Breast feedingYou could be forgiven for thinking that all you needed for breast feeding was a pair of knockers, which you probably already have (although not necessarily) but you do really need a few other bits and bobs.
EssentialFirst and foremost are nursing bras. Not the most attractive underpinnings in the world, they're all about the practical. Trying to feed in a normal bra would be downright uncomfortable, fiddly and may end in tears as to empty the milk ducts properly, the breast needs to lie naturally, not squashed to one side with bits poking into it. Finding the right fit for a nursing bra can be tricky. Quite apart from the fact you're not in the mood to go traipsing round the shops when 9 months pregnant, your knockers can and do change size between being pregnant, milk coming in and the supply being established. It's definitely worth getting properly fitted though, so if you can't get to a specialist such as Bravissimo or one of the department stores, it may be worth seeing if a company that does home fittings, such as Bosom Buddy can come out to you. Breast pads. Washable, disposable - doesn't matter. You'll definitely need a good supply of them unless you want to look very very weird on occasion. (No WAY I'm googling for a picture to go with that one.) You also need someone to be at your beck and call. You'll get a thirst on you like you wouldn't believe whilst breast feeding. You can't possibly be expected to make your own cup of tea or fetch the remote control. This excuse for being a bossy boots rocks, and must be milked (arf!) to the max.
Breast pump. More than likely you will need one, but it's not worth getting until the milk supply is properly established until around 6 weeks. If you try before then, you'll probably fail to get more than a couple of millilitres, and the disappointment will cause you to go on a snot and tears fuelled hormonal rampage. Also, be very careful after pumping not to knock the bottle over. It's at that point you first understand why anyone bothered inventing phrases about crying over spilt milk.
There are two types of breast pump, electric and manual. I'd certainly recommend an electric one. It's quicker and more comfortable than a manual one. However, they're so noisy they drown out the telly and have a tendency to make you feel like a dairy cow. Manual pumps are much cheaper, so are probably better if you're breast feeding exclusively and only need to pump occasionally. You will need arm muscles like Popeye to work it. Feeding cushion. Of course you can use a normal cushion or pillow, but the horseshoe or triangular shaped pillows designed for the job really do provide more support. Glider chair. Yes they are a bit extravagant, and often have fixed covers that can't be washed, making them horrendously impractical, but they are super comfy, especially for night feeds, and really nice to snuggle up in.
Meh productsNipple shields. Some people swear by them, Midwives and health visitors hate them. Do what's right for you & your baby. Nipple creams. I don't see how these can't taste vile for the baby. Traditional wisdom says a drop of breast milk rubbed onto the nipple after the feed is finished does just as good a job.
A busy mum with lots to do will no doubt be wanting to invest in one of these. For the love of god, why?