Even through breastmilk is clean, cheap (free!) and easily available, there is always an opportunity for shopping! Breastfeeding mums have a few needs including slings, breast pumps, maternity bras, and books on breastfeeding, parenting and pregnancy. Click the links to find out more:
When should I use a sling or baby carrier?
There are many reasons to use a baby sling or carrier. Aside from being a handy choice when a pram or stroller is not practical, dad can carry baby around in it for some extra bonding time. It calms a restless, ‘windy’ baby and the upright position against the warm adult body is very soothing. Carrying baby can increase a mother’s hormone levels which encourages her body to make breastmilk, babies can learn a lot by being upright and viewing the world and babies spend less of their ‘awake’ time crying.
The ABA has a number of specially-designed slings available to make the most of the experience of carrying your baby. ABA slings are designed to carry baby in the correct orthopaedic, or ‘frog-leg’ position for baby’s hips and are strong enough to carry a 2 year old.
Where can I find a good breastfeeding bra or nursing top?
Comfort, practicality and style are equally important when it comes to nursing tops and bras. It’s always time to feel fabulous in a great bra with fantastic comfort plus choices of colours and styles for every occasion.
When should I be fitted?
The right time to be fitted for a maternity bra varies from woman to woman and there is no right time for everyone. The breast begins to prepare for lactation quite early in pregnancy and some women will outgrow their usual bra size earlier than others. Generally speaking, most of the changes to the breast have occurred by around four months (16 weeks gestation) and this is a good time to be fitted, if you haven’t needed to earlier.
A correctly fitted bra gives you comfort and support, so it is a good idea to be professionally fitted. This is a free service. It is not necessary to buy a bra you will grow into – indeed too big can be as bad as too small!
Is it true I can’t wear an underwire?
Many women prefer underwire fashion bras and are confused when told these are not recommended during pregnancy or lactation. The reason for this is, once again, your changing breast shape. When breastfeeding, the breasts can increase and decrease in size during the day, as milk is produced and removed. Retained fluid in late pregnancy can also cause the breast to swell. Although only a slight change in size is occurring, a rigid underwire may put pressure on the breast when it is fuller. Such pressure can lead to blocked milk ducts or mastitis and it is for this reason inflexible underwire bras are not recommended. However, there are now nursing bras available that have a flexible low-gauge wire support, designed to flex and change position with your changing shape. These are less likely to cause problems.
Bras for Breastfeeding
Bras designed for pregnant women are also used when breastfeeding. The names maternity bra and nursing bra mean the same thing.
When trying on different styles, remember to open and close the bra cup. Most bras open for feeding and some are easier to manage than others. Look for bras where the whole cup folds away, as opposed to rigid ‘trapdoor’ styles which can also put pressure on a full breast while feeding. Centre front and shoulder clasp styles are available.
For more information, including whether you should wear a bra to bed see: Choosing a maternity bra
You may need to express breastmilk for a number of reasons, including:
Your reason for expressing breastmilk as well as the length of time and how often you need to express will help you work out the kind of breast pump you need.