Monday, August 3, 2015

Sponsored: Pumping and Storing Breastmilk Tips

I wrote this post while participating in a campaign by Tomoson and received a gift to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced or reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.

Sponsored: Pumping and Storing Breastmilk
Written By Renee Arbia

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I wanted to do a special blog post about breastfeeding. I am a proud mom who exclusively breastfed for fourteen months. Most of those months were pumping, due to my son having a small tongue tie that never let him latch properly until he was older. He then got his teeth in and could sit up on his own and started eating solids. He was no longer interested in breastfeeding, so I let him wean himself. However, he still needed the nutrition so I exclusively pumped. For over a year I pumped from 8 times a day to 6 to 5, then 4, 3, 2 ,1 and now I am done and have been for over two years.  It is something every mom should be incredibly proud to say no matter how long she has breastfed her children or how.

When you think about breastfeeding most women assume they have everything they will ever need, our wonderful breasts. Although they are the main thing that you need, now for our Next Generation Moms, we need a lot more then just that. We do not get the support we need, or the leisure to just be able to have our baby attached to us with nothing else to do. A big issue with breastfeeding is adapting it to our society today. I have found these things extremely helpful for breast feeding moms. I highly recommend them all and recommend getting them preferably before the baby is born so they are ready in the weeks after birth, which is when you will need the most help. Remember that breastfeeding although totally natural, is not totally easy, it is like everything else something you must put effort into, and these items make your effort a lot less work.

- A Double Electric Breastpump - Don't skimp. Ladies this goes on your boobs sometimes more then your baby and it is the difference between a good breastfeeding experience and a tough one. Get a good pump, with electricity, batteries and comes with a manual adjustment. I HIGHLY recommend the Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Breastpump. Unlike Medela it has less to clean, no tubing that needs to be cleaned, and it is much cheaper only around $200. Yes, it is an investment, but cheaper than formula. Check with your health insurance many cover breast pumps or give you money to get one. You can also rent from a hospital or doctor’s office. Purchased breastpumps are tax deductible. Also, consider buying a used one from a friend and get all new parts. They last forever and many manufacturers will replace it for free if you have a problem. The double electric type of pump drains your boobs in half the time of a single, which is important with a newborn, plus it is very similar to how baby suckles at your breast. You want battery and manual attachments, because you will surprise yourself where you will be when you may need to pump. I know the Ameda Purely yours comes with electric cord, car adapter, batteries and a manual single hand pump, plus a cooler to bring bottles back and forth. Buy your pump before your baby is born, you will need it right away. Learn how to use it ahead of time. Did I mention this may be on you more then a baby at first? Not the area to skimp ladies!

-          Breastmilk storage bags- These are great for freezer storage. You cannot beat them. It is not recommended to use regular freezer bags, you need to use breastmilk storage bags because they are sterile. Breastmilk storage bags worked great when I was pumping a lot.  One of my favorite brands of Breast Milk Storage Bags is Bonafide Baby Breast Milk Storage bags. They have more bags in their box than most standard breast milk bags. They come in a box of 105 count, and with a free non-toxic marker. Bonafide Baby Breast Milk storage bags were developed by a mom for moms. They are freezer safe, leak proof with a double zip seal, BPA free, latex free, have notched sides to ensure simple transfer from bag to bottle with no mess and each bag comes pre-sterilized for your little one’s safety. Unlike other breastmilk storage bags, Bonafide Baby Breast Milk Storage Bags are much easier for pouring milk so I can use them no matter how tired I am. Also, with the double seal I can lay them down in the cooler, freezer and fridge without fear of them leaking at all. You can find them on Amazon.

- Soothies gel pads- Get these for your first two months of breastfeeding. They really help your nipples feel good and you will thank yourself for getting them.
- Nursing bras-Get two sleep bras and two nice bras. You may think it's not too necessary but believe it or not most of your discomfort will be from things that do not fit your now expanded chest as much. Wait a couple weeks after starting nursing and get some. The sleep bras are necessary you are usually not comfortable without any bra on and the sleep bra helps keep you comfortable and the nice ones should make you look nice under clothing.
- Giant water bottle-You will be very thirsty all the time when you are nursing. Get a nice big bottle or cup to take with you and keep in your nursing areas.
- The book Breastfeeding Made Simple by Mohrbacher, Kendall-Tackett and Neuman - It is about $12 on Amazon and it is definitely worth it. Read it before you have the baby and then keep it by your pump or nursing spot to check in as issues arise.  
  - A soft portable cooler - You will be transporting expressed breastmilk in containers, bags and/or bottles. This is usually the best way to transport. Just stick in an ice pack and you are good to go all day
- A pump bra - Many women forget about this. They buy the breast pump but forget the pump bra. Unless you get the pump bra you have to hold the breast pump to both of your breasts in order for it to pump. At first if you need to pump a lot that can be for 20 minutes every 3 hours. It's a lifesaver to use the pump bra. Some women make one out of old sports bras. Whatever works, but if you want to make it through pumping you will need to have your hands free.  

