Breastfeeding is a wonderful way of bonding with your baby as it provides closeness in addition to your baby’s nutritional requirements.
Mums who breastfeed may do it in different manners: Some breastfeeding mums latch their babies directly, other nursing mothers practice exclusive pumping, while some mums offer mixed feeds to their babies with both breast milk and infant formula milk powder.
Many mums who return to work after their maternity leave struggle to keep up with maintaining their supply especially when their work schedule makes it inconvenient for them to pump.
Thus, we have compiled a handy checklist of breastfeeding essentials for you to power on in providing the best nutrition for your baby! Also, always remember to practice good hygiene by washing your hands before and after pumping.
- Breast pump with proper flanges
A breast pump helps to express milk efficiently into storage bottles for feeding your child. Hand expressing and manual breast pumps are cheaper than electric breast pumps but can lead to sore fingers and cramped arms.
There are a number of decently priced electric breast pump models in the market which serve the same function. Certain models have a separate message mode that sends vibrations to relieve engorgement and stimulate the breast for letdown before expressing milk. Be sure to get flanges of the right size, as flanges that are too small can result in nipple abrasion and flanges that are too large take in too much areola. Improper flange sizes result in a poor fit which in turn lead to less milk expressed from the breasts.
Using a compatible breast milk storage bottle with your breast pump reduces the risk of contamination.
- Breast milk storage bottles or breastmilk storage bags
If you’re expressing milk, you’ll need a hygienic receptacle to store it in. Breast milk storage bags are widely used as they are disposable and can freeze flat, but they are not eco-friendly as the bags cannot be recycled or reused.
Choose breast milk storage bottles that are compatible with your breast pump so that you can express directly into the bottle for storage. This reduces the chance of contamination as there is no need to transfer the breast milk from a bottle into a breast milk bag. For most breast milk storage bottles, there is an accompanying bottle adaptor that allows you to fit a feeding teat over the bottle to feed your baby directly and saves time from transferring the breastmilk and risk spillage.
- Nursing bra and hands–free accessories
Nursing bras provide easy access when latching or pumping. Supportive nursing bras can be purchased from Lazada or Qoo10 online or from stores that retail maternity wear. Pumping bras come with slits to hold your breast flanges in place for hands-free pumping. Keeping your hands-free allows busy mums to multi-task, and this luxury can come in the form of hands-free flanges or breastmilk collection cups. Do ensure that the flanges and collection cups hold well in place as the movement may lead to leakage of liquid gold during pumping.
- Nursing cover
A nursing cover comes in handy when you find yourself in a situation where there are no available cubicles or nursing rooms. A nursing cover lets you pump at your desk, or simply to cover up when latching your baby while protecting your modesty.
A nursing cover doubles up as a scarf in cold spaces!
- Contacts of lactation consultants or massage ladies
New mums may find themselves engorged easily due to the overwhelming hormones and unregulated milk supply. Having a lactation consultant or reliable massage lady that can relieve blockages will be a godsend for times when you encounter problems with breastfeeding.
If your baby is above six months old, you may consider supplementing with infant formula milk powder if you find your supply dipping or if you wish to wean your baby. Though breast milk is the golden standard, infant formula that is enhanced with nucleotides can assist in helping your child develop healthily.
Do you pack other essentials for your breastfeeding journey too, mums? Share with us in the comments below.