Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding Essentials
A complete list of what you need for breastfeeding or formula feeding your baby.
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Nursing Pillow: Nursing pillows are great when you are feeding your baby or just rocking them. You can also use it later on when your little one is sitting up but you want something behind them in case they topple over. You may want to purchase several covers especially if your baby spits up a lot.
Nursing Cover: When purchasing a cover, you'll want to consider what makes you comfortable and what is comfortable for your baby. I initially had a thicker cover that provided more coverage but when the summer months hit, it ended up being too hot for me and my little one. I ended up buying a second thinner muslin cover which was more breathable and cool. Another great option is the multi-use covers. These versatile covers can be used as a nursing cover, car seat canopy, shopping cart cover, scarf, and more.
Breast Pump: Before purchasing a breast pump, check with your insurance provider to see if they will provide you with a free pump. My insurance company provided me with a free pump for each of my boys. They gave me a list of approved companies and pumps I could choose from. After doing some research, I went wit the Spectra Baby Pump.
Additional Bottles: Most pumps may come with 1 or 2 bottles. Additional bottles are nice to have if you are pumping often and don't want to be constantly cleaning the bottles.
Milk Storage Bags: The Lansinoh Storage Bags are great for storing and freezing breast milk. These bags also allow you to pump directly into the bag which I like.
Storage Bag Adapters: If you plan to pump directly into milk storage bags, you may need to purchase an adapter for your pump.
Pump Cleaning Supplies
Breast Pump Cleaning Wipes: You can hand-washed your pump accessories but cleaning wipes are really helpful for quick and easy clean up especially when you are away from home.
Breast Pump Cleaning Steam Bags: The Medela Quick Clean Steam Bags not only sanitize your pump accessories, but you can also use them to sanitize bottles, nipples, and pacifiers. Your only need water and a microwave and the bags can be used multiple times.
Pump Carrying Bag
Carrying Bag: Pumping handbags or backpacks are specifically designed for carrying a breast pump and pumping supplies. Browse pumping bags here. Depending on your situation, you may want a combo diaper bag and pumping bag or just a bag specifically for your pumping items. Of course, you don't have to use a bag designed to carry pumping items. You can use any bag that works the best for you.
Insulated Bag: If your bag does not have a compartment that is insulated to store your breast milk, you may consider buying an insulated bag or tote to keep your milk fresh. One commenter said she used an insulated lunch box to store her milk which she placed in the refrigerator at work. What a great idea!
Items for Mom
Hands-free Nursing Bra: A pumping bra makes pumping more convenient by keeping the bottles positioned and allowing you to have your hands free to do other things.
Nursing Bras: I recommend starting with at least 2 or 3 nursing bras and buying more as needed. You might need a larger size during the first month or so until your milk supply evens out then you may be able to go down a size. You may also want a couple of comfortable bras to sleep in. I had to wear something day and night for the first 3 months. I was constantly leaking milk!
Nursing Pads: I started with disposable nursing pads and then I discovered bamboo reusable nursing pads. I highly recommend reusable nursing pads. They work great and they save you money!
Nipple Cream: Breastfeeding can be painful especially at the beginning. Nipple cream will help keep the pain and chapping down.
Burp Cloths: How many burp cloths you will need will depend on your little one. We used a lot of burp cloths with my first son. We had at least 10 on hand. My second son didn't spit up at all and I didn't even pull them out.
Bottles: I would suggest starting with a small newborn starter kit from one or two brands. Nipples do come in different sizes, styles, and flow speeds. Once you find the one that works for your baby, you can invest in more as needed. All babies are different. Some babies aren't picky at all while others will only feed from a particular bottle or nipple.
Bottle Cleaning Accessories
Bottle Cleaning Accessories: A dishwasher basket, bottle and nipple brush, and bottle drying rack are helpful accessories. Here is a great bottle cleaning set.
Bottle-Feeding Optional Items:
Bottle Warmer: I didn't use a bottle warmer since I mainly breastfed, but you may want to invest in one if your baby is going to be bottle-fed. You can also warm up the milk by holding it under hot running water or placing it in a bowl of warm water.