Are you nervous about breastfeeding your baby once he/she comes? The first time I was pregnant, breastfeeding made me super anxious. To help relieve my anxiety, I prepared for breastfeeding as best I could while pregnant. There is lots you can do to prepare for breastfeeding to calm those first time momma nerves.
Generally, first time moms have lots of breastfeeding questions and rightfully so! Will breastfeeding work for me and my baby? Does it hurt to breastfeed? How will my baby latch? Will I produce enough milk? What do I all need to successfully and easily breastfeed my baby? Although most of these questions can’t be answered until the baby comes, you can plan for most of the supplies you will need. To ease your mind, prepare for breastfeeding while you are pregnant.
Buy Nursing and Self-Care Products
If you are going to breastfeed there are some must-have essential items. Breastfeeding does take a toll on your body. Help protect your body and preserve your milk supply with these items:
- Nursing bras. Have a couple different nursing bras ready. Buy ones that give you quick easy access to nursing. When you actually begin breastfeeding you will figure out which bras work best for you. Then get a couple more of your favorite bra so you are not constantly doing laundry.
- Sleeping bras. At night wear a sleeping bra to help protect and preserve your milk supply.
- Pumping bra. If you are going to be pumping regularly a pumping bra is amazing! This great bra holds the 2 pumps in place so your hands are free while pumping. If you spend lots of time pumping, or need to pump at work, this will save you loads of time so you can do two things at one time.
- Nursing pads. Chances are at some point your breasts will leak. There are disposable nursing pads and reusable pads that you can wash. Personally, I like to use the disposable because I can just toss the full one and put in a new one instead of having to wash anything. I keep nursing pads all over because you never know when they will get full and need a replacement.
- Creams/Ointments. There are different creams and ointments to help with sore nipples and sore breasts.
- Compress kit. Another thing to help with sore breasts or when you have trouble is a special breastfeeding compress kit. The ice packs and compresses are made especially for your breasts and bras.
There are lots of different items to assist with breastfeeding injuries and troubles. However, don’t go overboard on stocking up on some of these items since you don’t yet know what you will exactly need. Although, having basic supplies ready is a good idea to prepare for breastfeeding in advance.
Buy Items to Make Breastfeeding Comfortable
As a new mom you are going to be spending many hours each day breastfeeding, especially the first few weeks. In fact, at the beginning you may feel like all you do is breastfeed. So you want to make the baby and yourself as comfortable as possible during all these feedings.
Besides products for mom, there are other essential items to get when preparing to breastfeed your baby. Here is a list of items to put on your registry or buy to prepare for breastfeeding:
- Boppy covers (at least 2)
- Burp clothes (at least 8)
- Comfortable chair
- Nursing Cover
All of these items will get lots of use so get what feels most comfortable for you.
Prepare for Breastfeeding By Getting a Breast Pump
If you are going to be pumping at work or plan on leaving your baby at all, you will need a breast pump. There are lots of pumps to choose from. Some are manual and some are electric. Here are some tips on how to decide what pump is best for you.
Check With Your Insurance
Most insurances provide a breast pump when you are having a baby. They may be specific on which pump they give you, but it still is a free pump. At least 3-4 months before your baby is due contact your insurance company to see their policy on breast pumps.
They may pay for a pump or cover the cost to rent one. Most likely they will not give it to you right away. For example, my insurance let me order a pump in advance, but it wasn’t available to me until a month before my baby was due. Although, at least I knew they would supply me one. So check with your insurance and take advantage if they provide you with a breast pump.
Check With Other Mom Friends & Family
If you do have a choice of which pump to get, check with friends and family that have used a pump recently which one they would recommend. Ask what they liked about the pump and if there were any challenges. Question if they would get this style of pump again. Getting recommendations from trustworthy people is always helpful when getting a new product.
Pick Out Your Breast Pump
Finally, after doing your research, it is time to pick out your pump. When picking out a pump, check the accessories that come with it or are available for purchase. If something breaks you want parts available for purchase instead of having to buy a whole new pump. Look at the different pumps available to you and make your decision. This way you can read the instructions and get your pump all ready to use before the baby comes.
Purchase Breast Pumping Parts & Accessories
There are products to make breastfeeding easier and help you get the job done efficiently. To prepare for breastfeeding, add extra pumping parts and accessories to your registry. I remember the first time looking at an electric breast pump and being so confused on all the parts. It may take a little time to understand everything and get it all straight, but it is helpful to do before the baby arrives.
Here Is a List of Other Items and Accessories to Prepare For Breastfeeding:
- Pumping bra
- Extra pumping parts
- Milk storage bags
- Permanent marker for writing on the bags
- Baskets and gallon ziplock bags for storage of milk bags and to carry dirty pumping parts in.
- Cooler to keep pumped milk in if you do not have access to a refrigerator.
- Ice pack to keep the pumped milk cold if no refrigerator.
Set Up Breastfeeding Stations
Especially at the beginning when I felt like all I was doing was breastfeeding, I set up different feeding areas for my convenience. The areas had all the essential items I needed to make feeding my baby easier. This way when it was time, I wasn’t rushing around trying to find feeding items while my baby was crying to eat.
I had a feeding station set up in the baby room to feed in the night. The main station was set up in the living room for during the day. I also had a station set up in my bedroom as sometimes I would breastfeed there before going to bed or first thing in the morning.
Items to Have at Your Feeding Station
- Comfortable chair
- Burp cloth
- Feeding supplies (For example I used a shield)
- Nursing pads
- Water bottle
- Healthy snacks (This is a good time to squeeze in some nourishment)
Once my baby was not eating around the clock and sleeping through the night, I set up a pumping station in my bedroom to pump during the night. I did this to keep up my supply. At my pumping station I didn’t keep as many items as at my feeding stations, but I still kept the following:
- Extra pumping parts (had enough for 2-3 nights worth
- Blanket (for if I was cold in the night)
- Pumping Bra (I kept a pumping bra at work and one at home)
Final Thoughts to Prepare For Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is an amazing experience, but it does require some work. I have found it helpful to prepare for breastfeeding while I was pregnant instead of waiting until that new baby arrived. Buy products to care for yourself and comfortable items for feeding the baby. Get a breast pump and accessories, and set up feeding and/or pumping stations.
Life is crazy busy with a newborn. Preparing in advance helped me relieve some of that stress and anxiety. If you follow the tips above it can relieve stress for you too!