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Breastfeeding: Accessories & Accoutrements

Sep22

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Jim from Sweet Juniper has a theory on newborn babies. He calls it the Sacajawea Theory. All they need is boobs. Everything else is marketing.
It’s a darn fine theory, until you realize that Target now has an entire aisle dedicated to boobs and boob-related accessories. After Ezra weaned, I found that I had enough breastfeeding paraphernalia to fill an entire storage bin. Once you start thinking about the breast pumps and the spare tubing and the milk containers and nursing bras and nursing tanks and nursing pajamas and pads, creams, shields, soothing gel thingies…it’s easy for breastfeeding to not really be the cheaper, simpler option.
I remember standing in that aisle at Target, fruitlessly searching through DOZENS of different Medela breast pump parts for the ONE PART I needed — the ONE PART my dog had chewed up — and noticing that there are now specially-formulated wipes for breastfed babies. Designed to be more extra sensitive than…extra sensitive wipes, except that they really are exactly the same, with the Vitamin E and the aloe and fragrance-free, except that they cost a little more and say the word “BREASTFED” on them, that’s me! That’s meeee! I’m breastfeeding! My baby’s poops are SOEXTRA SPESHUL!
Oh my God, they are just pre-moistened towelettes, you guys. You are seriously allowed to just use water, if you want.
So I didn’t fall prey to the wipes, but I still ended up with a TON of breastfeeding accessories. Let’s do a quick inventory of some of the crap I bought:
1) Nursing pads. I grabbed the disposable Avent ones because I had a coupon and was unsure if I’d really need them. (I never leaked while nursing my first baby.) I really needed them. Or…well, I needed something better than them, something that didn’t bunch up and move around and itch like crazy. Next time (HA. HAHAHAHA.), I’d pick something reusable like Lily Padzor Itzy Ritzy.
2) Nursing bras and tanks. Nursing tanks are GREAT for those very first days postpartum. I didn’t have to predict a bra size, expose my stomach, OR really feel like I had to wear anything else while padding around the house. (Those stretchy sleep bras are awesome too, for nights you get engorged and need to hold nursing pads in place.) Now, of course, I’m wondering why I felt compelled to buy SO MANY of them. Same with the nursing bras. Sometime around month four or five, it finally occurred to me that I didn’t HAVE to wear special bras. The baby and I had the motions down pat, my wardrobe had naturally gravitated towards nursing-friendly tops, my boobs were no longer giant engorged gazongas…I could just yank a regular bra up or down and finally ditch the full coverage bras with all the hooks and wide straps.
3) Nursing pajamas. Totally, completely unnecessary. A gimmick if I’ve ever seen one, as finding regular stretchy v-neck gowns and PJ tops is not that difficult, and yet I will buy a pair of soft, comfy nursing pajamas for every pregnant friend for the rest of my life. I loved, loved, LOVED them. Both babies, the first thing I did after coming home was pull on a fresh, new gown or jammie set — supportive in the bust! forgiving in the midsection! — and curl up in bed with my newborn. (These also have the perk of not being *just* for nursing. I still wear mine all the time, since even though they are stretchy enough to accommodate a newly-postpartum tummy, there’s nothing about them that screams “maternity.”) (Mine were all from Aimee, by the way.)
4) Nursing clothing. Oh, those tricky maternity stores, they don’t want you to ever leave! Had the baby? No problem! Come back for your bras, your pajamas, your specially-designed clothing with hidden panels and holes and complicated wraps! I picked up a couple of shirts here and there and…eh. Good loungewear, not exactly High Fashion Central. There are gorgeous designer brands that produce some nursing pieces, but I personally never had an occasion worth the splurge — any time I got dressed up usually involved expressed breastmilk and a babysitter. (If you DO need *nice* nursing-friendly clothing, check out Isabella Oliver.) Now, of course, this stuff is all boxed up alongside the maternity clothing.
5) Nipple care, various and sundry. So you plan to breastfeed, so you buy some Lansinoh breast cream, as is apparently required by pregnancy shopping law. Nothing against the lanolin creams — I certainly used them by the bucketful — but if things get bad, ditch it and get a prescription for All Purpose Nipple Ointment. Lanolin won’t help heal sores and scabs, it won’t provide any pain relief or protect you from infection or yeast. The APNO does, and it’s worth the hassle of a pharmacy trip. Also, swap out your regular nursing pads for Soothies or another gel insert. Keep ‘em in the fridge and oh, you will be so happy. (I cut the Soothies in half, since they are pricey and the disks were four times the size of my nipples. (OH HAI OVERSHARE.)
6) Nursing covers. Okay, so I didn’t realize that the topic of nursing covers is actually a little controversial, with breastfeeding rights advocates bristling at the idea that we should cover up in public. I can see where they are coming from, but there’s a difference between feeling like you *must* cover up…and maybe just wanting to cover up, sometimes. I didn’t have a cover with Noah and he was a terribly distracted nurser and prone to nursing strikes and so I just never nursed him in public. I bought a bebe au lait cover for Ezra and I used it a lot, especially at first, while I built my confidence and got the hang of things. Pretty soon, I didn’t need the cover any more, and then there came a point where using the cover seemed to draw MORE attention to us, what with his thrashing and kicking like a stuck pig underneath it. But for a few months, I was a big fan of the cover, and I kind of hate that women are made to feel like we’re chickening out for using one.
7) Breast pump. I rented a hospital-grade Medela both times to help establish and boost my supply. With Noah, I kept the rental until he weaned (five months or so) because my boobs would NOT respond to anything else — particularly not the laughable Avent Isis hand pump I’d inexplicably registered for. With Ezra, I returned the rental after a month and bought a Pump-in-Style from my lactation consultant, once it was clear that things were going a little better for me the second time around. No revolutionary insights from me: It is indeed a fine little electric pump. Served its duties well. Perhaps I shall use it again some day.
8) Breastmilk storage. Besides the plastic containers that came with the pump, I bought some Medela freezer bags. They were cheap (though hardly environmentally friendly) and stored nice and flat and were easy to label. I can’t entirely rave about them because Ezra frequently turned up his nose at thawed breastmilk. Was it lipase? Our freezer? The bags? Not sure. I was *THISCLOSE* to buying the MilkBank Vacuum system when my supply regulated to such a degree that I couldn’t pump much extra milk at all — whatever I did pump either ended up mixed in with his cereal or given to him before it hit the freezer. So I’d be interested in hearing about other people’s experiences with different storage systems.

