At the most basic level, all you really need to breast feed is a pair of lactating breasts and a hungry baby. However, its not always that simple, particularly for first-time mums. Thankfully, there is a range of breastfeeding accessories on the market that make breast feeding easier and more convenient. This includes breast pumps, breast milk bottles and storage bags, nursing pads, breast and nipple shields, and nursing clothing.
No, every mum does not need a breast pump but they prove to be a useful tool for some mothers. For example, if you are returning to work and will need to pumping milk during the day, or if you have an oversupply of milk and want to store some for later use.
Yes, there are two main types of breast pumps on the market – manual and electric. Electric breast pumps are generally more expensive but are also faster and more efficient at extracting milk. However, manual breast pumps can be just as effective and are a more budget-friendly option.
The best way to store breast milk is in a clean, airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Breast milk storage bags and bottles are specifically designed for this purpose and ensures that your milk stays fresh for as long as possible.
Nursing pads are small, absorbent pads that are worn inside your bra to soak up any leaked breast milk. They are available in both disposable and reusable options.
Breast shields are larger and designed to cover more of the breast, while nipple shields are smaller and only cover the nipple. They are both used for similar purposes – to protect sore or cracked nipples, to help baby latch on, or to increase milk flow.
No, you do not need special clothing to breastfeed but many companies now offer nursing tops and dresses which make it easier to do so discreetly in public. Nursing bras are also available and can make breast feeding more comfortable by providing additional support.
The frequency with which you pump will depend on your individual circumstances. For example, if you are returning to work, you will need to pump during the day in order to maintain your milk supply. If you have an oversupply of milk, you may pump less frequently.
There is no one ‘right’ way to breastfeed, so experiment until you find what works best for you and your baby. Make sure you are comfortable and relaxed, use pillows to support your back, and try different positions until you find one that is comfortable for both of you. If you experience any pain, consult a lactation consultant or your infant care professional.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question – ultimately, you decide what is right for you and your baby. Some babies self-wean around the age of one, while others may continue to breastfeed for longer.