Growing up in a traditional Hispanic family there was no shortage of newborn babies. Between all of my aunts, cousins and our church family it seemed like we were welcoming a new little munchkin into the family every quarter. So when I had my first baby, I knew what to do. No it wasn’t that my “motherly instinct,”that we hear so much about kicked in. It was because I had years of practice.
Don’t panic. Your “motherly instinct” will kick in eventually, but for now, all you can do is educate yourself from the experts: Your friends who are already moms! You know, the ones you lost touch with when they were pregnant? Yeah, they noticed but don’t worry they had their hands full raising their bundles of joy and I am sure they will be willing to welcome you in to the fold known as Motherhood.
One of my dearest childhood friend is expecting her first baby! She’s been texting me asking my opinion on certain baby products and advice on breast feeding and it dawned on me that not everyone grew up with a bunch of babies crawling around for on the job training as I did.
So this post is for you, the newbie in Mommy Town. I am here to welcome you with open arms and a glass of wine after your nine month sober stint. Don’t worry you won’t have to pump and dump that liquid gold. Pumping and dumping does not speed up the elimination of alcohol in your milk supply. As long as you let two hours pass the alcohol will be filtered out of your milk. But if you are like me, you may loose track of time while your having fun drinking. So just think of it this way: if you are sober enough to drive, you’re probably sober enough to nurse. Some experts say to wait to drink until after your baby is at least three months old. I would have to agree with those experts, newborns have very immature livers at this stage of life. It’s just not worth the risk.
I like to be up on the latest trends, and baby items are no exception. In the short six year gap I had from buying baby gear for my girls to now so much has changed! Even with constant change in the baby gear industry there are a few items that are timeless.
Take a look at a the starter list I have already curated here: Baby Product Reviews
In that list I talk about breast pumps but I am going to touch on that subject again here because well, there have been new changes in the breast pump world! I have said in the baby product reviews post, I have owned three different breast pumps. Hands down my favorite is the Medela Pump in Style breast pump. However, I kind of wish I would have bought the Medela Freestyle model. I work now and the Medela Pump in Style is too big to fit in my purse (I had bought an oversized Kate Spade tote style purse thinking I could fit the pump, cord, and bottles but the actual pump is just too bulky.)
The freestyle model is much smaller and I hear the motor is quieter. I said I kind of wish I bought this model because reviews aren’t as great as the Pump in Style model. I would say have your insurance pay for the Pump in Style model, and maybe save up for a smaller one to transport back and forth to work. I know it sounds like a bit much. But when you think about going back to work think about everything you have to carry:
Your babies diaper bag for daycare
Cooler for your pumped milk for daycare (I used to put my cooler in the diaper bag but now that I started cloth diapering it all doesn’t fit)
Your breast pump bag
Your lunch box if you brown bag it work
And your babies car seat, with the baby in it.
Visualize this: it’s January, it snowed last night, and it’s freezing outside. You will have to carry all of those things I just listed to your car. That is five bags and a heavy ass infant car seat. You see why maybe having a smaller pump you can throw in your purse might benefit you?
If you have insurance they should send you a free pump of your choice, and you can pick up a travel breast pump second hand off Craigslist, or apps like offer up for as low as 40 bucks. If you do this I would say you should buy all the accessories new (tubes, bottles, flanges can be bought at Babies R Us or Walmart.)
Medela just came out with a new model called the Sonata I haven’t seen any reviews for this pump yet because it is new. But it does look smaller than the Pump In Style.
There is another pump that just hit the market called the Naya pump and I wish I would have known about this one sooner. I would have forked over all my money for the Mercedes Benz of breast pumps. It uses water suction to pump your milk. It comes with a super chic breast pump case and if I have another baby I plan on buying this one. 9
It is very expensive ($1,000) but they offer financing through Affirm to break up the price into affordable payments and getting approved for financing is pretty easy. You could order it while you are pregnant and make the payments before baby comes.
It Gently massages your breasts to help you relax and release milk. Their website states that you can say good bye to chafed, cracked, and sore nipples with Naya’s soft silicone flanges (Win!) They have an app that automatically tracks production. And Naya’s water-based system eliminates noise at source, creating a quieter pumping experience (Yaassssss)
And according to their website moms Expressed more: beta users pumped up to 25%+ more milk per session with Naya’s flanges (every drop counts!)
It’s also travel-ready at only three pounds (woohoo!) and it includes a rechargeable battery!
And to top it all off this Double electric hospital-grade breast pump is proudly made with in the USA!
My friend had asked me ways to prepare for breastfeeding. My answer would be change the lyrics to Rihanna’s Work song from Work, work, work, work, work, work, to Drink, drink, drink, drink, drink drink. No not tequila. Water! If you are going to breast feed go buy yourself a big BPA Free or stainless steel water bottle and get to drinking.
Buy nipple shields and pack them in your hospital bag. Most hospitals have them but each time I gave birth, I would forget that nipple shields were even a thing, and the nurses only offer them to me after my nips look like they just lost a fight to Mike Tyson (Three babies, born in three different hospitals and they all only offered them after my nips were starting to crack.) So it’s best just to have one in your bag, next to your tooth brush so you will remember you have it. (I have packed things in a pocket in my hospital bag that I totally forgot were in there until I got home and unpacked my hospital bag. I’ll make a hospital bag packing list later)
I also packed a MilkMakers Lactation Cookies to jump start my milk. I am not a big producer, in fact my breast do not even leak (I know it sounds perfect but the caveat to that is the fact that I have to work twice as hard to fill a bottle of milk.)
Truth is, even if you have bought everything to prepare for breast feeding, there is still something you need that money can’t buy: Support.
Get yourself a “Breastie”. A Breastie is a fellow preggo who is planning on breast feeding. You would be surprised how pregnancy bonds women together if they are going through it together. When I was in the military, there were soldiers I did not get along with, but we ended up pregnant at the same time we ended up with a super close bond to this day 8 years later. And when I was pregnant this time around I reached out to a girl I went to high school with on Facebook who was two weeks behind me in her pregnancy. We were cool before being pregnant but we never hung out outside of high school. Now we almost share a sister type of bond. We both discussed how we wanted to REALLY try to give breast feeding a real shot this time (both of us had given up breastfeeding earlier than we intended to the first time we became moms.) When the babies got here we encouraged one another, sent each other pics of the bottles we made (lol I know this sounds crazy but at the time this was someone I could share my excitement with about being able to fill a whole bottle with and I knew she was genuinely happy for me and equally excited because she was going through the same exact thing!)
Second, talk to your partner (Husband, boyfriend, baby daddy, girlfriend, wife or whatever) about your decision to breast feed. Tell him how important it is to you and why. Let him know how much money you guys will save. And most importantly tell them you need them to get through this. That there will be times where you will be ready to quit, and that you need him / her to give you pep talks to keep you going.
There were plenty of times where I was so ready to give up on breastfeeding and just switch to formula and I would have done so had my boyfriend not been there to keep me going. Even today, my baby just turned seven months and I went back to work and my supply has gone so low. I am barely producing enough milk to send my baby to daycare with. My boyfriend texted saying
I went to Babies R Us and bought you those cookies.
He was talking about the MilkMakers cookies, he supports my decision and wants me to keep going so this was his way of showing support.
I didn’t have a support system the first time around and I feel like in part this is why I didn’t stick with it. But now I already hit my goal of six months and am still going strong.
Share this post and Tag your Breastie if you had one! Or tag a friend saying “Will you be my Breastie?” If none of your friends come to mind when sharing this post, share it anyways and write in the status “Who wants to be my Breasty?” I am sure that one of your friends will step up to the plate and offer you support and get the conversation going about a successful breast feeding journey!