Breastfeeding and Pumping Essentials – Checklist for New Moms

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Before your baby arrives, there is so much to think about buying. You’ve probably sorted your nursery, stroller and diapering items, but how about what the breastfeeding and pumping essentials for feeding baby? Knowing what to buy before baby arrives will save so much stress. Consider yourself need something desperately in the wee hours of the night and already having it to hand. You can thank us later.

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breastfeeding and pumping essentials

 You may not need expressing equipment right now; however, you’ll probably look into it more when you return to working after maternity leave. So pin this guide for later reference. We’ve split the list into a few sections. If you are in a hurry use the links below to skip straight to section you need:

Let’s check out our full list of recommendations.

Breastfeeding Essentials

These are breastfeeding products, which can benefits you and baby. How many are essential? Well none. That’s one of the great benefits of breastfeeding, it can be completely free to feed baby. Some of these items may become essential if you have feeding problems. The rest are just really handy items, which will make nursing a whole lot easier for you.

Breast Care

Nipple Cream

The first few days of breastfeeding is tough on your nipples. Your baby will feed at least 8 times a day, suckling for around 5-30 minutes each time. If you have sensitive nipples, you need to get a good nipple cream. You can also use the cream to soothe sore areas caused by poor attachment. You can check out our guide to choosing the best nipple cream here.

Thermal Pads

Until your milk regulates itself, you’re probably going to suffer from breast engorgement. This is when your breasts are so full of milk, they become hard and painful. Using thermal therapy pads, which heat up will provide you with relief by helping your milk let down. Most brands can also be cooled to provide cold relief for swollen and tender breasts.  For more info check out our thermal therapy pads buying guide.

Nipple Shields

When you’re having difficulty getting baby to attach, or you have sore nipples try a nipple shield. They look like little clear sombreros, which go over your nipple. The aim is to either create a barrier or shape the nipple for baby to get good attachment. These are great if you have inverted or flat nipples. A word of warning, they limit your milk supply, and should only be a short-term solution.

Breast Shells

This is a breastfeeding product most moms don’t know existed. Breast shells actually have a number of uses, including collecting leaking milk, preventing chafing of sore nipples and ‘pulling out’ flat or inverted nipples. They are made from a hardened plastic with a hole on the inner edge for your nipple and a curved outer edge. The cupped area helps to keep your clothing off your nipples. For more information check out our breast shell buying guide.

Style

Nursing Bra

You won’t realize how much you need a nursing bra until you try to breastfeed in a regular bra. The beauty of these bras are the ease of access to your breasts when baby is hungry. A nursing bra gives your breast proper support without causing damage. Sleep nursing bras also keep breast pads in place, preventing you from leaking during the night. If you don’t know where to start, try our guide on how to buy a nursing bra.

Nursing Tops

Again for ease of access when feeding you’ll want a few nursing tops. Soon after birth your maternity clothes often too big and you don’t want to stretch out or ruin your regular clothes with milk leaks. You don’t need to replace your whole wardrobe. However, a few basic tops will make feeding so much easier.  There are lots of smart casual styles available, which don’t look overly ‘mumsy’.

Nursing Cover

If you don’t want to splurge a lot on breastfeeding clothes, you may want to opt for a nursing cover. These help you make breastfeeding in public discreet by offering your breast privacy. Most passers-by wouldn’t even know you were feeding baby. You can get a variety of styles, including aprons, capes, shawls and cardigans. Our favorite style is the infinity scarf as it looks just like a regular piece of clothing when you’re not feeding baby.

Nursing Necklace

For older babies, a nursing or breastfeeding necklace, is a great addition to your wardrobe. They look like stylish chunky jewellery, but they are ideal for keeping your baby becoming distracted during a feed. They can also be used as a teether when baby begins to get teeth. This can help you prevent baby biting you during a feed.

Leaking Milk

Nursing Pads

Leaking breast milk is one of the side effects of breastfeeding. It will happen at the most inappropriate times and leave to with tell-tale wet patches on your top if you’re not prepared. Breast pads are small pieces of absorbent material, which sits in your bra and soaks up the milk. You can opt for disposable or re-usable pads. Check out our nursing pad reviews and buying guide.

Milk Catchers

If you don’t want to waste any of your leaking milk to a breast pad, why not save it? A milk catcher is a small collection bag which fit into your bra and catchers any drops. They are great for saving milk and building up a supply which can be frozen for later. Ideal if you don’t want to express milk, but may occasionally need to be away from baby for a feed or two.

Bed Pad

To prevent leaking most moms wear a sleep bra with nursing pads to bed. However, if you find a sleep bra uncomfortable, or want to air your nipples during the night you’ll need to protect your mattress. The best way to do this is with a bed pad to soak up any stains or smells. They are comfortable to sleep on and easier to wash than your bed linens and a mattress.

Milk Supply

Lactation Tea

If you are struggling with your milk supply why not try an age-old remedy? Lactation teas are crammed full of herbs well known for boosting your milk supply. These teas certainly have an acquired taste, but they do work. If anything they are a caffeine-free way to keep hydrated. A lot of the herbs used are also great for postpartum healing. Read our lactation tea guide to learn more about the benefits.

Water Bottle

Keeping well hydrated is essential for maintaining a good milk supply. Get a large, durable water bottle and get into the habit of drinking regularly. You’ll find you are often thirsty whilst breastfeeding, so keep it nearby. Drinking more water won’t make you engorged. The main message is not to ignore your thirst but don’t force excessive fluids either as it won’t have any benefit.