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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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39 Responses to “Breastfeeding: Accessories & Accoutrements”

  1. Kate Sep 22 at 11:52 am Reply Reply

    This was such a timely post, because I have just had a TERRIBLE experience with Gerber breastmilk storage bags, and would like to make everyone aware. I have a 5 month old, who is exclusively breastfed. She’s also in daycare so I have to pump three times during the day. For all those pumping mommies out there, you know how precious your expressed milk is. You work hard for it. When I’m able to freeze milk, I expect those bags to do their job. I went out of town last week, and the hubby was using frozen milk (in the Gerber bags) and 50% of them leaked when he was defrosting them. A total waste. And completely unacceptable. I called Gerber and they said this never happens OMYGOSHSORRY, but if you look at reviews on amazon (which I wish I had previously) most of them complain about them leaking. Bottom line – don’t buy Gerber. Go with Lanisoh or First Years – they work great.

  2. Therese Sep 22 at 12:01 pm Reply Reply

    Great article. As a new mother (baby just passed the 4 month mark) I could comment on every point. I’ll try to be short though and talk about the pumping and storage. My child is 100% breastfed (at this point…) I returned back to work PT at 8 weeks and FT at 14 weeks. I was really nervous about pumping and storage and as many new mothers do, I read everything I could to figure out what was best for my baby (all before he arrived, isn’t that funny now!). Anyway, this is already getting too long so…I rented a hospital pump for the 1st month. My son took almost 3 weeks to really establish breastfeeding and we didn’t want to buy the expensive pump until we were sure we would need it. So, he finally caught on and we then bought the Medela Pump in Style. I use it multiple times daily and LOVE it. It was worth the money.
    I also purchased the MilkBank Vacuum system for bottles. Now, I like that storage and feeding is all in one but I don’t think (for my child at least) the whole vacuum/air thing makes a bit of difference. [Here is where I point out that I'm crazy because we fed our child with a syringe and pediatric feeding tube (off of our fingers) the first few weeks until he finally decided he wanted to nurse. It worked, but wow, it made for a rough start]. Because I was stubborn and didn’t want to give a bottle (really, I should just chill out, but he’s my first baby, cut me some slack!), he had plenty of expressed milk that didn’t go through the whole MilkBank Vacuum system. We would put it directly into a syringe and/or in one of the storage containers that the hospital sent home with us. I even froze a ton of milk into the hospital containers. I sitll use the MilkBank bottles but I don’t fool with the Vacuum thing. It really kicked in when I realized that I pumped all day at work and just left the milk in the Medela storage bottles that fit the pump until I got home and could transfer it. All that info to say, the MilkBank system is cool (and I don’t think the bottles are much more expensive than any other brand) but the whole “vacuum/preserving the flavor” think doesn’t seem to apply in our case.
    I do agree with Amalah that once you start looking into accessories, pumps, storage systems… breastfeeding does loose some of its “simpler and cheaper” appeal. I pump and store while at work because that’s what we decided to do for our family but there are definitely days when I am irritated by the process. I looove breastfeeding but pumping and storing removes some of that joy for me…

