Really all you need for breastfeeding when things are going well are a baby and a breast.  Pumps have their place for certain reasons- see the other Breastfeeding stuff page. This page talks about other breastfeeding paraphernalia that you may hear about and wonder if you need, some of which I do sell, others you get from other places.  The following opinions are mine- others may think about these differently than me, so take what I say with a grain of salt- and let me know your thoughts if you think I should add in other info!


If breastfeeding is going well, the periodic check up at the doctor's office, with its accompanying weight check, is all you need.  But if the bebe's weight gain has been slower than wanted, you can do a weight check with me more frequently, or rent a scale to do at home weighings for a few days.  I have both trending scales that are perfect for accurate daily weight recording, as well as the high- grade super accurate scales that allow us to record what the baby is actually taking in at a feed (post-feed weight minus pre-feed weight).  While one feed only gives us a snapshot of intake, weighing over the course of a day or two can really give us good info on how well the baby and breasts are doing their jobs.  That information helps us put into place a feeding plan, which may or may not involve some supplementation plus other feeding suggestions.

I rent scales on a per-day basis:  Trending scales, $2 a day, Super-scales- $4 a day,  plus tax.

Nursing Stools

Is a nursing stool a MUST? No.  Is a nursing stool helpful?  If you believe the moms who come over to do feeds with me, YES.  Anything that can help a mom have a comfortable lap during those many minutes of sitting with her baby is well worth it. Most ottomans are too high; a rolled up beach towel leveled to a certain height (secured by duct tape) can work well.   If you can find someone selling a used Medela nursing stool on ebay, snatch it up and you will enjoy using it!  They are not selling these new anymore so I have had to search around to find one I like.  Kidcraft stools on Amazon are nice, come in a variety of finishes, and are reasonable in cost for something you can repurpose for toddler toothbrushing later!

Nursing Supplementers

Sometimes the volume that a baby takes directly from the breast is not as much as what that babe needs to grow well.  This can be due to reduced supply in the breasts (lots of different reasons why) or not effective enough removal by the baby due to prematurity, weaker muscle tone and low stamina.  Since rule number one is to feed the baby, if a baby CAN latch, but needs either extra volume or faster flow, the use of a nursing supplementer (a wee tube that slips into the baby's mouth and delivers milk from another milk {pumped milk, donor milk, formula} reservoir while the baby is suckling) can be very useful.  These are also VERY helpful for moms and babies in adoptive nursing situations- what a loverly gift to an adopted infant to have a chance to experience breastfeeding!  There are a few manufactured kinds of supplementer systems out there- I have linked you to some sites that show pictures and uses of these devices- (any other info on these sites has not been verified for my degree of accuracy!):

 Medela SNS                      Hazelbaker feeder               Lact-aid               Homemade Tube feeder

Some of these devices are pricey; all have their own little quirks for use.  If this kind of nursing aid is necessary,  it is recommended that you are being followed by an IBCLC or physician so a close watch on the baby's weight can be kept until an established feeding routine is in place.

I use the homemade tube feeder set up; costs are minimal.

Nipple Shields

A nipple shield these days looks like a tiny sombrero made out of clear silicone (quite honestly I wish they were fuschia at room temperature and clear at body temp so they can be easily found when it is time for a feed!) that is worn OVER mom's nipples while the baby is nursing.  Often given to women in the hospital, they are helpful for when a baby is having a difficult time latching due to baby's oral anatomy (tongue tie, prematurity, high palate) or nipple issues (edema swallowing up nipple after delivery interventions, flat or inverted nipples, or little nipple/areolar elasticity).  Sometimes they are given to moms to help with painful nursing, which is usually secondary to one of the above concerns.

There are several companies that make nipple shields which come in different sizes.  I most often use a 24mm, RARELY a 20, and sometimes need a larger size made by a European company.  Though Target sells them and you can get them on-line, please be seen by or talk with someone who will be following up with you regarding the careful use of a nipple shield. There should be a care plan discussed that examines WHY the shield is helpful, how it should be used properly, what kind and how often pumping should be done post feeds in those early weeks, and then hopefully a plan for discontinuing the use of the shield.  They are great tools to help with nursing gone funky, but their use can compromise a milk supply; keeping an eye on milk transfer and weight gain is important. 

Nursing Pillows/ Breast pillows

For the early days, many moms find that some sort of pillow support to rest the poundage of baby on is helpful.  Quite honestly, a $5 bed pillow is usually perfect, pulled from your stash at home. While the crescent/horseshoe shaped pillows may be good for some moms, what I often see with many of these brands is a pillow that is usually stiff, too horizontal, too high or too low, and that doesn't stay close enough to mom's belly.  Pillows should not fight you- and the nursing pillows I see often CAUSE sore nipples when moms adjust to the pillow, and lean towards the baby for latch.

A rolled up cloth diaper under the breast can be very helpful for my well endowed 5+ letters into the alphabet cup sized moms, giving the breast some support so your hand isn’t working so hard under the breast. The Utterly Yours breast pillow seems to be out of production now, too bad, but look on Ebay to see if there are any out there. works well for some moms! Think about it if you have full breasts! 


What is the purpose of a nursing bra? To hold in your nursing pad if you are a leaker, and certainly provide the support that heavier breasts need so mom is more comfortable.  I love the popular nursing camis, and for many moms that is all they may need or want.  For moms with fuller heavier breasts, a well fitted bra is very helpful.  It does seem like it is hard to find a larger cup sized bra-- and even the cup sizes do not seem to be as standard as you may think.  I would love for YOU to share where you found bras that fit well, are comfortable, and that hold up well.  I will pop your suggestions into this spot- need both local to Centre County, PA as well as good mail order/ catalog places- thanks for helping the next mom!

Milk Storage trays and bags

When you need a stash of milk, you need to consider space available, consistency of temperature, and then ease of use of your product.  There are a number of research articles that outline the benefits or foibles of different storage containers; some containers may puncture, some could be breakable, some components of human milk cling to the insides of hard plastic differently than soft plastic or glass.  Storing in serving sized portions allows for quicker serving to a hungry baby.  The thicker-lined plastic bags appear to be convenient with their zip lock sealing and purported better insulation, but many brands allow you to STORE in them and thaw, but then have to be opened and transferred into the serving receptacle- lots of money literally thrown away.  When a baby is getting a lot of fresh milk, the 'risk' of minimal nutrient loss due to  storage containers is reduced; pick a system that works with your preferred bottle system, or one that is easily fit into your freezer.

These milk storage trays are kind of neat-- storing in portion size allows for reducing waste of thawed but not needed milk; they can also be used later for freezing homemade baby food into portion sizes as well.  Freeze, pop into a zip lock bag and reuse. Sensible, I think!

One comment to add to the info about milk storage and freezing times:  When you begin to pump and store, put a couple one ounce bags into the freezer and label them to be pulled out in about 2 weeks after freezing and about 4 weeks after freezing. Some moms have in their breast milk higher than average amounts of lipase activity in their milk which causes the milk over time to become rancid, often foul smelling and tasting (even though some babies are not persnickety!) When a mom discovers that her milk 'turns', she may need to do some heat treatment of the milk prior to freezing in order to suppress the lipase activity.  You'll be glad you tested those couple of bags early on in your freezing/storage so you don't end up with 100's of ounces of unusable milk!