Baby Sling

Wearing your baby in a sling offers so many benefits for you and baby when breastfeeding. Having your baby close to your skin will help improve your milk supply. Baby will have easy access to your breast, and feeding won’t feel so time consuming as both your hands are free. You are also more likely to be responsive to baby’s hunger cues. Want to know which baby carrier is best for breastfeeding, then check out our  guide here.

Co-Sleeping Crib

Newborn babies feed a lot, even during the night. The sheer lack of sleep means most breastfeeding moms will bed share with baby at some point. Most adult beds are unsuitable for bed and can present fatal risks to baby. Put a stop to unplanned bed sharing by opting for a co-sleeping crib. Your baby can feed regularly through the night and when they are down you can pop them back to their own safe sleep space. They are quite expensive but worth every penny for quality sleep and great milk supply when breastfeeding.

Feeding Station

Nursing Pillow

Getting comfortable when feeding baby can be tricky at first. You may need to experiment with different feeding positions. These may be comfortable for baby but after a 30-minute feed, you can be left with sore arms and back. A nursing pillow gives you added height and support to keep baby in these positions without the aches.  For more benefits and our top picks’ check out our nursing pillow guide.

Burp cloths

Are you prepared for baby spit-up and vomit? Burp cloths are ideal for keeping on hand to deal with this. This often happens when you are winding a baby over your shoulder or upright. Pop a burp cloth over your clothes to save them from getting dirty. They are also handy for sticking in your nursing bra as a way to catch leaking milk from your ‘free’ breast when you don’t have a breast pad to hand.

Breastfeeding Chair

Having a place to feed your baby will give you peace, privacy and comfort. A breastfeeding chair is designed to offer you back and arm support to position baby for a good attachment. They are quite an investment, but a great touch to add to empty space in baby’s nursery. Your baby will associate the chair with an area of safety and comfort as they grow. This guide by Stork Mama has great info about choosing the best nursing glider for your needs.

Nursing Stool

If you don’t have the room or budget for a quality nursing chair, then opt for a nursing stool. They can be used with any regular chair.  A nursing stool is designed to rise your legs to support baby positioning during a feed. They are often angle adjustable to suit your needs. These stools are particular great for reminding you not to slouch as your feed, which helps prevent backache.


Pumping Essentials

These are the products we recommend you buy for expressing breast milk. Unlike the breastfeeding products, you’ll need most of these items. They will help you collect and store the milk safely. When expressing you need to consider the safety and hygiene aspects of using stored milk for baby.

Breast Pump

You have three options when expressing breast milk: by hand, manual pump or electric breast pump. The one you use will depend on how often and how quickly you need to pump. Manual pumps are great for using infrequently or when you need to be discreet. Electric pumps are noisy but get good volumes of milk quickly. Check out our big breast pump buying guide to find out how to pick one that suit your family.

Feeding Bottles

Once you collect the milk you’ll need to feed it to baby. You can use any baby bottle, but you should really consider one that’s good for a breastfed baby. Why does it matter? There is an issue known as nipple confusion. It’s caused by the different suckling motions baby’s use when bottle feeding and breast feeding. Click to read our top 10 best bottles for breastfeeding babies.

Milk Storage Bags

Once you’ve expressed your milk you’ll need to store it until you feed baby. If you’ll feed baby in a few hours, we recommend keeping it in the collection bottle. If you want to build a large breast milk supply the best way to store milk is by freezing it. Milk storage bags are a space saving way to do this long term. Click here to check out our top storage bag picks.

Sterilizer

Keeping your baby bottles clean and sterile is very important, especially for new-born babies. Bacteria loves to grow in left-over milk. Combine this with a baby’s low immune system and it can lead to an ill baby. You can choose from old fashioned pan boiling, microwave sterilizing, electric sterilizers or cold water sterilizing tablets. We’ve got a handy articles on how to clean and sterilize a breast pump here.

Bottle Drying Rack

Air drying baby bottles is the best way to prevent the spread of bacteria. Once you’ve washed your baby bottles and pump equipment, laying them out separately to dry will help keep them away from other dishes. Bottle drying racks are often small and can be easily cleaned by hand or dishwasher to keep them free from stagnant water.

Bottle Brush

Bottles are designed with lots of curves and edges to make them easier to hold. However, this makes it easy for old milk to gather and grow bacteria. Using a bottle brush really helps you to get into all these small areas. These brushes are also soft enough to scrub off any milk not removed from soaking, without damaging the bottles. Check out our step by step guide on how to properly clean a baby bottle.

Breast Pump Bag

If you need to carry your pump around but still look smart, then get yourself a breast pump bag. These bags have been specially designed to look like a regular stylish handbag, but with pockets and fittings suitable to hold a breast pump. These are ideal for working moms. Sarah Wells has a great range of designs. However, we are also loving the ‘New Yorker’ by 2017 newcomer Charlie G.

Pumping Bra

Using a breast pump can be quite time consuming, even if it’s electric. It’s difficult to do much as you pump, as at least one of your hands is holding the collection bottle. A breast pump bra is perfect for holding the pump bottle in place and freeing up both hands. We highly recommend one is you have young toddlers and a new born, or if you need to look after a busy household. Check out our pumping bra buying guide with our top 6 picks.