There is so much to learn when you start breastfeeding, from latches and flanges to clogged ducts and fat content. And for every stage and challenge along the way, it seems like there are so many products available, it’s hard to know what works. The best products for breastfeeding parents are the ones that make tasks easier, like
milk storage or massaging a clog, or alleviate some of the discomforts that come with this journey, like cracked nipples and engorgement.
First-time parents, don’t let learning about breastfeeding overwhelm you. If purchasing all the nipple balms and hot packs ahead of time makes you feel prepared, go for it. If you’d rather wait and see what you really need, that’s OK too. If you’ve breastfed a baby before, you may feel like you’ve found everything that works for you. But even for experienced parents, there are hacks and products you can use in genius ways that will have you saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
The truth about breastfeeding is that it changes over time, and with every baby you may have. That means there’s always room to learn, grow, and find a new holy grail product that actually does what it claims.
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Pacifier clips to make any top breastfeeding-friendly Pros: These metal clips are strong and long-lasting. Cons: Using clips on clothes may leave a little indentation for the day.
If your baby likes pacifiers, you may already have a few
Babygoal Pacifier Clips (or something similar) at home. Next time you need to feed your baby but you’re not wearing a maternity top, try gathering your shirt up above your breast, looping the strap around it and through the ring on the end, and clipping it up out of the way (here’s the TikTok that started it all for a demo). Review: “These are very vibrant and super cute. The clip is strong and durable. The piece that wraps around the pacifier is stretchy and easy to put on. We love them and the fact we can change looks whenever we want.” 2 Gel pads to soothe painful nipples Pros: They’re easy to travel with and wear discreetly under clothes. Cons: They can be reused, but only for 24 hours after opening the envelope. Medela Soothing Gel Pads are like soothing stickers for cracked, painful nipples. Just peel off the backing, run the pad under cold water, and place the gel side over your nipple for a cooling, soothing effect (and protection from friction on clothes throughout the day). They’re designed to contour around your breast and cover nipples of all sizes. Review: “These things CHANGED my life! Immediate soothing comfort & relief, helped prevent cracking, soothed any abrasions I did get and protected my nipples in between feedings. Running them under cold water after each nursing session before putting them on was honestly something I looked forward to for the comfort they brought. I can confidently say I would have likely resorted to pumping or considered formula if I didn’t have these. Absolutely amazing product! I’ll be including these in every baby gift I buy for new moms moving forward.” 3 A gadget to make inverted nipples everted Pros: It comes with a carrying case to keep it clean for feeding and pumping on the go. Cons: Reviewers say it can fill up with milk, so it could be messy to use.
If your nipples are inverted or flat, it’s possible you might find latching a little tricky. The
Lansinoh LatchAssist Nipple Everter is a gentle suction tool you place over your nipple to help it pop out for feedings. It comes with two flanges so you can find the best fit, and both are made of soft silicone so they don’t irritate your breasts. Review: “I’m a new mom who just survived her first week with baby and this little suction has helped with nursing so much! I have flat nipples and this suction really helps pull my nipples out so baby can latch, it’s been a huge game changer! So quick and easy to use — So happy I purchased this!!” 4 A pitcher for the whole day’s breast milk Pros: It’s dishwasher-safe for easy sanitizing. Cons: Make sure to stir gently, or you might break down some of the molecules in the milk.
Dr. Brown’s Formula Mixing Pitcher may seem like the last product a breastfeeding parent needs, but moms in the reviews swear by it. Instead of dealing with pouring bottles into storage bags every time they pumps, they add milk to the pitcher throughout the day and then add it to storage bags all at once, instead of fighting with bags and bottles all day long. Make sure you are chilling freshly pumped milk before adding it to the cold contents of the pitcher (so that you do not bring up the temperature of the already-chilled milk). And before pouring the milk into separate bags, give the pitcher contents a stir first to redistribute all the fats. Review: “I bought this to store my pumped breast milk in throughout the day. It is so easy to just dump it in there and bag it up at the end of the day. The pitcher makes it so easy to pour into the storage bags. I also like that I can mix the milk so it’s more balanced with fore milk & hind milk. Definitely recommend for pumped breast milk.” 5 Hot and cold packs to soothe engorgement Pros: They’re BPA- and latex-free. Cons: It’s not clear if the pack covers are machine washable.
