When I learned I was about to become a mum, the thing I was most nervous about, was breastfeeding. The pressure to feed your child naturally feels heavy during pregnancy, coupled with the fact that you have absolutely no idea how to do it or if you’ll even be able to, the whole experience can become quite overwhelming and stressful which is my reason for this post.

Prior to breastfeeding I did a lot of research and spoke to several latch specialists. I accepted any help offered by the midwives post delivery and my biggest piece of advice is if you want to breastfeed, let them help you. Do not allow yourself to be discharged without feeling confident as you’ll only struggle more once home. Jax was born with a tongue tie which meant it was a little harder for her to find the correct latch and it caused me to suffer blocked ducts and a milk bleb but don’t panic, these symptoms were easy to fix and are very common. Below is a list of products that I found seriously helpful whilst breastfeeding and if you’d like to hear more about everything I wish I’d known pre-breastfeeding then click here to watch my very honest YouTube video!

Breast Pump I’m so thankful for my breast pump, not only because it helped me reduce my engorged boobs and ease nipple discomfort but because it gave me extra time in my day. I am self-employed and I’ll admit that working whilst trying to feed Jax every two hours was difficult, so pumping on walks or while writing emails meant I had spare milk which my husband could use to feed her while I popped to meetings. If you’re looking for a discreet pump that minimises impact to your day then you will love the Elvie! It fits in your bra making it hands-free and silent so you really can get on with daily tasks without anyone knowing, plus its app means you can keep track of milk volume and control remotely. Click here to find out more.

Nipple Cream Trust me, give your nipples a little extra care and invest in a balm to keep them happy. My personal favourite was Kit and Kin and their Breast balm, (Get 20% off with code CARLY20) approved by dermatologists and certified natural by the soil association, it’s made without any harsh chemicals or synthetic fragrances and instead uses natural botanicals such as coconut, rosemary and ginseng.

Breast Pads I totally underestimated my need for these but man were they needed! Get prepared for milk soaked tops unless you have a breast pad in your bra. I was using the cheap disposable ones until I came across these washable pads by Mothercare and I’ve been washing and loving them ever since! They’re soft on the boob and better for the environment and your bin!

Maternity Bra Before having Jax I thought I could simply get away with wearing my Calvin Kleins or sports bras, BOY was I wrong! Your ladyhumps require some serious support and love whilst breastfeeding, plus a good maternity bra really does make it easier and a little more discreet to feed in public. After testing out a few maternity bras I found my favourite was this non-wired one from JoJo Maman Bébe, personally I found anything with a wire left me feeling sore but it’s totally up to you.

Muslin Cloth Your new best friend, you’ll want one in every room and every bag because trust me, the second you need it you’ll struggle to find it, or you won’t be able to move to get it because your little one is feeding or asleep on you. My top tip is to get ones like these from John Lewis, go large or go home! The bigger the muslin the better! It can double up as a cover so you can discreetly feed, as a blanket or to wipe away milk spits or snot.

Milk Storage Bags My freezer is no longer full of ice-lollies and frozen pees but bags of milk! When feeding your little one you’ll notice your other boob decides to turn into a leaky tap, don’t waste it collect it into your pump as well as the milk you pump and freeze it for future days when you aren’t able to feed or need to pop out. My current favourite storage bags are these ones which come in packs of 50 or 100. I’d love to hear your recommendations on breast feeding essentials so pop them in the comments below!