Expressing Mama http://expressing-mama.com Best Breast Pump Reviews Sat, 27 May 2017 13:53:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Best Manual Breast Pump Reviews For Expressing Milk http://expressing-mama.com/best-manual-breast-pump-reviews/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 08:00:07 +0000 http://expressing-mama.com/?p=1218 What is the best manual breast pump? Choosing to breastfeed has so many benefits for you and your baby. You may also want to express some breast milk for times when you can physically nurse your baby. If you want to pump occasionally then a manual breast pump is what you need. Otherwise check out our electric breast pump buying guide. Pin for Later Most breast pump guides are aimed at an electric breast pump. We created this one specifically for manual breast pumps. We’ll help you wade through all the information so you can find the perfect breast pump

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What is the best manual breast pump?

Choosing to breastfeed has so many benefits for you and your baby. You may also want to express some breast milk for times when you can physically nurse your baby. If you want to pump occasionally then a manual breast pump is what you need. Otherwise check out our electric breast pump buying guide.

Pin for Later

Best Manual Breast Pump Reviews - Expressing Mama

Most breast pump guides are aimed at an electric breast pump. We created this one specifically for manual breast pumps. We’ll help you wade through all the information so you can find the perfect breast pump which fits your family’s needs.

In this article you’ll find:

  • 5 Best Manual Breast Pump Reviews
  • Manual breast pump Buying Guide
  • How to use a manual breast pump
  • Advantage of manual breast pumps
  • Disadvantages of manual breast pumps

First let’s start by looking at our top 5 best rated manual breast pumps.

5 Best Manual Breast Pump Reviews

1. Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump

The Medela Harmony is the most popular manual breast pump on the market. It’s the only manual breast pump made by the Medela. They have tried to include their two-phase expression system into this pump. You turn the handle to start with fast, quick motion. Then turn again to change to long, slow motion. This mimics that way your baby feeds and helps you get more milk when pumping. It’s a great quality pump which will last a long time. It comes with a Medela collection bottle and breast shield. These are all interchangeable with the electric Medela breast pumps if you decide to move onto one in the future. If you need extra equipment such as bottle teats, or a larger breast flange, it’s very easy to get addition parts for this pump.

2. Philips Avent Manual Comfort Breast Pump

The Philips Avent Comfort Manual is the most comfortable pump on our list. The shield of the pump is designed to site at an angle, which makes it much more comfortable to press whilst sitting. Another comfort feature is the textured petals in the shield. This helps to massage the breast as you pump, to encourage more milk flow. You can collect milk in the bottle then feed baby with the teat they supply with the pump. We found that the wider pump handle was much easier to use than our other pick, and resulted in less hand fatigue after a while. Whilst you can’t buy different breast shield sizes, you can use other Avent bottles with this pump.

3. Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump

The Lansinoh Manual pump is our most efficient choice. The shield is designed with a soft rim which makes it comfortable to use but also give a tight suction. This pump is extremely effective even on petite and plus-size breasts, as you are supplies with two shield sizes (25mm and 30.5mm). It’s similar to the Medela as you can use the two-phase expression with a simple switch. You are supplies with a collection bottle; however, it will fit most wide necked baby bottles. We love how easy this pump is to assemble, which make it easier to clean between uses.

4. Sumgott Manual Breast Pump

The Sumgott manual breast pump is a newcomer, but very popular with moms. It has a comfortable breast shield with petals similar to the Philips Avent Comfort. Moms report that it’s just as effective as a good electric breast pump for removing your breast milk. This pump is very lightweight and compact to carry it around. We highly recommend it for travel use or returning to working part-time after maternity leave. The only color the feeding bottle comes in is pink so you may not want to use it for a baby boy. You’ll need to decant the milk as it doesn’t fit other branded bottles.

5. Zenda Naturals Manual Breastmilk Pump

The Zenda Naturals is a great budget manual pump. It’s based on the design of the original HaaKaa pump, but with higher ratings. This pump has a gentler approach the expressing. It’s made from soft silicone and removes milk from your breast by applying gentle pressure to the collection bottom. For regular expressing it may not be effective enough. However, we would highly recommend it to use as a pump to relieve engorgement when you are away from baby. It’s also a great pump for catching expressed milk from hand expressing. We love that it’s really compact to carry around. It only has the one piece, so you don’t need to assemble it or clean numerous parts.

Manual Breast Pump Buying Guide

Before you buy your breast pump, consider what features are essential to you. We’ve found the functions that rate as important to moms to get you started.

Comfort

This is essential for any breast pump as it will affect how much milk you get. When buying a breast pump look out for the effort the brand has made to ensure comfort. Soft breast shields, cushions, custom fit and good handle designs are all good sign the pump is comfortable. Remember you’ll be expressing for around 15-30 minutes, so your breast and hand need to be pain free during that time.

Portability

Manual breast pumps are usually used for work or travel. They are so much easier to carry around than an electric breast pump. You may want to consider other features that make it portable. A carry bag is handy to keep all the parts in one place and not scattered over your bag.

Collection

How the milk is collected is essential, especially if you are keeping it for baby. Look out for pump which has a two-phase expression to copy baby’s suckling and get more milk. You also need to consider what bottles are included with the pump. You’ll get a collection bottle, but not necessarily a feeding bottle. You’ll need to consider whether the pump is suitable to use with other brand bottles, or if you need to decant into a feeding bottle.

Ease Of Use

Your breast pump needs to be easy to use, or it will frustrate you. Check how many parts the pump has. Too many fiddly little pieces mean it is a pain to assemble and clean between uses. The pump action of the bottle is also very important. A pump which is nice and smooth to use will cut down on hand fatigue, which is a common issue with manual pumps.

How to use a manual breast pump

Benefits of Manual Breast Pump

Using a manual breast pump can have many benefits compared to hand expressing or using an electric breast pump.

Cheap

Manual breast pumps are very budget friendly. You’ll be able to pick one up for around $30 or less. That’s not a huge initial outlay, especially if you are not going to use it very often.

Hygienic

Compared to electric breast pumps, manuals have a lot fewer parts. You don’t need to worry about milk back flowing into motors and tube, causing mold. You can clean all parts of a manual pump between each use.

Easy Assembly

As there are fewer parts, manual breast pumps are usually easier to assemble than an electric breast pump. Some newer silicone suction models require no assembly at all.

Easy To Use

It’s very easy to use a manual breast pump. Set it up and simple push a lever up and down. With an electric breast pump, you need to find your comfort setting with dials and buttons.

Speed Control

Some moms find electric breast pumps painful to use even on the lowest setting. Manual pumps mean you have full control over the pump suction. This can provide an extra comfort feature for you to express more milk.

Portable

Manual breast pumps are very lightweight and compact to carry around. The few parts make them a lot more convenient to carry than an electric breast pump with a motor.

Quiet

Discreet expressing is essential when you are pumping in a public place such as work. The lack or motor makes a manual breast pump virtually silent to use.

No Power Source

The lack of motor means you don’t need to worry about finding a power source to pump. There is also no cost to worry about with electricity or battery supply. You’ll never need to worry about running out of charge or using it during an emergency situation such as a power cut.

Low Maintenance

A manual breast pump is extremely low maintenance. You don’t need to worry about buying extra tubing or a motor wearing out. You are more than likely to get to use of a manual breast pump through a few babies.

Disadvantages of Manual Breast Pump

Tiring

The biggest drawback of a manual pump is the problem of hand fatigue. Pressing a lever up and down for 15-30 minutes can result in some serious hand fatigue.

May Not Be Strong Enough

Some moms find that manual breast pumps are not effective enough for them. They simply need the stronger suction that you can only get with an electric breast pump.

Double Pumping

You can buy two manual pumps and double pump; however, it really is a hassle. Plus, you can’t switch hands if you start to get hand ache. If you need to pump double, we highly recommend getting an electric breast pump.

Slower Than Electric

Electric breast pumps are much quicker at getting more milk than a manual breast pump. They have a stronger suction. Plus unlike your hand they pump at a constant rate. You tend to slow down toward the end with a manual pump.

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7 Best Nursing Bra for Large Breasts http://expressing-mama.com/best-nursing-bra-for-large-breasts/ Mon, 03 Apr 2017 13:00:58 +0000 http://expressing-mama.com/?p=1210 What’s the best nursing bra for large breasts? When you breastfeed your breasts change a lot. They are tender, leaking and constantly growing and shrinking. Large breasts already need a lot of support, but even more so when breastfeeding. We’ve searched through hundreds of plus-size bra designs to bring you the best. Let’s look at our picks. Pin for Later 7 Best Nursing Bra for Large Breasts 1. Everyday Nursing Bra When you are nursing your breasts will occasionally feel uncomfortable. You don’t want your bra adding to that. An everyday nursing bra is one that is suitable enough for

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What’s the best nursing bra for large breasts?

When you breastfeed your breasts change a lot. They are tender, leaking and constantly growing and shrinking. Large breasts already need a lot of support, but even more so when breastfeeding.

We’ve searched through hundreds of plus-size bra designs to bring you the best. Let’s look at our picks.

Pin for Later

Best Nursing Bras for Large Breasts - Expressing Mama

7 Best Nursing Bra for Large Breasts

1. Everyday Nursing Bra

When you are nursing your breasts will occasionally feel uncomfortable. You don’t want your bra adding to that. An everyday nursing bra is one that is suitable enough for you to wear comfortably for long periods of time. It should be soft and breathable so you don’t get the dreaded boob rash. Everyday nursing bras are usually non-wired to prevent wires digging in and causing blocked ducts.

Our Pick – Bravado! Essential Embrace

The Bravado Essential Embrace is the perfect everyday bra for large breasts. The bra is made up to a band size 44inches and cup size M. It’s made from a layer bonded fabric to give you support without being uncomfortable or hot to wear. The cups are smooth so you won’t have any annoying seam rubbing over tender nipples. We love that it comes with a complementary bra extender for when your breast size fluctuates in the first few weeks of nursing.

2. Supportive Nursing Bra

You’re probably used to wearing very supportive bras. When you are nursing your breasts will become heavier. This means you need good support for your back and breast tissue. A wired nursing bra is the best option to provide structure and support for your breasts.

Our Pick – Anita Underwire #5068

The Anita #5068 is the best performing underwired nursing bra. The bra fits band sizes 44 inches and cup size H. The soft cups are very supportive, pushing your breast outward rather than pulling them toward your arms. It’s suitable to wear under a t-shirt as the cups are completely smooth, although it’s un-padded so be aware of nipple showing if you’re not wearing pads. We love that it comes in the usual basic colors of black, white and nude, with a funky raspberry red option for variety.

3. Sleep Nursing Bra

Large breast can make it difficult to sleep, without them being full of milk. You’ll probably need to wear a sleep bra to offer light support.  If you leak during the night, you may need a sleep bra to keep nursing pads in place. A good nursing bra should allow easy access for baby to feed overnight. A lightweight, seamless bra without any tags will be comfortable enough to wear without digging in.

Our Pick – Kindred Beverly French Terry Bra

TheKindred Beverly Soft Terry Bra is the best sleep bra for large busts. The sizing option for the bra start at a B cup and goes right up to a I cup. You can get it in a chest size 28-42 inches. The cross over design makes it very easy to feed baby during the night, without any plastic clips digging in.  The material gives a little stretch to grow with your breasts. The addition of bamboo fabric makes it very soft against the skin and prevents your breast getting too hot.

4. Pumping Bra

If you plan to use a breast pump, then you need to get a pumping bra. It’s an extra expense, these will free up so much time for you. Without a pump bra, you have to sit and hold the pump horns in place. A pump bra will so that for you, leaving your hands free to get on with other tasks as you pump. These are excellent for when you return to working or have other little ones to look after.

Our Pick – Simple Wishes D*Lite

The Simple Wishes D*Lite bra is the best pump bra for large breasts. The L-plus size will fit chest sizes up to 48 inches and cup size J.  The back is attached with strong Velcro so you can adjust it as your chest changes size. This bra is extremely secure and will hold two collection bottles full of milk without them sagging.

For more advice on pumping bras check out our buying guide here.

5. Pretty Nursing Bra

It can be difficult to find pretty bras for larger boobs. Most styles end up looking like granny bras because of the wide straps and supportive materials. There are some brands out there such as Cake and Hot Milk that are making nursing bras look a lot more attract to wear.

Our Pick – Hot Milk Luminous

The Hot Milk Luminous is a gorgeous nursing bra suitable large breasts. The sizes range from a petite 32B- 42H. The fabric is a lovely champagne satin with a pretty lace frill around the cups. The bra doesn’t have wire, but provides a lot of lift, shape and separation in the supportive cups and band. We love that it has a large bra extension on the back for you to adjust to size when your breasts grow.

6. Sexy Nursing Bra

That sounds like a bit of an oxymoron. A sexy nursing bra? Do they even exist? Well just like the pretty styles, there are brands that are working on it. Just like the pretty styles, bra companies have noticed a huge gap in the market, for women who want to feel sexy and have a little practicality thrown into the mix.

Our Pick – Le Mystere Sexy Mama

The Le Mystere Sexy Mama bra is like something straight out of a Victoria Secrets catalogue. It’s a beautiful lace bra with thin nude padding to give it the appearance of being see-though. It’s a plunge style with molded cups that separation and support so your breasts look nice and full. If you want to step away from an unflattering uni-boob look, then treat yourself to this bra.