  3. Heidi Sep 22 at 12:11 pm Reply Reply

    I got some breastmilk freezer bags from the hospital. I *want* to say they were Lansinoh, because the logo on the bags was purple..?
    They worked great for storing my milk but um yeah….I’d go to thaw my milk out, via boiling water in a pan and the ink on the logo ran, and the bag strength weakened. I went to pull them out of the pan, and the plastic gave way and I had hot breastmilk on me, the stove, and the floor. Ever smelled burnt breastmilk? It aint pretty, girls.
    My lactation consultant gave me a manual breast pump, Medela. I hated it. It may have been the post-partum bone-deep exhaustion, but it *felt* like it took Herculean strength to use.
    If you DO decide to pump, spurlge, and either rent one from the hospital or buy one. I was dead broke after my baby was born, but I would’ve sold a kidney to have an electric pump. As it turned out, she refused to nurse, and was put on the bottle.
    Also, like the Mighty Ez, Pook totally turned her pweshush widdle button nose up at thawed breast milk.
    Nursing wear…Meh. I bought an expensive nursing bra based on my pre-partum boob size. It was fashionable! And underwire! And push-up! (What a joke that turned out to be. I needed a push up bra like Linday Lohan needs another drink.) I ended up using ONE cotton, stretchy bra and sports bras.

  4. olivia Sep 22 at 12:36 pm Reply Reply

    I learned quickly that breastfeeding is like planning a wedding. As soon as the word nursing is attached the price triples.
    1)I have been using the Ameda Purely Yours pump for 5 months (3x/day while I work) and it has worked very well. It is marketed under the Lansinoh name in stores like Walmart and Target. I use the Lansinoh freezer bags and they work fine. I think they are a tad cheaper than the Medela.
    2) You hit the nail on the head with the crock that nursing pajamas are. I’m sure they are comfy, but I could not justify the price for something I sleep in and will get spit up on.
    3) Big boobed mamas! You can convert regular bras into nursing bras. I found nursing bras I can afford to not have much support (I’m a DDD). I converted bras I already had with good support and it was dirt cheap. Google instructions and nursing bra clips.

  5. Sara Sep 22 at 12:56 pm Reply Reply

    I love, love the Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags. Both my husband and our babysitter handle the transfer of milk from the bags to the bottle and both are also huge fans of this bag. With my first baby I had no idea, so tried the Medela bags and some other brand that I can’t remember, but these Lansinoh bags were the best! I am still using these bags with baby #2.

  6. Roberta Sep 22 at 1:32 pm Reply Reply

    I agree 100% with most of your conclusions about nursing accessories. Thumbs down on most of the “nursing wear.” Though, I did buy one simple black jersey nursing dress from Motherwear to wear to a wedding when my baby was 2+ weeks old. More recently, I just wore a strapless dress to a wedding, and put to good use that thing you’re always worried about with strapless dresses. I do think some of the bra/tank/shirt preferences also depend on your nursing style and your, ah, physique. I was a 34D or DD pre-pregnancy, and was a 36DD during and for a couple of months after. I need support, y’all. Lots of it. I wore regular nursing bras for awhile at night, because I had a lot of milk and my boobs were pretty heavy and uncomfortable. I wear those night/comfort ones now, to hold a pad in, because I still leak, and I still need to slather on the Lansinoh because my skin tends to dry out. I tend to pull my shirt up, rather than pop the boob out the top, cuz I’m just not built that way. So I still wear nursing bras. I also really like the Gilligan & O’Malley nursing tanks from Target – they’re quite supportive, and work just as well as the much more expensive Medela ones. I can wear one under a suit or cardigan to work, and it makes pumping pretty easy.

  7. Joyce Sep 22 at 1:52 pm Reply Reply

    This is an awesome list that is now bookmarked for the next baby (that will hopefully not be needed for a few years).
    I actually really wish I’d had a nursing cover and it’s great to get a recommendation for one. I hated breastfeeding in public and therefore hid in my in my cave…er, house, for a few months and it was sad. There’s enough to think about trying to breastfeed in public without worrying that the teenage boy behind you on the subway is trying to sneak a peek at your boobies.

  8. Joanna Sep 22 at 1:58 pm Reply Reply

    Anyone who has ever had a c-section will know that a nursing pillow is a MUST !!!!
    I tried the Boppy that someone gave me.
    Useless. So too was My Brest Friend.
    The only one that was light enough not to push against my incission and still made it possible to breastfeed was the Boston Billow nursing pillow. I write this because I really liked that pillow and want to recommend it.

  9. Beth Sep 22 at 2:18 pm Reply Reply

    I haven’t been able to use my regular bras for nursing but mostly because none of them fit my bazoombas while nursing. So for me, the nursing tanks and bras and the like have been helpful for me.
    Regarding: breastmilk storage, I read somewhere that the nutrients are compromised when ebm is stored and frozen in plastic so I bought a few packs of 4 oz evenflo glass nursers and I store my milk in there. It’s kind of a pain as far as fitting them in the freezer and moving them around when you take the oldest out and what not but I’ve been doing it for the past 8 months so I guess it’s not *that* bad.
    Nursing covers: I didn’t buy one for a while but mostly because I didn’t want spend the $50 on the one mentioned. Then I found one at Target in the $20-$30 range and It has served me well. I personally just don’t feel comfortable with people seeing my boobs so it’s totally just a choice I made and not one I felt I *had* to make.
    Great post! Great topic! Thanks, Amalah!

