1. Bshirt Lift the Flap, £19.99, MadeForMums Awards Gold Winner
Our gold winner is a suits-everyone breastfeeding vest top designed by mums for mums to encourage them to feel confident feeding in public.
Its lift-the-flap style allows easy access to the essentials while keeping your boobs and tummy covered up, and it can be worn with your favourite pre-pregnancy wardrobe. You can wear it on its own, or as an undergarment, saving the hassle of spending your maternity pay on a brand new but limited-used wardrobe.
Ethically manufactured using organic cotton.
How many will I need?
Don’t go mad buying a whole new nursing wardrobe as this phase doesn’t last forever, but remember that some days you might end up changing tops a couple of times – babies have a knack of being sick over you rather than a muslin!
Five to seven dedicated nursing tops is an ideal number (you can also feed comfortably in normal vests and shirts or loose tops), in a mix of sleeve lengths, colours and fabrics.
What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about Bshirt Lift the Flap:
“I absolutely loved the Bshirt for feeding my son. It is so convenient, and so nice wearing a top that didn’t feel mumsy but stylish and functional.” Mum of 1, Nicola
“I love this product. It’s good quality, a good fit, comfortable to wear and easy to use. I would recommend it!” Mum of 1, Fiona
“Having tried a number of breastfeeding tops and vests, this is hands down my favourite! It’s comfy and the material feels lovely. You can tell it’s great quality. It’s easy to use and it helps so much that I can get to my boobs easily! I think it looks nice too, and can be worn on its own in warmer weather.” Mum of 1, Sophie
You can buy Bshirt Lift the Flap from Bshirt
2. Feed 3-in-1, Elderflower & Delilah, £45, MadeForMums Awards Silver Winner
Our silver winner is a hardworking multi-tasker that can be used as a maternity or breastfeeding top, or as a cover for a baby carseat or buggy.
While you’re awaiting your new arrival, it’s a comfy top with a loose or snug fit, depending on your style. Once your little one arrives, continue to wear it as a discreet breastfeeding top – access under the batwing sleeve or simply untie the sidebow.
The fabric is breathable and provides SPF50 sun cover, so it’s great for feeding on holiday.
The garment can also be used over a baby seat or pushchair to provide sun protection and shade, (you can still see your little one through the neckhole).
It’s made in the UK, and comes in a smart white box making it a lovely gift for new mums.
How many will I need? It depends how long you plan to breastfeed for, but it’s worth having a few tops to choose from for variety (and those necessary changes when you’re thrown up on!).
What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about the Feed 3-in-1:
“This is easy to use and has multiple uses. I was also able to quickly access information about the product such as instruction videos if I needed them. It is very soft, even after washing it, and came with a handy bag, which meant it was easier to carry around when out and about. I could smoothly put on the cover when I was out with minimal fuss, which meant that I didn’t have to worry about my little one become distressed waiting for me to get ready. The product came in a nice box and was beautifully packed. This made me consider the product as a nice gift for friends who have babies.” Mum of 1, Iyishia
“The top is made from a beautiful material, and is really soft to the touch. Perfect for brushing up against delicate little cheeks. It is easy to use, and really discreet – perfect for public outings.” Mum of 1, Joelle
You can buy the Feed 3-in-1 from Elderflower & Delilah
3. MultiMuslin, Cheeky Chompers, £28.99, MFM Bronze Award Winner
Parents can stretch that maternity pay a little further with this multi-use hero, which picked up this year’s bronze award. The large MultiMuslin is made from breathable 100% organic muslin, so it’s supersoft and more importantly, machine washable.
It comes with attachable rings that cleverly click together, making this a discreet hands-free nursing cover for mums, or a soothing teether for little ones.
As well as its nursing and teething uses, it also works as a burp cloth, pram cover, blanket and swaddle. Choose from four pretty designs.
How many will I need? With their supersoft feel and handy absorbency, a stash of muslins is something of a newborn essential. You’ll use them for everything from a shoulder covers to protect from baby spit-up, to nursing covers, lightweight blankets, and pram covers.
It’s worth keeping a stock of 5-10 basic muslins at home so you always have one to hand regardless of the laundry cycle. If you can stretch to more, it’s great to have at least one premium option like the supersized MultiMuslin for when you’re out and about too.
What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about the MultiMuslin:
“I really like this product. The packaging is perfect and it clearly states all the uses on the front and the back of the box. This is useful and makes the product easy to understand. I love the way the product can be used for so many uses. I would definitely buy this as a gift for someone at their baby shower.” Mum of 2, Ella
“The Cheeky Chompers MultiMuslin is very easy to use. The two attached teething rings can be used to attach the corners together to create a nursing cover or burp cloth, which stays in place despite a wriggling 8-week-old! I have the Cheeky Hippo design which is fun and smart. The material is lovely and soft but still absorbs plenty. I really like the quality and versatility of the MultiMuslin and I would recommend it.” Mum of 1, Rachel
You can buy the MultiMuslin from Cheeky Chompers and Brown Bear
4. Medela PureLan 100 nipple cream, £6.99 for 37g
Winning gold award in our nipple cream category, this is a must-have item for your feeding chair and changing bag. The cream glides on easily to soothe and protect dry or sore nipples, making those first few days of breastfeeding much more comfortable.
