Equipment when Breastfeeding

Now it you may be thinking that all you’ll need is boobs and a baby to breastfeed.  Whilst you are essentially correct there are some things that can make your life easier.

Nursing Bras

So you want to make sure that the band size is correct.  You may not need to go up here but you may on the cup size – if you’re a C cup then I’d buy a D cup for example. You may be thinking that you don’t need to invest money here but we all know how a good fitting bra can make you feel so why should this phase of your life not need that boost? You want them to be made in such a way that the breast is not supported too tightly or bound (which can cause infections if they cannot produce milk correctly) so something where the straps and band are pretty firm but the cup has some stretch to it. When trying them on make sure you have a nursing pad with you so you can check that the fit is good with one in. Some recommend a slightly larger sports bra or bralette in the first few weeks to make things easier for you. Others also praise the sleeping bra which is softer and designed to give support

  • You may need to go with the cup size but not the band
  • Breathable fabrics work best to minimize infections
  • Three bras should be your minimum you buy
  • Get a professional to size you

Nipple Shells

Now if you have flat or inverted nipples then this is the thing for you. You wear them inside the bra for half an hour before feeding and they help to draw the nipple out and make it easier for the baby to latch.

  • Any milk collected in them should be disposed of.
  • Don’t wear overnight as the suction may cause trauma to your nipple.

Silicone breast pump

The silicone breast pump (you probably will have heard the brand name Hakka) is a simple device that attaches to the breast.  You would use it if you have strong let down to help remove some of the milk before feeding or during the feed to catch milk from the other breast which you can then give to baby or freeze for later. As there is no sucking motion it doesn’t really stimulate the breast to produce more milk so is a great if you find that you leak during a feed. It actually works really well even if you don’t leak (remember that leaking or not doesn’t indicate supply issues)

Clothing whilst breastfeeding

You can get loads of lovely clothes to wear when you’re breastfeeding that are designed to make it easier for you to do so.  You don’t need to buy any new though as all you’ll need will be for your breasts to be accessible when you are out. If you want to make sure that no one sees more than you are comfortable with then a vest top underneath will cover your stomach and still allow access.

Breastfeeding covers

Designed to give you a little privacy when breastfeeding in public – the age old argument is do you need one. I think its a matter of personal preference as a pashmina, baby blanket or swaddle will do just as well.  Would you like to be covered when you eat?

Nipple shield

So a nipple shield would be used if:

  • Your nipples are flat and inverted
  • Baby is early and having difficulty opening their mouth wide enough to latch

If your nipples are sore then they can be used to help carry on feeding on the sore side but correcting the latch is really the best option – here are some tips on how to deal with sore nipples.

If you are using shields then you need to remember to sterilize them after each use and use a pump to help with supply.  Nipple shields mean that the breast does not get direct stimulation so it can impact milk transfer which is why you will need to pump to make sure that you are stimulating the breasts correctly.

From personal experience they got me breastfeeding but I was really supported when I started so please don’t use them unless you have had a conversation with someone trained in breastfeeding support.

Breast pumps

So electric or manual? For more tips on pumping then please follow this link.

If you are planning to exclusively breastfeed your baby then you do not need a pump.  However if you are going back to work, would like your partner to give the baby the occasional bottle then you need to have some form of pump.

So the differences between hand and electric pumps? Well a hand pump is quieter and takes up less space than an electric one but it can get tiring after a while. An electric one is more efficient at withdrawing milk from the breast but is noisier.  You can also buy an electric one that will do both sides at the same time which will help reduce your pumping time.

Remember what you pump is not an indicator or supply!

Nursing pillows

Nursing pillows are a special C shaped cushion designed to help you get  the baby in the optimal position for feeding.  Once baby is attached and if you are happy to then you can be hands free! Just watch the position of it when you sit down that the baby is not too high or too low.  You should also make sure that you don’t become too dependent on the cushion and can’t feed without it as it can be quite big to lug around.  As long as you are supported in the back, neck and arms then a good cushion does the job as well.


Any brand names mentioned are not intended to recommend one brand over another – merely for illustration purposes.