choosing a breast pump

How to choose a breast pump

One of the top things that a family can do when preparing for the birth of their baby is to learn how to choose a breast pump.

Click below for 50 other things you need to organize before your baby arrives!

Using a breast pump is often associated with parents who are going back to work out of the house so that they can continue to give their child breastmilk, however, a breast pump is used for more than just that!

Some parents choose to exclusively pump and feed their baby breastmilk out of a bottle, while some enjoy the option of being able to pump milk to have on hand in an event when they are able to occasionally offer baby a bottle of breastmilk instead of breastfeeding.

There are tons of options when it comes to how to choose a breast pump but the two main pumps you’ll see to select from are a manual pump and an electric pump.

How to choose a breast pump

There are a few components that will dictate your choice into which type of pump you go with:

Financial:

Electric pumps can be pricey. Some medical plans will cover the cost of either buying or renting an electric pump, so make sure to look into what your coverage is before making a decision. Manual pumps are more cost-efficient.

You can find electric pumps second hand, but make sure that you wash and sterilize it before use. You can find out how to sterilize your breast pump here. Ask around between friends and family to see if anyone has a spare one that they’re willing to sell (or give) to you so that you know exactly where it came from and how it was used.

While an electric pump can be a bit more costly they do tend to last forever (especially if you use a reputable brand, such as Medela). They will likely work for you if you have more than one child and you can usually find replacement parts if something does go wrong.

Time:

Manual expression often takes more time than electric. Generally, the power in a manual pump is not as much as it is in an electric pump. If you are planning on using a pump for exclusive pumping or know that you would like to build a supply in the freezer for if you are going back to work out of the home a manual option may not be the most appropriate for you.

An electric pump can often be used on the go through the use of a pumping bra. This will allow you to be hands-free while you’re pumping one or both breasts.

Energy:

A manual pump is powered by YOU. That means that you have to make it work by squeezing repeatedly as the pump works to express milk. An electric pump, however, does that job for you.

That said, using an electric breast pump requires electricity or batteries.

Various:

Many electric pumps offer different settings, including a “let down” mode that simulates what a baby will do during your let down to allow the expression of more milk.

You are able to do this using a manual pump but it requires a bit more thought.

Electric breast pumps make a bit of noise. It’s a distinguishable sound that every mother who has ever pumped recognizes almost immediately. While it’s not a very loud noise it may be better used away from sleeping folk.

Hey-O! This next part is where I’ve put all of my affiliate links. That means that if you purchase a pump through one of my links I may receive compensation at no cost to you. I’m also in no way obligated to promote the brands that I am and am doing so based entirely on my own professional and personal opinion.

I want a manual pump!

There are a couple different types of manual pumps that I recommend.

I’m a huge fan of Medela. They’re reputable, good quality, and offer all the parts that are necessary in case something goes missing (which, in my house it always did…because, kids.) I’ve always trusted them when it came to pumping, which is why of all the manual (and electric-see below) pumps I recommend this one:

Find out how to use this pump in this YouTube video.

Now, I worked with a client who was given a Haakaa and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. She couldn’t stop raving about it, and quite honestly, the simplicity of it is pretty appealing. It’s a one-piece silicone pump that works on suction. She said it was comfortable and easy to clean (you can pop it right in the dishwasher)! This is a great option if you’re looking to catch milk from one breast as you’re nursing from the other.

Get more info about the Haakaa pump in this YouTube video.

I want an electric breast pump!

If you’ve chosen an electric breast pump you now need to decide if you want a single or a double.

A single breast pump allows you to express milk from one breast at a time. This is great if you’re looking to do a little bit of expressing here and there.

I’m a huge fan of Medela. I had this particular model when I was pumping on occasion to be able to go for a long hike and leave my babies with their Dad. This particular model has the “let down” feature that I discussed earlier.

If you’re hoping to store a lot of milk it may be wise to get a double pump. Not only will this save you money, but it also stimulates your body, allowing most women to make more milk than if they expressed from each breast individually.

