It is a great idea to do a hospital tour before baby arrives. When you go, take a list of questions with you. You will want to ask questions about the labor and delivery portion, but you want details about postpartum care and lactation support as well. Here are a few things to ask. Do you practice Kangaroo Care or Skin to Skin immediately after birth? Do you provide a lactation consultant and when are they available to me? What breastfeeding products are provided (ex. nipple cream, breast shields, a nursing pillow, a pump if necessary)? Knowing what is provided for you can help lessen the load of luggage you haul into the hospital.
Here is my list of things that I used in the hospital to start my breastfeeding journey in a positive way.
- Comfortable Nursing Bras and Tanks: You want comfort in the hospital. Your body has been through a lot, and your breasts are about to take on something completely new. Loose, soft clothing is what I felt the best in. And you want easy access to your milk makers, because they will be used OFTEN! With my first, I decided not to spend the money on good nursing clothing, and I regret it. I was so much happier once I invested in clothing that was made for breastfeeding.
- A Nursing Pillow: If the hospital provides one, great! That is one less thing you have to carry. If not, take your own. Like I just said, you will spend a lot of time with a baby attached, and a nursing pillow can help keep you and baby in a comfortable position.
- A Nursing Cover: If you are a fairly private person, and think you will be uncomfortable nursing in front of medical staff or visitors stopping by to meet your new baby, you might want to bring a nursing cover. In my personal experience, trying to cover up while learning to breastfeed just created one extra thing in my way, but do what makes you comfortable.
- Nipple Cream: This is also often provided, but if you have a favorite brand, bring your own. Use this!!! My experience is, don’t wait until you think you need it. Your nipples will thank you. Earth Mama makes my favorite nipple cream, and you can buy it in a small size that is perfect for travel to the hospital. Click Here to Shop Earth Mama
- Nursing Pads: It is a good idea to pack a few nursing pads in case you start to leak early. You have disposable and reusable options available.
- Your Pump: If you have a lactation counselor available to you, they can teach you how to use your exact pump. They can also tell you if there is anything else you need to purchase that you hadn’t thought of. Knowledge makes pumping less overwhelming.
- Ponytail Holders/ Headbands: I needed my hair out of the way! My babies used to get furious when my hair would fall onto them while feeding. Rock your new look, and don’t worry, the mom bun is cool!
- Snacks and Your Favorite Water Bottle: You are going to be hungry and thirsty. Breastfeeding burns calories and makes you feel like you’ve been walking the desert for weeks. I liked having my own bottle to keep track of how much I was drinking. And it made me feel more at home. The hospital will feed you, but you might want some of your favorite, nutrition packed snacks.
- Adult Diapers: I didn’t learn this trick until my third, and it is one of my favorites. I was never comfortable in the mesh panties lined with something that looked like a twin size comforter. Besides being uncomfortable, the nurses always had to cut the legs of the mesh panties in order to fit them over my thighs. That was always more embarrassing than all the crazy things happening to my body. Did you know that breastfeeding helps your uterus work back to its original size and shape? When your baby latches to your breast, your uterus contracts. I warn mommas that this is painful, but it doesn’t last long. I always bled worse with each breastfeeding, and adult diapers left me with less leaky messes and less stained clothing.
- An Open Mind: Doing your research and preparing ahead of time is great! It really does make the process easier. It is important to remember though to be patient with yourself and baby as you practice and learn breastfeeding together.