When breastfeeding comes to mind, you may think you don’t need a lot. After all, what you need is attached to you. 😂 But after breastfeeding two babies for over a combined 4 years, I’m sorry to tell you that there are quite a bit more breastfeeding essentials than just your ta-tas. Here are 9 breastfeeding essentials every mom will need in their breastfeeding journey!
9 Breastfeeding Essentials:
- Nursing Bra or Tank
- Nursing Pads
- Nursing Cover
- Nursing Pillow
- Hot/Cold Nursing Therapy Pack
- Nipple Cream
- Silicone breast pump
- Water Bottle
- Breast Pump and Accessories
Keep reading this post to see why each item is so needed!
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1. Nursing Bra or Tank
A nursing bra or nursing tank is vital when you are breastfeeding! This is why I listed it as number one. A nursing bra/tank helps support and keep everything in place. It also allows you to stay as comfortable as possible.
How is a nursing bra different than a normal bra? For one, a nursing bra includes a one-handed closure for easy and instant access. There’s no need to fumble around with your normal bra straps with a wailing, hungry baby in your arms.
Also, a nursing bra is super snug without being too tight due to the compression fit. This prevents rubbing your nipples the wrong way, literally and figuratively, when they are raw and chapped at the very beginning (See Essential #6).
These nursing tanks are my favorite because there is a built-in shelf bra. They come in a multi-pack and are cost-effective!
2. Nursing Pads
There’s nothing more embarrassing as a breastfeeding mom than those blasted leaks. Whenever you nurse baby from one side, the other side will inevitably leak. It may be a little, or it may be a lot.
But it can also happen at any time. Baby crying? Bam! Leak. Sappy Hallmark movie? Bam! Leak.
Prevent these embarrassing leaks with nursing pads. Stick them into your bra, covering the nipple. The nursing pad will soak up any leaks and mortifying shirt stains.
There are tons of options for nursing pads. There are disposable nursing pads and reusable ones. There are different designs and colors. You can even make your own! I ended up using these cotton squares I originally made as make-up removers. The dual-layer of cotton worked great for leaks. And they were soft and gentle on my sensitive nipples. The best part was, I could toss them in the wash with regular laundry or cloth diapers and reuse them over and over again.
3. Nursing Cover
A nursing cover comes in handy when baby becomes hungry when you’re in public. Because it will happen. Nurse without giving everyone around you a show by covering up.
Of course, this is based on personal choice. If you feel comfortable nursing without a cover, more power to you! Sometimes, little ones don’t like to be covered while eating, but that’s an entirely different story.
Consider putting a nursing cover on your baby registry anyway. Even if you rarely use it, it barely takes up any space in the diaper bag. Also, some nursing covers are multi-functional. There are other uses such as a car seat cover or a light blanket, so it’s great to have!
4. Nursing Pillow
In those early breastfeeding days, a nursing pillow can be a back saver. Your baby is soooo tiny and you’re just getting to know each other. A pillow dedicated to nursing will put baby in the correct position for achieving a great latch.
It will also elevate the baby to the right height so you don’t have to crouch over. A nursing pillow helps complete a perfect breastfeeding station in your home.
When it comes to nursing pillows, many moms rave about the Boppy and My Breast Friend. The perfect one will be a matter of personal preference. Try each of them out in the store before putting one on your baby registry!
As your breastfeeding journey continues and your baby grows, you may find that a nursing pillow is no longer needed. But it is very helpful at the very beginning!
5. Hot/Cold Nursing Therapy Pack
These next two essentials are lifesavers for when you are starting your breastfeeding journey. A hot and cold therapy pack can either be placed in the freezer or warmed up in the microwave.
Hot therapy can help relieve pain from clogged ducts or mastitis. It can also encourage a let-down while pumping. On the other hand, cold therapy can help ease the pain caused by engorgement or nipple chafing.
My favorite hot/cold nursing therapy packs are from Lansinoh. They are flexible and conform perfectly to your breast. They are also designed to work while you pump so you can get a let-down faster and reduce your pumping time.
6. Nipple Cream
Nipple cream is vital for those early breastfeeding days. Not to scare any new mom, but cluster feeding and shallow latches can leave your nipples raw and chapped. Protect and soothe those nipples with this amazing lanolin nipple cream!
This nipple cream is 100% pure lanolin. It is also free of preservatives, parabens, fragrance, or taste. Thus, you don’t need to remove it before breastfeeding! The cream itself is very thick and moisturizing.
Use the nipple cream before and after every nursing session. You can also apply it before taking a much-needed shower to protect the nipples from the hot water. Keep tubes of it everywhere – the nightstand, your breastfeeding caddy, or the diaper bag!
Breastfeeding can leave you dehydrated with chapped lips. Nipple cream doubles as an amazing lip moisturizer!
7. Silicone Breast Pump
A silicone breast pump, such as the Haakaa, is perfect for collecting a let-down from one side while baby nurses on the other. Don’t let that precious milk go to waste!
It may be tricky to learn to attach and keep on (especially when your little one thinks it’s a game to kick it off). But a silicone breast pump is well worth the hassle.
In fact, I was able to build a huge freezer stash of over 2,000 oz during maternity leave. And I did this just by using this silicone breast pump every time my little one nursed!
A silicone breast pump is also useful to help get rid of clogged ducts. Thus, it is an essential that every nursing mom needs!
8. Water Bottle
While you are nursing your baby, you will need to constantly drink water to hydrate yourself. As mentioned in this blog post about maximizing each pump session, breast milk is over 80% water. Thus, you must drink A LOT of water to maintain your breast milk supply. Plus, you will be forever thirsty.
Always keep a water bottle handy and remind yourself to drink at least 100 oz of water a day, if not more. I found that having a water bottle with a straw and room temperature water helped me drink more water. Find what works for you! Do you like ice-cold water or water infused with fruit? Or do you find a water bottle with encouraging messages motivating?
9. Breast Pump and Accessories
A breast pump is a breastfeeding essential if you are a working mom or if you plan on spending any time away from your baby. It allows you to pump bottles for another caregiver, such as daddy or the grandparents, to feed and bond with the baby.
I used a Spectra S1 for both of my children and it worked wonderfully while being comfortable and quiet! Be sure to look at the pump options that your insurance provides and read reviews on which pump is best for you.
As always, reach out to a lactation consultant if you need help choosing or have questions!
Final Thoughts on Breastfeeding Essentials
Whew! That wraps up the list of 9 breastfeeding essentials for any breastfeeding mama. Be sure to include some (or all) of these essentials on your registry!
Do you agree with this list? What would you add or delete? I would love to hear what essentials you used during your breastfeeding journey! Comment below!