My Breastfeeding Must-Haves

Lately I’ve been really enjoying the quiet time I have with my daughter for nursing. It hasn’t always been easy but it has been well worth it. After over a year of successful breastfeeding, I thought I’d share my breastfeeding-must haves with other moms and moms-to-be.

Breastfeeding is Hard

I feel like moms aren’t given enough credit for breastfeeding. Baby goes on the boob and they nurse. Done. Easy.


Babes have to learn how to breastfeed and we as mothers have to learn how to make the baby successful. It is hard, it is long, it hurts, and it is lonely. In the beginning anyway.

If you are a new or expectant mom I hope this list of breastfeeding must haves will make nursing your baby just a little bit easier.

My Own Breastfeeding Journey

I always knew I would breastfeed my babies. Growing up my mom didn’t allow us to have bottles for our baby dolls because she wanted it engrained in us that babies are fed from boobs. Somewhere there is a photo of four-year-old me with a doll pressed up to my breast in a rocking chair.

When it came time to nurse my own daughter I was excited and scared. I know that most moms can breastfeed if they are determined and stick to it. That’s not to say that some moms simply can’t for one reason or another. I was worried that I might be one of those few moms whose milk just doesn’t come in, or there would be some other weird reason why we wouldn’t be able to do it.

We did manage it by golly. It wasn’t easy, it took months before we both solidly got the hang of it. It hurt and it was frustrating. But in the end it was worth every minute of those early struggles.

Breastfeeding Must-Haves

If I could magically gift all these items to every expectant mom I would. Several of these items were game changers for me and if we didn’t have them I don’t know that we would have succeeded.

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Boppy Best Latch Nursing Pillow – Ultimate Breastfeeding Must Have

Our first week of breastfeeding was rough. Jane was having a hard time latching so we used a nipple shield for the first eight days just until we got established. It was still a good month or two before we both got the hang of it.

It was after a few days home from the hospital when I was sitting on our couch, a pile of pillows all around me, tears streaming down my face. I was so, so tired. We just couldn’t get in the right position and the basic Boppy pillow I had was useless. It was too round on the top and so narrow it didn’t fit around me comfortably.

My husband who was helpless to do anything turned to the internet and bought me this pillow.

It changed everything. The pillow is wide around your waist and has a belt so it stays snug in place and won’t shift around. It is wide and flat on the top with a lip on the outer edge so your baby has plenty of room to lay and won’t easily roll off. The other side is fluffy and more pillow-like to be used once the baby is bigger.

Truly, this thing was huge in making our breastfeeding journey a success.

nursing pillow rough and tumble farmhouse
The Best Latch vs. the regular Boppy.


This is my second ultimate of the breastfeeding must haves. My cousin recommended picking up one of these and I am so glad I did. They basically suction cup on to your boob and can collect milk. As you nurse on one side, milk will usually come out of the other. This genius little contraption catches all that milk and is hands free.

I also found it HUGELY helpful when I was engorged, making it harder for my daughter to latch. I’d put the Haakaa on for a few minutes before she would nurse and it would make things easier for both of us. It also (about to talk about my nipples here so heads up DAD) helped by drawing my nipple out further with the suction. I have a pretty flat shape so this made a big difference in helping my daughter get a good latch.

Make sure you get the one that comes with a cap! That way if you don’t have time to transfer the milk to a storage bag, you can cap it and stick it in the fridge until you have more time.

Re-Usable Breastfeeding Pads

When your milk first comes in you are going to be leaking milk everywhere. I didn’t realize just how much milk I would be making. I thought my milk was already in the day we got home from the hospital. Nope. I went to sleep wearing a button up flannel shirt, no bra or anything. I woke up in the night soaking wet. My shirt, the sheets, everything.

I bought a pack of organic reusable nursing pads off Amazon and wore them regularly. Changing these out made it easier to keep my clothes clean and milk free. I typically went through 1-2 sets a day at most. These from Bamboobies are a little thinner but more expensive.

You can get the disposable ones and it is nice to have a box on hand in case you get behind on laundry. I don’t like the disposables because of the waste and I found they tend to get twisted up and stuck awkwardly on my boobs.

nursing pads for breastfeeding rough and tumble farmhouse
Reusable bamboo blend nursing pads.

Hot Packs

A few cloth rice packs or similar are excellent for helping with sore breasts, mastitis, and helping to get your milk flowing.

