The Ultimate Nursing Checklist: What to Buy If You Plan To Breastfeed

The thought of breastfeeding can be overwhelming - especially if you're expecting your first baby. While it's true that the only essentials are you and your baby, the reality for many moms is that breastfeeding isn't as straightforward and easy. The products and tips featured in this nursing checklist can offer help throughout your breastfeeding journey - whether you're dealing with sore nipples, a baby that struggles to latch, nipple leakage, or simply how to dress as a nursing mom. 

 Nursing and breastfeeding checklist

The essentials

Breast pump

Breast pumps remove milk from your breast and can be used for a multitude of reasons - to feed baby in your absence (eg. while working, traveling, or if your partner takes the night shift), to relieve engorgement, manage oversupply of milk and even to increase your milk supply.

If you have health insurance, a high quality breast pump pay be covered. Either way, Medela Pump In Style Advanced and Spectra S1 are tried and true pumps, frequently recommended by lactation consultants. 

Most moms will highly recommend purchasing an additional set of breast pump parts (eg. valves, breast shields). You'll likely need your pump often, and having one or two spare sets of parts will save you from another load of dishes. 



Once you start breastfeeding, you'll want to maximize the amount of milk you're collecting. Let no milk go to waste with the Haakaa, a fancy contraption that sucks onto your non-feeding breast to collect any drops of milk that may leak out while you're feeding your baby. Watch this YouTube to use your HaaKaa optimally - it helps!

Sanitizing and cleaning supplies


You'll learn quickly that much of your awake time in the first few months will involve feeding, sterilizing, washing (on repeat). Having an efficient sanitization and cleaning method will save you precious minutes - and additional stress. Medela Quick Clean sanitization bags are phenomenal. You can disinfect pump parts (and bottles) in three minutes. 

An alternative is a bottle and pumping part sterilizer, like the Wabi. However, these do involve regular cleaning to prevent against mold. 


Comfort supplies


A killer combo for tackling cracked, chapped and sore nipples (especially during those first few days) is Medela Soft Shells and Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. These two products used together will calm irritation in hours - just in time for your next feed. If you're planning a hospital birth, you'll want to take these with you. Check out The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for more tips. 

Nursing bras + tanks (at least 3 of each)

For nursing bras, you can't go wrong with Hatch or Blanqi

H&M nursing tanks are fabulous. Inexpensive, practical and simple - these are a must! 

Nursing pillow  A good nursing pillow that can prop your baby up to the perfect height will help to prevent neck and upper back injuries. The Boppy Nursing Pillow and My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow are favorites of moms and lactation consultants alike. 
Nipple pads Stop the nipple leaks before they make their way through your shirt with Bamboobies Reusable Nursing Pads. These are made from organic bamboo, and fit any cup size. 
Nursing cover Finding a chic nursing cover is almost impossible. But thanks to Milk Snob, you can look cute AND be extra practical. This nursing cover also doubles as an infant car seat cover. 
Pumping bra There are plenty of highly rated pumping bras on Amazon. But if you can't bring yourself to buy one (let's face it, they look hideous!), a workaround is to make your own. Simply cut 2 x small nipple holes in a tight fitting sports bra (maybe one you wore before you were pregnant) - and you've made your own pumping bra. 
Rocking chair / glider A great rocker or glider will not only make a nursery, but will be your savior after a looong day. You can't go past Pottery Barn Kids and RH Baby & Child for ultra comfy (and oh so cute) nursery rockers and gliders. 
Lactation consultant

A great lactation consultant can be a lifesaver during those early breastfeeding weeks. Finding one can be trial and error, but your pediatrician might be a good place to start.

If you have a hospital birth, make use of the lactation consultant resources. Don't be shy to request a visit from a lactation consultant, that's what they're there for!

You may also want to schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant during the first weeks after your baby arrives (many will do in-home visits), just in case any questions or issues arise. 


Mama, good luck with your breastfeeding journey! Whether you breastfeed for 3 days, 3 months, or 3 years - it is an accomplishment. Hopefully this list will come in handy, and will help you achieve your breastfeeding goal. 

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