Hospital Bag Essentials for Breastfeeding Families
1. Breastfeeding Pillow
If you have purchased a breastfeeding pillow on on a recommendation or received one as a gift and are not quite sure how to use it, bring it with you. You will learn how to use regular bed pillows during your stay, but if you have a special pillow that you want to try out, request that your hospital nurses or lactation consultants show you how. A firm pillow that brings baby to the breast, with added lumbar support is ideal.
2. Coconut Water & Snacks
The second you begin nursing you will feel a thirst come on like you just crossed the Sahara Desert... and then comes the tummy grumblings. Most likely, you hands will be tied up in baby and boobs when this thirst and hunger strikes. Be sure to always have water or something to replenish electrolytes at the ready. Stow away some of your favorite protein or granola bars, preferably something you can eat with one hand, in your hospital bag in case you get hungry during the night or in between meals. Oh and make sure packages are already opened and those cups are within reaching distance before you latch baby on, especially if you are alone!
3. Hydrogels & Nursing Pads
Even when all is going smoothly, nipples can feel a bit sore in the early days. Though you may not need them, hydrogels are nice to have on hand in case you do. Ask your partner or nurse to store them in the pantry fridge and as soon as you are done nursing have someone go grab them for you. Apply the cool gel pads right after a feeding. Towards the end of your stay, you may find that your breasts begin leaking. This is a good sign though it can be a little messy. Have your cloth or disposable nursing pads at the ready in anticipation.
4. Nursing Bra, Nursing Nightgown, Robe, or Camis
Feeding in a hospital gown can be a little aggravating. All those buttons, you may have IVs hooked up to you, and well just a lot going on. If you are able to trade that gown in for a nursing tank and comfy bottoms, a robe or nursing night gown (anything with a stretchy top will do), it can make a big difference in your comfort level! And allows baby easier access to the buffet. Cake Maternity has a beautiful and comfortable selection in a wide variety of sizes.
5. Breast Pump
Though you will hopefully not need it, it is always wise to bring your pump with you just in case. Sterilize the parts and pack in a ziplock bag. If for some reason you are separated from baby or in the case of any complications preventing you from feeding baby at the breast, you will have your pump at the ready to protect you milk supply and provide your liquid gold for baby, No need to wait for someone to bring you one of the unit pumps.
6. Breastfeeding Book
While you should be getting assistance from staff RNs and IBCLCs, its' always good to have some back up. Three really concise and easy to read references are; The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International, Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher, and It Shouldn't Hurt to Nurse Your Baby by Lisa Paladino.
7. Your IBCLC's Phone Number
Although you should get fabulous help while inpatient, sometimes you have a random question when no one is available. And then...sometimes things do not go as planned. If you know you are going to need some back up when you get home. Text us and schedule an appointment before you even leave the hospital!
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