You don’t need any special equipment for breastfeeding. Although you may choose to wear specially designed nursing clothes or use a nursing cover, breast pump, or special breastfeeding pillow, none of these things are usually necessary for breastfeeding. You may find it more comfortable to wear a nursing bra. Some mothers find very soft-cupped, unstructured nursing bras particularly useful for the early weeks. Your breasts are likely to change after you give birth, so it’s best not to buy more than one or two before you baby is born in case they don’t fit later on. It is worth making sure they fit correctly, as a poorly fitting bra or one not intended for breastfeeding can be uncomfortable and cause your breasts to become inflamed. Many mums also find absorbent breast pads useful. You can get either the disposable or washable type.
If you need to express your breastmilk after your baby is born to help you establish breastfeeding, your midwife or breastfeeding supporter can show you how to hand express. If you prefer to use a pump, there may be one in the hospital you can use if you haven’t gone home yet, or you can hire a hospital grade one. There are lots of different pumps you can buy, but it may make more sense to wait and see if you need one before making a purchase.
There are a number of books about breastfeeding that you might like to read before your baby is born, or dip into in the early days for information. Some of these are listed below. You may be able to buy these cheaply second hand or borrow them from your local library. Some baby groups may have copies that they lend out.
- The positive breastfeeding book: Prof. Amy Brown
- You’ve got it in you – a positive guide to breastfeeding: Emma Pickett IBCLC
- The womanly art of breastfeeding – La Leche League International
- Why Breastfeeding Matters – Charlotte Young