A Mama’s Guide to Breastfeeding Essentials

Isn’t it amazing how such tiny people require so much STUFF? At least, the bigger they get the less stuff they require, but it’s much more expensive stuff. If you are pregnant and planning to nurse your baby, here is my recommended list of must-have stuff to survive and make breastfeeding a little easier. Just like my post, A Mama’s Guide to Newborn Baby Gear Essentials, I have not been solicited by any of these companies to write about them – these are all things I use myself and personally recommend!

My Breastfeeding Essentials Guide for New Moms

Breast Feeding Accessories

Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump with Backpack (where to buy)

I have had both a single Medela breast pump and a double one and have found it is worth the extra money to get the double one, especially if you anticipate pumping a good bit if you are going back to work. I’ve worked some nights as a dance teacher, so even working that little bit made having the double pump very useful. I love this particular pump because everything is housed in this nice little backpack so I’m less likely to loose all the parts (I’m really good at losing stuff!). Plus, it’s high quality and works very well. I bought mine from a friend, but I have seen quite a few for sale on EBay and Craig’s List for much cheaper than retail.

Medela Pump & Save Breastmilk Bags (where to buy)

These freezer storage bags are essential for breastfeeding long-term and I like this brand in particular because the bags fit right over the top of the Medela breast pump. I even start freezing my milk right at the beginning because I get very engorged (NOT FUN!) and to ease the pain and pressure, I pump. It ends up working out really well because once the baby is old enough to drink from a bottle without nipple confusion (which is about four weeks), the hubby and I can sneak out for a date and the milk is in the freezer ready to go!

Medela Nipple Shield (where to buy)

Nipple shields are commonly used to help mommies with inverted nipples be able to breastfeed, which is a problem I don’t have. But, I do have babies with tongue issues (tongues that are thick in the middle but not on the sides) that cause a great deal of pain for me at the beginning as they pinch my nipples, causing chafing, cracking, and blisters. The way I’ve found to survive this (and have gotten the okay from lactation consultants as well), is to use nipple shields. These are the way I survive to even begin to breastfeed at the beginning.

Bamboobies Super-soft Washable Nursing Pads (where to buy)

Any lactating mother who’s leaked through a shirt in public learns very quickly the importance of nursing pads! With my first son, I wasn’t so green-minded and bought the disposable ones, which work very well, but I went through them like we did disposable diapers – constantly buying one expensive box after the next. With our second son, I wizened up and bought reusable ones (of course, you could easily make them yourself). I just recently purchased these Bamboobies pads from Amazon (buy here) and have found my favorite pads thus far – they are heart-shaped, pink (always a bonus, right?), have a waterproof backing, are organic cotton, bamboo and rayon, and come with overnight pads and a mesh washing sack.

Sore Nipples – Now Foods Lanolin (where to buy)

Lanolin and coconut oil are essentials for me as I have fair, sensitive skin and really need protection on my nipples to prevent chafing. I used to buy the Lansinoh lanolin and always liked it, but have now found a new fav in Now Foods’ Lanolin (buy here) as it is much cheaper per ounce and just seems to be better quality as I’ve noticed a huge reduction in soreness. I also like to use coconut oil on sore nipples.

My Brest Friend Deluxe Pillow (where to buy)

Nursing pillows make nursing and even bottle feeding SO much easier. I’ve used both the Boppy brand (buy here) and have found I prefer My Brest Friend (buy here) because it wraps all the way around the back, offering back support. I really like that, unlike the Boppy, it buckles around the wait so it can be worn around the house which is handy dandy if you’re like me and can be caught nursing with one arm while cooking with the other! It also raises the baby up higher, which is ergonomic and more comfortable and comes with a little pocket where I store my nipple shields and lanolin – super functional!

Nursing Cover by Udder Covers (where to buy)

This is the best nursing cover I’ve ever used. Why? It has a stiff opening that curves outwards away from your body so you can look down and see your baby to nurse. No more hiding underneath a sheet, all embarrassed and looking like a goof! They have many styles available, too, and you just can’t be the name – Udder Covers!

Be sure to check out my other post, A Mama’s Guide to Newborn Baby Gear Essentials, for all my other favorite items that I just don’t want to live without for newborns!

About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.


  1. Great list, although I think the nursing cover is excessive. I think if you wait until you are comfortable nursing before you decide to nurse in public. Then, even if you are in public you should still find somewhere quiet and private, out of respect to your baby to have a peaceful meal. Then you won`t have a need for this contraption.

    • Thanks for your comments, Monica! For me, I loved using a cover. I used it when visitors would come to see the baby so I wouldn’t have to leave the room. I had a lot of family coming to visit, like my father-in-law and brother and I wasn’t comfortable nursing without a cover. And in public, I would go nurse in my car sometimes and a cover was perfect for that. But there are definitely those times when it’s just too noisy and the baby doesn’t eat well and also hates the cover!

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