You'll want to make sure you have a few items on hand at all times during your early days of breastfeeding. I've tried & tested most popular brands available, but you'll need to test them for yourself of course.
I highly recommend the Johnson & Johnson as your primary nursing pad. These are incredibly comfortable. They are thickly padded, designed with a deep contour and have the all important adhesive strip. But most importantly, they have a unique nipple indention which will cradle & protect your poor sore nipple. Unfortunately though, they are not individually wrapped. They will be your at home pads, but are not the best for travel (diaper bag) I suggest buying 5 boxes of these and you can plan on using 1 box per week for the first 5-6 weeks postpartum.
For your diaper bag, I recommend Lansinoh nursing pads. These are individually wrapped so they will stay sanitary for you when carried in the diaper bag. I like these better than any other brand I've used for several reason. First, they are wrapped as singles where other brands wrap in pairs. You don't always need 2 & I don't like having one just floating around in my bag. Second, I love how soft & silky they feel. There are no rough or scratchy parts to these pads. (Some pads I found have scratchy edges) They are designed with 2 seams to give a cupped contour (although not nearly as contoured as the Johnsons) so they won't pucker under your bra. They also have the very important adhesive strips. I would buy 2 boxes of these to begin with.
After your milk regulates and your leaking mostly stops, you can switch to cotton nursing pads. These are more economical and can be very comfortable if you use the right ones. I posted a picture of 3 different brands showing that they are not all created equal. I do NOT suggest buying the Medela brand. They do not wear well, wash well nor do they feel very nice. At least half of mine have scratchy threads and I can't stand wearing them. I prefer the UdderCover pads but they are only available online. The Avent are sold at Babies are Us.
Nursing Bras & Tank Tops
Do NOT spend a lot of money on bras right away. In the beginning, your milk will be abundant, your breasts will be engorged and sore and you will still be dealing with a lot of postpartum weight & fluid retention. I suggest buying 2, maybe 3 bras at first. Stick to the soft, all cotton (no foam cups)styles. And NO underwires. Wires can cause clogged ducts & you do not want a clogged duct!! Nursing tanks are going to be much more comfortable & easier to nurse in. With no cup/bra sizes to worry about, your breasts will have some room to breathe and you won't feel so restricted. I would buy 7 or 8 tanks so you have plenty on hand in case of leaks. After your milk regulates at 6 weeks you can invest in a few more bras, but don't buy the expensive ones yet. You'll have a hormone change at 12 weeks and your milk will adjust again. Then you can look into buying some good quality bras (I like Bravado)
Creams & Ointments
Keeping your nipples dry is very important to keep your risk of thrush low, but at the same time you need to keep them moisturized. I know, that sounds like a contradiction, but it isn't. There is a big difference between wet and hydrated. For your basic, everyday moisturizer, you'll want to use a good lanolin oil. I recommend Medela. It is like melted butter! So soft & it glides on perfectly. (The other common brand, Lansinoh, is sticky, thick and firm. It drags across the skin causing unnecessary irritation) Use the lanolin after every nursing session. It is "edible" so baby can ingest it safely.
APNO is a prescription ointment that you can get from your OB before discharge from the hospital. This cream contains anti-yeast ingredients that will help fight thrush.
Hydrogel (or soothie) patches. These gel patches are to be applied directly onto the nipple for instant soothing relief. Refrigerate them before use for increased effectiveness.
Some moms love these, some moms can live wihout one. I love mine! There are a lot of options. Boppy is your best seller (that's what I've got) Basically, it's a horseshoe shaped pillow that wraps around your waist, giving you something to rest the baby on while nursing. It frees your hands, removes stress from your arms & shoulders and allows baby to feel more secure & relax while nursing. After you outgrow the nursing need of the pillow, baby can use it as a sitting assistant or even a tummy time pillow.
(cotton nursing pads pictured below)
this is what the Medela look like every time I pull them out of the wash. Terrible! I use the UdderCover pads the most and I recently purchased the Avent. I like both of these and recommend them over the Medela.