The double breast pump I’ve added below is a wonderful set that includes everything that you need for double pumping. The whole set up allows for organization at home, as well as the ability to take your pump with you wherever you need to go.

This was the pump that I used when I was trying to establish and maintain my milk supply as it provided me with the most power in the least amount of time.

You can find out how to use this pump on this YouTube video.

Because of the hands-free nature of an electric breast pump you can use a nursing bra (as mentioned above) that will allow you to insert the breast flange through a slit in the bra that will hold the flange in place while you’re pumping.

This particular one doubles as a nursing bra so you’re getting double your money’s worth!

Alternatively, you can just take an old sports bra and cut a couple of slits where your nipples are (do this carefully, please).

When it comes time to choose a breast pump make sure to carefully consider all of your options. Ask friends and family what their favorites were. Ask your midwife or doctor what their favorites are.

When you do receive your breast pump make sure to wash it, sterilize it, and follow all manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure that it works the best for you!

How to make life with a newborn easier

How to make life with a newborn easier

The Hippie Mama part of me loves to promote shopping local, ethically, and eco-minded, however, the “I want to make life with a newborn” part of me says that taking advantage of 2020 technology is where it’s at.

Also, taking advantage of your friendly Postpartum Doula and her sage advice about organization while you’re waiting for your baby to arrive is where it’s at, too!

make life with a newborn easier by organizing

Once upon a pre-Amazon time, women had to prepare every little thing while they were pregnant to get ready for life with a newborn. There are certain things you NEED TO BUY to get ready when you’re pregnant:

Hey, there are some affiliate links in this post. That means that if you buy something through one of the links in this post I may receive a commission at no cost to you.

Things you need to buy to make life with a newborn easier:

postpartum care items

-a few things for your baby to wear

A WRAP (You all know how I feel about babywearing in those first few weeks)

-A place for baby to sleep if you’re not planning on bed sharing (the one below is a very reputable brand)

versatile cosleeper arms reach
Image credit: Arm’s Reach

While those are a few of the items that you’re going to need to buy while you’re pregnant there are a few things you NEED TO DO while you’re pregnant to make life with a newborn easier.

Things you need to do to prepare for your newborn:

Have conversations with your partner regarding breast vs bottle feeding, if co-sleeping is a consideration, what your first week will look like in terms of your partner taking time off work, etc.

Put your pre-pregnancy clothes in a box in the back of the closet so that you’re not tempted to try them on a week post-birth (you’ll try and it’ll suck). Your tummy isn’t going to go down for a few weeks and there’s no sense in wearing anything other than cozy maternity clothes or sweatpants.

-Hire your birth and postpartum doulas

Find out resources in your local area that can provide you with help in breastfeeding, mental health, and that offer groups for you to attend to meet other mamas with your baby.

Get Amazon Prime

Okay, so back to the “I want to make life with a newborn part of me says that taking advantage of 2020 technology is where it’s at.”

Hypothetical but highly plausible situation: You decide that you want to breastfeed. You don’t need anything fancy for breastfeeding other than perhaps a pretty nursing bra.

You give breastfeeding a try for a few days and decide that breastfeeding really isn’t your thing but that you’d like to still give your baby breastmilk. You’ll breastfeed until you get a pump but after that you’d like to give your baby bottles

Now, you need a breast pump, breastmilk storage bags, bottles, and sterilizing equipment. However, your lochia flow is still heavy, your breasts are engorged, the bags under your eyes are frightening, and you do not feel like going out.

Enter: Technology of 2020.

You hop over to your phone, order a breast pump, and have it delivered to your house within a day or two. In the meantime, you head over to YouTube and spend some time watching tutorials on effective ways of pumping with the product you’ve selected and catch up on Amazon Prime Video while eating one of the many dishes that has been delivered to you by loving friends and family.

The point is that even when you preplan all the things you need for having a baby (which, really isn’t actually that much) plans might change.

There’s no point in buying all of this baby gear when you’re pregnant if you never end up using it. Nowadays it’s easy enough to press a button and get things that you need to make life with a newborn easier delivered right to your door.

Before you sign up for Amazon Prime make sure you sign up to receive 5 more genius ways to make life with a newborn easier. These are things you can do when you’re pregnant that will help make this transition time a little less complicated.

Less complicated=more baby snuggle time. We all want more of that!!

should you cosleep

What is co-sleeping and should you do it?

There are loads of choices that you’re faced to make when you’re pregnant with your baby: Do I bottle-feed or breastfeed? Do I wear baby or use a stroller? Should I be co-sleeping or should baby go in a nursery?

There are many mixed views regarding co-sleeping and what is safe and not safe. in this article, we’ll explore whether or not co-sleeping is safe and what practices you should use to make sure that it works for everyone in your family.

What is co-sleeping?

Co-sleeping is when you sleep in close proximity to your child. This can mean in bed with you or in the same room as you.

While babies have been rooming in with their parents around the world for centuries, North American ideals have seemingly disputed these practices up until recent times. While the idea of a “nursery” is still regarded in some families the idea of co-sleeping has become more widely accepted amongst new parents who have been provided with research to support this practice.

There are many reasons why parents choose to co-sleep:

-parents and children get more sleep throughout the night

-breastfeeding is easier to establish and maintain

-co-sleeping reduces SIDS by up to 50%

Is it safe to co-sleep?

There are loads of benefits to having your baby room in with you, and there are certain ways that you can make sure that any surface you put your baby on is safe for them to sleep:

-don’t use soft surfaces, such as pillowtop mattress covers, sheepskin pads, waterbeds, pillows, beanbags, etc.

always put baby to sleep on their back

-mattresses should be taut to the wall or headboard. Bedding should also fight tightly on the mattress.

-remove pillows or stuffed animals that could suffocate baby

These guidelines apply to any surface that you put your baby on whether it’s their own crib, a co-sleeper, or if you’re bed-sharing.

Wait, what’s bed-sharing?

Bed-sharing is the practice of bringing your baby into bed to sleep with you. While this is a highly controversial parenting topic there is a lot of evidence supporting it (check out James McKenna-sleep expert-and his opinion on the matter).

Along with the safety precautions detailed above for co-sleeping, there are some other considerations you need to make if you’re thinking about bringing your baby into bed with you:

-Was baby born at term? Pre-term or low-weight babies may be safer in the same room but another sleeping surface

-Are the parent(s) smokers? Second-hand smoke from being in the direct vicinity of a smoking parent can increase the risk of SIDS considerably

-Are the parent(s) under the influence of drugs or alcohol? This may make them less aware of baby’s presence and needs

-Do the parent(s) have long hair? It will need to be tied back to reduce the chance of strangling baby

Is the baby being breastfed? Bed-sharing is recommended only for parents who are breastfeeding.

-Are there other children in the bed? If your baby is coming in bed with you it’s important that older siblings aren’t present. They don’t have the same awareness that the parent does of the baby.

-Is the baby dressed appropriately? Keep heavy clothes for another time. Dress baby in light sleepers to avoid over-heating.

-Do both parents agree that bed-sharing is the preferred sleeping arrangement?

-Are the parent(s) extremely obese?

When considering bed-sharing these are questions that you need to ask yourself and your partner. While research is important to do your gut instinct and comfort level is a huge component of whether you choose to co-sleep or bed-share with your baby.

How do you co-sleep?

Hey! There are some affiliate links here which means that if you make a purchase through these links I may receive compensation at no cost to you. Thanks for your support and have a great sleep!

You have a few options when it comes to how you want to co-sleep with your baby. Fortunately, there are some great products that allow for seamless co-sleeping:

Bedside bassinet

A bedside bassinet is a small bed for baby that is put right beside your bed. This gives you the space of your own bed but allows for you to easily reach in and take baby out without having to get out of bed.

versatile cosleeper arms reach
Image credit: Arm’s Reach

The Arm’s Reach Versatile Co-Sleeper adjusts to the height of your bed and allows for the option of the bassinet to actually sit directly on top of your mattress.
One thing to note: The above model is the only one that’s available in Canada due to regulations. My friends to the South, you are free to order anything on the website without issues!

