Feeding journeys are very personal and I strongly believe each person needs to do what's right for you and your babies. This is just what worked for me and I went into the experience wanting to Breastfeed but prepared for all scenarios.
My first breastfeeding must have is nipple cream. For the first week I found Breastfeeding very painful and nipple creams definitely helped to heal cracked nipples. I used both the Lansinoh Lanolin one and Coconut oil. Once my milk came in and baby and I learned proper latch my body healed pretty fast and I slowly weaned off the nipple creams.
Nursing Bras and Nursing Tank tops were essential for me for my entire breast feeding journey and a must have breastfeeding item. I tried out several different ones and found myself reaching for my Bravado nursing bra the most as well as the Bravado nursing tank top. They are soft and comfortable for all day and night wear but still supportive.
Another of my must have breastfeeding items especially in the first four months were manual breast pumps. When my milk came in, it came in full force and way more than my baby could handle. I would place the Haakaa on one side while I fed my baby on the other and milk would just pour out into the haakaa with no pain or effort. Now when my baby started sleeping through the night I would become so uncomfortable in the night I would use both the haakaa and Medela manual pump at the same time to pump out the milk.
I had an emergency C-section with my first on top of being a first time mom learning to breastfeed I did enjoy using a nursing pillow in those first few months and was a must have breastfeeding tool. I was gifted both a Boppy nursing pillow and the My Brest friend nursing pillow, I kept one upstairs and one down on our family room couch which worked really well. Even once I stopped using the pillows for breastfeeding I still used them to prop up baby or as a crash pad while she learned to sit.
My Next Breastfeeding must have was both bottles and milk storage bags. I went with a set of Dr. Brown anti colic bottles that came with caps to easily store pumped milk in the fridge. Any pumped milk that we weren't going to use that day then got moved into Lansinoh milk storage bags and put in the freezer for another time.
My Last Breastfeeding must have sounds simple but seriously snacks and a leak proof straw water bottle specifically for night time feeds. I was constantly starving and so thirsty. I personally have several Contigo water bottles which I would fill up and have them all ready to go in my breastfeeding spots. Booby boons work in a pinch or make a huge batch yourself before baby arrives.