  10. Kitkit Sep 22 at 2:52 pm Reply Reply

    Rather than using any nipple cream, dab the breastmilk onto your nipple and allow to air dry. Breastmilk is an antibiotic in and of itself, and will help prevent cracks from becoming infected as well as helping it heal and easing the pain.

  11. Karen Sep 22 at 2:59 pm Reply Reply

    My pumping system! Let me show you it!
    ..uh, you know, in case anyone finds it helpful. I wish I had come up with it before I started pumping.
    You can pump into already-pumped, refrigerated milk! It is totally allowed, I am not even kidding. I have been doing it for months.
    So! Evenflo glass bottles fit right onto the Medela pumps. Every day I bring 2 8 ounce glass bottles, my pump flanges, and 2 Dr. Brown’s travel caps. (The medela caps don’t quite fit the Evenflos, strangely.)
    I pump. Our fridge is kinda smelly, so when I’m done, I take the flanges off and put the caps on, but that’s optional. Everything goes in the fridge, no rinsing or washing.
    Then… I pump again! With the same stuff, into the same bottles. And back in the fridge.
    Sometimes I even pump a 3rd time. You know the drill.
    When I get home, the two bottles (each containing about 5 ounces, with any extra frozen in Lansinoh bags) go in the fridge. One of the travel caps is replaced with the Evenflo nipple and cap. Those go to daycare tomorrow, and 2 clean bottles come to work with me!
    At daycare, she drinks from the nippled-bottle first. Then additional milk is put in from the other bottle, keeping the extra clean so if she doesn’t drink it all, I can send it the next day and freeze some extra.
    I think I have achieved maximum efficiency and minimum dishwashing, and as you can tell I am VERY excited about it.
    P.S. I have tried almost every bag. The Medela Pump and Save are terrible! Hard to close! Easy to spill! Lansinoh bags get the A+ from me.

  12. Olivia Sep 22 at 4:06 pm Reply Reply

    (I hope I’m not posing twice)
    Regarding your list:
    2) Big boobed mamas, you can convert regular, more supportive bras to nursing bras very inexspensively. As a DDD, the nursing bras I can easily afford do not support well so converting my existing bras was much cheaper. Just google instructions and nursing bra clasps.
    3) Nursing pajamas are a rip-off. As soon as the word nursing is added to an item of clothing the price triples. No way would I pay that much money for something I sleep in and the baby spits up on. I have a couple of night gowns with buttons in the front or just pull up a t-shirt.
    7) I’ve been using an Ameda Purely Yours (sold under the Lansinoh name in Walmart and Target) for 5 months, 3x a day. Works well and is a little cheaper than the Pump in Style.
    8) The Lansinoh freezer bags work well. Again, a little cheaper than Medela.

  13. Sara Sep 22 at 4:07 pm Reply Reply

    I breastfed my first child and it went great. Considering the fact that I was now a pro, not to mention a budget conscious SAHM I planned on doing the same with my second. I carefully inspected my pump, replaced and replenished the accessories. I agonized over the proper size nursing tank and Lilypadz. I made my own nursing cover out of designer fabric, the perfect size and color just for me and matching my diaper bag. And…then I threw out my back 3 weeks after my daughter was born and had to take Vicodin and couldn’t nurse. So the moral of the story, don’t stock up. The store will always be there, just buy as you need. In fact, that’s kind of a good lesson for all things baby. Just cause you think those blanket sleeper, or swaddlers, or bottles with the bows printed on them are cute, doesn’t mean baby will like them. In fact, most of the time, the more you love it, the more baby will hate it.

  14. wallydraigle Sep 22 at 9:09 pm Reply Reply

    I loved the Lansinoh bags. Hated Gerber. To the commenter who had trouble with the bag strength weakening: I never had that issue because I always thawed them under hot running water. If they’re frozen flat it takes seconds. And if you want to save water, just stick ‘em in a bowl of it, and then when they’re thawed, heat them up under hot running water. I never bothered with boiling water just for thawing milk.

  15. Nancy Sep 22 at 10:04 pm Reply Reply

    Just chiming in here as a big-boobed mama (big before I got pregnant, even bigger after!): I love Anita bras. If you are in NYC, check out Upper Breast Side… they will take care of you. I was told that I should wait a month after giving birth to buy a nursing bra, so I bought a cheap one in the meantime that had crappy support but did the job. I didn’t leave the house much in that first month anyway Then, I was fitted for the Anita bra. It’s a softcup bra that provides tons of support. The ladies at UBS though are militant about softcup bras, though… they worry that underwires will cause plugged ducts, so next time around, I’ll definitely get my underwires converted into nursing bras, somewhere else.
    As for nursing wear, I just wear layers, a low cut tank top underneath a regular shirt. This way, you can just reach up, pull down one side of the tank and lift up your shirt just enough to expose the nipple without having to expose your stomach, etc. As a big-boobed, roly-poly mama, I was never able to nurse discretely with just one shirt on, or with a nursing cover, for that matter!
    I also second the lasinoh milk bags, though I didn’t use them for long… my daughter gave up the bottle at 3 months, and I stopped pumping after that, too… I figure as long as I have the luxury of not having to work, why the hell do I need to pump?
    This second time around, though, I will definitely need to pump… I plan to get the Medela In-Style since I’ve heard good things about it and it’s one of the few pumps out there that has different size flanges (another big-boobed mama issue… flanges are not one size fits all!)

