Baby registry suggestion lists are long and exhaustive. It is easy for new parents to become overwhelmed with the sheer variety and number of baby items on the market. The feeding aisle alone contains hundreds of items! It is hard to decipher what is needed, and what is unnecessary. Here are the must have items on a breastfeeding mom’s list.
#1 A Breast
This may seem obvious, but it is mandatory for breastfeeding. You don’t even need two breasts (although it is useful especially if having multiples), just the one will do fine. Many women only have one breast due to mastectomies, or may only have one fully functioning breast due to surgery. There have been women who have successfully exclusively fed twins with only one breast. Many women worry that they will not be able to breastfeed due to having had a hysterectomy. But neither ovaries nor a uterus are needed to produce milk. All that is needed is a breast and your pituitary gland sitting in the middle of your brain.
#2 Water bottle
Preferably a large water bottle than can hold 32 ounces or so. This will minimize how frequently a mother has to refill the bottle, and anything to simplify life with a newborn is welcomed and encouraged. There is no exact amount of water breastfeeding mothers should drink. A woman’s metabolism, climate, and activity level all affect the amount of appropriate water intake. Breastfeeding mothers should drink to thirst. But you will notice that you are naturally thirstier. Breastfeeding women drink on average 13 cups a day, compared to the average 9 cups a day their non-pregnant non-breastfeeding counterparts consume. And, contrary to popular belief, drinking a certain amount of water does not increase milk volume. However, dehydration can reduce a mother’s milk supply, so staying well hydrated is key.
#3 Breastfeeding pillow (optional)
It is not mandatory to purchase a breastfeeding pillow, but many find that if they have the right pillow it can make breastfeeding easier. Not all breastfeeding pillows are created equally. Things to look out for when purchasing a pillow are firmness and placement. Soft breastfeeding pillows that feel like a cushion usually don’t work well. Baby’s bodies are soft and they need support to stay in alignment. A very soft pillow just won’t do the trick. Also, it is important that a newborn is breast level when feeding. Breastfeeding pillows with adjustable straps to help them stay in place may look more intimidating, but are superior to pillows that sit to low, slide away, and move while feeding.