I LOVE ‘what’s in your bag posts’, be it a handbag, nappy bag, travel bag or my current fixation… the hospital bag! The more organized it is, the better!
Now, mine is still in progress so I wont be sharing the full contents of my hospital bag just yet. But, since it’s world breastfeeding awareness week and I haven’t had the opportunity to write a breastfeeding post in ages, I thought I’d let you know what I will be packing in my hospital bag in order to get our breastfeeding journey off to a good start.
Generally, a new mama can get by with nothing more than her breasts and her baby but there are a lot of products out there that can make this daunting and sometimes difficult journey so much easier.
Lansinoh breastpads: generally I prefer washable breastpads (for better airflow) but there is a time and a place for disposable and the hospital is it. Don’t worry to pack an entire box – your milk will only come in on or around day 3 (possibly earlier for 2nd or 3rd time moms) 8-10 pads should be more than enough.
Nipple cream: There is much controversy around the type of nipple cream that a mom should or shouldn’t choose. While lanolin used to be the holy grail of nipple creams, today many moms are going for more natural variations. Personally, I don’t have anything against a pure form of lanolin – it’s something I often recommend for moms who are struggling and I certainly wont be packing my hospital bag without including that famous purple tube.
That said, omg have recently launched their all natural nu mama range. They have packed this range full of the very best ingredients that meet a multitude of needs and the Nu Mama Nursing Balm is no different. I am so excited to have such a comprehensive but natural and local product available to moms. The ingredients for the Nu Mama Nursing Balm were intensely researched making sure that the product is not only effective, but also gives mom the peace of mind that it is safe for her and baby too. Packed with shea butter, chamomile & marshmallow root, coconut oil and beeswax – it just doesn’t get better than that.
And so this time, a tub of nu mama nursing balm will be packed inside my bag as well.
Latch assist: this little gadget is really handy for moms who are a little flat / inverted. It’s great at drawing the nipple out just before a feed, making it a touch easier for baby to latch. Usually, using the latch assist will draw a small amount of colostrum out as well, giving baby an instant reward and making the feed that much more enticing.
Boppy Pillow: Still my fave nursing pillow on the market and a must have for c/section moms. If there is one thing that is going to make breastfeeding easier, it is the support of a good, firm feeding cushion.
Nursing bra’s: you probably wont need these for the first couple of days or until your milk comes in (which is when you will need to hold a breastpad in place). Forget the fancy bra’s for now and opt for soft cotton / spandex sleep bra’s that will comfortably accommodate postpartum engorgement as well as providing easy access while you are still learning how to feed. Unfortunately, we don’t have an amazing array of nursing bra’s in South Africa – I found these on Amazon and paid around R400 for a set of 4 (including shipping via aramex global shopper)
Arnica oil: It is completely normal for your breasts to reach a size you never imagined possible, they will be rock hard and they will be sore. Engorgement in the early days is not often relieved by pumping and this is because it is largely due to swelling of the milk ducts and not a whole lot of milk. Unless you are pumping in order to help baby latch or you have been advised to do so, avoid using your pump as it will only result in an over production of milk and little relief from the pain. Rather massage your breasts with arnica oil after a feed, place a hot facecloth over your breasts when you can and when you get home slip a cold, scored cabbage leaf into your bra (some hospitals may even keep stock of cabbage leaves for you).
Optional: some moms like to pack a nursing cover, if you are a first time mom who has never breastfed, learning to feed under a cover can be tricky. Rather ask visitors to leave while you feed so that you and baby have got the freedom to feed without the distraction of having to keep yourself covered.
Lastly, make sure you have the number of a lactation consultant, clinic sister or someone experienced who you can trust to answer the many questions that may come up during the early days of breastfeeding. Remember that this is the beginning of a wonderful journey, one that may take a little practice for both you and baby. Be gentle on yourself and ask for help if needed. So many moms do come right with breastfeeding, even when it has at times felt impossible.