From the first day I started breastfeeding my youngest son I knew that it would be my favorite part of being a mother. Some of my favorite memories of motherhood are the ones when I'm sitting there, holding my son in my arms and smiling, as the milk trickles down his little cheeks. These are the moments where the confusion, pain, and difficulties stop and your unique bond begins. I'm in my fifth month of pregnancy now, and nursing my little girl is what i look forward to the most. As my baby's mother, God has given me everything I need to provide optimal nutrition to her, but there are some breastfeeding supplies I just can't do without. Here's my top 5! 8! 10! (The more I wrote, the more I remembered some great products, consider the extras a bonus!)
1. A Good Breast Pump
Ladies not all breast pumps are created equal, it will definitely be worth the research time and money if you invest in a good one. I wish I had followed my own advice when I was breastfeeding my son. I went through two pumps with him. The motor went out with my first one and the second had issues with milk back-up. I ended up either manually pumping or substituting formula, which was not the ideal situation for me. This time around I'm investing in the Medela In Style Advance pump. I've never used it but I have had many personal recommendations by other breastfeeding mothers. My sister in law has had hers for a few years now, and has used it almost continuously among her three children. Not only is it something that can withstand the test of time, but Medela stands behind their products. It's no wonder why the Medela In Style Advance is the most popular in the US. It's ideal for working and on the go mothers with its double pumping and 2 phase expression. It's designed for frequent use away from home and is easy to handle. Now, this pump is by no means cheap, but if you plan on long-term breastfeeding or having more children I suggest investing in a new one (I've posted a link on my page for a nicely priced one from Amazon.com and at the end of this blog will be codes to save you even more.).For the money saving mom I recommend buying used from Ebay or Craigslist and then buying new replacement parts from the company or Amazon. I've also posted a link to a nice replacement kit I found that will have everything you need to have a sanitary pump.
2. Breastmilk Storage Bags
Storing breastmilk safely is very important for the health of your baby. Their are many different ways to store breastmilk, but these storage bags make it more adequate and safe. Many are sanitized and double-zippered. I find the Lansinoh storage bags most convenient for me as they are at my local Wal-Mart. They are double-zippered for extra protection, have an area on them to write your pump date, and they are BPA free. My favorite thing about them?? The Logo on them says "Mommy's Milk".
Medela Freezer/Storage bags also had rave reviews, you can pump directly into them and they have a pouring spout and labeling area. These are also BPA free, and we know how important that is.
Storage bottles are also great for storing breastmilk Medela also makes a great line of milk storage bottles.
They're like insurance for the breastfeeding mother, a guarantee that you won't walk out in public with those embarrassing wet spots on your nice clean (or not so clean) top. Nursing pads are a must have for any breastfeeding mother, but I strongly recommend Lilypadz. LilyPadz are a unique, continuously reusable, skin-like silicone nursing pad that provide a superior alternative to disposable nursing pads. I had two sets when I was breastfeeding and they lasted me 15 months. As long as they are kept clean they earn their keep. I've tried disposables, but they don't last and when you're out, you're out, another trip to the store and more money out of your pocket. While washable pads are nice, they too require maintenance and get uncomfortable after a days wear. What I like about Lilypadz is that they stop the leak all together as long as they are placed properly and you stay dry. They are not messy or bulky and I have found them to be extremely convenient. As I was doing some research the other day I can across a starter kit that is now available to purchase. There are two kits available, they either include a single or a double pair of Lilypadz, along with the Lily Wash and Lily Wipes, and a bonus drawstring pouch. On the Lilypadz website these are going between $36-$50 a set, but I found them at quite a discount on Amazon. I've also posted the link for you.
4. Nipple Shields
I cannot stress how important these are for a new (or not so new) breastfeeding mother. When I first started nursing my son, he was such an aggressive feeder that I was about in tears from the blood blisters I had developed. I didn't even know there was such thing as a nipple shield. I told my nurse and she brought me a pack of Medela Contact Nipple Shields and they really were a nipple-saver. Had it not been for these I don't know if I would have kept nursing. They form to your skin and enable you to breastfeed while wearing them.
