|Breasts and loving arms are the best "equipment", of course! Many devices and
products actually interfere with breastfeeding and other natural parenting practices. But there are a few
items that do come in handy:
A big bed makes for cozy family sleeping. A crib with its rail down, pushed next to
the parents' bed, also allows for closeness and easy breastfeeding. Some families sell their beds and
cover the floor with wall-to-wall futons or other mattresses. Babies should not sleep on waterbeds, as
they are unable to push themselves away if necessary. Parents sleeping near a baby should also avoid
alcohol, drugs, and prescription medicines which interfere with alertness.
A baby sling, which can also be used for nursing. They're indispensable for
"wearing" the baby and keeping hands free for working or shopping.
Pillows are very helpful for both comfort and support while breastfeeding. They can be placed
behind the back, for supporting and lifting the baby on the mother's lap, and for leg support while
nursing lying down. Various sizes are useful for different positions, and for growing babies.
Specially-designed pillows for supporting the nursing baby, such as the "My Brest Friend Feeding
Pillow" can be very helpful.
A footstool, such as the
Brest Friend Nursing Stool. This
simple item can be remarkably useful in relieving back pressure when breastfeeding in a sitting position.
Foot support also helps raise baby to breast level for the most effective and comfortable nursing
position. Phone books will do, but a sturdy footstool is better, and having it reminds the mother to use
What to avoid:
Baby bottles are unnecessary. If challenges arise necessitating supplementation, cups or spoons can be used
- while continuing to breastfeed. If a doctor suggests weaning, check with a
La Leche League leader or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (ask the
local hospital or health department for a referral) for expert help in making such an important decision. In
the vast majority of cases, there are alternatives to weaning.
Cribs, playpens, dummies (pacifiers), baby swings, nursery monitors, and strollers (especially those that
block baby's vision of the parent) subtly and not-so-subtly alter natural parenting, and can interfere with
the mother-child bond.
What can parents do if they receive gifts they don't want to use? The problem here is that if there is an
unwanted baby device in the house, someone will try it sooner or later. Parents shouldn't feel obligated to
accept any gift. If they receive one they don't want, they could thank the giver for thinking of them, then
add, "I don't think we will use this. Could we go and exchange it?" (Shopping together could be
fun.) Or, if they don't expect to be asked about its use, they can return or sell the item privately, break
the item and recycle the materials, or donate it to a breastfeeding support group for educational displays.
After all, baby equipment should only be used to enhance the bond between parents and baby.