9 Must Have Products for Pumping

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1. Formula

My NICU baby started off on formula.  We used the Ready to Feed Similac because they are so much easier to travel with, especially when formula is not your go to feeding style.  We got off to such a rocky start breastfeeding that during each feeding time I would attempt to nurse, then my husband would feed my baby formula (or pumped milk) while I pumped.  We had to do this for about a week until baby finally latched.  Sometimes I would be in so much pain from nursing that I’d use formula too.  When I started leaving my baby, I didn’t have a lot of pumped milk stashed so we also used formula for those times as well.

2. Medela Pump

This Medela Pump is awesome.  I started out with a Lansinoh Pump, but the Medela is so much easier to use, and travel with, plus it is so much more efficient.

3. Car Adapter+

I purchased the  car adapter to go along with my Medela Pump. When I returned to work I would pump in the car during my 30 minute commute.  Pumping in the car really boosted my supply.   I used this pumping bra to remain hands free.  This nursing cover helped me cover up everything without interfering with my seatbelt.

4. Small Cooler

I purchased this small cooler because it would be easy to lug around when I returned to work.  It held everything I needed to pump at work everyday.

5. Medela Ice Pack

I used this Medela Ice Pack in my cooler bag when I returned to work.  I recommend having two of these in case you forget to refreeze it one day. It fits perfectly between the bottles, not taking up extra space.  It is also dishwasher safe!




6. Extra Pump Parts

Keeping everything ready and clean can get very overwhelming.  I recommend have extra pump parts so you don’t have to constantly wash something after you use it.

7. Lansinoh Bottles

Lansinoh Bottles are essential for breastfed babies.  They are clinically proven to reduce nipple confusion.  The design of the bottle and nipple enable baby to use the same feeding actions they use while breastfeeding. I love how few parts these bottles have, while also reducing air intake.  They are also BPA and BPS free.

8. Breastmilk Bottle Warmer
The Kiinde Kozii is a bottle warmer specifically made for warming breastmilk. The Kiinde Kozii creates a flowing warm water bath to quickly and gently thaw and warm breast milk according to CDC and USDA guidance. You don’t have to add water each time you use it. It has a timer that lets you know how much time is left before the milk is ready.  When the time is up, the warmer shuts off and completely removes the heat source from the milk, which means you don’t have to worry about overheated milk. Kozii can be used for breast milk, formula, storage bags (frozen or thawed), liner bottles, plastic, glass, and food jars.

9. Hand Pump

The Lansinoh Hand Pump  has two modes to stimulate and express, for for milk in less time. It is great to use when you don’t have enough time for a true pumping session. It is BPA and BPS free.

 

Must Have Baby Stuff: 6 Items I Wish I Had From the Start

6 Baby Items I Wish I Had From the Start

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Parents learn very quickly that things constantly change and the only way to make it out alive is to monitor and adjust accordingly.

6 Must Have Items for You and Your Baby

I spent countless nights searching on Amazon for things that might help taking care of a new baby just a tad easier. I joined mommy groups on Facebook, searched Pinterest, and had many many trail and error experiences, not to mention many many wasted dollars.

I created a list of 6 awesome products that got me through the baby stage without absolutely going bonkers.

Snuza Hero

The Snuza Hero is a movement monitor that alerts baby and parents when no movement have been detected over certain periods of time. First the baby is alerted with vibrations, then the parent and baby are alerted with an alarm.  I purchased the Snuza Hero prior to my son’s arrival, but once we brought him home, I was too scared to use it. I was worried that the rubber sensor would irritate his tummy, or just plain bother him. I was worried that the device would have “false alarms” and do more harm than good. One night, when baby was probably 5 weeks old, and I just couldn’t stand the sleepless nights and constant worrying anymore, I finally decided to try the Snuza Hero. I could tell right away that my baby didn’t even notice it. False alarms were not an issue and I finally was able to have some relaxing sleep. I used this little do-dad until baby was about 6 months old. I highly recommend this to new parents.

