In This Post:
This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. You can read the full affiliate disclosure here.
How many times have you logged onto your baby registry to add items and get lost and overwhelmed in the endless amount of products they have on there?
🙋🏻♀️ I know I did.
The thing is…half the things they recommend you will likely never use or they aren’t realllllly a necessity. But how do you know this as a first-time mom or first-time breastfeeding mom?
To help you out I’ve listed out the top breastfeeding must-haves you need on your registry or to purchase before your LO is born – if you’re late to the game that’s fine but you should make sure you have everything on this list!
I’ve also included product recommendations for each item to help you out + my personal experience with some of the products and brands that I mention.
My nursing pillow was essential and a lifesaver at the beginning of my breastfeeding journey!
Even though you and your baby have natural instincts, breastfeeding is a learned skill! It takes time and it takes practice to nail and become easy.
A nursing pillow helps you position your baby while they are still learning to latch. The pillow will also offer you support and guidance while you nurse your little one.
The best part is that you can repurpose the nursing pillow! It can also be used for:
- Bottle feeds
- Tummy time
- Prop baby up while sitting
Here are some of my favorite nursing pillows:
The Boppy Nursing Pillow is one of the most popular and most used nursing pillows on the market – this is the one I use!
- Machine washable
- You can find covers for cheap & just about anywhere (I order mine on Amazon)
- Wraps completely around you to provide great back support
Super similar to the Boppy other than a few features. Popular among breastfeeding mamas.
- Wraps completely around you providing additional back support
- The clasp on the side allows you to attach it to yourself and keep it from moving
- Front pocket: perfect for your water bottle or snacks while nursing
- Flatter surface unlike the Boppy that’s rounded
This may seem weird to include on a list of breastfeeding must-haves, buuuut hydration is key during breastfeeding and for your milk supply!
Breastfeeding mamas should be drinking about a gallon (or 128 ounces) of water a day.
So investing in a nice water bottle or more is crucial!
I love this motivational water bottle from Amazon. It’s HUGE – it holds allllll 128 ounces – but it includes markers with time goals and motivational quotes to keep you on track throughout the day.
If you don’t want a water bottle that large they do have smaller ones – still with the tracker and motivational quotes – but you would need to make sure you are re-filling halfway through your day or however many times to meet your goal.
Nipple cream (balm or butter) is another breastfeeding must-have at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey. I would make sure to purchase some beforehand so you can take it in your hospital bag.
You will experience some soreness and maybe irritation – dry or cracked nipples – for the first few weeks of breastfeeding. Nipple cream will help you manage the discomfort and symptoms!
My absolute favorite nipple cream is Sensible Certified Organic Nipple Balm from Kindred Bravely’s Wellness Line. The balm is only $17, but it worked wonders for me!
The balm is certified organic and made up of rosehip oil, shea butter, and chamomile. Because it is made with all-natural ingredients you don’t have to wipe off or clean your breasts before latching your baby to your breast.
Nursing pads are useful for several different reasons – most of which you won’t know of until after you start nursing so it’s nice to have at least a few on hand. They work great if you:
- Leak often when your milk is coming in days after your baby is born
- Go through periods of leakage or are prone to leakage throughout your breastfeeding journey
- Need to stay dry while out and about – you may leak when you hear baby’s cry even if they aren’t your own
- Leak while nursing off the other breast
There are two different types of nursing pads – disposable & reusable. I personally liked the reusable ones better because they are more economical and softer.
Best Disposable: Medela Disposable Nursing Pads
Where To Buy: Amazon, Walmart, Target, BuyBuyBaby
- “Cup-shaped” compared to other nursing pads which makes them perfect for larger breasts or when you are engorged
- Sticky adhesive strips on the back so you can attach them to your bra
Best Reusable: Kindred Bravely Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads
Price: $13 for 8 nursing pads
Where To Buy: Kindred Bravely Online
I used Kindred Bravely’s Bamboo Nursing Pads along with a few others (both disposable and reusable) and these were my favorite because they are suuuuper comfortable and soft + absorbent.
They are also thin enough, so you don’t have to worry about them showing through tight shirts if you don’t have a padded bra on.
You also get a cute little waterproof bag that you can store and transport them in when out and about!
Nursing bras are not only an absolute must for your comfort, but they also help prevent developing any clogged ducts or mastitis. This is because tight-fitting sports bras and bras with an underwire can cause clogged milk ducts that lead to mastitis.
I wore nursing bras throughout both my pregnancies and the whole year I breastfed my little guy, so I’ve tried out a few different brands and styles. My go-to (and the bras I will always wear and recommend to mamas is Kindred Bravely Nursing Bras).