7. Sports Nursing Bra

Breastfeeding doesn’t mean you need to give up exercising. A good sports bra is always essential when you have a large chest. A sports nursing bra gives you all the support you whilst being able to feed baby easily. It’s important the bra gives good support and prevents rubbing when you move around. These bras are usually designed to be anti-bounce with great back support.

Our Pick – Cake Lingerie High-Impact Bra

The Cake High Intensity bra is great if you are an active mom with a large chest. It has a fabric between cups to prevent your breast bouncing out as you jump around.  The wide straps and racer back, support your upper body in all the right areas to prevent strain. The straps can also be unclipped to wear as a normal bra. This bra will fit sizes 32B up to 40L. The only downside? It’s really pricey, so make sure you’ll get plenty of use from it.

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Best Nursing Cover for Breastfeeding In Public – Reviews & Guide http://expressing-mama.com/best-nursing-cover-reviews/ Sun, 02 Apr 2017 12:59:12 +0000 http://expressing-mama.com/?p=1196 Looking for the best nursing cover? Breastfeeding in public can be daunting for a new mom. You’re fiddling around attaching your baby with the fear that everyone will be staring at your boobs or postpartum tum. A good nursing cover can offer you modest coverage for you and baby to do your thing in private. If you type nursing cover into google, you’ll see hundreds of options to buy. So it’s handy to know what you want from your nursing cover. We created this guide to help you find a nursing cover that will fit your needs. In this guide,

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Looking for the best nursing cover? Breastfeeding in public can be daunting for a new mom. You’re fiddling around attaching your baby with the fear that everyone will be staring at your boobs or postpartum tum. A good nursing cover can offer you modest coverage for you and baby to do your thing in private.

If you type nursing cover into google, you’ll see hundreds of options to buy. So it’s handy to know what you want from your nursing cover. We created this guide to help you find a nursing cover that will fit your needs.

In this guide, we’ll discuss:

  • Choosing a nursing cover
  • 5 Best Nursing Cover Reviews
  • Nursing cover alternative
  • Types of nursing cover
  • Nursing cover buying guide
  • Benefits of nursing cover
  • Disadvantages of nursing covers

First let’s start by looking at what we think is essential for all nursing covers to have.

Choosing a Nursing Cover

Breastfeeding covers come in various styles with different uses. However, there are three basic functions a nursing cover must have to be of any use to you at all. This is what you need to look for:

Coverage

The whole point of buying nursing cover is to help you feed discreetly. You’ll need to consider how much coverage you want for you and baby.

Air flow

Without good airflow, it can be difficult for baby to breathe. Remember to consider the weather too. When it’s hot outside the heat can really build up under a nursing cover. Look for breathable fabrics or air flow features.

Portability

Since it will mainly be used when you’re in public places, you’ll need to carry it with you. You may need to fold it into a bag so make sure it’s not too bulky to carry around. Some covers can be worn as an item of clothing.

Now let’s check out our favorite nursing covers.

5 Best Nursing Cover Reviews

The nursing covers we’ve picked here are all great buys. They’ve all been thoroughly road tested by thousands of moms, who have rated them highly.

1. Uddercover

  • Style: Apron
  • Colors: 8 patterns

The Udder Cover is the most popular apron style cover on the market. For starters, it’s a lot cheaper than most nursing covers, and you can pick one up for under $20.  This cover is a large rectangle sheet of fabric with an adjustable neck strap. It’s made from 100% cotton, which will keep you and baby cool when it’s hot outside. It’s available in 8 different patterned designs. There are some cute ones, but others are a bit too bold if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself.

What we love

The udder cover makes it really easy to see your baby when feeding. The neckline is rigid; this helps to keep it off your chest without having to pull the material back.

What we dislike

The udder cover is quite small. This makes it easier to carry around. However, if you want lots of coverage or are plus sized we wouldn’t recommend the udder cover.

2. Kiddocare Nursing Cover

  • Style: All in one
  • Colors: 7 patterns

The Kiddocare nursing cover is a great basic and affordable option. It’s designed to be worn as an infinity scarf that folds down into a nursing cover. It’s available in 7 basic designs, which will match pretty much everything in your wardrobe. The versatility of this scarf is ideal for all new moms. You can look effortlessly stylish and have your nursing cover to hand at all time for pure convenience. Plus it can be used as a sun shade, car seat cover or a swaddle blanket if you’re not keen on using it as a wardrobe piece.

What we love

There is a lot of material, and more than enough for full coverage if you are plus-sized. We would highly recommend this if you are breastfeeding twins. The material is super soft and flexible enough to give you coverage to feed both babies.

What we dislike

Although good quality, the material is quite thin. It’s great for keeping you and baby cool, but can be slightly see-through in some lights.

3. EN Babies 360 Full Coverage Cover

  • Style: Poncho
  • Colors: 3 stripe colours in black, Grey and Navy

The EN babies 360 full coverage is the best option if you want maximum coverage. It’s a poncho design which you can though over your regular clothing, and it just looks like a normal top. Whether you have a petite or large frame, there will be no need to adjust it.  The simple stripe design won’t draw any attention to you as you feed. This nursing cover is high quality and not transparent, even in bright light. The jersey fabric makes it extremely lightweight to carry around, wear when it’s hot out and machine wash.

What we love

The coverage this cover provides is fantastic. It’s ideal for feeding an older baby who won’t stay still for too long. This design covers you all the way around, making it difficult for baby to pull it off or randomly expose you during a feed.

What we dislike

This cover is quite pricey compared to our other top picks. Although the neck is more than wide enough to see baby, you will need to pull the material forward.

4. Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover

  • Style: Apron
  • Colors: 15 patterns

The Bebe au Lait nursing cover is a high-quality option. There are so many designs and colors to choose from, you’ll find one to suit your tastes. Although they are quite heavily patterns, they are a lot more subtle than the udder cover deigns. It comes with a ridged neckline so you can see baby as you feed. The neck strap is adjustable to offer modestly for your frame size. Compared to the Uddercover, it’s larger. We’d recommend this for regular, plus sized and tall women. Lengthwise it may swamp petite frames with too much fabric.

What we love

It had handy little extra terry toweling corners. They act as cloths to mop up any baby spit without having to search around of a burp cloth. The corners also double as pockets to hold something small like breast pads, nipple shield or a pacifier.

What we dislike

The price really fluctuates depending upon the design you get. Some will cost you around $35 and others your get for around $21. You can pretty much buy another nursing cover for the difference you’ll pay.

5. Copper Pearl 5 in 1 Cover

  • Style: All in one
  • Colors: 19 patterns

The Copper Pearl 5 in 1 is a fantastic multi-use cover. It’s a lot like the popular Milk Snob, but with a huge range of designs and cheaper. You can wear it as an infinity scarf, then unravel to use as a nursing cover. It can also be used as a canopy, cart cover and high chair cover. They are great for using to prevent your baby having to sit in a grubby public baby chair. The stretchy rayon fabric is soft, comfortable to wear, allowing airflow and keeping you cool.

What we love

The variety of modern designs which aren’t ‘mumsy’. There is a lot to choose from, you’ll find a color or print to match your own style. The only trouble is having to choose which one.

What we dislike

You need to be quite careful with the lightweight material as it can be prone to getting holes when snagged. You should care for this like a quality t-shirt otherwise it won’t last long.

Awesome Alternative

Swaddle Blankets

If you feel that a nursing cover isn’t for you, don’t despair mama. A large swaddle cloth is a handy alternative. You can buy these in packs of three for around the same price you’d pay for a nursing cover. They are amazingly versatile for general baby care. The fabrics are very lightweight with excellent airflow for baby.  We love theZiggy baby swaddle blankets. They come in a pack of three, and you can choose whether you want a modern or baby design. They are large enough to knot two corners together and sling over your shoulder as baby feeds.


Types of Nursing Cover

There are three types of nursing cover you can choose from. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks. Let’s find out which one is right for you.

Apron

Like an oversized apron, it’s a large square or rectangle of fabric with a neck attachment. This style provides a lot of coverage for the front and sides of your body. They are usually the best designs for seeing baby, as modern styles have curved necklines for you to look down. This make it easier to have eye contact with baby. You’ll also see what you’re doing when putting baby on the breast.

The drawback of an apron style is that they don’t provide full coverage. This means there is a slight risk of exposure if you have a wiggly baby or are still getting used to breastfeeding. Apron styles are more obvious as a nursing cover, so they may attract more attention than any other style.

Poncho

A poncho nursing cover is designed to go over your head and cover your whole upper body. This style is best for super discreet feeding as most will look like a regular top. The oversized design makes them a ‘one size fits all’ solution. We would recommend them for all sizes and moms of multiples who need lots of coverage.

The drawback of poncho covers is that they can be quite pricey to buy a good-quality brand. You can get cheaper versions, but they are often made from low quality materials, which are not durable.

All in one

As the name suggests this style can be used for more than a simple nursing cover. They are made from stretchy jersey fabric designed to wear as a fashionable infinity scarf. The fabric can then be opened up to a larger shawl size. You can use the fabric to cover your car seat, high chairs, baby swings and shopping carts. They protect your baby from the grubby surfaces, or protect the surface from your messy baby. They are the most modern nursing covers and will certainly get you lots of compliments.

The biggest drawback is that the fabric has a tendency to cling to you. This can make you or baby feel quite restricted when feeding especially if you are plus-sized.


Nursing Cover Buying Guide

There is a lot to think about before you buy a nursing cover. We’ve designed this buying guide to help you find a nursing cover that best suits your lifestyle. These categories will help you to narrow down your favourites.

Fit

  • Size – The size of the nursing cover will have a big impact on how much it covers. Ponchos are a great option if you don’t want to worry about it fitting a small or plus-sized frame.
  • Adjustability – Some nursing cover can be adjusted to adapt to your body size. This is handy if you need a better view of baby, whilst keeping your modesty intact. Make sure they adjust easily, and with one hand as you may need to fix the cover when baby is feeding.

Ease of use

  • Wear – Having a cover which is instantly accessible will make it so much easier to use. Think of how your cope searching in a bag, and putting on the cover with a screaming, hungry baby. If you want convenience pick a cover which can be worn a clothing.
  • Portability – You’ll be using the cover when you’re out of the house. That means it will have you be easy to carry around with you. Most will fit into a baby changing bag. Some covers can be worn as clothing or as a cover for baby gear, making it easy to carry around.
  • Baby View – Having a good view of baby under the cover will make thing so much easier. Baby will be less likely to pull on the fabric. For beginner feeders, you get a better view of what are doing when attaching baby.
  • Weather Appropriate – Consider the usual weather you’ll be feeding your baby in. If you live somewhere really hot, you won’t want to be wearing a poncho or scarf all day. On the other hand, stretchy covers offer a snug fit, without the risk of blowing around in windy weather.

Design

  • Coverage – You’ll want your nursing cover to provide as much fabric as you need. If you only want front coverage, then opt for an apron style. If you want full coverage a poncho or all in one cover is your best option.
  • Print – You may totally love the funky color and patterns, but remember they have a tendency to draw attention to you feeding. For discreet feeding opt for plain color or patterns, which look similar to everyday clothing.
  • Flexibility – Nursing covers with a bit of stretch or extra fabric offer you a lot of flexibility. You can easily move baby around without any risk of exposure. This is especially ideal if you want to change baby’s position during a feed.

Fabric

  • Comfort – A lightweight fabric will be most comfortable for you and baby. The fabric should be soft and free from any harsh seams, buckles or tags, which can rub.
  • Cleaning – You’ll need to keep your cover nice and clean to prevent it getting smelly or staining. Most can be machine washed, but you may want to put them in with delicate clothing. This will keep lightweight fabrics lasting longer.
  • Air Flow – one of our essential for buying a nursing cover. You do not want your baby to overheat as they will get cranky and won’t feed. Look out for moisture wicking fabrics such as cotton, bamboo or rayon.

Benefits of Nursing Covers

Let’s look at the benefits you get from using a nursing cover.

Help To Feed In Public

We all know there is still a huge stigma attached to breastfeeding in public. Plus breastfeeding is hard enough to get to grips with. You don’t need people ogling you or making you feel like an exhibitionist. The privacy a nursing cover offers you, help you feel more relaxed when feeding in public. Making you and baby lest stressed and will help your let down reflex.

Cover Up Leaks

Until your milk supply is established (i.e. more settled) you will leak, a lot. It will happen at the most inconvenient times and is downright embarrassing. IF you are caught short with your trusty nursing pads, then you can disguise it with a nursing cover. Although we wouldn’t recommend this with an apron style, it might look a little strange.

No Need for Alternatives

Using a nursing cover means your baby can exclusively breastfeed, without the worry of where you are. If you choose not to feed your baby in public, you have two options. The first is to never go out for longer than 2-3 hours when your baby needs to feed. The other is to express milk or use formula when you are out. The easiest way to do this is by a bottle, which can open up to a whole host of breastfeeding problems.

