Breastfeeding and Pumping Essentials

Breastfeeding can be really, really hard, so we’re sharing our must-have products and tips to set you up for success.

Breastfeeding and Pumping Essentials

Written by: Jessica Diamond, MPH, RDN

We aren’t going to sugarcoat it: breastfeeding can be really, really hard for both mom and baby. But remember, this is a learning experience, so be patient and loving to yourself and your baby as the two of you practice this new skill. Once you get the hang of it, breastfeeding can become much easier and more enjoyable. 

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success is to have all the right products waiting for you when you get home! We’ve rounded up our must-have breastfeeding and pumping products so that you, your baby, and your body are supported. Most of these links are affiliate links to support Meaning Full Living as well as the charity, Baby2Baby.

And if you haven’t listened to our Newborn Feeding 101: Breaking Down Breastfeeding and Formula podcast yet, take a listen. We also have a freebie download: The Ultimate Breastfeeding & Pumping Guide which covers everything you need to know about breastfeeding and pumping. You know….What do I actually need? What do I use for sore nipples? How do I know my baby is getting enough? What about bottles? When do I introduce them and how do I do it? What about breast milk storage? How do I increase or decrease my milk supply? It can be a lot, so we created this simple resource to break it all down for you! These resources will walk you through everything you need to know about starting your feeding journey. They’re super helpful and you won’t want to miss them!

Nursing Position: These items will help your baby get into the right position and help you stay comfortable while feeding. Trust us, you want these items!

  • Nursing Pillows A good nursing pillow is essential for getting your baby into the proper position on your breast and for making the breastfeeding experience more comfortable for the both of you. You may not have seen these two nursing pillows before, but they are by far the best on the market! Our favorite nursing pillow can double as a pregnancy pillow and as an infant lounger, so it’s really versatile. We also love this new nursing pillow – it’s so soft and beautiful. 
  • Backrest This is an item that may sound unnecessary if you haven’t breastfed or bottle-fed before, but it makes the feeding experience so much better! Our bodies experience a lot of wear and tear with a newborn or infant, and this backrest can be added to any chair or couch to give you the support you need during feeding.
  • Adjustable Foot Stool It’s important your feet touch the ground to get in the right position for breastfeeding. If your feet don’t touch the ground with your legs at a 90 degree angle, invest in a foot stool. 

Remedies for Breast Discomfort: Your nipples will get sore in the beginning, and you want to be very proactive about maintaining your nipple health to prevent sores or infection. You also want to have items on hand that help with engorgement and clogged ducts trust us on this one!). Make sure to order these ahead of time and then listen to our podcast episode for how to use them.

  • Silverette Nursing Cups These are a must-have purchase to help heal sore nipples. They are made out of natural silver, have been used in Europe forever, and do wonders for healing nipples. They are basically nipple hats that protect and heal your nipples in between feedings. We recommend alternating between nursing cups and nipple butter after each feeding – just don’t use both at the same time. 
  • Nipple Butter There are a lot of nipple butters on the market, but our favorites are Nemah (also doubles as an amazing lip balm!), Earth Mama, and Motherlove.
  • Breast Warmer and Cold Pack These reusable packs fit into your bra and can help with soothing, engorgement, and clogged ducts. They can be used as a warm compress or a cold pack.
  • Soothing Comfort Gel Breast Pads These are a reusable remedy for sore nipples. Get a couple packs and store them in the freezer. Trust us, these will be heaven for sore nipples! 
  • Waterproof Massager This helps with milk flow and clogged ducts. (You can also use the back of an electric toothbrush to help unclog ducts) Be sure to listen to our podcast episode, which walks you through how to handle clogged ducts! 
  • Breast Self-Care Kit This is a good starter pack and comes with the instant heat breast warmers, a breast massager to help with clogged ducts, and breast masks (think facial masks designed for your boobs).
  • Sunflower Lecithin This is a natural fat emulsifier that can help decrease clogged ducts and improve milk flow.

Cleaning and Sterilization

  • Baby UV Sterilizer UV sterilizing is the easiest and safest way to sterilize breastfeeding, pumping, and other baby items. It’s a pricey purchase, but it will change the game for washing and drying the never-ending baby feeding products. The two best on the market are the UPang and Wabi. You can put virtually anything in these sterilizers – they’re so great!  
  • Bottle Brush Get a simple brush to clean out the nooks and crannies of your bottles and pumping parts. 
  • Plastic Drying Rack or Wooden Drying Rack You’ll want a compact place to store wet and clean feeding products. 

