You don't need any fancy equipment, but some things can make breastfeeding easier.
It's true that you don't need any fancy equipment to breastfeed. But there are things you can have on hand to make it easier and more comfortable for you and your baby. Here are some supplies you may consider having before your baby arrives.
Nursing bras are designed just for breastfeeding moms. They're built with flaps over each breast, so that you can open them separately. It makes it easier to feed your baby with one breast at a time. Some moms may opt for tank tops with built-in bras.
Nursing pads go inside your bra and soak up leaking milk that can show through your clothes. Choose washable or disposable pads without plastic or waterproof liners. They let in more air. Change nursing pads frequently so that moisture is not sitting on your nipples.
You also can make your own nursing pads. You can use cotton handkerchiefs or squares cut from terry cloth, cotton diapers, or cotton T-shirts. Avoid using toilet paper or facial tissue, though. They dampen easily, fall apart, and hold liquid against nipples.
Pillows can help make breastfeeding more comfortable and relaxing for you and your baby. You can use pillows under your arms, elbows, neck, or back to give you added comfort and support. Keep trying different positions until you are comfortable. What works for one feeding may not work for the next feeding.
Breastfeeding is all about your comfort level. If you're worried about breastfeeding in front of others or in public, consider throwing a light blanket over your shoulder or using a nursing cover. Wearing loose-fitting tops that pull up from the bottom or unbuttoning your shirt from the bottom can be helpful. You can also try wearing a tank top under your shirt so that when you lift your shirt to feed your baby, your stomach is still covered.
A breast pump can be a great resource for breastfeeding moms. It can give you some flexibility with feedings. It's also important to have a pump if you plan to continue breastfeeding after you go back to work or school.
There are many different types of breast pumps available. Sometimes, breast pumps are available through your health insurance company and/or your State Medicaid program. Some WIC programs may offer breast pumps to WIC moms based on need.
When you can't be there for a feeding, a bottle will help your partner, family member, or child care provider feed your baby. There are many different options for bottles and nipples, and every baby is different. You may want to try different shapes or sizes to see what works best for your baby. If you want to avoid bottles, ask your local WIC office about other methods to feed, like a cup.