- August 5, 2021
- by Melissa Lawrence
Breastfeeding is one of the most precious experiences you can share with your baby. It’s great for getting that close physical contact and nice one-on-one time with your newborn. Today, I’ll be sharing with you some of my favorite and most-trusted breastfeeding tools. After watching this video, you’ll be all set for feeding your precious new bundle of joy!
These are my top picks for what items nursing moms need!
Hope you enjoyed this video on breastfeeding basics! You might also like my videos here on using other breastfeeding equipment and breast pumping machines.
After breastfeeding six babies for a combined total of over 93 months (over seven years), I’ve been to the races when it comes to nursing! And one thing I know for sure is that breastfeeding is a serious commitment. Like many things, it takes hard work and dedication and is often just plain difficult, especially when it’s your first baby, and especially at the beginning.
But trust me on this, with the first few weeks under your belt, breastfeeding gets easier and easier and easier, so hang in there! It’s worth it, and being properly prepared can help set you up to have a successful nursing experience, whatever that means for you.
Here’s my list of essentials that no breastfeeding mom should be without. (I also have a list of Pumping Essentials)
Breastfeeding is like boot camp for your boobs. It’s painful for everyone at the beginning, and your nipples can get sore, cracked and even bleed. Don’t give up! The pain only lasts a few weeks, and an ounce of prevention goes a long way. (If you have severe or longstanding pain, consult your doctor or lactation consultant.) In most cases, this pain is totally normal, actually.
I always applied a heavy dose right AFTER breastfeeding but all of these nipple creams are safe if ingested, so you don’t need to wash them off before nursing.
- Lansinoh HPA Lanolin 1.41 oz: This thick, lanolin-based cream is free of preservatives and hypoallergenic.
- Earth Mama-Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter: This plant- based cream includes ingredients like cocoa butter, olive oil and calendula extract and is very healing and lubricating.
- Motherlove Herbal Nipple Cream: Motherlove’s cream is certified organic and has the highest rating on the Environmental Working Group’s database, and they say it doubles as diaper rash cream!
I’ve also found that one of the best treatments of all comes right from your own breasts. After you finish nursing, hand express a small amount of breast milk and rub it on your nipples. Hopefully you don’t have any guests visiting and you can let your breasts air dry for a while! This is nature’s tried and true remedy for sore nipples and it really works.
Another thing you don’t think about until you have a baby: when you’re nursing from one breast, milk will also be leaking from the other one! In fact, you’ll be leaking a lot in general in the early days — you might wake up to find that your shirts and sheets are soaking wet. This is why you need nursing pads.
There are disposable and washable options — in the beginning you probably need some disposable ones when you’re soaking through them quickly. Over time your body will start to regulate, but nursing pads are something you may use during the whole duration of nursing. Make sure to bring some with you to the hospital.
- Lansinoh Ultra Soft Disposable Nursing Pads, 36 Count
- Medela Disposable Nursing Bra Pads
- Dr. Brown’s Disposable Breast Pads
- Bamboobies Super Soft Bamboo Washable Nursing Pads in Lingerie Bag. These soft organic nursing pads are very absorbent and washable, and heart-shaped!
You might be thinking, what do I need a bra for? I’m going to wear pajamas and never leave the house when I bring home baby! While I’m no Mae West, I actually found that I couldn’t do without a bra, day or night. I needed the bra to hold in nursing pads, and I got used to wearing one of these 24/7.
I recommend that you get at least four nursing bras, because even if you use nursing pads, your bras will get wet. You can buy these during the third trimester of pregnancy when your regular bras become too tight, but you might want to wait to stock up until you’re sure what size you’ll be. You’ll be washing them frequently, so make sure to use a gentle detergent and let them air dry to preserve the elasticity.
My favorite brands are stretchy and soft. Comfort is key!
- HOFISH 3-Pack Full Bust Seamless Nursing Maternity Bras ($20-30)
- Elle Macpherson Momamia Maternity Bra ($54). This is one of the sexier options on the market, but the inside is still super soft.
- Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra ($34). My colleague Katie has been wearing the same Bravado bras for 14 months of breastfeeding. She says they’ve held up wonderfully in the wash!
Just because you’re a nursing mom, it doesn’t mean fashion necessarily goes out the window. I’m all about comfort and practicality, but it’s always nice to feel good at the same time. So you can think fashion AND function! When you’re nursing, you definitely need a new wardrobe that gives baby easy access to your breasts. A dress that zips up the back or a turtleneck sweater is just not going to work for breastfeeding!
Here are my picks for a nursing wardrobe that’s both fashionable and functional.
You want to find ones with a lot of stretch so you can pull them down to nurse easily. You don’t want something that will get stretched out of shape and ruined. If it’s chilly you can throw on a cardigan sweater.
My favorites are from Anthropologie, and although they are pricey, they last forever and come in an amazing array of colors. I have quite a few and they really last.
- Anthropologie Reversible Seamless Tank ($24)
- Maternity First Layer Nursing Cami Top 3-Pack ($30 for three)
You can achieve a lot of different looks without having a lot of different clothes by wearing a button-down shirt over a camisole. You get a lot of bang for your buck by purchasing a few versatile button downs and varying the camisoles you wear underneath.
Most of my shirts are from J. Crew… they can get pricey but I get them on sale and find that they really last.
- J. Crew Stretch Perfect Shirt ($69.50)
- Express Striped Boyfriend Shirt ($58)
- Old Navy Waist-Defined V-Neck Button-Front Blouse for Women ($29)
If you’re anything like me, this is a time of your life when you’ll want to emphasize your face, neck and shoulders and keep the attention away from that postpartum belly. When you have a newborn baby who isn’t grabbing things yet, you can dress up your outfit with a chunky necklace or dangly earrings. Once your baby starts tugging at things, of course, this no longer works.
Consider getting a nice soft Boppy pillow. Many moms find these helpful in getting baby elevated off your lap and into the right position to nurse. Some people also swear by My Brest Friend (love the name!)
- Boppy Pillow with Slipcover, Sweet Pea ($39)
- My Brest Friend Deluxe Pillow, Light Green ($38)
- They also make a version specifically for nursing twins: My Brest Friend Twins Plus Deluxe Nursing Pillow, Green ($58)
It can be useful to have a few bottles on hand for supplementing your breastfeeding, especially if you have to be away from baby from time to time. So check out my review of the best baby bottles and the best bottle warmers. You’ll also want to know the best breast pumps, for storing milk for later.
Amazon.com prices are subject to change.