Rock n Play

I was initially against using the Rock and Play. It has a lot of bad online reviews regarding SIDS and causing flat heads. Eventually I gave it a try with the Snuza Hero and a 4Moms newborn insert and it worked wonders for my baby. I think the incline and the way it cradles baby really helped him stay asleep, and the insert gave me piece of mind for his head. The one I bought had an automatic rocking feature, and played music. I used this until baby started sitting up on his own.

Medela Pump

I started out with a Lansinoh Signature Pump, I did like it, but once I tried a Medela Pump in Style I never looked back.  The Medela is more powerful and is easier to get set up and put away. The Medela has an adjustable speed, which helps you find the right speed and comfort level for yourself. All of the parts that come in contact with breastmilk are BPA and DEHP Free, and it even has a car adapter for pumping in the car.  I highly recommend the Medela if you are planning on pumping at work.

 

 




Lansinoh Bottles

I heard so many great things about Dr. Brown bottles that I registered for them, pre-washed them and all, but baby never really seemed to like them and there’s so many pieces to one bottle. I tried a Lansinoh bottle that came with my pumping kit, and absolutely loved it. I strongly recommend these bottles, especially for breastfed babies. I do wish that they were available in glass bottles, and additional colors though.

Halo Sleep Sack

I was so cautious about putting baby down swaddled in a blanket, and I was always so worried about keeping baby the right temperature. Halo Sleep Sacks are so great at keeping baby covered without posing the dangers that blankets can cause. There are several different varieties. We loved this kind the best. They all zip from the bottom, which makes diaper changing a breeze. I do not recommend the fleece versions though, they are very hot.

Milk Snob

I didn’t even know Milk Snob nursing covers existed until my baby was 4 months old. I was a little concerned that the price was high for a hunk of fabric, but knowing what I know now, I would pay double. These covers, cover everything. Baby cannot kick it off of you, its not too hot or too sheer and its so soft. My Milk Snob was used as a nursing cover, and security blanket. You’ll love using it as a car seat cover too.

6 Must Have Baby Items I Wish I Had From the Start

Pumping at Work: 10 Tips for Success

Pumping at work can be so daunting and can discourage a breastfeeding mother retuning to work, from continuing her and her baby’s breastfeeding journey.

I’ve compiled a list of tips that helped me successfully breastfeed for 15 months, even after returning to work 12 weeks postpartum.

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Pumping at Work: 10 Tips for Success

1.  Don’t be afraid of formula.

My baby’s caregiver always had formula as a back up.  It really took the pressure off me because some days I just didn’t pump enough or baby was really hungry.  The caregiver knew to always use the pumped milk before using formula.  And my baby had had formula prior to my return to work, so he was accustomed to it.

2. I recommend having a Medela Pump.

I have this one.  The book bag makes everything easily accessible. Medea also has a car adapter.  When I first retuned to work I was using a Lansinoh pump, after I switched to Medela, I was pumping more, and had a much easier time lugging everything around.

3. Consider pumping in the car.

I had a 30 minute commute, so I would often pump in the car, after I made the switch to the Medela pump.  I purchased their car adapter, and used this pumping bra to remain hands free.  This nursing cover helped me cover up everything without interfering with my seatbelt. The extra pumping helped me increase my supply too.

4. Use a small cooler.

I purchased this small cooler because it looked more like a lunch box than a cooler.  I kept it in the fridge at work, but it also kept everything cold on days that I kept it with me instead.

5. Use the Medela Ice Pack.

I used this Medela Ice Pack.  I recommend having two of these in case you forget to refreeze it one day. It fits perfectly between the bottles, not taking up extra space.  It is also dishwasher safe!




6. Use one set of pump parts a day.

You do not need new pump parts each time you pump during the day.  All you need to do is keep your pump parts cold.  My cooler had two pumping bottles, and two spare bottles in it each day.

