What do you actually need to prepare for breastfeeding? In this episode, I guide you through what you will definitely need to get before your baby is here!
Welcome back to First Breaths to First Steps. I’m Bev Garrison, your host for today. Hopefully you have heard or listened to some of my previous podcasts on breast pumps and feeding bras, things like that. And today is kind of beyond pumps and bras, breastfeeding supplies. What you need to know. So let’s get started.
You have a pump. You have a few bras. What else do we need to make sure everything is complete? There are some key items that most overlook. These are great things I think to have around so that you’re caught off guard and we’ll have it all at your fingertips and make things just so convenient once your baby arrives.
The clock starts running so quickly, especially after you have your baby. You feel like you’re in a vacuum and where did time go? There are a few things that I’d like to cover today in particular: nursing pads, nipple cream, heating pads and storage of milk. So that would just give you a few ideas on some extra supplies that you might need. I’ll finish up with just kind of describing an area in your kitchen that you might want to separate and organize all your supplies so that you know where everything is.
So as some of you may or may not know, I am the mother to three boys and I breastfed all three of them to about a year in time. I did have some embarrassing moments in particular. I can think of one with our second son, i was out shopping in the mall and heard another baby across the department store cry and of course that all of a sudden let down and completely saturated the clothes that I was wearing. Did I have nursing pads onzthat was a no!. I wish that I was just thinking more and better prepared. I knew better, but was just not really making sure that I had everything in the diaper bag and ready to go. So hopefully my tips and tricks will help you be prepared.
So let’s talk about nursing pads. These are items that are placed between your skin and your nursing bra, definitely useful for leaking and can sometimes help irritation of the fabric of the bra rubbing on your breast tissue. They come disposable or fabric.
Obviously they need to be changed daily sometimes multiple times a day. And if you’re using fabric ones, obviously washed. There is also a gel pad made of silicone. I think these are great type of pad to have, especially early on when you first start nursing. They are meant to soothe sore nipples, or nipples that are painful from the initiation of breastfeeding. You can storm in the refrigerator. Place them right on your breasts and it really can offer comfort for that traumatized skin.
So let’s talk about nipple care because your nipples really aren’t used to all that sucking. You know, every two to three hours every day, 24 hours a day. And so nipples can get cracked and sometimes bleed and, or get infected. So there’s a couple of topical things that I think are definitely useful to have in your possession and ready to go.
The first is lanolin. Lanolin is a natural oinment product that you place on topically to the breast, it’s made from sheep’s wool. But it moisturizes and supports healing. It’s harmless to your baby. So there’s no need to wash it off before breastfeeding.
A particular type of nipple cream that I do recommend is a brand called Mother’s Love Nipple Cream. It’s made with Calenda and marshmallow root. You can apply this sauve kind of over the area that’s bothering you and irritated and again, there’s no need to remove it before breastfeeding.
Sometimes you will hear lactation consultants or even your OB GYN. Recommend a cream called triple nipple. It’s sometimes compounded meaning that the provider that you’re seeing OB GYN or primary care provider will need to write a prescription and send it into the pharmacy. But it can also be made with over the counter products. Triple meaning three, there is three components. Antibiotic – typically something like Bacitracin ointment, which you can find over the counter. An anti-inflammatory. Typically 1% hydrocortisone. come as a cream or an ointment and then an antifungal. Clotrimazol is probably most commonly used. And again, that’s over the counter. It can sometimes be difficult when you’re making this concoction with three separate over the counter creams and ointments, so you can layer them individually on top of each other and achieve the same benefit or wanted result of helping that infected, irritated skin.
Teabags. I also recommend having teabags. I know that sounds so strange, but it’s been known that the tannins in the tea can help soothe irritated skin. So a lot of times I will instruct moms throw your hair up in a messy bun. Hop in the shower. Let the water hit you at the back of the neck, not at the front of your chest, that’s going to be uncomfortable. Hold the teabags onto your nipples and let the water just kind of fall over your shoulders. You’re going to be steeping tea in the shower, but it should help to sooth that skin. When you get done, get out of the shower. Don’t be so quick to put a nursing pad on and pads and bras and whatever. Put some lanolin on air out for a little bit and maybe sit down to feed your baby. That has seemed to work out and help with breast tissue that can be somewhat irritating.