Whether you want to apply heat or cold to your breasts, the
L’AUTRE PEAU Hot/Cold Plush Breast Gel Bead Packs can do both. Store them in the fridge or freezer, or microwave for 20 seconds to warm them up. They’re contoured to fit perfectly around breasts of any size, and they also come with removable plush covers. Review: “These are amazing for breast tenderness & pain. They’re a good size and slide right into my bra.” 6 A milk catcher and lifesaver for clogged ducts Pros: You can put the Haakaa in a sterilizer or boil for two to three minutes, like other pump parts. Cons: The company says it’s dishwasher-safe, but some reviewers felt the suction was looser after washing.
Haakaa Manual Breast Pump has a 4.6-star rating and more than 72,000 reviews. When your baby is nursing and your milk letdown starts, pop on the Haakaa to catch all that liquid gold. Lots of moms on TikTok also swear by this product to relieve clogged ducts — they add hot water and one to two tablespoons of epsom salt, submerge the nipple, and let the suction work its magic for 10 for 15 minutes. Review: “This is THE BEST for softening the breast during engorgement in the early days while nursing on the opposite side, and it collects after letdown whatever would have been wasted into a pad while nursing opposite side. Collect may be the wrong word: it seems active, but this isn't just a container, it does exert good suction to draw extra milk from the breast. Too narrow of a neck for (my) kitchen sponge or bottle brush, so I had to get a little creative, and you're boiling it after regardless. For $13 this really is hands down one of the best accessories for a nursing mom.” 7 An anti-chafing stick for the girls Pros: This stick is safe to use when pregnant, not tested on animals, and dermatologist approved. Cons: Like any stick product, you have to store it in a cool place or you risk melting. Frida Mom’s Pregnancy No-Friction Anti-Chafe Glide Stick is a brand new product intended to keep the skin underneath your breasts dry and comfortable (thank goodness). Vitamin E and tapioca starch nourish skin while absorbing excess moisture, and they left out all the bad stuff, like talc and parabens. This little stick works all over the body too, so don’t be shy around the thighs. 8 A manual roller to loosen clogs Pros: You can use it in the shower and does not require batteries. Cons: It doesn’t vibrate or warm like battery-powered massagers.
LaVie Lactation Massager Roller is perfect to use quietly while baby nurses, in the shower to help relieve a clogged duct, and more. It can be used as a roller, or it comes apart to use each component of the massager separately and differently, depending on your needs. Review: “I was dealing with the recurring clogged ducts. I was using LaVie massagers already but this is a good addition for messaging under shower and then pump. Worked 10 of of 10 times! Absolutely must have if you breastfeed.” 9 Reusable nursing pads that actually fit well Pros: An outer waterproof layer keeps milk from soaking through your shirt. Cons: They’re machine-washable, but the brand says not to use fabric softener or bleach, as it can make them less absorbent. They could potentially slide around/out of your bra cup, depending on the fit of your bra.
Why are so many reusable nursing pads such small little circles? They shift around underneath a bra and can soak through quickly. The
Lansinoh Reusable Nursing Pads for Breastfeeding Mothers are shaped like a traditional bra cup, so they actually have some coverage and contour to your breast. They’re made of soft material to prevent irritation or chafing. Review: “These are my lifesaver. I have an overproduction of milk, so I'm constantly leaking even after feeding and pumping and these things help a lot to keep me from leaking through my shirts. It's not to irritating against swollen nipples either which I appreciate. Solid Product.” 10 A hands-free spray and balm set for cracked nipples Pros: You can apply the balm and spray with minimal to no skin-on-skin contact. Cons: If you haven’t used it up by then, the spray expires after six months.
Frida Mom Sore Nipple Set comes with a saline spray and no-mess nipple balm that help soothe and heal cracked nipples. What sets these apart is the sanitizing spray (so you don’t apply balm and seal in any germs) and the hands-free balm design, which keeps dirty fingers out of balm pots. Review: “There is no miracle solution for cracked or sore during the first few weeks, but I was at the peak of pain after ten days post delivery. I started off by spraying the saline between feedings and letting it air dry. I then started using the balm after the saline dried between feedings. Let me tell you…this has kept me from giving up altogether! I now swear by this! I’ve tried two other brands prior and did not have the same affect. For a few extra dollars, believe me it’s worth it.” 11 Alcohol test strips so you can avoid the pump and dump Pros: They’re individually wrapped so it’s easy to travel with one or two. Cons: They’re single-use.
