If you’re pregnant and plan to breastfeed, you’ve likely asked yourself this question.
What do you REALLY need for breastfeeding?
It’s really quite simple.
- A baby
- A boob
That’s actually it. You don’t even need two boobs (though it helps). Just one will do.
However, I know you really want to know what will help your transition go more smoothly. I’m not going to lie, the first 4-6 weeks is tough as you adjust and anything that you can do to make your life easier, I highly recommend. I’m not going to sit here and say that those first few weeks are sunshine and rainbows, and that breastfeeding isn’t going to hurt. Who actually ever said that never breastfed before. While I’m being honest in that it isn’t an easy transition, I will say that it’s 100% worth the tough days. I nursed our firstborn until just over 4 years old and I’m currently nursing our 23 month old. Those strenuous days are well behind me and most of the time, I can barely recall those moments.
4 Things I Highly Recommend to Everyone
- Nipple Cream.
- I personally tried half a dozen or more brands over the two children. My #1 preference is Motherlove, however, for money saving I typically just buy the 3 pack of Earth Mama Angel Baby Brand.
- Looking for a cheaper option? You can use coconut oil or even just expressed milk on your nipples after every feeding.
- Reusable Nursing Pads
- Don’t waste your time on buying disposable ones. Not only are reusable better for the environment, they are so much softer and stay in place better.
- Boppy/Nursing Pillow
- Tip: Buy this early on in your third trimester and use to support your growing belly throughout the last trimester. The shape really helps support your belly and baby once here.
- Need a cheaper option? Just use the pillows you have in your home.
- Breastmilk Storage Bags
- You will likely need to hand express in those first few weeks just enough to relieve the engorgement. Having breastmilk storage milks handy, will allow you to save the milk in those early days.
4 Things I Think Able Helpful but not Necessary
- Breast Shells
- I had never even heard of breast shells before I was about to leave the hospital after having our first. Our nurse gave them to us and they saved me. They stop your nipples from rubbing on your clothes. During those first few days of adjusting, especially with your first, it allows you to be comfortable.
- Need a cheaper option? Just stay topless as often as possible.
- Milk Savers
- This is the one product I regret not getting for either pregnancy. I didn’t know about it with my first, but did with my second. Milk Savers collects milk from one side while you nurse of the other side. Typically, this milk would just be lost in your nursing pad, but with Milk Savers it’s saved inside. Then, you can transfer to a storage bag and save. I have friend’s who use them and swear by them.
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding Book
- The holy grail of breastfeeding books. If you really want to read everything about breastfeeding this is the book for you.
- Need a cheaper option? Almost all libraries carry this book.
- Also check out KellyMom.com for a ton of breastfeeding information if you can’t afford the book
- Baby Carrier
- I think every parent needs a baby carrier. It’s so much better for getting around, but it also makes breastfeeding a breeze. I personally never used breastfeeding covers because our first daughter freaked out. However, using a carrier, allows me to nurse discretely and still keep going.
3 Things I Think Able Necessary Depending on Life
These last two things are either absolutely necessary or not depending on your life. If you are a mom who works in the home, then you don’t necessarily need a a breastpump or bottles. I personally never left for me than a few hours for the first 6 months of our girls life, and in those cases had a better outcome hand expressing; however, I know that’s not a realistic expectation for many.
- Manual Pump
- I highly recommend if you are a working mom outside the home, you keep a manual pump inside your car. You never know when you will forget a piece to an electric pump, but having a manual back up will always come in handy.
- Standard Manual Pump like Medela is highly recommend.
- New silicone pumps are taking over for easy use and storage purposes.
- Electric Pump
- Some kids are picky so you may have to try a few options. We love the Kiinde system for storage and bottle usage.
I personally never used nursing bras, tanks, or other clothes. Instead, I opted for soft bras, regular tank tops, and regular shirts like v-necks that allowed for easy access. You can definitely grab all those if you like them more, but I chose to save money and not use them.
Here’s everything we mentioned in this post: