If you're expecting a baby soon, have you made a hospital bag checklist? For moms who plan to breastfeed, there are some nursing-specific necessities that you'll want in your bag when you get ready to deliver your baby!
Especially for first time moms or those who have never breastfed before, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’ll need. Keep reading for a solid list of must-haves for your time in the hospital, plus a handful of helpful tips on making the most of the first days when you’ll be starting your breastfeeding journey!
Add to Your Bag:
- Nursing Bras (Check out these brands: Bravada, Auden, or Kindred Bravely)
- Easy to nurse in clothing that’s also comfortable and non-constricting: nursing tanks, robes, cardigans, button down gowns (such as Nesting Olive or Dwell + Slumber)
- Absorbent Nursing Pads (washable pads are recommended because they are less irritating to the breast than disposable pads)
- Breast Hot/Cold Packs - use hot or cold depending on your needs: warm to encourage let down of milk or cold to ease engorgement
- Nursing Pillow - stay tuned for a full blog post comparison of nursing pillows!
- Lanolin Cream / Nipple Butter - just trust us on this one; a soothing ointment in the early days is a LIFE SAVER.
- Haakaa Manual Breast Pump - this innovative pump uses suction to draw milk out, or can be used just to collect any breastmilk that may leak while nursing on the opposite side.
- A nursing book for reference - two tried and true favorites are The Nursing Mother’s Companion and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
Your personal Breast Pump (*Not a necessity, as hospitals have pumps on hand for patients to use if needed. But some moms prefer to use their own, or would like help learning how to use it.)
If you're still in need of a breast pump, you may be able to receive one at no cost through insurance! Simply fill out our online form to get started.
We carry many of the above products in store at Wyatt's Pharmacy, and soon you'll be able to shop them online as well!
Use the hospital stay to your advantage to get your breastfeeding journey off on the right foot! In the beginning, you and your baby will be learning how to nurse. There can be a steep learning curve here, and it’s best to take advantage of the help surrounding you while you have it. Be aware that you may receive some conflicting advice, but because every woman and every baby is different, it is generally helpful to hear a range of tips and suggestions so you can simply apply what seems to work for you and your new baby.
- Have a nurse or lactation consultant observe and help with every feed. Let’s just assume you’re in the hospital for 36 hours after delivery (although of course this isn’t the case for everyone). And let’s assume your baby nurses every 2-3 hours on average. That means you’ll have about 12-18 nursing sessions under your belt by the time you leave. The more hands on help you can get during this time, the better!
- Get help specifically with perfecting your baby's latch. The other elements like positioning and timing can be mastered as you go and after you get home, but a correct latch is absolutely essential for successfully breastfeeding your baby.
- Lots of skin to skin time with your baby. Science has proven that this plays a large part in early breastfeeding, so keep that baby close!
- Keep visitors to a minimum so you can focus on your new baby. You’ll be spending a lot of time nursing, not only due to frequency, but also duration of feeds can be long (around 40 minutes or more) in the beginning.
- If you want personalized help setting up your own breast pump, ask if you can have time with a lactation expert on staff at some point before you’re discharged from the hospital. They can show you how to set it up and use it correctly.
With this list of must-haves plus the help of hospital staff, we know you'll feel more prepared and confident as a breastfeeding mama. Now go get packing!
If we at Wyatt's Maternity can be of any additional help to you in your breastfeeding journey, please reach out any time!