Soothe Baby

For some babies, the privacy of a nursing cover can be really soothing. Babies can be extremely sensitive to sensory overload. When out in public too much noise, sounds, and smells can make them cranky and looking for reassurance. A nursing cover gives them a womb-like den where they can just focus on you and be calmed by feeding.

Modest Feeding

I find that most moms don’t care about other knowing they are breastfeeding. They simply don’t want other to see their body. A nursing cover is a great way to discreetly feed without your breasts or tummy being on show. This is particularly important if you have large breasts and feel that you can’t be discreet as moms with small breasts.

Nosey Baby

As your baby gets older, they will get distracted during feeds. This often results in the randomly pulling off your nipple and leaving it completely exposed. A nursing cover won’t stop your baby becoming distracted, but it can help you if baby catches you off guard during a feed.

Attachment Issues

Breastfeeding is a learning process, especially for new moms. In the first few weeks, you’ll probably fiddle about with your breast, baby or changing position. This all takes time and a lot of new moms won’t nurse in public during this time. A nursing cover can help you to take your time with baby, whilst building up your confidence of feeding baby in front of other.

Good for Expressing

If your plan to express a nursing cover can be just as useful. You can pump hands free in your car using a nursing cover. None of your fellow road user will be any the wiser. For working moms, you can wear it when expressing at work. This will save any embarrassment if any of your colleagues accidentally walk in on whilst using your pump.

Feeding Multiples

When you feed multiples you literally have it all on show. You have to when using both breasts at the same time. It’s much harder to be discreet about breastfeeding. Using a nursing cover can help you to feed two babies at once, without having to bare all in the process.

Disadvantages of Nursing Covers

Nursing covers are great; however, there are a few drawback we think you should know.

Your baby may not like it

Unfortunately, some babies hate having their head covered. This usually happens more with older babies who want to see more. The only way you will know is to try one and see.

Attracting Attention

Nothing screams ‘I’m breastfeeding’ like a woman with a large piece of fabric over her in a 90-degree heat.  We’ve already mentioned that apron style covers and bold deigns are much more likely to draw attention to you feeding. If you feel this will make you anxious we highly recommend opting for a wearable nursing cover with a plain color or subtle print.

Hiding Role Models

This is more a societal issue than anything. Once you’ve mastered breastfeeding, give it a try without the nursing cover. You can absolutely inspire other moms to do the same. The more we normalize breastfeeding in public, the sooner it becomes a ‘norm’ for everyone. This would undoubtedly help breastfeeding rates and impact on the health of a whole future generation.

The post Best Nursing Cover for Breastfeeding In Public – Reviews & Guide appeared first on Expressing Mama.

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Using Nipple Shields – Ultimate Guide For Breastfeeding Problems http://expressing-mama.com/using-nipple-shields/ Thu, 30 Mar 2017 23:28:04 +0000 http://expressing-mama.com/?p=1174 It’s common for babies to have attachment issues when breastfeeding. You may be recommended to use a nipple shield or heard other moms talking about them. Made from a soft, flexible silicone, a nipple shield fits over the top of your nipple as your baby feeds. They’ve had a bad reputation in the past, so it can be confusing to know whether you should use them or not you. We’ve developed this guide for you to learn everything you need to know about using nipple shields when breastfeeding. Ultimate Guide to Using Nipple Shields In this guide we’ll discuss: How

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It’s common for babies to have attachment issues when breastfeeding. You may be recommended to use a nipple shield or heard other moms talking about them. Made from a soft, flexible silicone, a nipple shield fits over the top of your nipple as your baby feeds. They’ve had a bad reputation in the past, so it can be confusing to know whether you should use them or not you. We’ve developed this guide for you to learn everything you need to know about using nipple shields when breastfeeding.

Ultimate Guide to Using Nipple ShieldsUltimate Guide to Using Niple Shields - Expressing Mama

In this guide we’ll discuss:

  • How nipple shields work
  • Who should use nipple shields
  • Types of nipple shield
  • Best nipple shield reviews
  • How to Use a nipple shield
  • Weaning from a nipple shield
  • Benefits of nipple shields
  • Disadvantages of nipple shields

There is a lot of information to take in, so pin or bookmark this article for later refrence. Let’s get started.

How Nipple Shields Work

Nipple shields work in a few different ways, including:

Forming the nipple

Nipple shields are placed over the nipple, which is pulled down the shield teat as baby sucks. This is particularly useful for issues when the nipple cannot be physically pulled forward by your baby.

Positioning it correct

The length of a nipple shield helps to position in baby’s mouth. The ideal area is at the soft part of the roof of baby’s mouth. This stimulates baby to suckle better. Premature babies often benefit from using nipple shields.

Offering firmness

The silicone gives your baby a firmer surface to grip onto than soft breast tissue. This gives your baby’s tongue more stimulation to suck.

Create a barrier

There are many breastfeeding issues, which can cause sore nipples. Shields will not resolve the problem causing your sore nipples. Even if they can be used for short-term to feed until you find a solution for your problem, and you can face breastfeeding without them.

Control Flow

The barrier between nipple and teat can help to control your milk flow into baby’s mouth. This is ideal when your baby cannot cope with fast milk flow or have issues coordinating suck and swallow.

Who should use nipple shields?

If other strategies don’t work to resolve breastfeeding issues, nipple shields can be helpful for the following feeding issues:

  • Babies struggling the latch on
  • Babies with a weak suck
  • Baby Tongue Issues such as tongue thrust or retracted tongue
  • Baby with Neurological problems
  • Flat or inverted nipples
  • Nipple-teat confusion
  • Over-active Let Down
  • Teething Baby

Types of Nipple Shield

There are two basic types of nipple shields you can buy. Let’s look into the differences between them so you know which one is right for you.

Circular Nipple Shield

This type of shield had a thin circular base with a thicker protruding middle. They remind me of a tiny little clear sombrero hat. This type of shield is better for women with larger nipples and breasts as the base gets a full grip of the breast. They are also preferred by women with flat or inverted nipples as it gives an area of suction as baby feeds.

Contact Nipple Shield

The contact nipple is similar to a circular shield with a dipped cut out area. The missing part of the nipple is intended for baby’s nose to touch the breast as they feed. This gives you and baby skin-to skin during a feed, and prevents the shield curling back over your baby’s nose.

Best Nipple Shield Reviews

You’ll find lots of nipple shields available to buy. Finding the right one can be a bit of information overload. You may have to opt for a system of trial and error to find the perfect one for you and baby. To get you started, we’ve selected our top 3 favourite nipple shields, check them out.

Medela Contact Shield

The Medela contact shields are by far the most popular nipple shields to buy. The silicone is very thin and allows for excellent attachment to the breast. The cut out gives plenty of space for baby to get a good area of skin to skin hen feeding. The base is quite large compared with other brands, so they are more suited to women with larger breast for better fit. You only get one shield per pack,  you’ll need to buy two if you want to have a spare, or feed multiples.  We found that the base of the contact shield tend to flip over which can be annoying to fix. The Medela circular nipple shields are better at stopping this happening, if this is a deal breaker for you.

Lansinoh Contact Shield

The Lansinoh contact shields are a great alternative to the Medela shields. You get two in a pack for the same price as one Medela shield. Plus they come in a handy storage box, making them really portable. These are particularly good for a fast let down, as the holds are slightly smaller than the Medela shields. Although this may be more frustrating for a baby who has a weak suck. The material is very thin and easy to apply to the nipple. The shield bases are smaller in size that the Medela shields and better for small to medium breasts.

Purifyou Nipple Shield

The Purifyou Nipple shields are a great money saving alternative. The pack comes with 3 shields and a little cotton bag to store them. We highly recommend these shields if you have a small breast. They are a lot narrower than the Medlea or Lansinoh shields. This also makes them a lot easier to use for premature babies who have suck or attachment issues. These shields are very soft, easy to apply and thin enough to allow good breast stimulation during a feed.

How to Use a Nipple Shield

Before using a nipple shield we recommend having a consultation with a lactation specialist. They can show you strategies to try before opting to use a nipple shield.

To get the best use of a nipple shield you need to know how to use them properly.

Correct Fit for Baby

Before you use the nipple shield, it must be the right size for your baby’s mouth. A shield that is too long will cause baby to gag when feeding. One that is too short will not position the nipple right for a good suckling. The best way to measure this is to let your baby suck on a clean finger.  Position it into baby’s mouth and run it along the roof. Stop once you reach the part where it changes from hard to soft. Mark the length on your finger and measure it. This is the ideal length of the nipple shield for your baby.

Correct Fit for Breast

The nipple shield should also be the correct size for your nipple. The problem usually occurs when you need a small teat for baby but larger or your nipples size. Measure your nipple across the diameter to find your correct size. A regular size of shield is 24mm; however, some brands such as Medela make various sizes.

Application

Some moms simply put the nipple shield directly over the nipple and hold the edges in pace as baby feeds. For a more secure fit try folding over the base, positioning the teat part over the nipple, then smoothing down the edges over your breast. Another tip is to turn the teat hallway inside out and place over the nipple. As the teat flip back to its shape your nipple is pulled upwards into the teat by suction.

To keep the base in place, you can use warm water, breast milk or nipple cream. This helps the base edges stick to your breast skin and stops the sides rolling over as baby feeds.

Baby Attachment

Checking for good attachment is essential to get the best use of a nipple shield. The baby should have a large open mouth and take the shield teat right to the back of their mouth. If you see any of the teat part of the shield your baby isn’t on properly.  A well-attached baby should make swallowing noises (not clicking sounds), and your breast should begin to soften as they feed. We recommend having a lactation expert observe you feeding baby with the shield on.

Monitoring Supply

It’s recommended you regularly monitor your baby’s weight and diaper output for signs they are feeding well with the shield. You may want to express any excess milk from your breasts after feeding with a nipple shield. This means you can keep your supply high, as it can take a slight drop when you switch to shields. You’ll also have a supply of breast milk to supplement this with if they are not breastfeeding properly with the shield and losing weight.

Cleaning

Just like any breastfeeding product you need to keep nipple shields clean and sterile for baby. The shield is going into their mouth make it an easy way in for any lurking bacteria. A good rinse in soapy water will remove the milk, then sterilize the shield for any babies under 6 months old. Sterilizing a shield is the only way to completely kill any traces of fungal yeast causing breastfeeding thrush.

Length of use

Your baby should use the shield as long as it is helping them to feed effectively. This may be only for a few days, weeks or sometimes months. It will vary depending on whether the initial problem has resolved or not.

A premature baby should be encouraged to use a nipple shield as long as needed. Ideally, they should begin to feed well at the breast without one when they get to their corrected age at 40 weeks. This is a good time to think about weaning baby from the shield.

Weaning from a Nipple Shield

The success of weaning your baby from the nipple shield will depend on whether the initial problem has resolved. Your issue may resolve simply by baby get older, stronger and more experienced at feeding. Here are our tips to wean your baby from a nipple shield.

  • If you feel baby is ready start a feed with baby on the shield. Stop a few minutes after your milk ‘lets down’, then try baby on the breast without the shield.
  • You can also try switch nursing. This is when you feed baby at one breast with the shield, then swap them to the other breast without the shield.
  • Try nipple stimulation or cold therapy (ice or cold compress) to extract the nipple just before baby tries to feed.
  • Try baby in different positions to see if they feed better without using the shield. This is ideal once you feel more confident with breastfeeding and holding your baby.
  • Make sure your baby is relaxed and not aggravated and hungry for a feed. This will cause you both to stress and likely fail.
  • If baby does not take the breast at all, it is unlikely the initial feeding issues have resolved.
  • Try offering baby breast without the shield every few days.
  • Do not follow old fashioned advice of cutting off the end of the shield teat. This can cause a sharp edge and lead to damage in baby’s mouth.
  • Be patient. If your baby is feeding well and your milk supply is good, there is no need to rush to stop using a nipple shield.

Benefits of Nipple Shields

These are some amazing benefits that nipple shields can offer you and baby:

Continued breastfeeding

When you’ve tried everything to resolve your feeding issues, they can save to giving up. Regardless of any advice, it’s better to have a baby who feds well with a shield than not at all. That can save you a lot of guilt down the road, about giving up of breastfeeding.

Baby still suckles

There are so many benefits of suckling for a baby. First off, it helps to comfort baby. It also helps to develop their jaws and facial muscles. Feeding baby by a bottle uses a different suckling technique to breastfeeding. This makes it easier to wean baby from a shield than to switch them between breast and bottle.

Skin to skin

Your baby still gets all the bonding benefits of breastfeeding. The release of oxytocin has huge befits for you and baby. Contact nipple shields with cut out areas try to help offer you and baby a bit more skin to skin when feeding.

Avoid alternative feeding methods

If you decide to give baby expressed milk you need to consider how you’ll feed it to baby. You can cup feed of use a supplemental nurser; however, these may not be suitable for baby. Bottles are an alternative feeding method, but may lead to more issues when you try to get baby back onto the breast.

Benefits premmies

Premature babies often struggle to breastfeed as they have immature suck reflex. As they grow a nipple shield is highly beneficial to help them on the path to breastfeeding without assistance. Studies have shown that premature babies who use nipple shields tend to take in more milk than those who don’t.

Disadvantages of Nipple Shields

It’s important for you to know about the drawbacks of using nipple shields.

