Breastfeeding Essentials

Breastfeeding is a huge transition for any mom.

Like any newborn care, it requires some basic supplies that will lend a helping hand and a little more comfort to the process.

Here are a few of our most-recommended breastfeeding necessities to stock up on (and one commonly recommended item you may want to hold off on) for the first days home with baby and begin your breastfeeding journey. 

Hydrogel Pads

These pads will provide soothing relief for sore or cracked nipples in the early days of breastfeeding. They can be used at room temperature or refrigerated for a little more comfort and relief. These are a go-to for any mom getting used to a new breastfeeding routine and experiencing discomfort while they practice latching their new baby. We even recommend throwing a pair in your hospital bag to wear on the way home. Bumpy car ride + sore nipples = ouch!

Breastfeeding Pillows

A breastfeeding pillow will quickly become your best friend during your postpartum recovery and the start to your breastfeeding routine. Pillows like Boppy, BrestFriend, and Ergobaby Natural Curve will help you position your baby correctly. Once they're positioned correctly, breastfeeding will be way more comfortable for baby and mom.

Every mom has their own favorite, we personally love the BrestFriend because you can secure it around your waist for extra support. (And bonus! They even make a version specially designed for supporting mothers breastfeeding twins.) Where the BrestFriend out-performs other pillows in some ways, there are advantages to pillows like the Boppy as well. Boppy pillows can double as support for propping up your little one or a comfortable surface for mom to sit on after those first few days postpartum. 

Breastfeeding Friendly Clothing for Mom

From beginner to expert, breastfeeding moms know the importance of some clothing with the "breast access" to feed baby. Find clothing that allows you to breastfeed baby or pump without having to remove the whole top or leave your belly or chest feeling too exposed. 

Breastfeeding bras and tanks are perfect for home lounging and feeding, while some brands make high end discreet breastfeeding apparel. There are tons of brands in different price ranges, so explore your options! Look for nursing bras that fit you properly and won't be uncomfortable for swollen or irritated breasts. Local Asheville moms can check out the Mission Breastfeeding Center & Boutique for a custom fitting to try on several varieties of bras and nursing apparel. 

Backup Plan if Breastfeeding Hurts!

Breastfeeding can sometimes leave nipples in rough shape. Minor cracking and tenderness can be normal in the first few days and usually expressing milk onto the irritated area and air drying, will help them heal. Often, mothers are advised by friends and family members to have loads of nipple cream on hand to combat nipple pain. An all natural nipple cream like Lanisoh’s Lanolin can be helpful for creating a moist healing environment for injured nipples, but we include this product with an abundance of caution!

If nipple tenderness, discomfort or cracking persists, we recommend you see a specialist (like an IBCLC) to determine the root cause of the pain. Any number of things from improper latch, poor suction, thrush... could be causing your pain and until the root cause is addressed you won't get the relief you seek. If you think your baby might be latching improperly or you are experiencing any continued discomfort while breastfeeding, contact your care provider or an IBCLC for more information to help ease symptoms and improve your breastfeeding experience.

Your postpartum doula can help you stock up on the breastfeeding essentials you need to safely and comfortably feed your baby.

Network with your doula and other moms to learn about different brands and innovative products that will make breastfeeding a piece of cake.

Christine Robinson

Doulas of Asheville is western North Carolina's premier doula agency, providing birth doulas, postpartum doulas, and placenta specialists to Asheville families. We are proud to support any and all birthing choices, parenting styles. Our postpartum doulas are available to support families with new babies around the clock, from a few daytime shifts, to overnight newborn care, to 24-hour live-in support.