When you discover you are expecting, it is an exciting time! If you are a first time mother, or you already have children at home, there are a lot of things that go through your mind. A lot of times creating a baby registry is the exciting and fun part of pregnancy. Picking out all the cute baby swings, bedding, clothes, high chairs, and strollers is fun, but also making sure you add breastfeeding necessities to your list is important.
Every mother should make a decision whether they will want to breastfeed or attempt to breastfeed early on in their pregnancy so they can begin preparing for breastfeeding. There are several different items to add to your baby registry. There may be classes you want to take. Create a resource list and research support groups in your area to help you prepare for breastfeeding.
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If you are a first time mom you may be thinking, “what more do I need than my breasts and the baby?” Luckily, in our day and age there are several tools and supplies that can help and guide you in a successful breastfeeding relationship. Adding these items to your baby registry, so your loved ones can purchase them for you, is a great way to prepare for breastfeeding.
1. Nipple Cream
When you begin nursing and when your baby is a newborn, there will be a lot of frequent and long feedings. Your nipples may become sore and cracked. This is a common reason many women end their breastfeeding relationship. Lansinoh Lanolin Topical Treatment is a great solution. This specific nipple cream contains no preservatives or additives and it does not need to be removed before breastfeeding. It is completely safe for your baby and is highly recommended by the La Leche League International.
2. Nursing pads
As a breastfeeding mother, leaking nipples is very common. It is also even more common at the beginning of breastfeeding as your body is still getting used to a cycle and rhythm of breastfeeding with your newborn. To help contain leaking breast milk, using nursing pads is recommended. There are several different varieties available and there are also ways you can make your own!
3. Breast pump
If you are planning on going back to work or even being away from the baby for a few hours or days at a time, investing in a breast pump is important. There are several different types of breast pumps available. A very popular breast pump is the Medela. Most health insurance plans cover the purchase of a breast pump or give you a credit to use towards a breast pump. You can also rent a breast pump too. Make sure you contact your health insurance early on in your pregnancy so you can make sure you have the breast pump before the baby arrives!
4. Breast pump shield
If you are purchasing or renting a breast pump, you will need to get some breast pump shields. These are what hook up to the breast pump tubes and cover your nipples as the pump suctions breast milk out of your breasts. There are different sizes available and it depends on how big your breasts are. Purchasing these before the baby arrives may be a bit difficult, but you may be able to gauge what size you need.
Yes you are planning to breastfeed, but if you know you will need to pump then you will need to purchase bottles to pump into. I recommend buying bottles that are the same brand as your pump. For example, if you purchase/rent a Medela pump, purchase Medela bottles and caps. You will know they will fit properly. These do not need to be the bottles you feed your baby with. Once the baby arrives you can figure out which bottle and nipple to use. Sometimes it takes several tries to determine what your baby will like.
6. Breastfeeding cover
As a new mother, it may awkward and a little uncomfortable to breastfeed in public. Adding a breastfeeding cover to your registry is a great idea and will help you feel comfortable when breastfeeding in public. There are lots of fun prints and different sizes.
7. Nipple shields
There are a lot of products on the market such as nipple shields that are used to help with a baby’s latch. I highly recommend to NOT purchase these items. Some of these products can really cause issues with breastfeeding. If there is an issue, contacting a lactation consultant is recommended. Your lactation consultant may recommend one for you at that time and set-up a plan on how to use it.
Classes & Lactation Consultants
Alright, so you have some of the necessities prepared for breastfeeding, but it is also extremely important to learn about breastfeeding and meet/introduce yourself to someone who will be available to help, if there are issues.
A lot of local hospitals offer basic breastfeeding classes that discuss the anatomy of the breast, stages of breastfeeding, when your breast milk will come in, the types of breast milk, how your baby has an effect on your breast milk, cues to look for when breastfeeding your baby, and much more. There is a lot of information and having a little background will help you feel a bit more comfortable when you begin this journey with your newborn.
Being introduced to and meeting a lactation consultant is also important; so is even just having a consultant’s contact information. A lactation consultant is a trained professional with lots of education and hours of experience in breastfeeding. If there are any issues or questions at all, contacting this individual will help you tremendously. A lot of lactation consultants will even make home visits.
A lot of communities have breastfeeding support groups available. Do your research and find out what support groups are available in your community and the dates and times they meet. Breastfeeding support groups, such La Leche League, are not only places to ask questions about breastfeeding, but are also great places to socialize and meet other mothers traveling the same breastfeeding journey as you.
There are lots of aspects to preparing for a baby when you discover you are pregnant, but preparing for breastfeeding is extremely important too! Make sure you do your research and be prepared before your new bundle of joy arrives.