They have multiple different styles and often will sell bundles of 3 different bras at a discounted price!
This is what I did with the first bras I bought from them – it was a pack of 3. I still to this day (2 years later + counting) wear them. They look and feel the same as the day I bought them!
I’d encourage you to check out their website and take a look at the styles and bundles they are currently offering. My favorites include:
If you aren’t sure what type of bra you need, then make sure to check out their online quiz where you can receive suggestions + fit finder where they calculate your KB bra size.
Breastfeeding clothing and PJs can be especially helpful when nursing in public or the middle of the night.
They look just like regular clothing, but will usually have a discrete flap near your breast that allows you to pull out just your breast to feed your baby without taking off or pulling up your shirt or dress.
Here are some of my favorite nursing clothing items:
- Jane Nursing PJ Set
- Triangle Cut Out Nursing & Maternity Long Sleeve Shirt
- 2-in-1 Nursing & Maternity Knit Midi Dress
You don’t need a nursing cover – it is absolutely okay for you to breastfeed in public without one! Some mamas feel a bit more comfortable if they have the added privacy and coverage – I know I did.
Shout out to those confident mamas who can rock it without one – and teach me your ways 😉
I’d recommend purchasing a nursing cover that also functions as a car seat cover, shopping cart cover, and high chair cover – most are! With #allthethings you need to pack for an outing with your baby you can kill 3 birds with one stone.
I use and would recommend Milk Snob Nursing Covers. I love them! They can function as all 4 things I mentioned above + they are suuuuuper soft even after multiple washes.
They are about $40. You can purchase through the Milk Snob website or through Amazon.
Boppy also has a popular nursing cover if you are looking for more of an apron-style cover.
This one doesn’t double as a car seat or other covers, but it does come with a storage pouch and a ring that allows you to keep track of which breast you last nurses off – yes, you’ll need a reminder.
A breast pump is obviously a breastfeeding must-have if you plan on expressing milk for your baby to drink from a bottle! I could write a whoooole blog post just on picking a breast pump – and am planning to 😉
But…here are the ones that I’ve used – or plan to!
I would recommend purchasing a Haakaa in addition to your electric breast pump. They are 10000% worth the smallest investment.
I used mine a lot throughout my breastfeeding journey to catch milk that leaked from my other breast while I nursed and to relieve my breast if I was engorged or had a clogged duct – this is a bit more gentle compared to the electric pump + easier to clean.
I used the Medela Pump in Style that came with the tote (I don’t even think they sell this anymore) with my first baby and absolutely loved it.
I ended up purchasing this pump because I used to issue a similar Medela pump for pump rentals when I worked as a maternal & child nutritionist – back in the day. So, I already knew how to use it.
The only thing I hated about it was that it was quite large and I had to carry the bag around with me when I used it. So, not super ideal for things like traveling or taking on the go. The new Pump in Style with Maxflow is much more compact, so this may be the better option!
I plan on using the Willow Gen 3 Wearable Double Electric Breast Pump with baby #2 – coming soon 🥳. The perks of the Willow wearable pump that I have read and heard of include:
- Hands-free (as a mom of soon-to-be two I needed something I could multitask with)
- Super quiet
- Pump in any position (I hate having to sit there like I’m nailed to a board while pumping lol)
- Pump and store your milk in the same bags!
I’ll be writing a review post on the Willow Wearable Breast Pump after she is here and I have used it for a while, so keep an eye out 👀.
Breast Pump Cleaning Supplies
Ask any mom who has pumped before…the clean-up is by far the worsssst part. This is why I stopped pumping and that resulted in my LO not taking a bottle! Soooo! Since then I have found some products that can make cleaning up a little bit easier:
You can easily throw your breast pump parts into these cleaning bags and nuke them in the microwave for a few minutes to clean and sterilize them. You can also throw bottles, pacifiers, etc. in there too!
Price: $7 for a pack of 5 – but each bag can be used up to 20 times
These wipes are great for when you are on the go and don’t have access to a sink to rinse your parts. Keep them in your diaper bag or breast pump tote/backpack so you always have them with you.
I would still recommend thoroughly cleaning your breast pump parts when you get home either in the sink with hot soapy water or using the Medela Quick Steam Bags.
Price: $6 for a pack of 24 wipes
Breastmilk Storage Bags
Don’t forget to pick up some breastmilk storage bags if you plan on pumping and freezing some of your breastmilk. These are an absolute breastfeeding must-have for expressing your breastmilk.
Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags are by far the most popular bags out there.
I used Medela Breastmilk Storage Bags since those were the ones that came with my breast pump. They are super durable and I never had an issue with them leaking! You can purchase 100 bags for around $15 on Amazon.
