Everything A New Mom Needs To Create A Cozy Baby Feeding Nook
By Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow for The Stir CafeMom
A baby breast- or bottle-feeds as often as a dozen times a day, which means you’ll be spending lots of waking (and near-waking) hours hunched over a donut-shaped pillow and/or squinting at the measurements on the side of a bottle.
Don’t get me wrong: Baby feeding time might just be some of your sweetest moments with baby -- the coos, the gurgles, the adorable sleep comas! Of course, creating an area that's super cozy to hunker down in and feed will make it even more enjoyable for you both. Here's what you need in order to do just that.
A Comfortable Chair
If you spring for anything, it should be this. Babies breast- or bottle-feed a lot, often for a half hour or more a clip, so you’ll appreciate a well-cushioned, supportive place to park. Look for a chair with padded arms, easy-to-clean fabric, and a comfy seat that’s roomy enough for you to settle into the just-right position.
If space allows, add a cushioned ottoman so you can prop up your feet. And while a glider or rocker isn’t a must, it might be worth the investment, as the gentle back-and-forth motion is designed to lull a cranky baby to sleep.
Holding a baby uses muscles you didn’t even realize you had. When yours are feeling the burn, have a small pillow at the ready that can be tucked behind your back or under your elbow for extra support. In fact, there are special, U-shaped pillows meant to keep nursing moms comfortable and help with your infant’s latching and positioning. Even if you're not breastfeeding, we're willing to bet you'll find a pillow like that useful as well. They have washable covers so a little spit-up is no biggie.
A table or nightstand is the perfect place to store smaller must-haves, like cloths and creams, and balance your cell phone, books, water, and snacks. Choose one that’s around the same height as your chair so you’re not straining to reach items. Pressed for space? Place a tray on top of your ottoman to use as a temporary table.
A Stack Of Soft Burp Cloths
Let’s face it: Mealtime can be a messy affair, so it pays to keep a few clean burp cloths within reach. You’ll use them to wipe away surprise spit-ups and protect your T-shirt in case you want wear it tomorrow. Any kind of soft cloths will do, though some moms swear by thickness and absorbency of trifold cloth diaper inserts.
Your tatas take a beating during nursing sessions, and the nipples are often ground zero. Stock up on a baby-safe salve, like one made with lanolin or shea butter, and rub it on after each feed to help with cracking and chapping.
Think of these as burp cloths for your nipples -- there to catch the errant spray that inevitably happens when you’re breastfeeding. Station the box close to your chair, because when milk is shooting out in three different directions, the last thing you want to do is fumble around for a pad.
Toss your favorite blanket over the arm or back of the chair, or keep a few rolled up in a nearby basket. A snuggly throw comes in handy for covering a bare shoulder when breastfeeding, or for keeping warm during a middle-of-the-night meal.
Snacks And A Water Bottle
Taking care of a baby is tough work, and staying nourished and hydrated is more important than ever for you (especially if you’re nursing). But it's easy to forget you need to eat and drink until you actually stop. Stock a basket with healthy snacks like nuts and dried fruit, and fill a reusable bottle with fresh water so you and baby can refuel at the same time.
Did you nurse on the left side or the right last time? How many ounces did your baby eat a few hours ago? When was the final feeding of the night? Download an app to track all the important mealtime details, or if you're more old-school, keep a small notebook and pen in the area to jot them down.
Chowing down demands all of baby’s attention, which frees you up to enjoy some well-deserved downtime. Keep handy your tablet, your cell phone, a stack of books, magazines, or crossword puzzles. Use the quiet to catch up on the news, do some binge-watching, plow through the magazines piling up on your nightstand, or finally finish last Sunday’s crossword puzzle (if you can manage to get one hand free).
Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who swapped her BlackBerry and MetroCard for playdates and PB&J sandwiches -- and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up.