Breastfeeding is such a powerful bond and special time with your baby and it has endless benefits for both baby and mama! But to be honest, breastfeeding is so hard in the beginning. 

Those first few weeks present many challenges and if you’re planning to breastfeed your first baby – it takes some learning.

But it doesn’t have to be unnecessarily difficult. I want to share some of the breastfeeding must-haves and essentials I would recommend after going through those first few weeks. Many of these things I used for months and some of them I still use! 

Breastfeeding Must Haves & Essentials for the New Mom in 2020

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on these links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Full disclosure here.

I ended up getting a recliner rocker from Target and setting up right there. I pretty much kept all of these things by that chair and they were life-savers!


I brought the Boppy with me to the hospital and I’m glad I did. Although some nurses wanted me to just use pillows, I found it more helpful in holding up my teeny tiny newborn.

I ended up using the Boppy on and off the first few weeks but got pretty consistent with it and loved it once I figured out how to make it work. I loved it all through the first 6 months because you can use it for tummy time or even to prop around baby as they learn to sit up! (I will link to a few other nursing pillows I’ve heard good things about too!)



I loved having a super comfy blanket in my nursing chair. I would sometimes use it as support for the little guy (I found it to be more moldable to exactly what I needed). And sometimes I just used it when I was chilly. It’s super versatile and I love the pop of color it brings to the nursery.

Nipple Creams and Gel Pads

These were lifesavers in those early days of breastfeeding when your nipples get so sore! I used the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter as much as possible but found the soothing gel pads and lanolin were absolutely necessary that first week! 

Milk Catchers

I had two variations of these milk savers and they were another great way to save milk that otherwise would have gone right into a nursing pad.

Those first few weeks, your breasts are often engorged as your milk comes in and until your body regulates, you can leak a lot of milk! I would often stick one of these in the opposite side and it would catch several ounces of milk a day.

I struggled with oversupply and so sometimes the extra suction from the Haaka was just too much and these were much better.

They also were a lot easier to manage because they just slide right into your bra.


This thing is awesome for saving milk from the opposite side that you’re feeding on. I actually found the Bumblebee brand and I love that one. Essentially you suction it onto one boob while the baby feeds on the other. The suction is almost like a slight pump and draws out milk. 

This is a great way to start your freezer stash without having to do much!

Manual Pump

I cannot believe I didn’t find this sooner. I wish I had this in those early days. It was fairly inexpensive and it is such an easy way to pump without having to get out your entire electric pump. 

The suction isn’t as strong, so I don’t use it for a straight pumping session, but I use it every morning to pump one side while he eats on the other. Once he started going all night without waking up to feed, I would have plenty of milk for him to eat off just one side. So I’ve been saving 4-5 ounces from the other side every single day!

Milk Storage Bags

These are a must-have if you are planning on saving any milk. I’ll link several varieties.

Caddy for Pump & Supplies

I loved having a large caddy beside me wherever I nursed our little guy. I kept most of these things on this list in the caddy as well as my pump. It’s so easy to grab and take with you wherever you nurse. I’d store my Haaka, milk catchers and other nursing things as well as headphones, water bottles and any random things I’d want.

Dimmable Touch Lamp

This small light was so great for middle-of-the-night feeds and even still I use it every night for the dream feed. We’d keep it on when we were up with the little guy for hours on end in those early days. It’s nice not to have to turn on the big light and it helps them stay drowsy and recognize it is time to sleep.

Sleep Nursing Bras

I love my sleep nursing bras. They are super comfy and so easy to slide down to nurse. I wear them if I’m home and to bed. They also are pretty stretchy so in those early days when your boobs are sore from your milk coming in, they are a must-have!

Large Water Cup

I used my 1 liter hospital cup for weeks after coming home. Until it started tasting like plastic, it was by my side day and night. I ended up finding a much nicer one that could replace this cheap plastic cup and I still use it today.

When you’re breastfeeding, you need lots and lots of water. It’s essential for your milk supply and to stay hydrated. Here are a few cups that I think would be perfect (mine is from Walmart!)

What would you consider as a breastfeeding must-have for those first few weeks? Let me know in the comments below!

And be sure to check out my video where I share more on each of these & how they were so helpful!

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  1. Sarah Althouse

    I am totally regretting not having a milk catcher! next baby we have that’s the first thing I’m buying.

    • Nicole Kauffman

      I was so so glad for this suggestion!! Definitely a game-changer 🙂

  2. Sarah

    This is a great list! I love my Boppy and I am still using my hospital water jug around the house. I also kept a stash of easy snacks in the nursery, like fruit and grain bars – I would get so hungry breastfeeding, and it was nice to have a little treat in the middle of the night.

    • Nicole Kauffman

      Wow, Sarah! I cannot believe I forgot snacks! That’s a great addition – I may have to add it to the list 🙂 I couldn’t go the whole night without a snack for the first few months lol So important to have healthy and filling snacks!

  3. Stephanie

    I’m not a mama, but one of my childhood best friends is due to have her first baby next week and I know she’d love some insight. I’ll have to send this her way.