Pregnant: What feeding equipment will I need?(27 Posts)
I'm 19 weeks with my first baby and I am planning on giving breast feeding a go, but I don't want to get too hung up on it so if it isn't possible, I would like to be prepared with some formula in case I can't feed and baby is screaming in the middle of the night.
So could anyone advise me on what equipment I will need to buy? I know I will need a steriliser and bottle warmer if I do end up bottle feeding, and if I were to breast feed I would probably buy a pump, but what will I need right away? What can't wait?
Thanks in advance :-)
I'd agree that there's nothing you actually need, just things that some women find useful and others don't. Personally I never used lansinoh and never felt the need for it. Despite leaking I don't really use breast pads as I just find them a faff and forget to put them back in post-feed. I did have an electric pump and steriliser ahead of time because I was always keen on trying to express, but you don't need those and can order online easily.
In advance I'd suggest thinking about practical things to make the environment you are in comfortable for long feeding sessions with a newborn. Do you have somewhere comfy to sit and feed? I have a widgey breast feeding pillow, and although not essential I found it great. If you'll be doing night feeds in bed have lots of nice pillows to prop yourself up. Also have food in, either batch cook and freeze or ready meals, that you can eat one handed while feeding. Have some entertainment sorted - my nexus tablet was invaluable.
Personally I wouldn't buy nipple shields in advance. They are only an appropriate answer for a fairly small group of women, and you have to be on the look out for problems they can cause - like falling supply through insufficient nipple stimulation. I think you'd be better off saving the money and making sure you knew a couple of places you could get good breastfeeding support - plus maybe knowing where you could get hold of nipple shields if they did turn out to be worth a try for you.
I'm generally against buying lots of equipment upfront though, as I've said above. Most people won't use a lot of it, so it's just a waste of money and landfill.
ikI'm two weeks in and the things I've used...
Vests that pull down (with no bra in first few days)
Soft cotton nursing bras when my milk came in - so I could put in breast pads for the leakage and savoy cabbage to ease the engorgement)
My friend had bought me a starter bottle set.
When baby wasn't putting on enough weight I could hand express into the bottles or smaller bottle lids! but soon decided a hand pump would be easier and bought that.
At the moment we are sterilizing the old fashioned way in boiling water as I'm hoping we can go back to just using boobs! And I don't want to buy something that I may not need or use much.
I considered having some of the little ready made formulas in as back up but in the end never bought them. Am glad I didn't as the weight issues mean I haveto top up but am doing it with expressed breast milk. My well meaning DH and family with no breastfeeding experience I know would have quickly pressured me to just use the cartons in the cupboard. I may still have to add in a bit of formula but I know I gave it a bloody good go before I take that step!
The biggest thing I needed was support to get the latch correct - ask midwives for help, some are better than others, have the breastfeeding helpline saved in your phone and find out where and when are your local breastfeeding groups. Our first trip out wasn't to visit family or friends but to go to a group when little one was about 10 day's old!
Most of all - wish you good luck...
Thinking about it - a set of nipple shields may be worth getting.
My DD could only latch on if I used them and they didn't have them at the hospital so had to send MIL out for them, when it suddenly occurred to the midwifes after 48 hours of unsuccessful attempts at bf that they might be worth a try .
I only managed to bf for a couple of weeks but even in that short time I found expressing by hand easier and more effective than using the pump I'd spent 30-odd quid on, so I wouldn't rush into buying one beforehand tbh.
OP, you may want to consider going to a LLL meeting if there is one near you. You can get practical tips from local bf mums who will support you when the baby arrives.
The womanly art of breast feeding is another good book to look at too.
The Food of Love is a brilliant book - funny, thorough, and lots of pictures. Also has a really lovely, non-pushy, encouraging tone. I read it over and over in the first few weeks. ("Is it REALLY ok my baby's just fed for 4 hours?" - etc)
I got breast pads and lanisoh and a couple of cheap nursing bras. I deliberately did not buy the "just incase formula". I left the expressing equipment until later. You can sterilise by boiling in a pan if you need to, and warm a bottle by putting it in hot water. Working out kit under pressure (ie, in the middle of the night with a screaming baby) is stressful I think! Hand expressing in the bath is easier and less stressful than trying to work out a pump when engorged, I think. I bought nice bras once my size had settled. I felt it was better to just focus on the feeding and think positive - but I can understand wanting to feel prepared in case it doesn't work too. But even if it's going well (it did for me) there comes a moment (or several moments) on day 5 growth spurts and six week growth spurts where you just think "oh for fuck's sake, can't I just give a bottle" - and I found it helpful that my boyfriend never said that (i'm sure he was thinking it) and that the stuff wasn't just in the cupboard. That's not meant to knock anyone using formula, I just found it helped to keep all distractions away. I did borrow a pump and a steriliser and buy some bottles and a dummy around a month in, when I knew what I was doing and could work them out at my leisure.
The absolute best thing you can get for breastfeeding is supportive people. Get your partner on board, and if you possibly can, book someone in when he goes back to work!! I had my mum stay for 2 weeks after he went back to work and she did everything and I just fed. 9 months into bf now and it's been really good for us both.
Yes, Kindle or smartphone is brilliant for reading while feeding as it's light and one-handed!
Yes to the book advice; this time around I have a kindle ready and a nexus tablet (backlit for night feeds!) Reading kept me sane but it is tricky holding a book/page turning while feeding!
...oh and savoy cabbage for about day 3-5 for when your milk comes in! Keep it in the fridge and pop leaves in your bra if your boobs are v swollen and painful, it really does help, honestly!
Best brand of breast pads I have found are Johnsons. I have tried em all and I think these really are the best! Just get some stretchy feeding bras until your boobs settle down size wise in preparation.
i made the mistake this time of buying some in advance and they were way too small! No worries, I thought, they will fit in a few months , but bf hasn't worked out for us so they are never going to be worn anyway! That said, bf went really well for our first, so you never can tell!
Get lots of advice if it doesn't get off to a great start DO NOT struggle through without asking for help. I hope it all goes really well for you - however you feed your little one! X
If you want to read anything about breast feeding do it whilst you are still pregnant. Holding a book and turning pages is really not an easy thing to do whilst holding and feeding a newborn, and you won't have a lot of time in between feeds to read IME.
I would recommend getting a hand pump. Handy for dealing with engorgement when your milk comes in at 3-4 days, and then for expressing if you choose to introduce a bottle or have future engorgement issues.
Wow, thanks so much for all the advice everyone. It was just what I needed! :-)
Read The Food of Love. Straightforward and humorous guide to bf. You don't need to buy anything apart from breast pads and lansinoh.
Lansinoh. Lots and lots of Lansinoh
Breast pads disposable or washable whatever works for you
Oh yeah, and talking of box sets - telly. Lots of it. I found a good series on DVD/Netflix to watch and someone to bring healthy snacks, er, I mean huge bars of Green & Blacks made it much easier to deal with the mammoth new baby feeding sessions. I'm surprised DS1 didn't think Tony Soprano was his real dad.
You know what, a book on bf would be a good idea. Unless you know your HV & midwives are bf experts/ you have a relative/friend prepared to guide you, bf can be v tricky.
Look up the la leche league uk website, they sell bf books.
And plan to go to your local meeting. (Wish I'd gone earlier than 10weeks)
I know what you mean about wanting to be prepared I was exactly the same. There's so much to buy for bottle feeding, it's really odd to not need to buy anything for bf!
Definitely lansinoh cream & breast pads. Though you might not need the pads until the milk comes in.
Bra- I found a night bra, soft & stretchy was great for the first couple of weeks. Then when boob size had settled down I've ordered bras from bravado (& post back the ones that don't fit)
Re the emergency bottles- you honestly don't need these. You WILL have enough milk! Feed you baby when it's hungry, offer both breasts each feed.
Bf is a skill, I've had loads of problems & battled through to get them sorted.
I chose a box set of bottles etc that tesco sells- so I could send out DH to get them if we needed them.
Be prepared for the first night at home! I wasn't prepared at all for the yelling. It's very easy to think- a bottle will solve everything. Actually cuddling, settling feeding is what gets you through.
Good luck & enjoy!
Actually re nursing bras I wouldn't bother buying anything too fancy/fitted before baby is born because, IME, size-wise ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN - I was told by a fitter in pregnancy that I'd probably be a 34C, I ended up a 34DD. Mothercare do stretchy cross-over crop top "sleep bra" things that are easy to feed in, surprisingly supportive, and perfect for the first few weeks, not too expensive. Get a couple of those in whatever size you are in maternity clothes and see how you go! If breastfeeding goes well you can buy some nice feeding bras when your size settles down a bit.
If you live near a 24h supermarket, you don't need anything in advance.
That said, hand expressing into a teaspoon at 3am to feed my desperately dehydrated and starving 4do DS1 was a low point.
I have BF my three and used bottles from an early stage as well, so can understand your desire to be prepared for any eventuality.
For giving breastfeeding a go, make sure you definitely have:
1. supportive nursing bra (if breastfeeding goes well, you can buy more; you will probably need 2 or 3 in total to allow for them being in the wash etc)
2. box of disposable breast pads (for comfort as much as preventing leakage - certainly in the early weeks I could never bear having any fabric actually against the nipple, it had to be a soft breast pad - Lansinoh do really nice ones)
3. tube of Lansinoh cream for your nipples - expensive but worth every penny - apply after the first feed and after each and every feed thereafter - it is magic stuff.
Later on, if things go well, you could then invest in a breast pump, sterilising equipment and bottles if you want to express, and/or specific clothes in which you can nurse comfortably when out and about should you feel they'd be useful, but none of these are necessary for the early days.
For 'back up' in case things don't go so well, I'd get
1. a carton or two of ready made formula
2. a pack of disposable sterilised bottles
Don't bother with a bottle warmer, regardless of how you end up feeding. If feeding expressed milk or formula it is just as easy to warm the bottle in a jug of hot water!
Hope this is useful, and good luck with your baby!
You really don't need a steriliser upfront.
You can sterilise by boiling in a pan of water. Or using steriliser tablets (though I'm less keen on the chemicals). If you need to sterilise, you can do that, whether for ff or bf. I'd only spend that money if you find you're using enough bottles that it's a hassle the other ways.
Whilst you might want a couple of bottles in, really no need to buy formula. Nearly every corner shop and 24 garage stocks some.
As you are hoping that bf will be successful, don't bother buying anything for ff now! If you need anything urgently then 24hr supermarkets will have everything you might need.
If you really want to have something "in stock", then you could get what is called a starter pack of ready made formula. It has some bottles of ready made formula plus individually packaged sterile single use teats. No need for a steriliser or anything else. The bottles don't need to be refrigerated and can be given at room temp.
All you need to begin with is a pair of boobs and some lansinoh cream to rub on your nips between feeds. Someone to wait on you hand and foot is also useful.
I reckon everything else - pumps, sterilisers, pads etc can wait until you know if you need them. If you want the reassurance of having some formula in the house just in case things don't take off, you can get ready prepared bottles of formula and sterilised teats, save buying a steriliser you might not need.
Best of luck, BFing really is a lovely and low-tech way to feed your baby!
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