Bottles and Breast Milk Storage

  • Bottles Choosing the right bottle is definitely a personal preference, but here are a few that we have found the most success with. Just make sure you purchase one type of bottle and stick with it for a while! If your baby is struggling with bottles, you may want to experiment with a bunch of different types, but each time you introduce a new bottle, your baby has to learn to navigate that nipple, and it can make the process harder for both of you. We love the Dr. Brown’s glass bottles with the preemie size nipple (wide-neck and original) for newborns because the nipple mimics the breast and you can adjust the flow rate of the nipple, which is extra helpful to breastfed babies. You can also use the Dr. Brown’s preemie nipple on the Life Factory Bottles.
  • Dr. Brown’s Newborn Nipples (wide-neck & original) We recommend using a preemie nipple in the beginning for almost all babies in order to help with gas and mimic breastfeeding by decreasing the flow of the milk.
  • Kiinde Twist Pouch Starter Kit This is a great storage system for pumping and storing your milk. We love the starter kit because you get all of the converter pieces that attach the Kiinde milk storage bag directly to your breast pump. We don’t recommend using the bottles that come with the starter pack, so all you need are the converter and breastmilk storage bags. 
  • Silicone Reusable Storage Bags and Glass Bottles for Pumping These are great storage options if you prefer a silicone or glass and a reusable option.


  • Breast Pump Spectra makes our favorite breast pump on the market. We love the Spectra S1 (the blue one) as it does not have to be plugged in while pumping. The Willow and Elvie are also great options for on-the-go and hands-free pumping, but you want your milk supply established before you start using the hands-free pumps (see below for more information on travel breast pumps).
  • Haakaa Bedside Milk Collector This is an inexpensive option for milk removal when you don’t need to use your pump. Keep it by your bedside or at your feeding station.
  • Colostrum Milk Collector: There’s now an ability to store colostrum that some women produce towards the end of pregnancy and in those early days of breastfeeding if you choose with this kit.
  • Extra Set of Pump Parts You will definitely want a couple sets of pump parts so you don’t need to clean and sanitize immediately after pumping each time. We recommend getting two sets of pump parts. Make sure you have appropriately-sized pump parts. Breast shields come in different sizes, so before you buy multiple pump parts, make sure you have the right breast shield size. (This nipple ruler can help!) Having the right size is important for comfort and optimal milk production.
  • Travel Breast Pumps The Elvie and the Willow are wonderful on-the-go pumps once your milk supply is established and if your nipples are not sore or cracked. Don’t purchase either pump until you actually need one, and be patient once you get it – there is a definite learning curve and you’ll need some practice. But if you are a working mom, solo mom, stay-at-home mom, or mom with multiple kids, these travel pumps are absolutely worth the investment. 

Clothing and Other Supplies


  • Organic Liquid Vitamin D It is important to supplement your newborn and infant with Vitamin D if they are breastfed. Liquid Vitamin D can be added to a bottle or directly to the breast if you are breastfeeding. (If you are formula-feeding, you don’t need to worry about Vitamin D since formula already has plenty of it.) Ask your pediatrician about Vitamin D supplementation at the first visit after your baby is born. Here are our favorite brands of Vitamin D for babies: 
  • Evivo Probiotic This infant probiotic is made specifically for breastfed babies and is scientifically proven and research-backed. It helps improve your baby’s gut flora, which improves their long-term health. Always check with your pediatrician before starting a probiotic, but we love this one! We also love Genexa’s, Mary Ruth’s and Klaire Labs which can be used for breastfed or formula-fed infants.
  • Sunflower Lecithin This is a natural fat emulsifier that can help decrease clogged ducts and improve milk flow.
  • Supplements to Increase Milk Production: The most important part of increasing milk supply is frequent feedings and emptying your breasts. But even with that, some women struggle to keep up their supply. Here are some amazing products to give your supply a little boost if you need it: Legendary Milk Supplements: Liquid Gold, Milkapalooza, and Pump Princess
  • Supplements to Stop Milk Production Once you have decided you are done with breastfeeding, you’ll want some help decreasing your milk supply. Here are our top picks:

You can also shop all these items at our shop!

Check out our other breastfeeding resources: