Having breastfeeding issues in the first few days of being a new mom, or bringing a second or third baby home can be really hard and stressful for everyone - not just the mom. I have had my fair share of problems, and I have solutions. I hope that with some of the products and advice I received can help you, so that you don't have as hard of time as I did. And if you are still having trouble - please get help. There are so many resources for breastfeeding.
When you have sore nipples, the last thing you want to do is put a shirt or a bra on and have anything rub against them. These are a lifesaver!!! I used them with my sore nipples and it really helped. It keeps all clothing off of your nipples, and has air holes allowing your nipples to breathe. The other nice thing about them is that they actually catch milk in case you have a let down (since you can't wear breast pads with them). One thing though - make sure you don't bend over if there is milk in them; the milk will come out of the air holes and get your top all wet!
In the beginning days of having a newborn and breastfeeding, your nipples will be in pain. To help with the pain, make sure to always allow them to air dry after a feeding, and to apply lanolin to the nipple and let them be in the open (if possible). The lanolin is an all natural way to help sooth sore, cracked and dry nipples. And its completely safe for baby, so no need to wipe off before feeding.
Having inverted or flat nipples can be a real problem and can be very painful. Pumping can help pull your nipples out, but you can't be pumping all day to keep your nipples erect. Medela has come up with a pretty incredible product to help. I wore these for about the first 3 weeks after my second daughter was born (only during the day), and it helped tremendously! It allowed my nipples to air out after a feeding, but also keep them erect so that my nipples were more likely to stay out once I took the soft shields off. These are comfortable with a soft back that won't irritate your nipple or skin. I always had one pair on, and one clean and ready to go when I needed to switch out. But remember not to wear them at night, and not to bend over while wearing them. Your milk will leak out the tops!
Engorgement is inevitable. Every new mom will get it right after having a baby, when your milk comes in. For some, its not a big deal. For others, its huge. Like me, I probably doubled in size in 2 days. The pain is awful. So having something that really works to help sooth the pain is a must. I would recommend getting at least two sets of these. You will want a set in the fridge ready to go when you need it, and you will want another set to be warmed up right away in a bowl with warm water. It will help with the swelling, and it also encourages let down while pumping.
One of the unfortunate things about being a new mom is the leaking. Every mom will run into this problem, even if you decide to do formula, you will leak for a few days after having a baby. If you are breastfeeding, you will be feeding from one side, and leaking from the other. I have found that these nursing pads are the softest and the most comfortable. Others can feel like paper, or plastic. These are soft like cotton, and they conform to your breast. I don't leave home without a handful of them in the car, my diaper bag or my purse. Trust me - the last thing you want is to start leaking through your favorite shirt, while you're out to lunch.
I love my Boppy Pillow. its so convenient to have a pillow that works perfectly when breast feeding. I even take it traveling with us, and I have one for upstairs! My daughter loves sitting in it, and playing with it. Definitely one of the items that has improved my life.
If you are going to breastfeed, you will most likely need a breast pump. It will come in handy if you ever have to leave town, or just go to an appointment and need a sitter, or you want your husband to help with the night feedings. I used this pump for the first 5 months of my daughter's life. It worked perfectly - and it was pretty easy to use. It had a large bag - so all of my own accessories that I needed were there, so its pretty handy. The nice thing about using Medela is that if you ever have to rent the hospital grade pumps, a lot of the equipment is compatible. You will still have to purchase the membranes, and tubes, but the shields, and the bottles are the same.