The Best Breast Pump: Spectra Baby USA S2. Breast pumps aren’t absolutely necessary to be a successful breastfeeder, but they can help immensely. Pumps can help build your milk supply and relieve engorgement.
The best pumps let you build up a supply of expressed milk in the freezer for days when you have to be away from baby or let other family members feed her—plus give you piece of mind when you want to go out for date night.
Our top pick, the Spectra Baby USA S2 checks all the right boxes for a breast pump: it is smaller, quieter and lighter in weight than the competition. We love the “closed system” which means cleaning is easier (and prevents mold and bacteria from building up in the pump mechanism). The S2 also has a rechargeable battery (if you don’t need the battery, buy the S1—it’s a bit cheaper).
But the Spectra’s secret sauce is customizability—you can adjust both the cycle and the suction (volume). Yes, other pumps are adjustable as well, but Spectra is the most flexible. And that makes pumping easier. Which makes life easier. Oh, and it’s a lot cheaper than many other premium pumps that can top $300 or more.
The Best Nursing Pillow: My Brest Friend. When it comes to nursing pillows, the key word is support—The My Brest Friend (MBF) nursing pillow offers excellent support for both mom and baby, better than any other pillow we tested. The cushion is firm foam with support for arm and elbow.
My Brest Friend has a padded, wrap around waist belt with slightly elevated backrest; “silent release” strap; removable, washable cover; firm foam cushion and convenient attached pocket.
The Best Nursing Bra: Bravado Designs Maternity and Nursing Bra. When it comes to the best nursing bras, the name of the game is quick access. Trust us, when baby is wailing, there is a difference between three seconds and six seconds! Our top recommendation for the best nursing bra is Bravado! Designs Maternity and Nursing Bra.
Bravado! has been making excellent quality nursing bras for over 20 years. We like the soft fabric, wireless and seamless design, and easy to release clip. Yep, you can get this bra unhooked for baby in a split second! Included with their bras, Bravado! has foam inserts to calm the “headlight” effect and handle mini leaks.
The Best Nursing Pads: Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads. We recently polled hundreds of our reader parents about their solution to leaky breasts and the majority preferred disposable nursing pads. Their favorite disposable pads are Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads.
We like the thin profile (no “bulls-eyes” in your bra) thanks to the same absorbent polymer you find in disposable diapers. Readers told us they also love the individually wrapped pads because they can just grab a couple and throw them in the diaper bag on the way out of the house.
If you prefer reusable, washable nursing pads, our readers are big fans of Avent’s nursing pads.
The Best Nipple Cream: Motherlove Nipple Cream. Cracked nipples from nursing or pumping or both? We feel your pain. So let’s talk relief.
We recommend Motherlove Nipple Cream for sore nipples. Motherlove is certified by the USDA as organic and includes olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, marshmallow root, and calendula flower. There is no lanolin or petroleum products in Motherlove. Our testers loved the texture: smooth, jelly-like—not sticky or too thick.
Motherlove does rub off on clothes and stain, so our readers recommend using a nursing pad over nipples to avoid staining.
A handful of our testers didn’t care for the scent of the product and some moms have claimed their babies are allergic to the cream (caused a red rash around their child’s mouth)—so it might be worth doing a small test at first.
The Best Manual Breast Pump to Relieve Engorgement: Avent Manual Breast Pump. Our readers love the Avent Manual, which Avent claims is as efficient as a mini-electric (it takes about eight to ten minutes to empty a breast). That assumes you have the hand strength to pump for 8-10 minutes, of course. It’s best for relieving engorgement, rather than pumping a lot of breastmilk.
Comfort is the focus here: no more hunching forward, the Comfort Manual keeps the milk flowing into the bottle no matter your position. Next, they added a “soft massage cushion” to the flange that feels soft to the touch and massages the breast for better letdown.
This pump has an ergonomic handle for easy one hand operation. Other great features included easy cleaning (you can pop it in the dishwasher), compatibility with other Avent bottles (it comes with a 4 oz. Avent Natural bottle), and ease of use.
The Best Breast Milk Storage: Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags. When polling experienced moms about freezer bag storage for breast milk, the winner hands down is Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags. These bags allow you to pump directly into them (works with Lansinoh, Medela, Ameda and Avent pumps). They have a double zipper seal to prevent leaks. You can store them in the freezer stacked flat to save space too.