Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Search for my favorite Nursing Gear

Guys beware, this post is all about Haley's bottles. And no, I don't mean the bpa free kind.

We have all heard that breast is best. What the don't tell you is that it hurts. Oh my gosh it hurts. The pinch of a baby learning to eat for the first time mixed with boobs that seem like they may explode off your chest and then dried out or chapped nipples is not a good feeling. But it is a sacrifice worth making if you can. Luckily there are several classes, hospital lactation consultants, and great gear to help mothers as they embark on the journey of feeding their babies.
At two and a half weeks Haley got thrush which made it hurt worse right as it was finally starting to get better. I wanted desperately to quit, and might have if I hadn't let Haley get sunburned. I cried through several feedings but I figured toughing out the pain was the least I could do for my sweet baby who I had exposed to too much sun. And I'm glad I stuck it out (although I have a total respect for anyone who doesn't seriously I think it was only guilt that kept me going. Well, guilt and knowing that preparing bottles in the middle of the night would have been a much bigger inconvenience than unhooking my bra.

Nursing Bras: These are the one's I have tried and my opinions of them. They are all available at Target for the price listed.

Medela Sleep Nursing Bra $19.99main product image
This bra is super comfortable and convenient! (even though Target sent me the wrong color... twice; and wouldn't let me return it after trekking to the sore because the don't sell them at the Asheville location.)This one is great because you don't have to worry about re-hooking it, which is great for sleepy middle of the night feedings, or feeding in public. Instead of wrestling with your bra one handed under a sliding blanket you can focus on your baby who needs to be burped. This bra does offer less support though. It also has a racer back so the straps ill show if you have a wide necked top, but it's perfect under a t-shirt.
Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing Tank $16.99main product imageProduct Image
I love these tank tops! I have 4 of them (2 black, 1 white, 1 grey). These tank tops are affordable, comfortable, and I can wear these as a shirt or under a shirt. the advantage if they're under a shirt is that When I lift my shirt by postpartum belly is not exposed
Gilligan & O'Malley® Nursing Padded Demi Bra $12.99main product image
This bra is great if i want to feel sexy. It's a little stiff for pulling down to nurse, but it looks like a regular bra with the convenience of a pull down clip. It's perfect for wearing under my regular clothes and for days when I just want to feel like a regular me again.
Nursing Sports Bra With Padded Straps $12.99main product image
I got this bra because after trying to run to first base in a church softball game I realized that regular bras will no longer cut it. (I also realized that running for the first time in almost a yea is no piece of cake, but that's another story) After a lifetime in the IBTC needing a bra full time is an adjustment, and this one is great for the extra support I will need while trying to lose the baby weight. Soccer field here I come.
Gilligan & O'Malley® Nursing Sleep Bra $16.99main product image
This bra is super stretchy and I liked it at first, especially when my milk came in and I felt like I had two cantaloupes attached to my chest. But it is not my favorite now. The mesh fabric across the top makes re-hooking the bra easier, but it also means you can't wear it under most nicer tops. Of all the bras I have tried this is the one I would have skipped.

