I’ve been nursing, pumping, storing and feeding frozen breast milk to 2 babies now. Working (full time the first time and part-time this time), traveling, and just wanting to get out here and then – you can do it without any of these things. But if you’re like me, you’ll find that they will make your life real easy. If you have to pick only 2 items from this list, I say go for the pump and the handsfree bra. Totally. worth. every. penny.
Simple Wishes hands-free pumping bra: I have no idea how anyone lives without this item. I’m a working mom, which means that I spend a good amount of time pumping in order to continue to breastfeed even if I can’t be home with my babies. This simple, amazing bra allows me to do it hands-free. Hands-free means that I can pump while driving (don’t worry, I hook and unhook while pulled over), while working, and, yes, while browsing social media or Pinterest on my phone. All hands-free.
Medela Freestyle Breast pump: My life. My love. Seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever been in love with technology as much as I am in love with this. Tiny. Quiet (relatively). Hands-free. Easy to assemble. Runs on battery and has a rechargeable battery that lasts for sooo long (I’ve had my pump for 2 babies and used it heavily for almost 2 years now and it still lasts days, if not weeks). It also has one of my favorite features – the times. It knows what to do, when to do, and keeps track of how long I’ve been pumping, switching from “let down” style to “pumping” style on its own after 2 minutes (or you can override). I have always loved my pump but not as much as I love it since I got to use a different one for a few days. Now I’m seriously attached to this thing.
Lansinoh Nursing pads: You’ll need these. Trust me. I’ve tried reusable (great to save $$, but especially in the beginning, leaked right through). I’ve tried other brands (no stickier, too bulky, too skinny) but nothing compares to these. I even bring my own to the hospital even though they will supply you with some.
Medela bottles: Although I don’t usually use these bottles for feeding past the first 3 months, these are the best for pumping and storing. I must say though, many babies will take these over other bottles. Taylor would ONLY drink from these for the first 3 months.
Soothies: Life savers in the first couple of weeks as you and your body and your skills adjust to breastfeeding.
Playtex Drop-in bottles: These are my bottles of choice for feeding my babies. They’re great at keeping the air to a minimum, are way less messy and have a huge opening for those frozen bags of milk that you have to defrost and then poor into TINY bottles. I find that there is no need to buy the playtex inserts and get the generic kinds at CVS.
Breastmilk storage bags: I buy these in bulk. Monthly. This is what I store breastmilk in, labeled, then aggregated into zip lock bags. Everything is counted, dated, and stored. I have no idea what I’d do without them.
GE Freezer Chest: Our lifesaver. Breastmilk can stay for 6-12 months if you’re using a stand alone chest freezer such as this one. Plus, it has a ton of room if you’re building a stash like I have. When you’re not breastfeeding, it lets you stock up on frozen goodies on sale, pre-made meals, and homemade baby food. But above all else, let me tell you a little story: back when Peanut was nursing and I built up a huge stash of HUNDREDS of ounces of milk (HUNDREDS, people. It was full), we had a hurricane and the power wiped out. We knew the hurricane was coming (although not how badly we would be affected) so we filled zip lock bags full of water and lined every crevice of the chest freezer with them, then turned it up. Well, we lost power. And even after 3-4 days with no power, before we got a generator, this puppy kept it cold. I’m not guaranteeing you the same results (I sat on it and cried for days thinking I would lose everything I worked so hard for…we didn’t dare open it until we had the generator up and running), but if you take good precautions, you may just find that it’s a savior.