Disclaimer: I understand that not every woman wants to breastfeed. That’s perfectly OK. This article is for those who want to. I am also aware that not all mothers can breastfeed due to autoimmune diseases, a difficult delivery or a history of physical abuse, among others.
There are very few things a new mom needs to successfully breastfeed. You could reduce it to one breast and a baby. I would add some knowledge, calm and support. And then a handful of material things.
A healthy breast. It really doesn’t matter if it is big or small or the shape of the nipple. Even a woman who had a mastectomy can successfully breastfeed with just one breast (Will the breast surgery I had in the past prevent me from being able to breastfeed my baby? by La Leche League)
Premature babies might need some additional assistance, like the use of a syringe, a cup or a spoon.
This is key. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of knowledge. There are lots of misconceptions about breastfeeding and, unfortunately, you can’t trust that your doctor or nurse are well-informed (Is the Medical Community Failing Breastfeeding Moms? by Lisa Selin Davis, 2013, TIME Magazine). You can learn about breastfeeding through organisations, books and, even, the Internet. Here, I mention some resources:
- La Leche League International
- World Health Organization
- International Baby Food Action Network
- World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action
- Your country’s academic of paediatrics
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Completely Revised and Updated 8th Edition (La Leche League International Book) Paperback by La Leche League International
- Breastfeeding Made Easy: A Gift for Life for You and Your Baby by Carlos González
- Amandamuse YouTube channel – She has a wonderful collection of videos about her breastfeeding journey. A very open and sincere account of what goes well and what doesn’t. It’s just like talking to a friend.
- Breastfeeding aversion
- The Leaky boob
- The Badass Breastfeeder
Calm and peace
After delivery, you will feel tired, overwhelmed with emotions (or the lack of them). If you are in a hospital, everything feels strange. They will be waking you up constantly. You might be nervous about holding the baby, changing nappies or the first latch. It doesn’t help when all your family comes to visit. The first days can be very stressful. My advice would be to find a calm place where you and your baby can enjoy an alone time. If you have a partner, a friend or a family member you rely on the most ask them to say no to visits, to make them shorter.
By now you might have heard the phrase Find your tribe a thousand times. I would say find a shoulder to rely on. It can be your partner, your mom, your bestfriend or some mom that you meet through an internet platform. Do talk to someone. You can join your local breastfeeding group.
Some material things
- Water, water, more water and snacks
- Entertainment: company, book, TV, radio, etc.
- Nursing pillow
- Comfy sofa or chair
- Baby sling or carrier
That’s it. Bras, shirts or nipple shields aren’t a must. You can explore what feels the best for you. I have a few of breastfeeding shirts from Mamalicious but I also use non-breastfeeding shirts.
What would you add to this list?