It has all-natural ingredients (no artificial additives or preservatives) so it is completely safe for little ones and can conveniently be left on while feeding. This handy tube also doubles up as a moisturising lip balm!
How many will I need? A little goes a long way when it comes to this intensive balm, so you only need one. However, it’s worth having a spare to keep in your changing bag for trips out.
You can buy Medela PureLan 100 nipple cream from Medela
5. Silicone Breast Pump, Haakaa UK, from £15.99
Haakaa’s manual breast pump won the gold award for best breast pump this year. Judges loved its eco-friendly design and clever, comfortable design.
The compact pump has a suction pad on the bottom to prevent spillages, no cumbersome wires and is silent, so you can easily express milk while your little one naps.
It’s made from 100% silicone, so it’s super-light and perfect for travel – you can even fit it in your handbag.
How many will I need? You can choose from electric or manual, which have merits in different situations. Which one you end up using will probably come down to personal preference so it might be wise to invest in both – or borrow from a friend to start. This compact version is great for when you’re on the move.
You can buy the Silicone Breast Pump from Haakaa
6. Swing single electric breast pump with Calma, Medela, £134.99
This compact pump is small, light and versatile, and its powerful motor and 2-Phase Expression technology (which mimics baby’s sucking) make expressing simple and quick. You can place the pump on a tabletop, attach it to your pocket or belt with the clip, or even hang it from the neck/shoulder strap.
As well as the pump itself, you get lots of little extras in the kit including a bottle with a stand. It has a mains adaptor to use at home, but can also be battery operated.
How many will I need? You can choose from electric or manual pumps, which have merits in different situations. This is a great option to have at home as your main pump, so you’ll just need one.
You can buy the Swing single electric breast pump with Calma from Amazon
7. HushCush nursing pillow, £29
HushCush nursing pillow, which won gold in our nursing pillow category, is a versatile accessory offering great value from bump to baby and beyond. As well as using it a lower back or wedge support pillow during pregnancy, it’s super-handy for comfy feeding.
It has an ergonomic design, will retains mum’s scent, and is designed to support tummy-to-tummy positioning for easy feeding. It keeps your baby’s head, neck and spine in alignment for better control and easy latching on.
Later on, your child can use it as a comfy travel pillow. The cushion comes in four colours, and you can also buy a separate outer cover.
How many will I need: You should only need one cushion – this one has a handy travel strap so it’s easy to grab for car journeys and visiting people.
You can buy the HushCush pillow from HushCush, Amazon or Kidly
8. Close Pop-In Reusable Breast Pads, £11 for pack of six – £1.84 each
Breast pads add an extra layer of comfort to your bra, as well as prevent embarrassing and messy leaks.
You can choose between disposable pads that stick to the inside of your bra and are more reliable in the early days, or reusable pads that are breathable and can be washed – ideal for when your milk has become predictable.
These washable pads by Close are shaped to contour your breast and have an absorbent soya bean fabric core, plus a waterproof outer layer. They come with a mesh laundry bag for easy washing.
How many breast pads do I need?
You may go through more at the start when your supply is settling, but expect to use one pair of pads during the day and maybe another at night – about seven to 14 pairs a week.
You will probably need two to three packs of these Close Pop-In ones to ensure you don’t run out between washes. A good quality set of reusable pads should last for your feeding journey (and even another baby).
9. Breastfeeding Hoodie, Stylish Mum, £34.99
Stylish Mum’s cosy hooded top impressed this year’s testers with its unique design and soft cotton fabric. There are no fiddly zips or buttons, so it’s super-easy to access your boobs when your little one is demanding a feed.
It’s also discreet, comfortable and flattering, with a reinforced babyproof toggle to keep it safe from wandering hands. Choose from navy, teal, raspberry or grey.
How many will I need? Your breastfeeding wardrobe will depend on how long you plan to nurse for, and also the season. Although cardigans and vests will do the job, it’s worth having one or two of these hoodies as your go-to top in colder weather.
You can buy the Breastfeeding Hoodie from Amazon
10. MAM Nipple Shields, £6.50 a pair
Some mums might need to use nipple shields temporarily if they are having difficulty with latching. This may be because their baby is premature or small, or they have flat or inverted nipples. If this is the case, ensure you buy the right size and clean them thoroughly.
Monitor your baby’s nappy to ensure he is taking enough milk and make sure your breasts are draining at each feed. The latch position is crucial and you should always seek help from a breastfeeding expert while using them.
Made from soft silicone, these thin butterfly-shaped shields from MAM allow for maximum skin contact with your baby. Available in two different sizes, they come with a microwavable sterilisation case. BPA free.
How many nipple shields do I need?
A pair would be enough, if you are happy to wash and sterilise after each use. But you might want two to three sets if you plan to keep one in a changing bag for feeds while out and another close to where you feed at night.
We’ve got more breastfeeding products right here…