9 essentials for new breastfeeding mums
The first week of August marks World Breastfeeding Week which aims to educate and inform people around the world about the benefits of breastfeeding as well as support parents. Between 1st and 7th August, the World Breastfeeding Week campaign plans to raise awareness of the links between good nutrition, food security, poverty reduction and breastfeeding.
In support of the campaign, we’ve put together a list of our top essentials for new breastfeeding mums to encourage and support them as well as provide some advice.
Having clothing that can easily be moved out the way or manoeuvred to breastfeed while you’re out and about or just at home and don’t want to get completely undressed is key. You’ll want to look for wrap style tops, ones with flaps that can be easily lifted out the way and low cut necklines, as well as having a few nursing bras that have cups that can be quickly clipped and unclipped. Don’t go overboard with a whole new wardrobe, but do bear in mind that you may want a couple of clothing changes a day thanks to spillages and reflux that’s common for babies.
Before you give birth, you’ll likely feel like you have muslins coming out of your ears and be wondering what you’ll possibly do with them all; once the baby’s arrived, you’ll never be without your handy stash of muslins. These can be used for everything from shoulder covers to cloths to mop up spillages and spit ups, lightweight blankets to pram covers.
It’s very common to pump milk to relieve heavy breasts or to store milk for later on, so having a breast pump handy is a necessity for this. A hand pump option will be cheaper but more work, whereas an electric version is quicker but more expensive.
Breastmilk storage bags
Hand in hand with the breast pump, you’ll need somewhere to store that milk for later on. While it can be kept in sterilised plastic bottles, leakproof and durable breast milk bags are a good option. They’re useful for night feeds or even travel. These can also be frozen to use even later if need be, but make sure only to fill to three quarters full as the liquid will expand during freezing.
As a new mum, everything is a first time. This means a lot of learning on your feet and asking questions, so getting advice from people that have done it all before and the experts is important. These classes will be able to give you advice on where to access more information and support on breastfeeding once the baby is born, as well as engaging you in discussions around techniques and concerns other mothers-to-be might have.
Breastfeeding may not be the most comfortable, but it can also occasionally be sore or painful for the mother due to dry or cracked nipples. Most nipple cream is very intensive, so you only need a little to soothe and help repair sore nipples.
Not only does a healthy diet pass on a rich variety of nutrients to your new baby, but it will also help you keep up your energy. The first few weeks of having a newborn can be exhausting in many, many ways, so making sure you’re getting all the vitamins you need is important to keeping yourself healthy too.
For any leakages, breast pads are super handy. They’ll help keep you more comfortable in the long run and can cover up any leaks. There are disposable and reusable options that can be washed and popped back into the drawer or your bra quickly. It’s likely you’ll want enough for at least one pair each day and night, possibly more at the beginning.
If the cream hasn’t managed to help you avoid cracked nipples, nipple shields can be used in the short term to provide relief and to allow your baby to continue feeding. They can also be used for babies that are having trouble latching on. These are made from a soft silicone and having a single pair or two that can be sterilised after each use can be very useful.