You don’t need anything fancy here. I have some rice pack hand warmers that I used. You can also get those that are round and have a hole in the middle for your nipples. The ones I have of those can also be cooled, which more so feels nice on your nipples when they are tender. Still, any kind of hot pack will work for your breastfeeding must haves.

hot packs to soothe breasts in nursing rough and tumble farmhouse
A plethora of hot/cold pads.

Nursing Tanks and Bras

I’ve heard some women say that they didn’t need a nursing bra or tank. Typically this has been online so I can’t say, but I’m guessing these women have somewhat smaller boobs. When I’m not nursing I am a solid C cup, definitely a D right now. Nursing bras and tanks were a necessity.

The first few weeks postpartum I had my Day Pajamas and Night Pajamas. Classy, right? I’d change into a fresh tank or nursing bra for sleeping, tuck in my nursing pads and off I’d go. In the morning I’d change into sweats, a nursing tank, and a big comfy cardigan. Nursing pads too of course.

Being able to easily access my boobs and feeling comfortable was so important and just made things easier. I personally recommend having a combination of tanks and bras so you have at least nine total. A clean one for every day, plus some to wear at night and on laundry day.

I was cheap and bought the HoFish brand on Amazon. These are affordable and very soft. I don’t like that the internal pads aren’t sewn in so they move around and get bunched up. Most of the inserts ended up in the trash because they were such a pain.

If you plan to have more than one baby, I’d invest in nicer ones.

Underwire I have heard can cause mastitis but I don’t have anything to back up that claim. I just know it felt awfully uncomfortable so I’ve been wire free for months.


When the sun started to go down each evening, I would begin to feel anxiety rising in my chest. When you are a new nursing mom, days and nights have no meaning. No matter how exhausted you are, night doesn’t mean sleep or rest. It means up every two hours trying to get a new baby to latch and nurse and then back to sleep.

You also are likely doing this alone. For me it was very, very hard.

Until I started watching Jane the Virgin.

In season two Jane has her own baby and it was like having a fellow new mom there with me. The episodes were 45 minutes each and full of humor and interesting story lines. When I had to get up for the third time in the night I was actually excited that I could watch the next episode.

Netflix or Amazon Prime or some other thing to watch and be engaged in during those long night nursing sessions kept me awake enough to care for my daughter no matter how tired I was.

Water Bottle and Snacks

The hospital gave me a big ol’ trucker style mug that was always at my side postpartum. It was huge and insulated with a straw and a handle. These things are key. The handle so you can easily grab it with one hand. The straw so it won’t spill but you don’t have to mess with a lid. Huge so you don’t have to fill it. And insulated so your water stays ice cold.

I also made two pans of these lactation cookies. I just made them as bars because I am lazy and from Minnesota. Bars are a real thing here. They freeze great and taste excellent right out of the freezer. I suggest making them up a month or so before your due date so they are ready for your late night hunger.

Pump Part Sanitizing Bag

These are cheap and can be reused up to ten times. They are a thick plastic bag you can toss your pump parts in with a little water. Microwave them for three minutes and ta-da! Sanitize pump parts/Haakaa. I also found but haven’t used these re-usable versions.

No Nipple Creams or Salves?

This is not one of my breastfeeding must haves.

For some women I think this is probably a huge help, especially if you get broken skin on your nipples.

Mind were definitely sore many times, but I chose just to make them toughen up. I didn’t want to prolong that by using softening and conditioning creams. I know it’s not exactly sexy but I wanted to toughen them up as quickly as possible to make nursing more comfortable.


the womanly art of breastfeeding rough and tumble farmhouse
A must read!

One of the best things to help on my breastfeeding journey was resources. My mother was a La Leche League leader back in her day, so I often reached out to her with questions or even reached out to her old co-leaders.

The La Leche League book the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is a wonderful resource that I plan to gift to any friend who gets pregnant in the future.

I took the online Mama Natural Childbirth course and found that the facebook group is also excellent for reaching out to other folks or just searching for past conversations about it.

I have successfully breastfed one child. We are headed to 14 months and I plan to breastfeed as long as she wants to. I’m by no means an expert, but if you have any questions please don’t hesitate for one minute to shoot me an e-mail. I’ll help you or I promise to find you someone who can.

Do you have something I should add to the breastfeeding must haves list? Please comment below!

Interested in more of my lessons learned in the first year of motherhood? Check out my latest cloth diapering post.

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Watch and Learn

Here I take you through each of my breastfeeding must haves so you can get a better look!

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