For everyone: Use coupon code “MODERN” to receive 10% off of all products at www.armsreach.com

Another option is the Bily bassinet. There are some bells and whistles on this guy (vibration, music, nightlight) and it can be rolled around or made to be stationary. This was the bassinet that I used and I absolutely loved it for my kids!

In bed co-sleeper

Having an in-bed co-sleeper works really well if you have a large bed or if only one parent is sleeping bed. This goes right on top of your mattress and acts as a bedside co-sleeper by providing the solid, breathable surface that is required for baby.

Bed-sharing

You don’t need anything special for this method of co-sleeping. Make sure that you’ve gone through the recommendations mentioned above to ensure that your bed is the safest environment for your sleeping baby.

All of this information regarding co-sleeping is meant to inform you of the options available and the benefits that it can provide. It is up to you to make an informed decision on which method of sleeping is going to suit you and your family best.

Get the facts. Trust your instincts.

Did you co-sleep with your babies? What was your experience?

should you try your breastmilk social media

Should you try your breastmilk?

It’s not often that something that your body naturally produces sparks curiosity about whether you should put it in your mouth or not, yet the idea to try your breastmilk doesn’t seem to be that far fetched to most folks.

Given the number of inquisitive people I had around when I was nursing who always asked “what does breastmilk taste like?” and my constant reply of “wanna try some?” (I mostly did this for shock value but was occasionally challenged with a “sure”) I have to assume that I’m not the first person who thought it’s fine to try your breastmilk.

In other words, if you’ve landed on this article because you want to try your breastmilk but aren’t sure who to ask if it’s a normal query or not you can rest assured that you’re in the right place.

Should you try your breastmilk?

Well, why wouldn’t you?

I mean, you’re giving the stuff to your baby on a pretty frequent basis. Don’t you want to know what their tastebuds are like and why exactly they demand it so freakin’ often (other than the obvious hunger aspect, but still there’s gotta be other desirable characteristics that they are going for here)?

Now, as stated above there aren’t many bodily fluids that I’d be terribly interested in sampling from any other orifice in my body. Breastmilk, however, I was 100% intrigued by.

So, I gave it a try.

Yep, squired it right on my arm and gave it a big ol’ lick.

In hindsight, doing this in front of my brother-in-law who didn’t have children, never wanted children, and was appalled by all things baby wasn’t the most considerate time. It was his fault. A bit more poker face from his end probably would have encouraged me less.

Either way, I tasted my breastmilk.

It’s sweet-tasting, mild, and warm. I can see why babies like it.

Should other people give your breastmilk a try?

Should you try your breastmilk?

Okay, so this one is an entirely personal preference.

While breastmilk is chock full of life-supporting and vital nutrients it won’t provide a curious consumer those benefits in a tiny sampling. (I have visions of Costco samplings in my head right now). It will, however, provide them with the satisfaction of know what breastmilk tastes like and possibly bring them back to an oddly euphoric infant memory for a brief moment.

You may get people who are (hopefully) close to you asking if they can try your breastmilk. Feel free to say “no”. Feel free to say “yes”. If you do say “yes” it’s wise to establish exactly how the exchange will be provided or you might find your BFF unlatching your nursing bra and going in for a nip.

Speaking of adult breastfeeding you may encounter an interesting conversation with your partner at some point throughout your breastfeeding career.

Adult Nursing Relationships (ANR) is a thing. While it can be non-sexual, the idea of suckling a person’s nipple for milk is very arousing to a group of people.

Let’s face it: your breasts are absolutely miraculously plump at the moment which may be turning your partner on. While some people are not thrilled about the fact that the reason for this enlargement is because your breasts are filled with milk, others are perfectly okay with either 1. not letting that knowledge get in the way of the pleasure they receive from them or 2. inspiring them to try new things with this newfound wonder.

