If you’ve walked into the baby gear section of store, you already know there is a lot to choose from. So many things that promise you will need them, so many that swear that they will make your life so much easier. Standing in a box store holding the little UPC gun to make your baby registry, or an empty shopping cart ready to fill with new baby gear can feel pretty overwhelming as you try to decide what is a waste of money, and what might actually make a difference in your life.
As breastfeeding is becoming more of a niche market, as we push the ability to be visible rather than ‘out of sight, out of mind’, companies meet that by creating many products geared specifically at nursing moms as well.
So what do you need? Or more specifically, what do you really not need?
1. “Just In Case” formula and bottles
A lot of women plan on breastfeeding exclusively, but have been scared into thinking they won’t have enough milk before they’ve even been able to try, so they have some formula and bottles on their registry ‘just in case.’ Babe, believe in yourself. That’s like trying a new complicated recipe for dinner, but having a bag of take-out on the counter ‘just in case.’ Give yourself the chance, and don’t mentally sabotage yourself into already preparing to fail. Lastly, if it’s there, most women will use it, because in times of worry, doubt, or stress, it will call it’s name loudly from wherever you’ve stashed it. So ban it from your home unless it truly is needed, and you fully understand how to balance the two.
2. Nipple shields or an SNS
Again, don’t preemptively decide you will need help. Leave gear like this to your trained lactation consultant to help you acquire and use properly if you end up needing it. Nipple shields, especially, can cause a whole slew of issues if not used under direction of a trained pro. (An SNS is a Supplemental Nursing System like the Lact-Aid, used for supplementing breast milk or formula at the breast, as baby nurses. We recommend working with an IBCLC in situations where a supplemental nursing system is necessary.)
3. Timers and Logs
While a mom who is very concerned about baby’s eating might want to make a simple tally of dirty and wet diapers, generally things that try to time or track breastfeeding aren’t going to do much but worry you — “If he eating too much?” “Is she not eating enough?” Remember just to watch your baby. It doesn’t matter if the baby feeding app says your baby is eating more frequently than usual today or has been nursing for a lot longer than the app deems necessary for one meal — if your baby wants to eat, feed them.
4. Nursing Covers and Shawls
To cover or not to cover, that is the question… isn’t it? While there are plenty of new mothers who like to use a cover in the newborn days when latch can still take a little time and effort, there are also many moms who feel perfectly comfortable lifting up or buttoning down their shirt. The important thing here is to only use a cover if you feel that you want to. Don’t feel pressured to use one, as there are many ways to nurse without one and many of them are just as (if not more!) discrete than a big cover. (And likewise, if you feel comfortable using a cover, never let anyone tell you that covering is akin to being ashamed of breastfeeding — it’s not!)
5. A Pump
If you’re not planning on working, really consider if a pump is even necessary. When a new mom is nervous about her supply, she’ll sometimes think she needs to pump after every nursing session (and sometimes, before, too!). This can lead to a slew of problems, including a massive oversupply. (Which might sound good in theory, but in practice, it can be really tough on baby and mom.) If you have to go back to work or are pumping in the early days due to special circumstances (preemies, for instance), make sure you buy a quality pump that is right for your situation. A small manual pump will be the bane of a full-time working mom’s existence (most working moms prefer double-electric pumps), so tailor your pump to your pumping needs, which might include not having a pump at all. (Some Babes -even full-time working mamas- forego the pump all together and use hand expression!)
Of course, every unique situation requires unique things. You may have some reason why this isn’t applicable to you, and I’m sure many of you have your own things to add that you absolutely didn’t need (but thought or were convinced you did!). Be very aware of things that could cause you problems or even sabotage your own belief in yourself from the get-go. One of the benefits of breastfeeding is that barring issues, often you don’t need anything special at all!
This Babeworthy post was brought to you by Simple Wishes!
Image rights: freedryk via Flickr
Christie Haskell is a coffee and tea-addicted wife to Kyle and mother of two wee beasties — Rowan (7) and Aurora the Destroyer (2). She’s a true geek at heart and spends too much time playing video games and reading fantasy novels when she’s not typing her fingers off for CafeMom’s The Stir or her personal blog-love, DailyMomtra.