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Breastfeeding bras are specially designed to enable you to feed your baby without removing the whole bra. Consult a bra fitting specialist before you give birth to find out what size breastfeeding bra you are likely to need. You will probably find your bra is loose to begin with, but once your milk comes in, your breasts will expand to fill it! Marks and Spencers, Mothercare and most department stores will offer a bra fitting service.
A shawl designed to cover you and the baby while breast feeding making it more comfortable to breast feed in public.
If your milk comes in, you breasts will start to leak - especially when a baby is crying. Breast pads will absorb the milk and save you constantly changing your clothes and bras - and smelling of milk!
Our mums say:
"It may be a day or two before your milk comes in, but it's worth having these in your hospital bag in case you stay in longer than you expected."
Before your milk arrives, your baby will be constantly suckling. It will also take the baby a while to learn to latch on properly once your milk has come in. The result of this is that it will make your nipples quite sore. Nipple cream will help protect and heal them. It's best to start using it as soon as the baby arrives, as this will help prevent problems developing.
This protects the nipple while the baby is breast feeding which can aid sore or cracked nipples. However, it can hinder breast feeding and is not a long term solution to successful breast feeding.
Even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively, it's worth having some bottles in the house as back-up, and to give your partner a chance to feed the baby. Ensure you have found a bottle that suits your baby before buying in bulk. The bottles listed below are designed for newborn feeding; as your baby becomes accustomed to bottle feeding, you may want to move to faster teats. These can be bought separately and should be of the same brand as the bottles you are using. Have a look at our Feeding Guide before you get started.
This is a washing up brush designed to fit in a baby bottle so you can clean it properly. Bottle brushes come in different shapes to suit different shaped bottles. It is important to make sure a bottle brush is cleaned once you have finished with it, to prevent bacteria building up. The other end of a bottle brush often has a smaller brush to clean the teat which is very important too.
Used to warm formula up or breast milk that has been kept in the fridge. Breast milk is body temperature so most babies will prefer their milk (breast or formula) slightly warm.
A small flask is useful for keeping warm water in to warm bottled milk / food for babies while out and about or milk during the night so you don't have to go downstairs. Most babies don't enjoy cold milk / food.
There are additional items you might like to make using bottles easier and more organised. A separate drying tray and containers for the dish washer help ensure all baby equipment is kept as clean and sterile as possible.
A unit designed to allow a mother to express her milk into a bottle and comes in a manual or electric version. Expressing takes some practise and ideally needs to be part of the daily feeding routine to keep mothers' milk supply stable, but can allow the mother some rest time and her partner a chance of feeding the baby. It is best to establish breast feeding and wait at least 6 weeks before starting to express. Read our Feeding Guide for more information on expressing.
Our mums say:
"I found the electric pumps much better - the manual ones are just too difficult."
These are specially designed to store breast milk in the fridge or freezer.
If you have decided not to breast feed you will need to take formula and you should discuss this with your midwife. You can also find out more about formula in our Feeding Guide.
A milk powder dispenser designed to hold pre-measured formula milk powder in divided compartments - most hold up to three feeds, making feeding while out and about easier.
A cloth or plastic bib that protects clothing during feeding sessions! It saves endless changing and washing. The fixed plastic bibs tend to work better once the baby is bigger as the necks of the bibs need to sit flat on the baby's neck to work well - generally they fit okay from about 9 months.
Much like large thick hankies, these are great for cleaning up milk, sick and anything else! They can also be used to protect your clothing while trying to burp your baby. Traditionally white, you can now buy them in all sorts of colours and patterns. You will need to buy at least a dozen.
Harmful bacteria grows quickly in milk and it is recommended that you sterilise bottles, teats, soothers, breast pumps and other feeding accessories. You can find out more about sterilising and the different options available in our Feeding Guide. A steriliser is one option, and this is a unit which enables you to fully sterilise a baby's feeding equipment quickly and easily.
Harmful bacteria grows quickly in milk and it is recommended that you sterilise bottles, teats, soothers, breast pumps and other feeding accessories. You can find out more about sterilising and the different options available in our Feeding Guide. Sterilising tablets are used for cold water sterilisers. You can buy a unit or use a container of your own and just drop a tablet into cold but recently boiled water. Equipment takes 30 minutes to be sterilised and needs to be fully immersed. The down side is cold water sterilisers leave the equipment smelling and tasting of chemical sterilising solution, but as long as everything is well rinsed, this does no harm to your baby.
A small plastic bowl with or without a lid, and a soft shallow spoon designed to make feeding a baby easier. Storage pots are also useful to keep purees in.
Our mums say:
"Ice cube trays and freezer bags are a good alternative to storage pots if you're on a budget."
A plastic cup with a lid to introduce the baby to drinking with a faster flowing spout. They are normally designed with handles to make it easier for the baby/ toddler to hold it's own drink.
Whilst it may be nice to make all your baby's food youself, everyone needs a little help from time to time! Stage 1 food is baby puree sold commercially and recommended for use in babies over 6 months. Some babies are introduced to stage 1 food as early as 4 months, but you should consult your health visitor as to when it is suitable for you to start the weaning process.
A chair with straps, and normally a table, for feeding your baby in.