This post is sponsored by Nuffnang.
There is a saying about childhood that I have always loved, “Childhood is a journey…not a race!” and I think the same could be just as accurately said about breastfeeding. Although it seems that nursing a baby should be the most naturally occurring act in the world, it is often not quite that easy and can at times seem outright challenging! This is certainly something I can relate to now, on my second breastfeeding journey with AJ. Personally, I try to see the challenges more as speed bumps than mountains as I love breastfeeding for both its convenience and the feeling of connectedness with my baby that it provides. As with any journey, it is important to have the right ‘equipment’ to help you along on your adventure and through my breastfeeding experiences I have found that each of the following has become an important, nursing ‘must-have.’
My 8 Breastfeeding Must-Haves
1. Lanosil Lanolin Nipple Cream: A good friend arrived at the hospital with a tube of Lanosil shortly after Immy was born and my poor, cracked nipples were so grateful. In preparation for baby #2, a fresh, new tube was packed and ready in my hospital bag for use once AJ was born. I find it helps to soothe my nipples when they are tender during those first few weeks and I am pretty sure that it was responsible for protecting my nipples from actual cracking when used right from the beginning this second time around.
2. Breastfeeding tanks/singlets: I love that breastfeeding tank tops (with built-in shelf bra) allow me to feed my baby without feeling self conscious about exposing my pudding-soft, mummy tummy.
3. Comfortable maternity/nursing bras: I should add…that don’t make me feel all plain and mumsy! Don’t get me wrong, in the first few weeks I find any bra more than a bit of a nuisance and rely on breastfeeding tank tops a lot, however, once my supply has settled down I am all for a comfortable nursing bra, preferably one that is a girly and pretty. For smaller-breasted mamas like myself, I find the Hot Milk range are great.
4. Burp cloths: With AJ initially so prone to bringing up milk and needing constant burping, I had to use a burp cloth or risk smelling like spoiled milk all day long. I find old-fashioned cloth nappies make the best burp cloths and you can be sure that they day I forget to take one out with me is the day that I end up with a big, milky spew over my shoulder and down my back!
5. Muslin wraps: You will always find a collection of muslin wraps in my nappy bag and they work well as either a breastfeeding cover or substitute burp cloth.
6. Healthy snacks: Breastfeeding makes me hungry and the daily demands of a baby (and a preschooler, husband, household and work) see me reaching regularly for quick, convenient snack foods. Unfortunately, if there are unhealthy options in the cupboard then these seem to be the first to disappear (isn’t it funny how that happens!) Making sure that I have a healthier snack selection available helps me to make better choices so I try to keep the cupboard and fridge stocked with crackers or pre-cut vegie sticks and dip, fresh fruit, muesli bars, yoghurt and dried fruit.
7. Water: Breastfeeding also makes me incredibly thirsty so regularly drinking water while I am feeding is really important. I always try to remember to pop a large glass beside my bed each night so that I can drink during night feeds without too much hassle.
8. Electric breast pump: With an abundant supply being an issue with both of my girls, pumping became a regular feature of my breastfeeding journey very early on. I could never quite get the hang of expressing by hand but quickly fell in love with my electric pump. I have pumped regularly for many reasons, including to;
- Ease the pressure of overly full breasts before feeding
- Ease the pressure of engorged breasts when feeding routines have changed
- Ensure a very painful, lumpy breast was sufficiently emptied during a bout of mastitis
- Store milk for my baby to drink when I was out with work commitments…though it should be noted that Immy refused to take a bottle under any circumstances!
- Mix with first feeds when it was time to introduce solids
Philips AVENT Single Electronic Breast Pump
I was recently sent a Philips AVENT Single Electronic Breast Pump to try. This clever pump has a memory all of its own and you actually start off with manual pumping so that it can ‘learn’ your preferred pumping method. Once you have established a comfortable rhythm, one press of the control button and the electronic pump takes over, continuing with the same rhythm, speed and intensity. As I have not previously used an electronic pump with this feature, it took a few goes for me to get the hang of it but once I did it worked well. I think the fact that it can be used as a manual or electronic pump (with either a battery pack that can be clipped to your waistband or connected to mains power) makes it convenient for use in any number of situations and according to personal preference.
As with anything breastfeeding related, pumping is such a personal experience – I found the AVENT electronic pump easy to assemble and clean and it’s silicone Let-down Massage Cushion soft and comfortable. I like that it is relatively quiet (when using mains powers) and that it comes with a number of spare parts. I did however feel that it did not offer me as much suction as I personally prefer, seeming to extract the milk more slowly than I expected it to.
I think it is great that the pump is compatible with the AVENT Via Cups as pumping directly into a sterile storage cup* saves time, and honestly, time is of the essence with baby #2! I used to sterilise everything with Immy but it has been a whole different ballgame with AJ, I have actually dumped a lot of milk because I often haven’t had time to sterilise. When it is time for feeding, the Via Cups can be screwed directly onto any AVENT teat or spout. The cups are freezer safe and can be washed in the dishwasher, sterilised and re-used, including as a storage container for first foods.
* Please note – Via Cup lids, AVENT adaptors and teats will require sterilising prior to first use.
Philips AVENT Giveaway
Thanks to Philips AVENT Childhood 101 readers have the opportunity to win a Single Electronic Breast Pump (RRP $249.95). To enter leave a comment on this post sharing your top three must-haves for pregnancy (for those who have yet to meet their new bub) or babyhood.
Open to Australian residents only. Entries close 5:00 pm AEDST, 19th October 2012. Full terms and conditions here.