Breastfeeding is a beautiful learning process for mum and bub. It’s not always easy, and a little helping hand may be all you need to help overcome the challenges.
One of the keys to breastfeeding is to make like the Girl Guides and be prepared! This Ultimate Breastfeeding Checklist details breastfeeding essentials and some things that are nice to have on hand for your breastfeeding journey. From a comfy place to sit, to ways to soothe sore breasts, there are a host of items that are genuinely helpful (and certainly saved my breastfeeding sanity!)
We’ve even included a handy, downloadable checklist at the bottom of this article. You’re welcome!
Ultimate Breastfeeding Checklist
Get organised and prepared for breastfeeding with our MoM Guide Breastfeeding Checklist.
Somewhere comfy and cosy to settle in for breastfeeding is a must – you’ll be spending plenty of hours here! There are different options, including rocking, gliding and stationary. But the key is to look for a chair that has nice, wide arms to help get bub into a great breastfeeding position. You may also want to get a footstool to help elevate your feet.
Nursing bras aren’t just for breastfeeding, they should be worn in pregnancy, to help support and comfort growing breasts. Underwire can impact tissue and ducts, so go for nursing bras designed for the task. And, at least to begin with, you’ll be wearing them to bed to help hold nursing pads in place while you sleep. Yep, boobs still leak while you’re sleeping!
There’s a whole host of different nursing pillows to choose from, and they all help keep baby in the optimal position for feeding, whether that’s traditional or football hold. Buy a nursing pillow during pregnancy, as you’ll find they’re also handy for cradling your bump while sleeping.
Available in disposable or washable options, nursing pads are a must. I must admit, I had no idea I needed these when I had my first, and woke up a soggy mess after my first night in hospital! They help catch leaking breastmilk, which can happen at any time, but usually kicks in when you hear your (or someone else’s!) baby cry.
Comfortable, easily accessible nursing clothes make it so much easier to whip out the girls when it’s time to feed. You don’t need specific breastfeeding clothes if you’re trying to stick to a budget. Button-down shirts and stretchy tops work well too. Also you may want to invest in a nursing cover, if you’d prefer less distractions for bub.
Even if you don’t think you’ll need or use a breast pump, honestly, just get one. I wasn’t planning on using a breast pump, but things didn’t quite go to plan at hospital when I had my baby, so my husband had to rush out and buy me one. And that thing got a work out over the next few years for all of my babies! Whether it’s manual or electric, do some breast pump research and find one you think will be suit.
Whether you plan on expressing, or want to mix-feed, baby bottles are a must have. Newborn sizes are quite small, but get a few different sizes and even types because baby’s can be fussy little creatures!
There are a few different types of sterilisers available, but the two main types are electric or microwave. They help rid bottles and breast pump parts of any germs. Just rinse the bottles, dummies and pump parts in soapy, hot water, then place them in the steriliser, which will steriliser and dry them ready for the next use.
Breastmilk Storage Bags and Containers
If you want to pump a stash of breastmilk, you’ll need either breastmilk storage bags or containers to stow pumped milk in the freezer or fridge. You need to use specially-designed bags, which have been sterilised and ready for use.
Soothing and nourishing nipple cream or balm will help keep nipples supple and provide relief, particularly early on. Nipples can become cracked and sore, but even if they’re not nipple balm is a great to add as part of your self-care routine.
Breastfeeding Hot and Cold Packs
Sometimes, breastfeeding is a pain. Literally. Gel pads help give some relief to sore boobs and may help with engorgement and letdown. Use them frozen or heated depending on what type of relief you need, and they fit neatly in a nursing bra for hands-free relief.
There are a few different reasons you might need nipple shields, and all of them make it worthwhile having some on hand. They fit over your nipples and can help protect sore or cracked nipples, or help bub latch. I used them for the entire year I breastfed my first because he had a terrible latch, and they were a lifesaver.
There’s no need to get fancy here, a terry towel will work beautifully to keep you and baby free of any follow through your bundle of joy may have after a burp!
Handy to have breastfeeding items
While not essential, there are a few things that are really handy to have nearby every time you breastfeed:
- Side table: Somewhere to keep all of the essentials!
- Phone charger: Because being trapped under a feeding baby with two percent on your phone is no fun!
- Water bottle: Breastfeeding is thirsty work!
- Sanitiser: Always worth having on hand.
- Lip balm: You’ll thank us later for reminding you to have one at every spot you breastfeed!
- Lactation cookies: Delicious and milk-boosting. Why not?!
- Nightlight: To help keep baby nice and snoozy during night feeds.
- Nail Clippers: Breastfeeding is the perfect time to tackle those tiny talons!
Things to remember
We’re not going to sugar coat it – breastfeeding can be difficult, for mum and bub. It really is a learned experience and can be a bit of an uphill climb. Don’t feel like you have to wade through it in silence. If you’re finding any aspect difficult, painful or emotionally overwhelming, there’s plenty of help available.
Downloadable Breastfeeding Checklist
Save this handy breastfeeding checklist to your phone. Just press and hold on the checklist below and click ‘download image’ or ‘add to photos’ and it will be on your phone when you need it. You’ll be sorted in no time!
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