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Breastfeeding: 11 Things That May Help

Planning to breastfeed your baby? These items may come in handy.

5. A Cover-Up

What if you're out in public when your baby needs to be fed? You might want some privacy while your baby latches onto your breast.

Options range from simple receiving blankets to specialty nursing covers with a strap that goes around your neck, so the baby can't kick it off and leave you exposed.

"Whatever you choose [as your cover-up], it needs to be out of your line of sight, so you can view your nipple and the baby's mouth and body," Knox says.

6. A Breast Pump

When you need to fill bottles for daycare, a high-quality electric pump can be a lifesaver. But don't buy it too soon.

"In the first couple of weeks, it's really wiser for women to work on learning the technique of breastfeeding and getting their milk supply established instead of getting -- and possibly using -- this expensive piece of equipment," Huggins says.

Before you buy, think about your situation.

For instance, are you working part-time or full-time? Can you visit the childcare center and breastfeed your baby during the workday? Is the baby breastfeeding exclusively? "There are lots of variables to consider," says Amy Spangler, RN, author of Breastfeeding: A Parent's Guide and president of babygooroo.com.

You'll also need milk storage bags and bottles. But before you buy them in bulk, try them out to see if you like them.

7. Space in Your Bedroom

Having your baby sleep in your room for the first several months can help make middle-of-the-night feedings go more smoothly.

"Infant feeding cues start out softly and accelerate," Knox says. "Feeding tends to go easier if you catch the baby at the beginning of the feeding cues. That will allow for the best emptying of the breast, so you can make milk more efficiently."

You could move your baby's crib into your room. Or you could buy a special co-sleeper crib that attaches to the side of your bed.

Don't put the baby in your bed, though. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against co-sleeping with your baby, because there's a chance that you could roll over your baby while sleeping and suffocate the baby.

8. A Drink of Water

Many lactation experts tell new moms to drink water whenever they nurse. And with good reason:

"If you get dehydrated, your milk supply will suffer," Knox says. "If your pee is dark and not very frequent, it's a sign that there's not enough water going through your body. You want pale yellow urine."

How much water should you drink? Everyone's needs vary, but many non-nursing women strive for eight 8-ounce glasses daily. You'll need to drink your usual amount, plus more to account for the baby's needs. You will probably need at least three to four extra 8-ounce glasses a day, for a total of 11-12 glasses of fluids a day.

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