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Breastfeeding a baby can be a time-consuming task. Leaving you cooped up on your rocking chair or that cozy corner of the sofa. Sometimes, you don’t even realize an hour or two flies by without eating a snack or sipping on some water — that’s why every breastfeeding mom NEEDS a breastfeeding basket!
What it is & Why You Need A Breastfeeding Basket
Snacking and staying hydrated aren’t the only reasons mom needs a breastfeeding basket.
What about pumping moms who have to search for their nipple butter to lube their flanges before a pump session?
How about nursing moms who need to catch a letdown from the opposite side?
You see, a Breastfeeding basket (also sometimes termed “nursing basket”) is a basket or caddy (like one of these) that you load up with ALL your breastfeeding essential items!
Believe it or not, I went 8 months without making one of these life-saving baskets with my first. Eventually (8 months later obviously) I decided I was TIRED of constantly having to get up, go back and forth for supplies I needed whether I was nursing or pumping and that’s when I made myself my own DIY breastfeeding basket!
If you’re unsure what to put in your basket don’t fret, I have a big list below with some ideal breastfeeding essentials!
Essential Nursing & Pumping Items For Your Breastfeeding Basket
These are the items I put in my breastfeeding basket & I found them incredibly helpful to have!
1) Nipple Butter or Nipple Balms
If you’re a nursing mom, using nipple butter after you feeb baby can help your skin stay smooth and less irritated. Earth Mama makes one of the best nipple balms around!
If you’re a pumping mama, using some nipple balm to “lube your flange” can help make pumping much more comfortable (allowing your nipple to glide into the flange vs there being any kind of friction).
2) Breast Milk Collecting Shells
If saving every ounce of milk is important to you, then I suggest keeping some breast milk collecting shells handy!
Simply pop them into your bra when you’re nursing and know you’ll have a letdown, and remove when finished. I almost always caught milk from the opposite side during my nursing sessions with baby.
I used these milk collecting shells daily and found them to be comfortable and easy to use (plus they’re super cheap on Amazon).
3) Breastfeeding Snacks
Keeping a small stash of breastfeeding snacks will help you curb those intense “OH MY GOSH I’M STARVING” moments that come with the territory of breastfeeding.
A few snack ideas include the following:
- Granola bars
- Trail Mix Packs
- Rice Cakes & Nut Butter
- Veggie Muffins (I would keep these frozen and place 1 of them in my basket in the morning knowing I’d eat it when it was thawed out)
- Pumpkin (Pepita) Seeds
- KIND Bars
Those are just a few ideas of the snacks I use to rotate through my own breastfeeding basket.
4) Hydrogel Soothing Pads
These soothing little gels are a MUST have for any nursing mama!
In those early days, your nipples will be so sore as you adjust to breastfeeding. Not to mention, in the event baby is struggling with their latch, these gel pads can help you feel lots of soothing comfort until you’re able to correct their latch.
I liked to keep one pack in my fridge so they were extra cool when I needed that EXTRA calming feel and another in my breastfeeding basket for quick use!
5) Water Bottle
Breastfeeding will make you hungry and thirsty. Keeping a full water bottle in your basket is a great way to ensure you’re staying hydrated!
Keep in mind, you don’t want your water bottle to be too big or heavy since you’ll be taking this basket around the house with you.
Instead, opt for a standard plastic water bottle OR grab a small water cup like this one which will be just enough to keep you refreshed during a long nursing or pumping session.
Recommended Breastfeeding Post >> Is The Willow Wearable Breast Pump ACTUALLY Worth It?
6) Burp Cloths
You never know when baby is going to spit up, spit up again, and oh yeah, spit up one more time.
Keep 3-4 burp cloths (these burp cloths are big and soft!) nicely rolled up and ready to go in the even you need them.
Plus, they come in handy in case you catch a case of the clumsies like I do sometimes and spill your own water on yourself. Mom life I tell ya!
7) Warm or Cold Breastfeeding Compress
Get yourself a pair of compresses that can be used for both warmth and cooling.
I got these compresses and really liked them — they were also very soft which made applying them to my breasts much more comfortable when needed compared to some of the plastic breastfeeding compressed out there.
Cooling is great for when you’re having pain and need to reduce some inflammation and literally soothe your breasts. Whereas warmth is by far one of the best ways to open up those milk ducts and help your milk flow out (for instance if you have mastitis or a clogged milk duct).
8) Prenatal Vitamins
If you’re anything like me (or any mom out there who is forgetful) there’s a chance you forget to take your prenatal vitamins one too many times.
Keeping it in your breasfeeding basket is a great place because chances are, you’ll be looking into this handy little basket multiple times a day.
That means multiple reminders to take your vitamins!
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9) Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are great for everything and anything. Why I waited to get them until I had kids I have no idea, but I digress!
