Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Nursing List of "Must Haves"?!?!?!

A few months ago we evaluated our increasingly crowded apartment and decided that there were more than a few things that could go.  We'd hauled pretty much all the baby stuff that we had from California to Florida, but I decided to go through everything and make some decisions about the baby stuff that we really needed versus that which we didn't.

I started with clothes, getting ride of about 75% of our baby clothes.  That meant that one cubby (in the cube type shelfs from Target) would remain with each size of clothes (yeah... between seriously lovely hand me downs and baby gifts we had a ton of really cute pink clothing!).  I gave away 99% of the clothing labeled "newborn" because we've never actually had a "newborn" sized child.  I brought a 0-3 month outfit to the hospital last time because it was pretty obvious that Mae wouldn't be much smaller than her sister and a washed newborn outfit doesn't usually fit an over nine pound baby too well.  And since both our girls have been into 3-6 months at around 4 weeks... the 0-3 section had some serious pruning too.

Then we went over gadgets and furniture.  The high chair stayed.  And the Moby Basket and the bassinet (and the crib Mae will eventually have to give up... which is good since she's able to almost climb out of it now) all made the cut.  But the glider had seen better days (and had a tendency to break, although it had been patched together over and over again).  And so it, and the rest of the baby gadgets/furniture were out the door (we did sell some of the clothes and other items to Once Upon a Child).

Now the inspiration for this post was actually a email that I received from one of those pregnancy/baby sites that sends me daily emails after I checked my due date with them a few months ago, and I just had to click when I saw the title about "getting ready to breastfeed baby" because I had a feeling they were going to tell me about all the stuff that I "needed."  And that was exactly what they did.

Apparently the "necessities" for breastfeeding include a giant electric pump with a huge bag and some storage containers and an ice box (there was a small picture of a manual "starter kit" too), a wide assortment of bottles, milk bags, "micro steam bags" (I don't even know what those are), pads, lanolin, a nipple shield, and special wipes to clean everything.

I'll admit it is totally possible, especially if you're going to be away from your baby a lot and you're going to nurse, that you'll need all those items.  However... as someone who nursed for 42 months and who's about to start round three I can tell you that my list is much shorter if you're going to be around baby all the time.

My list includes a nursing cover and pads.  And really, I ended up using receiving blankets as often as I used my cover with Mae, so I guess nursing pads would be the only item on my list.

In the beginning I got the pump and the bottles and the ice chest bag.  I had lanolin (which I actually found was awesome for chapped baby lips) and nursing shields (okay, those were lifesavers with my first, since she nursed for hours and hours and hours (seven was our record) without a break... although I only used them for about four weeks, thankfully.)

I could pretend that I didn't end up using any of those extra things beyond the first six weeks of Sadie's life to make up bottles, because I wanted to do the natural thing, but that would be a lie.

I don't like extra work when I have a newborn.  Okay, honestly, I don't like extra, unnecessary work, ever.  And all those extra breastfeeding gadgets are a lot of work.  Boiling (we had well water) and washing got old pretty fast when I knew that I could just nurse her and have no clean up whatsoever.  And since she wasn't a bottle fan, we were both happy.

With Sadie I thought it might be nice to be able to give her a bottle when we were out in public, but I quickly realized that the hours and hours of colic that followed every sip out of a bottle weren't worth it and that nursing discreetly was pretty simple in the right clothes (although layering for easy feeding took some time to figure out, the cami secret panels actually made it much easier for me!).

These days I'm realizing more and more to take those "must have" lists I see on baby sites with a grain of salt.  Many of the sites are trying to sell things... and in my experience most of those "necessities" just got in the way.  I need a wrap and diapers and a cuddly sleeper... Maybe I should make my own, much shorter list...


  1. Great topic. My mom had me register with her for my baby shower and it was so difficult for me! They make it out like you need everything and my mom wanted me to register for every cute thing we saw!
    Unfortunately (or fortunately) I am a little utilitarian when it comes to that type of stuff, and I just wanted diapers (cloth), a wrap, and the needed baby furniture. I ended up just registering for whatever she told me to.

    I would LOVE it if you did posts on a list of basic necessities, and I would LOVE IT DOUBLE if you did a post on layering for easy feeding.

