What Do You Really Need To Start Your Breastfeeding Journey?

Welcome to the crazy, but wonderful world of motherhood and breastfeeding, where each day brings awe, laughter, and maybe a few tears. Learning to navigate breastfeeding can be daunting— we feel you, we’ve been there! So we wanted to share some tips and recommendations on the must-haves as you begin your journey.

Starting Your Breastfeeding Journey

Nursing Bras

When it comes to nursing bras, there is a wide array of options… clip down, pull aside, lift up. Try out a few styles to see what you like best. The most important consideration for the early days is to ensure your bras are really comfortable, stretchy, and non-constricting to avoid discomfort and clogged ducts (you may even consider sizing up to accommodate fluctuating cup sizes). I quickly learned that the underwire nursing bra I purchased was a mistake! I found myself most frequently grabbing my True & Co. bralettes, which although they’re not designed as nursing bras, they are incredibly comfy and the underbust is stretchy enough to lift up for nursing.

Nursing Clothes

It’s a crazy realization that every outfit you now try on requires boob access! While you don't need to overhaul your entire wardrobe, having a few key nursing-friendly pieces can be incredibly helpful— especially tops and dresses like The Modern Nursing Dress. You can then add in oversize tees, button-downs, and wrap-front styles to your rotation. Find a capsule of items that make you feel good while allowing for effortless nursing access, particularly as you start venturing out and about.

Breast Pads

You’ll want absorbent breast pads to stay dry from letdowns and leaking milk in the first couple of months. Choose between disposable and washable/reusable options, depending on your preference. The disposable pads are my go-to outside the house since they aren’t bulky and obvious under your clothes (make sure to pack extra!). But I love the comfort of reusables at home and especially at night.

Nipple Cream

Nipple cream is a lifesaver for reducing soreness in the early days of feeding. I have liked both Motherlove and Tiny Human’s organic and lanolin-free creams. You can also try out natural options like coconut oil, olive oil, or your own breast milk! Apply frequently throughout the day to avoid cracked nipples.

Milk-Savers and Silicone Breast Pumps

Not everyone loves these, but I have found the Haakaa to be incredibly handy (once I got the hang of it)! It is great for catching your letdown on the opposite side baby is nursing from, helping to build a small stash of milk for occasional bottles before introducing pumping into your routine.

Sunflower Lecithin Supplements

During my breastfeeding journey with my first baby, I discovered Sunflower Lecithin supplements after experiencing clogged ducts. Lecithin reduces the stickiness of your milk so that it can flow more freely through the ducts. With my second baby, I have taken supplements regularly from the beginning and I think they’ve played a significant role in helping me avoid clogged ducts!

Breast Pump

As you consider incorporating a breast pump in your routine, you’ll find there are endless types available. If you're looking for a starting point, the Spectra is widely regarded as the best all-around choice. I personally used the Medela for my first baby and had no complaints, except for limited portability. I discovered the Baby Buddha for my second baby, and it has been a game-changer! It's not a cordless wearable, but it's portable, allows for hands-free pumping, and is surprisingly powerful for its compact size. Remember, your insurance likely covers some, if not all, of the cost of a breast pump, and you can easily order one through websites like Aeroflow Breastpumps or 1 Natural Way— I've ordered from both without any issues.

Pumping Bras

While it's possible to hold breast pump flanges manually during pumping (which some people prefer), a good pumping bra can provide you with valuable hands-free pumping. This was especially crucial for me while pumping at work and once I started managing both a toddler and a baby while pumping. I have liked the strapless zip front styles that I layer on top of my unclipped nursing bra, but there are also innovative nursing/pumping combo bras available (which I’ve yet to try!).

Storage Containers

If you plan on freezing your breast milk, having storage bags on hand is essential. There are disposable options as well as reusable silicone options available. Remember to squeeze any extra air out when you close the bags and lay them flat to freeze for easy storage! For storing freshly pumped breast milk in the fridge, you can use storage bags or clean, food-grade containers (your pump might come with some of these).


Seek support whenever you need it— whether it's asking for encouragement from your partner and family, exchanging breastfeeding experiences with friends, or scheduling time with a lactation consultant to receive expert help and advice. Navigating new motherhood and breastfeeding can be a lot, but you don't have to go it alone!


Hopefully this list helps boost your confidence for your breastfeeding journey. These essentials will get you ready for bb's arrival and you can add additional items as you establish your routine and discover what works best for you. Happy breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding Must Haves

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