21 must-have (or not) products for nursing mothers

21 must-have (or not) products for nursing mothers

When you become pregnant, you become a new commercial target for many companies. Suddenly, you will get the message from all sides that there are many essential products for nursing mothers, from breast pumps to baby carriers, nursing bras, breastfeeding necklaces, nipple shields, and so on. But is it really true that they are must-haves? Are there really such products a breastfeeding mother can’t be without?

Before we continue, it is important to remember that while certain tools, resources, and products can make certain things easier, in the vast majority of cases, no product is absolutely necessary because your body already has everything it needs. Nature has it all planned out.

With that point in mind, let’s take a look at those products.

Nursing bras

Nursing bras can help you access the breasts more easily than normal bras when breastfeeding. Ideally, they should be seamless, with no metal underwires, and made out of fibers that are as natural as possible, especially in the part that touches the nipples and areola.

Nursing pads

Although the general guideline is that the breasts should be ventilated as much as possible, there are certain instances in which the use of absorbent breast pads may be helpful. Sometimes, during the first few months, when the baby looks at you, when you just hear your little one cry, or you talk about your baby, then your breasts start to work, and breastmilk begins to flow. If you use nursing pads, remember to change them often so the area is as dry as possible, and if they are made of natural fibers, even better.

Baby carrier

Baby carriers are often a great help in motherhood. You will soon realize that your baby is calmer when they are held by someone or close to someone’s body. In addition, breastfeeding requires hours of having your little one attached to the breast and with a little skill, you can even breastfeed while carrying your baby, which allows you to have your two hands free again, as well as helping to distribute the weight well to take care of your back. There are many different baby carriers for babywearing, but it’s important to ensure it is ergonomic. You can learn more about babywearing in the ” babywearing ” section of the LactApp mobile app, which you can download for iPhone or Android phones.

Breast pump

A breast pump can be a very useful tool in certain situations. For example, you can use it if there is a need for supplementing your baby, if you have to be separated from your baby, if you need to drain your breast when it is too full, and so on. Using a breast pump is not always easy, and it requires learning and getting to know it for it to be as effective as possible. You can find more information about which breast pump to choose and how to choose the right funnel size in these articles.

Nursing clothes and breastfeeding pajamas

You don’t usually need to have specific breastfeeding clothes. Just keep in mind that you find clothes where you can have easy access to your breasts, especially if it is cold. You can easily find everything from buttoned tops to sweatshirts with hidden openings. There are also specific nursing pajamas specially designed for this purpose, but normal pajamas can be just as useful.

Nursing pillow

To be comfortable while you are breastfeeding, it is important that you are sitting or lying well-supported. Normal cushions, such as square cushions, might do the job well, but there are also specific pillows that can be very useful. We recommend you use the “sausage” type pillows, those that are long and thin, usually filled with small plastic balls that allow you to easily mold the thickness. Ensure they allow for an optimal breastfeeding posture, which not all pillows do. In addition to providing good support for breastfeeding, they can help you sleep better during pregnancy when they support the back or when you place one between your legs to prevent hip rotation when sleeping on the side.

Nursing necklace

It might sound strange at first, but we do talk about specific nursing necklaces. Of course, they are by no means something you must have, but they can be useful on certain occasions. As babies grow up, they constantly look for something to touch or put into their mouths. Sometimes, this “something to touch” can be the other side of the nipple while they breastfeed on one side, and they do what is sometimes called twiddling. Those necklaces can also be used as baby teethers as they are safe for them to put into their mouths.


Most babies spit up milk after they feed. This is usually not a problem. Still, some families prefer to use a bib to make changing wet clothes easier.

Nursing chair or breastfeeding rocking chair

Breastfeeding in a comfortable chair or rocking chair is a pleasure. But a chair doesn’t have to be specially made for this purpose. Just make sure that the armrests are comfortable for you, not too high or too low, and that your back is well supported.


The pacifier is by no means essential. In fact, it is more of a tool for families than for babies. It is known that sometimes if used early in the baby’s life, it can interfere with breastfeeding. The post “Pacifier and breastfeeding: Can I give my baby a pacifier?” provides all the information on the topic and here we give advice on how to choose a pacifier for your baby.

