Best Items to Have for Successful Breastfeeding

Published: June 17, 2014

This is a list of the best items to have to ensure successful breastfeeding. Items are judged by personal experience, and are strictly opinion. This is not meant to endorse any particular product, though the products mentioned have been personally assessed. 

  1. Boppy Pillow

    This is the number one item because it can be used in so many different ways! It elevates baby to a comfortable nursing position, can be used during tummy time, and later on to assist with sitting up. The pillows themselves come plain, but you can buy covers to accessorize that fit your style. Some come with covers, making it easy to purchase everything you need. Some come "naked" and you can personalize your own to your tastes. 

  2. Lansinoh Lanolin

    During the beginning, sore nipples are a huge problem. Help ease the tenderness by using 100% pure lanolin. The Lansinoh brand is the number one brand recommended by lactation consultants. Lanolin can be used on sore nipples, chapped lips, as a diaper rash ointment, and on some cuts and scrapes as a sort of bandage. With so many uses, you can keep a tube at home and in your diaper bag.  

  3. Diaper Bag

    The diaper bag is essential for taking a baby on the go. It stores everything you need, so make sure you get one big enough. You can take a nursing cover, lanolin, burp cloths, extra breast pads, and lots of other items that don't necessarily pertain to breastfeeding (toys, diapers, wipes, wallet, extra clothes, etc.)

  4. Nursing Bra

    Comfort is the name of the game. Something comfortable enough to easily unsnap in a pinch is neccessary. There are several different types available, and many look like regular bras. One suggestion for getting fitted for a nursing bra is to wait a few weeks after baby arrives and your milk supply is leveled off. Going to early can result in a poor fit. 

  5. Camisoles

    Layering a camisole under a regular shirt or sweater allows for easy covered breastfeeding. This will allow you to breastfeed baby without showing any skin you don't want to.

  6. Nursing Bracelet

    During the first few days of breastfeeding, it's hard to remember which side was last. Keep track by wearing a bracelet designed to remind you which side and how long. These are easy to use and are water proof so you don't have to worry about taking it off and forgetting to put it back on. They also come in different colors so you can choose which one you like best.

  7. Support

    Be it from a family member, spouse, or friend, support is essential to achieve your breastfeeding goals. If you are not finding any support from someone you know, try reaching out to a local breastfeeding group, like La Leche League International. If there is not a local chapter in your area, there may be a lactation consultant at a hospital nearby. Lactation consultants can offer medical advise and help with successful breastfeeding. Even a post partum Doula can help keep you comfortable, offer advise and support after you transition to your home with your baby.

  8. Comfortable Chair

    This can be a glider, a recliner, or even the bed if that is what is most comforatable. Comfort is key! Baby can feel when you are stressed, so it is important to remain calm and comfortable. Play some calming music or have magazines to read during this time, especially if baby likes to fall asleep at the breast. You will be spending a good amount of time here so make sure everything you need is within arms reach. It is nice to have a chair with pockets to store items like burp cloths and books. If this is not an option, look into placing a nightstand or small table next to your place. This can store items you need during breastfeeding. 

  9. Plenty to Eat

    There is no need to go on any particular diet while breastfeeding, but you may want to consider increasing your caloric intake. Breastfeeding can burn up to 600 calories/day! It is very important to nourish yourself so you can nourish your baby. Ask for help with preparing meals or try to prepare some ahead of time if you have time before baby arrives. Also, keep some snacks nearby your favorite area to nurse so they are always available. Keep things that are easy to prepare in your kitchen so that when hunger strikes, you are not discouraged by the task of cooking! Some suggestions for easy, good for you snacks are: granola bars, fruit, hummus, popcorn, cheese cubes, and guacamole.

  10. Water

    Breastfeeding requires lots and lots of water so keep hydrated. At least eight glasses a day. Try keeping a bottle or large glass of water nearby your favorite place to nurse. Often times, a good indicator of a successful latch is thirst. Also try to remember to drink water every couple of hours, even if you are not thirsty. Remember that caffeinated beverages can dehydrate, so make sure you account for coffee, sodas, and other beverages with caffeine (like tea) when considering your water intake. 

  11. Pump

    While a pump does not have to be fancy (it can be manual or electric, single or double), it is very important for breastfeeding. It helps alleviate the pressure of engorgement during the first few days, and can later allow you to have some time away from baby (hello, date night!). Many insurance companies now cover the cost of breast pumps so affording one is very easy! 

  12. The Internet

    The Internet is a boundless resource for all breastfeeding questions. Often you can find answers to concerns faster by looking online on websites like www.kellymom.com . You can also find links for credible breastfeeding websites that can offer support and information on several different topics involving breastfeeding.

  13. Nursing Pads

    During the first few months, your breasts will likely leak. They make several different kinds, including some that are extra soft for the beginning days, and even some that save the milk so you can store it!

Breastfeeding is a wonderful journey that is different for everyone. These items where found by me to be very helpful and in some cases, essential for the success of my personal experience breastfeeding. Hopefully you find success too! Hang in there, it can be tougher than you imagine.