- Prepare ahead of time. Buy your breast pump, practice using it, set it up, get your nursing spot ready, sterilize bottles and breast pump parts, read the books about breastfeeding and take a class. You will be sleep deprived, sore and emotional when baby arrives. Be as prepared as you can be to make your life a little easier when you know it will be stressful.
- Pump, pump, pump away. When baby comes as soon as possible, PUMP! Yes, you can feed baby from your breast, but if you pump as well, your milk supply will not solely depend on you and your baby figuring out latching, your breasts will not engorge as bad and you will be less stressed. If all you have to focus on is getting baby to latch you will both relax. You know you will have plenty of milk for baby. For the first 8 weeks you should pump for 15-20 minutes every 3 hours. Try to keep it on schedule as much as you can, but never go longer than 5 hours without pumping and no sooner then 1 hour apart. For instance if you need to pump at 1 pm and 4 pm and you miss the 1pm so you pump at 3pm instead, still do your normal pump at 4pm. This is in ADDITION to feeding baby.  Yes, it's a lot but it's to help you so that you are not worried or upset when only feeding baby. Many moms need baby to latch in order for milk supply to come in and/or be good. They also are engorged or have infections because they are not getting enough milk out. Pumping helps with that. It is only for 8 weeks, and then it's a dramatic cut back. Always remember breastfeeding is extremely difficult at first and extremely easy later. You just have to make it through the first 8 weeks.
- Patience and relaxing gets your milk flowing.
- As a mom you have many choices to make. Feeding is one of the most important and difficult decisions to make. Be sure to know all the facts. One thing many moms do not realize is FORMULA IS NOT AS GOOD AS BREASTMILK! Breast milk is a thousand times better. Breast milk has live antibodies to protect your baby from infections. Scientists do not even know all the components of breast milk let alone be able to copy them to put into formula. No matter how bad your diet is, breast milk is still superior to formula. Any amount of breast milk is better than none. If you can only breast feed for a little while that is still better then none at all. Don’t be afraid to ask your local hospital or pediatrician where the nearest donor milk location is if you cannot produce yourself and still want breastmilk.
- Breastfeeding benefits you as much as your baby. It helps you loose weight, and protects you against certain diseases. As well as helps your body heal faster from childbirth, it helps relax you and even out your emotions.
- When you have problems breastfeeding with baby, the best thing to do is a lot of skin to skin with baby. Skin to skin is a very primal thing for you and your baby. By doing it frequently it connects you to your baby and your breastfeeding problems will usually dissipate because your baby will instinctively start feeding off of you again. If you are pumping having your baby near you always helps. Also it is good to bring something that smells like your baby or look at a picture of your baby.
- Always keep in mind that your baby's latch will improve as your baby grows. If you have a difficult time, always adjust it but remember you will not have to always adjust it baby will improve as he grows. When you have problems or are frustrated just pump and when things are going well you can try latching.
- Many moms stop at the three month mark, thinking they no longer have a newborn and it is not necessary. Pediatricians and the World Health Organization recommend breastfeeding for the first year at least. At three months babies need your breast milk more then ever. It has the calories your baby needs to grow. Formula at that age does not have as much calories which is why many moms start food early. The best for your baby is exclusive breast milk for six months then introducing foods along with breast milk.
- Breastfed babies should go six months until trying other foods. No cereals, water, juice,etc. just exclusively breast milk to get their stomachs on optimum running potential.
- Breastfed babies do not get constipated or diarrhea. They poop less often and it usually does not smell.
- Try to also pump after feeding your babies to drain your breasts. The more you drain your breasts the more milk you will produce.
- To tell if your baby is feeding well count the poop and pee diapers. This is extremely important when baby is first born.
- Keep in mind that your milk can take time to come in if you have any medical interventions, such as drugs, anesthesia, and blood transfusions. Make sure to pump every three hours to help milk come in faster. You may need to supplement if it takes too long. Put baby on breast first, then give a bottle of anything you pumped, then a little formula if it was not enough, then pump until you get your milk.
- All babies are different each breastfeeding experience is unique.
- Keep your breastfeeding books by your pumps or in your nursing spot to refer to it when you have problems.
- Fresh pumped breast milk is best, but freezing is a great option. Many moms pump enough for the entire year and deep freeze it. Frozen breast milk is still much better then formula.
- Remember that a year of breastfeeding is not really that long in the grand scheme of things. You are setting your child up for the best possible health. Isn't that worth a little hard work on your end for a year?
- Have a system with pumping, storing and bottling along with breastfeeding. It will make things much easier on you. Be organized with it and be proactive, do your prep work ahead of time.
- Remember your main job right now is feeding your baby.
- Breast milk is more durable then formula. Sterilizing is not necessary to do as often if you are filling bottles with breast milk. You don't have to worry about contaminants or bad water with breast milk. You can prepare a lot of bottles ahead of time. It lasts for 8 days in the fridge. You can leave a bottle of fresh breast milk out for 10 hours. (Frozen is for 1 hour).
- Remember to eat and drink regularly and drink lots of water. You should consume an extra 500 calories a day if you are breastfeeding.
- It's always better to start off breastfeeding and switch to formula if you need to then to start with formula. You can always go to formula, but it is much harder to breastfeed once you have stopped.

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