Are you hoping to breastfeed your baby, but not sure about how to prepare for it? Yes, the whole concept of being the only source of nutrition for your child for the first few months of her life can be intimidating–but with adequate physical, emotional, and practical preparation, you will be surprised to find that breastfeeding can become second nature to you. What you will find below is a fairly comprehensive list of practical items we believe are essential to your journey as a nursing mother.
1. Button down shirts/nursing wear. “Easy access,” are your keywords when you are shopping for wardrobe pieces to use while nursing. If you don’t intend to buy new clothes, sift through your closet to find button down shirts or tops with low collars and stretchy fabrics that you can easily pull down when it is time to nurse.
2. Breastfeeding Cover. Breastfeeding covers come in different shapes and sizes. There are the apron like covers and the circle scarves you can wear in different ways. We would recommend to buy at least two of these….one to keep in your baby bag, and a spare for when the other one needs to be laundered.
3. Water bottle. Nursing mamas are always thirsty! You will experience this the moment your baby latches on your breast to feed. Keep yourself constantly hydrated by packing a refillable water bottle into you bag, and bringing it wherever you go.
4. Breast pump. If you plan on going back to work or if you have the flexibility to leave your infant with trusted family, friends, or caregivers, consider buying a breast pump for milk you can store. There are both manual and electric pumps available on the market you can choose from, depending on your lifestyle and budget.
5. Breast pads. To prevent embarrassing leaks and milk stains on your shirts, use breast pads that are washable. Not only are they better for the environment, you won’t even need to worry about running out of them (unlike the disposable ones) because washing and drying them are so easy. Here’s a tip, when you are finished using a pair, submerge them in soapy warm water. You can rinse them during your next free moment.
6. Small cooler. For all those days when you are out for long hours without a fridge, buy a small cooler that you can carry with you in your tote. Some coolers come with built in ice packs, but for those that don’t, blue ice is a great option!
7. Breast milk bags. These are great for storing and organizing your milk in the freezer. They have spaces for accurate labelling (it is so important to know when and what time you put your milk in the freezer…because you don’t want to feed your baby spoil milk!), and are designed to be sealed and protected from contamination.
8. Sterilizer. While you can sterilize your bottles in boiling water, another option is to buy a rapid steam sterilizer that can sterilize multiple bottles in as little as 5 minutes. This is perfect for mamas on the go.
9. Hand sanitizer. Your hands must always be clean before you breastfeed, pump, or handle any of your baby’s milk and bottles. Keep a bottle (or two) in each of your bags for a safe and sanitary feeding.
10. Zip lock bags. Zip lock bags are every organized mother’s best friend! These are great for organizing cleaning materials, bottles, and even the breastmilk storage bags for when you are out or travelling. This saves you the time you would normally take to sift through a messy bag’s contents.