Other Favorite Breast Feeding Products

Johnson & Johnson  Contour Nursing Pads - 60 PadsGerber  Ultra-Thin Nursing Pads - 60 pk
Nursing Pads:
These are a must if you don't want big milk stains on your shirt (and in the first few weeks they may not be enough to help anyways) My favorite are the washable cotton/ bamboo pads I got from Jessi, They have cute designs and are eco friendly. The also have flower on one so you can keep track of which side you recently nursed on (although for me a hair tie on my wrist works better- when I don't fidget with it and switch it subconsciously) However sometimes disposables are what you need, like when you're trying to get rid of thrush or its laundry day. My favorites are Gerber ultra thins. They are super absorbent and they are comfortable since they're so thin. I also like Johnson's because they have tape on them so they will stick to your bra, which is helpful when you're nursing in public and you don't want to put down the nursing pad where it could fall on a dirty floor or get lost in the shuffle of baby, burp cloth, and blanket. I don't like the shape as much because if they are in the wrong spot they can be difficult to adjust and they are less comfortable and awkward looking. Finally I will say that I tried Lily Padz once, and while they feel nice (they are a bit cool which is soothing) I do not think the necessary upkeep is worth the trouble. I would say skip these as well, although they may be a great fit for other moms.
Pain Treatment
Lansinoh Lanolin Topical Treatment. This stuff is a must have if you have sore nipples (and you will) I don't know how soothing it is, but it did help at least some, especially when Haley got thrush. The downside - It's sticky and gross feeling, you have to rub it between your fingers to soften it up. If you are using disposable breast nursing pads you can wipe your fingers off on those and it's less inconvenient, but it will stain so beware. I also had some gerber ice pack that felt great when I was engorged in the beginning.

Pumping and Bottle Feeding:
I received the Medela Single Deluxe Electric Breastpump from a friend and it is the perfect fit for me. I have class for grad school on Monday night and am usually gone for about 5 hours. This means that once a week Haley usually needs two bottles. With this pump I can pump once on Sunday and once on Monday and Haley is good to go for the night. It is a convenient size and not terrible expensive. I usually pump one side while Haley is eating on the other. It is electric which is convenient and has an AC adapter to charge. This pump is lightweight and easy to use. I usually build up to full power, but I learned quickly to start on a low setting and work my way up otherwise OUCH! My only suggestion is to get an extra valve part (where it empties into the collection container) because that is the hardest part to clean.
I really like medela products and for 29.99 my mom got me a storage and feeding set. It has bag storage as well as 6 freezer containers and 3 bottles. I imagine that it is all I will ever need since I only pump for class and the occasional free-time outing

Cover up:
I got one of the cute nursing covers with the buckle on the side but I would say skip it. Haley gets all tagled up in it and a blanket works just as well, especially if yo have a husband or friend willing to old it up for you while finding the right latch. I will say though that I have seen "hooter hiders" which look like they would be a nursing cover worth having. It's just much easier if you can see your baby while they latch on.

Nursing Pillow:
What a blessing There are several out there, even with clever name, like my breast friend, but there is a reason boppy wins parenting magazine awards year after year. When I nurse using the boppy my arms don't get as tires and I can even lay haley on it to do other things, like read her a story. It has several cute, washable covers to choose from. And it is great for tummy time and for extra support when learning to sit up. I would say this is definitely a must have.
I got a really nice glider, also from m mother, and I love it. It's great for nursing and for soothing Haley when she's upset. The chair I got is very modern and will make a great piece of furniture even when my nursing days are up, however it is a definite luxury. Half of the time I end up nursing on the couch or in the bed. But that may change as we establish a more permanent bedtime routine. Basically I would say if you get a glider or rocker as a gift or as a steal on craigslist go for it but it is not something to break the bank on.

and to end here is my embarrassing nursing story...
One day I heard a knock on the door, I left Haley sleeping on the couch to go answer it. Two guys selling magazines. I talked to them for a few minutes before they made their sales pitch, which is when I told them I would not be spending any money and they left. A few minutes later I looked in the mirror, only to realize that the entire time I was talking to these two guys my tank top had been pulled down exposing my lovely nursing bra to the world. Just lovely.


Bethan said...

this is the best post ever. also, i'm so glad you stuck through it, and i'm so proud of you. i don't really know anyone our age that has except us. and i definitely cried through several feedings there at the beginning myself, but it's so worth it if you can tough it out at the beginning. and also, these are all my fav things too, esp the medela sleeping bra, the lansinoh and the boppy.

Alyce said...

That story at the end - absolutely hilarious!

Also, this post reaffirmed that I don't want children. I will make a much better aunt.

Also, I'm having a wonderful time reading your blog instead of studying.