  16. Quinn Sep 22 at 10:32 pm Reply Reply

    My son couldn’t withdraw milk effectively, so I pumped and bottlefed for six months. Because I’m crazy. But I do know a lot about pumping now!
    You can buy handsfree pumping bras, but they’re expensive and crappy. Instead, just go to Walmart, pick up a cheap sports or nursing bra or two, and cut slits at the nipples. Voila! Instant handsfree pumping bra!

  17. ECB Sep 23 at 1:02 am Reply Reply

    Ha! I am pumping right now!
    My daughter is 4.5mths. She nurses every 2.5-4 hours during the day and has 1 bottle of EBM each day. I work from home so I am here to feed her as needed. I pump around midnight since she sleeps through the night. I have the Medela Swing which is an little workhorse of a pump. The main problem with it is that its only a single. For storage I use the Medela Pump and Save bags. I don’t heat the milk. She’ll take it cold/room temp so that’s what we do. I like them because there is no transferring from bottle to bag while bleary-eyed at midnight. We defrost the frozen bags in room temperature water. She prefers the Dr. Brown’s bottles.
    I was a 34A pre-baby and am a 36C post. I have 3 Target nursing tanks and 2 Motherhood soft cup bras. I also wear regular built-in bra tanks. If we are just at home, a lot of the time I don’t wear a bra at all. I don’t have any special nursing clothes or a cover. We haven’t NIP too often and I just use a receiving blanket to cover her.
    We got a small fridge for our room. It is awesome to just put the expressed milk in there at night and not have to stumble downstairs.

  18. Maria Sep 23 at 2:03 am Reply Reply

    Am I the only one in the neighborhood who can’t seem to use an electric breast pump? I worked with the Medela hospital grade pumps and the Pump In Style, and neither of them worked NEARLY as well as my handheld Isis. I can feed twins off what I get from my handheld… I’d get barely one feed from the Pump in Style if I was lucky (thankfully it was borrowed from my midwive’s office and went back to them at 8 weeks, I was sick of it!) and the hospital pump? 6 or 7 drops. Of course, that was in the first week, but I’d still packed my Isis in my bag and was able to pump with that much more while in the hospital(read: 1/2 oz, but still).
    I bought one nursing nightgown and I can’t stand it. My boobs are constantly popping out of those annoying slits! :p

  19. Suzanne Sep 23 at 8:58 am Reply Reply

    I would add that having a cheap, handheld breastpump can be a lifesaver EVEN IF you think you’re never going to need it. I spent several hours with hugely engorged breasts dripping milk and crying because I couldn’t get the baby to latch – until I remembered my little Lansinoh (sadly discontinued) hand pump. Voila, breastfed baby! 5 1/2 months later my son refuses to take milk from anything other than the boob and I have 100+ oz of milk stored thanks to that little pump.
    I also second (third? eighth?) the love for Lansinoh storage bags and APNO. Skip the lanolin stuff and get the script!
    And just a warning about the Lilypadz – they worked great for me for a couple weeks but all that trapped moisture and dampness contributed to my thrush and I had to throw them out. So if you’re a yeasty person (TMI I know) just stick with regular breast pads. Johnson & Johnson are my favorite but I can only find them at Target.

  20. Jessi Sep 23 at 12:13 pm Reply Reply

    Luckily, all of my breastfeeding gear was gifted to me from my mother, mil and sister. But, I can see how it can go overboard with unnecessary items.
    Everyone sees me nursing my son with a receiving blanket and they want to buy me a hooter-hider (HATE the name, concept is cool, but…hooters?). I’m trying to keep my baby gear to a minimum (because I hate having too much stuff) so I politely decline.
    I did buy more bottles that fit my pump (Medela) since I pump at work – it’s just easier to pump a bottle and have it ready for my baby the next day. I also got a box of 50 medela storage bags. They are ok and I’ll use them up but I think I’ll try something else next time around.
    And speaking of storing milk, I had an impulse buy – I purchased a milk storage organizer for the freezer. At first I thought it was useless and dumb, but now, I really like it. It’s the shape of a loaf of bread and is spring-loaded to push bags flat for freezing. Oldest bag is in the front, newest at the back. Now I have all my milk in one location in the freezer. Of course, if you’re way more organized than me, you wouldn’t even need it. But, hey, I’m lazy and need help.