Breastfeeding parents know how painful it is to pump and dump after a few drinks, but sometimes, you just want another marg at Taco Tuesday. The
Upspring Milkscreen Test Strips detect alcohol in breast milk, and can let you know in two minutes whether or not it’s safe to feed to your baby. Review: “These are a must have for breastfeeding moms who like to enjoy having drinks from time to time without having to guess if the alcohol is still present in their breastmilk. You MUST follow the instructions accordingly for them to work. I put a timer on my phone to make sure I read the results exactly at 2 minutes. If you wait longer than that, you will see a positive result even if it's negative which has happened to me before with these strips.” 12 A hand pump (and a hack) to catch all that letdown Pros: Many reviewers say their manual pump was faster than their electric one. Cons: It only comes with one breast shield.
Medela Manual Breast Pump is designed to mimic the way a baby sucks to get the most milk in the quickest time for busy moms. It has a soft, comfortable fit and is easy to travel with. One mom on TikTok discovered that holding down the pump empties her breasts in five minutes, and others have posted similar videos saying it really works. Review: “I just had my fourth baby and wish wish I would have had this from the beginning! I primarily nurse but this has been awesome to pump any time I need to. I have a medela double electric breast pump but I find this method ten times easier. I don’t have to be tied to any cords and can therefore do it anywhere. I can bring this small thing in my purse to concerts or plays. It’s easy to pump off a bit if baby didn’t eat enough and I feel full. My baby quit nursing on both sides so I use this to pump the other side and it does the job quickly. I love it. Totally recommending this to all my new mama friends.” 13 An all-in-one milk storage solution Pros: It sorts milk from oldest to newest for you. Cons: It only has room to freeze one bag at a time, so those with a big supply may need more space.
Looking for a compact milk storage product that does it all? The
Milkies Freeze Organizer has a tray on top so you can freeze your storage bag flat. When it’s ready, slide it into the top of the container. When you’re ready to feed baby, pull a bag from the bottom to use the oldest milk first. It’s simple, sweet, and doesn’t require much space. Review: “A perfectly compact organization method for storing frozen breast milk. I use the Lansinoh milk bags and they fit perfectly on the freeze tray and in the container. Once I fill up the container I put them in a gallon size ziploc bag and they fit perfectly. The container is about the size of a 1.5 quart of ice cream.” 14 Silver nipple cups to protect and soothe Pros: They’re less messy than creams or balms, and your baby won’t taste any residues. Cons: They seem easy to lose, so hang on to that handy storage pouch.
If you have cracked, dry, or sore nipples, the
Koala Babycare Original Silver Nursing Cups are a mess-free solution. Put a few drops of breast milk into the cup so it adheres to your nipple, and to help it heal. They’re designed to fit comfortably and be invisible under clothes. Review: “Day 3 of breastfeeding first time mom my nipples were bleeeeeeding and cracked. Even the softest fabrics were irritating on my boobs. I bought this and wear them DAILY. Wash with warm water. They are noticeable over clothes but I don’t care. If I didn’t have these I would not have been able to survive the first couple weeks of breastfeeding. They are thin so don’t drop them or they’ll get bent but you can bend them back. I have nipple cream but it doesn’t heal the same way these do.” 15 A breast massager to loosen clogged ducts Pros: It’s waterproof and safe to use in the shower. Cons: It’s rechargeable, so be sure the battery stays full.
Clogged milk ducts are painful, but massage is one of the best ways
to help relieve them. The LaVie Lactation Massager for Breastfeeding has more than 11,000 reviews saying this gentle massager helped relieve pain and discomfort from engorgement. Use the large backside for allover massage, the scooped edges to promote milk letdown, or the pointed end to target clogs. Review: “I used this mostly in the beginning to encourage milk flow while pumping and breastfeeding. It definitely helped and I bought one for a friend that is due in the Winter. It was also very helpful to relieve discomfort when my milk came in and my breasts were super engorged.”
No matter the hurdles you face in your breastfeeding journey, there are products out there designed to help. Or, at least, to make things less uncomfortable along the way.