As a new mom, there are a lot of things you need to prepare for the arrival of your little one, but something that we often under prepare for is breastfeeding. We usually think breastfeeding is natural so it should be easy. Although this is true, breastfeeding is far from easy for everyone. In my experience of breastfeeding three babies for over 2 years each time, there are a few essential breastfeeding supplies that I used every single day and feel like I could not have lived without!

You can do all the planning in the world to have the best start to a breastfeeding journey, but still have struggles. All 3 of my breastfeeding experiences started off rocky and needed to pump and nurse from the beginning. This is a huge reason why when buying a nursing bra, you should consider a bra that has the function to hold breast pump flanges in case you need to do both.

spectra breast pump and davin and adley lace amelia cami

Top 5 Breastfeeding Essentials

You really don’t need too many things to prepare for breastfeeding, but there are a few core ones that we recommend every mom has on hand when the baby is born. The most basic breastfeeding essentials start with a well fitting nursing and pumping bra, absorbent nursing pads, and a breastpump. In addition to those basic supplies, I also recommend a good nipple balm and a nursing pillow, such as the Boppy or my Breast friend

  1. Nursing and Pumping Bra
  2. Absorbent Nursing Pads
  3. A breast pump
  4. Nipple Balm
  5. A Nursing Pillow


breast pumps motif luna, spectra, medela, willow, elvie, lansinoh, freemie

Do I Need A Breast Pump? 

Not everyone finds themself needing to pump, but it is very beneficial to keep at least a manual breast pump nearby. Even if you don’t plan to leave your baby, it’s common for them to sleep longer than you expect during growth spurts, and you could become uncomfortable. Anytime you need some relief between feedings, you can gently express a small amount of milk from each side for comfort and to prevent breast infections like Mastitis. If you have insurance, you typically can get a free or discounted electric breast pump with your plan in the United States. Some common recommendations are breast pump brands Spectra and Medela, and a lot of moms have success with them. We recommend taking advantage of that offer and getting a free breast pump even if you think you might not need it! I also suggest calling your insurance to ask what they cover before your birth! 


spectra breast pump and riley lace nursing and pumping bra davin and adley

The Difference between Nursing and Pumping

Not all breastfeeding stories work out the same way. A lot of moms expect to nurse their baby at the breast, the most commonly recognized form of breastfeeding. But some babies end up having a difficult time latching and nursing at the breast doesn’t work out in the end. Another form of breastfeeding is called Exclusive Pumping. If you’re an exclusively pumping mom, you pump milk from your breasts with a breast pump and transfer it to a bottle to feed your baby. This allows both mom and dad (or even grandparents) to also share the feeding responsibilities. Yes, it is possible to do both nursing and pumping. Moms will rotate between nursing the baby and pumping milk for bottles, but it is important to keep nursing or pumping frequently no matter which method you decide on. 

one piece washable nursing pads davin and adley

Leaking Breast Milk After Birth

In the early days of breastfeeding you most likely will be leaking a lot of breastmilk. This is perfectly normal as your milk supply is being established and regulated. You may leak from the opposite side when nursing, or from both sides in between nursing or pumping. Breastmilk leaks can be a big frustration if you aren’t prepared, so having the right nursing pads for postpartum are essential. During the day you can also try to save that leaked milk and keep it on hand for bottles. I have found it very helpful to use a milk collector to catch the letdown on the side that my baby is not feeding on. This milk otherwise would have gone into a nursing pad and wasted! My favorite milk collectors are the Haakaa Silicone Pump, Lady Bug or Elvie Curve. You can keep fresh milk in the fridge for up to 4 days, or frozen for 6 to 12 months.


mom and newborn baby in hospital davin and adley mia boxer and amelia cami

Should I see a Lactation Consultant?

If you are new to breastfeeding, this information might already feel overwhelming to you! I get it, I was nervous too! I had no idea what I needed until I was already experiencing issues with my baby in my arms. One of my best recommendations is to encourage you to see a lactation professional for assistance now before your birth, and also immediately postpartum for support with latching or pumping!  

After your baby is here, lactation consultants can work hands on with you and your baby to make sure they are transferring enough milk at each feeding. Most hospitals have a lactation consultant come in to visit you during your hospital stay, but keep in mind they are busy seeing lots of other moms at the same time. You won’t get enough support in just one or two short visits. Consider booking a private lactation consultation once you are back home. You can often get a private in-home visit, or a virtual appointment.  I had a private lactation consultant each time with my kids and it was the best investment I made. Insurance might even cover your visit so it’s a no-brainer to book an appointment. 

Remember that each little step is one step closer to achieving your breastfeeding goals. Take it a day at a time and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find a community that also supports your end goal and connect with other like-minded moms that have been there too. If you are looking for more information as you are just starting out, join our breastfeeding community on Instagram for more tips, tricks, demos and more! 

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