I am a nursing mom. I have nursed all four of my babies, and I’ve worked full time with all of them. I have had almost every nursing issue you can have, and was able to successfully nurse my children at least to 7 months (7 months, 1 year, 2.5 years and 11 months, so far. Hopefully he will nurse until at least 2.5)
This is what you need to be successful: breasts. That’s it. Nursing pads, disposable or reusable are almost a necessity at first. As is lanolin for the first couple of weeks, but we’re talking an outlay of $20 pr less. You also need a positive attitude toward breastfeeding, but that’s free!
Here is a list of what some parenting magazines say you NEED:
Breastpump. Do you need it? No. If you work full time, you will need to either rent a great hospital grade pump, or buy a top of the line electric pump, which is a couple hundred dollars. If you live close to your work, or your daycare is close to your work, you can have your caretaker bring the baby to work to nurse during your breaks, or go to the daycare to nurse (especially greets for those of you with company daycares). I pumped with the first three babies, but I live close to my work with this baby, and am able to nurse during breaks and lunch. If you are a stay at home mom (sahm), this is up to you. If you want other people to feed the baby, you can invest in an inexpensive manual pump to express some milk for evenings out. If, li ke me, you never leave the baby in the evening, you don’t need a pump at all.
Nursing bra. Don’t need it at all. I used a nursing bra for my first three babies, but with the fourth baby, the one I’m currently nursing, I wear my regular bras and either a lift up a cup or lower it and nurse that way. I much prefer this because i get all the support i need with a regular bra, but can still nurse. Underwire are not recommended, but if you get yourself measured and make sure you don’t wear an underwire bra that is too small, you should be fine. I wear underwire bras and have had no problems.
Nursing tops/nursing clothes. Don’t need ’em. I had one nursing top and one nursing dress. The nursing dress was handy to have for situations where i wanted to wear a dress, after all, it’s hard to lift a dress up to nurse! It’s just as easy to lift your top up and nurse. Some people who don’t want to expose any skin at all will wear a tank or cami under their shirt and lift the shirt up and the tank down to nurse, but I don’t do that. I do use my husband as a yield during latch on the first few times I nurse a baby in public, but as soon as the baby is efficient at latching, I just do it quickly.
Freezer bags. If you are a working mom, and are pumping, you might need these, though i didn’t need them. I pumped into bottles for use the next day, and stored an occasional bottle in the freezer. If you are planning to pump and store a lot, you will need these. They are cheap and available at Target. Just remember, if you are only pumping for next day use, you don’t need them.
Nursing/breast pads. Needed for first month. Disposables or reusable. If money is an issue, buy a few pair of reusable cotton or wool. I’ve also used old socks cut up when I ran out of disposable. Target carries nursing pads, and they are cheap.
Bottles/nipples. Not needed. If you are a working mom, you will need bottles. If you are planning on leaving your baby with grandparents or others for an evening or day, you will need a few bottles. If you are an at home mom and don’t plan on leaving the baby for more than a few hours, don’t need ’em. My baby nurses about every three hours, so if I run an errand on the weekends, I just make sure it’s between feedings. We plan on going out when my mom is here for a week, and we will just make sure to return before his next feeding. He’s also old enough to eat some solid food, so I’ll make sure he has something he likes to eat.
Nursing pillows. This one they don’t mention. For me, this is a necessity. I only use the My Brest Friend pillow. Register for this for your baby shower. The boppy is so inferior to the Brest Friend. My Brest Friend fits all size women, gives you a nice firm surface and makes nursing a one handed affair for those of us with larger breasts. Can you nurse without a pillow? Yes! The pillow just makes it easier.
Lanolin. Debatable. Nice to help heal cracked nipples. However, if you get your latch going well right away, you’ll never need this. Your best option is a friend with nursing experience, a La Leche League member, or a certified lactation consultant to help with the initial days. Hospital nurses are usually NOT a good help. Do
NOT rely on them!
Hope this makes breastfeeding less daunting. You really don’t need much. Remember, those magazines make a lot of money from formula companies, so they are NOT objective. They make no money from breastfeeding.