I’ve been successfully breastfeeding Calder (aka: Baby #3) for almost six months now so I thought I would share my 30 Essential Breastfeeding Supplies to Make Nursing Easier, all of which I truly believe helped set me up for success. I’m also including some tips and links to breastfeeding support groups and some neck stretching videos because that “New Mom Neck” is for real and super duper painful!
I exclusively pumped for my twins (Baby #1 and #2) for 4ish months, so being able to successfully breastfeed Calder has been a personal breastfeeding victory for me; however, I truly believe that any way a caregiver feeds his/her/their baby, whether it is breastfeeding, chestfeeding, bottle feeding, formula, or pumping, whatever way it is, that is the best way and that ultimately “fed is best!”
30 Essential Breastfeeding Supplies to Make Nursing Easier
Ok, enough chit chat. You’re either pregnant or have a newborn and don’t have a lot of time, so here are my 30 Essential Breastfeeding Supplies to make nursing an easier and more enjoyable experience with links and descriptions below this collage photo.
1. Hydro Flask Water Bottle // Gotta stay hydrated when making all that milk for your baby! I really like my 40 oz Hydro Flask – it keeps my water cold and I like using the straw lid because you end up drinking more when drinking with a straw.
2. Nipple Cream // This stuff is the best to help with dry, sore, cracked nipples! It’s organic, non-sticky, and you do NOT have to wipe it off before the baby nurses.
3. Reusable Nursing Pads // I recommend having these reusable nursing pads to use if you don’t like leaking through your bras or shirts. Some moms don’t care, but I fought nipple thrush after both births so I’m super careful to keep my breast area dry. I also bought these and they are great, but definitely do NOT buy these Lansinoh ones.
4. Vitamin D Drops // If you have an exclusively breastfed baby, your doctor will likely recommend that the baby gets some Vitamin D. Our hospital prescribed 10 mL of TriVoSol which is A LOT of liquid to give to a tiny, exclusively-breastfed baby using a syringe every single day, so I quickly switched over to just using these daily drops which are SO much easier! Vitamin D is very important to give your exclusively breastfed baby because unless you’re supplementing yourself with 6,400 IU of Vitamin D per day, you’re not passing along enough Vitamin D in your milk to give to your baby which is important for bone strength to prevent Rickets as well as immune system maintenance.
5. Haakaa // A haakaa is a manual hand pump that uses suction to collect milk. I’ve used my haakaa when Cal can’t latch (or won’t latch) because my breast is engorged and I need to relieve the pressure. My tip: Store your haakaa in a clean coffee mug and take the coffee mug with you when you use it because the haakaa is SUPER easy to knock over and spill, but if you put the entire thing inside the coffee mug you’re good!
6. ThirdLove Nursing Bra // I purchased a 24/7 Classic Nursing Bra for when leaving the house – it has underwire, so it’s not as comfortable as the Motherhood Maternity Nursing Bras, but it provides some extra lift and structure for when I want to feel good about my appearance! FYI – I tried the Cake Maternity nursing bras since they’re recommended for the bigger-boobed ladies, but they fit terribly! I didn’t know that Third Love offered nursing bras or else I would have ordered from them to begin with since I wear ThirdLove bras as my normal bras when I’m not pregnant/nursing.
7. Boppy // Yet another breastfeeding pillow. I like to use my Boppy on the bed as a “seat” for my baby when I’m transferring him from his crib and prepping to breastfeed him (using the My Brest Friend Pillow). Full disclosure, I have two of these from when the twins were babies, so I also keep one downstairs to use when I’m feeding Cal downstairs or I take it with me to the park.
8. Larger Breast Pump Shields/Flanges // The free breast pumps sent from your health insurance usually only come with two sizes of breast shields that don’t work for bigger breasted women. So if you have larger breasts, consider getting larger shields. I tried these 30 mm and 36 mm sizes to use with my insurance-issued Medela pump.
9. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies // If you’re worried about your milk coming in or your milk supply and want to try some lactation cookies, I highly recommend these!! They are SO good! I don’t like oatmeal cookies, but I’d say these are more like “rustic” chocolate chip cookies.