If you catch some sideglances from your partner in your direction as you’re nursing your baby it may be worthwhile to just ask if they want to try (IF you’re okay with that. Obviously you are under no obligation. They’re still your breasts despite a tiny human’s attempts to lay ownership). If you’re okay with them trying your milk but nothing more stop it there. If you’re okay with carrying it to a different level then explore that!

You may be wondering why I’m bringing this up. I have encountered couples who engage in adult breastfeeding relationships and it’s entirely not out of the norm. Unfortunately, this idea of an adult breastfeeding relationship falls under the umbrella category of breastfeeding which already makes people uncomfortable and therefore less likely to talk about it.

The point is: if your partner brings this idea up or expresses an interest in and you’re not into it please be open-minded and non-judgemental with your approach to your “let-down”. (Okay, that last pun was horribly insensitive, but you know by now that I’m a punny pun lover).

It’s a natural curiosity to want to try breastmilk. Babies, toddlers, and children drink it. You can use it to heal wounds (oh yes, just spray some milk on a cut or diaper rash and those antibodies will get right to work). It can be made into ice cream, soap, and jewelry. Some bodybuilders pay big bucks for its nutritional value.

It’s called “liquid gold” for crying out loud. Who wouldn’t want to try that?

So, have you tried your breastmilk? Has anyone else tried your breastmilk? Let me know!

best lingerie after baby

The best lingerie to wear after you’ve had a baby

So, you’re looking to spice things up a bit with some lingerie.

Look at you, mama!

You spend almost all of your time in yoga tights and a t-shirt and you’re hoping to bring sexy back with a little negligee that will knock your partner’s socks off (and hopefully everything else they’re wearing, too!)

Ship the kids off to their grandparents, forget about the sex positions just for parents, turn those lights on, and get ready to get busy!

Best lingerie to wear after having a baby

This article contains affiliate links. That means that I may receive a commission on your purchase at no cost to you. It’s a win-win: I can pay for the result of what happened the last time I wore lingerie (kids) and you can enjoy your pretty new unmentionables AND some sexing.

Babydoll

One of the biggest complaints that I hear from moms is that they’re uncomfortable with their tummy. For this reason, many of these women won’t wear a two-piece lingerie set.

I get this.

Wearing a babydoll is a great way to still feel sexy while you keep parts of yourself concealed that may keep you more comfortable. The more confident you are the more sexier you’re going to feel, so this may be a perfect option for you!

Bra and panty set

Now, for those of you wanting to strut your stuff, this is a lovely option that’s practical and pretty.

The beauty of this ensemble is that you can wear it when you’re wanting to turn your partner on and you can also wear it when you’re needing to wear something pretty but don’t want to wear that nice dress you have because the kids will destroy it with their chocolatey fingers.

The best option: Wear this little ditty underneath your everyday clothes. When your partner undresses you they’ll be pleasantly surprised with the layer you’ve got on underneath your snot covered outfit!

Roll play costume

Assuming the last time your partner was in the company of a nurse was when said nurse was assisting you in bringing your child into the world.

There may be a bit of a traumatic association that’s been built there.

Restore your partner’s love of nurses with this fun outfit! Be careful not to mention the words “cervix” or “dilated”, though, as that may get them running the other way.

If nurses aren’t your thing you can find outfits as police officers and maids, too! Choose something that you’d be interested in playing the role of and go with it!

Nursing bra

For the folks wanting to be super functional about this whole “sexy lingerie thing” might I suggest a fancier than normal nursing bra?

Let’s face it: a nursing bra is the ultimate tool in providing easy access to not only your breastfeeding baby but your breast hungry partner, as well!

This nursing bra is the best kind as it doesn’t have any underwire (not ideal for breastfeeding folks), is comfortable, and is super sexy! Again, this is a great choice for when you’re wanting to feel a little more provocative throughout your day but don’t particularly want to dress up.

Cute and comfy

Last but not least, when do you feel the sexiest, most confident, and most empowered? When you’re comfortable!

