When it comes to breastfeeding, all you really need is a boob and baby. But there are some breastfeeding essentials you should look into getting. If you are still pregnant, you might want to consider getting these before your due date, but it’s also fine to wait until after your baby is born. It’s still always good to know what breastfeeding products are out there so when your start your journey, you can decide if they are something you think will make breastfeeding your baby easier for you!
The thing with breastfeeding is that you don’t know if you will have a successful breastfeeding journey or not. There are many things that could go wrong, such as not having enough milk supply, nipples getting sore and painful, getting mastitis, the baby having a tongue tie, the baby being unable to latch on or you could simply just not enjoy it.
So it could be a wise idea to wait until your baby is born to invest in breastfeeding accessories. These items are what have helped me, but every mum and every baby are different!
My Breastfeeding Essentials
Haakaa Breast Pump
I love the Haakaa breast pump, it’s so cheap and easy to use. You just put it on your boob and it gives a bit of suction and the milk comes out. You can also use it while feeding on the opposite boob.
I don’t express, but I wanted to get a freezer stash of my breast milk in case something happened which meant I wasn’t able to feed Leo. You never know if you’re going to get sick or in an accident or something! So I used these to get some of my milk for the freezer. Just in case.
I also used it to express some of my milk to make ice lollies for teething, more about this below.
What attracted me to this pump was that it’s just simple, cheap and easy to use. Breast pumps can be so expensive and I didn’t want to buy one if I wasn’t going to use it anyway!
Haakaa Breast Pump Lid
You can buy lids or stoppers for your Haakaa which is great to keep your milk safe before you put it in a bottle, the fridge or freezer!
They always say ‘don’t cry over split milk. This phrase DOES NOT apply to breast milk! Get a stopper for it!
I spoke a bit about collecting colostrum in my post about breastfeeding. This is something you do in your last few weeks of pregnancy. Colostrum is the first liquid your breasts produce that feed your baby. It’s a thick, fatty liquid that is full of goodness for your babies first few days while their stomachs are still tiny!
Expressing colostrum and the amount you can get is no indication of milk supply when your baby is born. So don’t worry if you can’t get much. It’s just handy to have and freeze in case something happens, such as your baby being taken to NICU or being unable to latch, then your baby can be given the colostrum you’ve already harvested. Plus you already know how to do collect colostrum if you do need to get more into a syringe. It saves the stress and pressure of having to work it out in the hospital
It’s good for 6 months in the freezer so can also be given to your baby when he has a cold or is sick as it’s full of immune-boosting goodness. I’ve given Leo mine after his injections.
You collect colostrum in syringes. You can usually get packs from your midwife for free, but if not then get some here.
Haakaa breast shells
These can be used inside your bra to collect leaking. Especially good for those first few weeks where your boobs are always on the go! It prevents milk from being wasted, you can just collect it and then freeze it.
It’s not a replacement for a breast pump, but can help catch a bit extra while you are getting on with your daily tasks so can save a bit of time if you are expressing as you won’t need to express as much!
They do have mixed reviews though, it seems with most pumps and expressing accessories people get different results. Have a read of the reviews on Amazon and see if you think it’s for you.
When your milk comes in, do not underestimate how much your boobs will leak! I was not ready for this. The first few weeks are intense and you will likely need enough nursing pads to change them a few times each day. It’s insane how your other boob seems like a tap while feeding your baby on the opposite side (again, get a Haakaa or breast shell to collect this!)! Reusable ones are the best bet here!
I have seen the Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream recommended so many times. It is THE nipple cream to get. It lasts such a long time, too! I’m still on my first tube.
It has no taste, smell or colour so you don’t need to remove this nipple balm before breastfeeding your baby. It helps to soothe and protect your nipples. I used to use it before going to bed just to give me a bit more time with it on in the first few weeks (he seemed to cluster feed A LOT during the day). I now only use it when I feel a bit sore which isn’t that often these days!
