Our Breastfeeding Journey // Best Breastfeeding & Breast Pump Tips + A GIVEAWAY

December 2, 2016 in #MomLife,breast pump,breastfeeding,giveaway,mommyhood,Oh baby!,parenthood,postpartum,sponsor

It’s taken me nearly two years of combined breastfeeding and pumping (from two different children) to finally stop feeling like such a novice. For those who are unfamiliar with our story, know that it hasn’t been an easy road — with either child.

But from the second I found out I was pregnant with Ari, I knew that breastfeeding was an important part of my journey as a Mama. And, unfortunately, Ari never seemed to latch. Even after his tongue tie was clipped, the latch issues persisted. So day one in the hospital, I found myself utilizing the hand pump that was offered to me. Our first days at home were no different. I would deliriously pump along to that mechanical pump sound as my husband offered Ari a bottle. Thankfully, he took a bottle like a champ.

The next 12 months of my life were riddled with the sound of that pump — every 3 hours. Yes. You read that correctly. Every three hours for 12 months. That is a lot of pumping!

itsahero_breastpump
This second time around I felt really ready. Remy latched immediately after birth. My milk even came in at the hospital, just 12 hours postpartum! Unheard of, right?? Well, it turns out my body was 100% ready for it’s second shot at breastfeeding. Thanks to all of those endless hours with my breastpump, I quickly developed an oversupply. So I pumped just one time a day — after our first morning feeding. That one time a day would result in 8-10 ounces of liquid gold per sitting!

I started just packing it away in the freezer. And even though Remy has yet to take a bottle, this milk has not gone to waste. I have donated hundreds and hundreds of ounces to local mothers in need of breastmilk for their babies. And anything I have left will be donated to Akron Children’s Hospital next year!

In the past few months I’ve had to dish out a ton of advice to my sister (a new mom, herself), so I thought I’d pass along the wisdom to you, too!

  1. Don’t stress about pumping. Those first few weeks with your new baby are special… and? EXHAUSTING. Do yourself a favor: If pumping isn’t a necessity, just don’t do it yet. Get to know your baby, your body, and work on the latch. The pump will still be there in a few weeks.
  2. Do your research on what is the best breast pump for you. Market research is great, but testimonials on pump designs are even better! Know a Mama that pumps? Ask her what she uses! For me, the Medela Double Pump In Style was my BFF with Ari; but the second time around, I found I needed something I could just whip out — so I’ve been using a simple Medela Manual hand pump.
    itsahero_breast-pump-Medela
  3. Drink all of the water! You know those huge water jugs you get in the hospital (only to be outdone in size by the giant pads)? Well, you scoff at the amount of liquid they can hold. That is, until you find yourself stuck under a nursing infant for an hour and wonder, “Why the heck am I so thirsty??” You will be thirstier than you ever imagined possible.
  4. Get comfortable. By this point, all self-consciousness you’ve had over people seeing your body should be gone. So just be. Really! Don’t worry about covering for company — if they are in your home, they should be okay with seeing you in all your glory. I found that those first few weeks of breastfeeding, my chest was exposed so much — I ended up putting a bathing suit coverup on over my nursing bra because it had the easiest access!
  5. Ditch the underwire. Ladies. We’ve wasted countless hours trying to find the perfect underwire bra — uncomfortable as they may be — and now you have the freedom to ditch them! They are uncomfortable for engorged breasts. Do yourself a favor and find a comfortable, cotton, nursing bra. When you find one you like? Buy three.
    itsahero_nursingbra
  6. Don’t be afraid to keep your baby in the room with you. Having your baby sleep in the same room as you, at least temporarily, can be a tremendous help. That way you won’t have to go far for those 2am feedings! This seems silly, but I swear it is tremendously helpful when you’re completely sleep deprived.
  7. You will figure it all out. I promise. But in the meantime, don’t be afraid to ask for help — from friends; from family; heck, even from strangers! We’ve all done it. We’ve all asked for help.

Speaking of help — wouldn’t a $50 gift card help out right about now!? Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
And keep strong, Mamas! You’re doing a fantastic job!

*This giveaway is a partnership with Nakturnal. As usual all opinions herein are my own. I have been compensated for this post.*

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Will G December 2, 2016 at 10:58 pm

I don’t have one.

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Rachel December 2, 2016 at 11:57 pm

My favorite breastfeeding accessory would have to be infinity nursing scarfs.

