What products should you buy while breastfeeding?

Most new mums prepare for a new baby by collecting baby toys and clothes but rarely do they stop to think about post-baby must-haves for themselves.

While most of them know what to take with them to the hospital at the time of delivery, they are completely clueless about what they need to make their life comfortable after having a baby.

Please note your post-partum self-care kit should compulsorily have the following –

- A Peri bottle to use after peeing and pooping instead of toilet paper

-Extra-large pads for postpartum bleeding

-A stool softener for constipation 

-Granny panties 

-Hot/cold pads to soothe vaginal and perineal tears

And, what else? This list is not complete without including some very non-glamorous stuff to take care of your breasts, especially if you are breastfeeding.

1. Nursing bras

Throughout your pregnancy and after birth your breasts go through amazing changes. They become bigger, the areolas around the nipples become thicker and darker in colour, your nipples become more malleable and your milk glands start producing milk for breastfeeding.

You will need new bras for sure as trying to stay in your existing bras will not only make you uncomfortable, but it might impede milk production as well.

Underwire bras should be strictly avoided at this time as they can cause blockages in your breasts.

Splash out on some good quality brassieres – like sports bras which will give your ‘girlies’ the much-needed support they need right now and also hold a breast pad to stop your boobs leaking milk all over your clothes.

If you are big chested, I suggest you get nursing bras. These will lift and hold your breasts differently to regular bras and make it easier for you to breastfeed your baby as they come with flaps that you can easily undo at feeding time.

How to buy a nursing bra?

It's best to wait until the last couple of weeks of pregnancy (around 8 months) to shop for nursing bras because at this time your breasts are closest to their postpartum size. 

However, once your milk comes in, your breasts will get bigger. So, keep this in mind while buying a nursing bra. 

I recommend that you take the time to get professionally fitted before buying one as your breast size has changed. 

Always buy a nursing bra that fits you well in the cup as an ill-fitting cup will not support your breasts. A good nursing bra will also have stretchy fabric on the top of the cup to allow for movement in the breast as it produces milk.

Never wait until after you give birth to buy a nursing bra as in the early days after delivery you probably won't have the time or energy to go bra shopping.

2. Specialist bras for hands-free pumping

Also called the hands-free pumping bras, these are usually compatible with electric breast pumps.

The hands-free pumping bra is usually made of a nylon - spandex blend to support your breasts and the four overlapping fabric layers keep the expressing cups perfectly in place and minimise the chance of leakage. 

It also gives you the freedom to do other things whilst pumping milk using a breast pump and is very popular amongst working moms who express milk during office hours.

3. Breast pads 

It's normal for your breasts to leak while you're nursing, sometimes in great gushes.

Breast pads which staunch milk flow will keep you and your tops nice and dry and will stop you losing pieces of great clothing to milk stains.

Remember to use fresh breast pads every feed as leaving a moist breast pad against your bra will increase the likelihood of cracks in your nipples and the areola.

There are two types of breast pads- disposable and reusable. There is no real difference between them, but do remember that if you use washable pads, use a gentle laundry detergent so they do not irritate your skin.

4. Nursing tops and camisoles

Just like nursing bras, these tops have convenient flaps that allow you to breastfeed easily. 

These camisoles are also very supportive and can function as a bra and top in one.

5. Nursing pillows

These are specially designed to support your baby while you're nursing. They sit in your lap and wrap around your body, supporting your feeding newborn. 

These pillows also help your arms, neck and back by taking the weight off and preventing strains as a breastfeeding session typically lasts longer than an hour.

6. Breast pumps

Working moms usually swear by breast pumps which help them express milk. But, even if you're not planning to pump regularly, a breast pump can be a useful tool — to help relieve engorgement, for example. 

Buying a breast pump

There are two types of breast pumps- manual and electric. Buy a manual pump only if you plan to use them occasionally. These are also much cheaper than the electric ones. 

Electric pumps, on the other hand, are best for you if you have to use them regularly, like if you plan to return to work after breastfeeding. These are more efficient as you can express milk from both nipples at the same time and cut the time to less than half as compared to time spent on a manual pump.

(Read more here)

7. TLC for nipples

-Lanolin ointment for dry, cut nipples is a must-have for new mums. This relieves sore nipples.

-Hot/cold gel packs, which fit inside your bra, can soothe swollen or sore breasts. If you suffer from engorgement of a breast it is very painful and you may need a hot gel pack to get rid of the pain. Applying a warm pack also softens an engorged breast, helping your baby to latch-on.

Breastfeeding is not a glamorous time, but feeling a little more comfortable and cared for can go a long way ... So go for the above-mentioned breastfeeding products as they can make breastfeeding safer and convenient.

About the Author

Shikha Gandhi