What do you need for breastfeeding? Best breastfeeding supplies for new moms

Many pregnant women, especially first-time mamas, feel anxiety around preparing for breastfeeding. Reading books on breastfeeding is a great start, but many soon-to-be moms feel better after they buy their breastfeeding supplies and know they have what they need.

The only problem is… most ‘breastfeeding supplies’ lists are overwhelmingly long and sprinkled with things that don’t *really* help with breastfeeding.   

As a team of moms, we’ve been through the pregnancy and breastfeeding journey before, so we know what’s really needed and what’s not. And since our #1 goal is to help new moms enjoy pregnancy, prepare for their new baby, and overcome postpartum hurdles, we’ve put together a list of *actual* must-haves for breastfeeding.

We’ll cover things like everyday essentials, nursing clothes, items for baby’s nursery, and our fav breastfeeding products for on-the-go. If you stick to our list, finding everything you need for breastfeeding should take no time at all.

In addition to the individual breastfeeding supplies on our list, we also make a Breastfeeding Box to make shopping even easier. A lot of thought goes into our pregnancy subscription boxes, and the same goes for our Breastfeeding Box. We pack it with all of our favorite goodies to prepare moms for nursing — from nursing pads to breast wipes and nipple butter. And we ship our breastfeeding kits free to your doorstep so you don’t have to make trips to the store for breastfeeding supplies.

We sell all of our breastfeeding supplies right in our shop a la carte, and of course, we’ve also included Amazon links to easily shop the products we don’t have available on our Bump Boxes site. 

Alright, ready to get into the breastfeeding essentials you’ll really need? Let’s jump in. 

Our list covers: 

Everyday breastfeeding essentials

When to buy: 2nd or 3rd trimester, before baby arrives

You should begin shopping for breastfeeding essentials around weeks 25 to 27 of pregnancy so you’re well-prepared long before baby arrives. Typically, the end of the second trimester is when moms start registering for breast pumps, but many of the other breastfeeding must-haves can be purchased in the weeks after. 

Remember, there’s no need to go overboard buying a bunch of different products for potential pains. Instead, we suggest sticking to what’s on this list and restocking once you know what you like and what you’ll need more of.  

Breast Pumps: Bump Boxes can get you your insurance-covered breast pump

Most of the things you need for breastfeeding can be found here in our shop or on Amazon, Target, and Walmart, but shopping for a breast pump is a little trickier. You can buy one outright, but your insurance is required to cover one free or low-cost pump per pregnancy.

To get your insurance-covered pump, you’ll need a doctor’s prescription and some time and patience to deal with your insurance provider. OR, you can let us take care of it for you. We know dealing with insurance providers can be a headache, so we started our Bump Boxes Free Breast Pump program

The goal is to make getting a free breast pump as easy as possible. All you have to do is fill out your contact + insurance info, and we do the hard work of contacting your insurance company, obtaining a prescription from your OB, and sending you a list of breast pump options. Select your favorite and we’ll ship it to you for free. Not sure what pump is right for your needs + lifestyle? Check out our ultimate guide to choosing the best breast pump for you.       

Nursing Pads: Bump Boxes Organic Bamboo Breastfeeding Pads 

During the first few months of pregnancy, leaks are common as your milk flow adjusts, and nursing pads can be a huge lifesaver in keeping your shirt dry. Nursing pads are simply soft round pieces of fabric or cotton that go inside of your nursing bra to act as a liner. Moms can shop reusable or disposable nursing pads, but if you’re prone to leaking, you may want to buy reusable nursing pads to save yourself some money in the long run. 

To start out, stick with one or two packs of nursing pads, since every mom’s milk supply is different (and some moms don’t leak all that much). You can always buy more nursing pads after your milk production levels out and you have a better idea of how often you’ll need to use them.

There are countless nursing and breast pad brands to consider, so you may want to try more than one brand, but a lot of moms love our Bump Boxes Eco Nursing Pads because they’re made with organic bamboo, are machine-washable, and feel super soft. These are so essential, you’ll find them inside our Breastfeeding Box. We also have some disposable pads from Medela available if you’d rather go that route.

Nipple Shields: Lansinoh Nipple Shield for Breastfeeding

Nipple shields, sometimes called breast shields, are a necessity for moms with small, inverted, or flat nipples, or newborns who have difficulty latching. 

Because breasts come in all shapes and sizes, certain nipple shields will work better than others for different people. Finding the right nipple shield is sometimes a matter of trial and error, but Amazon has options for almost every unique breastfeeding need. 

Our recommended nipple shield is Lansinoh Nipple Shield for Breastfeeding because they are versatile enough to work for most mamas and newborns, are made with safe and sturdy silicone, and are easy to wash. They’re also available in different sizes and come in a 2-pack to make your life even easier.

Keep in mind: If you can’t find a nipple shield that works for you, or you’re still having trouble with latching, turn to a lactation consultant for help.

Breast Pump Replacement Tubes: Pump in Style Advanced – Replacement Tubing

Part of maintaining a breast pump is replacing the tubing every now and then. Obviously, moms will want to clean their breast pump’s tubing between breastfeeding sessions, but tubes should also be replaced every three to six months — depending on how often you’re breastfeeding and how well you’re cleaning the tubes between sessions. 

When it comes to breast pump accessories, we like the Medela brand because they sell safe and reliable products. Plus, their replacement tubing is a convenient option for most moms, since it works with the majority of breast pumps. 

You’ll find Medela’s Pump in Style Advanced – Replacement Tubing right in our shop.

Breast Pump Micro-steaming Bags: Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags

Although similar, cleaning and steaming a breast pump are two separate things. Moms should clean their breast pumps and parts after every use, but they’ll also need to sanitize all parts and breastfeeding accessories at the end of each day. The easiest way to do this is with micro-steaming bags, since they allow moms to sanitize all parts at once (and in only a few minutes). 

Medela’s Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag is one of our favorites because it’s so simple to use and you get about 20 steams from every bag. To use the Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag, fill the bag with a few ounces of water, place the breast pump parts inside, and microwave for three minutes. Then, remove the parts, set them out to dry, and rinse the inside of the bag so it’s ready for the next steaming session. It’s that easy!

Breast Wipes: Bella B Nipple Nurture Breast Wipes

Breast wipes serve to clean breast pump accessories and mama’s breasts before and after nursing, and they’re perfect for the on-the-go, when you don’t have cleaning supplies at your disposal. These wipes contain soothing ingredients to help ease the pain of dry, cracked nipples as well.

We’re fond of Bella B’s Nipple Nurture Breast Wipes because they contain all-natural ingredients, such as soothing aloe vera, and actually have a ‘cooling’ feel. They’re scentless, gentle, and don’t leave behind a sticky residue. And, they’re available on our site for less than $5. You’ll also find these essentials in our Breastfeeding Box.

Nipple Butter: Promise Mango Sucker Butter Nipple Cream

Nipple butter is a must for any breastfeeding mama to soothe (and ideally, prevent) dry, cracked nipples. As a bonus, nipple butter can even help to get rid of stretch marks. We recommend stocking up on a jar or two of nipple butter — and making sure that’s one item you always have on hand — to combat discomforts.  

Our favorite nipple butter is Promise’s Mango Sucker Butter Nipple Cream because it’s made with an ultra-hydrating blend of ingredients, including organic olive oil, mango seed butter, organic sunflower seed oil, kokum seed butter, poppy seed oil, and raspberry seed oil.

Bonus? It’s fast absorbing and safe enough to be used all over you + baby, including on chapped lips. We’re such massive fans over here, we’ve included this as our nipple butter of choice in our Breastfeeding Box.

Many moms also love Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream because it’s simple, safe, and it works virtually overnight. Most importantly, it’s fragrance and chemical-free, hypoallergenic, and 100% natural. Plus, it has over 20K reviews on Amazon, so you can feel pretty confident in its quality. 

Note: Pregnancy-safe skincare isn’t always easy to find, and some skincare products designed for pregnancy symptoms aren’t guaranteed to be safe. Always read ingredient labels when shopping for new skincare products to use during pregnancy.

Hydrogel Soothing Packs: Medela Tender Care Hydrogel Pads

In addition to nipple butter, many moms use hydrogel soothing patches for relief from cracked, dry, and sore nipples. These cooling gel patches have a gentle adhesive so you can apply them directly to your skin for instant relief. As their name suggests, these patches provide a cool sensation to alleviate tenderness and swelling as well. Some even contain extra moisturizing materials to promote faster healing. 

Medela sells our go-to cooling patches, the Medela Tender Care Hydrogel Pads, and they’re available right here in our shop. We like these hydrogel patches because they’re reusable, have contours to stick to mom’s skin, and are easy to put on and pull off.  

They’re also made with clean, safe ingredients, so they won’t cause skin irritations and can work for all mamas.  

We also love Earth Mama’s Booby Tubes, which are gel-free breast packs that can be used to provide comforting heat or cold to your tatas. Using them warm helps with tenderness, milk flow, and let-down, while using them cold helps with swelling and engorgement.

Comfy and practical nursing clothes 

When to buy: 3rd trimester and after baby arrives

Just like you need maternity clothes as your bump grows, you also need nursing clothes as your body adjusts after birth. Your body will need time to recover after leaving the hospital, and your boobs may feel swollen or sore (especially during the early weeks of breastfeeding), so loose-fitting clothes are best for the first months postpartum. Plus, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of easy-access nursing clothes and bras for the duration of your breastfeeding journey.  

Supportive Nursing Bra: Suekaphin Nursing Bra

Breastfeeding can leave your boobs sore, tender, and swollen, so normal bras and skin-tight sports bras aren’t really an option while you breastfeed. Nursing bras are soft like sports bras but supportive like bras with wiring to keep mom’s boobs lifted, without causing pain. What makes them ‘nursing bras’ are their strategic flaps that open to allow for easy boob access and convenient feeding.

Overall, nursing bras serve three main purposes: they keep full, sore breasts comfortable; they make breastfeeding easier; and they support mom’s shoulders and back. Just make sure they’re not too tight, since that can cause discomfort and lead to blocked milk ducts (mastitis).   

Although we mentioned not going overboard on breastfeeding supplies earlier, we do suggest you buy a handful of nursing bras so you always have a clean one on hand. Suekaphin’s Nursing Bras on Amazon are available in a 5-pack, and they’re made with a soft, spandex-y fabric, suitable for day or night, and adjustable to fit any mama.

Breastfeeding Clothes

Nursing bras make breastfeeding more convenient, but bras aren’t the only piece of clothing moms have to hassle with during feedings. Nursing tops complement nursing bras to make feedings a breeze. While button-up shirts are a simple go-to for breastfeeding, you can also find other nursing clothes and lounge sets on Amazon. Below are a few of our favorite options:   

Breastfeeding supplies for baby’s nursery 

When to buy: When setting up baby’s nursery 

We recommend having a ‘breastfeeding station’ in the baby’s nursery so you have a quiet, relaxing place to breastfeed your little ones. 

Most new parents prepare a dedicated spot for breastfeeding while setting up the nursery, but these items can wait until the third trimester if necessary. 

You can store all of your breastfeeding supplies in the nursery, too, but you’ll want to keep some on-the-go items available in your diaper bag as well.

Breastfeeding Pillow: My Brest Friend Original Nursing Posture Pillow

Breastfeeding pillows are beneficial for both mom and baby because they make breastfeeding more comfortable for all parties. And the more comfortable you are, the more relaxed you’ll be, and the more successful feedings will be.

For starters, you’ll need a nursing pillow. Nursing pillows wrap around your torso to keep your baby in the best position for breastfeeding, and as a result, you’re able to sit more comfortably and rest your arms while your baby nurses. 

Nursing pillows also free up your hands so you can read a book or scroll through your phone while feeding. In addition, these pillows make it more comfortable to breastfeed on the couch or in bed, if you wants to move from the nursery, and they can even be taken on-the-go for mobile feedings. 

Breastfeeding moms should look for a pillow that’s equally cushioning and supportive, which is why we recommend something with a foam core — My Brest Friend’s Original Nursing Posture Pillow has a soft but resilient foam core and is wrapped with a smooth, washable cotton cover. 

