been sent one of these, but have not yet used any of the products, so a full review will follow in due course.
If your nipples are flat or inverted, then a Lansinoh Latch Assist is something else you may want to consider. It is a small pump which will gently draw out your nipple to allow your baby to latch on correctly. This is another product which not everyone will need, but it’s good to know they exist. They retail at £7.95. I never knew these existed last time around, but they do sound like something I could have used successfully. It comes in a plastic case to allow you to transport it easily and keep it clean. Lansinoh have sent me one to review, so I will update this post in due course.
Choosing A Breast Pump
If you are really struggling to feed, or if you want to start stockpiling your milk, you may decide to buy a breast pump. My advice is to wait until your baby is here and you know if you intend to breast feed long term or not before you buy one. I was determined to breast feed Sam last time, but after 3 weeks of hell, I switched to expressing milk instead.
If you will be expressing a lot, then I’d advise getting an electric pump. The Medela Swing worked great for me, but with an RRP of £129.99, you’ll want to be sure you intend to use it a lot before you buy one. If it’ll be more of an occasional thing so you can have a “night off,” then a Manual Pump will probably do the job well enough.
Lots of companies make breast pumps, and their prices vary from between £15 for a basic one, to around £40 for a kit, including bottles, etc. I have been sent a MAM manual pump and a Tommee Tippee manual pump to test, so will be reviewing these once Robyn is here, and I’ll update this post once I can give a recommendation. Remember if you decide to pump milk, you’ll need to consider how you will be storing the milk as well as how you’ll express it.
Remember, every breastfeeding situation is different. What one person needs may not apply to someone else. If you are unsure about anything, ask your midwife, health visitor or local breast feeding counsellor.
I have been sent some of the items to review, but all words and opinions are my own.