What equipment do I need to buy if intending to breastfeed?

(52 Posts)
NutBiscuit Mon 12-Nov-12 14:36:48

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.

Spoonpaws Tue 13-Nov-12 17:22:29

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.

chocolateicecream Tue 13-Nov-12 17:21:47

re: the food suggestions, didn't see this second page (pregnancy brain), my post so didn't make sense.

chocolateicecream Tue 13-Nov-12 17:16:39

Oh yes, nodding in agreement with at nickelrock..., love those suggestions. Just want to add that I got my tube of Lansinoh on prescription if you want to save a few pennies.

givemeaclue Tue 13-Nov-12 15:30:20

You don't need to discuss you feeding planS with everyone, you do whatever you want to its not for debate

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Tue 13-Nov-12 14:12:02

no, I don't agree.
the only emergency that would mean you had to resort to a bottle would be if mum was whisked to hospital.
but, as I found out, they normally take the newborn with you in the ambulance.

that soul-destroying screaming newborn has to work at getting the milk to the right level.
the risk with giving the bottle is that the baby finds it easier and then refuses to drink from the breast.
it becomes a cycle of problem after that.

Food and "posh" squash. You won't believe just how hungry and thirst breastfeeding makes you.

As far as I know, no manufacturer has filled the gap in the market for a mouth-sized shovel so you can get your food down quicker.

Cake?? Did anyone mention cake yet?

poppy1973 Tue 13-Nov-12 14:08:23

Large v shaped cushion, great for your support and resting the baby on while getting the right position.
Get some decent nipple cream as you might get sore. The hospital gave me some gauze and I purchased a few extra - as I got really sore and found cream was useless for me.

Can't really suggest that you need anything else. I got so sore on one side when I was breastfeeding that I did have an electric pump that I used to express milk and fed the baby on the other side while I had a break. Manual pumps are hard. It might be possible for you to find a second hand pump (online,second hand) - don't spend too much on one incase you don't need it.

If you get in bottles ready you might be tempted to use them - you can always ask or cry to your partner to rush out to a 24 hr Tesco if you get to that point.

FerrisBueller1972 Tue 13-Nov-12 13:59:52

I am going to say DO get 1 x carton of formula and a bottle just in case or an emergency.

Having a 'well meaning partner' is great, however when it is 3am and you are alone and have a screaming baby due to your milk not flowing or whatever is the most lonely, horrible and soul destroying moment ever.

Other than that, nipple cream (Lanisoh), nipple pads, good bra and a comfy V pillow and definitely some box sets smile

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Tue 13-Nov-12 13:53:33

Elphaba - you're so right.
I had to start BFing in bed with just the television remote (essential equipment)
I couldn't use the internet because my phone wasn't so clever and I was desperate for a laptop.
I spent most of the first 2 weeks texting DH (and waddling to the study every two hours to MN)

AngelDog Tue 13-Nov-12 08:50:59

The what to expect books are not always very accurate about bf, unfortunately. There's info about it on kellymom.

The most reliable info will be from qualified lactation consultants (look for IBCLC accreditation) or breastfeeding counsellors with organisations like the NCT, BfN (Breastfeeding Network), ABM (Association of Breastfeeding Mothers) etc.

Be aware that many health professionals don't really understand about bf, even the ones giving you advice about what to do. Even people like midwives may not have had enough training to really help properly. Specialist groups, often run by the organisations above, are your best bet for good info & advice.

rosamarina Mon 12-Nov-12 21:32:46

The thing you really need is not stuff but information. Read as much as you can find about breastfeeding, before the baby is born. The thing is, breastfeeding is a skill and you have to learn how to do it, and if everyone around you has bottlefed their babies they won't be able to help you and some of their advice can actually make problems worse.

This is a good place to start What To Expect In The Early Weeks

And there's lots of good advice around here!

Most people have one these days, but if you're one of the two or three people that don't, GET A SMARTPHONE. I cannot fathom how women coped with breast feeding, esp. night feeds, before them.

Pinotgrigioplease Mon 12-Nov-12 16:43:36

Other advice that you may find helpful, I haven't read all the posts so sorry if I am repeating anyone.

I didn't have any special breastfeeding tops. I just bought stretchy vest tops out of H&M and wore them under whatever else I had on. Then I would pull the vest top down and the other top up. This made me feel a lot more comfortable and confident when feeding as my tummy was covered up.

Nursing bras were essential although I wouldn't buy them until near the end of your pregnancy as your size may change. You may need to buy new ones after your baby arrives.

I just used an armchair or feeding in the early days or fed lying down in bed. Hopefully this won't apply to you but I had a lot of stitches and found the arms useful for getting back up.

Final tip, always have a muslin and a drink handy in the early days. I didn't realise how long babies could feed for and would sometimes end up stuck in my chair and very thirsty!

Good luck and hope everything works out for you.

Smicha Mon 12-Nov-12 16:38:25

As everyone has said, lansinoh and breast pads! I have a tendency to soak pads during a feed and find tommee tippee the best ones.

As for a pump, you probably can get one when you are ready but I got a tommee tippee hand pump in mothercare sale for £12 when pg and when I woke up with mastitis in week two and needed to express like crazy to help treat it, I was overjoyed that I had a pump in the house!!

stargirl1701 Mon 12-Nov-12 16:13:29

I would get lots of Lansinoh cream. Lots. grin

Also - breast pads for leaks, nursing bras, hydrogel breast pads (put them in the freezer), breast shells, paracetamol and ibruprofen.

