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10 Breastfeeding Essentials for New Moms

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There’s no doubt that breastfeeding is great for both you and your baby.

It’s something special only you can do for your little one.

However, it also has its challenges and can be, well, inconvenient and uncomfortable sometimes.

Below are my top breastfeeding essentials for making nursing easier and more enjoyable.

Put these on your baby registry or just go buy them yourself so you’ll be fully prepared to breastfeed when your baby comes!

Along with these essentials, I also recommend The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class. This virtual class teaches you everything you need to know about breastfeeding in under 90 minutes!

The perfect breastfeeding essentials kit

1. My Brest Friend nursing pillow

My Brest Friend is a silly name, but an awesome breastfeeding pillow. The pillow provides the support you and your baby need to breastfeed in comfort.

It wraps around your waist, snaps on the side and provides a flat, but cushy surface to rest your baby.

It’s adjustable waistband makes sure the pillow stays right where you want it, and you’ll never have achy, baby-holding arms again.

(By the way, the My Brest Friend nursing pillow is a thousand times better than the Boppy. I had both and the Boppy’s curved surface made my baby’s body roll into me and the pillow would sink down on my waist.)

2. Pillow and blanket for the car 

Next, I kept a small throw pillow and baby blanket in the car.

This came in handy several times when my screaming newborn forced me to pull into the nearest parking lot and nurse her NOW, NOW, NOW.

I used the pillow to prop her up (because I was so addicted to the My Brest Friend that I hated to breastfeed without a cushion) and a blanket to use as an emergency nursing cover.

A cover is totally optional by the way. Do what makes you feel comfortable.

3. Netflix

Now is the time to pony up for Netflix if you haven’t already.

Why? Because when you first start nursing your newborn, that little child of yours will take his or her sweet time, meaning about 45 minutes of nursing every two hours.

That’s a lot of sitting time. I’m not against cooing and staring blissfully at your baby, but it’s also nice to catch a fun show.

4. Reading/listening material

The same advice as the item above, except this applies to books you’ve been meaning to catch up on.

Now is a good time to start reading those parenting books you purchased!

If you’re one of those lucky moms who can figure out how to successfully nurse using only one hand (I wasn’t), then you’ll be happy to have a book laying around when you want it.

Or you can always get the audiobook version and listen instead (my favorite).

5. Burp cloths

Burp cloths are excellent for wiping spit up, but can also be used to support and prop-up your breast.

If you’re larger chested, you may have to support the breast your child is nursing from so it doesn’t droop down.

If you don’t want to hold your breast up the entire time your baby is nursing, you can roll up a burp cloth, washcloth or hand towel and place it under your breast to raise it up.

6. Oatmeal

Many moms swear that eating oatmeal increases their breastmilk supply.

When my baby was six months old, I started to worry that I wasn’t producing enough milk. I tried the Fenugreek tea that is also rumored to increase milk supply and it tasted awful.

With my second child, I ate oatmeal instead. I’m not sure if it actually worked. But doing something extra to keep my baby well fed at least made me feel better.

Plus, it’s yummy, filling, low-fat and can be microwaved in two minutes.

7. One-handed snacks

Apples, bananas, granola bars, and protein bars all make for good snacks to tear into while you’re nursing.

I kept a granola bar and a cup of water on the table next to where I nursed so that every morning I could get something in my stomach too.

8. Nursing Bras

Yes, nursing bras really do make breastfeeding easier.

I tried using my regular bras, but scrunching them down to let my baby nurse or to pump at work put permanent creases in my molded cups.

It’s much better to buy nursing bras, especially the padded ones. The padded ones are great because you don’t have to worry about milk leaking through or fuss with inserting nursing pads into your bras.

9. Nursing tops

I purchased multiple nursing tank tops and they were perfect for breastfeeding during warm weather.

Look for tanks that have a built-in shelf bra, strong straps, and an easy open-and-close panel along the chest. (Extra roominess in the belly area is an added, I-love-you-for-not-clinging-to-my-baby-weight bonus.)

In addition to nursing tank tops, I was also thankful for the long-sleeved cotton Henley tops I purchased to wear as pajamas during the cool weather months.

This way, in the middle of a chilly night I could just unbutton the top of my shirt and expose a minimal amount of skin.

10. Nipple cream

This is the nipple cream I personally used. You don’t need much of this sticky balm. One tube will last you through 5+ pregnancies. But it’s definitely a staple you should have on hand.

A tip that worked for me was to apply the cream to my nipples those last couple of weeks before giving birth to soften and prepare them for nursing.

Lanolin nipple cream is also a lifesaver for healing breastfeeding battle wounds like cracked and sore nipples.

Worst-case scenario? If you don’t end up using it for nursing, it makes an excellent lip balm as well!

Related: The Best Nipple Creams for Breastfeeding Moms

There is nothing else in the world like nursing your baby. It’s a bonding experience no one else can have with your child.

By preparing a bit ahead of time and learning all you can, you’ll be well on your way to making the most of this special time.

Save for later? Share these nursing essentials with other moms by pinning!


Wednesday 20th of October 2010

I think we share the same brain Mandyland. Except, I never expected perky breasts, just big ones.


Thursday 14th of October 2010

Kristi - I totally had this whole "earth mother" picture of myself, complete with shiny hair, flowing skirts, svelte figure and, somehow, perky breasts? (Delusional from lack of sleep, obviously.) I remember actually being shocked that something like breastfeeding was so...hard. And it hurt! The Mandy Earth Mother never said it hurt!

But it's so worth it.


Wednesday 13th of October 2010

Ha! I love your comment Mandyland about thinking it would be easy because the "equipment" was all there. And I agree that the second time around, all that was learned with the first made nursing a cinch!


Wednesday 13th of October 2010

Wonderful post! I wandered over from SITS. (Just joined the Snow Leopards group which kinda makes me feel like I'm on a hockey team.)

If I had another piece of advice, it would be "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

Before I gave birth to my son, I assumed that since a) I have boobs and b) he has a mouth, it would be easy. How wrong I was! And even though I was never able to get a latch with him, all the knowledge I gained helped me have a wonderful nursing relationship with my daughter.

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip

Wednesday 6th of October 2010

You know, really I think it was sheer determination, a great lactation consultant, and a bit of insanity. I even have a post about this on my blog if you ever want to read it sometime. Here it is: