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Breastfeeding Essentials Checklist: The 16 Items I Couldn’t Live Without

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If you’re a new mom and planning to breastfeed, it can be confusing to know what breastfeeding essentials you actually need as you embark on your journey.

If I’m being completely honest, the only things that are truly essential to breastfeed are, well… breasts and a baby!

Ha. While you can technically breastfeed without anything else, there are definitely products that make it easier, more efficient, and more comfortable.

I breastfed my first baby for 10 months when he weaned himself. My second and third babies were 8-week premature twins. While we weren’t able to breastfeed, I did exclusively pump for about 10 months until my supply dried up.

Currently, I’m 2-months into exclusively breastfeeding my 4th baby, and it is so different from my first. There are some new breastfeeding products that I’ve discovered, as well as some old favorites.

While I can’t say that these are breastfeeding essentials every mom needs, (simply because every mom and baby are so uniquely different!), this breastfeeding essentials list is a great place to start.

I go into detail below about what each product does and why I recommend it, but at the end of the post I also have a handy breastfeeding essentials checklist in one place (tip: screenshot and add to your amazon list!)

breastfeeding essentials

*Post contains affiliate links.

Breastfeeding Essentials List

Haakaa Breast Pump

I didn’t use the Haakaa until my 4th baby and let me tell you, it is one of the most GENIUS breast pumps out there!

It is a silicone suction cup that attaches to your opposite breast when you are feeding your baby. It catches all the extra breast milk, plus some. I tend to get 4-5 ounces each time I use it!

It is also great to use if you are trying to up your milk supply without taking any supplements or adding in a pumping session.

It’s also incredibly affordable and frequently goes on sale on Amazon.

Click here for more information or to purchase the Haakaa.

Organic Nipple Butter

Your nipples will adjust to breastfeeding after a short time, but in the meantime, you will want something soothing for them that’s safe for your baby.

I LOVE this earth mama nipple butter. I love that it’s organic and earth mama is one of my favorite brands for trusted products.

Many new moms prefer a lanolin nipple cream but my personal preference is to use nipple creams that are lanolin free.

Click here for more information or to purchase the Earth Mama Nipple Butter.

Soothing Gel Breast Pads

These soothing gel pads from Lansinoh will help soothe and heal your sore nipples if they’re cracked and irritated.

I’ve never personally used these because I haven’t had to deal with cracked or bleeding nipples (thank goodness!!) but I wanted to include these because I know it is a common issue.

Store these in the fridge for extra cooling relief.

Click here for more information or to purchase the Lansinoh Soothies Breast Gel Pads.


The boppy is a nursing pillow that will help hold your baby in position while you’re breastfeeding. There are several nursing pillows out there, but the boppy is the most popular and common one.

I personally only use the boppy to breastfeed for the first couple of weeks. As soon as my babies gain a little bit of head control I find it more comfortable to just plop a regular pillow under their head.

I still use the boppy for tummy time and lounging (always supervised, of course). It is definitely one of my most used newborn items.

Click here for more information or to purchase the Boppy Pillow.

Reusable Nursing Pads

These reusable nursing pads are super soft and hold up really well.

These are made out of organic bamboo with a high absorbency middle layer and a waterproof outer layer.

I prefer to use washable nursing pads as they are cheaper and better for the environment but I will say that they are not as absorbent as the disposable pads.

I have to use disposable pads when my milk comes in at full force, but once my body has adjusted I can use these reusable pads.

Click here for more information or to purchase the reusable nursing pads.

Disposable Nursing Pads

These are definitely my go to for the beginning stages of breastfeeding as I have an oversupply. These have always kept me dry and comfortable!

I like that they come individually wrapped so that I can easily throw them in a diaper bag.

Click here for more information or to purchase the disposable nursing pads.

Nursing Cover

A nursing cover certainly isn’t an essential.

Breastfeeding in public is 100% you’re right.

However, it’s something that I’m not comfortable doing. I prefer to have the privacy of a cover, especially when my babies are super little.

I love that this cover doubles as a car seat cover and is super stylish. My husband joked that it’s my favorite color palette for clothing… black and white haha.

It is also available in many different colors.

Click here for more information or to purchase this nursing cover.

32 Ounce Water Tumbler

When you’re breastfeeding it is CRUCIAL to eat enough calories and drink enough water.

