Preparing for a new baby can feel overwhelming, especially when you consider how much stuff they need. This stands true even if you plan to breastfeed. In fact, the list is actually longer if you plan to breastfeed than it would be otherwise.
But don’t let that scare you off from breastfeeding. To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of all the essential breastfeeding supplies that you will need on your breastfeeding journey.
To make this even easier for you and to keep you organized, I’ve also included a free printable checklist of breastfeeding supplies for your use!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.
The Complete List of Essential Breastfeeding Supplies
To make this list easier and more organized for you, I’ve divided up your essential breastfeeding supplies into categories: supplies for mom, nursing, and pumping.
Even if you plan to exclusively nurse or pump, I encourage you to read through the entire list and consider getting some of everything. You never know when you may need to pump in an emergency, or if the power goes out and you’re not able to pump!
Breastfeeding Supplies For Mom
Whether you plan to nurse or pump, you’ll want to get a few nursing bras to use while you breastfeed. Nursing bras have a clip which allow you to unclasp one cup at a time for easy nursing or pumping. Definitely look for a bra that is comfortable for you and fits well. Do keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be super expensive either–I was able to buy mine at Walmart for a low price.
This is one item you’ll want to buy closer to your due date to ensure it fits properly, and you may find that you need a smaller size in a few months after your milk has regulated.
In all likelihood, you’ll need some nursing pads at some point. Many women leak when their milk first comes in, and if you have an oversupply you’ll likely leak until your milk regulates. Nursing pads are simple a pad made to sit between your nipple and your bra. They keep your bra and shirt dry, and help to prevent chaffing and soreness of the nipple.
With nursing pads you have two options: disposable or reusable. Disposables are convenient to have if you only leak occasionally, and can be thrown away after use. When I used disposables, I used Lansinoh pads, which you can easily get at Amazon or Walmart.
If you find that you leak quite a bit, disposables can quickly become expensive, and may not be able to absorb all of the leaked milk. In this case, you’ll definitely want reusable pads to save money and prevent leakage onto your bra and shirt.
When I switched to reusable nursing pads, I found these awesome bamboo reusable pads and I love them! I found that they stayed in place better than disposables (even though the disposables stuck on your bra), and were much more comfortable.
They come in different sizes to accommodate different sized breasts, and even include a mesh bag to wash them in and an organza bag that makes it easy to organize them once they’ve been washed. Plus, there are 14 pads–which is more than most reusable packs contain.
While you’re getting your breastfeeding supplies, you’ll definitely want to get some sort of nipple cream to use, at least for the first few weeks. When you first start breastfeeding, you’ll likely find that your nipples will be sore until they toughen up–which they eventually will. Until then, your nipples may be tender and sore, and possibly even crack, which can be painful to say the least.
Nipple cream will help to keep them from being so sore, and prevent them from cracking. There are many brands of nipple cream, and not every one works for everyone. Many women have success and find relief with Lansinoh Lanolin nipple cream; others have found that Bamboobies organic nipple cream works best for them.
Don’t be afraid to try several different kinds of cream to find one that works for you. And be patient with yourself. It can be easy to want to quit breastfeeding because your nipple are sore and cracked. But I encourage you to try to wait it out and see if it gets easier with time.
If you plan to nurse regularly or in public, a nursing cami or tank top is a good idea. These can be worn under regular shirts. While it may seem like an extra, unnecessary layer, nursing camis allow you to nurse without exposing your stomach. The added coverage can help you feel more comfortable, especially if you need to nurse in public.
Much like nursing camis, nursing shirts allow you to comfortably nurse without having to remove any clothes. Most nursing shirts are designed in a way that allows you to simply separate a piece of fabric to allow easy access to your breast.
Alternatively, a tunic paired with a nursing camisole can achieve the same effect. Additionally, tunics are typically long enough to be used as a nursing cover as well, if you want to use them that way for maximum coverage. My personal favorite tunic is this one. It is soft and comfortable, has a large variety of color options, and I have found it to be a great shirt to wear when I know I will need to nurse in public.
Breastfeeding Supplies For Nursing
If you plan to nurse, you’ll want to invest in a nursing or boppy pillow. The “U” shaped pillow allows you to comfortable position your baby to nurse. When you choose one, be sure to get a removable cover for it in case spit up gets on it.
After every feeding, you’ll need to burp your baby. At some point or another, many babies spit up while burping. If your baby has acid reflux, you may find that this is the case every time you burp him. Even if your baby does not typically spit up, you’ll still want to buy some burp cloths and have them nearby just in case.
You can get cloths specifically made for this, or you can use these cloth diapers, which are typically more absorbent than standard burp clothes.
If you plan to nurse in public, you may consider getting a nursing cover, particularly if you are concerned about exposing more skin than you are comfortable with. Do keep in mind that you may find that your baby does not like a cover, or that it makes nursing more difficult for you. On the other hand, you may find that it doesn’t bother you or your baby to use one, or that you don’t need one at all.
Breastfeeding Supplies For Pumping
Even if you plan to exclusively nurse, it would be wise to invest in a breast pump in case of emergencies. If you get an electric (I would definitely recommend it!), you may also want to get a manual to use as a backup in case the power goes out, or in case something goes wrong with your electric.
Interested in a free breast pump? Under the Affordable Care Act, most insurances are required to cover a breast pump for breastfeeding moms. To learn more and find out if you qualify, check out Aeroflow Breastpumps to quickly and easily get yours! I was able to get mine within a week! Additionally, they send me replacement pump parts every month for free!
Don’t forget to get extra bottles to feed your pumped milk to your baby! Also keep in mind that mind that nipples and collars are often sold separately from the bottle. I personally use and love my Medela bottles. They come in a variety of sizes, and can be attached to your pump so that you can pump directly into them.
If you plan to freeze your pumped milk, you’ll want to get a pack of breast milk storage bags. It is always a good idea to pump extra milk if possible and freeze for later. This allows you to have a backup supply for emergencies. Be sure to label bags with the date, time, and amount of milk in each bag. Use the oldest bags first to prevent them from going bad.
I’ll be honest. When I first started pumping, I didn’t think I would need sanitation wipes. After all, I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I didn’t foresee any time when I would be pumping outside my own home.
Later on, though, I was glad that someone had given me a pack of Medela Quick Clean wipes. They came in handy when we went on vacation and I needed to pump in the car. Additionally, they can also be used to sanitize anything else that needs it, such as pacifiers, or tabletops at restaurants.
If you plan to pump outside your own home with any kind of regularity, I recommend getting a pump bag to transport your pump and accessories. You can often get these bags when you purchase your breast pump. Or, purchase one separately. You may also consider getting a diaper bag that has a pocket for a pump and bottle cooler.
In order to clean your bottles, you will need a bottle brush. Be sure to get one that has a detachable nipple brush. This will allow you to clean the inside of the nipple well, as well as any other small parts of your pump.
Bottle Drying Rack
Lastly, you’ll need a bottle drying rack to complete your breastfeeding supplies. I am personally a huge fan of this one from Amazon. I first got to try it out at my sister-in-law’s house, and I loved it! It worked so much better than the one I had. The grass-like pieces keep the parts from falling over, and you don’t have to worry about the drying rack falling apart in any way.
Now it’s your turn! What’s your most essential breastfeeding supply item? Share with me in the comments below!