5. Lanolin Breast Cream
Lanolin Breast Cream is essential. Lansinoh Lanolin is what I used while nursing. This healing cream provided immediate relief and was very soothing. It is the only topic endorsed by La Leche League. It is hhypoallergenic and completely natural. The best thing? Lansinoh does not have to be removed prior to breastfeeding.
I haven't had the chance to use Milkbands personally, but it seems that for the last few months they are all I hear about. I can't count how many times I fed on the wrong breast. I tried safety pins and stickers, but if you're forgetful, those methods don't work well. Milkbands are nursing bracelets designed to help a mother quickly identify which breast she had fed on last. You simply turn them inside-out! They even have a measuring slider than can aid in tracking how long your baby fed or what time. The thing I love about these is that they come in multiple colors so I can match them to the outfit I am wearing that day, and of course since it is on my wrist, I will be less likely to forget to flip it inside out!
7. Nursing Pillow
A nursing pillow can help with comfortable positioning and latch of your baby. Not pillows are all alike but I am very fond of the Boppy line. The Boppy pillows are made with a special designed stretch panel that fits most waists. They also make a variety of slipcovers so it can be matched to your home, nursery, or personal style. I love this extra because now that I have a little girl on the way, I can still use my old one and add a feminine touch to it. Boppy even makes custom pillows on their site now.When the baby gets older, it makes a great place for her to safely lounge while Mom is busy. (Probably busy taking an excessive number of photos!)
8. Nursing Cover/Sling
I have to admit I never really used a nursing cover, even while in public. Most of the time I'd start with a blankie thrown over my shoulder and once I was properly covered and situated, I'd simply remove it. However, there have been some great deals floating around on the net for free covers. You just simply pay the shipping and it really is a deal that you shouldn't pass up.
Udder Covers is currently offering a free Udder Cover (a $32 value), you just pay the $7.95 shipping. Use promo code “onefree” or “Family2011″ at checkout. You can get a gift set for only $14.95 shipped with these codes too!
Seven Slings is also offering free slings ($39 value), you just pay shipping. Use promo code "FAMILY2011" at checkout.
9. Adiri breastfeeding bottle
I've tried many nursing bottles, but the Adiri bottles have to be the best! (in my experience anyway). I've had two boys that I nursed and both were colickyy!! I tried so many bottles with my first son, eventually I ended up using Playtex drop-ins and they did well, then I found something better. It wasn't until I had my second son that I had found the Adiri Natural Nurser. He was exclusively breastfed for six weeks and when it came to the time that I was ready to give him a bottle, he wouldn't take it. I tried a few different ones, but he absolutely refused most of them and the ones he did take did not improve his colic situation. After some research I ordered an Adiri bottle (a tad expensivee, but worth it.). We found the one! I immediately ordered more and now I swear by them. It's the only nipple truly shaped like a mother's breast. Its soft and features a special petal vent that reduces colic. It comes in three different stages that gradually increase in size and flow. It's also easy to watch. Yes, this bottle will turn heads (mostly men's) and from time to time you will get a few odd looks, but it's totally worth it. Amazon really does have them at the best price. I've posted a link to the right.
10. Oh Baby....The Savings!
All these are great products, but lets face it, getting started is not cheap. So I am posting some money saving ideas that will help you get the most bang for you buck! The items I posted links to, I have not found cheaper on any other site than Amazon.com even with a promo code, but if you subscribe to Amazon Mom you can get up to one free year of Amazon Prime Shipping Benefits (free 2-day shipping on many products). You also get 20% off diapers (when using subscribe and save delivery) and exclusive offers and discounts.
I would also recommend subscribing to Babies R Us Email list, they frequently send out 20% coupons that can be used on pumps.
Don't forget to see the codes above for a free nursing cover or sling
I hope you enjoyed reading my first official blog entry. I would appreciate any feedback given. Follow me and I will Follow you. Happy Blogging!