#4. Nursing covers (optional)
The idea of breastfeeding in public is daunting for many mothers, particularly new mothers especially those who are modest or want to remain discrete. It is important to note that breastfeeding covers and modesty while breastfeeding are NOT synonymous. Actually there is no better way to let the world know that you are breastfeeding than to wear a nursing cover. After all, who would be wearing a nursing cover other than a woman breastfeeding? Breastfeeding in public can seem overwhelming for mothers, but remember when the baby gets a little older and both of you become more experienced you will be breastfeeding seamlessly out and about without a second thought. Many mothers wear clothing compatible with breastfeeding so the breast is not exposed when feeding. Countless strangers have walked up to me while I was breastfeeding completely unaware of me nursing. If you do feel more comfortable using a cover they tend to work better when the baby is younger. As babies grow older they want to see the world around them and tend to get hot under the cover and pull it off in an attempt to see and be comfortable. Look for something light weight and something that allows you to see what you are doing when latching. New babies require more effort and attention to get a proper latch so a cover that prevents you from being able to see what you are doing can be counterproductive.
#5 Breastpump (may be optional)
Most don’t realize the effectiveness of hand expression. Hand expression is a technique in which women use their hands to remove milk from the breast. Is it possible to hand express milk more quickly than pumping. YES, it is! I have worked with many mothers who are able to remove milk from their breast more efficiently with hand expression when compared to quality breast pumps. Hand expression is a very important skill that all breastfeeding mothers should be well versed in.
Most mothers in our country work. This means there will be moments when a mother will have to be separated from her baby. Mothers working full time should have a double electric personal user breastpump. This is what most women in our culture rely on to express their breastmilk when away. Regular expression is vital to maintaining a full milk supply and a breastpump helps women do just that.
If a mother has the ability to be with her baby around the clock, breast pumps are not necessarily needed. And if a mother does opt to have a breastpump a manual pump will probably do the trick. With the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) insurance companies now provide mothers with breast pumps. So before purchasing something from the store out of pocket, call your insurance company and find out what they offer. This could save you a good bit of cash.
#6 Nipple cream and/or hydrogel dressings
Nipple cream and hydrogel dressings can help cracked damage nipples heal. Of course if a mother did have sore damaged nipples the most important thing is get to the cause of the nipple pain. Usually the culprit is a bad latch. Once the latching issues has been address we can turn our attention into promoting nipple healing. Expressing breastmilk onto the nipples and letting it air dry is a common practice that many women find helpful. Nipple cream is also an important part of nipple care in the early days as it promotes soothing and prevents dryness which can lead to cracking and bleeding. Nipple cream also promotes moist wound healing by allowing the nipples to heal from the inside out and discouraging the formation of scabs.
With breastfeeding, the simpler the better. A lot of bells and whistles are not required to have a good breastfeeding relationship and meet your feeding goals. So don’t be tempted to buy everything on the marketing catering to breastfeeding mothers. Trust your body, and the rest will be history.