Bottles are a bit tricky to buy before your baby gets here. I say this because you never really know what your baby is going to like and every baby is different. You’ll hear moms swear by a certain brand, buy a bunch just to find out your baby won’t take to them.
I would recommend purchasing bottles that are made for breastfed babies or mimic the shape and feel of a real nipple or breast – these tend to work the best! Purchase 1-2 bottles from 2 different brands to try out with your baby, so you aren’t out a bunch of money.
Same with your registry and gifts – register for a pack of 2 different bottles to try. Don’t open anything until you are ready to try it with your baby that way you can take the unopened boxes back or exchange them if needed.
Here are some bottles I would maybe start by trying just because either I have had success with these or my clients have:
- Phillips Avent Natural Baby Bottle with the Natural Response Nipple
- Comotomo Natural Feel Silicone Baby Bottles
- Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Bottles
A bottle warmer is super useful when needing to heat your expressed breast milk.
When picking a bottle warmer you want to make sure it uses low heat (or has the option to) because you don’t want to ruin the nutrient content of your breastmilk by scorching it in too hot of water.
I wish I would have grabbed this bottle warmer with my first. It uses a low-temp water bath to ensure you don’t burn off the beneficial nutrients that make up your breastmilk. You can also warm both bottles and breast milk storage bags.
Even better, it includes a timer and an automatic shut-off. I can’t tell you how many times we forgot a bottle was warming in the bottle warmer!
Note: It is one of the few bottle warmers that fit the Comotomo bottles!
Where To Buy: Amazon, Target, Walmart, BuyBuyBaby
I used this bottle warmer because I got it as a gift and we really loved it! It just didn’t have all of the features that the Kozi has and I know would have been handy.
Bottles only take about 3 minutes to heat and there is a defrost setting for your frozen breast milk storage bags!
Where to Buy: Amazon, Target, BuyBuyBaby
One of my newest breastfeeding must-haves that I am SO excited to try out with baby #2. I suffered from chronically clogged ducts and I am hoping that this will help with that!
If you have never heard of a lactation massager it is simply a small device you place in your nursing bra up against your breast that can help with many things, such as:
- Improving your milk flow while you pump
- Fully emptying your breasts
- Making pumping quicker and easier
- Working out clogged milk ducts
- Adjustable heat and vibration setting
Price: $80 (Enter RAISINGTINYFOODIES10 at checkout for 10% off your purchase)
You can also purchase the LaVie Lactation Massager that doesn’t include the heat setting for just $40 if that is more your jam!
Breastfeeding Must-Have Resources
Having a support group or network + education is extremely important to the success of your breastfeeding journey! Here are a few that I recommend:
TinyHood offers amazing online breastfeeding classes at a very reasonable price when compared to its competitors.
- labor & delivery
- postpartum recovery
- Infant sleep
- Infant CPR
- Taking Care of Baby
If you aren’t looking to spend as much, Baby 101: The Parenting Prerequisite course bundle is a great option for you. It covers:
- Infant sleep
- Infant CPR
- Taking Care of Baby
Lastly, if you want to try out one of their online breastfeeding courses before investing in a larger purchase, they have a few free classes right now:
- Breastfeeding 101
- Common Breastfeeding Challenges
- How to Tell if Your Baby is Getting Enough Breastmilk
- Breastfeeding Beginnings: What to Expect in the First 30 Days
You can check them out on the TinyHood website.
- Your local La Leche League – find one near you here
- FB Groups – not always the best place to go to for advice, but a great way to be a part of a community of other breastfeeding mamas, especially if you don’t know any
I have provided breastfeeding education & support, both 1:1 and group sessions for about 3 years now + breastfed my LO for over a year!
I am extremely passionate about helping other mamas prepare for their breastfeeding journey + helping them through it! It can feel lonely and confusing at times and it doesn’t need to be!
I offer a FREE 30-minute consultation on Zoom. Don’t have time to set down for a zoom call – or maybe that’s not your jam! – no problem! Fill out the form below and we can complete your consultation over email! We can talk through:
- Is breastfeeding right for you?
- What to expect & how to prepare
- Choosing the right breast pump
- Initiating breastfeeding at the hospital
- Any questions & concerns you have!
Let’s Wrap It Up: Breastfeeding Must-Haves
Alright, mama! Get your list out of things to add to your registry and write these breastfeeding must-haves down:
- Nursing pillow
- Water bottle
- Nipple cream
- Nursing pads
- Nursing bras
- Breastfeeding clothing
- Nursing cover
- Breast pump
- Breast pump cleaning supplies
- Milk storage bags
- Baby bottles
- Bottle warmer
- Lavie Warming Lactation Massager
- TinyHood Courses
- Chat with Kayece