10. Hot/Cold Breast Pads // Breastfeeding is painful! I got these hot/cold breast pads to help with the pain and engorgement, but honestly, I wish I had gotten these Hot/Cold Soothing Nursing Pillows or these Earth Mama Booby Tubes.
11. Nipple Shield // I didn’t know what a nipple shield even was until after I met with my lactation consultant when I was trying to breastfeed my twins. I used the one linked above, but this one with an extended nipple like a bottle also looks interesting … although I would definitely meet/consult with a lactation consultant before using it.
12. Breastmilk Jewelry or Breastfeeding Necklace // Ok, so this necklace isn’t going to make breastfeeding any easier, but if you want to celebrate your milestones with some reminder jewelry, then these are a couple of really cute necklaces. I know it’s kinda weird, but I really want this breastmilk bar necklace to celebrate successfully feeding Cal! (I’ve ordered it, I’ll post a review once I receive it.) But if wearing breastmilk made into a resin stone weirds you out, then this little breastfeeding charm necklace is super cute, too! I think I’m actually going to get both necklaces and put them together on one chain.
13. Salt Lamp // I really like using a salt lamp as a nightlight for those middle of the night feeds! Get one with a dimmer switch!
14. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow // This is the breast feeding pillow that I use – see photo below. And yes, it has the worst name ever. I use the twin version. I got it for the twins but didn’t really end up using it since I was not successful getting the twins to latch and instead exclusively pumped and now I use it for feeding Calder. I also have an extra cover for it when a massive diaper blow out happens on top of it … and yes, it has happened. Many times. Even if you don’t have twins, I recommend the twin version. It doesn’t seem too big for one child. But, if you get the smaller, regular version, you can also get a waterproof slipcover and and extra cover.
(Also, this below photo is my daily breastfeeding setup – note the Hydro Flask, the Brest Friend, the Boppy, the Snuggle Me Organic, and lots and lots of burp cloths.)
15. Boon Drying Rack Lawn // I don’t care if you’re nursing, bottle-feeding, or have toddlers, the Boon Drying Rack Lawn is great for sorting all those little breast pump parts, bottle parts, pacifiers, nipple shields, toys, etc.
16. Hot/Cold Soothing Nursing Pillows // See #10 above.
17. Earth Mama Booby Tubes // See #10 above.
18. Disposable Nursing Pads // Same as above, but if you get nipple thrush (painful nipple yeast infection) like I did, you’ll want to use disposable pads until you get rid of the thrush and for several days after to prevent reinfecting yourself. They aren’t as nice to the environment, and they aren’t as soft, so I recommend the reusable ones from above, but the disposable versions have their usefulness.
19. Cooling Gel Nipple Soothies // These little stick on gel nipple soothies are great for soothing cracked, sore, nipples. I keep mine in the fridge and pop them on when Cal has used my boob as a pacifier and the nipple feels sore.
20. Snuggle Me Organic Baby Lounger // The Snuggle Me Organic Baby Lounger is great if you breastfeed on a bed and need to place the baby somewhere safe on the bed where they can’t roll off while you set up.
21. Comotomo Bottles or Lansinoh Bottles // I haven’t been successful at getting Cal to use a bottle, and to be honest, it’s not like I’m really going anywhere in the next year or so (thanks pandemic!), so I might not even try to get him to take a bottle, but supposedly these two bottles are the best for introducing a bottle to breastfed babies.
22. Breastmilk Freezer Bags // If you’re pumping or using your haakaa and want to save any extra milk, you’re going to need some freezer bags!
23. Microwave Sanitizing Bags // If you’re pumping at all, I highly recommend these microwave sanitizing bags. They were a lifesaver when I was pumping for the twins – especially when I was fighting nipple thrush and had to sanitize my pumps parts after every use!
24. Adjustable Height Breastfeeding Pillow // I have NOT used this, but I want to try it! It looks like it would solve so many positioning issues when breastfeeding – particularly in those early months when baby needs more head/neck support.
25. Nursing or Teething Necklace // I made my own Nursing Necklace and I will post the DIY tutorial here on the blog soon, but if you aren’t crafty and just want to purchase one, here are some links to a few I would wear: Nursing Necklace or Nursing Necklace.