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jehava December 3, 2016 at 8:14 am

I breastfed all of my babies and loved the experience even though it was a challenging one initially! These are really great tips all of which I used and definitely helped make life easier.

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Carly Williams December 3, 2016 at 9:42 am

My favorite is the nipple shield as well! Life changing for sure!

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Angela December 3, 2016 at 1:39 pm

This is a great post. I wasn’t able to breast feed my triplets, but I did pump for them while they were in the NICU.

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Melissa December 3, 2016 at 11:40 pm

Wow, momma, 8 to 10 ounces in one pumping session?? That’s so great!! I use the medela pump in style also- it’s perfect for what I need right now!

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Cristin Hinkelman December 3, 2016 at 11:43 pm

I didnt nurse very long, but I used the boppy pillow a lot for nursing. I also liked Lily Pads to hold off leaks comfortably.

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Tee December 4, 2016 at 12:40 am

I really like the breast shields.

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Deanna December 4, 2016 at 6:24 am

I’m breastfeeding at 6 am reading this post lol! My essential accessory is a hands-free pumping bra to make pumping at work easy and quick!

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Angel December 4, 2016 at 7:36 am

I was always so thirsty! I kept a water bottle next to me lol

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Amy December 4, 2016 at 8:39 am

You are super woman! I remember when I nursed how cumbersome, exhausting and stressful it was but us mamas will do anything for our babies 🙂

I remember everyone telling me to drink water like its going out of style. lol And I just found out that there are lactation cookies! I wish I would’ve known about them earlier 🙂

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Rachel December 4, 2016 at 12:42 pm

The lactation cookies are actually good, too! I’m kinda sad I didn’t need any help with supply this time around, so no reason for the cookies! 😂😂

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jessica December 4, 2016 at 8:48 am

my favorite pumping accessory was the hands free pumping bra. that way i could still use the laptop {or eat} while I was making that milk!

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Aly Funk December 4, 2016 at 11:05 am

I was fortunate enough to breastfeed both my girls! These are great tips!

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Faith Clark December 4, 2016 at 12:39 pm

My favorite nursing accessory would have to be aden and anais blankets.

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Nicole Banuelos December 4, 2016 at 2:48 pm

My favorite breastfeeding accessory is definitely nursing scarves.

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Ashley December 4, 2016 at 5:20 pm

How great is all this info! So so good!

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Livi December 4, 2016 at 5:31 pm

My favorite nursing accessory would have to my breastfeeding bra and tank tops. They help sooooo much!

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mami2jcn December 4, 2016 at 6:44 pm

I would say a Boppy Pillow helped me the most.

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Rachel December 4, 2016 at 9:31 pm

OMG I STILL use the boppy! For real! She’s 10+ months old and I *cannot* get rid of the boppy!!

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Sonya Morris December 4, 2016 at 11:06 pm

I would not have made it without the Avent shield with my third little one for the first month! That should be an essential even though my LC frown upon me bringing one for my last little guy just in case.

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Chelsea McKinney December 5, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Breastfeeding never came easy to me, but we stuck with it! Way to go for pumping for 12 months! I only pumped for a few months and only once (maybe twice) at night and it about drove me crazy! I have so much respect for EP mamas!

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Samantha Kuzyk December 5, 2016 at 1:46 pm

Great tips! I wasn’t able to BF my twins but I did pump every 2-3 hours for 6 months!

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Shari December 5, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Oooh nipple cream was totally my friend! This is a great post!

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Katelyn Ryan December 5, 2016 at 2:31 pm

I exclusively pumped with my little one, but tried so hard to get her to nurse! so i needed just about everything. But, i wouldn’t have been able to give her breast milk without my pump!

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Rachel December 5, 2016 at 9:20 pm

Great job, Mama! It’s crazy hard – and a crazy commitment – to exclusively pump! I’ve never met anyone else who did besides me! So I’m so happy to have you in my company! 😉

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Kelly D December 5, 2016 at 7:53 pm

The boppy pillow was my favorite.

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Ashley Houston December 5, 2016 at 9:17 pm

I breastfed my first one as long as I could and I really hope my body lets me with this next one too! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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Lindsay December 5, 2016 at 9:26 pm

Major props to you mama! I only pumped once a day for a year while I worked and HATED IT! Im so thankful to have been able to BF my daughter for 17 months, but you’re not kidding it’s a hard job! i couldn’t have lived without my Boppy

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Natalie S December 5, 2016 at 11:01 pm

My tip is to just feed your baby and don’t be hard on yourself! If breastfeeding doesn’t work out, formula will work just fine. I breastfed/supplemented with all 3 of mine.

