Mother and Baby

12 essential items to help with breastfeeding

If you are planning to breastfeed, then it's time to get acquainted with the clever products which will make the whole experience easier (and enjoyable!) for both of you.

We aren't saying you need to splash out on the entire list, but there are some buys that can really help your nursing game. Engorged nipples? Try a nipple balm. Need a break? Invest in a breast pump. And it goes without saying that every parent needs a muslin cloth (lifesaver, right?) 

Have some of these to hand when breastfeeding your baby to help make life a little bit easier... 

Breastfeeding essentials checklist: 

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1) Breast pump

If you need to relieve engorged breasts, or are stashing milk for a night feed, you’ll need a breast pump.
Whether you opt for a hand pump (cheaper) or go for an electric version (quicker), it’s a useful item for your breastfeeding kit. 

We love the Elvie Pump, which is the world's first silent wearable breast pump. When it was released in October, the product sold out quickly due to high demand but it has recently been restocked. Take a look at M&B's review of the Elvie Pump, here. 
Check out our full guide to the best breast pumps, here. 
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2) Nipple cream 

Soothe sore nipples with a moisturising balm that will help you avoid the dryness that can cause cracked nipples and irritated skin.
We recommend MooGoo Mudder Udder Balm, £9.90. It’s fragrance free, pH balanced and safe to feed your baby after it has been applied.
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3) Nursing pads

In the early days when your breasts are particularly engorged, it’s handy to put breast pads into your bra to soak up any milk that leaks out. Yep, that does happen.
Try Organ(y)c Cotton breast pads, which are made from 100% organic cotton and are soft and gentle on delicate post-pregnancy skin, £4.79 for 24 pads. 
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4) Maternity Bra

To make it easier when feeding your baby every few hours, wear a maternity bra. It has cups that you can unclip from the strap so your baby can reach the nipple without you having to remove bras etc. What’s more, today’s maternity bras can be as glamourous as a regular bra – we love Panache Sophie Maternity Bra, £29, panache-lingerie.com.

Check out M&B's round-up of the best maternity bras, here. 
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5) Breast vest

If you want to wear your pre-baby clothes (or have discovered all of your breastfeeding tops are in the wash), you can convert a top or t-shirt into a breastfeeding friendly top by wearing a Breastvest underneath.
The specially shaped vest covers up your post natal tummy, but stops just underneath your bust so you can lift up your t-shirt easily to feed and don’t have to worry about trying to pull your top down low. £15, breastvest.co.uk.
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6) Breastfeeding cover

While it’s not imperative to cover up while you’re breastfeeding, if you’re feeling self-conscious, you can drape a cardigan, large muslin or ever a special breastfeeding cover over you. Try Bebe Au Lait, £35, blossommotherandchild.com.
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7) Bedside cot

To help with night feeds, a bedside cot is ideal. It means you can slide your baby across for without having to get out of bed, so it’s also handy if you’re not particularly mobile after birth or have had a c-section. This bedside crib sits flush with your mattress and one side drops away, making a safe extension bed for you and your baby. It’s also available to rent with a new mattress and fabric panels. Bednest Bedside Cot, £299, nctshop.co.uk.

Check out M&B's guide to the best bedside cots for co-sleeping
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8) Breastfeeding pillow

Ideal for resting your baby on while you feed, a pillow can be a great support and ensures your baby is at the right height so he can feed well. The pillow can also be used to support your baby so he can sit up unaided.
Try the Chicco Boppy pillow, £37.99, Amazon.
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9) Nipple shields

For badly cracked nipples that are stopping you from breastfeeding, nipple shields can provide temporary relief. However, they shouldn’t be used in the long-term as they can prevent your baby suckling correctly, which could affect your milk supply. Medela Contact Nipple Shields are made from soft silicone which is odourless and tasteless for your baby (£8.99, Mothercare).
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10) Milk storage bags

If you’re breast pumping to keep milk for later, you can store them in plastic bottles (that have been pre-sterilised) or breast milk bags. They need to be strong, durable and leak-proof. Try Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature milk storage bags, £6.99 for 36, Mothercare.
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11) Muslins cloths

Ideal for mopping any dribbles from your baby, leaks from you or for draping over your shoulder when you’re burping your baby.
We like the Jungle Print Muslin Squares from Jojo Maman Bebe. 
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12) Breast compresses

For engorged breasts that feel sore, or to soothe pain if you have plugged ducts or mastitis, try a hot or cold breast compress. You can create your own using a muslin soaked in warm or cold water, or you can buy a specially shaped gel compress. Try Lansinoh Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy, Amazon. 

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Winner of Immediate Media Award for 'Magazine Journalist of the Year 2016. Her hobbies include truffle mac and cheese, Class Pass and relentlessly checking (and scolding!) the weather app.

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