That’s My Breast Friend

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 purse

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!

.Baby Product Reviews.

 

When I first became a mom in 2009, I was a single mom and a Private First Class in the Army. I was broke. My daughters slept in bed with me in my small apartment. I made the best of the situation, and they made it out of infancy so it’s safe to say that even on the most humble of budgets you can raise a happy baby. At 28 years old I am a little bit more established with my new baby I am able to spend a little bit more and get the products I want for him. Even though I am working with a two parent budget, I am still cheap!

You don’t have to buy your new baby all new things. I know  it’s your first baby and you want to give them the best, but sometimes the best can be second-hand and no one will know, not even your baby! Here is a list of items that in my opinion you should by new and what is okay to buy second-hand.

Things I would buy brand new:

A Breast Pump:

You can buy a breast pump second-hand, BUT buy all the parts new. Meaning, the flanges, tubes (They can get mold in them so just buy new), the membranes. They sell all these pieces separately so it’s easy to replace them.

I said I like to be frugal, so breastfeeding to me is the best option. It’s free, it’s organic, and I don’t have to stumble in the middle of the night to warm up a bottle. Best part is, insurance now covers breast pumps! There was a hiccup with my insurance when I had my son so I went out and bought a breast pump that was on sale at Babies ‘R Us my insurance eventually sent me a breast pump so now I have two. m

I got the Ameda Purely Yours breast pump in the clearance section of Babies ‘R Us. This breast pump is ideal for a mom who will have a “Pumping Station” set up in her house. It has a lot of pieces in my opinion, six pieces in all. The bottles are made to be able to put a nipple into them as well, but in my house shit gets lost so the disks that are made to make the top leak proof when a nipple isn’t on it is just impractical. The pump is quieter than my other one but it’s not ideal for an on the go mom. The bag is a plus-it doesn’t scream “Hey I’m carrying a breast pump!”

My insurance sent me the Medela Pump in style

 

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I like this pump a whole lot more than the Ameda, because it’s smaller and has fewer pieces. This one has two settings, one to mimic initial feeding and the other to help with let down. I used my Ameda bag to carry this pump around.

Bottles:

Bottles are another item that you can kind of buy second-hand if you wanted to but you have to replace the nipples. Stores sell replacement nipples so it’s easy to replace them. You should buy the nipples new because bottle nipples go through a beating with hungry babies. They can wear out and possibly break causing a choking hazard for baby, just not worth the risk so buy new nipples if you plan on buying the bottles second hand.

Even if you plan to exclusively breast feed there will come a time where your baby will need to use a bottle in the event that you two are separated. My advice, after you have established your milk, test out the baby bottle you intend to use. I didn’t do this the first time I left my baby at home with my boyfriend. The baby hated the bottle and it was very difficult for him to feed him. Poor guy! We tried three different bottles before we found one he actually would feed from, maybe by the third bottle he finally got used to taking milk from the bottle, or maybe he genuinely liked the third bottle best, we will never know.

I had registered for Bare bottles. They were new to the market and the nipple looked the most like a real one. Above all that it visually appealed to me, I liked the colors it was cute. They were expensive so I didn’t think anyone would buy them off the registry but to my surprise someone did. My baby hated these bottles, and I ended up hating them too. They flow too fast and the liquid gold I had worked so hard to make would leak all over his face… That is when I finally understood the term “crying over spilled milk.” It was difficult to get a decent latch either so we ditched these bottles. Shame.

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I scoured the internet to find an alternative. I ordered Adiri NxGen Nurser. This bottle came highly recommended by other mom bloggers, so I figured it was worth a shot. 6ca349e861e4b17d34ec6399b73d67f1

His daycare said that he drank the bottle, but again it was hard for him to latch on and he would get frustrated. I was distraught. I went right back to college when my baby was four months old and was determined to finish the semester so having a baby that refused to eat while I was gone constantly had me worried.

