Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question....but I'm really confused about what 'stuff' I need to buy before baby arrives if I'm intending to breastfeed. Will I definitely need a pump and bottles, or is that only if I want to express? Do I have to express??? Will I then need a steriliser too? Nipple shields? Nipple cream? I am overwhelmed by all the available bits and pieces in the shop and just really want to know what the essentials are, and what is just 'nice to have'.
Also, I've had really confusing advice from various friends regarding having a 'back-up plan'. My cousin told me I should definitely have formula and bottles available in the house in case breastfeeding fails so that I don't have to stress about getting to the shops but then other people have said that this can encourage you to give up too easily. Any thoughts would be welcome.
Chairs for breastfeeding can be nice, but you definitely don't need one - just a couple of cushions or pillows for support are probably the best idea. Different people find that different positions work best for them and their baby - and some of them, such as lying down to feed or the football hold (with baby under your arm rather than across your front) wouldn't work well in a nursing chair at all!
Reusable breast pads are a good idea, comfortable to wear and fairly cheap to buy. You don't actually need nipple cream - just a bit of expressed breast milk can do the job, but some mothers find that Lansinoh works for them.