When I brought home my first baby nearly 20 years ago, I was in that dreamy, new-mom fog.
Buoyed by hope and a total lack of experience, I imagined us cocooned together, her blissfully nursing and me blissfully looking on. So much bliss.
In the days that followed and postpartum reality came crashing in, I understood quickly how naïve I’d been. I would come to realize what most nursing moms eventually come to know: Breastfeeding is hard.
Just a few, short days after we brought our daughter home, our once tidy living room looked like ground zero following an attack on Target’s baby aisle.
We tried to keep all the nursing supplies organized by setting up a little nursing station in different rooms. But it inevitably fell back into chaos. Without a central storage place, where everything could be kept in one spot, our system fell apart.
Our lives would have been much easier, if only we had known about the nursing cart. First devised by registered nurse, blogger, and all-around baby guru, Karrie Locher, the nursing cart is your solution for that newborn mayhem. Sometimes called a newborn cart, this portable trolley with shelves holds all breastfeeding essentials for mama and baby.
I’ll walk you through how to create, organize, and stock yours to perfection.
Budget Nursing Cart Ideas
Ideally, the cart will have at least three shelves, be on wheels for easy transport from room to room and made of metal so that it’s sturdy and can be easily cleaned.
When selecting a cart with wheels, look for one that has a locking feature; being able to put on the brakes will keep it where you want it.
Finally, keep your decor in mind so that once you’re out of the breastfeeding stage, it can be used to store other items such as kitchen or art supplies.
Let’s start with the cart
This three-tier rolling cart from Amazon is a great choice at a good price point, offers an easy, no-screw assembly, and is very durable. Each tier is metal, has plenty of space for all your goodies, and light enough to be easily portable.
Another option from Amazon is this heavy duty four-tier rolling cart which boasts a metal frame, four plastic baskets with three dividers, and two little hanging buckets to organize small items. While this cart has more storage space and comes in four colors, it’s slightly more expensive and requires a little more work to assemble.
This rolling, utility cart from Ikea is also a contender. It has three tiers, is made of durable steel, offers three colors, and comes in at a competitive price point. It will require some assembly and doesn’t have wheel locks, but it’s built to last.
Bins for The Win
Adding smaller bins to your cart will help you stay organized and keep everything in its place.
Ikea offers a variety of affordable storage bins and this practical, multi-use box is an excellent choice.
These plastic storage bins from Amazon would also work well.
Be sure to grab a few extra-small containers to hold the little things. These little storage trays from Target are perfect for the job.
13 Essentials You Need in Your Nursing Cart
Setting up your perfect nursing cart is a somewhat personal endeavor, where you’ll decide how best to stock up and organize.
Below you will find a list of my favorite, essential items as well as my suggestions for how to set it up for optimum simplicity.
I suggest that you break your tiers into different areas of focus: Mommy’s Stuff, Pumping & Feeding, and For the Baby.
The top shelf should hold everything that you might need while you’re in the middle of nursing, so it’s handy and easy to grab without disturbing a sleeping or nursing baby.
- Water. Hydration is crucial for breastfeeding moms and your body will let you know… I’ve never been thirstier in my life! So be sure that you have a reusable water bottle filled and ready as well as water bottles for backup.
- Healthy Snack. In addition to having the unquenchable thirst of an elite marathoner, you’re also likely to be hungry. Often. Be sure to include some of your favorite snacks that are easy to eat one-handed. Protein bars, apples, and nuts are all good options.
- Something to do. Be sure to include a book, a journal, and a pen. You might want to include a baby logbook to keep track of your baby’s feeding schedule.
- Night Light for Moms. This ingenious night light designed for nighttime breastfeeding is an excellent addition. The customizable light settings offer a wide variety of brightness, so you can keep a subdued mood and still see.
- Personal items. Now it’s time to grab those tiny containers and fill them with things like hairbands, earbuds, a phone charger, even nail polish.
Pumping & Feeding
I suggest devoting the second tier to all things breastfeeding.
- Breast pump and pumping parts. This is the ideal location for your breast pump, bottles, and storage containers. And a handy opportunity for pumping after feeds.
- Haakaa. This might be the coolest, recent invention I’ve seen in the world of breastfeeding. The Haakaa is a handheld, manual breast pump, meant to be used while your baby nurses. You simply attach the Haakaa to the other breast and suction milk. Excellent for increasing your milk supply.
- Breast pads and cream. Washable nursing pads are a must, so be sure to have a couple of clean sets stocked in your cart. Sore, cracked, and dry nipples are an unfortunate reality during breastfeeding. Be sure to have your favorite nipple balm on hand. Lansinoh nipple cream is a great brand. If you’re looking for an organic option, check out Earth Mama.
For The Baby
The bottom tier is a great place to store everything for your baby.
- Swaddles, blankets, & burp cloths. The large, gauzy material of swaddles make them so versatile and something you’ll always want close by. Blankets are great in case of a chill. And thicker, heartier burp cloths are the best for burping and cleaning up a mess.
- Diapers, wipes, and cream. All parents can appreciate the importance of having a full-on diaper station at the ready.
- Pacifiers. When is a new parent not looking for a binky? Keeping some on the nursing cart is a great idea.
- Nail clippers and cleaning tools. Gazing down at your beautiful baby as she feeds is one of those indescribable moments that fills the heart and soul. It’s also when you notice those long nails, ear wax, and boogers. Have some nail files (this is the one I recommend to everyone, since it’s super safe) and cleaning tools handy for easy baby care. The Frida Baby Nose Sucker and Oogiebear are excellent picks.
- Goodies for older sibs. Keep a few special books and toys tucked away for the baby’s older siblings so they have something to do while you nurse.