Nursing gear for successful breastfeeding

By ParentsCanada staff on September 17, 2012
Breastfeeding can have it's ups and downs. To get you going on a smooth path, here are a few items lactation consultants recommend you have on hand... and at the breast!

Nursing bra

You will definitely need a comfortable, supportive nursing bra. These bras usually have a latch that unclips to make breastfeeding more convenient. But sometimes, shopping for a nursing bra can be confusing.

“At the end of the day, you need to feel comfortable and secure in your new nursing bra, so don’t be afraid to shop around and try on a few styles,” says Tracey Montford of Cake Lingerie.

Here’s how to go about it:
  • Look for cotton fabrics and inseams for breathability and comfort. Always purchase for quality and comfort.
  • Understand your bust line to determine the style you need (e.g. plunge for smaller busts, balconette/fuller figure for larger busts).
  • Make sure the bra is not too tight or too loose across the band, cups and straps.
  • Own at least four nursing bras per pregnancy – two basics, and two fashion that you can rotate depending on the occasion as well as to last longer and account for washing.

Nursing pillow

“The purpose of the nursing pillow is to support the baby while you are breastfeeding and to support your wrist,” says Anne-Marie Desjardins, a lactation consultant in Toronto. You can use a comfotable pillow from your house or a nursing pillow such as My Brest Friend.

Glider and footstool

“If mom likes the gliding movement while breastfeeding that’s excellent,” says Anne-Marie. “What is important is that mom supports her back and sits at 90 degrees to give her baby the best chance to latch on.” If your glider doesn’t give you enough support, put a pillow behind your back. If you’re sinking into your sofa, switch to a chair that gives you the proper position.

Nursing covers

At the beginning, nursing in public may feel awkward and you might want to buy a nursing cover so you can have privacy while also seeing what you’re doing. “As you get more comfortable, you might want to wear baggy clothes your baby will fit under so nobody will know you’re feeding,” says Anne-Marie. “By then the baby will know what he’s doing and so will you.”

Breast pads and cream

“You will want to use nursing pads if you’re leaking so that your breastmilk doesn’t soak through your clothes,” says Anne-Marie. Then you can choose whether to use disposable or washable breast pads. Decide which option is best for you: disposable absorb the most, but they are more costly. When you’re buying breast pads, you might also want to grab something for your sore or cracked nipples. “If your nipples are cracked, you need to prevent infection,” says Anne-Marie. “Try Polysporin. If your nipples are tender or raw because you’re new to breastfeeding, then Lanolin is a very good lubricant.”

Lactation consultant

New moms are often in the hospital for such a short time after giving birth that there isn’t enough time to learn how to breastfeed properly or address any issues you are having. “Breastfeeding is supposed to be fun and make life easier, but it can be more difficult than labour,” says Anne-Marie. “Ninety percent of people have trouble, but if you see a lactation consultant early on you will be successful.”

To find a consultant, ask your baby’s paediatrician, your nurse at the hospital or your OB/GYN for a list of names. You can also go online and use a search engine.

Anne-Marie Desjardins has an MA in nursing and is a certified lactation consultant based in Toronto, Ontario

Originally published in ParentsCanada: Best Wishes, Spring 2012.

By ParentsCanada staff| September 17, 2012

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