Baby bottles

If your idea is to exclusively breastfeed, it is not even necessary to have a “just in case” bottle at home. Having a bottle within easy reach can mean that, in certain circumstances, you may use it unnecessarily, and some might regret it afterward. If, at some point, you need or want to use it, you can easily buy one in so many places. You can find out more about baby bottles in this article.

Baby bottle sterilizer

In general, sterilizing baby bottles and equipment, such as breast pumps and teats, is recommended only before they are used for the first time. After that, cleaning with warm water and soap is enough, and remember to dry them with a disposable paper towel or on a clean surface that is not damp.

Bottle warmer

We do not recommend using a bottle warmer because it keeps milk at a certain temperature for a prolonged time, which is not recommended as it favors bacterial growth. Both breast milk and formula should always be stored in the fridge.

Nipple shields

Nipple shields can be useful when there are very specific difficulties, but they are not suitable for all breastfeeding problems. Therefore, they should ideally be recommended by someone expert in lactation, such as an IBCLC lactation consultant. Additionally, different sizes and models need to be considered. In this article you can find out more about nipple shields. If you find them annoying, here are 5 tips on how to get rid of nipple shields.

Milk collectors and breast shells

Breast shells are an excellent choice when nipples are sore or damaged, but they are not necessary if the nipple is healthy. If they are needed, they are readily available for purchase.

Nipple creams and balms

It is not necessary to use any kind of cream on the nipples during pregnancy, and it is also not necessary during breastfeeding. Some creams or ointments are sold as a cure for sore nipples, but this is not the case. If there are sore nipples, the underlying cause for this needs to be found and the solution is not to just apply a cream. Using lanolin-based balms or ointments does not give any protection for sore nipples, nor does it cure them. Some studies even suggest that it may lengthen the healing of sore nipples.

Breastfeeding bracelet

Special maternity bracelets remind you which breast’s turn it is when it comes to the next feed. They don’t hurt and might be a cute accessory, but they are completely unnecessary. Firstly, it’s okay if you give the same breast twice to your baby, although you should change breast sides to avoid engorgement during the first weeks, but if you get confused during a feed, nothing happens either. Breast milk from both breasts feeds equally well. However, if you really want to be super organized, touching your breasts is the easiest way to know which side you gave last. And if this is not easy for you, any bracelet or rubber hair band you already have at home is more than enough. Of course, you also have to remember to change the bracelet from one side to the other. But we are sure someone will bring out another gadget bracelet to remind you to change sides 😉.

Nipple former or everter

Nipple shaping during pregnancy or breastfeeding is pointless. With the right technique, both flat and inverted nipples can equally breastfeed without having to be formed beforehand. This article explains why all nipples are equally useful for breastfeeding.

Supplements to increase milk supply

Breastfeeding is a physiological process in which the breast knows the amount of milk to produce according to the principle of demand and supply. To produce enough breast milk, it’s important that your baby has constant access to the breast and you don’t restrict feeding time and frequency. Supplements that supposedly increase breast milk supply can even be counterproductive, so if you think you show signs of a low milk supply, it’s important to see a midwife or IBCLC lactation consultant so they can help you understand the causes.

Consultations with an IBCLC, midwife, or breastfeeding expert

Support during breastfeeding is fundamental. Nearly all mothers have some questions, and many have difficulties at the beginning of the journey. It’s known that the sooner these are assessed by a professional, the fewer complications are likely to happen. Therefore, we always recommend you see an IBCLC, which stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Download LactApp

The LactApp mobile app contains a lot of information about breastfeeding and motherhood. In its Plus subscription version, you have access to daily videos, specific training sessions according to your needs, and a dedicated consultation channel with our experts, so you can choose the breastfeeding experience you want with all the latest evidence-based information at hand. You can download the app for free for Android and iphone.


As you can see, many products will be sold to you just because you are pregnant or breastfeeding, but not all of them are really necessary or even essential.

Having good information about breastfeeding and knowing where to ask for help when difficulties arise will help you achieve the breastfeeding journey you desire more effectively.

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