After the trials and tribulations of labor and delivery, many new moms are surprised to find that breastfeeding is anything but easy. While our bodies are designed to nurse and nourish our babies, the first weeks of doing so can be exhausting, frustrating and downright painful. Help ensure a smoother transition by preparing for breastfeeding now while you wait on baby.
Buy a comfortable bra
Because your bra size may change once your milk comes in, we don't recommend stocking up on fancy nursing bras just yet. You'll need easy access to nurse freely and frequently though, so we suggest picking up two or three nursing sleep bras to get you through your first postpartum days. Having a few you can interchange ensures you'll always have something clean on hand. Sleep bras are the ultimate in comfort, but offer little support – so plan on purchasing a true nursing bra a week or two into motherhood.
Get the right gear
Most new moms report nipple pain in the first two to six weeks of breastfeeding. Don't wait to find out if you're among this group – stop what you're doing right now and buy a nipple cream. Trust us, it will save your life and make all the difference in nursing your little one. Lanolin is a favorite among new moms, as it soothes and protects cracked and tender skin. But there are plenty of varieties on the market, so shop around until you find a cream that suits your needs. Because you might experience leaking, pick up a few absorbent breast pads to save your clothing too.
Buy a breast pump
Even if you don't plan to leave your baby's side, using a breast pump can aid in boosting or establishing your supply. Don't let the cost of a pump scare you – as mandated by the U.S. government, all health insurance coverage must include a breast pump for expectant mothers. Note: You may not be able to sign up for your pump before your third trimester.
Carve out a nook
Don't underestimate how much time you'll be nursing your new son or daughter. Newborns nurse every two hours. What's more, you must calculate the time for each nursing session based on when the last feeding began, not ended – meaning there's less time between sessions than you might think. Make breastfeeding something you'll look forward to by carving out a special space in your home. Set up a comfy chair (if it reclines, all the better!), fill a basket with sumptuous blankets and make this space one that feels like a peaceful retreat.
What are some ways you're preparing for baby? Share with us below!