We also like this pillow because it has a simple design, is lightweight, and has a storage pocket to hold bottles or anything else mom wants within reach.

Comfortable Nursing Chair: Storkcraft Premium Hoop Glider and Ottoman

New moms spend a lot of time breastfeeding — newborns can nurse for hours in a single day, and throughout the night, too — so it’s a good idea to set yourself up with a comfy chair so you can kick back and unwind while feeding your baby. 

Rocking chairs are a classic for nurseries, but they should have comfortable cushions for long breastfeeding sessions. And many moms like a footstool or ottoman to rest their tired feet. 

Our favorite option is Storkcraft’s Premium Hoop Glider and Ottoman because it’s a modern, more comfortable version of the classic rocker. It has storage pockets, neutral-colored foam cushions, and the ottoman even glides for extra comfort. Not to mention, it’s Amazon’s #1 best seller for ‘Nursery Glider & Ottoman Sets’ and receives glowing reviews from breastfeeding moms across the board. 

On-the-go breastfeeding essentials 

When to buy: 2nd or 3rd Trimester

Unfortunately, maternity leave has to end at some point, and moms must return to their everyday schedules. But, that doesn’t mean breastfeeding ends. Adjusting to nursing while on-the-go or out in public can be difficult or awkward at times, but with the right breastfeeding supplies, you can feel confident and prepared for any situation.

Nursing Cover: Keababies Multi-Use Breastfeeding Cover

A good breastfeeding cover helps you maintain privacy while nursing, and many breastfeeding covers can also double as car seat covers and mobile changing mats, so you can keep your diaper bag light with one simple product. 

The Keababies Carseat Canopy is a perfect example of a cover that goes beyond creating privacy for nursing moms — we like this cover because it works with almost any car seat, stroller, or chair; helps with breastfeeding; doubles as a baby blanket; and keeps your baby concealed from the sun and chilly temperatures. It’s also machine-washable and made with breathable, lightweight cotton.  

Want something simpler? Grab our Infinity Breastfeeding Scarf. You can buy it on its own, but we’ve included it in our Breastfeeding Box for your convenience.  

Breast Milk Storage Bags: Junobie Eco-Friendly Reusable Breast Milk Bag, Motif Breast Milk Storage Bags & Medela Breast Milk Storage Bags

Other must-haves for any breastfeeding mama, whether on-the-go or storing milk at home, are milk storage bags and reusable bottles. The amount of milk you produce can change all throughout your time breastfeeding, so when you’re producing more milk than your baby needs, you’ll need a way to save it for later.  

Reusable bottles are convenient when storing milk at home in the fridge for a short period and when pumping on-the-go, but storage bags are better for freezing milk when you just have too much. 

As moms ourselves, our favs are the Junobie, Motif, and Medela brands because they’re BPA-free, baby-safe, easy to clean, and practically spill-proof. If you’ve ever cried over spilt breast milk, you know how important that is.    

Cooler Bag: Medela Breastmilk Cooler Kit

For long days away from home, breastfeeding moms will also want a cooler bag to keep her little one’s bottles chilled. Medela makes a nice cooler bag to complement their storage bottles, and their cooler kit comes with an ice pack, too. Medela’s Breastmilk Cooler Kit is also great for transporting your little one’s bottles to daycare or a sitter’s house. Even if the ride isn’t long, having a storage bag for bottles keeps things better organized. 

All-in-One Breastfeeding Tote — Pump & Cooler Kit: Medela Pump In Style Advanced – On-the-Go Tote 

The last item on our list is by no means a necessity, but it is extremely convenient for busy mamas or moms who want a single solution for breastfeeding supplies. Medela’s Pump In Style Advanced On-the-Go Tote includes everything from a double-electric breast pump for hands-free pumping to storage bottles and a cooler bag to keep breastmilk cold. It has all of the products you need for breastfeeding away from home, and it comes in a stylish backpack so you can stow your supplies away safely. Of course, every Medela product is made without BPAs and is entirely safe for mom and baby.

If you still have any pregnancy or breastfeeding questions, you can reach out to our Mom Squad. We’re happy to help!

Click here to check out our pregnancy subscription boxes.