Breastfeeding may sound easy in theory, but most of the time, it really is not. It can get quite uncomfortable for the mum, especially if you don’t have the breastfeeding essentials to help make your breastfeeding experience more comfortable. In this article, I will share some of the breastfeeding essentials I absolutely swore to all throughout my breastfeeding journey. These breastfeeding essentials really helped me a lot so I do hope that they will be useful to you as well!
This post was last updated on 24 January 2023.
10 Breastfeeding Essentials You Must Have
1. Nipple cream
Breastfeeding often leads to sore nipples and even worse, cracked skin. Applying nipple cream (or a nursing balm) would help a lot in soothing and healing the skin around your nipples. For hassle-free use, opt for organic nipple creams so you won’t have the need to wipe the cream off once you’re about to breastfeed. They are also more beneficial for mums and sensitive babies with allergies.
TWV’s Pick: I tried so many nipple cream brands but eventually settled on Earth Mama’s Nipple Balm because it was gel-based and more soothing. The one I got from Thomson Medical Centre was good as well.
2. Breast pump
You won’t always be around your baby 24/7, so it’s better if you also have a stash of breast milk available. There are plenty of things to consider when buying a breast pump, but always make sure to invest in a good one because this will be your trusty best friend in your entire breastfeeding journey.
TWV’s Pick: I’ve been using the Spectra S1 since then and it works really well for me. You can also get a more lightweight and compact breast pump that you can easily use on the go such as the Baby Express Be Free.
Standard breast pumps usually come with 24mm flanges, but make sure that they are the right size for you. If not, measure your nipple in mm, add an extra 4mm and get that size as an add-on. Please don’t forget to do this as I once had a pumping issue where I couldn’t express my milk because I was using the wrong flange size.
Mum’s comfort is also a must while breastfeeding, so I highly recommend getting a nursing pillow as well. Nursing pillows help you to not slouch and bend too much, at the same time, supports the baby. Buying a nursing pillow early on in your pregnancy is a great idea as most nursing pillows are multipurpose – they can be used during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and even for your baby’s tummy time.
TWV’s Pick: I’ve been using the My Brest Friend Original Nursing Pillow because of its wrap-around design. It is especially great for newborns as it forms a sturdy surface for you to rest your baby on, so its weight is not all on your arms. It’s been really helpful for me since my body usually tenses up while nursing, especially around the shoulders, elbows, and neck.
5. Hot and Cold compress
A hot compress is fantastic in stimulating milk flow while a cold compress helps a lot in soothing pain and discomfort from breast engorgement. You may put a hot compress over your breasts for about 10 minutes before nursing, then put a cold compress for 10 to 15 minutes after nursing.
TWV’s Pick: You can buy heating pads and cooling packs or do DIY, but what I highly recommend is the Lansinoh Therapearl 3 In 1 Breast Therapy. It can be used as a hot and cold compress – the best of both worlds indeed!
Nursing bras are probably the most important clothing item for a new mum. This allows your baby to easily latch on your breast when it’s feeding time, especially if you wear this with a button top. You may also get a pumping bra if you wish to pump hands-free while working or scrolling through your phone.
TWV’s Pick: I love using the Bravado Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra (this even comes in a variety of colours!) and the Simple Wishes Pumping Bra as they are really comfy. Though if you prefer getting a bra that you can both use for nursing and pumping, you can try this innovative Clip and Pump™ Hands-Free Nursing Bra from Bravado.
7. Nipple shells
Nipple shells can help prevent your clothes from rubbing against your nipples if your nipples are cracked and sore.
TWV’s Pick: These nipple shells from Medela are a huge lifesaver for me. You can also try the Silverette nursing cups as they have been highly recommended by mums for nipple healing and prevention of sore, cracked nipples. They are a bit pricey but I’ve read really good reviews on them. There are two sizes, regular and XL, so make sure you get one in the right size.
Of course, you need milk bottles and teats as well to store your milk and feed your baby. However, please do not forget to replace the teats every 2-3 months and the bottles every 6-9 months (depending on usage) for sanitation and size purposes. You also need to make sure to get bottles and teats that passed the highest safety standards as they will be going inside your baby’s mouth.
TWV’s Pick: I use bottles from Hegen, which are a bit pricey, but the quality is really good. They are very functional, too, because their caps make them easy to store in the fridge.
You will also need to sanitise these bottles and teats for hygienic purposes and for your baby’s safety. DIY (via microwave or boiling) is good but it takes so much time – a good UV steriliser will make your life much easier. Please do remember that you need to change the steriliser’s lamps and filter yearly with regular usage.
