One of the things that you may be thinking about during your pregnancy is breastfeeding. While it is true that breastfeeding starts once your baby is born, it is important to educate yourself about breastfeeding and make sure that you have everything that you will need at the ready. Much of what you will need depends upon your personal plans for breastfeeding. I can speak to what has been helpful to me in my experience with nursing my two boys.
Since I have been at home with my boys, pumping breast milk has not been a big part of our breastfeeding experience. For some families, though, a good pump is essential to breastfeeding success, especially if you will be returning to work after your baby is born. It is true that the prices for good breast pumps are high, but there may be other options available to you such as renting a hospital grade pump for use at home. Let your prenatal care provider know about your intention to breastfeed, and ask about whether there are any programs that can help you to get the equipment that you will need at a price that you can afford.
Speaking of expensive things, nursing bras and nursing tops can be expensive as well. When my first son was born, I bought two nursing bras, two talk tops, and a couple of nursing tops. They have served me well, but I would have gone broke if I had tried to outfit myself exclusively in apparel that was specifically designed for breastfeeding. I have learned to work with regular clothes, to find styles that provide easy access for breastfeeding without being too revealing. Most days, I wear a tank top with a bra built into it (not a nursing one, a regular one – they can stretch) and a v – neck tee shirt or sweater. Henleys, polo shirts, and other button – front shirts are also good choices as long as the buttons can be unbuttoned low enough to provide access.
The usefulness of the next item depends upon your comfort level with breastfeeding. Some women prefer to go into a private room to nurse. Others feel comfortable feeding their baby while their baby is in a sling or carrier. When Dylan was born, I had a sling. Sometimes I could nurse him in it while I was around my house, but when we were out I preferred to go somewhere more private. When Blake was born, my parents got me an Ergo baby carrier. Not only is it amazing as a carrier, it has a hood that you can pull up over baby’s head and secure it with snaps. It simply looks like the baby’s head is covered because he is asleep – which may be the case, but you can also nurse discreetly that way. I have made it through many a grocery shopping trip and various other outings without incident thanks to being able to feed Blake discreetly just about anywhere.