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Equipment

Breast pump

If you're breast feeding and wish to express then order a breast pump.

You can buy an electric pump – try the Medela one, www.medela.com - hire one from the NCT www.nctpregnancyandbabycare.com, or buy a hand pump from your pharmacist - the Avent is popular with a lot of mums.

Allow a few days for delivery, and also allow for you pharmacist not having one in stock, in which case you'll need to order one.

The main advantage of electric pumps is that they are much quicker to use. But hand ones are portable - ideal for sneaking into the office if you return to work while still breast feeding.

You don't need to express this week, apart from expressing by hand in emergencies when your baby won't suck properly (see Feeding section). But generally speaking, it's better to avoid expressing too early on because your baby is still learning to latch on, and expressing means giving him a bottle which requires a different sucking technique.

Ultimately, expressing milk will give you the freedom to go out for longer periods without your baby. And in the meantime, a breast pump can be used to help stimulate your milk - this may be useful in the early weeks if you are short of milk for some reason.

Car seat

Hospitals won't let you take your baby home by car without a proper car seat, so make sure you've got one and that you know how to fit it. Newborn seats are designed to be fitted facing the back of the car.

The safest place for a child seat is in the back of the car, while the front passenger seat is less safe – and if you do fit your child seat in the front, make sure any airbag is switched off.  If an airbag went off in a crash it could kill your baby - if you can’t switch it off, don’t put the baby in the front.

Most baby car seats work using existing car seat belts, which can leave some movement even when the seat is properly fitted. But another system available in many newer cars, called Isofix, is considered superior and safer as it attaches directly to the car’s frame, eliminating any slop. Whichever seat you buy, it’s essential you know how to use it in order for it to offer proper protection to your baby.