Pediatric Associates of the NW Blogs

Breastfeeding Baby Gear

Katie Kennedy, RN, IBCLC
April 29, 2019 01:00PM

14 years ago when I was pregnant with my first son, my spouse and I went to a “baby store” to buy newborn necessities. We started our search staring at a wall plastered floor to ceiling with pacifiers and nipples. We continued on down aisles of bouncy seats, strollers, bassinets and infant educational toys. Overwhelmed and confused by the countless choices, we ended up leaving the store with diapers. That’s it, a bunch of newborn diapers. I admit that we were young and clueless in regards to what to buy for baby, but maybe some of you can relate? A couple I worked with recently recalled the same “confusion” when registering for baby gear. They said “we felt overwhelmed by so many choices! Just because it’s the most expensive, is it the best?”

Baby gear is like anything – it’s personal. Everyone has their favorite brands and options. This is not a consumer report about what or what not to buy for your baby or what brands are best. Do your research and talk with friends/family and decide what will best fulfill your family needs. In terms of breastfeeding, though, I have found a handful of items that I find to be generally helpful for breastfeeding comfort and ease.

1.  Breastfeeding Pillow

A breastfeeding pillow can provide support for certain breastfeeding positions, like cradle or football hold. By raising baby up to the level of the breast, the pillow prevents a mom from needing to lean over and helps with achy back and arms. Specific breastfeeding pillows are available for purchase but bed or sofa pillows can work just fine too.

 2. Nursing Bra/Tank

A comfortable, underwire-free bra that stretches to accommodate growing breasts can be helpful in the early postpartum days and weeks. As the milk is coming in, the breasts may swell and get heavy. Choose a bra that can handle your breasts during this possible engorgement time. After the first few weeks, you may consider getting fitted for a nursing bra that will keep you comfortable for the long haul. Lots of new moms love nursing tanks because the straps easily pull up and down while keeping the tummy and back covered.

3. Nursing Pads

Many moms leak milk. Some don’t leak at all. If you fall into the first category, disposable or reusable nursing pads can be worn under your bra to soak up the dripping milk. As a new mom, you are busy enough without adding multiple daily wardrobe changes and extra laundry to your plate.

4. Burp Cloths

Reusable burp cloths come in hand for so many purposes. They work well for their intended use, to protect clothing from wet burps. But you can also use them to cover surfaces when changing or diapering. Or use them to wipe up spills or messes. Like many babies, one of my boys was very spitty so we used A LOT of burp cloths.

5. Pump

If you plan on breastfeeding, chances are you will want or need a personal pump. First, find out about your pump benefits through insurance. The brand and type of insurance-covered pump is usually determined by you insurance group and plan. So check it out (ideally before baby arrives)! A double electric pump is optimal if you need to pump regularly. For instance, if you are returning to work or school and are separated from baby for multiple hours, you will want a reliable double electric pumps that can get the job done. A hand or manual pump works well for the occasional pumping session or if you need to relieve uncomfortable fullness during the early postpartum days.

The families I work with educate me every day about the newest baby stuff. I love hearing about the innovative feeding apps, swaddlers, swings, nappy bags, sleep sacks, etc…It is true that the only real essentials for breastfeeding are breasts and baby. However, there are many items that can aid with the comfort and ease of breastfeeding. Unlike what I did 14 years ago with my first child, I would encourage first-time parents to seek advice from those with parenting experience about baby gear they love or hate. And then be open to the fact that your baby is unique and different, so what worked for some, may not work for you.

If you have breastfeeding questions/concerns, we are here for you! At PANW, we offer lactation support 5 days a week to support your breastfeeding goals, whether it’s exclusive breastfeeding, partial breastfeeding, exclusive pumping, or combination feeding. Contact our office to schedule an appointment or talk with one of our lactation consultants.