If you’re new to breastfeeding or getting ready to give birth to your baby, then there are a few essential items you’re going to need.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of baby products on the market, but really there aren’t that many items that you actually need for breastfeeding your baby.
Before we get to the products you need, if you’re looking for a bit of extra help, advice or just some solidarity around breastfeeding your baby, check out this post with lots of beginner’s tips.
I was really unsure about investing money in breastfeeding products while pregnant, because I had no idea whether it would actually work out for me.
It meant I wasn’t prepared with the essentials immediately after my baby was born, so I had to send my parents out to buy things for me! I recommend buying these items in advance while you’re pregnant.
Most items can be sold on, or used for something else anyway, such as the bottles.
When you pick out nursing tops, go for ones that can also double up as maternity wear so that you can wear them while you’re still pregnant, and for the immediate weeks post-partum while your bump is going down.
This way you can feel like you’re getting your money’s worth from items. There’s one item on this list that you probably haven’t thought of at all! It’s essential in my view, so don’t forget to check it out.
If you have any questions about any of these product recommendations, just get in touch!
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20 beginner’s tips for breastfeeding
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For the first few days at least, latching your baby on to the breast will feel like a bit of a struggle.
Getting the latch right is one of the trickiest bits of breastfeeding. For this reason, I felt much more comfortable with a nursing cover when I went out in the early months after giving birth.
There are several good reasons to get a nursing cover, and one big reason not to. If you don’t want to feel exposed in public, that’s a good reason to get a nursing cover. If you’re worried about your baby getting distracted from feeding in a busy restaurant, that’s a good reason to get a nursing cover.
If you’re worried about “offending” or “upsetting” other people while breastfeeding in public, that is not a good reason to get a nursing cover. You have a right to breastfeed in public, it’s against the law to discriminate against a mother nursing her baby in the UK.
Don’t get a nursing cover to make others feel better about you breastfeeding. Get a nursing cover to make yourself feel comfortable.
When looking for one, look for features such as machine washability, how they attach around your neck and the type of material (go for something soft and comfy).
Not everyone gives their baby a bottle in the first year. However, it’s nice to have the option to give a bottle, as you may want to leave your baby at some point whether you’re returning to work or having a break from motherhood for a few hours.
There are lots of bottles on the market that are specifically designed for breastfeeding babies. The teats act in a way that’s similar to your breast, so this can help to avoid nipple confusion.
It’s difficult to know which bottle your baby will take to best. The best approach to choosing the bottle type is to shop around, read up on the features and think about which one suits you best.
It can be a good idea to buy the same make of bottle as your breast pump, because this way the pump can attach straight to the bottles you’re using for feeding.
I had the Medela range of bottles and pump which were absolutely fantastic. They were easy to use and clean, plus the entire range fitted together seamlessly.
Electric breast pump
I recommend you make a good investment in a breast pump, because they can last you through your first baby to your second one and beyond.
A good breast pump can be used when you’re on the go at work, or stuck somewhere without a plug socket (these things can happen!).
Look for a breast pump that can be battery operated if required, and look for one that is compact in size.
You may be thinking, I’m planning to breastfeed my baby, why do I need to pump?
The answer to this is, the pump can really help to get your supply up in the early days. While your baby is sleeping, you can pump for 15 minutes or so just to help keep the breast stimulated.
A pump can also be used to store breast milk so that you can have some time away from your baby, or so that your partner can have a turn at the night feeds.
You can also use one when you return to work, because having a career you love does not have to mean the end of breastfeeding.
Use breast shells to collect breast milk when you’re feeding or pumping from one side.
The letdown reflex will cause both nipples to release milk, and you don’t want to lose any of that precious breastmilk!
Wear them when you’re at home or out and about. They’re a good replacement for nursing pads if you want to be sure you’re not losing any milk.
I have so many friends who absolutely swear by these Haakaa pumps. They’re great if you just need to relieve the pressure of engorged breasts if you’re away from your baby or your baby is in the process of dropping feeds.
It’s a good cheap alternative to an electric pump, or a nice addition to having an electric one as you can just pop it in your handbag (it’s nice and compact) and take it with you wherever you go.
Wear these at night on bed or during hot summer days. You can also pop a nursing best under any normal top to transform it into a nursing top.
I suggest getting a nursing vest in black and another in white. At least two is a good idea.
I recommend buying at least three nursing or sports bras.
A nursing bra will have clips that you can release to expose your breast for easy access during feeds.
They’re comfy and supportive, without being too tight across engorged breasts.
The early weeks of breastfeeding can be really uncomfortable.
Maternity and nursing fashion has exploded over the last few years. There are many many choices of tops out there, you don’t have to compromise on style when you’re a breastfeeding mama.
But a breastfeeding top should be comfortable, and it also should be easy to wash because however careful you might be, there can still be accidents with breastmilk leaking or spit-up from your baby.
When you breastfeed from one nipple, you will leak milk from the other as the letdown reflex kicks in.
When your milk kicks in in the first few days after birth, you will also find that your boobs might leak a bit of milk.
Nursing pads will prevent any embarrassing stains on your top.
These nursing pads are my absolute faves, with two sticky pads so they’re less likely to slip and fall out of place.
A good nipple cream is safe to use when nursing your baby and will help to ease any soreness and discomfort you may feel in the early weeks.
I really liked using the Lansinoh Nipple Cream. You can apply it just before feeding and it’s safe for baby plus it really takes the edge off of the pain.
These are brilliant for storing breastmilk in the freezer without taking up too much space.
Remember to store them horizontally so that they stack neatly in the freezer and label them with a marker pen noting the date you expressed the milk.
Freshly expressed breast milk can be kept in the freezer for six months.
The Medela breastmilk storage bags fit straight onto the pump so that you don’t have to decant the milk from a bottle into the bag. Easy!
The early weeks of breastfeeding can include a little bit of pain. Your nipples may get sore and cracked, so nipple shields can be a big help at getting you through this!
Using a nipple shield can give your sore boobs a chance to heal while still nursing your baby. Double check the sizing to make sure you get the correct one for you.
One of the main problems with breastfeeding can be sitting in an awkward position. This can lead to back problems over time.
Getting in a comfortable position where your back is supported is one of the most important things to do for yourself when breastfeeding your baby.
You could use a cushion or pillow from your bed to support your back, but it can also help to have a nursing pillow that helps support your baby to take some weight off of your arms and shoulders.
There are a lot of pillows on the market, such as Boppy. Prices vary a lot so shop around but Amazon has a brilliant selection.
If I could go back and do it all again, or if I were to go crazy and have another baby, I would get a co-sleeping crib.
These are so much better than a Moses basket because they attach to the side of your bed, making a safe space for your baby to sleep right next to you.
Make sure you purchase a co-sleeping crib made by a reputable and well-known name that conforms to all safety standards.
There are a lot of different ones on the market but these are so popular.
You can of course choose to just co-sleep in your own bed, in which case please follow safe sleep guidelines.
Plus just one more you haven’t thought of!
So, here’s the final item on my list, and this is the one you probably haven’t thought of!
You need a tray! I don’t know about you, but not every seat in our house is within easy arm’s reach of a table where you can keep a drink, a snack and the remote.
When you sit down and you’re ready to breastfeed, possibly for hours, you need somewhere to keep all of your stuff!
Getting a tray is great as you can move it around from the bed to the sofa or that comfy chair in the corner and everything you need is right there!