Reduced milk supply

Nipple shields are still associated with a reduced milk supply. Thin, flexible, modern nipple shields are a far cry from the old thick rubber ones which really affect your supply. The issue remains that there is a barrier to your baby suckling on your skin. This is an important factor in milk production. Many moms still make a good milk supply, but do be aware that it can cause a drop. That’s not ideal if you already have issues with low milk supply.

Baby preference

Some babies take a real shine to the nipple shield and refuse to wean. That means you might have to use it for the whole duration of breastfeeding. If your baby is gaining weight, developing and has good diaper output, then this shouldn’t be a problem.

Temporary solution

Remember that nipple shields are only a temporary situation to some problems. Issues such as sore nipples will not be resolved unless you find the root of the problem. This means that one you stop using the shield the same issues may happen again.

Poor fit

Nipple shields are not suitable for every mom and baby. If your baby requires a small teat size, but you have a large nipple, it can be almost impossible to find the tight fit. In this case, a nipple shield is unsuitable for you.

Have you used a nipple shield? Let us know what your thoughts are below.

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50 Benefits of Breastfeeding That Are Life Changing http://expressing-mama.com/benefits-of-breastfeeding/ Mon, 27 Mar 2017 22:59:09 +0000 http://expressing-mama.com/?p=1141 We all know that breast milk is the food nature has provided for us to feed our babies. But did you know that feeding your baby is only one of the benefits of breastfeeding? Keep reading to find out why breastfeeding is perfect for moms, babies, families and society in general. Pin for Later Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom 1. Combat cancer Women who breastfeed have fewer periods than those who don’t. That means your body has less exposure to the hormone oestrogen, a known factor in ovarian and uterine cancer. The changes to your breast when lactating also make them

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We all know that breast milk is the food nature has provided for us to feed our babies. But did you know that feeding your baby is only one of the benefits of breastfeeding? Keep reading to find out why breastfeeding is perfect for moms, babies, families and society in general.

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Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom

1. Combat cancer

Women who breastfeed have fewer periods than those who don’t. That means your body has less exposure to the hormone oestrogen, a known factor in ovarian and uterine cancer. The changes to your breast when lactating also make them more resilient to mutation, which can lead to breast cancer. Women who breastfeed for more than 1 year will see the most benefit.

2. Prevent Osteoporosis

When you breastfeed you can lose up to 5% of your bone mass. When you stop feeding your bones return to normal, or may get even stronger. Studies have shown that women who do not breastfeed are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis during the menopause.

3. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Did you know that heart disease is the number-one cause of death for women n the USA? A study from 2009 found that the longer a woman breastfeeds the lower their risk of developing heart disease. This was regardless of race, income or lifestyle. That’s a pretty powerful message of how amazing breastfeeding can be for your health.

4. Obesity

Producing breast milk burns up calories. You have a better chance of losing your pregnancy weight when breastfeeding with no physical effort. Studies have found that breastfeeding moms lose more weight and keep it off better than moms who don’t breastfeed.

5. Eat More

If weight loss isn’t on your radar, then you can look forward to eating more. A breastfeeding mom should add 200-500 calories to their diet. This will depend on how often you nurse your baby. Make sure you use those calories wisely with healthy fats and calcium-rich food to support your bones.

6. Better Postpartum Healing

Your uterus will shrink back to ‘normal’ once baby is delivered. You may feel tightenings called ‘after pains’ whilst you breastfeed as it speeds up the process. You are more likely to improve your diet and drink more fluid when breastfeeding, which can also help the healing process.

7. Preventing Haemorrhage

An artificial version of the hormone oxytocin is given to women soon after baby is born to deliver the placenta and prevent bleeding. Breastfeeding provides a natural release of oxytocin. If you opt for a drug-free delivery or want a physiological third stage, then breastfeeding is a great alternative to get the same effects.

8. Ideal for Diabetics

Breastfeeding makes it easier for diabetic moms to control their blood sugars after baby is born. There is a slower release of hormones, which cause fluctuations in blood sugars. Most moms that use insulin can reduce their dosage. This can make you less anxious about a hypo or hyper attack with a newborn baby.

9. Better Quality Sleep

The release of oxytocin during a feed will make you automatically feel relaxed and sleepy. This leads to a better quality sleep, especially when combined with co-sleeping. Most breastfeeding moms simply latch baby on and drift back to sleep. Compared to being started awake and having to rush about preparing a bottle as baby cries when formula feeding.

10. Natural Contraception

Using breastfeeding as a form of birth control is possible. It’s known as the lactational amenorrhoea method (LAM). It’s around 98% effective if your baby is exclusively breastfeeding and under 6 months old. You’ll need to be pretty strict with this method. However, it’s ideal if you prefer to use natural family planning methods.

11. Less Stress

The oxytocin strikes again with its relaxing properties. Every time you breastfeed you get a release of oxytocin. Breastfeeding moms have more stabilised moods and are less likely to experience negative emotion due to this.

12. No Periods

When you are exclusively breastfeeding it is unlikely you will have any periods. This will usually last for around 6 months when your prolactin hormone levels begin to fall. Even if you do get periods its likely they will be lighter and shorter lasting than a normal cycle, until you start weaning baby.

13. Bigger Boobs

This may not be a benefit to all moms, but your boobs will probably increase a few cups sizes. If you have a flat chest, this can really boost your confidence. It can also help you counteract any negative emotion you have about your changing shape after having baby. Your partner will also be loving your new shape.

14. Feel Good Factor

It’s hard to describe how good breastfeeding makes you feel as a mom. Not only have you grown a baby in your tummy for 9 months, but now you’re helping them to thrive with food you make yourself. Women’s bodies are pretty amazing and breastfeeding can help you to find a new appreciation for your body.

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Benefits of breastfeeding for moms - Expressing Mama

Breastfeeding Benefits for Baby

15. Perfect Food

Breast milk is what human babies need to develop the best they can. Did you know that your milk changes nutrients depending on the time of day or age of your baby? It actually adapts to fit your baby’s needs. It’s amazing stuff, and you will never get a formula that can do achieve that.

16. Infection Fighting

Your breast milk is crammed full of anti-bodies that help your baby fight infection. Any immunity you have built up is automatically passed to baby whilst you breastfeed. It’s thought that baby’s saliva enters your nipple as you feed .Your body then makes the exact milk their immune system needs to keep any infection a bay.

17. Prevent SIDS

Breastfeeding reduces your baby’s risk of SIDS by up to 50%. Even mixed feeding reduces their risk, however, most benefit is seen in babies who exclusively breastfeed. Breastfeeding causes moms and babies to act in their most primal state, mentally and physically. As humans, our aim is to ensure our babies survive, and breastfeeding is just one huge part of that jigsaw.

18. Childhood Leukaemia

This is the second biggest cause of child deaths and the most common childhood cancer in the USA. A massive study review has found that breastfeeding your baby for more than 6 months reduces their risk of leukaemia by 19%. Even babies who breastfeed any length of time had a risk decrease of 11%.

19. Reduce Common Ailments

Babies are prone to ear and chest infections as their immune system develops. Breastfeeding is known to protect your baby against respiratory illness and ear infections. The immune boosting properties of breast milk help fight any bacterial or viral infections your baby pick up. Ear infections and breathing problems are also a common side effect of cow milk allergy.

20. Prevent Obesity

With 1 in 5 children in America being classed as obese, it’s important to start out with the right nutrition. Breastfed babies are much better at regulating their food intake and feeding until they are satisfied. Bottle feeding is associated with obesity risk factors such as overfeeding and early weaning.

21. Prevent Diabetes

Breast milk is known to improve glucose metabolism in babies. This is a huge factor in preventing them from developing both Type1 and Type 2 diabetes in later life.  Frequent feeding and customised breastfeeding nutrients help to stabilise your baby’s blood sugars throughout the day.

22. Prevent Heart Disease

Studies have found that babies who breastfeed have a lowered risk of heart disease. They have lower levels of a protein (CRP) linked with poor heart health in adults. Feeding for over 3 months reduced their risk by 20%. If you feed baby for more than one year, this jumps to a risk reduction of 30%.

23. Better Response to Vaccine

Although breastfeeding provides immunity, it’s not a replacement for vaccinations. Various studies have found that breastfed babies react better to non-live vaccines. It’s thought that breastmilk enhances the immune response your baby has. We still don’t have solid evidence for live vaccines. It is thought that the stronger immunity from breastfeeding is a natural protectant against the small doses of live vaccine given.

24. Premature Babies Develop Better

Breastmilk is highly recommended for pre-term babies. That’s because pre-term milk maintains similar properties to colostrum. This means its higher is fat and immune boosting properties. These are essential for development preterm babies who have a lower birth weight and under-developed immune system.

25. Helps Babies Brain Develop

Recent studies have found that babies exposed to higher levels of oxytocin have healthier brain development. Oxytocin is realised in breast milk and when moms comfort their babies. As breastfed babies feed more frequently, this gives greater release of oxytocin with skin to skin contact.

26. Healthier Digestive System

Breast milk is easily digested by the human body. The nutrients in breast milk are absorbed quicker and easier than those in formula milk. Breast milk is known to soothe baby’s digestive system, unlike cow’s milk which causes irritation. Exclusively breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from reflux, Chrons disease and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in preterm babies.

27. Helps Emotional Development

The closeness of breastfeeding has amazing effects of baby’s emotional development. Comfort, love, security and communication are all things your baby learns from nursing. When you are responsive to a baby’s needs, they have a tendency to develop as independent, mature, assertive and confident adults.

28. Better Dental Health

There are bacteria known to cause tooth decay (strep mutans). The lactoferrin in breast milk is known to kill these bacteria. Good dental hygiene is important to completely avoid tooth decay; however, breastmilk help to prevent it developing. The tongue motion of a breastfed baby also prevents gum disease.

29. Less Need for Braces

Suckling at the breast means baby has to work a lot harder to feed. This helps baby to develop strong, healthy jaws and teeth. The longer you breastfeed the more likely babies are to have straight teeth. This means breastfeeding can save you a lot of money as they won’t need braces when they get older.

30. Natural Growth

Breast milk is made from nutrients perfectly suited to human growth. Formula is made from cow’s milk, which is developed to meet the needs of baby cows. The main aim of breast milk is foster gradual growth and brain development in babies. Cow’s milk is designed for quick physical growth. However, is lacking in the brain developing factors human babies need.

31. Early Allergy Detection

Breastfeeding is great for early detection of food allergies. Your baby is exposed to any foods in mom’s diet, which can alert you to allergy symptoms in baby before you start to wean. It’s known that around 2% of US children have an allergy to cow milk. This can resolve by exclusively breastfeeding for at least 4 months before introducing dairy into their diet.

32. Calm Baby Quickly

The oxytocin in breast milk is known to act as a relaxant for your baby. When they are hungry, sore, overtired or stressed, breastfeeding will have a calming effect on them. Even when babies have been weaned they can be comforted by their favourite feeding position or letting them touch your chest.

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Other Benefits of Breastfeeding

33. Less Sick Days

The vast health benefits breastfeeding give baby means they are less likely to have health problems. That means fewer trips to the doctors or needing to take days off work and school. This has a huge impact on the workforce reducing the cost of absence.

34. Right Temperature

A huge benefit of nursing over formula is that you don’t need to heat up baby bottles. The stress of waiting for a formula bottle to heat up can lead you to take short cuts. Milk which isn’t heated properly can lead to hot pockets, which can burn your baby’s mouth.

35. It’s Free

If you are on a tight budget breastmilk is ideal. You don’t need to stress about having enough money to buy numerous cans of formula. The average cost of formula feeding for a year can total around the $3000. Just think what you can do with that money.

36. Great for Flying

When you breastfeed you don’t need to worry about taking bottles on a plane.  When formula feeding you can only take powder (pain to make up and sterilize on a place) or take ready mixed milk cartons (expensive). You’ll also need to think about water safety and sterilisation depending on your destination.

37. Better For Health Service

Breastfeeding offers huge benefits to public health. Disease and illnesses associated with not breastfeeding can be greatly reduced if more babies breastfed. This would save the government (and tax payers) millions every year. This means the resources and time of medical practitioners can better focussed.

38. Better For the Environment

The amount of resources need for formula milk and bottle feeding is harmful for the environment. The amount of waste from huge volumes of packaging, transporting and recycling of formula tins has a massive impact on the environment. Bottles and teats also use non-recyclable plastics, which are very energy intensive to make.

39. Reduce animal cruelty

The dairy industry is notorious for their ill treatment of cows. They are often kept in poor conditions with their only purpose to produce milk. Their babies are removed from them only 4 days after birth, causing them extreme distress. They are forced to have a baby one after the other to keep milk production high. This is the milk used to create formula powder for babies.

40. Increased Bonding

The oxytocin hormone released when breastfeeding is also known as the love hormone. High levels of oxytocin promote strong bonds between mom and baby. It’s the same ‘feel good’ hormone released when you cuddle, have an orgasm, give birth or have a good laugh.

41. Empowers Women

Having the confidence to breastfeed your baby can help empower other moms to follow to. Many women are scared to breastfeed as they have no role models. Being the person that acts as a role model for other can change the attitudes of a whole family generation.