Read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

Make up a wee card with phone numbers - local bf counsellor, NCT bf advice line, La Leche League number.

Explore the kellymom website.

Look into hiring - not buying - a breast pump from the NCT.

These are all the things I should've done. I only did number one. I failed to successfully bf quite spectacularly.

Keep your nipples very clean if you get a cracked nipple - watch out for infective mastitis which doesn't have the same symptoms of mastitis from a blocked duct.

aufaniae Mon 12-Nov-12 16:02:15

You need some boobs and a baby grin

Possibly more helpfully, I found I needed pads. Lanisol nipple cream was great too (the others you need to wash off before your baby feeds IIRC).

I had a pump and bottles, never used them, don't bother!

The other essential thing you need is to know where to get advice if you find BFing difficult. HVs are not BFing experts. They have lots of experience sure, but they are not necessarily up to date with the latest advice IME. If you are finding it difficult, speak to experts such as La Leche League

They have a phone helpline which is open all day and in the evenings too. They're great smile

C4ro Mon 12-Nov-12 16:01:37

At minimum- v-shape cushion to get baby into right place, breastfeeding bra with the unhooking front and the little nipple drip-catcher pads. Muslins useful over the shoulder while burping to contain the bits of sick.

Flask to keep your tea hot useful. Not mentioned yet but a couple of nice breastfeeding tops might be your style. You can get by without and just use a loose vest and a t-shirt/ shirt over the top but there are other options. BOOB ones are really nice and I prefered those ones where there is a whole flap across the chest side to side - as they cover really well while you are feeding and it is more of a faff trying to fiddle a nipple through the little holes (on the ones where each side has a sort of flap on it and cutaways underneath). I find those modesty covers laughable as they draw more attention so a bit counter-productive but you may like them (and you should go with whatever makes you comfortable to BF wherever you need to).

You may need the lansinoh if you get any soreness (I didn't use mine).

You certainly don't need to get this stuff ahead of time but I knew I was going back to work when DD was 12 weeks so I hired a decent electric pump and later (once everything was working well) sent that back and got a cheap medela handpump instead. Starter set of basic avent bottles/ some spare medela bottles later on too. No steriliser (not recommended practice in NL). I bf 3-4 months exclusive, then mixed for the next 3 months whilst starting back to work 4 days a week, then swapped out to formula. Bottles can be a real problem area though with different styles/ some babies don't like them and may need several tries to find one.

Start with the minimum kit, you can always either online shop or send your DH out to pick up specific items.

Lavenderhoney Mon 12-Nov-12 15:53:19

Don't forget you can bf lying down in bed- just lie on your side, baby on your breast and relax....

No special chair, infant I had the rocker one from mc and it got in the way of ds head and we gave up. Sofa was best.

Oh - and if they cry and cry and struggle it's ok, it will help your milk come down at first ESP if you end up with cs. The trick is nt to get stressed and hot, and get rid of well meaning onlookers apart from your dh/ dp. Nothing worse than trying Not to flash your boobs, position a baby who is yelling and knowing or tummy is showing- and mil says ' shall I do a bottle?' as in then I can hold him and not clean the bathroom like dh just askedsmile

Nice pjs with button top for spending first two weeks in!

I wonder what Thai mummies eat grin

NutBiscuit Mon 12-Nov-12 15:49:23

Great, thanks so much everybody! Looks like I'll just get the bare minimum then and see how I go. GreenShadow I am trying to go in with that attitude but am finding it difficult due to the reactions of all of my friends, all of whom have bottle fed and seem to think I'm mad for even considering breast! You've all made me feel much better about it though so thanks for that

I have nowt but breasts!

Lavenderhoney Mon 12-Nov-12 15:44:53

Breastpads, bf bras, loose big t- shirts to lift up, bf tops can be hit or miss I found. Lots of nice food, try and stay off coffee and anything strong like Thai food as it may upset your babies new tummy.

Lanolin creme and there is a nice camomile cream which is ok if the baby end up with it on his/ her lips, you might have to wipe the lanolin off if they don't like the taste.

I had a bf pillow first time whic I liked as ds was really heavy - didnt use it for dd as she was lighter. Plus I was a bt more experiencedsmile

I didn't bother with all the express stuff, it's really expensive and unless you plan to express as you are working don't bother for the first few months.

When you are bf, you other boob might leak milk while yor baby is sucking the other. You can collect this in a little cup if you are home and see if baby wants to sip it. Oh, and milk yourself gently to get a bt of milk out at first, so the baby gets the idea. Gently, not like a Mwsmile

And a remote and spare batteries...

Peace an quiet with no visitrs and no pressure, plus nice meals and relaxing will help get yor milk going ( also a crying baby) which is why in hospital you may struggle to bf but be home and it's as easy as anything. Good lucksmile. It's such a nice time.

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Mon 12-Nov-12 15:37:47

muslins are invaluable - if you eat your dinner with your wrong hand whilst feeding the baby (i have to do this at least once every day!), then muslins stop you throwing/dropping food all over him/her

nickelrocketgoBooooooom Mon 12-Nov-12 15:34:52

oh, re: formula.
It's actually better not to - a well-meaning partner could easily "give you a break" while your baby is crying and you need to sleep and make a bottle - worst thing to do when you're in the early days - that missed feed could stop your supply settling in.

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