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  • Writer's pictureThe Knapp Clinic

What Things Do You Need to Breastfeed?

Most expecting moms want to know about all the things they need to get ready to breast/chestfeed. There are so many options for electric pumps, nursing bras, breastfeeding pillows, nipple creams, hand pumps, milk storage bags, bottles, nipple shields, flanges, breast pads, breastfeeding shirts, etc. It can all be very overwhelming and very expensive!

You may decide you want all of these things, but one of the best parts about breastfeeding is that you actually need very few physical objects.

Our babies are born with all of the reflexes they need to latch and nurse.

Woman breastfeeding a baby with a man by her side
The things you actually need to breastfeed! You, your baby, and support!

The essential things that parents need to breastfeed are a supportive partner and family, friends that encourage you, your baby close to you, and a peer support system (like Le Leche League) that you can rely on for good advice and kinship. You may also want to have a Registered Lactation Consultant (also known as an IBCLC) or at the minimum a lactation counselor (CLC, CBS, CLEC) to help you troubleshoot problems. Check out our FAQs under the "what is different" section to learn more about types of lactation support.

All of the other things we feel like we must have stem from corporate marketing. These things may make alternative feeding options feel more comfortable short term but they conceal compensations that undermine learning to breastfeed/Chestfeed and they are not required.

I'm sure you're now thinking that we've lost our minds and that there is no way that it is that simple. On one hand it really is that simple and on the other nothing is ever as simple as it should be.

Knowledge is really the thing you need the most! We forget that knowledge is so valuable and powerful. We get distracted by all the marketing and things companies are trying to sell us. When we have to learn a new skill we look for people who already have the knowledge and we seek them out to teach us. Breastfeeding is a skill that is learned through social interaction. You literally cannot breastfeed alone because it requires two people and that makes it one of our first regular social interaction.

So, how do you acquire this knowledge?

  1. Find some friends and family members who have enjoyed their breastfeeding journeys and pick their brains.

  2. Read a book about breastfeeding! There are some really good ones out there like the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by LLLI.

  3. Take a prenatal breastfeeding class. There are several great local options including:

We don't currently have an active Le Leche League chapter here in Bowling Green, KY, but you could always start one!

There are two things we DO recommend you buy or order before you deliver.

  1. A breast pump. If you are delivering at MedCenter then they have Spectra pumps for you and they will bill it to your insurance. You do not need a pump with all the extras if you do not have a need to consistently pump e.g. you aren't going to be separated from your baby for long periods of time.

  2. Flanges that are the right size. Your size may change some after delivery but being close will get you off to a better start if you have to pump. It is best to get fitted for flanges by an IBCLC or trained Lactation Counselor. The wonderful and skilled IBCLCs and Birth Workers above can help or you can make an appointment with The Knapp Clinic and meet with our Nurse Practitioner & IBCLC for flange sizing and breastfeeding help!

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