More and more new mothers are choosing to breast feed their infants–the nutritional value of human milk, the ease of breast feeding, and the bonding opportunities for mother and baby are some of the main motivators for new families choosing to give breast feeding a try. There are some products available on the market that make a breast feeding mom’s life easier and more comfortable and can contribute to the success of the breast feeding experience. Here are four products every nursing mother needs:
1. a Nursing Pillow–There are a variety of nursing pillows available, although the kidney-shaped “Boppy” is the most popular right now–with it’s interchangeable colorful slipcovers. Nursing pillows come in all shapes and sizes and are designed to either support the mother’s arm while she is nursing or raise the baby to a height that is more convenient for a sitting mother to breast feed. It will really depend on the size and build of the mother (and whether she has a single or multiple birth) as to which pillow works best and makes breast feeding more comfortable and convenient.
2. a Nursing Stool–Now, you don’t necessarily have to purchase a stool that has the moniker “nursing stool”–but having a stool that is a comfortable height for the mother’s feet while she’s sitting in a chair or on a sofa to nurse is invaluable. The stool actually helps take the stress off the mother’s back, shoulders and arms as it raises her knees while she’s breast feeding the baby. This makes the mother more comfortable and lessens body strain, and allows for longer, more relaxed feedings.
3. A Good Breast Pump–There are many different makes and models of breast pumps available on the market, and it is not necessary to actually purchase one. Your hospital or birthing center may be able to rent you one to use while you are breast feeding your infant. The most expensive are the automatic electric double pumps capable of pumping both breasts at the same time. These are the easiest and most-efficient breast pumps to use. There are also other automatic pumps and single pumps and cylinder pumps (as well as other manual pumps) available. A good breast pump will make it possible for the mother to pump and save milk when she needs to leave the baby for errands or other reasons, go back to work, or just to have a supply of milk that can be fed to the baby by someone other than mother.
4. Nursing or Breast Pads–Every breast feeding mother should have a good supply of either reusable or disposable (or some of both) nursing or breast pads. These go against the mother’s skin in her nursing bra to absorb leaking milk and moisture. These should be made of all-cotton or all-disposable-paper and should be large enough to to absorb well. A mother can make her own with soft cotton diaper material or thick cotton. Almost all nursing mothers will leak breast milk occasionally–especially in the early days of breast feeding when the breasts may become very full and engorged. Breast pads will keep the leaking from getting through to the mother’s clothes and prevent embarrassment or skin irritation.