Breastfeeding for the first time mom can be really challenging but being educated and prepared in advance makes a world of a difference.
I’ve received a lot of questions around the topic of breastfeeding and pumping and have decided to put together a quick list of 11 Breastfeeding essentials that I used daily!
Did you know that this has become the #1 item on baby registries? The Boppy Pillow helps support the baby in several different positions so that you put less strain on your arms and your back. Your back can start to hurt really bad if you sit hunched over while feeding your baby, but the Boppy helps keep your back straight.
You can also buy different covers that are washable so that you can switch them out as needed.
If you don’t want to nurse without a cover, then you will need one of these. The great thing is that many of these covers are versatile now. They can be used as a car seat cover, worn as a scarf and of course used as a nursing cover.
There are hundreds to choose from, but the one I listed below is a favorite because it is soft and a nice neutral color.
First of all, nursing bras are soooo comfortable and they don’t have to be ugly! ASOS is my go to place for buying nursing bras because they are cute, affordable and offer great support! I linked my favorite bra below.
I usually order a few different sizes and return the ones that don’t fit (free shipping and returns!).
Unlike regular bras, nursing bras have a flap that opens and gives your baby easy access while feeding. It also flaps down so you can pump easily.
You don’t have to go bra-less or stretch and ruin your regular bras by lifting them up or down. My nursing bra was so comfortable, I would sleep in it with a nursing pad (see next item on list) so that I wouldn’t leak all over my pajamas at night between feedings or pumping sessions.
While nursing, many women have leaky boobs and this can be embarrassing if it soaks through your bra and your shirt.
Nursing pads are a life saver because they absorb any leakage and also provide a soft cushion for your nipples, which can become sore while breastfeeding as well.
If you are a first time mom, you will soon notice that your nipples get cracked, dry and sore while breastfeeding. Having a comfortable nursing bra, nuring pads and some nipple cream on hand will really make a world of a difference.
Apply the nipple cream liberally between feedings to relieve any discomfort. Over time, the soreness goes away, but the nipple cream really saves you a lot of pain in the beginning weeks.
Breast Pump (manual or electric)
I was planning on exclusively breastfeeding both of my babies, but my firstborn didn’t latch well and my second would fall asleep every time she breastfed. This led me to exclusively pump both of my babies for almost a year.
With my firstborn, I was unprepared and struggled for my milk to come in. I didn’t have a breast pump at hand and didn’t know to ask to use one at the hospital.
One week postpartum, I decided I needed to start pumping because our son was still not latching and my supply was low. We had to start looking for the best pump for my needs and it was a little overwhelming with everything else going on one week postpartum!
With my second, I had my pump prepared in advance and started pumping as soon as she was born to help my milk come in faster (which really works by the way)!
I personally love the Medela Pump In-Style travel kit. It comes with everything you need to get started including a car charger so you can pump on the go as needed. It is also linked below.
It is a little expensive but such a great quality pump. In fact it is rated as one of the best! The storage bag has lots of room so you can carry everything in one place, and it doesn’t even look like a breast pump!
If you are a working mama, this is the pump for you!
If you want to wait and see how breastfeeding goes, you can just have a manual pump handy to help your supply come in and to use as backup if needed. Both are linked in my diagram for your convenience.
Breast milk Storage Bags or Bottles
Most moms have an oversupply at some point and the last thing you want to do is throw away your breast milk because you have too much! Breast milk can be kept in the freezer for up to six months if stored properly.
You can store your breast milk in bottles or in storage bags. I prefer storage bags because they are cheaper and are easier to fit in your freezer because of the shape. You can write the date on the bag and just dispose of it when you are done.
Having a couple bottles on hand is wise, especially if your little one isn’t latching or gaining enough weight in the first few weeks. Your doctor will ask you to pump and bottle feed, so it is better to be prepared!
If you don’t end up using them, you can just store your extra breast milk in them and pop them in the freezer for later use.
Bottle Drying Rack
I received one of these as a gift and still use it to this day. I use it to dry all things baby related like pacifiers, bottles, sippy cups, etc.
I love the grass drying rack, it is a cute design and so easy to wash, you can just throw it in the dishwasher.
These little brushes clean the little corners and crevices in your babies bottles and bottle caps, so having one handy is smart. I don’t like to use my everyday sponge on anything for my baby so I keep my bottle brush strictly for baby related items only.
Mothers Milk Tea
This tea helps increase milk supply! I drank it with both of my babies and love the smell and flavor and felt like it really helped me when my supply would dip.
Have some on hand and start drinking it as soon as your milk supply comes in for a little boost.
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If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section!