Breastfeeding has many health benefits for a mum and her baby. It is also free and can be done with no special accessories. However, plenty of accessories and gadgets are sold to help with breastfeeding. Here are some accessories which might be useful for a breastfeeding mum.
Breast pumps and breast milk storage
Expressing and storing breast milk can be a convenient way to make sure a baby gets mum's milk when she is unable to breastfeed. Milk can be expressed by hand, but many women find special pumps more convenient. These may be hand-operated, battery-powered or electric. They work by creating a vacuum when the funnel has been placed over the nipple and areola.
Fashion and clothing
Nursing bras are designed to give good support, be gentle on the breasts in case of sore nipples and cups may be unclasped for feeds.
Specially designed clothing and scarves may be useful when breastfeeding in public places to help with a comfortable and discreet feed.
Special nipple cream may be helpful for breastfeeding mums experiencing sore or cracked nipples. The NHS suggests a smear of white soft paraffin or purified lanolin for cracked nipples.
Gel pads are sold which can be warmed or cooled to help with discomfort symptoms. Warm flannels or a bath or shower may be just as effective.
Disposable breast pads or nursing pads fit inside a bra and are designed to be absorbent and leak-proof.
Some women use special pillows while breastfeeding to help with lower back support.
Get advice first
Before splashing out on expensive solutions, ask for tips and advice from other mums, health visitors and other health professionals or experts such as midwives or breastfeeding counsellors.