TWV’s Pick: I would recommend the HANIL UV Steriliser Dryer – a really modern and useful steriliser that is said to eliminate more than 99.97% of germs and bacteria.
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Use coupon code TWV-HAN30 to get $30 off Hanil UV Steriliser
Sometimes, you’ll pump more milk than what you need at the moment. This is where breastmilk storage bags come in – you’ll need them in storing your liquid gold supply! Having lots of storage bags will also come in handy if you are working on-site and in case you are planning to travel.
TWV’s Pick: I use breastmilk storage bags from Lansinoh as they are great value for money.
Bonus: 10 More Breastfeeding Essentials
Items 11-20 are not really required but you may still consider them as breastfeeding essentials as well. I used these items while I was breastfeeding my two babies and getting them really helped me a lot in my breastfeeding journey.
11. Massage tool
Massaging and heat help to stimulate milk flow. I used to use a hot compress and another bottle to massage my breast while pumping, but I realised that it was quite a hassle. So, I switched to the LaVie Lactation Massage Pads and they were very helpful because I got to be hands-free during pumping itself – you just have to tuck them in your bra and they will apply soothing heat to your breasts and vibration to help with milk flow. This also helped me a lot in not getting burned because before, it was difficult to keep the heat constant, but this solves it.
Lavie Massager is also a huge lifesaver, especially to remove clogged ducts! It is ergonomically designed for you to be able to massage your breasts easily without oddly twisting your wrists. It also saves my fingers from the strained job of having to massage. The vibration also helped to stimulate milk flow more easily. Really a lifesaver!
I really love using this pump because it helps me collect milk letdowns from the other boob while my baby latches on the other. This way, no milk will ever be wasted, and I usually get a pretty decent amount of milk when I use this pump!
13. Portable milk warmer
Before, I used to ask for hot water in a bowl at F&B places so that I could heat my stored breastmilk up while travelling. That works, but then, you can’t really do that when you are out for a walk or a hike. So, I decided to invest in the Lollababy Portable Milk Warmer, and now I can heat milk anywhere I want. The warmer is wireless and USB-chargeable so I can use it whether I’m in the car or in a park walking/hiking.
If you’re a mum who’s always on the go, another breastfeeding essential that you must have is a second breast pump that you can use while outside. My Spectra S1+ is really good, but it is huge, heavy and definitely not travel-friendly. So, when I got the Baby Express Be Free – it was a game changer for me because it allowed me to pump on the go. It’s really easy to use and I have my hands free while pumping as well! Read more of my review here.
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Use coupon code THEWEDDINGVOW at Baby Express’ website to get 10% off storewide
15. Cooler bag
Having a good cooler bag to store milk will also be really helpful if you pump on the go. Breastmilk at room temperature lasts for only about 2 hours, so a breastmilk cooler bag is a must if you are heading outdoors with your baby. For this, I use the PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag and it helps to keep my milk cold very well.
16. Milk boosters
If you are always low in breast milk supply, you most likely need milk boosters (i.e., LegenDairy, fenugreek, etc.) to help you produce more milk. The Sunflower Lecithin especially helped me with my clogged ducts before. You can also try to munch on some lactation cookies as they will not only boost your breastmilk production but taste really great as well!
Taking the right nutrients will also greatly affect your breast milk production. That said, do also continue taking your prenatal supplements as they help to nourish you with more vitamins and DHA. Do talk with your doctor if you have more concerns!
17. Nursing cover
Mums who are always on the go need to have a nursing cover on their breastfeeding bag at all times. This will allow you to nurse anywhere you want without feeling uncomfortable.
18. Nursing clothes
Some of the best nursing clothes are: clothes that easily open up from the top, button tops, wrap-around dresses, V-necks and crossover tops. You may check out some great finds here. Don’t forget to your nursing bras too!
19. Breast pads
If you have milk letdowns often, you can stick breast pads on your bra to feel more comfortable. There are disposable and reusable options. There are also milk collection cups if you wish to collect the letdown.
20. Bust firming cream
When pumping a lot, I often feel that my boobs will droop due to gravity so a good bust-firming cream helps me ensure that I keep the skin around it firm and moisturised. I use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Bust Cream, but do note that it’s not breastfeeding-friendly so make sure to clean your nipples before latching or pumping.
We hope that our guide on the Breastfeeding Essentials You Must Have will help you out in your journey as a new mum. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends and family!
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