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.
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We've rounded up 17 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…
Elvie Curve silicone breast pump
Elvie Curve, £49.99, Elvie
The latest release from the team behind the silent Elvie breast pump is the Elvie Curve, a silicone breast pump that can be used to gently express milk while you're feeding or pumping on your other breast, so that no milk goes to waste when you let down.
Holding up to 4oz of milk and with an affordable price tag of £49.99 it will no doubt be a much-loved addition to your breastfeeding kit.
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.
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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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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 Freestyle Flex breast pump
Freestyle Flex breast pump, £349.99, Medela
The innovative pump is lightweight and simple to use, whilst cleverly connecting to the MyMedela app, to help track your progress and any patterns. It charges via USB, giving up to 2 hours on a single charge – ideal for fitting into your busy mum life.
Clinically proven to get 11 per cent more milk, the oval-shaped breast shield adapts to mums' natural breast shape and can be rotated to ensure you can find the right position to suit your individual shape when expressing.
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.
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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.
Pumping and nursing bra
Pumping and nursing bra, £25, Bravado
Proving that nursing bras can be pretty as cool as practical, Bravado's cotton pumping and nursing bralette is available in grey and black and features a unique cross over design, so you can pump or breastfeed on the go.
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.
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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