Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baby Must Haves - Breastfeeding

This part of the Baby Must Haves is items for breastfeeding.

Let's get started, eh?

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1. Breastpump. This is very important. If you have any thought of breastfeeding, even for a month to a year, you’ll need to get a breastpump. You can purchase it from big box stores, you can look up on Medela’s website for a list of sellers in your area (this is probably where you’ll find cheapest, since they don’t have to the overhead cost of a building), or rent it from the hospital. I know there are people who buy it used, but I personally would not buy one used. Here is what FDA have to say about it here.
I recommend the Free Style Breastpump (picture above). I actually have the Medela Pump In Style Advanced -- I love how they call it “Pump In Style” … because it’s so in style how you’re pumping. Holding it as you walk on the catwalk, haha!  The Free Style is a little bit more expensive than than Pump In Style Advanced. When I had Child #1, Free Style was pretty new, I heard mixed reviews about it. I didn't want to chance it. But when I had Child #2, it was really difficult to run after a toddler while you’re attached to this machine, which is attached to the wall. When I pump at work, I would have indentions from the parts on my arms so I could read a magazine or book while pumping.  
Needless to say, I am saving up my pretty pennies for the Free Style for Child #3.
One last thing, I recommend finding a lactation consultant at the hospital and make sure that the breast shield fits your breast correctly; it’ll make it more comfortable and get the most out of pumping.

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2. Storage bags. I recommend Lansinoh’s brand. I don’t like the Medela brand because after freezing them, the bags would become brittle and break and the milk would be leaking all over the place, and I don’t like risking contaminated milk for my baby.  I’d fill the bags up to 6 – 8 oz, even though they have the marks to 6 oz, this helps me save on buying bags. I’d only start doing this when the baby is about 6 – 8 months, when the baby would eat more. Before then, I’d just fill them 4 – 6 oz, since they don’t eat as much. ~$10 for a box of 50
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3. Lanolin. There are two brands that I have tried, Medela and Lansinoh. I recommend Medela’s. It’s a bit creamer, and Lansinoh is too thick. The baby would have a hard time sucking if I had Lansinoh's lanolin on, I would have to wipe my nipples first for him to get a good suck. The hospital have samples of Medela’s lanolin too, I like these little ones for the pump bag. Lanolin helps for cracked nipples, and it is baby safe. It’s soothing for your nipples, and let’s be honest, no one wants cracked nipples! 
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4. Nipple wipes. I know, wipes for your nipples? I recommend it! It’s soothing! I wipe my nipples after I breastfeed, and this helps keep it clean. We don’t want bacteria be lurking around your nipples (it could cause Thrush.  If you get it then the baby gets it, and it seriously takes forever to get rid of!)

5. Bottles for breast milk. Not baby drinking bottles, but I guess you could keep in those too. We had bottles for breastmilk only.  I recommend getting at least twelve to eighteen 4 – 6 oz bottles for pumping (because when you start pumping at work, you’ll need at least 4 – 6 bottles a day.  I wash bottles every other day).  I have about 30 storage bottles (I pump 4 - 5 times/day, and breastfeed if the baby wakes up at night). I personally really like Evenflo storage containers that I have, but I cannot seem to find them online so I could post a picture for you. The plastic is thicker than the Medela brand.  The fat would get stuck on the Medela breastmilk storage containers and it would be hard to get it off when I would move milk from one container to the next (and they take longer to dry too). You want the fat in the milk, it has the nutrients and keeps the baby full. I also have the 2 oz. bottles – they look like tubes – from Medela.  I barely use those. I got a lot of them when I was pumping for Child #2 when he was in the NICU.

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6. Steam bags. I would wash the pump shields and accessories about once a week at home, but at work, it’s nice to make sure that they’re clean with every pumping.

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7. Water. This is so important. You’re pumping milk out, you’re going to get thirsty and very hungry. You’re also going to get tired. Pumping wears me out. You’re pumping calories out of your body! This is a good time to help lose the baby weight! Eat healthy. I recommend checking out Lindsay Brin for helping on losing weight.

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8. Fenugreek.  A friend used drops, and put it in their drink. I liked the tea mixed with honey. Alvita Fenugreek Seed Tea Bags are my favorite. Fenugreek tea will help produce more milk if you have trouble producing milk.

9. Pump bra. It’ll be your arm saver!  Sorry, no picture. Basically it's a band around your chest with holes for your nipples, and there is a spot where the breast shields sits. 

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10. Nursing pillow. This will help your arms when you breastfeed. I have the Boppy, and bought a foam wedge that I have the baby's head lay on, so I don't have to hold the head up. It worked for a bit, but not sure if it was worth the extra money for the foam wedge.

That concludes my top 10 must have for breastfeeding. 
I had really enjoyed breastfeeding both my boys, it’s such a wonderful way to bond with the baby. I hope you enjoy it. And please, don't hesitate to ask any questions.

Also if you have a hard time with breastfeeding or pumping. It’s okay to not do it. A lot of mothers feel that they are letting their baby down by not being able to – which causes frustration. But your health (physically and mentally) is just as important. I promise I will not ever looking down on anyone who chooses not to breastfeed because of personal or medical reason. That’s why we have formula!

Take care of yourself so you can take care of your baby. That's the most important thing.

For those experienced breastfeeding mothers, what items could you not live without?

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