New Mom Breastfeeding Essentials
As a first time mom, I assumed breastfeeding would come pretty naturally, but I quickly found that it was not going to be as easy as I expected. It took a lot of time and trial and error before my firstborn and I really felt like we knew what we were doing.
Along the way, I found a few products that really helped with the learning curve and made breastfeeding so much easier to handle.
So since I had very little idea what I needed going in, I wanted to share this list of first time mom breastfeeding essentials to have on hand before your baby arrives. Let’s dive in!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using one of my links.
Related Reading: The Breastfeeding Tips All New Moms Should Know
Must-Have Accessories for Breastfeeding
1. Nursing Pillow // Real talk: it is absolutely possible to breastfeed without a breastfeeding pillow, but they definitely make it a lot easier. Having a specially designed pillow to support your baby and free up your hands can make a big difference in helping you get your baby to latch.
I’ve breastfed without one, with a couch cushion, a regular pillow, a breastfeeding pillow, on an airplane armchair – basically everywear – and the breastfeeding pillow will always be my pick, because it made life so so much easier.
2. Nipple Cream // Nipple cream is crucial for those first few days and weeks, as your body gets used to breastfeeding and your baby also learns how to latch. Lansinoh is my favorite brand and worked wonders for me.
3. Nursing Bras // Nursing bras are a nursing essential for new moms and pretty unavoidable.
I recommend having a least one racerback or convertible nursing bra so you have a few more options in your wardrobe. My favorites are these by Bravado (I bought three to keep in rotation), and this racerback by Cake Maternity.
4. Nursing Pads // A must have, especially during the first few weeks of breastfeeding. These by Lansinoh were my go-to. Your milk will leak as it adjusts to your baby’s feeding schedule, and you will definitely want to have that little bit of extra padding to keep your shirt from becoming soaked.
5. Nipple Shields // These 100% saved my breastfeeding journey with my son. We had latching issues, and nipple shields were the #1 thing that helped combat those issues. You can read more about why I’m a big proponent of at least giving nipple shields a try, here.
6. Burpcloths // These are a must have, especially during the newborn days. Keep two next to your go-to nursing spots, and one in your diaper bag.
7. Nursing Tanks // There are definitely ways to work around not having a nursing tank, but they make life much simpler.
I would recommend grabbing a pack of basic nursing tanks (I like these because they aren’t tight over the stomach) for the first few weeks postpartum when it feels like your baby is nursing around the clock. After that, you can always decide if you want to invest in more!
8. A Good Pump // I wasn’t sure if a breastfeeding pump was really that necessary, because I knew I was going to be a stay at home mom and would be able to nurse mostly on demand.
Here’s the thing – a pump is definitely a good idea if you ever think you’ll leave your child with grandparents or a babysitter. You will want to build up a stash of milk for those days when you want to go on a girl’s night, or a date night with your partner, so having a good pump is key.
Check with your insurance to see if they will cover the costs of a pump — many do! I was able to get the Spectra S1 from Target at a pretty steep discount with my insurance, and would definitely recommend it.
9. Nursing Cover // I liked having a little bit of privacy while breastfeeding in public or when guests came over, so a nursing cover was a must-have for me.
Try one that doubles as a carseat cover (great for naps on the go)! I had this style from Milkmaid Goods, and it has amazingly soft fabric and great quality. I also really liked this one by Boppy because of its structured top that easily allows you to see baby while they’re feeding.
10. Nightlight // This is an easy one to forget about, but having a nightlight in your baby’s room or wherever you plan to do middle of the night feeding sessions is definitely a breastfeeding accessory you want to have. The last thing you want to do is turn on a huge light and make your baby a little too alert at 2am.
These nightlights are cheap and work really well.
Alternatively, I always recommend and rave about the Hatch to friends. It’s a nightlight, sound machine, and so much more. We have one for both of our kids, and will use them for years to come.
11. Nursing Friendly Sleepwear // I realized very quickly that making nighttime feedings as easy as possible was high on my list.
A nursing nightgown really helped with that, and I bought 5 of these, which was enough to last until the next load of laundry! Super comfortable (consider sizing up one for extra comfort during those first few postpartum weeks), affordable – because Gap always has coupons! – and great quality. I wore these for almost 2 years straight.
12. A Motivational Water Bottle // Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to keep up your milk supply, so having a good water bottle that will help you drink as much water as possible is a must-have accessory for breastfeeding.
13. Support // Ok, last but not least on the breastfeeding essentials list – but a biggie – is support! Make sure you have someone to provide you encouragement, support, commiseration, or just a shoulder to lean on.
Breastfeeding can be crazy difficult, and having someone to help you tackle any issues, sympathize with your experience, or just encourage you to keep trying – or to stop if it’s just not the right fit for you and your baby – is key.
Find that person (or people!), and lean on them.
Other (More Optional)Things to Make Breastfeeding Easier
1. A Breastfeeding Course // Milkology offers some really valuable, yet very affordable courses covering the basics of breastfeeding, and nitty gritty details, like how to improve your supply, and how to prep for going back to work.
If I could do it all over again, I would have run to a basics breastfeeding course before my first baby arrived. (Find out why in this post that talks all about my breastfeeding journey and everything I wish I had known beforehand.)
Sale note! Milkology is having a Black Friday week sale for 30% off all courses. Sale runs 11/23-11/30 — enter code: GRATEFUL
2. Rocking Chair // I really liked having a comfortable rocking chair in my baby’s room for those late night feedings. The first few weeks I fed them in bed, but after they started sleeping in their own room, it was obviously much easier to just plop down in a chair.
Our second rocking chair is pictured earlier in this post, and I LOVE it. It is insanely comfortable and there are tons of fabrics to choose from, but it is definitely on the more expensive side. We felt ok purchasing it since we knew we would continue to use it somewhere in our house well-past the breastfeeding stage, and I have zero regrets.
The first chair we purchased was super affordable and has great color options. This one’s a very good option if you’re on a stricter budget.
Other Breastfeeding and Baby Prep Related Articles:
- Breastfeeding Tips: What to Know and How to Get Help
- The Best Nursing Friendly Tops & Dresses
- Last Minute Things You Should Do Before Baby Arrives
- What You Actually Need in Your Postpartum Care Kit
- How to Write a Birth Plan as a First-Time Mom
- Diaper Bag Essentials: What to Pack in Your Diaper Bag for a Newborn