As a breastfeeding mom, you’ll spend quite a bit of time parked in one spot breastfeeding your baby. This is where a breastfeeding basket will come in handy! A breastfeeding basket (or bin, tote, box) contains the breastfeeding essentials for when you are sitting on the couch breastfeeding your baby and unable to reach far. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you will spend a lot of time sitting, so it’s really nice to have a designated spot and everything you need right there.
A well-stocked breastfeeding basket is also a great gift for a new mom! Step it up a notch and also include some homemade lactation cookies to help boost her supply!
This is the basket I use. I like it because it has multiple compartments and dividers, as well as pockets on the side for easy access to smaller items. I keep it next to my primary pump and nursing pillow. Some of the items are hard to see in the picture, but here is what I have in my breastfeeding basket…
• water bottle ∙∙∙ Moments after I start nursing or pumping, I immediately feel thirsty. It’s important to always have water on-hand because your body needs lots of water to create breastmilk. Hydration is key for adequate breastmilk supply! This one is even better, because it holds a lot more water — and you’ll need to drink a LOT of water.
• snacks ∙∙∙ Breastfeeding makes you so hungry! Having enough calories is also very important in maintaining supply. Lactation cookies and Figgy Pops are currently in my breastfeeding basket for much-needed easy snacks.
• silicone milk saver ∙∙∙ I didn’t discover this until my third time around. It is definitely a “MUST-HAVE” for breastfeeding moms, especially in the early days when you are leaking a lot of milk. I stored so many more ounces of breastmilk, thanks to this. In a nutshell, this suctions to one breast and catches the leaking milk from your letdown when you are feeding from the other breast. In those early weeks/months, you will likely catch a lot of extra milk when using it during your morning nursing sessions – when your breasts are more full. It can also be used as a manual pump. It is easy to toss in your diaper bag if you need to relieve engorgement when out.
If you have other kids running around who may knock it before you get it to the fridge, learn from my mistake and spend the extra money getting the one with a stand and lid. I have the original haakaa and it is very affordable. And like I said, I wish I spent a few more dollars and bought the one with a lid. But there are a few similar things from other brands that have good reviews. I can’t speak to them personally, but if you want to save a few dollars you could try this one.
In addition to your pump (duh!) and the water and snacks mentioned above, you’ll need a few more things for pumping:
• hands-free pump bra ∙∙∙ This is critical for not absolutely hating your time spent pumping. With free hands you can scroll through your phone, do work on your laptop or read a book to your toddler. You could get a bra specifically for pumping, or one that doubles as a nursing bra so you can wear it all day.
• pump parts ∙∙∙ I currently am using the Spectra 2, so I keep my clean Spectra pump parts in the basket ready to go when I choose to pump. For on-the-go pumping, I use this battery operated pump.
• milk storage bags ∙∙∙ You can keep your milk in the fridge in the bottles you pump into, or you can transfer the milk to storage bags. These are the bags I use to freeze my extra milk. I’ve tried a few kinds and had the fewest leaks or problems with these. Tip: Lay the bag flat when freezing the milk. You can then store several bags together like bricks and they will take up less space in your freezer.
• diapers ∙∙∙ While you’ll likely do most diaper changes somewhere else, it’s convenient to have diapers nearby in case baby needs an easy change.
• wipes ∙∙∙ I like these wipes because they can be used for diaper changes, but also to clean my children’s hands and faces.
• diaper trash bags ∙∙∙ We have these wherever we may do a diaper change that is away from our diaper pail or garage trash. We also keep a lot of them in the diaper bag!
• baby balm ∙∙∙ This stuff is awesome. The ingredients are safe and the balm can help heal baby’s diaper rash, dry/irritated skin and mom’s sore nipples. If you want something you can get on Amazon Prime (as a busy new mom, Amazon Prime is LIFE!), check out this baby coconut oil. It is multipurpose and free of chemicals.
• baby nail files and/or clipper ∙∙∙ A nursing baby may be still enough to allow for peaceful nail trimming!
• blanket ∙∙∙ I keep these everywhere. You never know when you need to cover up baby, lay it down for tummy time, or use as a breastfeeding cover.
• burp cloths ∙∙∙ If your baby spits up a lot, you can’t have too many of these!
• pacifier ∙∙∙ Your baby may not like the pacifier or may have a strong preference for a particular nipple shape. If you use a pacifier, a clip is helpful to prevent it from falling on the ground.
• vitamin D drops ∙∙∙ The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfed babies receive a daily drop of Vitamin D.
Other “Nice to Haves”
• nipple cream ∙∙∙ Keep this on-hand if nursing is still painful for you!
• nursing cover ∙∙∙ If a visitor shows up and you want to cover up when nursing, have a cover in your basket. Alternatively, you could just use the baby blanket to help give you some privacy.
• nipple soothers ∙∙∙ Breastfeeding is painful at first. These are just some of the things that can help soothe irritated nipples.