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Breastfeeding your newborn is one of the most rewarding things about motherhood. There is that sense of satisfaction when one is nursing their baby.
However, as great as breastfeeding sounds, it can sometimes be challenging. While I do not want to scare you, breastfeeding can be tough if you go in unprepared.
From dealing with blocked milk ducts, struggling with proper latching, low milk supply to milk blebs, it doesn’t get easier. The good thing is that several breastfeeding essentials can make the journey a lot easier.
Breastfeeding Essentials CheckList
I breastfed both of my boys, and these breastfeeding essentials I am sharing with you made the journey a lot easier.
One of the most important nursing essentials is a breastfeeding pillow. A comfortable nursing pillow should be able to lift the baby to your breast level.
When I had my first baby, the biggest mistake I made was not to buy a nursing pillow. I really struggled with getting the baby on my breast until my sister bought me one.
It helped with my breastfeeding struggles. If you have large breasts, a mom of twins, or a recovering from a C-section, this is one of the essential breastfeeding must-haves.
The right nursing pillow will help reduce strain on the neck, shoulders, and even the back as it makes breastfeeding comfortable. Before I got a nursing pillow, I’d have back and shoulder pain because it was difficult to hold the baby properly. I also used the nursing pillow for my support when trying a new breastfeeding position.
One thing; a good nursing pillow should neither be too hard nor too soft. It should be something in between to adapt to different nursing positions. Often, one nursing pillow is good enough. If you can afford two, that would be great! Variety never hurts.
My sister got me this one here: My Brest Friend Original Nursing Posture Pillow, which I loved. It’s super comfortable and ensures you position yourself and the baby properly when breastfeeding.
For my second baby, I bought the Boppy Original Nursing Pillow. It not only served as a nursing pillow, but I also used it for tummy time and propping the baby. The Boppy pillow is a breastfeeding must-have product, and it also makes a thoughtful baby shower gift.
A Nursing Cover
A nursing cover is not an absolute must-have breastfeeding accessory for the nursing mom. If you choose to go coverless while breastfeeding, you have my support. Some babies hate nursing covers too!
I preferred using a cover when out in public. I wasn’t comfortable having strangers staring at me breastfeeding. If you want one for those times you venture out of your house, Bebe au Lait Premium Cotton Nursing Cover is a favorite.
First, it’s a one size fits all, so no size worries. Secondly, it’s constructed in such a way that you can see your baby as he nurses. This helps with babies that hate being covered. You can engage the baby as they feed to distract them from the nursing cover.
If you are looking for a versatile nursing cover, then the Nursing Cover for Baby Breastfeeding is an ideal choice. It can be used as a car seat canopy, a scarf, a shopping cart cover, and a pumping cover when necessary. Both of these nursing covers are machine washable.
Since there will be lots of breastfeeding sessions for your newborn, especially in the first few days, you will need to access your breasts easily. And if you think you’ll probably not need to wear any bras, think again!
I actually wore nursing bras 24/7. I needed something to hold the nursing pads in place because of my leaking breasts. A nursing bra will help you unclip each breast without having to take off the entire bra each time you nurse your little one.
I liked the Kindred Bravely nursing bras as they are wire-free. Nursing bras are incredibly comfortable, and the good thing is you can buy a few pairs during your third trimester and others once the baby is here.
The perfect nursing bra will support your breasts and prevent back and shoulder pain. Pick a bra that is not too tight as one that is too constrictive may make you more likely to suffer from mastitis or clogged milk ducts.
Also, check out the HOFISH 3PACK Full Bust Seamless Nursing Maternity Bras. Lots of reviews from happy mommas.
Every nursing mom will experience sore nipples at some point during breastfeeding. The intensity of the pain may differ from person to person, but trust me, you will likely deal with painful or cracked nipples, especially in those early days.
This is where a good nipple cream comes in handy. It will moisturize, soothe, and heal dry, cracked, or sore nipples. With so many nipple creams available, it can be hard to choose. Here are three of my favorite nipple creams. They are the best!
- Motherlove Nipple Cream
- Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream
- Organic Nipple Butter Breastfeeding Cream by Earth Mama
Being a mom doesn’t mean you throw your sense of fashion out of the window. There are lots of fashionable clothes that allow easy access to the breast when your baby needs to feed. Breastfeeding clothes are available both in casual and professional wear. So don’t worry, you won’t be stuck in hideous “mom” clothes.
Often, you will forget to buy breast pads before your baby comes. During the first few days, I’d wake up and find my tops and bedsheets soaking wet with breastmilk. I hated it because that meant an extra load of laundry. This is why nursing pads must be in your new mom survival kit.
