A cosy breastfeeding station is an essential part of helping you nurse your baby, especially in the early weeks.
Your nursing station is where you will enjoy most of those newborn baby cuddles. It can also help you succeed at breastfeeding, because if you’re comfortable and have everything you need close at hand, you’re far more likely to stick with it.
Breastfeeding is not easy. Perhaps you’ve been told the truth about breastfeeding already, or maybe everything you’ve heard about it suggests it will just come naturally.
The truth is, breastfeeding can hurt, it can be difficult to get right, it’s very tiring (especially in the early weeks), it can be quite isolating and it’s hard work.
But breastfeeding is also amazing. There are so many positives about it, that it really makes up for any of the negatives.
It’s because of the negatives that you need to take steps to make it as easy on yourself as possible.
Setting up a breastfeeding station is one of the best ways you can prepare for your baby! So let’s talk about it in a lot more detail!
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Do you need a breastfeeding station?
Can you survive like with a baby without a breastfeeding station? Yes you can.
But will having a breastfeeding station help you get to grips with nursing your baby? Yes it definitely will.
Your breastfeeding station is where you keep all of your breastfeeding essentials so that everything is close at hand exactly where its needed.
It’s also where all of your comfort items are. These are the things that help you cope with any nursing pain, such as sore nipples, and keep you entertained, because breastfeeding is going to take up a lot of your time!
Read more: Beginner’s guide to breastfeeding your baby
Where to set up your breastfeeding station?
The best place for your breastfeeding station is somewhere you can get peace and quiet.
Your main candidates for this area will probably be the baby’s nursery or a quiet corner of your sitting room.
You may want it to be close to a television, because one feed can go on for some time, and if your baby nods off on your lap you may be stuck there for some time.
Of course you can always get an iPad and a set of headphones and simply watch boxsets on your Netflix or Prime app.
To save you holding onto the iPad, or whatever smart device you may have, you can get a stand or a case that doubles as a stand.
Think about a spot where you won’t be bothered too much by other kids or that isn’t too close to your partner’s office for example.
Where you set it up is down to you, but you’ll want it to feel cosy and it helps if it looks nice too. Relaxation is key when it comes to breastfeeding, so having a space that makes you feel chilled and happy is perfect.
You don’t have to spend a fortune. Just make sure it’s easy to keep tidy and maybe has some pictures or nice keepsakes that make you smile close by.
Having decent lighting will be really important, so try to set it up somewhere you can also have a lamp.
What do you put in a nursing basket?
Your nursing basket is where you keep your breastfeeding essentials. It’s much easier to keep everything together in place, rather than sprawled over a side table.
Your nursing basket should contain all of your essentials to look after yourself and your baby, as well as any creature comforts you might need.
Here’s a little rundown of what your nursing basket may include:
Nipple cream. Some nipple pain in the early weeks is normal. You can ease the discomfort by letting your nipples be exposed to the air as much as possible and using nipple cream. There are lots of good nipple creams on the market but the Lansinoh one is my favourite.
Breast pads. Have a stash of four breast pads in your breastfeeding station basket. You may want to switch out for fresh ones once you have finished nursing.
Muslins. Have one clean muslin at the ready just in case of spit ups during burping.
Haakaa. These are handy little manual breast pumps that also double as a milk catcher to make sure you don’t lose any of the good stuff during the letdown. It’s handy for collecting milk if you’re keen on offering the occasional bottle to your baby.
Breast pump. If you are feeding exclusively then you won’t need to worry too much about this. But if you are pumping some of your baby’s feeds or trying to build up a milk freezer stash, you’ll want your breast pump handy close to your comfy chair.
Nursing pillow. Some people cope fine without a nursing pillow, but I found it quite useful. They can really ease back pain and just give you a little more support when you’re feeding your newborn.
Nipple shields. If you’re suffering from nipple pain during feeding these can be a real goodsend. They’re also great if you have flat or inverted nipples and are struggling with the latch.
Water. Always have a bottle of water nearby! Breastfeeding is very thirsty work.
Read more: Breastfeeding essentials
Comfort for mama
Warm socks/slippers. If it’s the winter you need to keep yourself warm! Big fluffy socks are one of my go-to comfort items.
Blanket. For the cold seasons have a blanket or throw draped over the chair, that way you can wrap up warm if you need to.
Phone charger. Try to have a spare phone charger plugged in close to the nursing chair. You don’t want to be stuck under a sleeping baby with five per cent of your phone battery left!
iPad/iPod. Relax and listen to some music or watch the latest episode of your fave TV show. My iPad saved my sanity during night feeds with my youngest baby.
Book/magazine. Have something that you look forward to reading every time you sit down to feed your baby. This will make it a way more positive experience for you, especially if you’re going through a tough phase with nursing.
Nappies. Try to have three or four spare nappies just in case you need to do a quick change.
Spare clothes. Keep one spare outfit in your kit just in case of a nappy explosion or major spit up.
Nappy rash cream.
Baby nail clippers. The best time to clip your baby’s nails is when they are asleep. With newborns you will find they nod off on the boob all of the time. Have the nail clippers close by so you can snip their nails while you know they won’t be wriggling about as much.
What kind of chair is best for breastfeeding?
The best nursing chair for breastfeeding will support your back, have arm rests and, even better, a foot rest.
Having a chair that reclines, even just a bit, is ideal too.
Ultimately you won’t want a chair that you will nap with the baby in. There is a higher risk of SIDs if you fall asleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby.
But it needs to be comfy above all things!
You can buy chairs that are made specifically for the purpose of breastfeeding your baby. You may find that in general these are more expensive than your average chair, but they are built with your comfort in mind.
You can get chairs that include foot support in them when you recline, or you can buy foot stools that go specifically with the chair you buy. If you want to save a bit of money, you could buy a cheap foot stool to pop next to your chair as and when you need it.
The Rolls Royce of nursing chairs will recline, with foot support, and rock too! Some have a gliding motion, which is great for soothing your baby.
It really comes down to your budget and how much space you have in your home too.
How to organise your breastfeeding station
The best way to organise your breastfeeding station is with a decent-sized box or even better a basket.
You’ll want something that’s lightweight with handles on either side for easy moving around.
You will also find it easier if the basket is separated out into sections. You can always buy drawer separators and pop those in to keep everything organised and easier to find.
With clothes and muslins, roll them up and store them vertically (the KonMari way) so that you can see them easily.
If you have the space, a cart is great for this job, especially if you are doing a lot of pumping. You’ll have lots more objects to keep organised if you are pumping regularly.
If space is tight consider this brilliant little nappy caddy which you could hang on a door or on the back of your chair.
This is my absolute favourite basket for breastfeeding station organisation!
What if you have no space for a breastfeeding station?
If you’re reading this and thinking “I have zero space for an entire chair just for breastfeeding” that’s totally understandable. A lot of us are in the same boat!
If you can’t squeeze a breastfeeding station into your home as it is now, then figure out a corner of your living room that you can designate as your breastfeeding station.
Put your breastfeeding station basket in that corner and make that your specific space.
If you struggle to relax in this area, possibly because of noisy older children or whatever else, make your bedroom your breastfeeding space.
Add some extra pillows and cushions to your bed to make it easier to prop yourself up there.
If you do decide to co-sleep while breastfeeding, remember to follow the guidelines for safer sleep.