  21. bessa Sep 23 at 1:09 pm Reply Reply

    Lansinoh milk storage bags are the best, the only, that will do. Medela suck. Gerber are not great. Go Lansinoh. I have pumped and stored 6 mos. worth of daily daycare milk for 2 kids and those bags rock. Also? Buy 3 or 4 Sterilte Ice Cube storage trays from Target for $2 each and they store the bags upright, perfectly.

  22. Myranda Sep 23 at 1:30 pm Reply Reply

    I would have to agree that Lansinoh storage bags are tops. However, once I had a good supply in bags, I just started freezing my breastmilk in ice cube trays and putting those in ziploc bags to mix with her cereal and food. We’ve just started using them (she will be 6 mo next week) and it’s working out great.
    I used lansinoh nursing pads until I wasn’t a leaky woman anymore, now I use cotton pads at night because that’s theonly time I seem to have a problem.
    I have a love/hate relationship with my pump, but the Medela Pump In Style definitely does its job, and it was definitely worth the $$.

  23. Bitts Sep 23 at 2:13 pm Reply Reply

    ITA with Suzanne about a hand pump helping with engorgement. I kept one beside my bed, screwed onto a bottle, and pumped a little off before the baby would latch at night — it made latching so much easier. I also ended up with lots of pumped milk to save, even though I didn’t need it since I’m a SAHM.
    A word about using regular bras instead of nursing bras — be SUPER CAREFUL about underwires!! They are PRIME perpetrators when it comes to clogged ducts, especially in the underarm area. Most underwire bras are not wide enough to allow for the milk glands & ducts under your arms.
    A clogged duct (a hard, painful lump that appears pretty suddenly) can be treated with heat & massage and prevented by taking lecithin if you are prone to them.

  24. Jill Sep 23 at 9:23 pm Reply Reply

    Karen — thanks for posting your pumping schedule. I’m pumping for my 5-month old and getting stressed out with how much time it’s taking out of my work day. (I teach so I need to be available a lot of the time.) I have been pumping in the car a lot, but I’d really like to stop doing that. Maybe your “everything in the fridge” suggestion is the answer!
    And Suzanne – YES – Johnson & Johnson are definitely my favorite nursing pads. They don’t carry them at our grocery store. I usually have to make a separate trip to CVS for them. Lanisoh cream and storage bags have worked well for me. But, dude, I’m totally allergic to the Lanisoh nursing pads. It’s weird. I’m not allergic to anything else but broke out in a big rash when I wore these.

  25. Heather Sep 23 at 10:09 pm Reply Reply

    My son is 11 months…well, almost a year and has been exclusively breastfed. I rented (and am still RENTING) the Medela hospital grade pump. So my advice would be to buy that thing! I am such an idiot. Anyway:
    Hated nursing tops. The extra fabric just made me hot and uncomfortable. I loved nursing pjs though. I bought a cute Bebe au Lait nursing cover and used it ONCE. My son just kicked it while trying to nurse and I found it to be too voluminous for either of us!
    I bought the requisite Lansinoh cream and never used it. It is SO THICK OMG. I tried using it once on the soles of my feet during the winter…otherwise, it was not used!
    I use the Medela bags for ebm and they have worked great for me.
    My other advice to pg or new moms would be to spend the money on a 1-on-1 with a lactation consultant. I think the personal advice is worth the money when you are starting out & most LCs give free phone follow-up to your Qs after the initial 1on1. Plus, everyone is different and some things you read about just don’t apply to you (example: I was using a nursing pillow and the LC told me that it was causing me to slouch and round my shoulders, she showed me a better way to nurse w/o using the nursing pillow. Another example: just read this post comments!).

  26. Olivia Sep 24 at 8:04 am Reply Reply

    @Bitts: you are right about not using underwire bras for nursing bras. Forgot to mention all the bras I’ve converted are non-underwire.

  27. Michelle Sep 24 at 11:45 am Reply Reply

    Great Post!
    I couldn’t agree more about the nursing cover. I still sometimes will pull it out but my little monkey has absolutely no desire to be covered while she eats and also flails around like a made women whenever I do try to use it.
    I did use the lanolin cream but I never paid for a tube, I just made sure with every nursing change that I asked for a new tube of the stuff. And since I had a c-section there was plenty of little tubes stuffed into my bag! Although I am sure I paid for it in the long run. ;)

  28. Susie Sep 24 at 5:00 pm Reply Reply

    I’m just back to work p/t after 3 months, and so we only need bottles a few times per week. Going back to work was unexpected though, so I don’t have much of a frozen supply built up, and I’m trying to work on that. So, here are my questions…
    For pumping at work, do you wash & sterlize the pump between every session? I have the microwave steam bags at home, but is doing it just at night ok?
    And, I’ve been working with the manual Medela pump they gave me when I left the hospital. It actually works alright, but my husband watched me use it once, and announced that he is going to buy me a better pump for my birthday (Plus a real present. He’s so awesome.) Since I won’t be working more than part-time, I don’t really want to splurge on the Pump In Style or other really expensive one… is there a reasonable middle choice here?