Baby Wipes will come in handy in the event you spill some milk, maybe baby spits up or worst, baby has a blow out diaper!
My personal favorites are Water Wipes (seriously, they are SO good at cleaning everything). They’re wipes that are practically just water — very soft and moist making it perfect to clean up messes without worrying if it’ll agitate anyone skin.
10) Breast Pump Sanitizing Wipes or Spray
Sometimes, you may not be able to wash your pump parts right away leaving that thick sticky milk residue all over.
Instead, give your parts a quick spray and wipe down to hold you over until you’re able to give them a thorough wash in soapy warm water!
11) Nursing Pads
If you have the breast milk collecting shells, you probably won’t need these in your breastfeeding caddy.
If saving every drop of milk isn’t a big deal for you, then definitely pack in some nursing pads so you’re not covered in breastmilk every time you nurse baby.
12) Spare Breast Pump Parts
You never know when your pump might need a little love. Did you know you’re supposed to replace key parts like the tubing, membranes, and duckbills periodically?!
That’s right, your pump needs regular maintenance. So double-check your pump’s instruction manual to see what needs to be replaced and then keep 1-2 extra parts stashed away in your basket in case you need to replace something while pumping.
Here are a few replacement part dupes that have gotten excellent reviews for being just as good as the original parts (at much less cost!):
- Maymom Spectra Pump Parts (S1/S2)
13) Extra Nursing Bra or Pumping Bra
You never know what kind of mishaps can happen during a nursing or pumping session.
One time I was pumping around 2 am and I remember I got all my supplies ready, went to put on my pumping bra to find the zipper was broken. I must’ve not realized it, but I washed it earlier so I’m guessing it fell off during the laundry cycle.
Thankfully, I had a backup bra stashed away in my breastfeeding basket so it ended up being crises averted pretty quick.
Avert all crises and keep a backup bra (this one is good for nursing AND pumping!) stashed away at all times!
Recommended Breastfeeding Post >> Lactation Smoothies for Breastfeeding Moms ft. SmoothieBox
14) Phone Charger or Phone Battery
Of the many things to do while pumping or breastfeeding baby, being on your phone is probably the number one choice.
To make sure you don’t end up with a dead phone battery, keep an extra charger or battery pack in your nursing basket.
Maybe it’s a chilly night and your feet are getting cold, no worries because you decided to keep some super soft, warm, and cozy socks in your basket. Done and done.
16) Small Throw Blanket
Again, it could be a chilly winter night and you’re freezing your butt off waiting for baby to finish his or her meal.
Keep a small throw blanket folded nicely away in your basket so you can warm up whenever you need it!
I have NO idea why (well, I’m assuming it’s the hormones), but my lips were SO dry when I breastfed my first baby.
It didn’t take long before I came across Earth Mama’s Lip Balm which kept my skin smooth and much less chapped than before!
In fact, not only should these be packed away in your breastfeeding basket, but keep one in your car, purse, changing bag, and all over if you can!
18) Portable Small Light
If it’s a late-night session you’ll want to have a portable light available so you can actually see what you’re doing without having to turn on the room light (especially if baby is asleep).
My favorite is the VAVA Night Light for Kids. You can switch between a cool and warm temperature color, low dim to bright, while all being gentle enough for a child’s eyes.
19) Extra Nursing Pillow Cover
Diaper blowouts while nursing. I’ll just leave it at that.
Depending on the nursing pillow you have, you can get replacement covers and keep one ready to go just in case! Here’s a couple of the most popular brands:
20) Breast Massager (electric or handheld)
Breastfeeding is all supply and demand. That’s why fully emptying your breasts while feeding and pumping is key.
Three-ways to ensure you’re emptying efficiently is to manually hand massage your breast, use an electric massager like the LaVie Lactation Massager which tons of moms swear by, and lastly a lactation hand massager.
Where To Put Your Breastfeeding Basket At Home
Here’s where you get to become creative. You can make yourself ONE breastfeeding basket or caddy (using something like these) and carry it around the house with you — that’s what I did since my home really isn’t that big.
Or you could make multiple baskets and keep in the primary locations you’ll be spending most of your time pumping or nursing baby. Keep in mind, these items can add up quickly, so if you want a more budget-friendly approach, I suggest just making one basket.
Know a new mom? Give Her A Breastfeeding Gift Basket
Want to give the gift of breastfeeding essentials to a new mom (as long as she’s planning to breastfeed)? You’re an AMAZING support person! Here’s what you can do:
- Order a portable caddy/basket and fill it with some of the items mentioned above on this list.
- Purchase an already made breastfeeding gift basket, like this adorable one on Etsy that comes with snacks, nursing pads, lanolin cream, and more!
No matter which option you go with, mom will be sure to appreciate your thoughtfulness forever!