Our Top 10 Must-Have Breastfeeding Supplies for New Moms
Although breastfeeding may only (technically) require moms’ breasts, we know from real-mom experience that there are essential breastfeeding supplies that can make the journey a lot easier. Apart from swaddle blankets and a comfortable spot to nurse, which breastfeeding must-haves do you need? We’ve compiled a list of our top breastfeeding essentials to help make nursing and pumping smooth sailing from day one.
A breastfeeding pillow provides the perfect perch for nursing a newborn. Unlike a typical bed pillow, which is thinner and softer, the firmer breastfeeding pillow hugs mom’s abdomen to comfortably position baby at chest level. That extra support means mom won’t have to hunch her back or deal with her arms falling asleep during marathon cluster-feeding sessions. Some moms swear by the classic Boppy® (also great for tummy-time and assisted sitting when baby is older) while others love My Brest Friend (which features comfy wrap-around lumbar back support and a flatter top surface). Whatever breast pillow works best for you, rest assured that it will make nursing all the more comfortable. A breastfeeding pillow is just one of those things moms agree you need to start breastfeeding.
Breastmilk Storage Containers
For moms building up a stash of that precious liquid gold, breast milk storage bags are key. These pre-sterilized bags are made for transporting, storing and freezing breast milk. Ideally, storage bags will be made from thick plastic and have a strong closing mechanism to prevent any leaks.
If you’re looking for tips on how to pump enough milk to store, we can help. Otherwise, get your pumping game on and check out Medela and Lansinoh for bags that attach directly to your pump’s breast shields—that way there’s no need to pour or clean extra bottles. Other storage bags we love for simplifying the process include Dr. Brown’s® and Ameda.
All those pump parts and bottle pieces need a thorough daily cleaning to stay in good condition and be safe for baby. Bottle brushes are tools designed to clean pump parts and baby’s feeding items. Most brushes are part-sponge, part-bristle brush, making them perfect for scrubbing even the smallest crevices. Some brushes we recommend are the OXO Tot® Bottle Brush, which comes with its own stand, and the Philips Avent Bottle Brush, which comes in cute colors and really gets the job done.
Plus, here’s a real-mom secret from our team: Get a set of mini brushes too. Not only will they reach the tiniest spots, but you can save them down the line for cleaning out sippy cup straws and reusable grown-up straws too!
Once you’ve cleaned your pump and bottles, we recommend air-drying them. A drying rack specially designed for breastfeeding products will properly drain any excess water and keep all those little pieces organized. Munchkin® and OXO make simple racks with lots of posts and pegs, while Boon’s “grass” racks are functional and cute.
Breast milk can only sit at room temperature for so long, so toting breast milk on the go requires an insulated cooler bag. Soft-sided bags with ice packs help keep it at a safe temperature. We’re big fans of PackIt® bags, which come in fun designs and have cooling packs built into the walls of the bag. Simply fold and toss them in the freezer until ready to use.
In those first days and weeks of breastfeeding, a new mom’s nipples can feel sore. Applying nipple cream after nursing or pumping (and before showering) helps protect and heal the sensitive area. It’s also safe for baby! When thinking about what nursing products you need for a more comfortable experience, nipple creams are a must. Lansinoh and Medela make highly-recommended lanolin-based creams, and if you need a lanolin-free option, Earth Mama® Angel Baby Organic Nipple Butter is another popular choice.
Fun fact: If you run out of your favorite nipple cream, you can try coconut oil for a multi-purpose alternative often found in the pantry.
Hands-Free Pumping Bra
Make pumping time more productive and comfortable with a hands-free pumping bra. These handy bras allow moms to multitask or simply relax rather than be stuck holding the pump’s breast shields to her chest for 20+ minutes at a time. Try a nursing-and-pumping bra, like Ollie Gray™’s Anywhere bra, or a separate pumping-specific bra, like the popular and adjustable Simple Wishes one, depending on what works best for your needs.
For pumping moms, breast shields are a must. They connect you to the breast pump and work to maximize your milk output while pumping, making them ideal for moms experiencing fluctuations in breast milk production. They also help prevent milk-duct compression and come in different sizes to ensure comfort and a proper fit—which leads to better suction.
Fun fact: The Lactation Network also provides insurance-covered nursing accessories like breast flanges. Avoid those extra costs and get yours through us.
While moms can breastfeed anywhere and everywhere, some feel more comfortable with a little coverage. A cute nursing cover is not only functional but can also give moms peace of mind and comfort while nursing in public, especially in the early days when she and baby are still getting the hang of things. And how about those multifunctional styles that work as a car seat cover too? Items that do more than one thing are the holy grail of baby gear.
It’s normal for moms to experience breast milk leakage during the first few months of breastfeeding, but it can also be highly inconvenient. That’s why nursing pads (also called breast pads) exist—so that when you’re walking around Target or trying to catch a few winks of sleep mid-afternoon, you don’t have to worry about embarrassing shirt stains. Nursing pads will soak up the liquid until you have a chance to properly sit down and nurse or change.
The Lactation Network proudly supports ways to make the breastfeeding experience easier on moms. Whether you put our top breastfeeding must-haves on your registry or gift them to yourself, these items do just that. Another must-have item we haven’t mentioned yet? A breast pump, of course! If you need help picking out the perfect pump for you, take our breast pump quiz and order one today.