  29. Elizabeth Eaton Sep 24 at 11:01 pm Reply Reply

    I have to say, I did find nursing bras to be the best option. And I loved my nursing tanks, but not right away. I had trouble getting a good fit (because my boobs were huge but I am not). They are definitely a good investment if you end up nursing a long time. We’re still nursing at 2.5 years, so I’ve gotten my money’s worth. I also didn’t buy them all at once. They’re nice in the summer when it’s really hot because they have support and you don’t show your tummy when you’re nursing and they’re all you have to wear. Well, also pants or a skirt.
    I found Lansinoh breast pads to be the best of the disposable ones–thinner than most, but maybe even more absorbant. Plus, they are bigger around, so they seem to stay in place better.
    And those Lansinoh wipes for breastfeeding babies? I don’t like them so much for bottoms, but when my daughter has a cold I use them for her nose a lot of the time. They seem to keep her face from getting chapped from all the wiping.
    PS: I had a c-section, and the boppy worked fine for me.

  30. Olivia Sep 25 at 8:26 am Reply Reply

    @Susie: try the Lansinoh double electric breast pump for $160 http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10924275
    I have the same pump in the Ameda brand (with bag, bottles & cooler it was about $250) and it’s been going strong for 5 months. Plus, unlike the Medela, it has a “closed system” so no moisture gets into the tubing or motor.
    I only rinse and dry the pump parts with a towel during the day and wash at night.

  31. Ruth Sep 25 at 10:17 am Reply Reply

    Just wanted to add two cents —
    (1) I could not have survived without a My Brest Friend nursing pillow. Hate the name, but it is the only thing that spared me hideous back pain until my son was about 5-6 months old. I don’t know why this doesn’t seem to be a problem for other people, but if you find that you have back pain while nursing, My Brest Friend is the way to go.
    (2) The nursing pajamas were awesome for me, because I live in Wisconsin and the house was very very cold at night, and I had to get out of bed to nurse because I was also pumping and syringe feeding (long story, not worth telling). I would have frozen half to death if I’d had to pull down my top. I also had a pair of flannel button-front pajamas, but I vastly preferred the nursing pajamas. Other nursing clothes were useful for a few months while I was nursing all the time, but then I just went back to regular clothes and pulled them up.

  32. Bitts Sep 25 at 4:38 pm Reply Reply

    @Susie, YMMV, but I bought my Medela P.I.S. used from Ebay. It says right on the thing not to do that, and people do get awfully alarmist & germophobic about it, but IME it was a great moneysaver. I know many, many people who bought used pumps and have never heard of ill effects. You can buy all new accessories & tubing, so nothing that touched the previous owner’s baby or skin will touch yours. They usually auction for under $100.
    Props to your husband, btw. What a great guy!

  33. Jae Sep 25 at 5:13 pm Reply Reply

    I haaaaaaaaate Lily Padz. Such a waste. As one person mentioned above, they trap moisture like crazy and, if you wear them in the summer, they get soooo stinky even if you wash them every frakkin’ day.
    I highly recommend a box of washable, re-usable cloth nursing pads-really soft, easy to get clean by washing the crap out of them in hot water and drying them in the hot as hell dryer. The only downside is that they can make other things that are washed with them funky and that if you wear a bra that doesn’t have much padding (wear them with something like a t-shirt bra), you’ll be able to see the circular outline-like your nipple is the size of a saucer. Other than that, love ‘em!

  34. geek anachronism Sep 25 at 10:54 pm Reply Reply

    I’ve got a manual pump courtesy of my sister-in-law and nursing bras. That’s about it. I don’t even have nursing clothes!
    I’m a big-boobed kind of girl – L cup nowadays. So it was vital to get a real nursing bra because a bad one can give you all sorts of problems. And there is no way I’m getting a boob out of anything that doesn’t have a clip. I was so jealous of te women in hospital who could slip their bra strap down and get their boob out. I bought three bras – enough to cycle through the wash.
    I pump most days, even though I’m at home at the moment. It came in handy when I ended up in hospital. And then again a week later. I freeze it in those little medicine cups and store it in tupperware – I rang the local breastfeeding hotline and they said the specialised stuff isn’t necessary. As long as it’s foodgrade, it’s safe for breastmilk. They also said sterilisation wasn’t necessary, as long as it everything was washed with hot water and dishwashing liquid. I usually sterilise once a day because I put the whole pump into the fridge from the morning session and use it in the evening.
    I’m considering the Medela Swing for once I’m back at work (and for the next baby).
    I don’t use breastpads since I only leak sans bra and who cares if I leak at home? I did at the start and I heartily recommend AGAINST any that need you to WASH YOUR NIPPLES AFTER USE because baby doesn’t care that you need to wash. They’re just hungry. Not to mention that if your nipples are sore, extra washing is just stupid.

