10 Must-Have Items for Nursing Moms

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Nursing can be the most wonderful experience and the most stressful, all at the same time! Thankfully, there are plenty of products on the market to make the journey easier. Read on for ten must-have items for nursing moms!

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This is the most important must-have for a nursing mom. You definitely don’t want to cut corners on quality!

There are several options available but the two most recommended by moms are usually Spectra and Medela. 

I’m going to go ahead and just tell you that Spectra is far superior!

Personally, I’ve seen a TON of moms (myself included) use Medela with their firstborn and switch to Spectra with their second.

The Spectra is touted as being quieter and easier on your nipples than the Medela. The Spectra is also a “closed” system which means milk cannot get into the pump itself. This means you can re-use the pump for later children or even sell it afterwards! 

One of Medela’s most popular pumps is the Pump in Style. You may see a lot of these for sale used but it’s recommended to recycle these pumps and not re-use them. They are an “open” system which means it’s possible for milk to get into the pump and cause mold. I can vouch for this – I read about the mold issue when I was pregnant with my second child and pried the front cover off my Medela Pump in Style… sure enough, covered in mold! 

Check out the Spectra S2 here!


  • Make sure to check with your insurance company – they should cover the cost of your breast pump, although they may only offer certain brands and models.
  • Most insurance companies will cover a new pump for each child.
  • Some will even cover new pumping parts (like flanges, tubing, and collection bottles!) every few months.


A manual pump is definitely not meant for regular use. They typically don’t remove as much milk and again, you’re manually squeezing and doing the pumping, so you may tire quickly.

But a manual pump is a must if you will be traveling or spending a significant amount of time away from home without access to an electrical outlet. I found them to be especially great for air travel.

A manual pump can literally be used anywhere!

I recommend the Medela Harmony Manual Pump – see it here!


A nursing pillow is definitely a must-have for new moms. Nursing pillows are shaped in such a way that you can rest your arms while still supporting baby at the breast!

My personal favorite is the Boppy Nursing Pillow! Be sure to purchase a couple extra covers so that you’ll always have one on hand in case of leaks.

Check out the Boppy Nursing Pillow here!


You can purchase nursing pads that are disposable or reusable.

Disposable nursing pads can be really convenient because you just toss the old ones and slip in a couple more! They’re especially great for on-the-go.

However, they aren’t very breathable and leave you more vulnerable to bacteria build-up. They also aren’t environmentally-friendly!

Washable nursing pads are another option and my personal preference. They’re softer, much more comfortable, and don’t pose the same threat to our landfills!

The only downside to washable nursing pads is that your milk may occasionally soak right through since there is no waterproof layer, especially in the early days of nursing or if you have an oversupply. You also need to purchase quite a few to avoid having to do a steady stream of laundry. 

Personally, I recommend buying a few packs of washable organic cotton nursing pads and keeping a box of disposable pads on hand in case you run out before laundry day. (And again, disposable is great for travel – and you’re much less likely to spring a noticeable leak!)

Check out my recommendation for washable nursing pads here!

Check out my recommendation for disposable nursing pads here!


Between leaking milk and postpartum night sweats, you’ll definitely want to have several nursing bras on hand!

You may also want to have a few different types. Most are made simple, soft, and comfortable which are great for around the house. But you can also find more structured, pretty (even lacy!) nursing bras if you want to feel a little more like yourself!

I recommend Kindred Bravely maternity bras!


Despite it’s name, the Haaka isn’t technically a breast “pump” but it’s an absolute MUST for nursing moms!

When you’re nursing (or if you only have a single-side breast pump) you can attach the Haaka to the opposite side and it will catch any leaks. If you’ve nursed before, you know how much milk can be lost from all that leaking!

The Haaka works by squeezing and attaching to your breast via natural suction. It’s not a replacement for a regular breast pump but it will collect all the milk that would have otherwise gone to waste! 

I found it particularly useful in the morning, when milk production is at its highest. I usually collected around 2-4 ounces from the opposite breast while nursing!

Check out the Haaka Silicone Breast Pump here!


The last thing a nursing mama needs is to worry about washing her pump parts over and over again!

And the common recommendation to keep your pumping parts in the refrigerator between pumping sessions can actually be very dangerous and allow an accumulation of bacteria to build up – something you definitely don’t want to expose a vulnerable infant to!

So if you’re pumping regularly (more than once or twice per day) you will definitely want at least one extra set of pump parts! 

Helpful tips: 

  • You can find some off-brand pumping parts that fit name brand pumps on Amazon for a fraction of the price. Just make sure they are made in the USA and made of safe materials so you aren’t exposing baby to anything harmful!
  • I know a lot of moms who previously used a Medela and switched over to Spectra – you can actually purchase an adapter that will allow you to use your Medela parts with your Spectra! Check it out here!


Nipple cream is a must! Especially for those early days or if baby has a tongue tie or trouble latching. Make sure to use a cream with safe, organic ingredients.

I recommend Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. Check it out here!


If you plan on pumping frequently, purchasing a hands-free pumping bra can free up your hands to get other things done while you pump!

Check out the Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands-Free Pumping and Nursing Bra!


It’s essential to purchase milk storage bags if you need to build up a freezer stash! And even if you’re a stay at home mom and don’t plan on building up a large stash, it’s important to have at least a few days worth of breastmilk on hand in case of emergency (like if you got sick and needed to take medication that could pass into your milk!)

Check out my recommendation here!

Nursing can be overwhelming but the products mentioned above can help to alleviate some of the stress!

If you found this list helpful, check out 10 Awesome Baby Products for New Moms!

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