Like pregnancy, breastfeeding is exciting. It can be filled with benefits for you and your baby, and is a great way for mom and baby to bond.
However, breastfeeding is not without discomforts such as engorgement, painful, sore, and cracked nipples, leaking breasts, and muscle aches from holding a baby in an awkward posture. The good news is that some of these discomforts can be alleviated by stocking up on essential breastfeeding items. If you choose to breastfeed, plan ahead and order these 10 items before your baby arrives so you’re sure to be ready to feed your little one right away.
1. A comfortable nursing bra
Credit: Bravado! A comfortable nursing bra makes breastfeeding easier.These are bras specially designed for breastfeeding. The front is a flap with hooks or clips that can easily be unlatched, exposing only the nipples for feeding. A nursing bra provides comfort, easy access to the breast, keeps the breast in place and ensures privacy while feeding. Some of them come padded to contain breast milk leaks, while some are made with removable breast pads.
The major considerations for choosing a nursing bra should be comfort, fit, ease of access, and support. Go for those that are made of soft, absorbent materials, and are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It’s wise to buy at least one in a larger size, for the early weeks before your milk supply evens out.
Get the Bravado! Designs Seamless Wireless Nursing Bra on Amazon starting at $34.99
2. An effective breast pump
Credit: Reviewed / Lisa Lawrence The Elvie is our favorite automatic breast pump.Available as automatic and manual, breast pumps are a great addition to your breast feeding essentials. They are used to extract or express breast milk which could be stored for later feeding. We love the Elvie Pump because it’s cordless and fits inside a regular bra—no pumping bra required—so that busy moms can pump on the go.
Not sure if you’ll need a pump? If you are a working mom, or if you need someone else to feed the baby while you are away, you’ll definitely need to have a pump on hand. You can always opt for a hand pump—like the top-rated Haakaa—if you’ll rarely be away from your little one.
3. Breastmilk storage bags or bottles
Credit: Willow Specially designed bags are simple to store and keep breastmilk fresh.Expressed breast milk that you’re not planning to use right away can be safely kept in the freezer for 6 to 12 months. Special storage bags and bottles are available for this, and some breast pumps have the ability to pump directly into storage bags. These are specially made glass and BPA-free containers with tight seals that are freezer grade, used in storing expressed breast milk. While the Elvie pump does no have reusable bags, the containers that you pump into can be placed in the freezer. The Willow, another hands-free pump, has bags that can be attached to the pumps and placed directly in the freezer.
Get Willow Spill-Proof Milk Bags at Target for $23.99
4. Moisturizing nipple cream
Credit: Motherlove A good quality nipple cream can help soothe sore nipples.The first few days or weeks of breast feeding can cause nipple soreness and discomfort—especially if your baby is prone to cluster feeding. A small tube of nipple cream can be invaluable for healing and easing discomfort. Nipple creams are applied to the breast to keep the nipples moisturized and to avoid cracks and bleeding. It also helps soothe, moisturize, and facilitate healing of sore nipples. They are specially formulated to be safe for babies.
Get Motherlove Nipple Cream on Amazon for $10.95
5. A pillow just for nursing
Credit: Boppy A nursing pillow makes breastfeeding more comfortable for mom and baby.Unlike regular pillows, which can be too soft and rectangular, nursing pillows fit snugly around a mom’s body to place baby in an ideal position for nursing. A Nursing pillow also helps maintain good sitting posture, reducing the strain on your arms, shoulder, neck and back, and can be helpful in enabling babies to latch more effectively.
Get the Boppy Original Nursing Pillow on Amazon for $39.79
6. Absorbant nursing pads
Credit: Lansinoh / Bamboobies Disposable and reusable nursing pads come in handy.For as long as you breastfeed, your breasts are going to leak, especially in the first few months. To avoid a stained shirt front, you need nursing pads that fit inside your bra and catch any rogue leaks. Available as disposable, reusable, or silicone, nursing pads are small, round pads placed over the nipples. Disposable nursing pads are intended for single use, and are discarded when soaked through, while reusable ones are made of fabric and can be washed and worn again (and again).
Silicone pads are not meant to absorb leaks, but to prevent leaks by applying mild pressure on the breast. Made with medical grade soft silicone, they are flat and stick to the skin. A bra is not needed to hold them in place.
7. A nursing tank
Credit: Belly Bandit A nursing tank is a great layering piece and gives some tummy support.Nursing tank tops are camisoles made for breastfeeding, with or without built-in bras. It provides easy access to the breast, and provides full coverage underneath sheer tops. Nursing tanks provide support for your breasts and, in most cases, do not require you wearing a separate nursing bra. Another advantage of a nursing tank top is that some of them provide support for your tummy, which can be helpful for mom’s recovering from a C-section.
Get the Belly Bandit Mother Tucker Nursing Tank on Amazon for $69.95
8. Nipple shields
Credit: Getty Images / ArtShotPhoto For moms with flat or inverted nipples, a nipple shield can help a baby latch.Not every mom needs a nipple shield, but if you have flat or inverted nipples, they can help your baby latch. These are soft, silicone, nipple-shaped shields worn over the nipple for breastfeeding. Nipple shields can also be beneficial for preemies, moms with overactive let-down, and babies with tongue or lip tie. Be sure to consult your doctor or lactation consultant before using a nipple shield, but you may find that it will make easier for your baby to latch properly, get enough milk, and also encourage feeding.
Get Medela Nipple Shields on Amazon for $7.18
9. A nursing cover
Credit: Bebe au Lait A nursing cover keeps mom covered and helps baby stay focused.If you plan on taking your nursing baby out and about, you’ll want to invest in a breastfeeding cover. This is a piece of cloth designed to make breastfeeding discreet, as it covers your upper body while breastfeeding in public. Breastfeeding covers are also helpful as babies get older and tend to get distracted while breastfeeding—covering them up keeps them focused on the task at hand. As an alternative, a muslin swaddling blanket can do double duty as both a nursing cover and a burp cloth.
10. A comfy chair
Credit: Pottery Barn A reclining glider can make long hours of breastfeeding more comfortable for mom and baby.You’re going to be spending a lot of time nursing your little one, and it helps to have a comfortable chair that supports you—and that’s cozy enough for napping, too. In the early newborn days, some babies nurse for an hour at a time, and have to be fed 12 times per day, which can put a strain on your shoulders, neck, back and arms. Make sure you’re positioned properly with a chair that’s designed for nursing moms. Pottery Barn offers a good selection of nursing chairs that are also recliners and gliders, so that you’ll be properly supported while you gently rock your baby back to sleep.
Get the Comfort Swivel Glider at Pottery Barn starting at $999
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.