I would recommend this is a product you invest in before your baby is born and stick it in your hospital bag. I didn’t need to use it at the hospital but I know women who have needed it sooner!
This is a new purchase for me! Now we are coming of lockdown, we will be out and about a bit more. This breastfeeding cover has a strap that goes around your neck and covers you and your baby while feeding.
While I have no issue with people breastfeeding in public and I have done it a few times, I much prefer to be covered as Leo is at the stage where he wriggles and moves around SO much and could easily come away from my breast leaving my nipple exposed. This is something I do not want people to see! Especially if we are around people that we know – I wouldn’t care so much if it was strangers haha!
This is the nursing cover I have. It comes in a little bag too!
This is another product I would recommend investing in BEFORE the birth of your baby is a nursing pillow. It’s one of the top items on my breastfeeding essentials list!
It’s good to use on the sofa while pregnant anyway – but my nursing pillow is something I use every time I feed Leo during the day. It’s shaped in a way that he is supported while feeding and then can nap on me.
I also use it to support my back when I’m not feeding and recently we have used it on the floor to support Leo while we practice sitting up with him.
This is another product I would advise you to invest in before your baby is born. I bought two nursing bras before Leo was born. It was fine the first few days, but when my milk came in I needed more as they were always covered in milk or baby sick.
It turns out the style I bought, I actually hated.
Most nursing bras have plastic clips on them. I found this so frustrating as you need two hands to fasten them back up. Well, or the first few weeks you never have two hands, I could unclip the bra fine with one hand, but could never clip it back up so just ended up with both sides unclipped, feeling unsupported and leaking everywhere.
I came across these nursing bras on Amazon. They are just cotton cross over bras. You pull your boob out and put them back after feeding. It’s just so easy. I’ve got 5 of them now and always make sure I’ve got clean ones ready!
They do come with padding inserts but I just take them out because I HATE padding inserts.
Snacks really got me through the first few nights of cluster feeding. Cereal bars, toast, fruit, tea and strawberry laces were my go-to!
Make sure you have them around you AT ALL TIMES during the first few days. You will be sore, tired and need the extra energy. So food has to be within reach. Don’t worry though, it’s not like this for long and now I don’t need to have snacks around me like I used to! Don’t forget to have a water bottle near you too!
Milk storage bags
If you are expressing but not using the milk straight away, milk storage bags are a great idea!
I would use my Haakaa to pump milk, then store it in the fridge inside the bag which was placed in a bottle so it didn’t get knocked over. Once the back was full, I froze it.
Please note that when mixing milk together, it needs to be the same temperature. So you can’t add fresh milk directly to already cooled or frozen milk I would put the Haakaa pump in the fridge and pour the milk into the storage back when it had cooled.
I love these milk storage bags as you can easily write the date on them in pen!
Ice lolly Moulds
These are for when your baby is a few months old and teething. You can make ice-lollies out of breastmilk to help soothe their gums. I would say you need about 30ml of milk per mould.
What I like about these is that you can unclip them. When I first got it, I only pumped enough milk for two lollies so only put two in the freezer.
You can also use these to make other fruit lollies for your baby too!
Long charging cable
I love this two-pack of charging cables. One for the living room, one for the bedroom. This means I can always have my phone changing when I’m sat feeding. It’s not much of an issue now but the first few weeks are INTENSE and you spend a lot of time with a feeding or sleeping baby on you! This is needed in any breastfeeding essentials kit!
This is another thing that’s good for when the baby is a bit older. They start to grab, slap and scratch you while feeding. Wearing this breastfeeding necklace is a great way to distract them from hurting you.
You can get lots of different colours, so have a look for one that you like! I love this one!
Breastfeeding Gel Pads
These breastfeeding gel pads help provide relief from engorgement, plugged ducts and mastitis and encourage milk let down. You can use them both hot and cold to encourage let down when pumping and also soothe sore boobs.
The NHS has a great section on breastfeeding if you want more info!
What are your breastfeeding essentials?