Inside: Grab our favorite breastfeeding essentials to make your life easier! These breastfeeding must haves are perfect to throw in your breastfeeding kit or have on hand. Nursing your baby doesn’t have to be so hard with these helpful tools and tricks! Keep reading and get these breastfeeding items checked off your list!
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Breastfeeding is one of those things I never thought I’d miss. And my goodness, do I miss it!
I nursed both of my babies for over a year each. It was a rollercoaster of hormones, emotions, problems to solve, and pure joy. I learned how to work with their unique needs and temperaments. I discovered perseverance that inside I didn’t know I possessed.
And looking back, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
If you’re planning on breastfeeding your baby, let me be perfectly clear. You’re in for the challenge of a lifetime. Your strength and will are going to be tested in ways you never thought possible.
And yet… you’re also going to discover one of the greatest joys of your life! Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing, stained with tears of both pain and joy.
There’s literally nothing like the feeling of caring for your child in this intimate, life-giving way. It’s totally worth it in every way. You’ll never forget this special time with your babies.
So, while breastfeeding may be hard, especially during those first few weeks, I want to encourage you that you CAN do this!
You can. You CAN.
Here’s the thing… It gets easier as time goes by. Suddenly you’ll realize you’ve become a nursing pro, seemingly overnight.
I hope this checklist of breastfeeding essentials helps you as you breastfeed your baby! These tools will be indispensable as you learn the art of breastfeeding.
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The Best Breastfeeding Essentials to Make Your Life Easier!
Wherever you’re at on your breastfeeding journey, the right tools and gear can make your life so much easier! While our ancestors may have survived breastfeeding with just themselves and a baby, we have so many amazing resources to make breastfeeding go more smoothly.
Let me add upfront that the best essential to make breastfeeding a success won’t be found on Amazon. It’s not for sale.
What the most essential thing a breastfeeding mom needs? Support.
Sometimes an extra pillow, lanolin cream, or the cutest breastfeeding wrap won’t help.
Sometimes what you’ll need most is a mom or sister to sit beside you as you try again and again to get your crying baby to latch. Or a friend to talk with you while you nurse in a dark room, while the rest of the party goes on outside. Or a husband to carefully and cheerfully store that pumped milk like it’s liquid gold.
Start thinking about creating your own breastfeeding support group. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out for help or encouragement. Every heroine needs a sidekick!
Preparing for breastfeeding success can start way before your baby is born! Try out these breastfeeding essentials during pregnancy.
Now is the best time to get educated about breastfeeding. Once your baby comes, you’ll want to spend every spare minute catching up on rest, not researching all night long.
Use these breastfeeding books to get acquainted with the topics of latching, let down, foremilk and hindmilk, and other useful tips!
The Best Breastfeeding Books
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
- LACTIVATE!: A User’s Guide To Breastfeeding
- Latch Baby: Illustrated Guide to Breastfeeding Success
- Work. Pump. Repeat.: The New Mom’s Survival Guide to Breastfeeding and Going Back to Work
- Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers
The First Two Weeks Essential Breastfeeding Kit
Let’s be honest. The first two weeks of breastfeeding will be hard. Really, really hard.
There’s an incredibly steep learning curve that starts the minute your baby is born. Here’s what you’ll need to prepare the perfect essential breastfeeding kit. This kit will be a lifesaver for you!
Throw these items into a tote bag or basket so they’re quickly available when you need them.
- Nipple Cream: This organic nipple cream helps soothe cracked or sore nipples. It’s also safe for your baby, too. You don’t have to worry about wiping it off before a nursing session. Alternatively, you can spread some of your own breastmilk on sore nipples to heal them up. For extra healing, try Soothies Cooling Get Pads, they’re amazing! I found that a combination of nipple cream, breastmilk, and air circulation helped me heal quickly.
- Nursing Pads: Nursing pads are indispensable to a nursing mom! As your body starts to produce and regulate milk, you may find that you leak throughout the day, not just while you’re feeding your baby. Disposable pads or cloth reusable nursing pads will help keep you dry and avoid stains on all your t-shirts!
- Cloth Diapers: What no one tells you is that when your baby nurses on one side, he’s likely to stimulate let down on the other side as well. This can equal a big mess if you’re not prepared. I always kept an extra cloth diaper on hand. I covered the open breast with the cloth while my baby nursed on the other side. This helped prevent my nursing pads and bra from constantly getting soaked. Plain cloth diapers are cheap and super absorbable. They’re perfect to add to your breastfeeding kit!