Then one day while cleaning out my closet I found a gift bag that Babies ‘R’ Us had given me when I created my registry. Inside were coupons and samples and a baby bottle made by Maam. I had forgotten that they gave me a bottle. The bottle looked old school which really failed to appeal to me but I was desperate to find him a bottle he liked so I tried it. 47081342980506pThe Maam Anti-Colic Bottle was the winner. Supposedly it reduces gas and burping, I don’t know how true that statement is but I do know that the bottle boast that it ensures easier feedings for your baby. I would agree with that claim.

Car Seats:

Do not buy your babies car seat used, I repeat DO NOT BUY YOUR PRECIOUS ANGEL A SECOND HAND CAR SEAT. This is an item that if used, could potentially save your child’s life. It is just better to spend the money. Do you know that car seats have expiration dates? Yeah, they do! Most car seats expire after six years from the date of manufacture. Usually the date is printed right on the car seat but if not check the owner’s manual. When buying used you don’t know the car seat’s entire history. If that car seat was in a prior accident, pieces on the inside could have already taken the shock of impact and be broken. In the event that you are in a car crash, even if youR baby is not with you in the car at the time of the crash but the seat was in the car, you should replace it. When it comes to things like car safety I don’t penny pinch or take short cuts because the stakes are too high.

Also you can check http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/childseat.cfm to see if a car seat has ever been recalled.

I bought a Baby Trend Travel System that came with a stroller, and infant car seat.

This infant car seat is pretty standard. rear facing, fits up to 35 lbs. I chose this particular car seat because it was black and heather grey…cuteeeee!

With my girls I had bought them Britax Marathon Car seats. We got in a car accident and they were safe. So I wanted to buy new baby the same one.

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This is the Britax Marathon Rear/Front Facing car seat. I chose the Nantucket one because I think it just looks so chic as far as car seats go. And this is the type of car seat you can buy for baby for his first ride home from the hospital until he’s ready for a booster seat (Birth to 6 years old). They are pricey but they are top of the line and if you think about it full price this car seat is $350, divide that by 6 years, it’s $58.34 a month to keep your baby safe and sound. Meaning you will get your money’s worth.

Mom Jawn Tip: If you are shopping for a new car seat check Babies ‘R’ Us open box section. This is where they have items that are other wise new and safe but do not have a box.For example when I bought my stroller travel system, the latch to connect the buggy to the stroller was cracked, I took it back to the store and a few days later I saw the car seat that belonged to the system on the open box shelf. Babies ‘R’ Us cannot put any car seat out on the floor if it has not been properly inspected by an independent inspector. I got this Britax Marathon at a discounted price $202.00 (Yay!)

Here is a link of a youtube video made by Britax on Car seat installation for this model:

 

Things you can buy used:

Baby Swing:

I REALLY wanted to get baby a RockaRoo Swing, but I COULD not justify to myself paying $249 dollars for something I would only use for his first six months of life. So I bought a second-hand Fisher-price swing from a friend of a friends for $60. 14583532.jpg

In my opinion, this swing isn’t cute, and the base of the swing took up A LOT of space in my tiny apartment bedroom, but it got the job done.

One day my baby’s daycare was having a yard-sale, and they were selling a RockaRoo thykt9qyuzSwing for TEN DOLLARS! I was so glad I didn’t spend the money on a new one.  This swing takes way less space and looks cuter too. I think you can plug your music into it but I haven’t used the feature yet.

Both swings I got second-hand and were both a steal compared to buying new.

Baby Clothes:

Almost all of my babies’ clothes are second-hand or purchase from a thrift shop. Guess what? No one knows, plus people really just want to ogle at your baby and make funny faces. They rarely ever look at a baby to see their fashion style. Oh yeah, and even though his clothes are second hand, they look new, and people do compliment me all the time about his cute little outfits. I buy baby organic bibs new though, just because I know babies sometimes stuff their bibs in their mouth so I feel better giving him a new bib that is made out of organic fabric that has not been treated with chemicals.