Breast feeding can be a tough experience to go through, however a very rewarding and bonding time with your baby. Once you’ve made the decision to breastfeed your baby, you enter a whole new world of breastfeeding supplies, accessories, and gadgets. Some of these products are essential while others are just nice to have.
What Do You Need for Breastfeeding?
For a new mother who isn’t sure what to expect, it can be difficult to determine which products are absolute breastfeeding necessities and which are not. When viewed at its most fundamental level, all you really need to nurse your baby is you and baby; however our modern lifestyles may require the use of a few helpful items. Since there may be times when you will not be able to give feedings, buying a breast pump can be very beneficial to you. Choosing the right one can be difficult, as there are several options are available.
Which Breast Pump is Best
Breast pumps are great to have if you need a quick and efficient way to empty your breasts for later feedings. For working mothers, however, they are the most important breastfeeding investment you will make. Which breast pump is best? Well, that depends on how much you need to pump among other factors.
When and Where Will You Be Pumping?
First you have to decide how often will be using the breast pump. If you are planning to return to work full time, then you would need one that can help get the job done fast. If you are just wanting to get a break here and there, then you can purchase a simple one, which can be less expensive.
You also have to decide what will be around you when you are using the breast pump. Will there be electrical outlets around? Will these be in a room where you can have some privacy? If so you can purchase an electrical one, otherwise you can purchase a manual one, or a battery-operated one. Either way, a breast pump is crucial amongst breastfeeding supplies and is worth taking the time to research.
The type of breast pump you select will depend entirely on how often you need to use it and there are many models on the market to choose from. They include manual, electric, and battery powered designs as well as different grades from those for occasional use all the way up to hospital grade pumps, though these are generally reserved for mothers of preemies who still wish to breastfeed.
Benefits of an Electric Pump
If you are planning to return to work then you would need a breast pump that can pump the milk relatively quickly. An electrical pump, can get the job done faster than a manual pump, however it can also be more expensive than the other breast pumps. These type of pumps usually come with a car charger to allow you to do use it in your vehicle as well.
If you are in a place where there is no electrical outlet, then you can purchase a battery operated breast pump. It can also get the job done faster than a manual one, and can be helpful when you need to pump more than one occasion. The breast pump kit will also come with storage bottles and a place to store the bottles until you are able to take them home.
In general, the best breastfeeding pump for regular use is the double electric breast pump. This type of pump is strong and fast – perfect for the working mom who needs to pump breast milk quickly during her lunch break.
Using a Manual Pump
A manual breast pump does not require battery or electrical charge to work. It is more time consuming, but also less expensive than the rest. This pump is especially helpful to those mothers who do not need to use it often. If you are just taking a break between feedings, you can use the breast pump, to have a bottle ready.This can allow any other person to feed the baby while you take a break.
Even if you are a full-time stay at home mom, you may find a breast pump necessary if you experience supply issues. Women with milk supply issues who need to know how to produce more breast milk often utilize a breast pump to stimulate production. Like economics, breast milk production works off a supply and demand relationship, so demanding more through pumping can be the best solution to low supply.
You can also choose between a single or double pump. A single pump can be used after breast feeding your child, if he only ate out of one breast. You can pump the other breast and store the milk for a later time. If you will be away from home often, you can use a double pump, to finish pumping milk faster. These of course can be highly expensive, but well worth it, when you get very busy.
If you are only going to invest in one single breastfeeding accessory, make it a collection of 3 or 4 good quality nursing bras. Your breasts have gone through many changes over the past few months and will now be carrying around more weight than they ever have in the form of milk: they need support!
Nursing bras offer the support you need while making it ever so much easier to feed baby when the need arises. Some styles offer a slit cup that can be pulled to the side for baby access, some offer a drop down cup with hook and eye closures, while others still are designed to be used in conjunction with a breast pump for a hands-free pumping experience.
The best breastfeeding bras are the ones that are comfortable, accessible, and provide full support when your breasts are full. It really is trial and error to find a good one so be sure you try on a few and see what you like. Also test the latches and make sure you can snap and unsnap the opening easily. There is nothing worse than fighting your bra with a crying, hungry baby in your arms, especially out in public!
You will probably also be much more comfortable if you use nursing pads inside your bra, at least for the first few weeks. Until your body and baby adjust to a regular supply and demand schedule, let down can occur at any time, resulting in a wet top. Nursing pads offer protection against what could be an embarrassing situation.
Most moms find the disposable kind to be the best nursing pads. After they get wet you just throw them out. But there are reusable nursing pads which are washable and some women prefer those for cost-effectiveness.
Breast Milk Storage Bags vs Bottles
You will also need to know how to store breast milk in either storage bottles or bags. Most breast pump kits come with one or two storage bottle, however you can purchase some more, if needed. These can be stored in the freezer and used as needed. Make sure to date the bottles so you can know which one has been in the freezer longer. You always want to use them in the order that you placed them in the freezer.
The other option if you are going to be pumping your milk are breast milk storage bags vs bottles. These bags truly are wonderful to have on hand. They are marked for ounce and milliliter measurements and can be frozen if you have extra milk or want to build an emergency supply. Of course, you can always use bottles to store milk in the refrigerator if you know it will be used within 48 hours, but breast milk storage bags give you the peace of mind of knowing not one drop of this liquid gold will go to waste because of spoilage.
These are some of the key necessities you should consider if you will be breastfeeding your baby. Additional breastfeeding supplies that many moms find useful are breastfeeding pillows and nursing covers. While you may be able to get by without these items, you will find that they can make your life much easier which it turn will allow you to focus on your baby.