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Breastfeeding Aids - Items You Can Use That Might Be Helpful.

Published by Stylishmamas.

Date: 21/09/2017.


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Normally, you don’t need to do anything special to keep your breasts and nipples comfortable and working as they should. After all, breastfeeding evolved long before anyone developed any products or garments to support it. However, there are a number of items you can use that might be helpful, depending on your circumstances and experience.

Nursing bras.

There are several styles available to enable you to let your baby have access to your breasts, one at a time – a drop cup arrangement, a lift the flap design, or a zip opening at the front. Most styles are supportive, because that’s more comfortable for most women, especially in the early days when your breasts are likely to be larger than usual. Look for styles that have adjustable shoulder straps and fastenings at the back that allow you to adjust the circumference of the bra, to cope with the fluctuating breast size.


Nipple shields.

These are rubber or silicone coverings that go over your nipples. They are sometimes used as a protector if nipples are damaged, or as a way of offering the baby assistance in getting well latched. While they are sometimes useful as a tool, they have drawbacks. For instance, they can fall off or slip just as you’re getting the baby on or when she relaxes her sucking. They don’t really teach the baby to take a good mouthful of breast milk and the baby is no better at this when the shield is removed. In addition, babies can become very keen on the shield and resist the unfamiliarity of the breast. There’s also some research that shows babies have difficulty removing sufficient milk with the shield in place, and after a while, this can reduce supply. If a shield is suggested to you, don’t feel you have to avoid it, but ask your midwife or health visitor or whoever is assessing you about tackling the problems which led to needing a shield, so these can be resolved.


Breast pads.

Some women leak breast milk, though this doesn’t go on for long (most women find it stops after a couple of months or so). You can put breast pads – disposable, washable fabric ones, or ones made of silicone that adhere to your skin – into your bra cups to protect your clothing.


Breast shells.

Breast shells are plastic covers in two parts that click together, which catch leaked, and which were originally designed to make flat or inverted nipples stand out. The study that looked at their efficacy to make flat or inverted nipples stand out found they made no difference. They can, however, still be used to catch leaked milk.


Nipple everters.

There is anecdotal evidence that some individual mothers have found that nipple everters are effective at drawing out inverted nipples, but there has been no comparative study into their use.


Other accessories.

These include warming pads of sheepskin or wool, which are especially popular in Scandinavia; nipple creams, which may soothe damaged skin but that should never be used without careful attention to helping your baby take the breast in a way that doesn’t hurt you; cooling pads to relieve engorgement; and breastfeeding cushions – available in several different styles and shapes – aimed at supporting and holding your baby more easily. Breast pumps – manual or electrical – can be very useful as an easy way to express milk for your baby. Individual women may find some products helpful but none of them is essential. In particular, some cushions may actually make it more difficult for a baby at the breast to get a really close and effective attachment. Mothers with back problems or a disability may find a pillow or cushion helpful, and mothers who have had a caesarean section sometimes appreciate a cushion to avoid pressure on the scar in the early days. Speak to other mothers, and try before you buy if you can.


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