Breastfeeding success hinges on getting off to a good start.

Breastfeeding isn’t easy. In fact, it can be frustrating, exhausting, and even painful at times. Especially in those first few weeks.

Many women lose confidence, get overwhelmed, don’t get the support they need, and end up quitting breastfeeding early on.

I want to close those barriers and give you the proper tools to help you be successful at breastfeeding.

These 7 essentials will help you get off to the right start in your breastfeeding journey.

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7 Breastfeeding Essentials

You will need some nursing bras, but don’t buy too many before baby comes, as your bra size may change.

I preferred these sleeper nursing bras, and honestly, I wear them all the time. They are super comfortable, have easy access, and you don’t have to deal with those obnoxious clips when you are halfway asleep trying to pull your boob out at 2 am.

Breastfeeding is natural, sure, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require any learning from baby and mom. It will take some time to get the hang of breastfeeding, and your nipples have to take the bullet for that.

Your nipples will be sore those first few weeks, and it may be tough to breastfeed at times, but having baby to breast is the only way your body is going to know how much milk to make.

Having a good nipple cream is a lifesaver in order to get through those tough first weeks. I loved Earth Mama’s Organic Nipple Butter (and so did my nipples!).

If you are in extreme pain while nursing or experiencing pain after the initial weeks, be sure to meet with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and have your baby’s latch evaluated.

Soothies Gel Pads are another lifesaver during those first few weeks. I liked to put mine in the fridge or freezer, so they were nice and cold when putting them on my nipples. They brought such relief!

Unless you don’t mind having wet circles where your boobs are out in public and going through more bras and shirts than needed, then you will need some nursing pads, because there WILL be leaks.

I love these reusable bamboo nursing pads. They are super comfortable, unlike those itchy and irritating disposable ones. Plus, they are good for the environment and cost effective. Win, win win!

Breastfeeding makes you THIRSTY! Plus, staying hydrated is so important for keeping your milk supply up.

You’ll want to keep a large water bottle near you at all times. Get one with a straw because you aren’t going to have two hands to unscrew a cap. 😉

The hubby and I had a pretty good system worked out for when baby woke up at night. He would change her diaper, and I would go to the bathroom and fill up my water bottle and then come back to nurse to her. My husband also did a great job of making sure my water bottle was full at all times during the day. (See dads can be involved in breastfeeding!)

Manual pumps are perfect for traveling and work great for a lot of women who don’t respond well to electric pumps. Plus, they’re super handy for when you just need a two minute pump to get some relief from engorgement

Just be sure not to pump too much though, otherwise it could lead to an oversupply, which actually is not a good thing and create several breastfeeding issues on its own. 

Babies are so tiny and helpless those first few months. You basically have to do all the work for them, and unless you want to be holding baby every time you nurse (sometimes for hours at a time during those cluster feedings!), then you’ll need a good nursing pillow to help support your baby.

The Boppy works perfect for a nursing pillow, and you also get the most bang for your buck, because it can be used for so many other things, like propping baby up, tummy time, and helping baby learn to sit up. 

It really came in handy for our reflux baby, as we had to keep her propped up for 20-30 minutes after each feeding. We did place a folded blanket under her back to help support her spine. 

One More Key Thing

This post should really be called 8 essentials for breastfeeding success, because I am actually going to add in one more, and that’s a SUPPORT SYSTEM. This is a big one for most breastfeeding moms.

Having a supportive husband and family can make a HUGE difference in your breastfeeding success.

Surround yourself with supportive people by joining your local La Leche League Facebook Group, attending breastfeeding support groups, and finding a local postpartum play group. Be sure to tell your husband and family how important this is to you that you succeed.

Breastfeeding is truly a bonding experience like no other, and I hope these tips will make your breastfeeding experience successful and enjoyable.

What About You?

Did you find this post helpful? Share your favorite tools or tips that made your breastfeeding journey a little easier in the comments below and be sure to share this post with all of your expecting mom friends. 

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  1. Brooks on July 26, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Another thing I’d add is BURP CLOTHS!! Because I don’t know about you, but my baby LOVES to pull off while breastfeeding, in the middle of my letdown, and milk goes EVERYWHERE!! ? I’ve sprayed my husband multiple times. I always have a burp rag nearby so I can stop the spray!!! I love breastfeeding and wouldn’t be able to do it without my boppy though, I adore that thing. I was lucky enough to get it at my baby shower and I’ve used it since day one!!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on August 5, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      Oh yes, burp cloths are a good addition! My LO didn’t unlatch too many times, but it definitely did happen, and then I’d have to wash the sheets. Lol

  2. Claire on June 3, 2017 at 9:09 am

    I broke down and bought a manual pump with my 2nd child because I was going to be in the car a lot JUST AFTER she was born. Have to admit I think it gave me carpal tunnel(!) but for sure got a lot more milk when pumping that way. I think it may have contributed to my success in feeding/pumping that year. Out of 4 kids, I had the most milk with that one.

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 3, 2017 at 10:11 am

      That’s awesome to hear how well the manual pump worked for you! Using a manual pump that much would for sure be hard on your hands! Props to you for breastfeeding four kids! That’s awesome!

  3. Brittany on June 1, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    So true about the water bottle! I was soooo thirsty when I was breastfeeding. I always had to have a huge water bottle with me!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 2, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Right? Sometimes, I even considered just buying a huge straw and putting it in a gallon jug of water. Lol

  4. Angela Milnes on June 1, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I do like the medela pump. This is the one I had for my daughter.

  5. Sunny on June 1, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    All great must-haves for the breastfeeding mama, thanks for this round up! I loved my hand pump (in addition to my electric pump) for long road trips. And of course there’s no way I could’ve made it without my Boppy!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 1, 2017 at 8:34 pm

      Yes, I found the hand pump nice to use at home and on trips rather than lugging out the electric one, which I mainly used when working. Boppy is a must! My dogs even try to steal the Boppy. Lol

  6. Alex on June 1, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I bought every single one of these items before I had my baby. Ended up not being able to breastfeed for long. Love my boppy!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 1, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that you weren’t able to breastfeed for very long, but in the end, what matters is a happy, healthy baby! My dogs even love the boppy. Lol

  7. Jenn Jg on June 1, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Staying hydrated is so important when breastfeeding! I loved the Boppy, one of the best inventions ever for so many different baby uses even beyond breastfeeding!

    • Messy Mom Nicolle on June 1, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      Staying hydrated really is that important! The Boppy really is such a great product! My dogs even try to sleep on it all the time. Lol

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