Newborns nurse so frequently, it can be like a part time job just to keep them fed… so you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need close by to help make the experience less frustrating. The best way to do that is by setting up a breastfeeding station with everything you need to be comfortable while nursing.
There’s nothing worse than getting your newborn perfectly latched and feeding well then have to jump up to get some water because you’re dying of thirst… a fully equipped breastfeeding station helps with that!
While you’ll still have to make the occasional decision on whether to disturb your newborn and run to the bathroom, or hold as long as you can… you can at least minimise the number of things you might need to get up for.
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How Do You Create a Breastfeeding Station?
A breastfeeding station should be:
- comfortable for both mom and baby.
- peaceful and quiet, so mom and baby can relax and concentrate on the business at hand without jolting either to full wakefulness at night time.
- set up with creature comforts for mom, like water, blankets, snacks and entertainment.
With all this in mind, here’s how to make your cozy and comfortable breastfeeding nook.
Where to Set Up Your Nursing Station
You’ve probably spent ages beautifully decorating your nursery and daydreaming about the day you’ll have your little one there, looking so cute in their cot and playing on their adorable mat… you might even have your glider and nursing station set up and ready to go.
Once baby is born, things can change!
If you have baby in your room in a bassinet, you might find it easier and less disruptive to your sleep to set up a small nursing station next to your bed.
Or, you might prefer to use the living room so you can use the TV to keep you awake during those late night feeds.
Or, you might like to have your nursing station in the nursery to minimise disruptions to the rest of the household.
Be flexible and go with what works. You don’t need a huge amount of space for your breastfeeding station – the biggest item you need room for is your glider or breastfeeding chair… and if you’re using your living room, you may find your couch works just fine with a few cushions or pillows for comfort.
Your Breastfeeding Station Essentials
What do you need to create your breastfeeding station? Here are the ‘bare bones’ of what you’ll need:
Glider or Comfortable Chair for Nursing
Personally, I loved my glider for breastfeeding. It was very comfortable, reclined to multiple different levels including almost flat, and had a lovely ottoman that was great to put my feet up on. I also liked:
- the wide seat which allowed me to fit a nursing pillow in between my body and the arm rest to better support my newborn baby and also let me use a bunch of different sitting positions, including cross legged if I fancied!
- the leatherette finish that was super easy to clean (breastfeeding is a messy job – leaks, sprays, spit ups, blowouts – it all happens…)
- being able to rock my baby in the glider when he was screaming from colic was a life saver.
Here’s one that is very close to mine:
You don’t necessarily need a glider! However, remember that you’ll be spending many hours every day nursing your baby – you NEED to be comfortable or you’ll end up sore all over. (Definitely what you do NOT want after carrying a baby through three trimester and then giving birth!)
Other options moms might like to use instead of a glider:
- your couch – just make sure you’ve got enough cushions or pillows to support you and baby fully.
- your bed – some moms like to prop themselves up with lots of pillows in bed. This sounds like a great option in cold weather! However, this didn’t work for me as I found the angles were too difficult to breastfeed sitting up in bed (and the stress it put on my tailbone and hips was too painful)… eventually I learned how to make breastfeeding lying down in bed work and it became my go to position!
- any other comfortable chair – so long as it stays comfortable!
Something to Keep Your Breastfeeding Essentials On
The other thing you’ll need at your breastfeeding station is a small table, shelf, cart or caddy to keep your essentials in or on. These options are perfect:
- Small four-pack of this cube style – this was what I had and it was perfect! It had room for everything I needed including room for larger items like blankets which I stored in a basket in the bottom cube.
- Utility Cart on wheels – if I didn’t have much space or wanted to move my nursing station from room to room, this is what I’d go with! It’s on wheels and has 3 (4, or 5) wire shelves that will fit most of your essentials.
- Convert a Diaper Caddy – if you’re very short on space or want a portable breastfeeding station, this caddy will come in very handy. It has multiple pockets of a good size so you’ll be able to keep all your essentials well organized. You might have a little trouble fitting a blanket in for you though… that’s no problem if you’re breastfeeding on your couch (with a throw) or in your bed! The caddy is actually a really useful thing to have in addition to a more ‘static’ breastfeeding station – this way, if you’re in the middle of watching a movie with hubby and baby needs a feed you can just bring your station to you and keep watching!
As a first time mom, it’s going to take a little bit of time before you’re fully confident getting baby to latch and/or changing diapers in the dark. True confession, I never quite got there with that last one… I mean, if you can’t see the poop, how do you know you’ve got it all???
So, you need to be able to see what you’re doing.
At least at first.
But you don’t want so much light that your baby wakes up and thinks it’s play time.
What can you do?
- a low lamp – I had an old desk lamp that I simply grabbed a low watt light bulb and pointed it at the wall away from us. It worked out well enough. Here’s an interesting light bulb you could try – you’ve probably heard that blue light from screens and the like makes it harder to sleep, well this bulb emits a warm yellowish glow in a spectrum that is designed to keep babies calm and sleepy. Your mileage may vary but the rave reviews on Amazon look promising!
- a press light – I tried using an LED press light for a while. It would make a good addition to a portable breastfeeding station and you could tuck it right into one of the side pockets of a caddy, though it did tend to be a bit bright and the light was definitely on the whiter end of the spectrum.
