A while back on Instagram, I did a poll asking my followers if they had adequate lactation support and supplies while in the hospital. I was shocked to find out that approximately 50 percent of the people that voted in the poll said no. Because I’ve worked in several hospital settings, I believe that I’ve seen a lot when it comes to breastfeeding supplies (or lack thereof). So learning about other people’s experiences was vital in creating this post. I’m sharing a few breastfeeding must haves to pack into your hospital (or birthing center) bag just in case.

As I state with every post, I’m not a doctor nor am I the lactation consultant specific to you and your baby. Please seek out the appropriate medical professional for any additional assistance needed. Also please note that this post has affiliate links and you can learn more about that in the disclaimers page.


The following 10 items are essentials particularly for the early days of breastfeeding. I’ll elaborate more on how you can incorporate them into your hospital breastfeeding practices below. Before purchasing any of these items, contact your birthing facility and discuss which items they’ll have on the unit. This will definitely help you in making a decision on whether or not you’ll actually need them.

1. A nursing bra or tank top – Either item can come in handy when its necessary to elevate your breasts. Some women might notice swelling in their breast after delivery. Lifting the breasts can help shift that excess fluids. I also think both items are amazing to wearing after that first postpartum shower!

2. A breast pump – while it’s not ideal to imagine your infant being transferred to NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), it is a possibility for many women. This particular situation may have a different breastfeeding journey than expected. Most women will start this journey by using a breast pump. Hopefully every hospital has one but if it doesn’t, definitely bring your own. If you don’t already have a breast pump, there are several options. I would go for a double electric, preferably hospital grade pump in this situation. You can learn more about a few breast pumps in this post.
Examples listed in the image (from left to right): Spectra S1, Spectra S2, Medela Sonata

3. A hands-free pumping bra
If you are one of the nursing parents that has to pump while in the hospital, a nursing bra will make it so much easier! I also think this is a great long term investment for pumping anytime in your future. Hands-free bras are everything so I gave you an example of several. My absolute favorites are the lace-detailed bras. They definitely make you feel more glamorous while being a milk machine. Here are links for the lacy bra in black and cream. A link for the more simple bras are here in black and beige. All great options!

4. A breastfeeding pillow
You’ll definitely want to go with which ever pillow is the most comfortable for you! This is definitely a time when I think the opinions of your friends/family is pretty helpful! I’ve personally used the My Brestfriend Pillow and the Boppy pillow and really liked both. I do think that a lot more people prefer the My Brestfriend. I’ve heard that it’s easier to use due to its sturdiness. This makes it better for beginners. It also has a cup holder and they make one for twins! The pillow choice is something for you to decide on. All in all, it’s great to practice using the pillow a little bit in the hospital. I will say that it can also be a little awkward as a majority of postpartum women still have a pregnancy belly.

5. A nursing cover
Okay, don’t get me wrong because I’m all for normalizing breastfeeding but I know that some women prefer to remain covered. I think that the early days of breastfeeding can be a great time to start practicing with a nursing cover. Here is a link for two different types: the traditional type and the versatile wrap.

6. Nipple Cream
Your nipples will definitely go through a number of physical changes during the first few days of breastfeeding. There may be tenderness, soreness, cracking, etc. Taking care of your nipples to prevent additional damage is key. Nipple creams are handy for caring for the nipples. There are several different types of nipple creams to choose from. Do your research and figure out what ingredients matter the most to you. A few crowd favorites include: Earth Mama, UpSpring, and Lansinoh.

7. Warm/Cold Pads
Warm will help with flow and promoting your milk supply. Cold will help with any engorgement pain or discomfort. Depending on how long you’re in the hospital, you may or may not need them. I included them in the list because I think they can at least alleviate some discomfort in those early breastfeeding days.

8. Nipple Shells
Make note that this says “shells” and not “shields”. Nipple shells are great for protecting against friction. Some women (myself included) say that their nipples are simply tender to touch. These can help with that!

9. Breastfeeding Snacks
You are going to need to stay nourished. Hospitals and birthing centers have a great assortment of foods but bringing your own lactation specific snacks is a major key. I talked a lot about “milk boosters” in this post so I would check that out but overall, keep it simple on your snack choices.

10. Hydrogel Pads
Perfect for nipple tenderness and soreness. I literally would sleep with these on in between feedings.

And there you have it… the breastfeeding must haves for your hospital bag!

These item recommendations are from professional and personal experience so I hope they help you when packing up to meet your little one! Comment below with some additional items that you think I may have forgotten! I’d love to hear y’alls opinions!