Almost all of the women I know who have had kids intended on Breast feeding. Some lasted longer than others at it, because let’s not sugar coat it- Breast feeding is HARD. From what I’ve heard, it gets easier the longer you stick with it… Or you become exclusively a pumper (as I did)… Or you switch to formula.
Regardless, there are countless products out there that can make it easier on you. None of these are in fact required. Mother Nature already gave you breasts so you’ve honestly got all you need… But why make things harder than you have to?
1. Get a Breast pump. When Ms Bugs was born in 2013, our insurance covered our breast pump. I’m not positive if they still do, and you’ll need to call your insurance company to see what they do cover. A good breast pump is not cheap. We had the higher end Modela one. Why do you want a breast pump? Because sometimes your body produces more milk than your baby needs and your breasts swell to painful levels (aka engorgement) and you need to empty them, and breast milk is like liquid gold and you can’t let that go to waste. Or, breast feeding is too painful but you still want to give your child breast milk so you pump and feed through a bottle. Or… There’s tons of reasons. Go get that free/cheap breast pump!
2. Breast milk storage containers. Like I said above, breast milk is liquid gold. You need to save every last drop that you can of it. Thus, you need storage containers. I used both the bags and the bottles and either worked well.
3. Cream/Pads- Nipples are sensitive to start with, and now you’re going to let your baby chomp down on them over and overs against. They will get sore, especially in the beginning. Buy the creams (Lansinoh is popular but there are many to choose from). But the gel pads that go in the fridge between uses. Those gel pads are oh so lovely when chilled.
3. Nursing bras- yes, you could just lift your breast or of your bra but that’s uncomfortable and trust me, your hands will be full with the baby already. Get some nursing bras. These bras are not cheap though, so borrow where possible and check eBay (wash before use!). If you’re mid pregnancy, don’t buy them now because your tatas aren’t done growing yet, and you don’t know what size you’ll be. Buy nursing bras towards the end of the pregnancy (3rd trimester) and buy a cup size bigger than you currently are (because they will continue to grow when the milk comes in after birth).
4. Bra Pads- no, I’m not referring to stuffing your bra like an adolescent. It may feel like it though. When you finish breast feeding your wee one, expect that there is leakage. Hell, your boobs could leak when you sneeze or laugh. It tends to happen at the most i opportune times. You’ll want to buy breast pads. True, you could use tissues- but they may stick (ick). You could use a cut up wash cloth but that may make you look lumpy and be uncomfortable. The pads are quite nice.
5. Pillow- It’s commonly referred to as the Boppy but there are other companies that make similar ones. Many mothers swear by them. I found that my breasts were too big and the Boppy put Ms Bugs at an uncomfortable angle, so I stopped using it and resorted to an extra bedroom pillow.
6. Nursing cover- I know many mothers (myself included) that figured to hell with those that were made uncomfortable by breastfeeding and didn’t buy a cover… But they’re cheap so if you aren’t as brazen, you’ll want one.
If you plan on pumping a lot/exclusively you’ll want to get two more things:
1. An adaptor for your cigarette lighter that converts power into a strong we level, like for a laptop. Most breast pumps come with a cigarette adapter, but I found that didn’t provide enough juice to get the breast pump to fully function at optimum suckage.
2. A small cooler pack to store pumped breast milk when on the road.