Choosing to breastfeed your child is an amazing choice – it sets them up with the best foundation in life as far as nutrition goes! Breastfeeding is, of course, as old as humankind itself and the most natural thing in the world; you don’t really need any extra gear or gadgets to have a healthy nursing relationship with your baby. Having breastfed 3 babies until they were each almost 2 years old I have put together a breastfeeding essentials list. These are things that I found extremely helpful and they are simple ways to make breastfeeding easier.
I think it is really important to note that breastfeeding a newborn is very different from breastfeeding an older baby. Do not let those first few days scare you off of what is truly the most wonderful and peaceful moments of your time with your child. My first child was a preemie, which meant that his sucking reflex was not completely developed yet.
Remember that just as you are learning to breastfeed your baby… your baby is learning how to breastfeed too. There are some breastfeeding essentials that can make life easier for you, though. Here are some of the most popular accessories for breastfeeding moms.
Create a Baby Registry/Wish list
Add all of these items to your baby registry so that your friends and family can chip in and get them for you!
Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
Get a Lactation Consultant
I had a lactation consultant visit me at least twice each time I had children. They helped show me how to correct my baby’s latch when they weren’t latched on properly. This helped prevent pain later on.
Get a Breastpump
While most people used a breast pump to get a break or share feedings with a spouse or grandma, I actually needed one. When my milk came in on day 3, by the first evening I got incredibly sick. I had a temperature of 104 and none of us knew how to handle that. I subsequently learned that every single time that I had a baby I would develop a fever on day 3. The cure was to pump my milk out on day 3. Yes, that increases your milk true.. but it also helped me have a better breastfeeding relationship with my child.
I had a Medela Pump In Style Advanced backpack version as my breastfeeding machine. To me, this was the best breast pump ever! It was gentle, quick and efficient. It lasted me through all three children and it would have lasted me longer if I had more kids.
Experts advocate waiting until baby is 4-6 weeks old to introduce a bottle, but you can start pumping right away and building a stash of nutritious breast milk. If you plan to pump, you’ll need a high quality breast pump, bottles, and breast milk storage bags. If you’ll be pumping away from home, you might also want a cooler for storing your milk until you can get it in the fridge or freezer.
Medela is a very trusted breast pump brand. They make both the pump itself in many styles as well as lots of accessories. This is my favorite Medela Breast Pump: Medela Pump In Style Advanced backpack version. I also had breastmilk freezer bags from Lansinoh that I would keep extra milk in. I don’t think there’s any harm in having more milk than you need.
Surprisingly, only 1 out of my 3 kids would take a bottle… and I tried them all. If you would really like to give your child a bottle once in a while I would recommend looking for those made for supplementing breastfeeding. They’re designed to reduce nipple confusion, by mimicking the shape and feel of the breast.
A Bottle that is made to be most like breastfeeding is the Comotomo bottle. I personally preferred our Wide Neck Dr Browns Bottles. That is what every member in our family used with their children and we have all been happy.
Bring a good breastfeeding cream to the hospital
Apply this after each and every feed. My lactation consultant prescribed me a cream that worked really well. I have heard great reviews of this cream.
Another highly recommended option is a lanolin based cream like Lanisoh, which is used like a salve on your nipple and breast to avoid dryness and to help heal any wounds from breastfeeding. It is really helpful to use a breastfeeding cream. It’s completely nontoxic for both you and baby.
Finally, don’t forget the power of support. While it’s not something you can buy, connecting with a local nursing group like La Leche League can be incredibly helpful. You’ll be able to connect with other mom and breastfeeding educators and get answers to any questions you have.
The below items are breastfeeding essentials that really helped me through our time breastfeeding.
Nursing Bras & Tanks
Get nursing bra’s for the evening and nursing bra’s for the day.
Bras and tank tops made especially for breastfeeding moms make life so much easier, especially for nursing in public. Rather than stripping from the waist up or pulling your whole shirt up or down, these are made to allow you to breastfeed with as little adjustment as possible – making you more comfortable! Nursing tank tops have the added benefit of keeping your tummy covered as you breastfeed – a feature many postpartum mamas appreciate. Breastfeeding clothes makes it easier to feed on the go.
Nursing Pajamas and Gowns
Make sure you bring a nursing friendly hospital gown and use comfortable nursing pajamas at home.
Some Nursing Gown Ideas
- This solid nursing gown looks like it has great breastfeeding access.
- This floral patterned nursing gown looks so elegant.
- This pretty robe opens in front so that you can have easy access for feeding.
- I love how this nursing gown has a matching gown for a baby girl.
We used nursing covers when out and about. I traveled a lot with my children and these really came in handy. I used them in Disneyland, I used them at restaurants and I even used them in hospital when we had visitors.
I personally used Bebe Au Lait nursing covers with all three of my children. I also had my own brand of nursing covers that included a bag but I am no longer selling that. They also double up as a car seat cover, stroller cover and lightweight baby blanket. Nursing covers were definitely one of my breastfeeding essentials!
- I love how this infinity scarf doubles as a nursing cover. It’s easy to take around with you and it provides the perfect amount of coverage.
A nursing pillow is really helpful. It can help position the baby, lift the baby higher and keep mom’s back from getting hurt while trying to hold baby. It is a must have item. I personally loved the Boppy Pillow because when we were done using it then I used it to prop up my baby when they were learning to sit. It was a multi-use product that we used for a good year with each child.
The My Brest Friend Pillow is considered the best nursing pillow. I had both and I personally preferred the Boppy Pillow because I felt like the My Brest Friend Pillow was a bit restrictive and I could only use it for breastfeeding. Some people may prefer it though so make sure to check reviews before placing your order.
A nursing pillow can save your back while breastfeeding by offering additional support. These are especially helpful during the first few months when baby is tiny, since they help keep baby up close to your breast with less effort on your part.
As your body adjusts to breastfeeding and maintaining milk supply, leaking a bit of milk is totally normal. It can definitely be embarrassing, though, if you’re out and about and find yourself with a sopping wet top! Nursing pads can save your dignity and your clothes – you can buy disposable or reusable ones. These are my favorite disposable breast pads: Pigeon Breast Pads. Lansinoh pads also have great reviews. I definitely needed and used these.
Soothing Gel Pads
Another type of pad you might want to keep on hand are Soothies. These gel pads are designed to soothe irritation that can sometimes occur in the beginning weeks. Pop them in the fridge for added relief! I didn’t really need these though.
Snacks for breastfeeding moms
Some good breastfeeding snacks are oat filled recipes. Lactation Cookies really made a difference to my milk supply. There are dairy free versions too. You could also buy lactaction cookies if you like.
Another common drink for breastfeeding mom’s in South Africa was the Breastfeeding Jungle Juice Recipe. The ingredients aren’t common in America but the drink is supposed to help revitalize you.
Jungle Juice Recipe
- 1 liter water
- 1 liter apple juice
- 10 drops of rescue remedy
- 1 sachet of blackcurrant rehydrate
- 60ml of Blackthorn Berry ElixirRefrigerate and serve chilled. Drink within 12 hours.
Herbs for Milk Production
Herbs like milky oats and fenugreek have been used by nursing moms for ages in order to boost milk production and establish a healthy supply. Euphoric Herbals offers a blend of herbs for milk production called Dairy Fairy – and they ship worldwide! I used Mother’s Milk Tea and a homeopathic medicine called Prolak when I thought my milk was low.
There are many online parenting forums that talk about breastfeeding. You can check Babycenter for this.
I hope you enjoyed this list of my breastfeeding essentials. Do you have any nursing essentials that I may have missed?