- Medela Pump In Style Breast Pump The Medela pump is is pricey ($249) but worth every penny. Not only is the portable nature of this pump fabulous (I move the pump from the nursery to the family room to the bedroom all the time and the pouch carries all my accessories, pumping bra, "udder cover", lanolin, etc ), it is well made and customer service is great too (one time I needed a part replaced because I accidentally stepped on one of the cords and customer service got the part shipped to me next day air at no charge for the part or the shipping). Even if you are breast feeding directly (personally, I am exclusively pumping), it is important to have a pump if you can - you never know when you need to be out of town or go through a big growth spurt and need a "freezer stash" built up. My freezer stash has come in handy several times for me during growth spurts and evenings out and I missed a pump (recent holiday party for example). And while we're on the topic of a freezer stash, ladies, you must start your it early - as soon as your supply comes in fully (about 10 days). Often your "over supply" is only in the beginning weeks of your breast feeding and this makes for the perfect time to store that extra milk and keep your supply high. I am going to a fitness retreat in 5 short weeks and I've managed to save up half the milk for that four day trip so far.
- BabyHawk Carrier New moms to be - I use this item DAILY! The reason I like the Hawk over other carriers is that you can customize the fabrics (hundreds to choose from) and it is very well made. It is a "mei tai" carrier and based on my research was one of the best. If you are like me and want to keep the house reasonably in order but don't want to compromise on your baby's need for closeness and security during the early days, use the BabyHawk to carry her around while you get things done. My baby loves it. She is mesmerized by the sights and sounds of the house and soon closes her eyes and enjoys the ride. I also use this at the mall, grocery store or other outings with her and it's great (I can often go two hours with her completely happy). There are some things you can NOT do (such as cooking, boiling bottles, drinking hot liquids, etc) and some things go a bit slower with the wee one strapped on, but on the whole, you can easily get at least an hour or two of house or other work done a day thanks to the BabyHawk. On a final note, you may have heard that it is too "heavy" to carry a baby around or that it will "spoil" them. First off, it is not too heavy if you start from the first week and condition your back from when she is light before she gets bigger and bigger (depending on your condition after birth it may be longer, but just start it the soonest you are able). Also when the carrier is tied correctly it is really not that hard (see the many Youtube videos on it) and think of it as another way you are toning back up :) Also, regarding the opinion that carrying your baby will spoil them, consider the benefits of baby wearing. It is simply old fashioned thinking that carrying your baby will make them insecure and be more needy. On the contary, they actually become more secure and therefore more able than other babies to venture out on their own once they are able and ready. I wear my baby every day and already at 10 weeks she is able to entertain herself under her mobile sometimes up to 30 minutes by herself - and wide awake and alert too I might add!
- Medela Hands Free Pumping Bra Ladies, if there is one item I could recommend to any new mom, this is it. Simply put, there is no other way to go except hands free! I use this inexpensive item 5-7 times a day and it makes pumping a breeze. I strap this item on and then while pumping I am able to check email, eat lunch, drink water...and even update my blog (yes, I am pumping as we speak)! After the baby goes down for a nap, the very next thing I do is pump. I am able to get two to three pumps in during daily naps, another two pumps at 7pm and 10pm after hubby gets home and then once in the middle of the night. (I am able to do as few as five pumps only because my milk supply is now in - in the beginning plan to do seven to eight pumps a day). With this hands free item, the middle of the night pump can be relaxing and enjoyable. In fact, I use that time to check email, social media, etc on my handheld devices and not get "bored" simply sitting there holding the flanges and staring in space. Bring this item with you to the hospital in your hospital bag and use it when you are first learning how to pump.
- Dr. Brown's Bottles Dr. Brown's bottles were used by my sister with great success and I use them too. These bottles are designed to move air bubbles away from the nipple and it works. While the Dr Brown's bottles have more parts than other bottles, and therefore could take more time cleaning, it is well worth it to have a baby that is less fussy because they have less gas! Another benefit is that the new ones are BPA free. When we were in the hospital, we used "regular" hospital-supplied bottles for my expressed milk and baby Lexi burped like a sailor. You could see tons of bubbles in the nipples. However, once we got home and used the Dr. Browns bottles you couldn't see any bubbles and we sometimes have a really hard time getting any burps out at all because she is simply swallowing less air. And she hardy ever spits up either. I don't know if that is related to the consumption of less air, but it certainly may be a factor along with our diligence to not put her down for at least 30-60 minutes after eating. The bottom line is that as Moms we would much rather clean bottle parts than be dealing with an unconsolable baby, which is heartbreaking. I stocked up on 18 bottles (I pump and feed breast milk by bottle) and this comes in handy when I have to go two days in between cleaning and sterilization (I have enough bottles to last two days easily). The normal routine is that I clean the bottles by hand each day and then boil them. I bought an enormous stock pot specifically for the boiling process so all the bottles and parts fit neatly inside. I boil for five minutes and then, using kitchen tongs, I put the parts on drying racks. It sounds like a process, but trust me, it becomes routine and does not take that long. (You develop ways of cleaning efficiently...I'll have to post another blog on that!) FYI - the custom labels on these bottles are from Applied Labels. They stay on through boiling, dishwasher, you name it! Super easy to apply. Great for identifying your bottles if you are taking bottles to a day care.
- Leachco Nursing Pillow Although I have the traditional Boppy pillow as well, the Leachco pillow has something that the Boppy does not - a Velcro strap that holds your baby in while he or she is sitting in the pillow. This prevents your baby from falling down into the pillow while you have her sitting there. This pillow comes in handy all the time (as in daily) for me - if I need to put the baby down for a brief moment to get the bottles, go to the bathroom, for tummy time, for sitting her in while I show her overhead jungle gym things etc). Also when I am pumping while Lexi is awake I sit her in the Leachco (which we simply call "the pink thing" in our household as our version is pink) right across from me and I feed and/or entertain her while pumping. The one downside is that the cover is not removable and therefore not washable. To get around that if you have a baby prone to "blow outs" - simply put an washable blanket under her. Never leave a baby unattended in a Boppy or Leachco.
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