42. No Equipment Needed

You don’t need to buy any additional equipment when you are exclusively breastfeeding. There are a few items that you may want to pick up to make your life easier, but they are not essential. If you want to be frugal, you can make your own nursing pads and nipple cream.

43. Life Saving During Emergency

During an emergency situation, breastfeeding can be lifesaving for your baby. Living in a developed country like the USA doesn’t leave if free from the effects of disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes or floods. This can leave you without access to electricity or clean water to make formula sterile for baby.

44. Health Organization Recommended

UNICEF, the World Health organisation and American Academy of Paediatric all promote breastfeeding as the preferred method of baby feeding. This includes term, pre-term and sick infants. The recommendations are the exclusively breastfeed for 6 months, then continued breastfeeding up to two years or longer.

45. No Recalls

Breast milk cannot be recalled, unlike formula. Common causes of recall include serious harm to a baby using the product and contamination. Formula is not sterile and requires the use of hot water to kill any bacteria. Breast milk, on the other hand, is naturally anti-bacterial.

46. Home Remedy Use

Your breast milk can be used for a lot more than feeding baby. Many families use it as a natural cure for minor ailment such as eye and ear infections, sore nipples, cord care or cut and scrapes. The natural anti-bacterial properties help speed up healing. This can save you money from buying over the counter treatments.

47. Time To Unwind

Regular breastfeeding forces you to have to take time out of your day to feed baby. This means you can get regular breast of 10-30 minutes to sit down and relax with baby. Not only does this provide you with some alone time, but help you take a break from a busy lifestyle. Plus it gives you a good excuse to sneak away from unwanted visitors.

48. Less Stinky Diapers

We’re not going to lie, breastfeeding diapers can be brutal. Be prepared for them being right up your baby’s back on some occasions. Breast milk is a natural laxative which keeps your baby’s digestion healthy. The good part is that when you exclusively breastfeed, they don’t smell half as bad as the poos from formula feeding or solids.

49. More Family Sleep

When you breastfeed baby during the night, the level of disruption is minimal compared with formula. Your partner and other siblings will have less disturbed sleep from a crying baby. Plus you’ll make less noise than you would, dragging yourself around at 2am making up formula feeds.

50. Convenience

Your breasts will make milk as long as your baby continues to nurse. That means you don’t need to worry about forgetting bottles, warming milk, sterilizing or cleaning bottles. In fact, many moms confess to finding it a lazy way of feeding. That’s because when your milk is established it’s rather effortless.

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Breastfeeding after A C-Section – New Moms Guide http://expressing-mama.com/breastfeeding-after-a-c-section/ Sat, 25 Mar 2017 19:20:51 +0000 http://expressing-mama.com/?p=1130 Are you worried about breastfeeding after a C-section birth?  A caesarean delivery will not stop you from breastfeeding your baby. However, your post-surgery recovery can make things a little more challenging. We’ve written this guide for you to discover what you need to know about getting breastfeeding off to a great start after your caesarean. Pin for Later Guide to Breastfeeding after A C-Section The Unplanned C-Section Around 30% of babies in the USA are born by emergency c-section. A traumatic delivery can result in mixed feelings surrounding the birth of your baby. It’s not uncommon to feel disappointed, guilty,

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Are you worried about breastfeeding after a C-section birth?  A caesarean delivery will not stop you from breastfeeding your baby. However, your post-surgery recovery can make things a little more challenging. We’ve written this guide for you to discover what you need to know about getting breastfeeding off to a great start after your caesarean.

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Breastfeeding after a c-section Expressing Mama

Guide to Breastfeeding after A C-Section

The Unplanned C-Section

Around 30% of babies in the USA are born by emergency c-section. A traumatic delivery can result in mixed feelings surrounding the birth of your baby. It’s not uncommon to feel disappointed, guilty, angry or upset following an unplanned c-section. You may need to come to terms with the feeling you’ve failed or been cheated out of a ‘normal’ birth.  The surgery can also trigger body issues such as feeling disfigured or unattractive due to your scar.

These negative emotions can harm breastfeeding by effecting your let down reflex. These feeling may be fleeting or have long-term effects on your mental health. It’s important to have as much skin to skin with your baby when possible. This releases the hormone oxytocin to promote bonding with baby.

You may also benefit from having a debrief of the delivery, from your doctor, whilst you are in the hospital. The ICAN is a non-profit organization which can provide you with ongoing support after your c-section.

The Planned C-Section

Knowing you are having a caesarean gives you more time to plan for the delivery and postpartum. This gives you time to gather resources and ask your care providers about their policies during your hospital stay.

Your hospital policies can have a huge impact on your breastfeeding success. Ask your care provider what their breastfeeding policies are. The gold standard is a hospital which has been accredited by the Baby Friendly Initiative. Important areas to ask about are:

  • Do they use a nursery or rooming in?
  • Can someone stay over to help you with the baby?
  • Can the staff support you with breastfeeding?

You can make extra arrangements to support your needs. This may include paying for a private room or hiring extra carers such as a private duty nurse or a lactation consultant.


Milk Supply

Regular breastfeeding is the best way to establish your milk supply. After a caesarean, there are a few important factors to ensure a good milk supply for baby.

Delayed Mature Milk

It’s important to know that it can take longer for your milk to change from colostrum to mature milk. It usually takes around 2-3 days, however, may not happen until day 4-5 after a caesarean. This is because your body has the task of healing from surgery and making milk at the same time. It doesn’t mean you have a low milk supply. Unless there are other reasons, you do not need to supplement baby with formula milk if they are feeding regularly and passing plenty of wet and dirty diapers.

Skin to Skin

The best way to get your feeding off to a good start is by feeding baby within an hour after delivery. This usually means feeding in the recovery room. If you or baby is unwell this can be delayed. You should start feeding as soon as possible. This will signal to your body you need to make more milk. If your baby is in a neonatal unit, you should start hand expressing as soon as you can.

Nurse often

Your baby should feed around 8-12 times per day. Your breasts work as a supply and demand system. The more baby feeds, the more milk you’ll make. Feeding often sets you up for a great milk supply when your mature milk ‘comes in’.

Access to Baby

Having your baby with you at all times (rooming in) is best for you and baby. You will be able to recognize baby’s hunger cues and become more responsive to their needs. It also means you can have plenty of uninterrupted skin to skin.  Rooming in means your baby won’t receive any teats or formula supplements without you knowing.

Nursing Positions

Finding a comfortable nursing position after delivery can be difficult. Immobility, scar pain and IV drips can all cause problems. The best positions for c-sections moms are:

Lying Down – Either side lying or laid-back feeding are ideal for the first feed when you can’t move much. They are also great if you have a co-sleeper at home, as you won’t need to bend over your wound.

Football Hold – Is perfect for keeping the weight of baby off your scar. It’s also ideal for avoiding IV drips as you can use a pillow to support baby rather than your arm.

Cradle hold with Nursing Pillow – This is the perfect solution if you find it uncomfortable to feeding lying. Sitting upright on a chair may be more comfortable. The nursing pillow takes the weight of baby off your scar.

You may want to bring extra pillows or blankets to the hospital to help position you better. Don’t be afraid to ask staff for help if you are struggling. Until you are mobilizing you’ll need help lifting baby or changing their diaper. If your IV is causing problems, ask staff if it can be removed, or re-sited to make feeding easier.

Baby

There are a few things you need to consider about your baby’s condition after a C-section.

Sleepy Baby

It’s very common for a baby to become sleepy after a C-section. They are just as exhausted as you from the birth. We highly recommend learning how to hand express your colostrum. That way if baby is too sleepy to feed you can give them colostrum by spoon. It’s crammed full of calories to give you baby energy to wake and feed. Always put baby to the breast before you express, as they are much for efficient at emptying your breast.

Supplements

Unless there is a medical reason, your baby does not need to be given formula supplements. If they do need to be supplemented it may be possible to offer expressed milk rather than formula. Giving formula can hurt your milk supply as your breasts think you don’t need as much for baby. Remember the more milk you remove from the breast (nursing or expressing) the more you make.

Baby in Special Care

If your baby is in NICU they usually have an open-door policy to promote breastfeeding. You’ll need to consider expressing your milk to feed baby. In the early days, you can do this by hand expressing. Once you get bigger volumes you can start to use a breast pump. Ask your hospital if they are able to provide a hospital grade pump for you to use during your stay.

Weight Loss

During your caesarean, you will receive lots of IV fluids. You should know that there is a link between fluids in labor and increased weight loss in babies. This is simply because your baby weighs heavier at delivery due to those fluids, giving an artificial birth weight. Your baby will pee and poo all this excess out over the first few days, leading to a larger than average weight loss. If feeding is going well, and baby appears healthy and there are no signs of dehydration your doctor may be happy forgo supplements. If you do need to supplement baby with expressed milk or formula, we suggest cup feeding to prevent problems with teat confusion.

Medications

You’ll need to take a few medications for your C-section, after all you are having major surgery. It’s important to know how these drugs may affect your breastfeeding.

Anesthetic

The type of anesthetic you receive during the caesareans may vary depending on whether it’s planned or unplanned.

Regional anesthetic – An epidural or spinal will cause a block to the lower regional of your body. It wears off after a few hours. These can make baby very sleepy and may affect your let down reflex.

General Anesthetic – This will make you completely unconscious during your delivery. You will need time to recover and become conscious. Usually, breastfeeding is delayed; however, you can begin as soon as you feel ready.

Pain Relief

You will be offered pain medications after delivery. The medication you are offered will be compatible with breastfeeding. Doctors need to ensure they are safe for breastfeeding before prescribing them.  Very small volumes will be passed on to your baby during feeding; however, it is unlikely to affect them. If you are unsure of a medication, you can ask your doctor to substitute it for one you feel more comfortable with.

It’s important you take your pain relief, post-delivery. Remember you’ve had major abdominal surgery and will feel sore. Missing meds can lead to excessive pain and result in skipping feeds or poor milk supply.

Antibiotics

Having a C-section can put you at greater risk of infection after delivery. The most common causes are wound infections or a UTI from catheters.  If you need antibiotics, there is no need to separate you from baby.  If your baby needs antibiotics, we recommend using a mitten to cover their cannula, which can get in the way during a feed. Remember that any antibiotic use can cause breast thrush, which both you and baby will need to be treated for.

Support

Gathering your support is essential when you have a caesarean, you’ll need it more than you would after a vaginal delivery.

For First Feed

You will be completely immobile from the waist down for the first few hours. Ideally, you should feed in the recovery room. This means you’ll need a lot of help from your birth partner and staff to position you and baby. Extra pillows are highly recommend at this point to provide your body with support. If you baby is in NICU you should receive assistance from staff to hand express your colostrum at the earliest opportunity.

In Hospital

The support you receive with feeding in the hospital will vary depending on where you give birth. Staff should support you; however, they will be unable to stay with you 24hrs a day. You will benefit from having your partner or helper stay with you. This may mean you have to pay extra for a private room for them to stay overnight.

At Home

We highly recommend using a co-sleeping crib when you have a C-section. They provide you with easy access to baby without having to bend over and pick baby up. Don’t try to be superwoman, accept help from family and friends when they offer. You should also consider hiring a postpartum helper that can help out with cleaning and cooking in the first few weeks.

Self-Care

Rest

Once you are home, you’ll need plenty of rest. It’s important to rest to help you recover and for your milk supply. Set up a feeding station next to your bed. That way, you can have everything you need for feeding and changing close to hand. This makes night feeds so much easier and gives you peace and privacy to feed during the daytime.

Eat Well

Eating a diet full of vitamins and nutrients will help your recovery. It will also provide baby with high-quality breast milk. If your diet is lacking, you may want to try boosting your intake with a multivitamin. Plenty of fluids will help hydrate your tissues and aid healing, whilst improving your milk supply.

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Best Pumping Bra Reviews for Hands Free Expressing http://expressing-mama.com/best-pumping-bra-reviews/ Fri, 24 Mar 2017 17:00:30 +0000 http://expressing-mama.com/?p=1115 Are you looking for the best pumping bra to use with your breast pump? Expressing milk can take up a lot of time in busy day. How about pumping whilst you after your toddler, do the dishes, send emails or put on a load of washing. A good hand free pumping bra can give you the best of both worlds, and make you feel like super mom. Pin for later Now when it comes to buying a pumping bra you’ll have a lot of choice. That’s not a bad thing, but you may not know where to start. We’ve researched

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Are you looking for the best pumping bra to use with your breast pump? Expressing milk can take up a lot of time in busy day. How about pumping whilst you after your toddler, do the dishes, send emails or put on a load of washing. A good hand free pumping bra can give you the best of both worlds, and make you feel like super mom.

Pin for later

Now when it comes to buying a pumping bra you’ll have a lot of choice. That’s not a bad thing, but you may not know where to start. We’ve researched all you need to know about buying a pumping bra. It’s crammed into this handy, one-stop buying guide, so you don’t need to waste time looking for what you need.

In this guide you’ll find:

  • 6 Best Pump Bra Reviews
  • Pumping Bra Buying Guide
  • Benefits of a Pumping Bra

Let’s start by looking at our favorite pumping bras.

