Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Getting Pumped: Breastfeeding Essentials

Baby Cute is almost three months old, and I can't believe it! I want time to slow way, way, waaaaaay down. This being my third child, I can safely say in almost every way each child is completely unique and different - and that goes for eating styles as well.

When it comes to feeding your baby, I am in camp "do what you gotta do". The magical thing about the advanced world that we live in today, is that you have a ton of choices available to you when it comes to feeding your new addition, and the only perfect way is the one that works for you and your family.

Baby Cute is the third baby I have nursed, and while she has shown some similarities to her siblings, I have learned that each child comes with it's own unique learning curve. A certain bestie of mine that you all know and love shared this amazing advice with me way back when I was due with Cute and she was already two deep into the wonderful land of motherhood with her third on the way:

"When it comes to nursing, go for small goals. If you make it a day, you make it a day. 
Then try it for a few days. A week. Six weeks. 3 months." 

You get the idea. 

That advice really resonated with me, and it worked! It being my first, I read the books, enlisted the advice of the that are available through the hospital, and trust me when I say nothing truly prepared me for what nursing Cute would be like. It was rewarding, painful, and comforting all wrapped up into one huge emotion. 

Those first few days/weeks were tough. I was swollen, I had been chewed raw, and I had a super sleepy baby so it felt like I was nursing for hours with only minutes in between feedings. Throw in a casein allergy, and now you've taken away one of my beloved coping mechanisms - ice cream. 

I stuck it out though, and like CB said, small goals made it doable, and then I grew to love it. Setting small goals helped me get through each little impasse, and before I knew it a year had passed, and I savored that precious nursing time with my crazy busy little boy.

Fast forward to Little Cute and she was a champion eater. She came out hungry, and never stopped. She had a perfect latch, ate in ten minutes flat, burped herself, and went right back to sleep. She was a dream baby.

Fast forward a few more years, and Baby Cute trends somewhere in between. She loves to nurse, but is sometimes sleepy, and is still working on getting used to the bottle (like her siblings she will boycott in order to get to mommy). Third time around though, I feel as though no matter what the littles throw at me, I've reached the point that my nursing arsenal is so on point I could combat almost anything.

Here are my must have nursing essentials.


My best advice to any mom who think they might want to breastfeed their child is to get a pump. And not just any pump - a great pump! Whether you work, want a night away, or just want to share the joy of feeding your baby with your family - a pump is necessary. Some nursing moms spend more time than they can count with their machine so you want to make it a good one, and by good I mean easy to clean, and comfortable to use.

My favorite is the Medela Freestyle. With my first two I used the Medela Pump and Style, and I loved it. After Little Cute, we thought we were done having children and I gave it away to a friend. The moment I found out I was pregnant again, I put the Freestyle as a top priority on my list.

It comes in a sleek and discreet tote bag, complete with a cooler, a wall charger, all necessary parts, and a few bottles.

It's super easy to use, and the advancements that they have made since the first pump I owned are amazing! One of the worst things about pumping is cleaning all the parts. Back when I had Cute, almost our entire best friend group had a child within months of each other. We all nursed but Bestie L was the only working mom of us all. I remember Bestie L's husband trying to stream line the cleaning process for her since she was working, and all the necessities she had to carry was a lot. He tried to make an adapter to attach a storage bag directly to the pump so it would be one less thing to clean, but it didn't work quite right. Well guess what? Medela must have heard the cries of nursing moms everywhere because...

The Medela Storage Bags come with an adapter! Hallelujah! I mean, life altering - trust me!

And while on the subject of cleaning I love these Medela Quick Clean Micro Steam Bags. They come in a pack of five, but can be used up to 20 times a piece. They are a great way to ensure that your pump parts are getting cleaned safely. Moms have enough to clean, so the easier the better.

The Medela Freestyle has one more amazing benefit - it's recyclable! Medela has partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their Waste Wise program. To date the program has recycled 13,844 breast pumps. You simply print out a free shipping label available through their website and then everything will be taken care of.

Not only are you able to help the environment, you also are helping support mother's and babies in NICU units around the country. As part of the program, Medela has committed their support to these mother's by offering to provide the Ronald McDonald House Charities with brand new Symphony Preemie+ Breastpumps. New mother's are able to have access to the high quality pumps that are available to them in the hospital during their stay at the house.

I love knowing that once my breast pump and I decide to officially part ways, it will go on to help other mothers who are in great need.

One of the other surprising things to me when I began nursing was how much of a challenge getting dressed was. I quickly realized certain tops and dresses weren't very convenient or accessible.

I've mentioned my favorite nursing bras before, but it bares repeating. These sports bras are definitely my favorite, and have been for years.  For regular nursing bras my favorites have been the Bravado! Bliss and the Bravado! Allure.

During Cute's nursing reign I wore nursing tanks occasionally in lieu of a bra under my clothes, but now usually just wear them to bed at night. My favorites have been these. They are relatively inexpensive, come in a wide range of colors, and are longer in length than some others I have tried.

In both my bras and my tanks, I slip in these nursing bra pads so that I don't have to worry about any leaking. I tried some washable ones for awhile, but I felt like the disposable ones were easier to pack in my bag and if I had to switch at some point I could just get rid of the leaked through one. I didn't have to worry about finding a random leaked through one in the bottom of my diaper bag - there's enough random other stuff lurking down there without that added surprise to be found at a later date.

Another one of my favorite things is this Easy Expressions Hands Free Bustier because if I am pumping I get antsy. I've never been one to just sit still for 20 minutes. Nursing is enjoyable when I have a cute little one to look at, but not so much with just a machine attached to my boobs.

With the Easy Expressions Hands Free Bustier I can easily answer emails, read a book, or even fold laundry when I need to. It comes in a variety of sizes and it easily stays in place while you I am moving around. Multitasking for the breastfeeding win!

Oh my, those first few days of nursing, or in some cases weeks, can be brutal on your lady parts. After nursing two little ones I finally came up with a routine to make the transition not so bad by the time I got to Baby Cute.  I realized pretty quickly that you have to be proactive from moment one about taking care of yourself or things can go downhill fast and make feedings quite painful.

My three favorite things to help combat those first few days of engorgement and sore nipples are ice packs, a heating pad, and lanolin cream. Before I discovered lanolin cream, I did a lot of unnecessary suffering. Trust me when I say make sure you use it!

I know there is a lot of controversy in the media these days about nursing or not nursing in public. Again, to each their own. I personally love having a cover available on hand for certain situations. Not only for personal reasons (Does my 85 grandfather need to see me in all my nursing glory at the dinner table. No.), but I've also found them beneficial in helping baby feed better once they get to the age where they become a little more distracted. Nothing is worse than when your baby sees something out of the corner of their eye and turns their head...with your nipple still in their mouth. Ouch!
I've used this cover now since I nursed Cute and I still love it!

From nursing in restaurants to the car to family functions - it's been everywhere with me and even after all the use and abuse I've put it through, it's held up great! I have it in the Nest color, but there are tons of colors and patterns available.

Those are my top breastfeeding essentials! Did you breastfeed or do you plan on breastfeeding? What have been your go to essentials?

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  1. This is the great article about Us nursing program, if you interested in the subject.

  2. I actually enjoyed reading through this post.


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