If you’re planning on breastfeeding your newborn baby and want to know which products you do and don’t need, you’ve come to the right place! This breastfeeding essentials list is packed full of the newborn must have items you need to breastfeed or nurse your baby. From breast pumps to breastfeeding pillows, we share the breastfeeding necessities based on over 3 years of breastfeeding experience. So sort your breastfeeding supplies out today and get ticking off this list!
Breastfeeding Essentials List
Regulating your milk supply will take a good few months, until that point you may find you leak milk out. Whether it’s going too long between feeds or one breast leaking when you feed from the other, a good breast pad will prevent any soiling of your underwear or any wet boob patches on your clothes. We highly recommend these Lansinoh ones. Sticky pads hold them in place, they’re wonderfully thin and they’re individually wrapped making them ideal to pop in your change bag. If you’re feeling more eco-friendly then reusable breast pads are also a great option and are often softer on your nipples – great for those early sore days!
In those early days, your nipples can get sore. Adjusting to them being in a baby’s mouth for the majority of the day, and trying to find the perfect latch can mean they get dry, cracked or damaged. Using a decent nipple cream can help to keep them moist and aid healing. You want to keep any cracks or sores moist to prevent them drying out and causing more pain. Lanolin is widely recommended as a good ingredient to help keep your nipple skin supple and moisturised whilst being safe for babies. We recommend the Lansinoh Nipple Cream which seems to be the most popular anyway. Keep it tucked in your bra to keep it nice and warm so it’s easy to apply a thin layer after each feed. You don’t need to wash it off before feeding your newborn unlike other creams so it’s super simple to use!
Whilst you don’t necessarily need a specific pillow, a good support for your baby whilst you feed will make all the difference. Many breastfeeding pillows also later double up as baby supports when your little one starts sitting up so you’ll get plenty of use from them. Our favourite is the bbhugme pillow – a long sausage-like pillow that will take you from your pregnancy through breastfeeding and on to baby support. But do you really need a nursing pillow? You don’t but it will make life easier than trying to wrangle different cushions under you each time.
You may not think that you need a breast pump in order to breastfeed and you don’t. But if you want to start thinking about getting some time away from your baby when they’re a little older, then a breast pump is exactly what you need. We’ve tried various breast pumps and would highly recommend both the Medela Swing and the Elvie breast pump. Both allow you to use batteries meaning that you can later use the pump when you’re at work or out and about. For absolute freedom, you can’t beat the Elvie as it allows you to pump discretely whilst also doing other things.
Haakaa / Silicone Breast Pump
What’s a Haakaa or silicone breast pump? It’s a small silicon breast pump that collects milk passively. Simply squeeze it lightly and place on to your nipple so that it’s held in place by suction. Feed the baby on your other breast and the Haakaa collects the milk that comes out of your (non-baby-feeding) nipple during your let down. Normally this milk would be wasted in to breast pads so it’s a great way of slowly building up a supply of spare milk with little work required.
Breast Milk Storage Bags
Breastmilk can be stored in the freezer for a number of months after it’s been expressed. You can store breast milk in either plastic milk storage bags or in milk storage pots. Milk storage bags are similar to food freezer bags; a small translucent bag with a double seal on the top. There’s usually space to write when the milk was expressed, by whom and the amount, making it really easy to see what you’ve got in your freezer stash. We recommend these Lansinoh milk storage bags for ease of use and a good sturdy top seal – after all you don’t want any leaks!
It might seem silly but having a handful of bottles in the cupboard for emergencies is always worthwhile even if you’re planning on exclusively breastfeeding. You can use the bottles for expressed milk or when they’re older for cows milk even if you don’t go down a formula route. There are a huge number of bottles out there and it can be about finding a bottle and a teat that suit your baby. We’ve always done well with the Tommee Tippee bottles and a range of teats (we like variflow!) depending on the age of the baby and the speed of flow.
Steriliser & Brush
If you’re pumping and/or using bottles then you’ll need a steriliser in order to keep things sanitary for your newborn baby. There are various ways to sterilise products; you can boil them in boiling water for a set amount of time, you can use a microwave steriliser or you can try cold-water sterilising. For cold water sterilising, you fill a bucket with water, add the sterilising solution and it’s good to go for the next 24hrs – something that means you can add to it as and when you’ve used things and they’re sterilised in 15 minutes. Microwave steam sterilisers are also very effective if your microwave is big enough – we like this one! Finally you can also purchase electric sterilisers if you fancy. Don’t forget that you’ll need a bottle brush to help you clean in tricky places easily!
Extra Long Phone Charger
I mean, when I say essentials, I mean essentials. If there’s one top tip I give to new parents it’s this… always have extra long charging cables. There are going to be hours when you’re stuck in one place feeding and often you’re miles away from the remote control. So the one thing you don’t want to happen is your phone to run out of battery. Secrete these extra long phone chargers around the house in key feeding locations (also great for hospital stays!) and ensure that you’re ready to withstand the longest of feeding frenzies whilst being able to move around as much as you like.
Busy Box For Kids
Whether you invest in a proper busy box or just have a bag of random (but highly entertaining!) toys is entirely up to you. Keep them out of the way of all other toys so that they’re seen as special and retain their entertainment value, perfect for the moment you need to sit down and do a feed. Personally I like to go for things like magic colouring books – minimal mess and plenty of fun to be had!
Whilst not an essential, these certainly saved me when I was going through a rough patch. Small shields that fit over the top of your nipple and areola help you feed your little one whilst protecting your nipple. These can help with getting things going and with helping increase the amount of your nipple that goes inside your little ones mouth. I found them particularly helpful if I got a little sore or delicate skin, these provided some much needed extra protection and respite until I was ready to go shieldless again! Treat them just like bottles in terms of sterilising to ensure that no bugs are picked up in between feeds. We loved the Lansinoh range, available in a couple of different sizes to suit.
A decent bra will see you through even the longest of feeding spells. It’s important that you get measured and well supported whilst breastfeeding, as this will help minimise discomfort and issues such as blocked ducts and mastitis. I’d recommend a good nursing bra or two (personally I prefer a less structured one for the early days) followed by a crop top or sports bra to wear to bed at night. As much as I hate wearing a bra to bed, it’s far easier for preventing leaks at the middle of the night feed!
Breastfeeding Friendly Clothes
With my first child, I was all about the nursing specific tops; those with little pull down flaps or zip sections that made access nice and easy. However I quickly realised that these were often linked to maternity tops and more often than not meant a whole lot of fabric for us to get tangled up in. Some of my favourite feeding outfits quickly became my regular, non-nursing clothes that had enough room or flexibility to get a breast out. Whether you’re confident in whipping a boob out in public or need a little more cover up (like myself), I’ve shared some of my favourite breastfeeding friendly styles and pieces here to give you inspo!
Looking for more? Why not check out our post on the top baby essentials to buy second hand? You could save over £1000!