As a new mom, there are a lot of things you need to prepare for the arrival of your little one, but something that we often don't think to prepare for is breastfeeding. We tend to think breastfeeding is natural so it should be easy. Although this is true, breastfeeding is far from easy for everyone. To help out we have put together a list of essential breastfeeding supplies that we can't live without!

You can do all the planning in the world to have the best start to a breastfeeding journey, but still have struggles. Many breastfeeding experiences don't have the easiest beginning and it's a good idea to keep your options open. This is a huge reason why when buying a nursing bra, you should consider a bra that has the function to hold breast pump flanges in case you need to do both.

Pumping and Nursing

Top 5 Breastfeeding Essentials

You really don’t need too many things to prepare for breastfeeding, but there are a few core items that we recommend every mom has on hand when the baby is born. The most basic breastfeeding essentials start with a well fitting nursing and pumping bra (or two), absorbent nursing pads, and a breast pump. In addition to those basic supplies, we also recommend a good nipple balm and a nursing pillow.

  1. Nursing and Pumping Bra
  2. Absorbent Nursing Pads
  3. A breast pump
  4. Nipple Balm
  5. A Nursing Pillow

Do I Need A Breast Pump? 

Not everyone finds themself needing to pump, but it is very beneficial to keep at least a manual breast pump nearby. Even if you don’t plan to leave your baby, it’s common for them to sleep longer than you expect during growth spurts, and you could become uncomfortable. Anytime you need some relief between feedings, you can gently express a small amount of milk from each side for comfort and to prevent breast infections like Mastitis.

Hospital grade breast pump rentals are available from a variety of places in Canada, including many pharmacies, hospitals and birth professionals. We recommend talking to your doctor or midwife as the cost could be covered by your insurance plan. There are also a variety of breast pumps available for purchase in Canada, some top choices include:

  1. Medela (a variety of styles and options)
  2. Willow Go (wearable, cord-free)
  3. Cubba Bubba (Canadian!)


The Difference between Nursing and Pumping

Not all breastfeeding stories work out the same way. A lot of moms expect to nurse their baby at the breast, but some babies end up having a difficult time latching and it doesn’t work out in the end. Many moms choose to combine both nursing and pumping, rotating between nursing the baby and pumping milk for bottles. Another form of breastfeeding is called Exclusive Pumping. If you’re an exclusively pumping mom, you pump milk from your breasts with a breast pump and transfer it to a bottle to feed your baby. This allows both mom and dad (and other relatives) to share the feeding responsibilities. Every journey is unique and the health of mom and baby is always the first priority.

Leaking Breast Milk After Birth

In the early days of breastfeeding you most likely will be leaking a lot of breastmilk. This is perfectly normal as your milk supply is being established and regulated. You may leak from the opposite side when nursing, or from both sides in between nursing or pumping. Breastmilk leaks can be a big frustration if you aren’t prepared, so having the right nursing pads for postpartum is essential. During the day you can also try to save that leaked milk and keep it on hand for bottles. It can be helpful to use a milk collector to catch the letdown on the side that baby is not feeding on. This milk otherwise would have gone into a nursing pad and wasted! You can keep fresh milk in the fridge for up to 4 days, or frozen for 6 to 12 months. Find our tips for storing breastmilk here!

Paisley Nursing Pad Bra Liner

Should I see a Lactation Consultant?

If you are new to breastfeeding, this information might already feel overwhelming to you! We get it, we were nervous too! One of our best recommendations is to encourage you to see a lactation professional for assistance now before your birth, and also immediately postpartum for support with latching or pumping!  

After your baby is here, lactation consultants can work hands on with you and your baby to make sure they are transferring enough milk at each feeding. Most hospitals have a lactation consultant come in to visit you during your hospital stay, but keep in mind they are busy seeing lots of other moms at the same time. You won’t get enough support in just one or two short visits. Consider booking a private lactation consultation once you are back home. You can often get a private in-home visit, or a virtual appointment. Insurance might even cover your visit so it’s a no-brainer to book an appointment. 

Remember that each little step is one step closer to achieving your breastfeeding goals. Take it a day at a time and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find a community that also supports your end goal and connect with other like-minded moms that have been there too. If you are looking for more information as you are just starting out, join our breastfeeding community on Instagram for more tips, tricks, demos and more! 

March 11, 2024