The Ultimate List of Breastfeeding Essentials

Breastfeeding essentials are all the things that you need on your breastfeeding journey. That can include everything from a nursing pillow, to nipple cream, to nursing pads, nursing bras, and more! If you’re expecting a baby and not sure what you need for breastfeeding, this blog post is for you! We’ll go over some of the most popular breastfeeding essentials that are sure to make nursing easier and even a breastfeeding essentials checklist for you. You’ll learn about everything from breast pumps to nipple butter in this comprehensive guide!

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Nursing bra

Having a few nursing bras will be your best friend while you’re breastfeeding. Nursing bras give easy access to breastfeed or pump.

Kindred Bravely makes my favorite hands-free pumping bra. You can use it to pump as well as breastfeeding, so it really does it all.

Breastfeeding or pumping can be difficult in a traditional bra since there is no access unless you take the bra off.

Breastfeeding bras are specifically designed to breastfeed in and usually have a clip so that you can open it with one hand while you are holding your baby or attaching the pump.

Nursing tanks

Many moms like myself, live in a nursing tank in those early days when your new baby arrives. Nursing tanks are comfortable and allow for easy access for nursing moms.

The ones I use are affordable and come in a set. I like that they have a stretchy fabric so it can work no matter where you are in your postpartum journey. I recommend getting them in black since it can be a little messy with spit-up or leaky breasts in the begging.

Nursing pads

Nursing pads are essential in those first few weeks of breastfeeding. You can buy disposable nursing pads that attach to your nursing bra or you can get reusable breast pads to be a bit more eco-friendly.

I like the disposable nursing pads because they are easy to use and I can just throw them away when I’m done. But I have used both and love using eco-friendly options when I can. I also have a friend who used reusable ones and she liked them, but they can be bulkier and slide around a bit.

Breast pump

If you plan on pumping, make sure to get one that is comfortable and efficient. I like the Medela Freestyle Flex. Having a good quality pump is essential to keeping your milk supply when you are pumping.

It’s important to choose one that is electric and is a double pump for max efficiency. I like having one that I can charge so I can pump on the go. The Medela Freestyle Flex is great because of its portability as well as strong suction.


The Haakaa is my absolute favorite breastfeeding item. At the beginning of breastfeeding, your breasts will leak a lot while you nurse your baby on the other side. Instead of letting all of that liquid gold go to waste, use the Haakaa to catch all of the milk and store it for a date night.

The haakaa is also great for unclogging milk ducts. You can add warm water with epsom salt and letting it soak with the suction can really help get out any clogs that your might be dealing with.

Breast milk storage bags

Breast milk storage bags are essential for storing your breast milk for later use. I like to use the Lansinoh breast milk storage bags. They are leak-proof and have a double zipper seal for extra protection.

You can store your milk in the fridge, freezer, or even thaw it out later on the countertop. I love that they come in a pack of 100 so you can stock up for those future date nights.

Haakaa also makes a great reusable kind that is made from food-grade silicone.

Nipple cream

These are great for sore nipples. Try to stay away from lanolin cream and use more natural nipple cream. Lanolin cream is made from sheep’s wool and is known to be treated with pesticides and can even reach toxic levels if too much is ingested.

It’s best to use more of an organic nipple butter. I like the Earth Mama Organic nipple butter since it is odor-free and very moisturizing. It’s thick and creamy so it’s great for healing sore and cracked nipples. Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter is great because it is organic, vegan, and contains no harmful chemicals.

While your nipples might not be cracked and bleeding in the beginning, it is still a good idea to use nipple cream. Nipple cream will help keep your nipples healthy and will prevent them from getting dry or cracked.

Lactation cookies or bars

These are great snacks when you need an energy boost as well as help boost your milk supply. I like to make my own lactation bars using the recipes that I found online.

But you can also buy them premade and packaged on Amazon. I love the Munchkin Milkmakers Lactation cookie bites if you want something premade. If you have more time to bake the cookies but want the mix already done for you the Mommy Knows Best Lactation Cookie Mix is a great one.

If you more into making things from scratch you can also check out my lactation oatmeal cookie recipe or my lactation smoothie recipe.

Pick whichever works for you and how much time you have at the moment.

Breastfeeding pillow

A nursing pillow will help with positioning while nursing, as well as offer some relief from back pain. A breastfeeding pillow can make nursing a lot easier. Sometimes you need support for your arms and back to be able to nurse effectively, especially if you have a large baby or one that is constantly moving around while feeding.

A good breastfeeding pillow will allow you always maintain the correct position when nursing so that it’s comfortable for both you and your baby.

One of my favorite breastfeeding pillows is the My Brest Friend pillow. It’s really big and supportive, which I found especially helpful with my large babies or if you are taking care of multiple kids. Plus, it has a built-in pocket to store things like nursing pads or your phone while you’re nursing.

A nursing pillow makes breastfeeding so much easier! You’ll need a My Brest Friend pillow or any other type of nursing pillow to help with those early feedings and this is especially true if you plan on tandem feeding (breastfeeding two kids at once). You can also use it as a tummy time prop for your baby.

I loved my nursing pillow and found that it was a lifesaver in the early days of breastfeeding.

Nursing cover

Whether it’s a blanket or scarf, some moms find that modesty in public places like restaurants and stores is important. You can use a receiving blanket or make it easy and get a nursing cover. I love the ones that double as a car seat cover for extra versatility.

Nursing covers help you feel more comfortable when breastfeeding in public. You can use any blanket or scarf to help cover yourself up, but you’ll need something that is easily accessible and breathable for your baby.

I love the aden + anais nursing cover because it’s lightweight so I don’t get hot under there while feeding my little one. It’s also large enough for me to feed her without worrying about my dress getting pulled up or anything like that.

I recommend having a few nursing covers on hand so you can keep one in your diaper bag, car, and home. That way no matter where you are at the moment it’s easy to discreetly nurse your baby if needed!

Nursing nightgown

Nightgowns that have easy access to the chest area make it easier for breastfeeding moms to nurse at night without needing to change clothes completely.

I love the Kindred Bravely nightgowns. They are extremely comfortable and easy to breastfeed in.

Lactation Consultant

A lactation specialist can give advice on how to improve milk production and address any challenges that may arise with feeding your baby.

Final thoughts

If you’re expecting a baby and not sure what you need for breastfeeding, these items are essential for achieving breastfeeding success! These are some of the most popular items that are sure to make nursing easier on your breastfeeding journey. Always meet with a lactation specialist that can give professional medical advice on how to improve milk production and address any challenges that may arise with feeding your baby.

Be sure to read Best Breastfeeding Chairs for your Nursery and 6 Steps to Get a Correct Latch.

About the author

Lacy Reason is a highly experienced and compassionate lactation counselor, who has dedicated her career to educating and supporting new mothers on their breastfeeding journey.

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