By Baby Intuition, Mar 1 2018 01:19PM
One of our BF specialists, Jenny, looks at the perfect gifts for the breastfeeding mum.
A common question from expectant parents in antenatal sessions is “What equipment do I need to buy for feeding?”.
The answer is, as is so often the case, “it depends”.
If you’re planning to breastfeed then the only equipment you really need is your breasts and your baby. However there are a few items which you may also find helpful to have on hand:
Most breastfeeding mums find a nursing bra more comfortable, accessible and discrete than a conventional bra. You can be measured for a nursing bra in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy.
You may find that breast-pads are useful in the early days if your breasts leak milk, during or between feeds, as your body adjusts to producing milk for your baby. You can use either disposable or washable breast-pads and it is worth shopping around as some are more discreet than others. Take a look at the luscious ones available at https://www.itworksmum.com/
Muslin cloths are useful for wiping up excess breast milk and baby sick.
As you’re probably becoming aware, pregnant women and new parents are a massive retail opportunity and you may already feel like you’re being bombarded with recommendations and adverts for “must-have” breastfeeding products. Here are a few commonly mentioned such products:
Nipple creams – specifically formulated for use before, during and after breastfeeds and many new mums swear by them. However, there is no evidence that using a nipple cream makes feeding comfortable; the level of comfort or discomfort is more attributable to the way your baby is positioned and attached at your breast. No amount of nipple cream is going to compensate for a poorly attached baby. Sore nipples may benefit from having a bit of breastmilk dabbed on them between feeds and lots of air.
Feeding cushions – shaped to fit the mother’s body and position the baby high at the breast. In many cases, it is not necessary to have a special cushion and you can create the effect with any normal pillow or cushion. But if you feel you need one take at look at these, at least you can use them as a bag if baby prefers the laid position (no pillows required) for breastfeeding http://thrupennybits.co.uk/
Breastpump – not all women who breastfeed will choose to express milk and/or use a breastpump. A decent breastpump is not an inexpensive piece of equipment and therefore you can probably wait to buy until you know you will definitely need it. If you need to express in the early days you always have the option of hand expressing, borrowing a hospital breastpump or buying one same-day in the shops or on-line. Here is a local supplier, Kanari Pharmacy with a same day hire facility https://www.nhs.uk/Services/pharmacies
Nipple shields – silicon covers worn over the nipples during breastfeeding are not a standard piece of kit, but rather something that might be tried in certain circumstances e.g. with a baby who struggles to maintain a deep latch or a baby who has been bottle-fed initially. Generally, it is suggested that you use nipple shields under the supervision of a skilled breastfeeding supporter as there are a number of factors to consider in their use. Medelas come in small, medium and large so worth consideration.
Gel pads – can be used warm or cold to relieve the symptoms of engorged breasts. The same effect can be achieved by using a hot or cold water soaked flannel.
Feeding cover – a structured material drape that you wear when breastfeeding which affords some privacy. The same effect can be achieved by wearing layers (e.g. camisole top under layer and over layer) or an open shirt/cardigan or by draping a muslin cloth over your shoulder. If you’re anxious about feeding in public.
You can obviously buy as much or as little equipment as you wish in advance, but I’d suggest waiting and seeing what you actually need. Here are a few ideas of useful gifts for new mothers, some specific for breastfeeding:
The gift of a home-cooked meal or more. Note Cook give 10% discount off thier frozen meals to new parents.
The gift of friendship, support and practical help.
A baby sling – keeps baby skin-to-skin which promotes bonding, encourages milk supply and provides security & comfort for your baby whilst you get on with things. Wear my Baby is the perfect place to start and meet local mums
A decent breastfeeding book – Pinter & Martin sell the best evidence based ones.
In the event of ante natal anxiety around first few weeks at home with baby or problems when baby arrives, consider a consultation with one of our breastfeeding counsellors , we charge £100 for 3 hours of support spread over two or three home visits. Email email@example.com to book a home visit.