Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Breastfeeding Essentials

    Breastfeeding my baby has always been a positive experience for me (at least I choose to remember the good times rather than the occasional challenges that I encounter). And as long as I have these items listed below, I know it will more or less be easy and smooth sailing. I have listed down my personal breastfeeding favorites and a few recommendations from friends.

     Here are My Breastfeeding Essentials and why I like them:


1. Lansinoh Nipple Cream

     
                                                       
                                       Lansinoh HPA Lanolin for Breastfeeding Mothers, 40 Grams  
 
     Upon the advice of my sis in law Mic, I started putting Lansinoh Nipple Cream starting on the 7th month of my pregnancy. This proved to be helpful by the time Audrey came because I didn't suffer from dry and cracked nipples! I did feel some soreness as I was getting used to breastfeeding for the first time, but I know that if I didn't start putting Lansinoh as early as I did, I would have a really difficult time. I used this nipple cream until Audrey was about 2 months old and every time I would feel that my nipples were getting sore. It was a huge help!


2. Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump 
 
                                                      

                                                    Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump
                                            
       Although most moms would usually choose to buy an electric breast pump instead of a manual pump, I just prefer the latter. For one, I have decided from the beginning that I will be direct feeding my baby every time I was with her, therefore I won't be pumping as often. Second, I like being in control of pumping so a manually operated pump is ideal for me. I just find the mechanical motions of an electric pump a bit unnatural and more painful or uncomfortable. Third, I like more freedom of movement when pumping - meaning I'd rather not get stuck in one place where my pump is plugged. I just find the manual pump easier to take around with me - I can watch while pumping, work on my computer while pumping, pump while inside the car on my way to somewhere... It is just more flexible and practical for me. Now this doesn't mean I don't like using an electric pump at all. I have used a double electric pump by Medela as well, and I was happy with it because it worked pretty fast when I had to store more milk, but I just favor the manual kind and use it more often. 
       If you prefer going electric, I suggest you get this one:

                                                     
                                Medela Electric Breastpump - Freestyle Starter Set w/ Free Accessories
                                             
    

3. Avent Via Cups

                                                             
                                                           Avent Via Breast Milk Storage Kit 1 kit      
                                                     
                          

           Avent Via Cups have been very useful for me starting from the newborn to the toddler stage. It is especially helpful during the times when I need to hand express milk for my baby (during the first month and when I get clogged milk ducts!). I find it easier to catch the milk with these cups and store them directly rather than trying to express milk in a plastic storage bag (sometimes I also just use the cup to catch the milk then transfer them to a plastic storage bag). I also use the Via Cups to store mashed baby food either in the fridge or the freezer, and as storage for cut up fruits, nuts or cookies for snacks.


4. BPA Free Storage for Breastmilk



       If you pump milk and need to store them in the freezer for future use, I suggest getting these Spectra milk storage bags from babymama.ph. What I like about them is that they save space in the freezer and are especially good when you intend to store the milk for quite a while. They are also very affordable. I used these milk storage bags whenever I needed to pump the excess milk at night (or dawn) and would give them to Audrey in a bottle whenever I had to go out without her.


                                                            
                                                 Evenflo 4 Pack Simplymilk Storage Bottles, 5 Ounce 


         I got these Evenflo milk storage bottles from Amazon because I only had 3 Medela bottles for my pump. I would use them as an alternative because they fit the Medela Harmony pump and Pump in Style fittings (so I won't have to keep sterilizing bottles all the time!). 


5. Nursing Cover

Breastfeeding Audrey by the beach in Boracay!
(I tried looking for a photo of these covers online but only
found folded ones so used my own pic ;) )

     Although all of the nursing covers that I own were actually either hand me downs or gifts during Audrey's baby shower, I do have my favorite kind. I like the Nursing Mom brand because of its beautiful prints, the hidden flexible wire at the top of the cover which allows me to see my baby easily while feeding, and the size which I noticed is a bit wider than other brands. My nursing covers are really very useful because I direct feed my baby wherever I go. More than 3 years later and after several washes, these covers still look good as new.


6. Nursing Pads 

                                                          
                                           TL Care 6 Pack Organic Cotton Nursing Pads, Natural

       Nursing pads are a must for breastfeeding moms! (especially if you are overflowing with milk and leaking non stop!). I discovered these organic nursing pads from Amazon and I instantly loved them because they were so soft and absorbent. I've been using these for more than a year already and they are still as good as when I just bought them. I wish I knew about this brand when I had my first baby. I've tried others and they weren't as comfortable and soft.


                                                         
                                               Pigeon 60 pieces Disposable Breast Pads Odour-Free

         I also have my stash of Pigeon disposable breast pads. I usually use these for going out because there's less of a chance that the milk will leak because of its leak protection. The only downside to this is that it can get a bit too warm unlike fabric pads. 


7. Nursing Bra


     A list of breastfeeding essentials without this is just not complete! Since this is my personal list, I am sure other moms out there have their own preference when it comes to nursing underwear. Here are just the ones I use and prefer.

I love this Blissful Babes Bandeau
which I got online from Mama Baby Love

       This nursing bandeau is my favorite because it goes well with just about any outfit. I would recommend using it though about 2 months into breastfeeding - when you don't get engorged as much because your milk flow is more established (it's a stretchy bra and may sometimes cause some lumps on the sides of your breasts if it gets a bit tight due to the accumulation of milk). 
       My other favorite brand for nursing bras is Marks and Spencer. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to get it because it was a bit pricey, but my investment has paid off! Their cotton bras are really cool and comfy and they are still in good shape until now.
     Another brand that my mommy friends recommend is Bravado. I haven't personally tried it but they say that it's good and they're pretty happy with it.


8. Breastfeeding Pillow


     I know it seems as though breastfeeding requires so many gadgets and things nowadays, but these just make it more convenient for us, nursing moms. I would particularly recommend getting a good and comfy breastfeeding pillow, most especially if you end up having a C-section. It just makes breastfeeding your infant so much easier and allows your arm to rest! My U-pillow was my best friend when I was feeding newborn Audrey (whom I delivered via CS). I would feed her while sitting up for the first 2 months with the pillow acting as support. Although I got a smaller and very reasonably priced locally made breastfeeding pillow from Baby Company (which is unfortunately not available anymore by the time I was pregnant with Natalie), my friend recommends the Boppy pillow. Had I known about this brand before getting my pillows then, I would have gotten it too. It's a good size and looks like the ones they let us use in the hospital breastfeeding room (which was very comfy). You can check out this pillow below.

                                                           
                                                        Boppy Pillow with Slipcover, Lots O Dots 


9. Sterilizer

                                                           
                                                  Chicco Electric Steam Sterilizer in Purple/White

       Whether you are formula feeding or breastfeeding your baby, a sterilizer will prove to be useful for you. I put a sterilizer in my baby shower registry because I needed it to sterilize and clean my breast pump and bottles which I used to store and pump milk in. Our relatives actually gave us the Chicco brand sterilizer and I am quite happy with it. It has lasted me more than three years, but also because I only use it occasionally. My sister who has the same sterilizer had to replace one of the parts after about two years because they use it everyday.


10. Ice Packs
                                                      
                                                                       Ice Pack - Blue Ice

      Ice packs are essential if you are a traveling breastfeeding mom. Whenever I had to pump milk while I was out, I made sure I had these ice packs in my insulated bag so the breastmilk will be kept fresh until they made it home. I got these ice packs from babymama.ph and they are quite cheap so I have several.


    If you're expecting your first baby soon, I hope this list was helpful for you :)


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