  35. Margie Sep 27 at 11:00 pm Reply Reply

    My two cents:
    * I have frozen my milk in half pint canning jars, and that worked great. They’re totally stackable and easy to thaw.
    * I LOVE the hands-free pumping bra as well.
    * I bought enough sets of parts so that I could use a clean one each time at work and not have to worry about whether I’d be able to rinse or wash in between, and I’m glad I did that (I pump sometimes three times a day, and don’t always have time to clean up in between).
    * Lilypadz made my breasts look weird in my nursing tanks. It’s a little hard to describe, but they must be a different shape than my natural nipple/areola area… it was weird. And they’re expensive, so think hard about them before you buy. They’re also really easy to lose if you’re me.
    * My baby’s almost six months old and I still love my Target nursing tanks for the days when I know we’ll be together and nursing out and about. Those are my favorite nursing apparel.
    * Finally, if you’re labeling bottles/jars, a trick I use is that I take a piece of clear tape (what I have at the office), and stick it to the bottle with one end turned under onto itself to make it into a tab so it’s easy to pull off when the bottle is washed. I write the date in permanent marker on the tape tab. Works great!

  36. wallydraigle Sep 28 at 12:56 am Reply Reply

    AMEN to the nth power to the My Brest Friend (which I have to abbreviate MBF because the name is just too embarrassing to keep saying). I’m pretty sure it’s the reason I kept nursing instead of throwing in the towel at 3 months. My daughter went through a phase where she’d nurse for three seconds, pull off, freak out, twist around, nurse, repeat the process eleven times, and by the time she was done eating it was 2 hours later, and I was crying. So not awesome. But it prompted me to finally get a better nursing pillow than the Boppy. If your nursing pillow is too squishy, or if it creeps away from your body with baby’s every breath or grunt, MBF may be just what you need. Gah. I sound like an infomercial. But holy crap it made a difference.
    It’s not perfect. I still had to wedge a wadded-up blanket under the side she was eating from. Since the cover is such a pain in the butt to remove and wash and put back on, I put a folded-up receiving blanket over it when she was eating. But if it meant not hating every minute of breastfeeding, those small things were totally worth it.

  37. Elizabeth Sep 28 at 10:07 am Reply Reply

    I love having a nursing wrap. While I fully support a woman’s right to breastfeed in public, I prefer to be covered. It makes me more comfortable, so my bebe au lait wrap has been fantastic.
    I was a full-time student when I was nursing my first son and used a Medela Pump In Style, but I HATED it. I never had a good supply and the pump didn’t seem to help. Now, I’m a SAHM, so I don’t have too much cause to pump. I bought the Avent ISIS which has been fantastic for me. I can get more in 5 minutes with the Avent that I would get in 20 minutes with the Medela, but it’s likely just that my milk supply is different this time around.
    The storage system I’ve liked is the Avent reusable one. It can attach directly to the pump, go into the fridge or freezer, be washed or sterilized and reused, and can even be used for feeding with the same adapter used to attach it to the pump. It’s fantastic! And they hold up so much better than the milk storage bags which I used the first time around.

  38. Margie Sep 28 at 12:06 pm Reply Reply

    P.S. I received a MilkBank storage system as a gift, and while it’s a lovely idea, I find that because it doesn’t fit my Medela PIS to pump straight into, I don’t use it. The transfer just means one more bottle to wash. I pump into the Dr. Brown’s bottles most of the time. So easy!

  39. nocturnistswife Jan 24 at 11:55 pm Reply Reply

    Perspective from a working mom with three kids (ages 5 yo, 3 yo and 5 week old).
    1. I tried all sorts of nursing pads for my first child, and felt that the Avent disposible nursing pads were the best. I used these for my second child and they were fine. However, for my third child, the nursing pads are sticking to my nipples and peel off a little skin when I take them off. I might have to try something new.
    2. I have used Medela pump in style for all three of my children. It works well for me. I am currently overexpressing breastmilk. My baby is currently 100% breast milk fed. Instead of spending $20-30 on a hands-free pump bra, I created one from a $7 front-close sports bra (by fruit of the loom, at Walmart). Just cut holes where your nipples are and cut the straps from the back. You can tie the straps together at the back of your neck for better support.
    3. The best nursing bra that I ever had was by Lovepats. I can’t find one anywhere now. The underwire nursing bras are scams. Don’t ever buy one unless you want painful clogged ducts.
    4. For my last two children, I pumped into Lansinoh storage bags. I looped a rubberband around the personalfit connectors several times until adequatelt tight and then secured the bag by the rubberbands. It saved a lot of time. For the third child, my sister gave me a Playtex nurser with drop-in liners. This is what we are feeling our baby with and it’s awesome. Ha! No more bottle washing and the baby’s not gassy. (I have previously used Vent-Aire and Dr. Browns with my other kids.) I now pump directly into the liners using the “Necessities One Step Breast Milk Storage Kit”. It’s really really awesome. It’s compatible with the Medela pumps. I love it.

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