Want to know which breastfeeding supplies to get? Check out my breastfeeding essentials checklist, complete with everything new moms need for breastfeeding and pumping.
There’s a common mistake a lot of moms make with breastfeeding: we think it’ll be the easiest thing ever. After all, women have done this forever, so it’s fair to assume that:
- our babies will latch correctly the first time with no issues
- we’ll breastfeed right on schedule
- we’ll enjoy breastfeeding
- breastfeeding won’t hurt
I know I sure did. I had done my research on the correct latch and knew the differences between fore milk and hind milk. I was excited to give my baby a variety of flavors that only breast milk can.
I thought I had breastfeeding down pat.
So imagine my surprise when I found myself in pain and resentful of the constant feedings. What I thought would come naturally turned into me sitting in front of my laptop every day researching the benefits of breastfeeding just to stay motivated.
It was not an easy first few weeks, but eventually I pulled through. In fact, not only did I breastfeed my eldest up to a year, I did the same with my twins a few years later as well.
Practice and repetition did the trick, especially since breastfeeding happens so frequently. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to experiment and get it just right. Time was another factor—the longer I stuck with it, the more chances I had to practice.
Essential breastfeeding supplies
But my breakthrough also relied on having the right breastfeeding supplies. You see, frugal as I was, I didn’t think I needed many of the items I eventually bought. I figured I’d do with what I already had, assuming these wouldn’t be necessary.
Boy, was I wrong. Every item on this list helped me stay motivated and made breastfeeding a zillion times easier. Unfortunately, I only realized how useful they were when I finally started using them. But the minute I did, my first thought was: I should’ve bought this sooner.
That’s why, when my twins were born, I made sure to have all these breastfeeding supplies already with me. And it’s the same list I recommend to my friends—in fact, I’ve given many of these to them as hand-me-downs.
Avoid the same mistake I did. Grab these breastfeeding essentials now, not later, for a smoother and more enjoyable experience:
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase.
Hospital-grade electric double pump
My first pump was a small single pump that eventually gave out and stopped working. Because it was a single pump, I had to spend twice the time pumping compared to what I could’ve done with a double pump.
Later, I upgraded to a hospital-grade double pump (renting one from a hospital or local lactation group can often fit within most budgets!). I halved my breastfeeding time and made sure I was pumping efficiently.
Nursing tops and bras
Don’t bother trying to nurse using a regular bra or tank top—it’s just not as comfortable or discreet as simply using nursing tops and bras.
I especially recommend nursing tank tops and camisoles, both to wear around the house and to layer with other clothes. Nursing bras work fantastic with other tops you want to wear but aren’t designed specifically for nursing.
One thing I didn’t realize when I first started breastfeeding was how much we leak. Not exactly a pretty sight to walk around and see that your top is soaked with breast milk.
That’s why nursing pads are awesome—they provide an extra layer between your body and your clothes to prevent leakage. I especially like the reusable cloth nursing pads that you can simply toss in the wash and wear again.
A common discomfort among many breastfeeding women is the soreness and chafing of tender nipples. Any contact with clothes can be painful.
But breastfeeding shells help alleviate this discomfort. They allow your nipples to breathe and prevents any contact with clothes, especially right after nursing. Plus, you can wear them underneath your clothes and use them to catch leaks as well.
Hands-free pumping bra
I was adamant I didn’t need a hands-free pumping bra, especially when I figured I could simply prop the pump parts with nursing tops and bras. Sure, they would wobble, but I’d just hold them steady or readjust as needed.
But after a friend recommended the Simple Wishes pumping bra, I gave it a try. Maybe then I could pump more efficiently or at least not risk damaging my nursing tops and bras.
Boy did I wish I had used this from the start. The pumping bra left my hands free and pumped more ounces than when I wasn’t using it.
Breast milk storage bags
Another breastfeeding essential item I only realized later was storage bags. In the early days, I was pumping just enough milk into the bottles and storing them in the fridge for the next day. I figured I wasn’t making enough to freeze.
But storage bags are more convenient to take to work, as they use less space than bottles. They also encouraged me to add pump sessions so that I’d have a freezer stash for when I needed a break or simply to have extra.
If you find yourself with sore, cracked, and bleeding nipples, nursing cream is the way to go. You can apply it before you nurse to prevent discomfort, as well as after to protect your nipples even further.
Both times I forgot to bring my nursing pillow to the hospital and so wished I hadn’t. The nurses do their best to prop hospital pillows, but nothing beats having a sturdy and comfortable nursing pillow from day one.
If you’re like me and have twins, buy a twin nursing pillow as well so you can start tandem feeding as quickly as possible.
If you plan to nurse outside your home and would like to be discreet, a nursing cover is a fantastic way to keep breastfeeding no matter where you are.
I personally just used a swaddle blanket, but you can get covers specifically for breastfeeding. The main thing to look out for is that the cloth is light and breathable, as well as comfortable. You don’t want to keep adjusting the cloth or bothering your baby as he’s trying to nurse.
Plan ahead for your monthly expenses once the baby comes! Download my Printable Monthly Expenses Worksheet so you can estimate recurring expenses and typical costs of raising a baby and have a better sense of how much to expect to spend.
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I’ve always believed that parenting is one of those “learn on the job” types of roles, and I sure did have to learn along the way, especially when it came to which breastfeeding supplies to get.
These days, I recommend that any new mom interested in nursing already have these breastfeeding supplies on hand, especially since the first few days and weeks can make or break your motivation.
Regardless of the breastfeeding challenges you may come across, you’ll already have the right supplies in place. No “I wish I had this sooner!” regrets whatsoever.
Get more tips:
- When Does Breastfeeding Get Easier? Top Tips to Ease the Pain
- Tandem Breastfeeding: How to Breastfeed Twins
- 6 Ways Dads Can Support Breastfeeding Moms
- 12 Breastfeeding Secrets Every Mom Should Know
- How to Qualify for a Free Breast Pump
Tell me in the comments: what would you add as your go-to breastfeeding supplies?