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Holly December 6, 2016 at 12:52 pm

I like the microsteam bags by Medela. Seriously a life saver for sterilizing parts.

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Rachel December 6, 2016 at 8:37 pm

YES! Those are the best! 🙂 I tried to boil them once… I was like… NOPE. Ha!

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Jessica M December 6, 2016 at 8:17 pm

My favorite breastpump accessory is definitely the car plug in adapter. I would be lost without mine! Best purchase I’ve made for our breastfeeding journey.

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Ana December 6, 2016 at 9:01 pm

My favorite and most recommended accessory was the Milkies Milk Saver, which I used faithfully while both nursing and pumping. It usually doubled what I was able to save, which made feeding while I was at work more from me and less from a can.

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Rachel December 6, 2016 at 9:18 pm

My sister uses these! She hasn’t had to pump AT ALL until she went back to work — and without pumping, she had saved OVER 200 OUNCES of milk with these!! Crazy pants!

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Elise December 6, 2016 at 9:05 pm

This time around has been the best (and longest) experience with nursing that I’ve had (and this is my 4th) my go-to accessories this time were the shield in the beginning, but definitely the fabulous nursing sports bra I ordered from kohls! I can run without these babies giving me a black eye!!!

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Kristin December 6, 2016 at 9:43 pm

I think breastfeeding is hard! It isnt something that has ever come natural for me. Because of this, I love helping new moms! I have a different story for each of my kids. Although it is hard, it is rewarding. The things worth having aren’t typically easy to come by. After 6 babies, I’ve found these things to be helpful!

Triple nipple elixir: equal parts of lotramin, bacitracin and hydrocortisone ointment. Mix ot all up in a baggie and use it! It helps ward off yeast, discomfort, itching, prevent infection and more
It doesnt have to be wiped off between feedings. I usually buy this for a new mommy! 🙂

Babywearing! I love to hold my babies… i mean spoil them! But i also like to be hands free. I never knew about babywearing until my 5th! I wish someone told me! Carroers can be expensive. Go to once upon a child woth your baby and ask an associate there to help you try the different kinds! I got a sling for $4!!

This isnt a sales ploy, i promise, but shakeology has done wonders for my milk supply. Long story short, i had some complications from the umbilical cord, and my baby is a slow grower (8 months and 13.4 lbs) of course the doctor pinned it all on my milk. I finally went and had a creamocrit done to analyze my supply. My fat content and calorie cound was way above average! Which fortunatly, got my doctor off my back, but unfortunately confirmed that the problem was him imstead of me. Any way, i told the lc that i was usong shakeology amd ahe reaffirmed that it does amazing things to your milk because it is loaded with tons of nutrients and superfoods! If you want more info on that, get ahold of me.

Insurance will pay for your pump!

If pumping hurts, turn down the suction and make sure your flanges are the correct fit. Manually expressing with your hands can actually be more effective than using a pump.

Co-sleep! It’s the best!

Any questions, just ask!

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Jenna MacLaren December 6, 2016 at 9:54 pm

My favorite nursing accessory was my baby carriers! Wraps, buckle carriers, and ring slings allow you to nurse handsfree while you’re out and about, or even at home so you can get things done! And it’s possible to do this discreetly so no one even knows it’s happening! <3

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Carli December 6, 2016 at 10:07 pm

I used the boppy with Anthony until he weaned at 13 months. I also love a good nursing cami. That with a tee shirt over it makes staying covered so much easier than using a nursing cover.

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Maggie December 6, 2016 at 10:30 pm

Food and water! haha I was so hungry and thirsty all the time. Thank you for sharing your journey!

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Sarah Baker December 7, 2016 at 8:42 am

I wish I would have used nipple shields when I started out! Maybe then I could have made breast feeding work! Now I only pump…and I hate it! lol But hey at least I’m feeding my baby with my milk still!

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Tabathia B December 7, 2016 at 9:52 pm

I didnt nurse my last baby and haven’t nursed since 2000, so I really dont have any accessory that I can’t live without because I used a basic pump

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Chrissanna December 8, 2016 at 7:03 am

Nursing tanks. Still sleep in them.

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Riley Barker December 8, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Proud of you for making it work! Sounds Like a great journey!

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Sarah Hayes December 9, 2016 at 9:12 pm

all neutral nipple balm!

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