26. Copper/Pearl Nursing Cover // I am NOT saying that you have to cover up to breastfeed your baby. I don’t. But if you want to, I recommend this nursing cover. It also doubles as a carseat cover which is AWESOME to use during a pandemic or even a bad flu season when you need to take your baby to the hospital or out into the world and want to protect him a bit more. I originally got mine to use as carseat covers for the twins to protect them a bit more from strangers germs when out and about because twins draw some extra attention. I’ve also used it as a burb cloth and as a baby blanket. Here’s similar at half the cost.
27. Cloth Diapers as Burp Cloths // I use these cloth diapers as burp cloths. They’re super soft, super absorbent, and much easier on the wallet than some burp cloths. I’m reusing the ones I bought for when the twins were babies and they weren’t looking pretty, so I shibori dyed them at my baby shower (along with some baby onesies and swaddles and maternity tees) to cover up the stains and grey color and now they look great!
28. Microwavable Neck Wrap Heating Pad // I have a similar microwavable neck wrap heating pad with the same filler and lavender scent. It’s been a lifesaver for that “New Mom Neck” pain. In fact, I’m gonna go pop mine in the microwave for a couple minutes right now!
29. Breastmilk Bag Freezer Storage Container // For $10, this container helps keep the milk that I freeze in a safe place! (Even if I don’t use the milk because Cal refuses to take a bottle! I’m hoping I can put it in a straw cup soon … )
30. Motherhood Maternity Nursing Bras // I recommend these wire-free nursing bras for daily use/home use. I started wearing these when I was pregnant and then I had to size up and get the Plus Size 1X and 2X Nursing Bras (size UP because these run small) after my milk came in. For reference, I wear a bra size 36G when nursing (a 34G when not pregnant/nursing) and I think I’m right in-between the 1X and 2X sizes. I’m going to pop the 2X in the dryer and see if I can shrink it a bit and make it perfect!
Other tips and advice:
Breast Pump // You absolutely do NOT have to have a breast pump to successfully breastfeed! I’ve only used mine twice for Baby #3! But if it’s free with your insurance, I’d go ahead and get it since you don’t know if you’ll need it or not! Plus, even if you’re successfully breastfeeding, you may need to use your breast pump to unclog a duct or pump to produce milk for another caregiver to use to bottle feed!
Lactation Consultant // I did not have a positive experience with the hospital’s lactation consultant when my twins were born and then my hospital stay after Calder’s birth was only overnight thanks to the pandemic, so I barely saw a hospital lactation consultant with him either. But I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford a private lactation consultant and I booked her for a home visit the day after we got home from the hospital to help me with latching, positioning, tips, etc. and it’s because of her that I’m breastfeeding Cal today! So, if you don’t have a good experience at the hospital and you can afford some extra help, I highly recommend reaching out to a lactation consultant. And, if you can’t hire a lactation consultant, I highly recommend some of the below groups.
Breastfeeding Classes or Support Group // I’ve also gotten a lot of information and help from various breastfeeding classes and support groups and I’ll list them below:
- I watched these Breastfeeding videos from Stanford Medicine before giving birth to Cal. They’re old and a bit out-dated, but the information is still fairly current and is what I learned from my lactation consultant.
- The Family Room, the center which runs my “Mommy & Me” classes, hosts a free virtual weekly Breastfeeding Support Group!
- I’m a member of the Milky Mamas Breastfeeding Support Group on Facebook where with 124k members, someone is always asking a question, offering advice, giving a pep talk, celebrating a milestone, etc. It’s a great group!
- I haven’t attended anything, but I know La Leche League also hosts local free virtual breastfeeding support groups.
Neck Stretching Videos for that “New Mom Neck” //
- 10 Stretches to Ease Back, Shoulder, and Neck Pain from Breastfeeding // I think the title says it all.
- Or if following along with a video helps you (which I prefer!), this Postnatal Yoga for Nursing Mothers – Back, Neck & Shoulder Stretches video is great!
Obviously, I’m listing what has worked for me personally or what I would try, but I haven’t tried everything and I still have months and months of breastfeeding still to go, so if you have any advice for what is working or what worked for you, please, please let me know in a comment or an email!
Photos of me and Cal by the talented Ilene Squires Photography. If you live in Los Angeles or New York, I highly recommend Ilene for all of your family lifestyle photos.