What are some of the best breastfeeding essentials for the modern mom? From storage bags, to a nursing tank top, to nipple cream, to breast pumps, there are many great breastfeeding items that support a healthy milk supply and successful breastfeeding journey for moms as they learn to feed their baby.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful, natural way for moms to feed and nourish their little ones – but it definitely doesn’t come easy! The first few weeks of breastfeeding can be extremely difficult as a baby learns to latch and a mom learns how to properly breastfeed her little one.
Set yourself up for a successful breastfeeding journey by investing in these ten must-have breastfeeding products! These products help keep mom and baby comfortable, ensure a healthy milk supply, and create a painless, easy breastfeeding experience.
Here is a list of the top 10 breastfeeding essentials for 2023:
1. Nipple cream or lanolin cream
Newborns feed frequently in the first few months, and this constant suction can cause dry, cracked, inflamed, sore nipples. Lanolin cream can help soothe sore nipples and protect them from future cracks and irritation.
Lanolin can reduce tenderness and dryness and help avoid cracks and bleeding. It is safe to use during breastfeeding. It is best to apply after every feeding.
2. Breast pump
Most insurance companies cover breast pumps, so it is easy and affordable for moms to access quality breast pumps. There are many options to choose from, including hands-free breast pumps, making pumping more confident than ever.
Many hospitals rent out hospital-grade breast pumps and other breastfeeding supplies, so that might be a good place to start if you want the highest quality pump to use. There are many other electronic pumps available for moms to choose from, but be sure to check which ones are covered by your insurance plan.
Manual breast pumps are another good option. Some manual breast pumps you pump by hand, which allows you have complete control over the speed and suction. There are silicone breast pumps and milk catchers that can attach to the breast to catch letdowns and leaking on the side the baby is not feeding on.
A wearable pump is another great resource for busy moms. These electric pumps fit right in their bra, and allow them to be completely hands-free while they pump. Many companies are now offering a wearable pump option, making them more accessible to nursing moms.
What works for other moms might not work for you. Some breastfeeding moms have success with manual breast pumps, some can build a freezer supply just catching their letdown on the other side during feeding sessions, some want a small pump that fits in the diaper bag, and others need a hospital-grade pump to find the best results. Nursing isn’t a one-size-fits-all journey, so you might need to try out a few options before finding the perfect fit.
The most important thing is to learn how to use a breast pump properly. Read the manual, make sure your flanges are the correct size, and make sure all of the parts are clean before use.
Some childbirth preparation classes include a breastfeeding class or information on breastfeeding and how to use a breast pump. You may also choose to bring your breast pump to the hospital when you give birth, where a nurse or lactation consultant can show you how to properly use it.
3. Nursing pillow
Although it’s not necessary to have, a breastfeeding pillow can make a world of a difference for a breastfeeding mother.
A nursing pillow helps position the baby during feedings. It is a special pillow that goes around a mom’s waist to support the baby as they nurse. These pillows can save a mom’s back, shoulders, and arms while she is nursing.
It can be especially tricky to position a tiny newborn baby, and nursing pillows help give them the support they need to nurse comfortably. Many breastfeeding pillows can also be used as tummy time supports and sitting support, making it a quality, durable product that will last through many phases of your baby’s life!
4. Nipple shield
Nipple shields are thin silicone barriers that can help ease the early stages of the breastfeeding process.
Nipple shields can prevent injury to the nipple or allow current cracked nipples to heal. In combination with nipple cream, a nipple shield can help a mom stay comfortable during the early weeks of breastfeeding. They can be used as an aid for inverted nipples. Nipple shields can also help a newborn that is struggling to latch.
Nipple shields are small and portable, and easy to throw in a diaper bag when you’re out and about. Be sure to always clean them properly, and know that using nipple shields should be temporary. Long term use of nipple shields can cause latch issues, breast irritation, and even mastitis if not used properly. Seeing a lactation consultant can help moms learn how to use a nipple shield correctly.
5. Breast milk storage bags
Breast milk storage bags are ideal for moms who want to store pumped breast milk in the refrigerator or freezer. They can be labeled with the date and time of pumping so moms can easily see when their pumped milk expires.
Storage bags come with easy zip tops to make it easy to seal milk and pour it out when you’re ready to use it. These bags can be placed into larger bags for “block” style milk storage for moms that intend to build a large freezer stash of milk. Milk storage bags are especially beneficial to moms that return to work and need to transition their baby to bottle feeding during the day.
