*Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Medela Canada and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. However, the opinions expressed on this blog and my love for Medela is my own!*
As you may have guessed from previous posts, I am a big advocate of breastfeeding (but I understand it is not for everyone, and not everyone is able to successfully breastfeed – the most important thing is that your baby gets fed, no matter how you do it!). As a mom that has successfully breastfed two kids (with one still on the go!), I feel like I have a little bit of advice to share. New moms can be overwhelmed with all the information and (often unwanted) bits of advice from friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers, and even strangers. When Lily was a newborn, an elderly woman came over to me at a restaurant and started cooing over just how adorable and beautiful Lily was…and then reached over, patted my boob and asked “Has she taken well to breastfeeding?” She’s lucky that I was just too tired to react before she walked away. But, I digress. Back to the issue at hand.
When I started breastfeeding Andrew, it was anything but easy. I had a low supply, and he had a terrible latch, which made feeding a nightmare. I’ll spare you the details, and just say that it wasn’t pretty, and it was pretty painful. I wasn’t ready to let go of breastfeeding, so I had a lactation consultant come in to work with us, and the first thing she told me was that I had to pump, and I had to have a good pump. I started a routine of pumping for 15 minutes on each side after every feed. Yeah – that’s a lot of time pumping. I seriously could not have fought through that without a double electric pump. To all you new moms and moms-to-be that are going to be breastfeeding: if there is one thing not to scrimp on, it’s the pump. The Medela Freestyle double electric pump is a lifesaver. To begin with, it saves time – you can pump both sides at once, getting it done in half the time – which means you get back to your nap (or baby snuggles) even faster. The Medela Freestyle is the most popular Medela pump for a reason – it uses Medela’s patented 2-Phase expression technology, scientifically proven to produce more milk in less time, and it is specifically designed for frequent, daily-use, which can help grow your milk supply if you’re lacking in that area like I was!
Because I pumped after EVERY feed for weeks on end, and refused to stay home all day every day, I had to pump on the run. I have seriously pumped anywhere and everywhere – I even pumped one day at the spa in the bathroom between spa treatments. This is another instance where the Freestyle pump saved me – you can totally pump on the run. It has a built-in, rechargeable battery that can be used for 3 hours of pumping! My pump has come to the cottage, to the spa, to friends’ houses, to holiday get-togethers…you name it, I’ve brought it! The portability is a huge selling feature – it is small enough to throw in your diaper bag, and it also comes with a compact cooler and ice pack that is designed to perfectly fit 4 bottles.
After my struggles with breastfeeding and pumping, I feel like I have a bit of wisdom to share…so for all you nursing/pumping moms and moms-to-be, I give you my 7 Essential Tips for Moms when Pumping:
- Get comfy: you’re going to be there awhile. Rest on some pillows, put on the tv, and put baby somewhere they will be safe and happy (or, as happy as they can be when not being held!)
- Buy yourself some big cups and put them everywhere you will be pumping and breastfeeding. When nursing or pumping, I often found that I would be completely fine, and suddenly become as parched as the Sahara. Drinking tons of water is essential when breastfeeding or pumping!
- Nursing cover – if you need to pump or feed somewhere not-so-private, a nursing cover is great to keep your tatas hidden away!
- Get yourself a sterilizer. I had an electric steam sterilizer, and I use it constantly when pumping. Between all the parts and bottles, my sterilizer is on rotation.
- A good pump is worth every penny. You can boost your supply, cut down on pumping time, and stash away breastmilk in the freezer. The Medela Freestyle pump is hands down worth it!
- If it hurts to pump, something isn’t right. Uncomfortable, maybe. But definitely not painful. Look into other options if you are in pain when pumping – it was painful when I first started pumping, and after a bit of experimenting, I realized that the flanges that came with the pump weren’t the right size for me.
- All in one systems save a ton of time. If you can pump right into the bottles or breastmilk storage bags that you will be using, you don’t waste time transferring milk into other containers (or risk spilling it!), and you have less stuff to wash. That’s a win for any mom.
- The Freestyle comes with straps that attaches the pump to your bra for hands-free pumping…but if for some reason you don’t have them, invest in a cheap sports bra for pumping. Now, I know some women can stick the pump on and go hands-free with just the pump, but if you’re a bustier gal like me, you may not find it that comfortable. There are specific pumping bras out there that you can buy, but you can just buy a cheap sports bra, cut little holes in the front and stick the pump. Just like that, you have 15 minutes hands free!
The major bonus that all you new moms will come to love about pumping (because let’s be honest, it’s not exactly a fun experience) is that it gives you FREEDOM! That’s right moms. That breastmilk you’re pumping out is liquid gold. That little bottle gives you a few hours to yourself, to spend however you please. You can go party with your friends, go to a movie by yourself with no little people attached, shop without a stroller…or if you’re like me, you’ll just wander around Target or Walmart.
For those of you new moms who are actually aware and rested to have a functioning brain, you might be happy to know that all of the pump parts that actually touch the breastmilk are made without BPA, DEHP, and other phthalates.
It sounds so cliché, but Medela played a huge role in my success in breastfeeding, including their Calma Feeding System…but more on that in the next post!