I find that I drink more water when I have a tumbler that is stainless steel to keep my water ice cold AND when I have a straw.

I love this tumbler because it’s 32 ounces and comes in really pretty colors.

Tip: To easily track my water intake, I put an elastic band around my tumbler every time I fill it. If I only have a few elastic bands by the afternoon I know I need to chug some water.

I aim for 128 ounces of water per day, so I need to fill my tumbler only 4 times!

Breastfeeding Essentials: for Pumping

Double Electric Breast Pump

The very first thing you should do is contact your insurance company to see what kind of breast pump the will provide you with.

With my first and third pregnancies, I was able to get a double electric breast pump. With my second pregnancy, my insurance company only provided a manual pump for up to $35. Eye roll.

I actually still ended up getting a double electric pump because my twins were born prematurely and ended up in the NICU and because of that my insurance company had to give me an electric pump.

I have previously used the Medela Pump In Style and it worked great.

This time around, I polled my instagram audience to see which breast pump they preferred and the overwhelming majority said either the Spectra S1 or the Spectra S2.

The difference between the two pumps is that the S2 has to be plugged in to use, while the S1 can be either plugged in or used with a battery.

I could get the S2 for free and the S1 for an additional cost and since I don’t work out of the house and didn’t plan to pump a ton, I knew that the S2 would work for me.

Click here for more information or to purchase the Spectra S2 Breast Pump.

Car Adaptor for Breast Pump

This car adaptor plugs into the Spectra pumps so that you can easily pump in your car.

I’ve so far used it once and it worked great!

I took my big kids to the beach and left the baby home with my husband and was able to pump in the parking lot of the beach before we headed home.

Click here for more information or to purchase the car adaptor for Spectra pumps.

Breastmilk Storage Bags

Breastmilk storage bags are essential if you plan to build a freezer stash.

These milk storage bags are my go to! They are strong and have labels that are nice and clear. Pro tip: store them flat so that they take up less space when the milk freezes.

Click here for more information or to purchase the Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags.

picture of pumped breastmilk in bags from my who exclusively pumped

Related Posts on Pumping

Breastfeeding Essentials: Nursing Bras and Tanks

Nursing Tanks

Nursing tank tops are great to wear around the house during the first few weeks.

It makes breastfeeding super easy!

You will want to have easy access and you will definitely appreciate having a top that simply unclips!

I also like to wear them under t-shirts so that I can keep my stomach covered up if I’m breastfeeding in public (even with a cover!)

Click here for more information or to purchase the nursing tanks.

Nursing Bra for Sleeping

Even if you don’t typically wear a bra while you’re sleeping, you’re going to want to wear one when you’re breastfeeding.

Just trust me on that!

You’re going to need something to hold your breast pads in place, plus… it’s just more comfortable.

This bra is super soft and stretchy.

Click here for more information or to purchase my favorite nursing bra to sleep in.

Nursing Bras

I like these nursing bras because they are super cheap and come in a 5-pack.

You will need a lot of nursing bras since they will likely get covered in breastmilk and spit up and you might not be super caught up on laundry when you have a newborn 😉

Click here for more information or to purchase this 5-pack of nursing bras.

Hands Free Pumping and Nursing Bra

Guys, let me tell you, this bra is a GAME CHANGER.

It works both as nursing bra AND a hands free pumping bra!

When I exclusively pumped for the twins, I had to change out of my regular bra into a hands free pumping bra. Having one that can double as both is amazing, especially for mamas who are pumping at work.

No more changing into a bra specifically for hands free pumping!

Click here for more information or to purchase the hands free pumping and nursing bra.

Clip on Hands Free Nursing Bra Converter

I don’t currently have this, but it’s in my Amazon cart waiting for me to hit purchase lol.

It is a clip on bra accessory that turns any bra into a hands free pumping bra.

Pretty genius, right?

Click here for more information or to purchase the hands free pumping bra converter.

Lactation Consultant

I have always met with the lactation consultants at the hospital before I was discharged. I also utilized the lactation support hotline when I had a new baby a few times.

I wish that support for breastfeeding moms was more strongly encouraged and available! If you need support, start by reaching out to the hospital you delivered at and your OBGYN office to see what your options are.

Is there any other essentials for breastfeeding or pumping that I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

Breastfeeding Essentials Checklist

P.S. Make sure you’re following me on social media to keep up with our family and all the twin cuteness! I am on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!

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