Many moms don’t know how many storage bags they’ll need, but usually they can start by purchasing one box and figuring out how much milk they’ll be able to store. Many parents often get rid of extra breastfeeding supplies like milk storage bags in local Facebook groups, so it’s fairly easy to find extras when you need them.
6. KeaBabies Nursing Cover
The KeaBabies All-In-1 Multi-use Cover is a spectacular nursing cover for moms that want privacy when they feed their baby in public! This nursing cover offers 360-degree privacy and coverage, with a stretchy, soft material that is perfect for baby’s delicate skin.
This stretchy, lightweight cover is a breastfeeding must-have. Better yet, it is versatile enough to have many uses – perfect for the modern parent on the go. It can be used as a car seat cover to help baby nap when you’re out and about, a nursing scarf to keep mom’s neck warm, and a shopping cart or high chair cover to help baby steer clear of public germs.
This nursing cover makes a great gift for new moms, and helps provide support as they embark on their breastfeeding journey. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns, a suitable baby shower gift for anyone, from your coworker, to your sister, to your best friend!
7. Nursing bras and pumping bras
Nursing bras make it easy to feed your baby in public. They are also comfortable, stretchy, and supportive. Nursing bras feature snaps, zippers, or flaps that make it easy for a baby to nurse.
Similar to nursing bras, nursing tanks also include special flaps or snaps that help a baby have easy access to the breast. Some nursing moms prefer to layer a nursing tank underneath a t-shirt or tank top, to provide extra coverage when nursing in public spaces.
A hands-free pumping bra can also be helpful for hands-free pumping. These bras are designed to hold the pump in place while you’re free to do whatever else you want! A hands-free pumping bra is definitely a breastfeeding must-have.
8. Nursing pads/ice packs
Nursing pads and ice packs can help soothe sore nipples. They are typically filled with gel and can be placed in the refrigerator between uses.
Gel pads fit right into your bra, and are a simple way to soothe sore breasts. New moms are often unaware of how sore their nipples and breasts can get in the early days and weeks of breastfeeding, so being prepared with nursing pads and gel pads can help ease the discomfort when a mom learns to breastfeed.
9. Sunflower lecithin supplements
Sunflower lecithin is an easily accessible supplement that has benefits for breastfeeding. Sunflower lecithin makes milk smoother and thinner, and can help with milk supply.
Sunflower lecithin is one of the top breastfeeding essentials for the modern mom, because it helps the milk flow freely and reduces the occurrence of clogged ducts. It can help with milk production and improve the quality of a mother’s milk.
Typically, you just need to take one daily dose of sunflower lecithin – usually between 1200 and 2400 milligrams.
10. Water bottle and convenient healthy snacks for mom
Breastfeeding moms need plenty of water and calories during their nursing journey. Water is essential to a good milk supply, so investing in a large water bottle can be a helpful way to remember to drink enough water. Choose one that is BPA-free and reusable to reduce plastic waste.
Staying hydrated can help a mom produce more milk for her little one. If water isn’t doing you any favors, trying add chunks of fruit or small amounts of juice for flavor. Try sparkling water, mint water, or lemon water to help with getting enough liquid during the day. It is important for nursing moms to stay hydrated.
Nursing moms need to consume more calories than the average person, so having extra snacks on hand can be helpful. Breastfeeding moms, especially in the beginning of their journey, have been known to be extra hungry and even experience cravings similar to pregnancy cravings!
Healthy snacks are important for milk production. If you find yourself getting hungry during a breastfeeding session, try to prepare yourself a quick snack beforehand. Quality snacks include apples with peanut butter, vegetables with hummus, protein bars, pretzels, popcorn, or a handful of almonds.
What are some extra breastfeeding must-have items?
This list should be a great starting place to get you set up for a successful breastfeeding journey, but here are some other items that might be helpful to nursing mothers:
Coconut oil for soothing dry, itchy, cracked nipples, as another natural alternative to nipple cream.
Sanitizing microwave bags to easily clean pump parts.
A gallon-sized water bottle to conveniently track your daily water intake while breastfeeding.
A good nursing bra from a trustworthy company that will keep your stylish and comfortable.
Breast pads or reusable breast pads (like these ones from KeaBabies) to catch leaking milk
Galactagogues, which are foods like fennel and oats, that are said to increase milk production
Multiple covers for your breastfeeding pillow, becasue they will get dirty!
Every woman’s breastfeeding journey looks different, but these items can help make it a little easier!
Being prepared for your breastfeeding journey can help moms feel more equipped and empowered as they feed their babies. Breastfeeding can be an exciting, but challenging task. These breastfeeding must-haves can help moms nourish their little ones with their milk, whether they’re at home, at work, or out in public.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.