6 Best Pumping Bra Reviews

1. Simply Wishes Pumping Bra

  • Style: Bandeau
  • Colors: Black, Soft Pink
  • Sizes: XS-L or XL Plus (flexible sizing)

Suitable for Nursing: No

Suitable for Massage: Yes

Our Verdict

The Simply Wishes Pumping bra is the most popular one to buy online. This bra is as highly rated as it offers amazing support. It works well because of the two layers of supportive fabric which doesn’t sag, even when holding two full collection bottles. The style of opening makes it suitable to use with all popular breast pumps. This bra is adjustable and fit to most sizes. The back fastening is Velcro and the front fastening is a zipper. If you need extra support it comes with removable multi-way straps. It’s quick and easy to put on over the top of a nursing bra. Plus its machine washable for easy cleaning.

This bra is made from a thicker fabric, (for support) which means it’s harder to massage the breast. It’s not impossible but a little trickier than some of our other top picks. Plus the dual opening means it’s not suitable for using as a nursing bra. It’s reasonably priced compared to other pump bras and you should get one for under $35.

2. Rumina Relaxed Pumping Bra

  • Style: Full Bra
  • Colors: Black, White, Nude
  • Sizes: 5 Sizes from XS to XL

Suitable for Nursing: Yes

Suitable for Massage: Yes

Our Verdict

The Rumina Pumping bra is perfect is you want a nursing bra that’ also suitable for pumping. The 2 in 1 design will save you a lot of money from having to buy to separate bras. Plus it will save you time from having to switch between bras when using your pump.  The bra design is simple, and seamless, so you can even use it as a sleep bra. The support is light to moderate, giving it a bit more flexibility that the Simply Wishes Bra.  The two layer fabric system will fit most breast pump horns. We love that this bra allows the flexibility of pumping, nursing, breast massage and hand expressing.

The biggest downside to this bra was that it does start to sag when the milk bottle fill. You may need to use this bra when you are doing seated tasks with little pull from gravity. This one is also reasonably priced and you should get it for around $30.

3. Dairy Fairy Ayla

  • Style: Full Bra
  • Colors:Black, cream, pink, grey
  • Sizes: 6 Sizes from XS to XXL to fit sizes 30A-40G

Suitable for Nursing: Yes

Suitable for Massage: Yes

Our Verdict

The Dairy Fairy Ayla Bra is hands down the best design of all out picks. The lace fabric makes you feel like you’re wearing a regular, pretty underwear rather than a frumpy nursing bra. If you have a larger chest your benefit from the supportive underwire. The bra is worn just like a regular nursing bra with hook closure to adjust to size.  There is an overlap of fabric which slips down to insert the breast pump flange. This does leave a ‘ridge’ under your tops, just so you’re aware if you prefer a seamless look. The support is firm, and won’t sag or lose suction as the bottle fill. As it’s a dual pump and nursing bra, you can feed, pump, and massage with ease.

Expect to pay the price for the amazing combination of design and function. This bra will set you back around $55. If you can afford it, do splash out as it’s more than worth the money.

4. Pump Ease Bra

  • Style: Bandeau
  • Colors: 13 different colors and patterns
  • Sizes: Small, medium, large, x-large to fit sizes 32AA-48H

Suitable for Nursing: Yes

Suitable for Massage: Yes

Our Verdict

The Pump Ease bra is very highly rated by other moms. The range has a large selection of fun, rockabilly and classic designs, it’s hard to choose which one to pick. Dr Sears commented how the patterns can help to develop your baby’s eyesight. The opening is just a simple split layer, which means it’s suitable for all breast pumps. Getting the right bra size is important as it a hook closer which isn’t adjustable one the bra is on. We would highly recommend this for moms pumping at work as you can wear it over a nursing bra. Plus it’s very portable to carry in a pump bag without being bulky.

This bra is moderately supportive, once the bottles start to become full, they will need support. Otherwise the bra will sag and you’ll lose pump suction. You can use this bra whilst nursing, however you need to pull your nipple through the opening. We wouldn’t recommend doing this often as restricting the breast tissue can lead to blocked ducts. A pump ease costs around $40 to buy.

5. Lactamed Simplicity Bra Kit

  • Style: Strap Bra
  • Colors: 12 colors
  • Sizes: One Size fits all

Suitable for Nursing: Yes

Suitable for Massage: Yes

Our Verdict

The Lactamed Simplicity bra kit is the perfect budget pumping bra. This is perfect if you want to skip the bells and whistle and just want a quality, functional pump holder. You don’t need to worry about finding the right size as it’s fully adjustable to fit all sizes. It’s designed to use with your regular nursing bra. It’s so simple to use, place it over your top and quickly adjust the toggles to hold the breast pump horns in place. The toggle adjust means it suitable to use with any breast pump, and won’t sag as it fills as you can pull it tighter. The lack of fabric means that nursing baby and massaging are easy to do whilst you pump.

The main issue the simplicity bra is durability due to the lack of material. There is a bit of a learning curve to use it, although there are instructions and videos to learn how to do it all at first. The Lactamed Simplicity bra costs around $15 to buy, although some colors may cost a few dollars more.

6. Pump Strap

  • Style: Bandeau
  • Colors: Beige, Black, Pink, Purple, Turquoise
  • Sizes: XS – XXXL

Suitable for Nursing: Yes

Suitable for Massage: Yes

Our Verdict

The Pump Strap is the highest rated bra on our list. The bra is made from a thick band of thick neoprene. This makes it very support for even breast pumps with thicker sizes pump horns. The material is machine washable, but also easy to spot clean between uses. With a velcro back it can be adjusted to fir most sizes ranging from an A to J cup. For larger chest sizes it has a removable strap for extra support. It’s really durable and they even offer a one year guarantee on the velcro. The band is designed to help with breast compression and massage to get more milk during your pump. The large openings also make it easy to nurse baby on one side as you pump on the other.

This bra isn’t really discreet and can get quite hot. We wouldn’t advise you wear it all day. You’ll need to put it on and take it off with each pump session. However it is really quick and easy to wear alone or over a nursing bra. The pump strap bra costs just under $33 to buy.


Pumping Bra Buying Guide

Before you buy your pumping bra you should know which features are available to help you choose between brands. Bra which score high in the areas important to you will be the best match for you.

Bra Type

There are three different types of pumping bra. The one type you need will depend on what you need from your breastfeeding lifestyle.

Pump only – This type of pumping bra is one which is only really suitable to use when pumping milk. If you want a pumping bra to use only when baby is not around e.g. returning to work, then this is the type to get.

Nursing – If you like to pump and breastfeed at the same time, you need a dual purpose pump bra. These bras will be designed to have one easy access to the breast for baby to feed and able to hold a pump horn.

Massage – Breast massage during a feed helps to release more milk. Look out for a pumping bra which is suitable for massaging, they are usually made from thinner fabric or have little coverage.

Style

You can get your pumping bra in a verity of styles, let’s look at the benefits of each one.

Bandeau – This is a pumping bra intended to be used over a regular nursing bra. Rather than wearing all day they are deigned to be pump on only when you pump. They are usually the most supportive but take time to put on and take off.

Bra – These bras are dual action as a nursing bra and a pumping bra. They are simple to use as you can just pump straight away. You can also easily nurse at he same time. The downside is they don’t offer as much support as a bandeau or strap.

Strap – This type of bra is a made of thin strap and adjuster to hold your pump in place. They are easy to use and often the most affordable option. The downside is they lack durability and don’t offer any coverage when pumping.

Fit

The Fit of a pumping bra is important to how it performs when you use it with your pump.

Size – Obviously any bra you buy will need to fit your bra size. If you have a smaller or larger chest you may be restricted by the brands you can buy.

Adjustability – You will want a nice snug fit from your bra to keep it in place. This is important as the weight of a full bottle hold down on it. Options for adjustment include velcro or toggles, depending on the bra type you buy.

Fastening – The type of fastening may affect how comfortable or easy the bra is to use. Popular fastening include velcro and hooks and plastic clasps. Some bras may be slip on, with no fastener.

Ease of Use

Consider how easy the bra will be to use in everyday life. If it’s not practical for regular use it’s not the right fit for you.

Wear – Do you need to wear your bra under your clothes, or do you have the chance to put it over clothes before using? This is important to consider if you’re using the bra in public places such as work.

Portability – If you need to carry the bra around with you does it need to be compact? A thick bandeau will take up a lot of space in a bag compared to a strap bra.

Pump compatibility – It’s important to make sure your breast pump horn (or flange) will fit through the bra opening. Most regular sized horns for popular models will. You may use a larger sized horn for your pump, so make sure it’s compatible.

Design

The design of the bra is important, especially if you need to use it often.

Support – This is essential if you want the bra to provide you with hands free pumping. A thick supportive fabric will hold onto full collection bottles, without you losing suction for the pump, or sagging the bra.

Coverage – If you need to be discreet when pumping you need coverage from your bra. Bandeau’s and full bra style provide most coverage with almost no breast or nipple showing. Strap bras give almost no coverage and will need to be use with a nursing bra or vest to make them more discreet to use.

Style – You may want a bra which is a little more than a boring piece of white fabric. You can get some really lovely patterns and designs which are fun or pretty to wear.

Materials

The materials of the bra will make a huge difference to how you feel when you wear it.

Comfort – Is important, especially if you need to wear it all day. Cotton bras are great for keeping your breast cool and comfortable. Strong, supportive pump bras are better for short term use and may be quite uncomfortable to wear over long periods.

Quality – When you are paying good money for a pump bra you want it to last. You may get a bra for a bargain price but it may be poor quality, then you end up pay out more over all.

Machine washable – For convenience a pump bra that is machine washable will save a lot of time. Good laundry care will help your bra to last longer.

Benefits of a Pump Bra

Pumps bras are a fairly new piece of mom gear, but they can totally change your pumping life. Let’s look at the reasons pump bras are pretty awesome.

Hands Free Pumping

The main reason most moms buy a pump bra is to free up their hands. Chasing after toddlers, putting on makeup or even pumping whilst driving, are all possible. It frees up so much of you time by tackling two tasks at once.

Discreet Coverage

When you are pumping in public places, you’ll want to be more discreet. Using a pump bra with coverage means that there is minimal embarrassment should someone accidentally walk in on you as you pump. Your modesty will be intact, and you’ll be least worried about the possibly as you pump.

Prevent Arm Ache

A pump session can last around 20-30 minutes. That means holding collection bottles to your breast to whole time. Staying in that position can lead to arm ache as moving can make you lose suction.

Easy Double Pumping

Attempting to double pump is quite fiddly without a pump bra. It often ends up quite messy as you try to fiddle with the pump controls and position the pump horns at the same time.

Pump and Feed

IF you like to breastfeed and pump at the same time a pump bra can make it easier. Slip the pump on one side and your hands are free to tend to baby or change their position during a feed.

Hands on Pumping

This is a method of pumping which get a greater yield. The idea is that you massage your breast and hand express before, during and after expressing. A pump bra frees up your hands to do this on both breast to get as much milk as possible from each session.

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Best Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding Hands Free http://expressing-mama.com/best-baby-carrier-for-breastfeeding/ Thu, 23 Mar 2017 16:39:37 +0000 http://expressing-mama.com/?p=1106 Baby wearing and breastfeeding are the perfect combo for busy moms. The closeness of baby wearing really helps to establish breastfeeding. Plus with baby so close you can be more responsive to their feeding cues to feed on demand. There are so many baby carriers available it’s confusing to know which one to buy. We’ve written this guide to help you pick a baby carrier that is ideal for breastfeeding moms. Check out our top picks. Pin for later 5 Best Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding For Newborn A young baby is unable to hold their neck unaided. You need to

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Baby wearing and breastfeeding are the perfect combo for busy moms. The closeness of baby wearing really helps to establish breastfeeding. Plus with baby so close you can be more responsive to their feeding cues to feed on demand. There are so many baby carriers available it’s confusing to know which one to buy. We’ve written this guide to help you pick a baby carrier that is ideal for breastfeeding moms. Check out our top picks.

Pin for later

Best Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding

5 Best Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding

For Newborn

A young baby is unable to hold their neck unaided. You need to use the sling to aid your baby’s back and neck just as your arms would. The best slings will position your baby into a supported upright or adapted cradle hold. These are our top picks for newborn breastfeeding.

Ring sling

A ring sling is our number one choice for breastfeeding sling. They are extremely versatile when positioning baby. The rings make it very easy to adjust the fabric quickly and easily. They are the reason that many cultures successfully breastfeed for long periods of time. The fabric is great for discreet breastfeeding in public, so no need for an additional breastfeeding scarf.

We Recommend – Hip Baby Wrap

The Hip Baby Wrap is the best quality for the price on the market. They are fair-traded and handmade in India from 100% cotton. We love how soft and lightweight the material is. It’s ideal for hotter weather and won’t leave you or baby overheated. With 24 bright patterns, you’re sure to find one you like. The rings are excellent quality, super durable yet easy to adjust. When it’s not in use, you can pack it up to a compact size an put it in your diaper bag.

The only downside is that ring slings need a bit of practice to adjust. You may want to try wearing it just to carry baby, so you can get comfortable using it. Then you can you attempt to breastfeed in the sling.

Check out this video for a walk through of how to breastfeed in a ring sling.

