If you choose to breast feed you will need to stock up on a few supplies to make the process easier and more comfortable. Below is a list of suggested items. Buying these necessities before your baby arrives is a good idea.
Every healthy woman has the ability to produce breast milk regardless of breast size. As your pregnancy progresses, your body changes in preparation for birth and lactation. These changes may include your breasts becoming larger, the areola (the skin immediately surrounding the nipples) becoming darker, and the small glands on the areola becoming more prominent.
Alveoli (A), grape-like clusters in the breast, secrete milk into branches called ducts (B). The ducts empty into milk sinuses (C) under the areola (D) where milk is stored until it is released at the nipple (E).
Get your Breastfeeding Supplies Before the Baby Arrives!
Because you'll be tired, busy, and perhaps a little overwhelmed after your baby arrives, you may find it useful to purchase some supplies for the early stages of breastfeeding, even prior to delivering your baby.
Hydrogel Nipple Pads, such as ComfortGel hydrogel pads, provide a moist healing environment, which helps provide cool, soothing relief to nursing mothers to help make the breastfeeding experience more comfortable.
Nursing Bras provide extra support while you're pregnant as well as when you're breastfeeding. Many bras adjust to changes in your breast size, and most have a panel that opens, making it convenient to nurse your baby.
Breast Shells may be worn inside a bra after birth to help protect sore nipples, draw out flat or inverted nipples, and collect drip milk.
Breast Pads are helpful to mothers whose breasts leak milk and may be worn inside a bra to absorb milk that is leaked between feedings.
Lanolin Nipple Ointment may provide relief if your nipples become dry and cracked. Try Lansinoh for Breastfeeding Mothers, a natural, 100% purified lanolin product that helps protect and heal the skin of your breasts and nipples. It's made with an exclusive process and is the only nipple ointment endorsed by La Leche League International.
There are many Breast Pumps available which offer a range of cycle and suction settings, power sources, sizes, and prices. The breast pump that is best for you depends entirely on your individual needs and lifestyle. It's appropriate for you to begin researching breast pumps well before your baby arrives. (See Breast Pumping for more on breast pumps.)
It's important that you realize that every healthy woman has the ability to produce breast milk and that your breast size does not affect breastfeeding success. However, if you have had any type of breast surgery, bring it to the attention of your healthcare provider because it may impact your milk production.
Your provider will probably monitor you and your baby closely during the first few weeks of breastfeeding to ensure that baby is receiving enough milk.
Leaking milk is a normal by-product of pregnancy and lactation and may occur before, but more commonly after, you deliver your baby. However, some women never experience leaking. For those who do, using breast pads inside your bra will help keep you comfortable and your clothes dry. When your body adjusts to making milk, the leaking will gradually subside.