Breastfeeding can be an emotional journey and doesn’t come easily to everyone. It might be painful, uncomfortable and all-round stressful - and that’s if you’re able to produce milk. Here in the UK, we have some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world with with eight out of 10 women stopping breastfeeding before they want to, according to UNICEF.
There's a lot that needs to be done to support women with their feeding journey but one small, but potentially fruitful, change you can make is investing in some award-winning products other mums rate.
From versatile nursing bras to smart breast pumps, soothing nipple cream and adaptable pillows, here are all the must-haves for new mamas.
The best breastfeeding products and accessories, as rated by mums
NUK Nipple Shield | £6 from Amazon
For sore and painful nipples when breastfeeding then look no further than the NUK nipple shield for protection.
The shield is the 2023 Made for Mums silver winner for easing discomfort during breastfeeding and as one parent tester who wished she had known about the when breastfeeding her first two children said: "Having used these shield I can’t get enough of them."
Elvie Single Electric Breast Pump | £215.20 (was £255.50) from John Lewis
The Elvie breast pump is a one-of-a-kind creation, offering mums a discreet and completely hands-free experience.
It was heralded as the best discreet breast pump in Mumsnet's 2022 round-up. The small device can simply be placed into your nursing bra and monitored by a free app on your smartphone where you can track everything from milk flow to pumping history.
It’s also available in a single and double pump design.
bbhugme Nursing Pillow | £82 from John Lewis
With multiple awards under its belt, the bbhugme Nursing Pillow is entirely customisable to your body. That means it keeps you supported as your baby grows. It's also great at keeping you and your baby cool if you're feeding in hotter months.
Added bonus; you can wrap it around your body for those extra clingy days and let your hips have a break from your little human koala bear.
It's available in a whole range of colours, making it as fashionable as it is functional.
Lansinoh Organic Nipple Balm | £14.98 from Amazon
As well as the hundreds of five-star reviews, Lansinoh Organic Nipple Balm has just been named as best new mum skincare product in the Mother & Baby Awards.
The plant-based remedy is designed to protect your sore nipples, and with no taste or smell, it's completely safe for babies, too.
One review said: "This is a really good nipple balm, this was recommended by all of my mum friends and family members. It was even recommended by my lactation consultant."
Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Breast Pads | £18.66 (was £25.15) from Amazon
Founded by a breastfeeding mum, the Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads feature much needed one-way moisture technology and leak-proof lining.
The product has consistently won best product in the Mother & Baby awards for the past four years and the reviews back it up.
"These were complete life savers when I was breastfeeding! I honestly thought they weren’t going to work but they did for me! I would also cake them in nipple cream if i was feeling sensitive and it made it to where I never had cracked nipples," one reviewer said.
Cotton Stripe Maternity & Nursing Top | £35 from Seraphine
When it comes to practical and stylish breastfeeding garments look no further than royal-approved brand, Seraphine. A favourite with the Duchess of Cambridge, the British brand won the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2020.
The label creates numerous wardrobe staples needed for every stage of maternity - for example, this chic stripped nursing top is perfect for pregnancy, nursing and beyond.
Panache Sophie Drop Cup Nursing Bra | £34 from John Lewis
The bra looks to be wired, but it's a non-wired fit with plenty of support for sensitive nipples.
One review said: "Really struggling to find comfortable nursing bras in my size that aren't frumpy. This one fits beautifully and actually looks quite nice. It gives a reasonable amount of support but is still soft enough for sore days."
Medela Breastmilk Storage Bags, Pack of 50 | £9.99 from John Lewis
Medela has a whole range of feeding essentials, but we love these simple and effective breast milk storage bags.
Medela won the 2021 What To Expect Feeding Award, and we can see why. All breast milk storage bags are not made equal, and these ones have a freezer-proof double zipper, so you don't have to worry about leaks when you're out and about.
Boutique Cotton Muslin Squares 3 Pack | £22.71 from aden + anais
Winners of the Junior Design Awards 2020, aden + anais' Boutique Cotton Muslin Squares 3 Pack are beautiful, soft and highly absorbent; the muslin trifecta.
Available in 14 different prints, the patented design muslins are made from four layers of absorbent muslin, plus, with a higher thread count than your average cloth, you get the added super-soft benefit.
Vital Baby Breast Like Feeding Bottle | £9.86 (Was £8.99) from Amazon
If you're combi-feeding or using a bottle to feed your baby breastmilk, the Vital Baby Breast Like Feeding Bottle is a great option due to its life-like teat.
Winner of the Made For Mums 2021 best bottle, it has been expertly designed to mimic your breast to give the ultimate easy-latch. Of course, we all know it's sometimes not as simple as that, but this is a great start.
Elvie Catch | £17.96 from John Lewis
Introducing the future of breast pads. Elvie has always been at the cutting edge of breastfeeding, and the Elvie Catch is no exception.
The breast milk catcher won Made for Mum's 2021 best best pad award due to its great design to stop you leaking through your clothes; we've all been there. The catcher is a more sustainable take on the traditional one-wear breast pads and it's even suitable for women with a heavy milk flow.
Breastfeeding Hoodie | £39.99 from Stylish Mum
A comfy hooded sweatshirt, soft and cosy from Stylish Mums comes in a range of fun colours and perfect for winter.
Gold winner of Made for Mums 2021 breastfeeding top for the that allows easy access for breastfeeding but also keep things discreet due to the soft fabric and absence of any zips or clips. Also available in in sizes to fit babies from birth and children up to pre-schooler; a perfect match for mum and baby.
Watch: The comfy bra everyone is talking about