Wrap Carrier

A wrap sling can be made from either stretchy or firm women material. They are ideal for breastfeeding as they offer a lot of coverage and support. This makes feeding a newborn in an upright position a lot easier. You can pre wrap them and position baby inside so no need to fiddle around with baby and a sling at the same time. We rate these carrier second place to a ring sling as they can be harder to make adjustments.

We Recommend – Moby Wrap

The Moby wrap is the bestselling stretchy baby wrap available. Made form 100% cotton, it’s soft and breathable to wear, like a t-shirt. The wide shoulder straps make it extremely comfortable to wear, especially if you have a larger frame. It take a little bit of practice to learn to tie, but easy one you know how. Like the ring sling its super lightweight, portable and easy to machine wash for convenience.

The downside of this wrap is the learning curve.  You should not attempt to breastfeed baby in it unless you are comfortable with a regular carry. It will take another period of learning to make any adjustments when baby is in the sling, for feeding comfort.

For more information on how to breastfeed in a wrap carrier check out this video.


For Older Babies

Older babies are able to hold their neck unaided. When breastfeeding an older baby in a sling the issue is more with comfortable positioning for baby. We recommend opting for a sling which baby can feed in an upright position. That way their head is free to move and look around as they feed.

Mei Tai

A mei tei wrap is a traditional Asian style. Made from a rectangle of material to support baby and long straps to attach to mum. They don’t offer a lot when it comes to coverage. However they are excellent for support baby in an upright feeding position. The various straps mean baby can still be geld firmly in place whilst you make any adjustments to position for nursing.

We Recommend –  Infantino Sash

The Infantino sash is the best quality mei tai on the market. Its excellent quality and provides safe support for your baby. It’s suitable to use from birth right up to toddler. We recommend using it to practice carrying when baby is newborn, before you begin to feed baby. The padded straps make it comfortable to wear over long periods without hurting. The long straps will adjust to fit most sizes which is great for both plus size and petite frames. It’s light, breathable and portable. We particularly love the hood attachment which offer extra nursing privacy.

The biggest drawback of the infantino is that the straps are long. They can become irritating or simple bulky when wearing over long periods of time. Mei tais’ are notorious for losing off so you occasional y have to readjust every so often. This is especially true as you baby get heavier and more weight pull on the straps.

Find out how to breast feed in a mei tai with this video.

Pouch Sling

A pouch baby carrier is a very basic sling style. You simply place baby as you would if carrying on you hip and the sling hold them in place. The biggest advantage of a pouch carrier is that is doesn’t need to be adjusted, but some models can be. Just pop baby inside and you can breastfeed hands free. These carriers are best used with older babies when they are able to sit upright and breastfeed.

We Recommend – Hotslings Pouch

The Hotslings pouch carrier is the highest rated on the market. They are amazingly simply to use. Just place he carrier over your shoulder and the position baby inside. The hot slings pouch can be used as is, or you can adjust it to fit snugly around your baby. It’s suitable to use from birth to around 2 years old. We love the simple variety of patterns you can get with this carrier.

The disadvantages of this sling is that it runs on the smaller side. If you would normally use a regular then opt for the large. That means it’s more suited to petite or regular sized frames. We also found this sling puts a lot of weight on one side of your body. This can lead to upper body aches and pains when worn for long periods.

Watch this video to learn to breastfeeding in a pouch carrier. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjXSbGCrUoU&t

Structured carrier

A structured baby carrier is one which is padded, shaped and closes with various clips. These carriers are adjustable by threaded straps. This types of carrier is probably the most difficult to learn to breastfeed, however it is possible. They provide a lot of support for baby, however this also makes it less flexible for adjusting to a feeding position. You may need to wear the carrier a few time until it ‘softens’ and you get used to working with it.

We recommend – LILLEbaby Carrier

The Lillebaby is the most versatile structured carrier to buy. As the Carrier positions baby into a seated position, this is how you will need to master feeding baby. For that reason we recommend using this carrier when baby has good head control. It comes with a clip on head cover for extra privacy during a feed. This carrier is very comfortable to use, padded in all the right places and provides great support for baby. Another great features is the pocket on the front, so you can keep a burp cloth close to hand when baby is feeding. The range is a little pricier than other carrier options. However, they are very durable and will last you for a few babies. We partially love the different pattern style which appeal to all different styles.

The downside of this carrier is that it’s not a portable or simple to wash as other carriers. Again we wouldn’t recommend this carrier for beginner baby wearer to breastfeed in.

If you do want to learn how to breastfeed in a structured carrier check out this video.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ouq6-fw-Mc

5 Tips for feeding in a baby carrier

  1. Get used to wearing your carrier first, before attempting to breastfeed in it.
  2. In the beginning always tie the sling and attach baby when sitting down.
  3. Use a mirror to check baby is properly supported before you stand.
  4. Always follow the T.I.C.K.S rules for safe baby wearing.
  5. Once baby is finished feeding adjust them to an upright position i.e close enough to kiss.

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Breastfeeding and Pumping Essentials – Checklist for New Moms http://expressing-mama.com/breastfeeding-and-pumping-essentials/ Sat, 18 Mar 2017 16:58:31 +0000 http://expressing-mama.com/?p=1097 Before your baby arrives, there is so much to think about buying. You’ve probably sorted your nursery, stroller and diapering items, but how about what the breastfeeding and pumping essentials for feeding baby? Knowing what to buy before baby arrives will save so much stress. Consider yourself need something desperately in the wee hours of the night and already having it to hand. You can thank us later. Pin for later  You may not need expressing equipment right now; however, you’ll probably look into it more when you return to working after maternity leave. So pin this guide for later

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Before your baby arrives, there is so much to think about buying. You’ve probably sorted your nursery, stroller and diapering items, but how about what the breastfeeding and pumping essentials for feeding baby? Knowing what to buy before baby arrives will save so much stress. Consider yourself need something desperately in the wee hours of the night and already having it to hand. You can thank us later.

Pin for later

breastfeeding and pumping essentials

 You may not need expressing equipment right now; however, you’ll probably look into it more when you return to working after maternity leave. So pin this guide for later reference. We’ve split the list into a few sections. If you are in a hurry use the links below to skip straight to section you need:

Let’s check out our full list of recommendations.

Breastfeeding Essentials

These are breastfeeding products, which can benefits you and baby. How many are essential? Well none. That’s one of the great benefits of breastfeeding, it can be completely free to feed baby. Some of these items may become essential if you have feeding problems. The rest are just really handy items, which will make nursing a whole lot easier for you.

Breast Care

Nipple Cream

The first few days of breastfeeding is tough on your nipples. Your baby will feed at least 8 times a day, suckling for around 5-30 minutes each time. If you have sensitive nipples, you need to get a good nipple cream. You can also use the cream to soothe sore areas caused by poor attachment. You can check out our guide to choosing the best nipple cream here.

Thermal Pads

Until your milk regulates itself, you’re probably going to suffer from breast engorgement. This is when your breasts are so full of milk, they become hard and painful. Using thermal therapy pads, which heat up will provide you with relief by helping your milk let down. Most brands can also be cooled to provide cold relief for swollen and tender breasts.  For more info check out our thermal therapy pads buying guide.

Nipple Shields

When you’re having difficulty getting baby to attach, or you have sore nipples try a nipple shield. They look like little clear sombreros, which go over your nipple. The aim is to either create a barrier or shape the nipple for baby to get good attachment. These are great if you have inverted or flat nipples. A word of warning, they limit your milk supply, and should only be a short-term solution.

Breast Shells

This is a breastfeeding product most moms don’t know existed. Breast shells actually have a number of uses, including collecting leaking milk, preventing chafing of sore nipples and ‘pulling out’ flat or inverted nipples. They are made from a hardened plastic with a hole on the inner edge for your nipple and a curved outer edge. The cupped area helps to keep your clothing off your nipples. For more information check out our breast shell buying guide.

Style

Nursing Bra

You won’t realize how much you need a nursing bra until you try to breastfeed in a regular bra. The beauty of these bras are the ease of access to your breasts when baby is hungry. A nursing bra gives your breast proper support without causing damage. Sleep nursing bras also keep breast pads in place, preventing you from leaking during the night. If you don’t know where to start, try our guide on how to buy a nursing bra.

Nursing Tops

Again for ease of access when feeding you’ll want a few nursing tops. Soon after birth your maternity clothes often too big and you don’t want to stretch out or ruin your regular clothes with milk leaks. You don’t need to replace your whole wardrobe. However, a few basic tops will make feeding so much easier.  There are lots of smart casual styles available, which don’t look overly ‘mumsy’.

Nursing Cover

If you don’t want to splurge a lot on breastfeeding clothes, you may want to opt for a nursing cover. These help you make breastfeeding in public discreet by offering your breast privacy. Most passers-by wouldn’t even know you were feeding baby. You can get a variety of styles, including aprons, capes, shawls and cardigans. Our favorite style is the infinity scarf as it looks just like a regular piece of clothing when you’re not feeding baby.

Nursing Necklace

For older babies, a nursing or breastfeeding necklace, is a great addition to your wardrobe. They look like stylish chunky jewellery, but they are ideal for keeping your baby becoming distracted during a feed. They can also be used as a teether when baby begins to get teeth. This can help you prevent baby biting you during a feed.

Leaking Milk

Nursing Pads

Leaking breast milk is one of the side effects of breastfeeding. It will happen at the most inappropriate times and leave to with tell-tale wet patches on your top if you’re not prepared. Breast pads are small pieces of absorbent material, which sits in your bra and soaks up the milk. You can opt for disposable or re-usable pads. Check out our nursing pad reviews and buying guide.

Milk Catchers

If you don’t want to waste any of your leaking milk to a breast pad, why not save it? A milk catcher is a small collection bag which fit into your bra and catchers any drops. They are great for saving milk and building up a supply which can be frozen for later. Ideal if you don’t want to express milk, but may occasionally need to be away from baby for a feed or two.

Bed Pad

To prevent leaking most moms wear a sleep bra with nursing pads to bed. However, if you find a sleep bra uncomfortable, or want to air your nipples during the night you’ll need to protect your mattress. The best way to do this is with a bed pad to soak up any stains or smells. They are comfortable to sleep on and easier to wash than your bed linens and a mattress.

Milk Supply

Lactation Tea

If you are struggling with your milk supply why not try an age-old remedy? Lactation teas are crammed full of herbs well known for boosting your milk supply. These teas certainly have an acquired taste, but they do work. If anything they are a caffeine-free way to keep hydrated. A lot of the herbs used are also great for postpartum healing. Read our lactation tea guide to learn more about the benefits.

Water Bottle

Keeping well hydrated is essential for maintaining a good milk supply. Get a large, durable water bottle and get into the habit of drinking regularly. You’ll find you are often thirsty whilst breastfeeding, so keep it nearby. Drinking more water won’t make you engorged. The main message is not to ignore your thirst but don’t force excessive fluids either as it won’t have any benefit.

Baby Sling

Wearing your baby in a sling offers so many benefits for you and baby when breastfeeding. Having your baby close to your skin will help improve your milk supply. Baby will have easy access to your breast, and feeding won’t feel so time consuming as both your hands are free. You are also more likely to be responsive to baby’s hunger cues. Want to know which baby carrier is best for breastfeeding, then check out our  guide here.

Co-Sleeping Crib

Newborn babies feed a lot, even during the night. The sheer lack of sleep means most breastfeeding moms will bed share with baby at some point. Most adult beds are unsuitable for bed and can present fatal risks to baby. Put a stop to unplanned bed sharing by opting for a co-sleeping crib. Your baby can feed regularly through the night and when they are down you can pop them back to their own safe sleep space. They are quite expensive but worth every penny for quality sleep and great milk supply when breastfeeding.

Feeding Station

Nursing Pillow

Getting comfortable when feeding baby can be tricky at first. You may need to experiment with different feeding positions. These may be comfortable for baby but after a 30-minute feed, you can be left with sore arms and back. A nursing pillow gives you added height and support to keep baby in these positions without the aches.  For more benefits and our top picks’ check out our nursing pillow guide.

Burp cloths

Are you prepared for baby spit-up and vomit? Burp cloths are ideal for keeping on hand to deal with this. This often happens when you are winding a baby over your shoulder or upright. Pop a burp cloth over your clothes to save them from getting dirty. They are also handy for sticking in your nursing bra as a way to catch leaking milk from your ‘free’ breast when you don’t have a breast pad to hand.

Breastfeeding Chair

Having a place to feed your baby will give you peace, privacy and comfort. A breastfeeding chair is designed to offer you back and arm support to position baby for a good attachment. They are quite an investment, but a great touch to add to empty space in baby’s nursery. Your baby will associate the chair with an area of safety and comfort as they grow. This guide by Stork Mama has great info about choosing the best nursing glider for your needs.

Nursing Stool

If you don’t have the room or budget for a quality nursing chair, then opt for a nursing stool. They can be used with any regular chair.  A nursing stool is designed to rise your legs to support baby positioning during a feed. They are often angle adjustable to suit your needs. These stools are particular great for reminding you not to slouch as your feed, which helps prevent backache.


Pumping Essentials

These are the products we recommend you buy for expressing breast milk. Unlike the breastfeeding products, you’ll need most of these items. They will help you collect and store the milk safely. When expressing you need to consider the safety and hygiene aspects of using stored milk for baby.

