July 19, 2017

These are the 11 nursing essentials for new moms.


As a working mom who successfully breastfed and pumped for all three of my children for about a year each, I love chatting with other moms about breastfeeding and everything that is needed. Whenever I talk to a new mom I usually get this question: What do I need for breastfeeding and pumping?

I learned a lot during my three-and-a-half years of breastfeeding. I truly believe it is one of the best things I have done for my children and am thankful that it was a positive experience.

If you are planning to breastfeed, you can use my breastfeeding essentials checklist:

1. Good nursing bras

My first trip out of the house with both of my newborns was to go buy some quality, well-made nursing bras. I quickly learned after my first child that the cheap bras I bought at a big-box store were not going to cut it. If you plan to nurse for a long time, the investment is worth it.

2. Nursing pads

Most women need these, at least in the first weeks of nursing. My favorite were the kind by Medela. You can also find reusable pads that can be washed in your washing machine.

3. Lanolin

This salve helps create a protective barrier on your nipples, and can also help heal sore, chapped or cracked nipples. I recommend using it from the get-go so that your nipples are as protected as possible. A little bit goes a long way and you will likely only need one tube for the entire time you nurse.

4. Soothies

These round gel pads were lifesavers to me during those first days of nursing and severe tenderness. They are especially awesome cold: Just put them in your fridge.

5. Prenatal vitamins

Taking vitamins continues to be important after the baby arrives.

6. A nursing pillow

I used with each one of my babies. While yes, you can use a regular pillow, in my opinion, one designed for nursing is much easier and more comfortable.

7. “The Nursing Mother’s Companion”

This book is a fantastic resource, not just in the first weeks of nursing but throughout your nursing journey.

8. A cover

I preferred using a nursing cover when nursing in public. Be sure that your cover has plenty of fabric and is one that you like. It might seem silly, but I loved that mine had ruffles on it.


If you plan to pump, you will also need:

9. An electric pump with properly sized shields

Hospitals offer pumps that you can rent if you are not sure you want to make an investment in an electric pump. Be sure that when you are at the hospital you have a lactation specialist help determine what size shields you need. Many women need a size other than what comes with the pump. Being fitted in the hospital will save you a lot of pain and frustration!

10. A hands-free bra

I honestly don’t know how I pumped for a year (with my first child) without one! These are so, so awesome and make pumping so much easier.

11. Breast-milk storage bags.

You will need special bags for your “liquid gold” to store it in the refrigerator and freezer. I found that the generic bags worked just fine.


This post was written by Jessica Turner, a part of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s social media team. She loves spending time with her family, memory keeping and blogging on her popular lifestyle blog, The Mom Creative.