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Breastfeeding equipment

Sarah Horrocks
by Sarah Horrocks Published on July 9, 2008

Have you chosen to breastfeed? If you have then it's good to know that specialized equipment exists to make the process of breastfeeding easier.

Clothes
Comfort is essential for breastfeeding. You'll feel comfortable, at ease and protected from unwanted stares in ordinary clothes. A man's tee may be easy to lift up, but isn't exactly very becoming! Shirts may seem like a better idea but they open wide and expose your chest, which can be embarrassing. Don't wear dresses (except for button-up dresses, but these present the same problem as shirts).
- Your wardrobe
Designers have finally started to get in on maternity wear, with amazing results: tops that free your breasts but keep them covered and dresses that open easily, in modern sexy cuts and colours.
- Maternity bras
The size and weight of breasts increases during pregnancy so it’s important to keep them supported. Also, breastfeeding bras must open in a simple way, for easy access without too much exposure. Maternity bras do exactly that.
- Where can you buy them?
You’ll find them in large department stores and specialist shops.

Accessories
Breast pumps are indispensible for breastfeeding. You may need them for two reasons:
- to prevent engorged breasts, especially at the beginning when the level of milk is not regulated. During the early days, your midwife will show you how to hand express to prevent this.
- to be able to feed baby with a bottle of expressed milk when you're away.
You can now get hold of easy-to-use, battery operated, compact electrical pumps. Fill bottles and keep your milk in the fridge. You can also get freezable plastic sachets. For more info see www.avent.com

Breast shells
These little plastic cups collect excess milk and are placed on the breasts. They are easy to use, washable and help prevent losing precious milk; this is especially useful for young mothers who have little milk. However, they shouldn't be used if you have sore or cracked nipples as they will only aggravate the problem.

Breast pads
Pads are worn inside the bra and absorb untimely leaks. Choose permeable ones as they prevent airing and soaking of the nipple (which causes cracked nipples and thrush).

Nipple protectors
These little hat-like things in rubber or silicone protect sore nipples when feeding. They are shaped to allow skin contact and help the nipples heal.

Breastfeeding pillows
These allow you to hold and support baby. Breastfeeding pillows look like a bolster shaped like a crescent moon. You place baby on the pillow and wedge your elbow, so you don't need to use several pillows.

by Sarah Horrocks

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