Breast Pump

You have three options when expressing breast milk: by hand, manual pump or electric breast pump. The one you use will depend on how often and how quickly you need to pump. Manual pumps are great for using infrequently or when you need to be discreet. Electric pumps are noisy but get good volumes of milk quickly. Check out our big breast pump buying guide to find out how to pick one that suit your family.

Feeding Bottles

Once you collect the milk you’ll need to feed it to baby. You can use any baby bottle, but you should really consider one that’s good for a breastfed baby. Why does it matter? There is an issue known as nipple confusion. It’s caused by the different suckling motions baby’s use when bottle feeding and breast feeding. Click to read our top 10 best bottles for breastfeeding babies.

Milk Storage Bags

Once you’ve expressed your milk you’ll need to store it until you feed baby. If you’ll feed baby in a few hours, we recommend keeping it in the collection bottle. If you want to build a large breast milk supply the best way to store milk is by freezing it. Milk storage bags are a space saving way to do this long term. Click here to check out our top storage bag picks.

Sterilizer

Keeping your baby bottles clean and sterile is very important, especially for new-born babies. Bacteria loves to grow in left-over milk. Combine this with a baby’s low immune system and it can lead to an ill baby. You can choose from old fashioned pan boiling, microwave sterilizing, electric sterilizers or cold water sterilizing tablets. We’ve got a handy articles on how to clean and sterilize a breast pump here.

Bottle Drying Rack

Air drying baby bottles is the best way to prevent the spread of bacteria. Once you’ve washed your baby bottles and pump equipment, laying them out separately to dry will help keep them away from other dishes. Bottle drying racks are often small and can be easily cleaned by hand or dishwasher to keep them free from stagnant water.

Bottle Brush

Bottles are designed with lots of curves and edges to make them easier to hold. However, this makes it easy for old milk to gather and grow bacteria. Using a bottle brush really helps you to get into all these small areas. These brushes are also soft enough to scrub off any milk not removed from soaking, without damaging the bottles. Check out our step by step guide on how to properly clean a baby bottle.

Breast Pump Bag

If you need to carry your pump around but still look smart, then get yourself a breast pump bag. These bags have been specially designed to look like a regular stylish handbag, but with pockets and fittings suitable to hold a breast pump. These are ideal for working moms. Sarah Wells has a great range of designs. However, we are also loving the ‘New Yorker’ by 2017 newcomer Charlie G.

Pumping Bra

Using a breast pump can be quite time consuming, even if it’s electric. It’s difficult to do much as you pump, as at least one of your hands is holding the collection bottle. A breast pump bra is perfect for holding the pump bottle in place and freeing up both hands. We highly recommend one is you have young toddlers and a new born, or if you need to look after a busy household. Check out our pumping bra buying guide with our top 6 picks.

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Preparing To Breastfeed Before Baby Arrives http://expressing-mama.com/preparing-to-breastfeed/ Tue, 14 Mar 2017 16:54:40 +0000 http://expressing-mama.com/?p=1089 You’re probably wondering what you can do to prepare for those first magical moments of breastfeeding your baby. The simple answer is: nothing. That’s right, you don’t need to do anything before your baby arrives. Your breasts are doing all the work themselves. However, breastfeeding is a new skill you’ll need to learn. It will also have a big impact on your life. Preparation will give you breastfeeding bliss rather than nursing nightmares. Keep reading to discover the things you should consider before your baby is born. 12 Ways of Preparing to Breastfeed 1. Learn How You Make Milk You’ve

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You’re probably wondering what you can do to prepare for those first magical moments of breastfeeding your baby. The simple answer is: nothing. That’s right, you don’t need to do anything before your baby arrives. Your breasts are doing all the work themselves.

Preparing To Breastfeed Before Baby Arrives - Expressing Mama.

However, breastfeeding is a new skill you’ll need to learn. It will also have a big impact on your life. Preparation will give you breastfeeding bliss rather than nursing nightmares. Keep reading to discover the things you should consider before your baby is born.

12 Ways of Preparing to Breastfeed

1. Learn How You Make Milk

You’ve probably already noticed a few changes to your breasts in pregnancy. They’ve very likely got bigger and your nipples darker. All these changes take place so you can begin to feed baby as soon as they are born. The birth of your baby causes a drop in hormone levels, which then kick starts your milk production.

The first milk you make is known as colostrum and changes to mature milk around 3-5 days after delivery. Your breast milk is made on a supply and demand basis. So the more your baby feeds the more milk you make. That’s why formula top ups can really affect your milk supply. Key hormones will control your milk making cycle.  Oxytocin is the hormone which helps to release milk from your breast by a ‘Let Down Reflex’. Read our article all about your let down reflex here.

2. Assess Your Breasts

It’s important to assess your breasts before your begin breastfeeding. If you have any concerns, you can discuss these with your doctor or midwife before baby arrives. It’s unlikely any concern will prevent you from breastfeeding. However, you may need to make special adjustments to help you breastfeed. These are things you should consider:

Breast Trauma – Have you ever has an accident or injury which has caused nerve damage? Trauma may also come in the form of sexual abuse, consider seeking counseling for this before baby arrives.

Breast Surgery – Breast augmentation or reduction can result in nerve damage to the nipple. Discuss the likelihood of permanent damage with your surgeon, especially if your nipple was relocated during surgery.

Nipples – If your nipples stay flat or have a dimple when they are stimulated this can make it difficult for baby to latch. Read more about techniques to draw out your nipples here.

You don’t need to do anything to ‘toughen up’ your nipples for breastfeeding. Your body will do this when baby arrives. The best way to prepare is to become familiar with your breast. Seeking advice on the issues noted above will give you a great head start to any issues that may occur.

3. What’s Normal Baby Behavior?

It’s important to know that a breast-fed baby will act different to a formula-fed baby. First, let’s start with how often your baby will feed. In the first month, your baby will feed around 8-12 times per day. That means your baby will feed every 2 -3 hours.  This is more often than a formula-fed baby. This is normal. Breast milk is much easier and quicker to digest, so your baby will eat little but often. Your baby may feed more often when they go through a growth spurt.

Expect a feed to last between 5-30 minutes per breast. Think of it like your own appetite, sometimes you may only want a drink or a snack, and other times you want a whole meal. Your baby will show signs of hunger way before they begin to cry. Knowing these ‘hunger cues’ will help you become responsive to your baby’s needs.

You should not expect your breastfed baby to feed through the night, especially as a new-born. Your milk production is highest during the night, and they will want to feed. Baby will also be hungry and want comfort from nursing.

4. What To Expect

In the early days, breastfeeding is exhausting and very time consuming. Your baby will want to feed often, and then be comforted in between. If you’re not used to someone being so dependent on you, it can be a shock to the system. I promise it does get better, and your baby will fall into a predictable schedule.

The biggest shock to new moms who breastfeed is the weird and wonderful things their breasts start to do including:

Discomfort – Breastfeeding is uncomfortable at first, but should ease over time as the ‘toughen’ up. You may experience problems like blister or cracks which you should discuss with a professional.

Engorgement – This is when your nipples are so full of milk they are hard to the touch. This happens often before your milk regulates itself. You may need to express a bit off to make it easier to feed baby. Click here for our tips on dealing with engorgement.

Leaking – Yes, your milk will leak out your breast at the most inconvenient times. Get yourself a pack of great nursing pads. If you want to prevent your milk leaking check out our top tips here.

Pain – This is not normal and should be investigated by a professional. Infections such as mastitis and thrush are fairly common, but easy to treat. If you feel unwell, with red, hot or sore breasts seek help immediately.

5. Gather Your Support

Breastfeeding is natural, but it is a skill you and baby need to learn. No matter how much you read, always be open minded that babies tend not to be text book. It’s important to have someone around you who can steer you in the right direction. Early help is the best way to avoid running into breastfeeding issues. Sometimes all you need is a slight change in position or advice on a nursing accessory.

Find out what help is available in your area. Nurses and Midwives will be able to help when you are in the hospital. What support will you have when you’re at home? Look up lactation consultant or breastfeeding support groups, such as La leche League, in your area. Even having a supportive family member or friend who has successfully breastfeed can be a life-saver.

6. Learn To Hand Express

Hand expression is a skill all breastfeeding moms should know. It can be quick tricky to get the hang of and takes a bit of practice. Learning the technique in pregnancy will come in really handy in the early days of feeding. Your baby may be very sleepy from birth and not interested in feeding. Hand expression will help you express the colostrum to feed directly to baby. The colostrum is thick and made in very small volumes, which are easily if using a breast pump.

Once your mature milk ‘comes in’ you can use hand expression as your supply regulates. When your breasts are engorged it can be difficult for baby to attach.  Hand expressing a few drops off will help your let down reflex and baby will attach to the nipple better. Check out our article on methods of expression with a hand expression demo.

7. Discover Different Positions

There are lots of different ways you can hold your baby as they breastfeed. The most common is known as the cradle hold, with baby held across the tummy. Each hold has its benefits and with time, you’ll find the ones which suit you and baby best. You may even use different positions for each breast. Using a variety of positions can help empty your breast at different angles and prevent plugged ducts. The most important thing is having at least one ‘go to’ position that you feel comfortable with. These are our tips for each position:

Cradle hold – The most common position; however, may be uncomfortable for moms who had C-section.

Football hold – Ideal position is you had a C-section, large breast or a premature baby. It can help you feel more in control you have more room by your side rather than over your tummy.

Side Lying – Perfect for feeding baby during the night or soon after C-section.

Sitting hold – Best for older babies who are easily distracted when feeding.

Laid back breastfeeding – A lesser known position but great for women with large breasts or a fast let down reflex.

8. Gather Breastfeeding Essentials

When you start to buy things for baby don’t forget about some handy breastfeeding essentials. Make sure you gather these in the third trimester so you have them to hand for baby arriving. You may even want to add them to your baby registry to have a good selection. If you need the bare minimum don’t go without these:

  • Good Quality Nursing Bra – Read our guide to buying one.
  • Nipple Cream – Check out our top picks and buying guide.
  • Breast Pads – disposable or reusable? Read our guide on which ones you should buy.

Other breastfeeding accessories are not essential, but will make things a lot easier for you. And let’s face it convenience is worth its weight in gold when you’re a sleep-deprived new mom.  Read our handy breastfeeding and pumping checklist here.

9. Consider Co-Sleeping

Co-sleeping is a natural way parents should sleep with babies. The invention of cribs put a stop to the practice at the turn of the century. Co-sleeping and breastfeeding go hand in hand. It’s ideal for keeping baby close during the night as they can feed whilst you doze. When you are feeding 2-3 hourly during the night, this will save your sanity.

The worry with co-sleeping is that the modern adult bed is not safe for babies. If you are concerned about bed sharing consider a bed sharing co-sleeper or a side crib as an alternative. These cribs give you easy access to baby as well as giving them their own safe space to sleep. The Arms Reach Range and First Years Co-sleeper and popular choices. It is important to make an informed decision regarding co-sleeping. Check out this co-sleeping guide which gives you all the information you need to know.

10. Check Out Baby Wearing

We’ve already discussed that your baby will be feeding every 2-3 hours in the early days. Trying to get things done can be tricky when your hands are full with baby.  If you want the freedom to nurse whenever you need to consider baby wearing. That means using a sling or carrier to hold baby and keep your hands free. This is a great solution if you are breastfeeding when you have other children.

One great advantage about breastfeeding in a sling is that it’s super discreet. It’s the perfect solution if you don’t feel too confident with breastfeeding in public places. Having your baby so close has many other benefits for your baby, such as baby crying less and gaining weight better. The contact you have with baby will also help you to recognize hunger cues and skin to skin can help improve your milk supply. Check out our guide to buying a breastfeeding baby carrier here.

11. Consider your lifestyle

It’s important to consider the impact that breastfeeding will have on your life. By the time you are in your third trimester you’ll have a plan for what you’ll do after baby arrives. How long are you planning to take off work or school? Or are you planning to be a stay at home mom?  If you are planning to breastfeed when you return to working or school you’ll need to express milk for when you are away from baby. That means getting a good portable breast pump. Check out our top breast pump picks for working moms.

You should also look into your rights as an employee who is breastfeeding. Do your work or school have facilities for you to express in private, or will this need to be arranged? If your baby is going into child care, do they have breastfeeding friendly policies or provisions for handling expressed breast milk? Scoping out these issues before baby arrives will give you time to tackle them and iron out any issues.

12. Be Mindful Of Pain Relief

In your third trimester, you’ll be focusing on the birth of your baby. You’ll more than likely have made a birth plan and considered pain relief. You’ll be thinking of pain relief in regard to how it will help you cope. It’s important to remember that any drugs you take during labor may affect breastfeeding. We are not insisting you go drug-free, but to be mindful of the long-term side effects they cause. This is what we already know about common labor drugs:

  • Pitocin – Used to speed up labor. Known to cause fluid retention making is difficult for baby to latch on.
  • Morphine – Help you to relax. Crosses the placenta into baby and can make them very sleepy and reluctant to feed.
  • Demerol – Similar results to morphine.
  • Epidural or spinal – Complete block of pain or required for surgery. Make it difficult to establish feeding as make baby very sleepy. The anesthetic is also known to delay the let-down reflex.

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