There are two options; disposable and washable nursing pads. I bought both of them and here is why. Initially, you will probably be leaking a lot, and that’s when I used the disposable ones. Once your body regulates itself and the leaking has decreased, you can switch to the washable ones.
These Lansinoh nursing pads were my go-to nursing pads for both babies. You can buy them on Amazon, just click on the image below to order or add them to your baby registry.
I tried several brands of both disposable and washable nursing pads, and I never seemed to get that perfect one. You know, the one that stays put in the bra and doesn’t soak entirely.
A breast pump is one of those breastfeeding essentials I couldn’t do without. Whether you plan to spend some time away from the baby or whether you will be a stay-at-home mom, you need this breastfeeding product.
In the early days, you will probably experience some breast engorgement; that’s where the breast pump comes in. You can use it to relieve your breasts by pumping breast milk and storing it for later use.
A breast pump can also help increase your milk supply when power pumping. Pumping your breastmilk will also allow you also to provide your baby with enough milk supply if they are in the NICU or hospitalized.
There are different types of breast pumps available. In the US your health insurance will cover the cost of a breast pump. Be sure to see what kind of pump your insurance will cover before you buy one. Some hospitals will even rent one to you.
If you plan on pumping regularly or pumping at work, then a double electric breast pump is best. I highly recommend a Spectra Electric Breast Pump. This breast pump is considered the best pump on the market by many. I prefer the S2 (blue spectra) over the S1 (pink spectra), because it has a rechargeable battery. This allows you to pump without having to be plugged into an outlet.
Two more breast pumps are ideal for nursing and pumping moms.
A manual pump like the Medela, Harmony Breast Pump is great for occasional relief. This is easy to carry in your car and sometimes I use it for a quick pump in the middle of the night when I don’t feel like taking out my Spectra.
The Haakaa Manual Breast Pump is also nice to have. While nursing, attach it to your free breast and you will be surprised by how much milk you will collect. It does take some practice to get used to, and it can be easy to knock off, but if you are trying to build up your frozen milk stash, it’s a great way to collect some extra milk!
Babies will definitely spit up, and you will need some good burp cloths for your breastfeeding baby. While this is not a must-have item, and one can do without them, or you can DIY old t-shirts, you might need a few big ones when getting out of the house.
Burt’s Bee Baby Burp clothes were my favorite. They are big enough to cover the entire shoulder area. Also, they make thoughtful baby shower gifts that will be used over and over.
ALSO READ: 5 Ways To Burp A Baby That Won’t Burp
Both of my babies switched to Tommee Tippee baby bottles easily. Glad they did! However, some breastfed babies are fussy, and you may want to buy bottles that closely mimic breastfeeding. I’d suggest you introduce the bottle to the baby earlier, so they get used to it. Around four weeks into it. Even if you don’t plan to bottle feed, it’s a good idea to have 1- 2 bottles on hand just in case.
Breast Milk Storage Containers And Bags
If you intend to pump milk, then these breastfeeding products are nursing essentials you must-have. Milk storage bags are designed to store your breastmilk for extended periods of time safely.
Depending on your preferences, you may go for plastic milk storage bags, glass containers, milk storage bottles made of plastic or breast milk trays. Always go for BPA free containers that are specifically designed for milk storage.
These Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags were my go-to milk storage bags for both my babies.
Lots and Lots Of Hydration
A new mom needs to take good care of herself. It can be so easy to skip meals because there seems to be so much to be done in a day. However, that will only leave you feeling tired and crappy. It may also hurt your breast milk supply.
Have some healthy snacks around to pick up while on the go. In addition, make some yummy lactation smoothies and store them in the fridge. You will only need to get it out of the refrigerator and sip it as you move around the house.
While at it, don’t forget to stock this amazing drink that will increase your milk supply. It comes in handy those times you experience a dip in your milk supply.
I know…some people have divergent views about breastfeeding classes. And I certainly agree! To be honest, I bought some breastfeeding classes online and was disappointed big time. They were just a few pages of over-enlarged fonts that did not add any value to me.
However, I have taken some excellent breastfeeding courses that were helpful to select Breastfeeding Essentials. And they are the ones that I will recommend you take.
- The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class
- The Ultimate Exclusive Pumping Class
- The Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class
It’s essential to have some helpful information for you and your baby, and I believe the above courses cover most things to get you ahead of the game.
PS: If you’re struggling to breastfeed, consult a certified IBCLC near you.
There are so many breastfeeding supplies out there. I have only shared the breastfeeding essentials checklist I have used. You don’t need all the breastfeeding products I have used to succeed in your breastfeeding journey. The only thing you need is TONS OF PATIENCE. It does get easier momma! You got this!