Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pumping Supplies

Now, if you plan to leave your little one to return to work, want to ensure you have a stash, or just leave your little one for a few hours you will need to pump. Here are the things I used for my pumping sessions.

1) A Pump - If you will need to pump at work with a limited time frame, you will need a double electric pump. If you will only need to use it every once in awhile then you could probably get away with a single electric or a hand pump.

I used the Medela Pump in Style (PIS). It worked very well for me. It is a little pricey but from my research I learned that you pay for what you get. I also have only heard GREAT things about Medela pumps. From customer service to product reviews, it has always been good.

2) Storage Bottles - Now, that you have a way to get the milk out, you need something to put it in. Most pumps come with a few storage bottles. I got these storage bottles from BRU. They were ok. I wasn't crazy about them because the lids were sealing disks and rings. So unless you got them on just right, they could leak if they tipped over. Plus, the oz. markings starting to wear off after so much use. 
I wish I had splurged and got more of the Medela bottles. The sealed wonderfully, the labels never came off and then all my storage bottles would match. 
How many storage bottles will you need? The Medela PIS comes with 4 storage bottles. But most people need more. For my routine, I needed at least 8 storage bottles to make it through the day. And I liked to have enough bottles for two days so I could pack my bag for the next day without having to wait on the dishwasher to finish running. That's just me. Depending on how much milk you get, you could pour all your milk per session into one bottle and wash the other for your next session but that wasn't a good option for me. To start with, I would just get one extra set and see what works for you while you are still at home. Then before you return to work, stock up on what you need. 

3) Membranes - These little puppies are what give your pump suction. Without them, you will not get any milk out. So, these are pretty important in my book. I always made sure to have a back up set in my bag. They are small and thin, so they can easily be lost or torn. Also, they will wear out eventually. When I noticed that I wasn't getting as much milk as I usually do, I would replace the set and I could definitely see improvement. 

4) Freezer Bags - Milk only stays good in the fridge from 5-7 days, so if you plan to freeze your milk for long-term storage  you will need to figure out how to store it in the freezer. I found the Lasinoh storage bags worked best for me. It seems like every sample pack I got while pregnant came with a few of these in it, so you can always try them out before you buy a whole box. 

5) Breastshields - The PIS comes with 24mm breastshields. These may or may not work for you. I ended up needing a few different sizes throughout my nursing career. There isn't any easy way to figure out what will work best for you. It's kind of a trial and error thing. I would just use the ones that come with your first set and see if those work first. 
6) Steam Bags - These came in handy when I needed to sanitize my pump parts and didn't have time to wait for the dishwasher to run. You just add some water, your parts, zip it up and throw it in the microwave for a few minutes. I didn't use these after each session (some people do). I usually only sanitized once a day, after my last pump session. These are also great because you can use one bag up to 20 times. 
7) Hands Free Bra - This is a great invention. You can just strap this on and hook up the pump and your hands are free to do whatever you need. I did not have one of these but I want to invest for the next baby. I think it would have come in very handy so I could continue to do my computer work while pumping at my desk. 

8) Car Adapter - This nifty contraption will allow you to plug your pump into your car and pump there. I usually had to turn my pump us higher than usual in the car but it worked just as great. This was perfect if I needed to pump on the go. (This isn't necessary if you have a Medela Freestyle). This isn't a total necessity, it would just depend on your schedule and if you will need it. I have heard of people with hands free bras that pump on the commute to or from work. 

9) Bottles for baby - This is different for every baby. We introduced the bottle at three weeks. I started with the Medela bottles because it would have been great to only need one bottle but he didn't like those. Then I tried the cheapy Gerber bottles to no avail. So, I decided to try a wide nipple since that would be more like my breast. I tried the cheapest wide nipple first, NUK. They were a hit. We have stuck with those since then and they have done us great. There is no real way to know what bottle your baby will take. Again, it's a trial and error. I would start with whatever you want to try (only buying one or two), test it out and see. Just make sure to give your baby time to establish a good latch with breastfeeding but not too much time that they refuse to take anything but your breast. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Breastfeeding Supplies

I have several friends that are pregnant and plan to nurse. They have been asking me lots of questions (which I love) so I wanted to write a few posts about my breastfeeding experience. I am by no means an expert. We only nursed for 6 months and I've only one had child. But I am incredibly passionate about breastfeeding and I want to help anyone I can be as successful as they want to be.

I am going to start with a list things I found important to have to nurse my son.

1) A Nursing Pillow -  Nursing can take a toll on your back. Having a nursing pillow can help you nurse in a much more comfortable way. I used the boppy until he was about 4 months old. I would recommend getting a boppy that comes with a slipcover. They are cheaper that way and then you can wash the slipcover.

Bonus: A boppy is also a great way to prop up baby for tummy time.

 2) Breast pads - Once my milk come in I leaked like crazy. I woke up soaked every night. When he was nursing and my let down hit, I leaked from the breast he wasn't nursing on. And I leaked after a hot shower. It was crazy. So, I went through a TON of breast pads. The Lasinoh pads were great. I keep a stash of them in my purse, in the diaper bag, in the glove box and by all the places I nursed in our home.

I also invested in some washable pads. You can buy some at Babies R Us but those aren't actually waterproof. I found some on that I really LOVED. Charis Baby Designs has great pads. I threw them in the wash, air dried them and used them OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. I think they are definitely worth the investment. I think they paid for themselves at least 4 times over. I only got one set the first time, I think I will get two sets next time. 

 3) Nursing Cami's - I lived in nursing cami's for the first month. They are great. My hospital attire consisted of pj pants, a nursing cami, and a zip up hoody or a button down sweater. It gave my instant access to the "bottles" whenever I needed to feed my son. It was also great when my milk first came in because I was too engorged for a bra. They are comfy and gave me enough support to feel fine wearing them out layered. I got mine from Target.

 4) Nursing Bras - My favorite nursing bras came from Motherhood. They were good quality and surprisingly inexpensive ($20-$30). Plus, they were experts at sizing (your size WILL change in ways you never imagined). Don't buy them before baby, it's useless. I waited until it was almost time for me to go back to work before I went and bought any (6 weeks post-pardem). You need to wait until the engorgement is gone before you can get a good idea about the size. I went to Motherhood, she sized me up and picked some for me. She answered my questions about sizing and I was good to go!

5) "Sleep" Bras - I got mine from Target. I have seen that Motherhood and Medela makes them too. But these were great for sleeping in and laying around the house in. They were very easy to pull down when it was time to nurse. In fact, I found these much easier to nurse in than a nursing bra. And they were comfortable in the first few weeks that I was dealing with engorgement.

6) Nursing Cover - If you will find yourself in nursing in public and aren't comfortable with showing skin, you will want a cover. There are a lot of different versions by different brands. Some have pockets, some have tools to keep track of which side you nursed on. I just got a regular one from Target.

7) A comfy nursing seat - This depends on you and how comfy you want to be. I liked having arm rests and and a foot rest. We had a glider in the living room (that we already owned) and my in-laws bought one for the baby's room (it stayed in our room until we moved him to his room at 6 months). It was nice to have two "nursing stations". I liked having the glider in our room/his room for night time nursing sessions but also for when company was over. That way I could have some privacy and still be comfy. And it was nice to be able to veg in front of the TV when it was just us at home. Of course, you don't necessarily need a new chair. A recliner or any 'ol couch will work too!