Choosing to breastfeed your child is a very personal decision. Today, there is a lot of pressure on new moms to breastfeed because of the health benefits for both mother and child. On their website, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding your child for the first six months of life (at which time most children are ready to start solid foods) and to continue breastfeeding for at least the first year of life, or as long as both mother and child wish to continue. While it is up to you to decide how long you breastfeed your child (or whether or not you will exclusively breastfeed), there are several items that can help to help make your nursing relationship easier. These items will help you to feel more comfortable while nursing and can help ensure you can have some time away from your child while still providing them with breast milk. If you are having difficulties with breast feeding, know you are not alone in your struggle. In addition to your child’s pediatrician, there are many breastfeeding resources available such as the La Leche League (illl.org), and your local International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, which often work in local area hospitals. You can search for an IBCLC in your area by visiting the International Lactation Consultant Association search page on their website.
What items do you find most helpful with breastfeeding your baby? What items would you suggest to other mothers who want to breast feed?
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A nursing pillow, like this Boppy pillow will allow you to nurse your baby comfortably. The shape of the pillow helps keep it in place while baby is feeding. A nursing pillow can also be used to as an infant positioned and for tummy time while being supervised by an adult.
A nursing cover is essentially a long piece of fabric with a collar that you wear like an apron to shield your baby while they are nursing. The cover allows you to see your baby as they eat. These covers come in a variety of styles and patterns. Nursing covers are great for when you need to feed your baby in public and feel uncomfortable having your breast exposed or if you want to shade your child from the sun. You can find nursing covers like this Bebe Au Lait cover at most any baby supply retailer or online.
A breast pump allows you to express breast milk to be fed to your baby from a bottle. Breast pumps can also be used to help boost or keep up your supply when baby cannot breast feed. There are electric pumps, like this Medela Pump N Style and manual pumps which you hand operate. Electric pumps are ideal if you are going to be pumping often or are exclusively pumping your milk. Manual pumps are great for mother’s who only need to pump on occasion.
Breast Milk Storage Bags
Storing your expressed breast milk in breast milk storage bags, such as these Lansinoh bags, allows you to refrigerate or freeze your expressed breast milk for later use in a bottle (or mixed in with solid foods to thin the consistency). While many pump bottles are freezable, storage bags are convenient because you can write on them and they take up less space in your refrigerator or freezer. The breastfeeding and parenting website KellyMom.com notes that freshly expressed breast milk can be stored in a refrigerator for up to eight days, and in a freezer for up to six months before it will need to be used.