Updated: Apr 27, 2021
When it comes to breastfeeding, many new moms may think it is much easier than using formula. Not really. Besides baby, you may also need breast pump, nursing bra/clothes, nipple cream, milk storage bags/bottles, nursing pads/shells, multi-vitamins, baby bottles, pillows (to support your wrist and arms), massage cream (reduce stretch marks), and vitamin D for baby if do not use formula in the first few days if life. Plus some new moms will experience blockage, mastitis, nipple bleeding, or other sickness caused by breastfeeding.
One way to lower the chance of having blockage is to find a professional breast massager at the beginning, especially for new moms. They have special skills to massage breasts. It may be painful, but really helps. However, such massagers are difficult to find.
Another way is to be very careful about blockage. If you notice any blockage, use breast pump, take hot showers (or put heating pads on the breasts), and squeeze breasts from muscle part to areola to help the milk comes out. Otherwise, it will turn to Mastitis very soon, causing high fevers. At the stage of blockage, please remember that it will be painful to squeeze breasts, but it is an easy and effective way to solve the blockages.
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Breastfeeding is a difficult thing to start, especially for new moms. At the beginning, new moms may need to rent a hospital grade pump (most hospital with labor department will have such pump to rent), which have more powerful motors than regular pumps, to suck milk out in a hard way. However, hospital grade pumps are much bigger than regular pumps, not convenient to move. While using hospital grade pumps, do NOT pump too hard, otherwise will cause breast injuries. However, new moms may need to try best to drain milk every time so that more milk can be produced and also avoid blockage.
Later when it is easier for milk to come out, new moms can switch to personal pumps. In order to what pump to choose, double electric breast pump will save more time than manual/single pump. For those electric breast pumps, battery powered ones work more slowly.
If you have medical insurance, please check the customer service since most insurances offer one free pump for one birth.
Milk Storage Bags/Bottles
For both working moms and stay at home moms, milk storage may be needed if too much milk is pumped out. Usually bags are more flexible than bottles for milk storage. Some moms will buy an extra refrigerator or donate to milk bank if they have too much milk.
Nursing Pads/Shells (Nursing shields are optional)
Nursing pads or shells are used to protect nipples. Since moms have to breastfeed newborns several times a day, nursing pads/shells are needed to protect nipples from rubbing clothes and milk leakage. Compare to shells, pads are softer and less painful because of less friction according to personal experiences. Besides, shells sometimes cause more milk leakage. Lansinoh has a kind of pads named "Stay Dry". It is small and foldable so moms can squeeze them in to the diaper bag.
There is another kind of protector called nursing shields (optional). Shields are thin soft pieces of silicone used to protect nipples. Usually women with flat or small nipples may need to use shields for help to teach babies how to latch. However, shields may affect milk supply because of fewer stimulation. That is why shields are optional.
Nipple cream is another essential for breastfeeding moms. I believe that most women who have kids had used it while breastfeeding. The most popular brand may be Lansinoh. It only contains one ingredient: Lanolin 100% HPA Modified Lanolin, USP.
Nursing Bra and Nursing Clothes
Cotton is the best material for nursing bras and clothes. Nursing bras are necessary, but nursing clothes are optional. Instead of having a bunch of nursing clothes you may never use after weaning, better choices are to buy some button-front clothes, wear cutted old t-shirt inside & zipped coat outside, and using nursing cover. As of nursing bras, more than 50% of cotton may not be so supportive for bigger breasts. Thus, you need to choose between 90% cotton or 50% cotton based on your own needs.
Though breastfeeding, babies still need at least two baby bottles in case moms are too painful to do the breastfeeding and need to pump milk out for feeding. Please see my other article about how to choose baby bottles.
Multi-vitamins for Mom and Vitamin D for baby if do not use formula
The Nature Made prenatal multivitamin is enough for breastfeeding moms.
According to CDC, Any infant who receives <1 liter breastmilk or 1 quart of formula per day needs an alternative way to get 400 IU/day of vitamin D, such as through vitamin D supplementation.
Pillows (to support your wrist and arms)
Some moms love nursing pillows while other moms think nursing pillows are useless. From personal experiences, I suggest you to gather all unused pillows at home and place them at the places you feed you baby. Grab several pillows to put under the arm, between waist and sofa, under the baby, or even under the legs while breastfeeding to make yourself comfortable. Those pillows are more useful than nursing pillows.
Massage Cream/Lotion for Reducing Stretch Marks
A lot of women are bothered by the stretch marks after giving birth. Stretch marks cannot be gotten rid of, but the appearance can be reduced. You may buy massage cream/lotion or you can make your own. Massage cream is better for women with dry skins and right after giving birth, while massage lotion is better for oily skins and lighter stretch marks.
If you want to make you own massage cream, it is even better. Just mix an avocado (blend to paste), 3 spoons of olive or sunflower oil, some organic sea salt (big flakes)，and 3 spoons of ground coffee (not instant coffee). Massaging the stretch markers with the mixture for 10 minutes after every shower will also effectively reduce the appearance.