The Ultimate Breastfeeding Essentials Checklist

By it’s very nature breastfeeding doesn’t strictly require any equipment. However, there are certain items you might want to try to help make breastfeeding work even better for you.

Breast Pumps

Early on, you might want to let your partner take care of some feeds so that you can catch up on some sleep or for their own bonding time. There may come a time when you will not be around to breastfeed. Maybe you want to visit the shop alone. If your baby gets older, you may want to consider getting back into the workforce, which means you’ll spend a longer period away from them. There are plenty of other reasons why breast pumps can be beneficial, including the ability to express (another term for breast pumping) to ensure you always have milk available. Breast pumps are also handy if you have a full, engorged breast. They can help to relieve the pain of full, engorged breasts; they can stimulate milk production and build your milk supply; and they can give you and your sore nipples a much-needed break.

Do you prefer electric or manual power?

It is possible to express milk with either a manual or electric breast pump. A manual breast pump is powered by you, whereas an electric breast pump does the expressing for you. Consider how often you plan to pump when choosing between a manual and electric pump, as electric pumps can express milk more quickly. The Elvie Curve Breast Pump is a soft and comfortable manual pump for mums who don’t pump very often. Electric breast pumps, such as the compact and speedy Medela Solo Single Electric Breast Pump and the quiet and efficient Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump (which can be controlled from your smartphone) will be a big time-saver if you plan to pump more than once a day or to express larger volumes of milk to store up for more feedings. With MAM Baby Electric Single Breast Pump, you can switch between electric and manual to suit your needs.

Alternatively, you can use a double pump to feed more mouths or save even more time. With clever silent technology, the Elvie Double Electric Breast Pump slips right into your bra and pumps super quietly thanks to clever technology. The Medela Swing Maxi Double Breast Pump is known for being one of the most comfortable pumps out there.

Your breastmilk: how to store it

You store expressed milk in a bottle or bag. Bags, such as Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags (25pk), save space. Bottles can be easily switched from storage to feeding use by simply swapping the lid. It is always important to sterilise your baby feeding products (read on for sterilising tips.) Label the container with the date of expression and use refrigerated breastmilk within 3 days of expressing (or 5 days if the fridge is set at a temperature below 4oC). For a period of 6 months, it can be safely stored in a freezer below 18oC. You should follow NHS guidelines on safely warming up your milk: Expressing and storing breast milk - NHS ( Babies prefer to receive their milk at room temperature, which is around 20C.

A feeding pillow for babies

When you're feeding your baby, you'll want to make sure you're both calm and relaxed. A pillow like the Pregnancy & Nursing Pillow - Soft Grey will provide both comfort and support.

Breast pads

Leaks are inevitable. Trust us, Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads (60pk) will always come in handy.

Bottle Feeding

Here are some helpful tips for bottle feeding your baby.

The choice of which bottle to use can sometimes be confusing when you're bottle feeding – whether it's formula or breast milk. Different bottles come in various sizes and shapes, different teats, different flow rates, and sometimes anti-colic technology is added. Newborn babies will feed little and often, so smaller bottles are best suited for them, while older babies feed larger amounts of milk and require larger bottles. Depending on the shape of the teat, some are designed to mimic the shape of a breast or nipple. The flow of the teat varies from a slow one - generally preferred for newborn babies - to a slightly faster one as baby grows and becomes more comfortable with bottle feeding.

When buying bottles, look for features such as anti-colic technology and variflow teats that can be adjusted to vary the flow rate. In addition to being easy to use, easy to clean, and often with additional features, MAM baby bottles come with a unique teat that over 94% of babies will accept, making them a great choice for parents switching between breastfeeding and bottles. MAM Easy Start Anti-Colic 160ml Bottle is a handy triple pack to get you started. New parents also really like Nanobebe baby bottles, notably for their softness, which offers a smooth transition to bottle feeding (or when combining bottles with breastfeeding) without having to worry about teat confusion. In addition to an advanced anti-colic system, the Nanobebe Flexy Silicone Bottle 270ml (3 Pack) also prevents gas and tummy discomfort after feeding.

A machine that prepares bottles

Creating bottle feeds can be a hassle sometimes, especially at 3am! An electric bottle preparation machine is so quick and easy to use, safely preparing your bottle feed within seconds. You'll quickly learn to love this genius piece of equipment!

The sterilisation of bottles

The immune system of babies is not as well developed as an adult's, so drinking milk that is contaminated with bacteria could cause them to become very ill. Sterilising all your baby's feeding equipment will protect them from illnesses. Because of this, the NHS recommends that all equipment used to collect, store, or feed expressed breastmilk or formula milk to babies under 12 months should be sterilised before each use. Sterilising your child's bottles can be done in a number of ways, and a range of sterilising essentials can be purchased to make the process easier.

By boiling the bottles for 10 minutes at 100°C (the boiling point of water), the majority of bacteria will be killed. You don't need specialised equipment to use this method, so it is especially useful if you are only sterilising occasionally (such as if you only bottle feed occasionally). If you do use this method on a regular basis, be aware that some items may be damaged by the heat and might need to be replaced more frequently.

As with boiling, steam sterilising works by adding water to a sterilising unit, which boils the water and creates steam that kills bacteria. Several different types of steam sterilisers are available. While some steam sterilisers are microwave-able, others are stand-alone units that plug into the mains.

A cold water steriliser uses chemicals mixed with cold water to sterilise feeding equipment. A handy fall-back option if you usually use a sterilising unit at home, which you add to cold water. You can buy them as tablets or concentrated liquids.

UV- light steriliser: UV is an invisible form of light that kills 99.9% of microorganisms. Without the use of chemicals, it disinfects against harmful bacteria, mould, viruses and other germs and is often used to sterilize equipment in hospitals, dentists, and doctors' offices. UV power in a fuss-free way to sterilise, dry, and store your baby's bottles. Using the Ultra UV Steriliser, you can get clean, sterile bottles whenever you need them. No water, no steam, no wet bottles, just clean, dry and sterile feeding accessories that are safe to use.

Muslin squares

A Muslin Cloth is handy for mopping up spit-up and milk spills (they happen more often than you think! ), and as your child gets older, you can use them to clean up their dirty mouths and fingers. Furthermore, they double as comforters and swaddle wraps. You'll want to stock up on these so you're always prepared (keep a few in your baby bag, one in each room of the house, one in the car, one in their buggy...)

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