*Updated! After having my 2nd lil one now for 10 months… during a pandemic… I have updated this list to the items that have sustained us.*
When it’s not your first rodeo, you’ve already evaluated what items you thought were essential and what items were really unnecessary. But, that’s all relative depending on who you speak to. I generally suggest finding parents who have the same or similar parenting style and personality as you, and that your babies have similar personalities / temperaments when looking for suggestions and tips. Advice is not always welcomed by everyone, but if you want it, this little tip makes it easier when searching for the answer that suits you. This is the first lil post on items I love for baby. I decided to start by sharing my top fave nursing essentials, so I hope this helps the mama needing to know where to begin their descent down the rabbit hole of all the baby things.
baby nursing essentials
- Spectra S1 Plus Electric Breast Pump >> After my first child, I was so interested in try this out. I had previously used Medela PISA. I thought it worked fine…until I tried Spectra. I didn’t know what I was missing out on. This one simulates the suction of a baby more accurately and was just overall most comfortable.
- Maymom Backflow Protector, Long Stem, for Spectra S1, S2 and 9 Pumps to use Medela Flanges and Medela Parts >> Now, if you’re like me and you got gifted some hand me down Medela parts or just previously owned a Medela system, these little guys help you save money and use all your medela parts with your spectra just fine! Saves money AND I much prefer the quality and usefulness of the Medela parts and bottle system too.
- My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow Waterproof Slipcover >> I prefer this over other nursing pillows simply because it has a clasp to secure it to your body AND a pocket for storage. This is the waterproof cover for it. The pillow itself is a porous and absorbent foam. If you have any spills it will just absorb into the pillow without this cover (and get nasty). I put this cover on first (modified by taking off the pocket with a seam ripper), and then I put the plush cover on for comfort (for baby).
- My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow + Deluxe Slipcover >> the soft cover so you and baby are comfy and cozy
- Haakaa Manual Breast Pump Milk Saver >>> This is kinda a cool magical little thing. While breastfeeding you can cup it with suction over the other breast, and it will catch your let down as you nurse!! I could sometimes get at least 2-3 ounces! This is the newer version than I have and has a better cap now. (Elvie just came out with some cool things similar to this, called the Elvie Catch but I haven’t tried)
- Breast Pump Bag, Pumping Backpack, Tote Handles >> I didn’t love the bag that the Medela came with. I wish I would’ve got the backpack version but with a nicer style like this one. When I had to travel, the backpack was more convenient (especially through Europe when I had to shoot a wedding).
- Medela Breastfeeding Gift Set, Breast Milk Storage System >> These are a good staple to have if you do want to use actual bottles. Commonly known to be good for breastfed babies. But certainly not the only option. I received lots of hand me downs of this so it came in handy when I needed it.
- OXO Tot Breast Pump Parts Compact Drying Rack with Detail Brushes >> For when you need to clean your pumping parts on the go. My least favorite thing to do. I love this lil handy thing.
- 12 Pcs Empty Bottle Travel Soap Bottle | Plastic Foam Dispenser Bottle | Mini Foaming Soap Pump Dispenser >> I LOVE these lil things. Helpful when you need to wash the parts on the go…compact and easy to store in your bag. Just put a tsp of the Dapple soap (see next item) and fill with water and you have a perfect foam soap. I put one in the diaper bag as well as my breast pump travel bag.
- Dapple Breast Pump Cleaner, Plant-Based, Fragrance Free, 8 Ounce Bottle, Hypoallergenic, Liquid Soap for Breast Pumps and Breast Pump Parts >> This little soap lasts such a long time with the method I shared above with the travel soap dispenser. Works well on all the milky build up on my pump parts too.
- Essential Pump&Nurse All in One Nursing and Hands Free Pumping Bra >> I love a comfy nursing bra that is easy to pop the pump on quickly without any hassle. Points for being able to use it even with out a pump attached to you!
- Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer >> We used this to sterilize anything that would come into contact with baby’s mouth… toys, pacifiers, the occasional bottle etc.
- Medela Tender Care Hydrogel Pads, 2 Pack >> THESE were the most soothing amazing things ever to me. It was instant cool action to soothe sore cracked nipples. They’re pricey, but I was gifted some from a lactation consultant and couldn’t live without them in those first few weeks!
- Motherlove Nipple Cream (1 oz.) Organic Lanolin-Free Herbal Salve >> For those first couple months of torture and pain on your boobs. It helps soothe. I used Lanisoh too, but have heard wonders about this one too. They all work the same in my opinion.
- Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter >> This is another awesome soothing option
- Tommee Tippee Portable Travel Baby Bottle Warmer >> For those moments when you’re on the go and need to warm up the breast milk! I don’t use this myself, my husband does! He takes the baby when I need a break, and simply warms the milk while out and about with ease.
- PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure >> A great little travel freezer pack! Great for on the go storing of breast milk and later on for toddler food & snacks! Zips up to be compact when you need to put it in the freezer too!
- Boon, NURSH Reusable Silicone Pouch Bottle, Air-Free Feeding, 4 Ounce with Stage 1 Slow Flow Nipple (Pack of 3) >> We actually really love these bottles. We use the medela for storage because we were given them as hand me downs, but these are our faves for feeding with a bottle. Helps with too much air getting to the baby because the silicone collapses.
- Milkies Freeze: Organize & Store Your Breast Milk >> A nice way to organize your storage of milk in the freezer so you can see the dates and have it easily accessible.
- The First Years Breastflow Milk Storage Organizer >> Depending on the orientation of your freezer, this might be a better storage option if you have a chest freezer.
- Cotton Nursing Cover – Large Breastfeeding Cover with Built-in Burp Cloth & Pocket >> I love this nursing cover because it has an opening that lets me and baby breathe and not get too hot. It also has a pocket and burp cloth built in.
- HEROCLIP Carabiner Clip and Hook (Mini) >> Sometimes you will find yourself in a bathroom with no hooks…. this will be super annoying. I like to have a travel one with us just in case…because ew bathroom floors…
- ChongErfei Postpartum Support Recovery Belly Wrap Waist/Pelvis Belt Body Shaper Postnatal Shapewear >> I used this to help slim down and recover after delivery, Not necessarily breast feeding related except that in combination with nursing, this could help your torso get back to normal sooner (especially helps in the case of c-sections!).
- Elvie Pump – Double Electric Breast Pump >> Now…I saved this for the bottom of the list because I know it can be a bit of a splurge and not easy to afford. But…it has compeltely changed my outlook on pumping. Game changer for sure. I no longer dread having. to pump because of how easy they are to use on the go and especially while I’m working. If you can swing it, then I’d say its worth it.
- Square Mini Backpack – Universal Thread >> Both my Elvies and my Packit (snack size) frozen pouch fit wonderfully in this compact backpack. I love that theres no lugging of a bulky pump with me while I shoot…AND its cute.
- HONORABLE MENTION (Not pictured) Kiinde Twist Breast Milk Storage Bag Baby Feeding System >> With my first baby we hardly ever used actual bottles! We didn’t have to wash or sanitize hardly ever and its because of this handy little system. I would pump into medela containers (to get an accurate oz measurement, then pour it in a kiinde bag, freeze it and all you have to do is put the bag in the “bottle adapter” to feed baby. Once finished, throw out / recycle! I didn’t get to use as much with baby #2 because of the pandemic.