The next product that I’d like to talk about as a heating pad or a gel cooling pad. These heating pads or reuseable and so there’s a lot of them that you can heat up in the microwave, as well as the store in the freezer. Lansinoh makes a pad that you can cool it and heat in the microwave. It also has covers that you can cover the plastic pad itself and it can be washed.
Last, but not least let’s talk about some storage of milk. I definitely like bags that have a zipper type closure, not ties. I think it’s important to have Sharpies to Mark down the date and the amount. The reason you want to do that is the date of the milk -you want to use the oldest first. And when you freeze milk, what originally was three ounces may look like a lot more once it’s frozen. So if you can put the amount on there. When you’re throwing it out, you’ll actually know how many ounces are there so that you have proper amount to get through the day.
Also a nice thing to have are utensil containers. They’re long oblong, rectangular shaped trays. Usually you put knives, forks, and spoons in them. I like to have a couple of those for the refrigerator. So when you’re thawing those frozen milk bags, they can sit inside that tray. If the bag has broken in the frozen process or leaked that milk has is thawing out will not leak all over your refrigerator and make a mess.
The last couple items that I recommend is a large plastic container. With a lid and if it can be a clearer plastic or something that you can see through, that’s great. Usually something that’s two to three breast milk bags in width, as well as maybe six to eight deep. This may help you to organize your breast milk, especially as you’re getting into pumping and or storing for work. You’ll have a nice place to organize and put them because those bags can get all over the freezer and just kind of fall out, make a mess. I usually also recommend putting an index card in the front of that box, with the date that identifies the oldest milk to the newest milk. Which can be helpful when you’re looking from the outside of the freezer. And just a good way to organize things.
I wanted to talk about was just human milk, storage guidelines. How long can you keep milk out or how long can you keep it in the refrigerator or freezer? So if you have breast milk that you freshly pumped. And in your home is 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius or less. You can keep it at room temperature, just out on the counter for about four hours, if it was previously thawed and you’re keeping it out, only one to two hours. And if it’s something that’s leftover from a previous feeding, we definitely recommend that you try to use that within two hours after baby finishing. The thought process is, is that there’s bacteria in the human mouth and so once your mouth gets to a bottle, You can transfer bacteria back and forth. And if you’re letting the bottle sit there bacteria, it could be growing. So if you have fresh breast milk and you’re gonna put it in the refrigerators are refrigerators identified at a temperature of 40 degrees fahrenheit or four degrees Celsius. You could keep it up to four days, freshly pumped in the refrigerator. And if it was previously thawed, or from a frozen state, then you can keep it for up to one day or about 24 hours in the refrigerator. If you’re freezing breast milk. Freezing defined a zero degrees Fahrenheit to negative 18 degrees, Celsius or cooler.
Milk that you’re going to freeze can be kept for six to 12 months. Six months would be more in a freezer that’s next to your refrigerator, that the doors may be opened more frequently. So the temperature is not as stable, but up to 12 months in a deep freeze, something that isn’t opened as frequently.
You never want to refreeze human milk. That’s already been thawed. And you also, when you’re trying to warm it up or reconstitute the milk. You don’t want to microwave it, that will destroy the proteins that the milk. You want to keep the milk or pour the milk into a container put it in a cup of warm water and then allow it to kind of get back to that warmer temperature you’ll also notice that that will help to reincorporate and mix the fat back into the milk.
The last thing I’d want to say is that you may want to organize an area in your kitchen. Maybe a cupboard and a drawer to put all of your breastfeeding pump, supplies, pads as well as bottles and nipples. Things can get easily, very unorganized because there’s so many moving parts for feeding our babies. As your baby gets older, you can also transition that area to have cups and bowls and spoons, maybe even some bibs. That way, everything you need for feeding is all in one place.
So I think that’s all we have on breastfeeding supplies, beyond pumps and bras. Hopefully you find this information helpful and can get you ready for your breastfeeding adventure. Until next time be well.