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Dublin: 13°C Sunday 14 August 2022

11 handy pieces of breastfeeding kit you may not have thought of

An endless supply of cushions will be your saving grace, writes Chrissie Russell.

Image: Shutterstock/Tomsickova Tatyana

YES, THE ONLY kit you REALLY need to breastfeed are breasts and a baby.

But, as any mum who’s been trapped under a nursing baby on the sofa knows, there are a few other items that can make life a little bit easier.

My second child was born earlier this year, so this is a topic I’m well versed in. Here’s what got me through…

1. A pizza cutter: A lot of one handed eating goes on in the early days of breastfeeding. Rather than miss dinner entirely or eat a pork chop with your hand (though it can be done) a one-handed cutting implement is a life-saver. A pizza cutter works just as well as its many fancy counterparts.

2. A dimmer switch: Failing that, a small supply of electric tea lights will give you low level light to see what you’re doing at night without waking your baba with a full-on beam. 

shutterstock_426534898 Source: Shutterstock/IVVIVVI

3. Your choice of box set/Netflix series: With my first child, I got through the Good Wife, and this time around it was The Handmaid’s Tale. Establishing breastfeeding can take a fair bit of sitting on the sofa – good viewing is essential. A backlit e-reader or tablet is also handy for one-handed reading in the dark. 

4. Lanolin cream and cool compresses: The early days of breastfeeding can be a bit sore. Prolonged pain could be a sign of a poor latch or tongue tie (and should be checked out by a professional) but that initial feeling of ‘Ooh this is a bit new’ can be massively helped by slathering on the lanolin and using cool compresses.

5. Cushions, so many cushions: You don’t have to fork out for a dedicated ‘breastfeeding pillow’ but having a load of cushions on hand to prop up your elbows, your back and your head will make life infinitely better.

shutterstock_521126122 Source: Shutterstock/WorldWide

6. A shrug-style cardigan: Thought the trend for cut-off cardigans disappeared with the 1990s? Not if you’re a breastfeeding, co-sleeping mum. A shrug keeps your top half warm without introducing lots of bulky extra material into the bed. Breasts are still accessible and blankets are still safely away from baby… perfect.

7. A holder to keep all your devices handy: Whether it’s an armchair organiser or an extra-long phone charging cable, anything that makes accessing your various devices simpler will be a godsend. Getting trapped under a nursing/ sleeping baby and discovering the TV remote is just out of reach is no fun, especially when you have a new episode of The Handmaid’s Tale to watch. 

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8. An insulated travel mug: Feeding a baby on demand often means one’s own longings for a hot drink go unmet. Investing in a good insulated mug means you’re less likely to leave a trail of lukewarm teas in your wake.

9. A fiddle necklace: Somewhere around the five month mark your baby will decide he wants entertainment for his hands while feeding. Unless you want this ‘entertainment’ to be twiddling your other available nipple, a chunky bead necklace is a good option. There are plenty of sturdy non-toxic options available for just this purpose. 

10. A zillion cheap vests: Official ‘breastfeeding tops’ are all well and good but all you really need is a top to pull up and vest to pull down and presto – easy access without spending a fortune or letting the mum-tum get cold

11. A support network, however small: If at all possible, go to a breastfeeding group before giving birth. Not necessarily to learn all there is to know, but to establish a point of contact. After feeding my firstborn for three years, I thought I had breastfeeding sussed, but my newborn taught me there’s no such thing. Thank goodness for the lovely lady from Cuidiu who came to my house and helped me out. Support from others is the best breastfeeding kit there is.

More: 9 tried-and-tested tips for getting the kids to stop whining>

More: When the baby blues don’t go away – how I recognised the signs of post-natal depression>

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