When you're preparing to welcome your Little Bear, there are a lot of things you're considering. One of the more fun parts of preparing is making your Baby Shower Registry list. As fun as it can be, many moms will also find it overwhelming.
There are a lot of gadgets out there marketed toward breastfeeding mothers. From a jillion pumps to nipple creams and other breastfeeding accessories. There are even snacks and teas marketed just for you... and it can be a lot to wade through. Today I'm going to share with you my list of Need It or Leave It.. with a few maybes thrown in.
Electric Breast Pump - maybe - A double electric breast pump is the most effective pump for someone who needs to simulate their baby's feeding. These are recommended for use when trying to increase milk supply, supplement with own breastmilk, or during extended separations. If you do not plan to be away from your baby and do not have challenges with milk supply, you may not need an electric breast pump. I have only used one regularly for one of my babies, I used one sporadically with my second and I have not used one with my third or fourth babies.
Manual Breast Pump - maybe - If you plan to be away from your baby on rare occasions, usually hand expression will be sufficient, however you might prefer to use a hand pump. These can be used for the purposes listed above, however they do take a little more effort than an electric pump. I recommend a manual breast pump for mothers who do not plan to pump frequently.
Silicone Suction Breast Pump - need it - Okay technically you don't "need" it and there can be a lot of controversy on using it appropriately, however I have found these very useful in the early days of relieving engorgement when used appropriately.
Bottles - maybe - If you need to feed your baby expressed breastmilk 9/10 times I will recommend at breast supplementation or cup feeding, however there are times where the bottle may be the appropriate tool. I do not recommend storing a large stash of bottles, but one or two may be helpful.
Milk Bags - probably - If you're expressing milk you need a way to store it. Whether you're pumping or hand expressing into a bowl.
Nipple everter - leave it - Even if you have inverted nipples, odds are you don't need this. If it would be useful for you, buy it after you've worked with a lactation consultant and she's given you her assessment
Nipple Shields - leave it - These can be very effective tools when used appropriately but need to be used when working closely with an IBCLC as they are not risk free. I recommend only purchasing this based on the recommendation of an IBCLC (and if it is recommended in the hospital, I recommend calling a private practice IBCLC to work with postpartum ASAP)
Disposable Breast Pads - maybe - Breast pads are definitely a must, but disposable ones can be messy and wasteful. However they may be your preference
Reusable Breast pads - probably - Reusable breast pads are softer and my personal preference
Nipple Cream - need it - Nipple cream is vital to reduce friction when pumping and to promote healing and reduce risks of nipple infection. I recommend avoiding lanolin creams and using herbal oil based creams like Earthley or Motherlove. Coconut Oil is a great option as well.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding - need it - I call it the Breastfeeding Bible. Buy it. Read it. Reference it.
Lactation Cookies - leave it - If you have true milk supply issues, please call a lactation consultant pronto. If you're trying to just temporarily increase pump output in preparation for a random separation they *might* be useful, but these are not necessary, usually yucky and expensive, and are a non-solution for any real issues.
Lactation Teas - leave it - Ditto. Additionally, some herbs can have negative effects on milk supply depending on medical history and how they are used.
Breastfeeding pillow - maybe - truthfully I don't find breastfeeding pillows helpful for breastfeeding in the early days. I find regular pillows from your bed and couch much more useful. However, I find breastfeeding pillows useful for multitasking once you get the hang of things (ie - nursing baby on lap while typing on your computer) and as a "lounger" (under strict supervision) for baby.
There are a million and one other gadgets out there. If you have any questions about one you're not sure about, let me know, I'm happy to talk about it with you and help you decide if it will work for you.
Comment below on your favorite breastfeeding gear and what you felt was a waste!
If you're looking for a self-paced, online breastfeeding class to teach you the basics of breastfeeding, I've got ya covered, MamaBear! Check out Breastfeeding With Confidence! If you're looking for extra breastfeeding support, schedule a Virtual Lactation Consult now. If you're local to Wichita Falls, Texas, email me to set up your in person breastfeeding support visit: email@example.com
Jaimie Zaki is a military wife, Catholic mom of four, motherhood photographer, Birth Doula, and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) dedicated to supporting you from pregnancy through postpartum.