The World Health Organisation states that breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life by providing "health, nutritional and emotional benefits to both children and mothers".
However, it recognises that while breastfeeding is a natural process, it isn't always easy, and mothers need support – and a few key essentials – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding.
We've rounded up key products that may help to make your own breastfeeding journey easier and more enjoyable. From the best nipple balms to the book every mum should read before getting started, here are just a few top picks…
Infantino Elevate adjustable breastfeeding pillow
Infantino Elevate adjustable breastfeeding pillow, £39.99, Argos
This unique nursing pillow promises to help maintain the ideal feeding position for your ever-growing baby and has three layered petals so mums can adapt it to the perfect angle – both for newborns and infants alike. The pillow supports a number of key breastfeeding holds and has three different height options, which also helps to reduce the strain on your neck and back.
bbhugme Nursing Pillow
bbhugme Nursing Pillow, £82, bbhugme
Another alternative is bbhugme's pretty pillow, which is designed to ease strain on your neck and shoulders while breastfeeding. It totally adjusts to support you and you needn't worry about spills and spit ups thanks to the removable covers.
Dockatot Nursing Pillow
La Maman Wedge, Carrara Marble, £80, Dockatot
It might look like a stylish accent cushion, but Dockatot's La Maman Wedge is actually a nursing pillow and comes in various pretty designs.
My Little Coco Baby Mama soothing nipple balm
My Little Coco Baby Mama Soothing Nipple Balm, £8.99, Boots
This gorgeous range of new and expectant mum products was founded by Rochelle Humes, and includes a bump butter, bath soak, hydrating bump mask (it's so popular, one sold every minute!) but it's the nipple balm that's an absolute essential for new mums.
Blended with nourishing coconut oil, this plant-based balm soothes and hydrates nipples.
Lansinoh washable nursing pads
Lansinoh washable nursing pads, £7.99, John Lewis
Nursing pads are an essential for the early days, and these washable nursing pads are a super-soft, absorbent and eco-friendly alternative to disposable pads.
Medela PureLan Nipple Cream
Medela PureLan nipple cream, £6.99, Amazon
Designed to gently soothe and rehydrate skin that may be left tender or dry due to breastfeeding, Medlea PureLan cream contains no artificial additives or preservatives, so it is completely safe for your baby and can even be left on while feeding.
Kit & Kin Breast Balm
Kit & Kin Breast Balm, £7.99, Amazon
This multi-tasking balm cools, heals and protects sensitive nipples. Better still, it's made using a blend of naturally nourishing oils and botanical extracts including rosemary, coconut, flaxseed and ginseng. A must-have addition to your breastfeeding kit.
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HPA Lanolin Minis Nipple Cream, £6.29, Boots
This holy grail nipple cream has been hailed as one of the safest and purest nipple creams on the market, as well as being completely hypoallergenic. It has been specially developed to help soothe and protect sore, cracked nipples in breastfeeding mothers.
Bosom Buddies Breastfeeding Oils, £15.99, Natural Birthing Company
These breastfeeding oils, designed for different struggles you may encounter while nursing, provide you with instant comfort and help enable you to continue with your breastfeeding journey.
New mum gift box
New Mum Gift Box, £60, Mummy's Organics
This beautifully packaged gift box designed for new mums not only comes with nipple balm that's perfect for breastfeeding, but also features a scar balm for C-section recovery and stretch marks, a citrus lip balm, and a perineal healing spritz to help post birth.
Nanobebe Breast Milk Essentials Box, £31.47, Nanobebe
If you're pumping or expressing for your baby, this handy kit features all the essentials you need to get started, including 75 slim breast milk storage bags, and a handy organiser to save space in your fridge or freezer, 60 absorbent breast pads, and an insulated travel pack that's ideal for keeping your milk fresh while on the go.
Mum & You Booby Bundle
Booby Bundle, £18, Mum & You
Normally priced at £40, this good value bundle by Mum & You is the perfect starter pack for both pregnant and post-birth mums. It contains a restorative bust cream to soothe and nourish breasts, as well as a nipple spray to alleviate any soreness from breastfeeding.
Medela nipple shields
Medela nipple shields, £8.99, Amazon
For badly cracked nipples that are stopping you from breastfeeding, nipple shields can provide temporary relief. Millie Mackintosh credited these Medela nipple shields for helping to reduce the pain of feeding her daughter Sienna, and at only £8.99, they're well worth a try.
Medela Swing Maxi double electric breast pump
Swing Maxi double electric breast pump, £250, Medela
Medela's new Swing Maxi means you can extract milk from both breasts simultaneously, which is said to yield up to 18 per cent more milk at once. Each breast shield features a 105-degree opening angle, a soft rim and an oval shape, making for a more comfortable fit and effective pumping experience.
Its technology also mimics a baby's natural sucking rhythms - fast to stimulate milk flow and then slow to provide optimal milk flow.
Elvie single electric breast pump, £249, John Lewis
Promising to make expressing much easier and more practical, the Elvie Pump fits in your bra with no wires and no noise, so you could use it anywhere, at any time. You can even connect it to the free Elvie Pump app to monitor milk volume in real-time, track pumping history for each breast and control the pump remotely.
Lansinoh breast milk storage bags
Lanisoh breast milk storage bags, £7.99, Amazon
If you're expressing milk, these pre-sterilised milk storage bags are a must to protect, store and freeze your breast milk for up to six months. Each bag holds up to 180ml of milk and features a double zipper seal to prevent leaks.
Silver Cross Pretty Nature Muslin Swaddles
Muslin Swaddles, £45, Silver Cross
Silky soft to the touch and perfect for newborn baby skin, this Pretty Nature collection from Silver Cross features three nature-inspired prints with hand-painted illustrations. Practical and aesthetic, these muslin swaddles are crafted from certified-organic cotton and bamboo fibre for long lasting softness and breathability.
Baby Muslin squares
Baby muslin squares, £9.99, H&M
Muslins are invaluable for new mums, not only for feeding, but also for swaddling and general everyday use. You can never have too many! These organic cotton muslin squares are budget-friendly at under a tenner.
Animal Kingdom muslin squares
Animal Kingdom muslin squares, £25, aden + anais
Royal-approved brand aden + anais also do some lovely animal-themed muslins, which come in a pack of three. Super soft, extra breathable and ultra-absorbent, they can be used as a burp cloth among other things.
3 pack cream safari dribble bibs, £12, JoJo Maman Bebe
Make feeding time easier with these safari-themed dribble bibs, which also happen to be the cutest accessory to any outfit.
Ballet nursing bra, £26, Bravado
Proving that nursing bras can be pretty as well as practical, Bravado's Ballet bra is available in pink, white, black and blue and packs a lot of comfort into a sleek and elegant silhouette. It's the perfect every day bra whether you're pregnant or nursing.
Maternity and nursing sports bra
Maternity and nursing sports bra, £38, Latched
If you're looking for a sports bra, Latched does these fabulously chic monochrome marble print numbers. Designed to wear from 12 weeks pregnant, they adapt to your changing cup size and come with a coordinating back extender, discreet nursing clips and convertible straps, so you can wear them when breastfeeding, exercising or simply as an everyday bra.
Seraphine Maternity nursing smock top
Nursing top, was £32, NOW £25, Seraphine
Featuring a double-layer design that is ideal for nursing, this top is a piece you can wear both while pregnant and breastfeeding. The black hue and roll neck are universally flattering, too.
Maternity and nursing hoodie
Maternity and nursing hoodie, £30, Latched
If a laid-back hoodie is more your style, this piece of activewear features discreet invisible zips which means you won't need to peel layers off every time you want to breastfeed.
The Baby Feeding Book
The Baby Feeding Book, £11.06, Amazon
Packed with expert information and practical tips, The Baby Feeding Book will prepare you for breastfeeding, covering subjects such as how to find the best breastfeeding position for you and how to prevent mastitis. It also discusses bottle-feeding and starting solids, making it an invaluable resource for your baby's first year.
Kub Haldon Nursing rocking chair
Kub Haldon nursing rocking chair, £170, John Lewis
Keeping both you and your baby comfortable while feeding, the Haldon rocking chair has a sleek design that makes it ideal for smaller nurseries, and features pockets on the side to keep other essential items close at hand.
Nimble Milk Buster
Keep bottles and breast pumps fresh, clean and free from cloudy marks with Milk Buster. This handy spray uses plant-based ingredients derived from coconut that you can simply spray and swish with water.
Nimble Milk Buster, £4.99, Boots
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