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Build the ultimate list of breastfeeding essentials

You’d think breastfeeding only requires two things: a mom’s breasts. While that is technically true, we know from real-mom experience that a few handy pieces of breastfeeding gear will make the journey go a whole lot smoother. Moving beyond all those swaddle blankets and sound machines, which breastfeeding-specific supplies are must-haves for a new mom’s baby shower registry? We’ve compiled a list of our top picks to help make every aspect of nursing and pumping easier.

Breastfeeding pillow

A breastfeeding pillow provides the perfect perch for a nursing newborn. The pillow hugs a mom’s abdomen and is firm enough to position baby comfortably at chest-level, unlike a typical bed pillow which is thinner and softer. That extra support means Mom won’t have to hunch her back or deal with her arms falling asleep during marathon cluster-feeding sessions. Some moms swear by the classic Boppy (also great for tummy-time and assisted sitting when baby is older) while others love My Brest Friend (which features a comfy wrap-around lumbar back support and a flatter top surface).

Backup storage containers

If mom is building a stash of that precious liquid gold, breast milk storage bags are essential. These bags are pre-sterilized and made for transporting, storing and freezing. Important features include a thick plastic material and a strong zip-top closure to prevent any leaks. Bonus: Some bags, like those from Medela and Lansinoh, allow moms to attach the bags directly to the pump’s breast shields so there’s no need to pour or clean extra bottles.

Bottle brushes

All those pump parts and bottle pieces need a good daily cleaning. A bottle brush is a dedicated tool for cleaning pump parts and baby’s feeding items. Most brushes are part-sponge and part-bristle brush, a design that’s perfect for thoroughly scrubbing the smallest crevices. A real-mom secret: Add a set of mini brushes to the baby shower registry too. You’ll be amazed at how they reach the tiniest spots—and they’re also super-handy down the line for cleaning sippy cup straws!

Drying rack

Once pump parts and bottles are clean, it’s recommended to air-dry them. A drying rack that’s specially designed for baby-related gear will properly drain any excess water, wrangle all those little pieces and keep them organized. Munchkin and OXO make simple racks with lots of posts and pegs, while Boon’s “grass” racks are functional with an added dose of style.

Cooler bag

Breastmilk can only sit at room temperature for so long, so toting breastmilk while on-the-go requires an insulated cooler bag. Soft-sided bags with ice packs are the best option. We’re big fans of PackIt bags, which come in a bunch of cute designs and have cooling packs built into the walls of the bag. Simply fold and toss them in the freezer until ready to use.

Nipple cream

In those first days and weeks of breastfeeding, a new mom’s nipples can feel sore. Applying nipple cream after nursing or pumping (and before showering) helps protect and heal. It’s also safe for baby! While it may seem silly to add this item to a registry, those little tubes and tubs are so useful, and gifting it means there’s one less thing a mom will have to buy herself. Lansinoh makes a highly recommended lanolin-based cream, and Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Nipple Butter is another popular choice. If you’re not sure nipple cream is necessary, coconut oil is a multi-purpose alternative moms can often find in the pantry.

Hands-free pumping bra

Make pumping time productive—or simply more comfortable—with a hands-free pumping bra. Whether it’s a nursing bra that also works for pumping, like Ollie Gray’s Anywhere bra, or a separate pumping-specific bra, like the popular, adjustable Simple Wishes one, this handy item allows moms to multitask, rather than be stuck holding the pump’s breast shields to her chest for 20+ minutes at a time.

Nursing cover

While moms can breastfeed anywhere and everywhere, some feel more comfortable with a little coverage. A cute nursing cover is not only functional, but can also give moms peace of mind and comfort while nursing in public, especially in the early days when she and baby are still getting the hang of things. And how about those multifunctional styles that work as a car seat cover too? Items that do more than one thing are the holy grail of baby gear.

Here at Ashland Breast Pumps, we are advocates of anything that makes the breastfeeding experience easier on moms. These baby shower registry items can do just that. Check out our breast pump guide and get in touch to figure out which breast pump is the best fit for you. We’re happy to help you find just what you need!