7. Pump into the bottles your baby uses.

Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me, and may not for you either, but there is a way around it. I was using a Medela pump, but my baby used Lansinoh bottles.  My cooler had two capped Lansinoh bottles, and two Medela bottles topped with the pumps parts.  On a typical day I would pump 10 ounces, which filled both Lansinoh bottles. I kept an extra capped Lansinoh bottle in my Medela book bag. After each pumping session, I would pour the milk into the Lansinoh bottle.  Each day when I picked up baby, I would place the capped Lansinoh bottles in the fridge.  Tip #7 is crucial because chilled breastmilk separates, and much of the fat will stick to its container once chilled.

8. Get a breastmilk friendly bottle warmer.

The Kiinde Kozii is a bottle warmer specifically made for warming breastmilk.  My baby’s caretaker would warm the Lansinoh bottle and top it with a Lansinoh nipple, easy peasy.

9. Work out the details before you go back to work.

Prior to returning to work I talked with my pricipal about when and where I thought I could pump.  I pumped 3 times a day, for 20 minutes at a time, in a small storage room.  It was not an ideal location, and I was walked in on a few times.  I always kept my back to the door just to be safe.  Also ideally you need 20 minutes of pure pumping, try to factor in additional time to get set up, etc. 30 minutes would be best.

10. Keep you eyes on the prize.

Countless times I was beyond ready to throw in the towel.  Keeping up with all the bottles, being unavailable during my planning time, the awkward moments of being walked in on or lugging my supplies around, I was ready to give it all up. I would just remind myself that my goal was to nurse my baby for a year, and I did not want my job to get in the way of that.

Don't let the fear of pumping at work put an end to your breastfeeding journey. These tips will help you be successful!

A Working Mom’s #sorrynotsorry to SAHM’s

A few weeks after returning to work because my glorious 12 week maternity leave had come to an end, I had just made my 30 minute commute from work to pick up my little one, when I received a lofty Facebook message from an acquaintance asking me to buy something she was selling.

At the time I was really struggling with the emotions of going back to work. I had to leave my still brand new baby every morning around 6:45 AM, and the earliest I could get back to him was 3:30 PM.
Getting to him at 3:30 PM meant that I felt guilty for leaving my classroom and coworkers behind. My grade level would often meet and plan together after school; while I crept down the hall and slipped out the door, hoping they’d remember the days of having littles ones, and forgive me for not contributing.

Once I arrived to pick up my son I would often be so exhausted from the day, that I felt like he was getting second best.

It seemed as if I was giving myself to someone else’s children all day, and was too exhausted for my own child that evening.  Hearing of milestones he met, or new things he was doing hurt too; as happy as I was to hear the great news, my heart broke that I missed it.  I struggled with the thoughts of my son loving his caretaker more than me, or him not understanding where “home” was.

With a goal to nurse for at least a year, I was still breastfeeding. Between the pumping at work and in the car, painful engorgement, leaking, and the constant chore of transporting milk and cleaning pump parts, I battled my decision to continue to breastfeed daily.

And there sat the Facebook message. Sent from a former teacher and mother of two little ones. She had become a SAHM and was selling books, or makeup, or something on the side.

Her polite inquiry for me to purchase something from her, absolutely enraged me, down to my very core.





Here I was forced to go back to work, to meet my financial obligations. Struggling daily to be a good teacher, coworker, mom, wife, and take care of myself, and she wanted my money. I wanted to tell her so bad that I would not contribute to her having the best of both worlds. No dollar of mine was going to let her enjoy an income while she raised her children at home. I wanted to hurt her feelings because her quick little message, that she probably sent to the masses, was the icing on the cake in my world.

Her message is one of many I’ve received since I went back to work last spring. I’ve never replied to any of them, I just delete them and try to extinguish the little fire that’s ignited inside me every time. I feel jealous of these women that get to stay home, and I know if takes guts for them to put themselves out there and reach out to people to sell things. I’m sure they miss adult conversations, and jamming out on the way to work, while they sip coffee, but I miss time with my son that I’ll never get back.

Maybe they are selling things to have some cash of their own, or maybe they too have financial obligations. Whatever their reason, I only have my point of view, and no lash extension miracle mascara, embroidered bag, or children’s book is going to be purchased with the money I regretfully earned while being away from my child.