  2. IME, the thing you need for breastfeeding is breasts...and since you already have those, you are all set. LOL I don't even use nursing those hooks or whatever are such a pain, so much easier to just use a regular bra and pull the cup up or down. By the 3rd baby, I basically stopped leaking so I never really used nursing pads. I've never used a cover, as my babies hated nursing under blankets, plus I just think they look silly and draw more attention. They are really only useful if you are wearing a shirt or dress that is cut low-enough to just pull the breast out the top or something button down that you unbutton. I stopped wearing dresses 10 years ago when I had my first, and usually just lift my shirt up (even button down shirts as it is easier than fooling with buttons).

    In certain situations, things like a pump or bottle could be useful, but I'm of the opinion to not get those things until that situation arises, as I've managed to raise 3 kids so far, without every giving a bottle (plus by 4-6 months they can use a sippy cup anyway).

    To the previous poster who asked about dressing for discreet nursing. The easiest way is to wear a regular shirt that you life up to nurse, with a cami or one of those stretchy belly bands underneath. The top of your shirt covers up the top of your breast and the cami or belly band covers your belly on the side. I've done that for all 3 of my kids (each nursed 3+ years) and have nursed everywhere and anywhere (including in slings) w/o a cover and never had an issue.

    We have basically nothing baby (except my slings..the only thing I kept and packed down to FL). However, the only things I feel I really need for this baby are a carseat, cloth diapers (since after 3 kids and with a 4+ year spacing, they are either worn out or given away) and baby clothes (again everything has been given away since I wasn't going to move a bunch of baby clothes). I think someone may be giving us a crib, although I don't anticipate the baby actually sleeping in it...but you never know. A high chair is also useful, but I don't know that we'll get one, since by the time the baby is old enough to eat solids, we'll likely be moving (again)..and our house is way too small to have a bunch of stuff.

    Right now Joann's has a great sale on flannel, so I got a yard of flannel to cut up and set into baby wipes (so easy..even I can do that!), so I'll be set in the wipe dept.

  3. Amen! I have found that the only baby things I absolutely needed were baby clothes and a carseat. Even diapers aren't, strictly speaking, a necessity (especially if you use EC with your baby.) Until our son reached about 10 months (and 25 lbs) our stroller was a nuisance more than anything. I loved using the wrap I had. I did use a pump and bottles a few times, but if there is a next time (God willing) I will probably use even less than I did this time around.

  4. For nursing I used my cover, more with my first than with my second. But my first nursed constantly where my second was more restrained and actually did well with the pacifier (which helped prevent the reflux/spitting).

    I did need a pump (a good but used one) and bottles (the cheapest kind) because I was going to school and had to leave my babies at home with dh,

    I have one of those boppy pillows, but I don't think I am the right size to use it anyways. So I used it to prop baby up sometimes, but that was it.

    Don't forget the burp clothes!!! I never have enough, and I just used the cheap prefold diapers. Funny story, my mom with her first three kids thought burp clothes were were dumb, until she had me. Between me and my little sister (a little of my little brother) she probably filled her whole house with baby spit up.

    I use nursing tanks, though I really should be looking for something more supportive this time around. And breast pads. I leaked a lot with my first, and some with my second, in fact I was still using them occasionally as baby neared 12 months, if I had to be gone for longer periods of time.

    Lansinoh, well I am still on the tube I bought with my first. I actually only use as baby gets older (or I get pregnant). At about 10 months (give or take a few months) my babies forget how to nurse and try to eat my nipples. I get big ol' teeth marks, and start getting dry and cracked nipples. That's when I need it.

  5. Lol. Your post brought back to mind an article I read in one of those "informative" little magazines the hospital sends home with new mothers. This particular magazine was aimed at the grandparents, of all things, and the article was all about the things they would "need" at their home if they were hoping to babysit their grandchild. I was seriously baffled. There were things on this list, (that my mother needed her own of, rememeber) that were not even something I considered a necessity for ME to own! And much of what might be needed is easily transferred from one house to another. AND, really, how many things can a baby and caregiver seriously not do without for a few hours to a weekend? All I need in order to babysit a baby is diapers, a change or two of clothes (optional, as I have my own stash, lol) and something to feed it!


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