Breastfeeding essentials can be a bit hard to figure out since everyone has a different opinion. If you’re looking for what you need to start nursing your new baby, here is out ultimate list of what you do – and DON’T need to feed your baby.
Learning about the what you need for breastfeeding
When I was pregnant with my oldest, I knew nothing about babies.
Since I knew nothing about babies, much less breastfeeding, I found myself searching non-stop to soak in any and all information I could.
I’m not going to lie – in regards to the ‘practical’ advice, you can do all the reading in the world – it probably won’t prepare you. But what I did find useful, were the lists from been there, done that moms with their own personal breastfeeding must haves.
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The Best Breastfeeding Essentials
In my own list, you’ll find some pretty basic and expected must haves for nursing your baby, with some different ones that I found super useful but you may not think about.
There are a few different kinds of nursing pillows out there and I’ve tried two – a Boppy and a Brest Friend.
I wrote all about them both in my Boppy vs. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow post. But in short, I prefer the Brest Friend Pillow after trying both.
You guys, nursing hunger is real. Be sure to keep easy to grab snacks on hand at all times . There will probably be days when anything more than a quick snack here and there is difficult.
Some of my favorite nursing snacks:
- Individually packaged trail mix
- Grab and go packs of snacks like Goldfish or Cheez Its.
- Fruit and individual nut butter packets
- Bars like Larabars or Chewy Bars
- Cheese sticks
In addition to being hungry, you’ll be thirsty like you’ve never been in your life.
Grab the biggest cup you can find that also has a straw and a lid. Ideally something with a sturdy bottom and a handle that you can easily hold.
Some cups we love:
- Simple Modern 32 oz
- Sports Water Bottle with Straw&Handle
- 32oz Bottle with time markers
- Bubba Envy Travel Thermal Mug, 48 Ounces
- Zak Water Bottle with 2 in 1 lid
Buy a few small packs of a few different brands and decide which ones you like.
I like the Johnson and Johnson brand and the Nuby Brand. The Johnson and Johnson brand is basically a wild card – they’re a little thicker, but I like the shape and how well they protect from leaks.
The Nuby Brand folds and bends easier when using with clip down bras.
If you’re in the US, your health insurance should provide you with a breast pump. I have this one and I like it well enough.
I will say, I like how you can get these bags and pump right into them for storage, rather than dirtying a bottle and they pouring it into a bag to freeze or refrigerate.
Please do me a favor and don’t buy this – the hospital will provide you with some! I have this brand.
Bottles and Pacifiers.
Even if you’re adamant about not using them, grab one or two bottles and 2 types of pacifiers.
It’s hard to know what your baby will or will not like before he’s here, and you never know if you”ll have to pump and bottle feed a few times for whatever reason. (For example, I needed to take a pain killer for dental work and had to pump and dump for 4 hours after with Owen. Ella was in the NICU for a week and I needed to bring pumped milk.)
Also, more than one paci! Ryan refused a paci after a few weeks, but he when he did he took Avent. But Owen hates those and likes the more traditional style (buy MAM glow-in-the-dark pacis – you’ll thank me.) It pays to have a few options on hand for tough moments.
My top 3 nursing clothes essentials are a nursing bra, shelf camisoles, and zip up hoodies. Be sure to check you this post of what to wear when breastfeeding in the summer. A lot of the tips are applicable year round.
I also put together this list of my favorite breastfeeding dresses.
So tell me – mommas, what are your breastfeeding essentials? Were any of these a surprise to you? Did I leave any out? Let me know in the comments!
Heather @ Polyglot Jot says
I know i will definitely appreciate this when i have kids..saving for later!
Yes! You know where you can find me if you need some advice 😉
Thank you for sharing this Morgan! It seems like nursing pillows really help save a mama’s arms.
Yes!While both boys enjoyed eating while I hold them and stand (they’re little kings, I swear) the pillow is so helpful!
I would add two items to the list for moms who have a tender nipples. First, Medela makes nursing cups called “Soft Shells” that helped me be able to wear clothing on my very sensitive upper half in the first few weeks of nursing. Amazing! Second, if you have any bleeding then reach out to your medical provider and ask about prescription nipple cream. It heals the nipple and helped me continue through the early breastfeeding each time – Lanolin just wasn’t strong enough for me, my midwives and the lactation consultant told me it was just my body. And finally, if you breastfeed more than one child, realize that just like pregnancy, labor/delivery, personality and looks, your children may end up nursing completely differently! One last comment: give grace to yourself and to others. Breastfeeding is very challenging to some moms out there for various reasons and we should all show support and kindness to others, whether we bottle-fed or breastfeed or some combination of the two. 🙂
Thanks for the additions!! My girlfriend used shields in the beginning and I meant to ask her which ones she used, ha! And I had no idea that there was a prescription nipple cream!
My boys nursed barely 3 months apart (I nursed my first until I was 6 months pregnant with number 2) and I definitely saw a HUGE difference in them – thankfully, in a good way. My second ate more in less time so he nurses less which is awesome.
I 1000000% agree with giving yourself and others grace. It’s so hard to know what others are going through and remember that your experience may not be the same as theirs.
This is a great list! Thanks for sharing with our Merry Monday party.
Cathy Lawdanski says
Pinning this for my daughter who is expecting her first baby in February! Great suggestions!
Congratulations for you family! It’s such an exciting time!!
Sandra Garth says
Boy things have come a long way since I was having babies!
My mom says the same thing! I’m so lucky there are so many helpful improvements!
Kristine Kersting says
Really great post! So glad to see women supporting other women on this topic. When I had my boys, I debated whethre or not to BF. There was not a ton of support at that time. I really can’t imagine having not had that experience and time with my babies. Thanks again! #smallvictoriessunday
Every once in a while I hear stories about people being shamed for breastfeeding and it makes me very sad – I feel very lucky that I’ve never faced that!