- motion sensing lights – I’d love to try this (next baby!) The number of times I had my hands full with baby and I just need the light RIGHT NOW… Motion sensing lights would’ve been amazing to have. I’d stick one under the glider and one under the bassinet or the cot… and oh maybe just line the entire hallway to the nursery with them haha. Ok, now I’m getting carried away but the technology is pretty sweet!
That’s really all you’ll need to set up your breastfeeding station: somewhere to sit, something to keep your gear on/in and a suitable light… Now let’s get into the details of what you’ll need to kit out your station for maximum comfort and effectiveness!
A Small Trash Can
This is definitely a nice to have – a small trash can comes in handy to dispose of used breast pads and wipes straight into the can.
Your Nursing Log (Or App)
Keep track of your babies feeds with a Newborn Daily Log – Printable Baby Feeding, Diaper and Sleep Schedule Tracker or with a baby care app.
Breastfeeding Necessities to Have at Your Breastfeeding Station
Since this is the main place you’ll be nursing your baby, you’ll want to keep pretty much all your breastfeeding gear easily accessible right at your station.
Some things you’ll want to make sure you’ve got handy:
- nursing pillow – if you’re using one! Lots of moms rave about the My Brest Friend nursing pillow, especially for newborns, and I actually like this one because it wraps around your body… the number of times I tried to squeeze a peanut shaped nursing pillow in between myself and the arm rest only to have it ‘pop’out…!
- nipple shield – if you’re using one (I was given one by a lactation consultant at the hospital because of flat/inverted nipples) you’ll want to keep it close and have a small container to keep it in. You might also like to get some breast pump and accessory wipes to wipe it over after a night feed when you don’t have time to wash in water.
- breast pads – for after nursing. (You can get 10 washable ones here for free – just use coupon code MOM100 at checkout!)
- nipple cream (like Lansinoh) – apply after nursing for some soothing relief, especially in the first few weeks and during cluster feeding times
- a Haakaa or milk saver – in the early days of nursing, when your milk ‘lets down’ it happens on both sides… which can mean a mess and wasted milk. There are several cool products available that help to catch that milk so you can use it to build your freezer stash or simply feed to baby after nursing. My favorite is the haakaa, which doubles as a manual breast pump. It’s one of the many things I wish I’d had with my first baby!
Creature Comforts for Mom
You definitely want to have close by:
- a warm dressing gown, cardigan or blanket (depending on the weather.)
- water bottle – bigger is better! You don’t want to run out of water and breastfeeding makes you very thirsty.
- snacks (make a batch of lactation cookies, or keep a jar of nuts, chocolates or other small snacks nearby).
- you may also want a small space heater if the weather is chilly.
Baby Care Essentials
Breastfeeding sessions often turn into diaper changing sessions… yes, babies tend to poop while feeding! If your station is set up in your nursery you may have everything you need at your fingertips. But if you’re using a portable breastfeeding station, you might want to include a pared down change kit so you can get that diaper changed quickly and with minimal disruption.
- 3-5 diapers (dependent on space.)
- baby wipes (also useful for cleaning up milk spills on your glider).
- burp cloths, for spit ups and leaks.
- baby nail clippers, because it’s super hard to cut baby’s nails unless they’re distracted. Nursing makes a great distraction!
- something to change baby on – this could be an old towel, receiving blanket, portable change mat (like you get in your diaper bag) or a disposable change mat (if it doesn’t get dirty you can reuse it.)
- receiving blanket or other warm blanket for baby if it’s cold.
For Your Entertainment
While you may intend to spend every moment you possibly can gazing into baby’s beautiful eyes and drinking him or her in… Sometimes you’ll want something else to do to keep boredom at bay.
Also, entertainment is not just for fun – you need to stay awake! A glider or a couch or a bed with many pillows is not considered a safe sleep space for baby.
You might want to have these things at your breastfeeding station to help you stay alert:
- cell phone and charger – you can watch YouTube, read blogs, Facebook, Pinterest…
- laptop and charger – you could watch movies on your laptop to pass the time.
- Kindle – if you’re a reader, make sure your Kindle is close at hand. And invest in a Kindle Unlimited subscription while you’re at it for endless choice in reading materials!
- the remote – if you’ve got a TV in the room, make sure the remote is close by so you can flick channels and turn down the volume.
How to Keep Your Breastfeeding Station Organized
Have you been watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo? I have and I absolutely love the way she uses boxes to keep little bits and pieces organized… it’s also a great way to keep your breastfeeding station organized.
- Woven Storage Box Set – lots of different sizes to store different types of items. If you don’t use or can’t fit one of the boxes at your breastfeeding station I can almost guarantee you it’ll come in handy elsewhere.
- Soft Fabric Chevron Drawer Organizers – I love the style of these, especially since they’ll be on display.
More Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
- 31 No Fuss Healthy Snacks for Breastfeeding Moms
- Anxious About Breastfeeding in Public? These 5 Hacks Will Solve It!
- Breastfeeding a Newborn: 8 Crucial Tips for the First 24 Hours
- 6 Breastfeeding Tips to Increase Your Milk Supply
- New Mom Nursing Station Kit