- Nursing Bra: When you’ve got a hungry newborn on hand, a few minutes can mean the difference between an easy latch or a stressful, frantic latch. My babies would get so frantic when they were ready to nurse and I took an extra minute to get set up. Nursing bras make it so much easier to start breastfeeding quickly! Go for a wire-free and super comfortable bra for the first few weeks. Your breasts will need time to adjust to milk production and all those hormonal changes!
- Water Bottle: There’s nothing worse than being thirsty and stuck in a marathon nursing session. Once you get that baby latched you’ll do anything to keep him nursing! Keep bottles of water in your essential breastfeeding kit so you don’t get caught off guard!
- Pre-Natal Vitamins: A quality vitamin will help your energy levels and boost your nutrition. After all, you’re feeding two now!
- Nursing Pillow: Let’s face it. During those first two weeks, you’ll be spending a lot of time nursing your baby. As a new mom, my arms literally ached from holding my baby! I found that a supportive pillow helped me relax my arms, neck, and back and enjoy that time more with my baby. A good pillow will also help you position your baby for a better latch. You can always use regular pillows from your bed, but these nursing pillows have a wonderful curve to them that fit perfectly to support you and your baby.
- Ibuprofen: Whether you’re healing from a vaginal delivery or C-section, those first two weeks are painful. In addition to pain from labor, you’ll also start feeling your uterus contract. Breastfeeding sends hormonal signals to your body to start the healing process. It’s common to feel painful contractions or afterpains during let down as you’re nursing. Don’t give up! This won’t last forever and it’s actually a good sign that your body is getting back to normal. If you need some help to ease the pain, ibuprofen is an approved pain reliever for use during breastfeeding.
On-The-Go Breastfeeding Essentials
- Nursing Shirts: Tight clothing and breastfeeding just don’t mix. Your breasts may likely be larger, so tight tops may be uncomfortable. But you’ll find that easy access clothing is where it’s at! Either choose a flowy, loose top or invest in a few nursing shirts. These make it easy to nurse on-the-go. You don’t need the stress of having to pull up a tight-fitting top while juggling a fussy baby in your lap!
- Breastfeeding Wrap: Breastfeeding wraps and shawls are your best friend! My babies were always super distractable. Using a breastfeeding wrap not only gave me the coverage I wanted, but it created a little cocoon to help my baby focus and relax. I will always remember the time I nursed my daughter under a crowded beach pavilion while the crowds waited out the thunderstorms and rain. I was so proud of myself that day for being able to calm her down in the midst of that huge jostling crowd. Having my breastfeeding wrap made it so much easier!
- Cloth Diapers: As I mentioned before, let down can be messy! Keep a spare cloth diaper or burp cloth in your bag, and use it to catch milk on the opposite side while your baby nurses.
Pumping and Milk Storage Essentials
- Breast Pump: Want to be a legit pumper? You’ll need an electrical breast pump. I had this Medela double breast pump that I used with both of my children. Check to see if you can get one through your insurance for free! I used an electric pump to keep up with my son’s massive appetite and create a milk stockpile for when I went back to work at eight months. Get familiar with your breast pump and learn how to make the settings mimic your baby’s feeding habits. This will get you the best results!
- Hands-Free Pumping Bra: If you’re using an electrical pump, you’ll definitely want to invest in a hands-free pumping bra! Holding up the pump flanges for 15 minutes at a time can make your hands cramp, plus you’ll want to have hands available to hold a book, your phone, or just relax for a hot minute.
- Manual Breast Pump: If you’re pumping on the go, I highly recommend getting a hand pump. I used this Medela manual breast pump while I breastfed my daughter. It worked perfectly since it’s small enough to throw in a tote or purse. I even pumped during a few movie dates with my husband. It’s quiet enough that no one even noticed. I consistently got the same amount of milk production with this hand pump that I got with my electric pump. I noticed no difference in performance!
- Storage Bottles and Bags: If you’re pumping consistently, you’ll want to store your milk in the freezer. Use these breastmilk storage bags to label and freeze milk for later use.
- Bottles and Nipples: When you pump, don’t forget you’ll also need a way to feed your baby that liquid gold! Buy a few breastfeeding-friendly bottles and nipples to use when you need to be away from the baby.
- Insulated Storage Bag: At home, you can transfer pumped milk straight to the freezer. But if you’re out for more than five hours, you’ll want to bring along an insulated storage bag with an ice pack to keep the milk cold. Remember the rule of 5-5-5 to keep your milk safe for your baby. Milk is safe at a maximum of five hours room temperature, five days in the fridge, or five months in the freezer.
What are your favorite breastfeeding essentials? Do you have a breastfeeding story to tell?
I hope this breastfeeding essentials checklist gives you confidence that you can successfully nurse your baby!
Share and connect with us in the comments below!