Your partner will take one look at you in this cozy suit and see the goddess in you. It provides with a bit of a teaser by showing a bit more skin than your sweat pants and oversized hoody, but still allows you to move comfortably.

There you have it! These are the best types of lingerie you can wear after you’ve had a baby! The best part is, is that you can order them all on while you’re feeding your baby or taking a 5-minute break from the kids in a locked bathroom!

What’s your favorite thing to wear? If you had to choose one from this list which one would it be?

mentally prepared for birth

Get out of your head and into bed!

So you’ve just had a baby.

You’re stretched, you’re stressed, you don’t feel sexy.  You do want to have sex. You really want it. But in the words of Linda from Bob’s Burgers, “You kids ruined three out of five of my sexy bits!”

Interpret that as you will, I think we can all identify with her. But trust me, you’re over-thinking it. Nature wants you to get back to the bump and grind. 

You’ve just been “eating for two” for nine months. You grew to the size of a blimp and now all that extra skin is flapping around like a superhero’s cape. Even if you stayed slim and trim throughout the pregnancy, and are snapping back like a fresh elastic, you still find yourself a different size and shape than you once were.

You probably don’t feel sexy. I know I didn’t. When you have to lift fistfuls of floppy flesh to find your ruined sexy bits, you don’t feel like your partner wants to get back into those sexy bits.

But…a study found that men under stress find that junk in the trunk more attractive. And who is more stressed than a new father? (Well, a new mother, obviously). Stressed men are hardwired by evolution to be more turned on by hardy, fertile, famine-proof women. So have that full-fat ice cream and rest assured that your ruined bits aren’t ruined for him. 

Being a parent means that you, definitely and irreversibly, are a grown-up. So maybe it’s time to move the bar a bit. Your attractiveness and worth are measured differently now.

Your partner should be turned on by your mind (however clouded with baby brain), your personality (however hormone-altered, temporarily) and your sweet, sweet, painfully engorged lactating breasts (or shrivelled, empty chest husks). The point is, this person has made an investment in you, and, hopefully, watched the withdrawal being made. Which means that they should have a respect for you that transcends how tight your stomach is, or how clean your hair is.

You are a vessel of life. Accept the adoration you are due. When your partner says, “You’re beautiful,” accept it. Why not? Even if you think they’re lying, at least they’re lying because they love you enough to want you to feel good about yourself. But they probably aren’t lying. Stop looking at yourself and look around for a minute. Are you the only saggy, tired, weirdly both too wet and too dry, red-eyed shambling beast out there? Not by a long shot. Don’t look at that magazine rack. That won’t help. Go to the pool on seniors day. You’ll feel like a goddess. And you’ll get some gentle exercise. 

Physical stumbling blocks aside, a lot of what holds us back is mental. If you co-sleep with your baby or sleep with them in your room, there’s always the worry that you’ll scar them for life. But don’t worry. As long as that little bundle is fast asleep and under the age of two, they won’t be scarred if you have a horizontal workout in the same room.

Research has shown that memories aren’t formed before the age of two, so put the slumbering wee one aside and have at it. For many centuries, and still, in many cultures, separate bedrooms were not a thing. Everyone in the family slept together in the same room or bed, and so sex was and is still something that happens pretty damn close to where the kids are passed out. This will not turn your children into perverts. Best case scenario, it will ruin porn for them. 

“Let’s talk about SEX
(after having a baby)”

Your guide to all things sex postpartum

Get on the waitlist to be the first to know when this sexy guide is available!

We also often worry about dividing our attention. No one wants to be the one behind the headline: Baby Dies of Suffocation While Parents Have Sexy Romp. But parents in Mongolia wrap the baby up and leave it in the yurt while they go out and herd the yaks. Those babies are fine. If you’ve put the baby down to sleep safely, you can relax. Turn off the baby monitor and let your adult side do what it needs to. This does not make you a bad parent. It makes you reasonable. 

So, when you feel horny and a window of opportunity opens, jump through. Don’t worry about how sexy you look (You’re fine!) or whether it’s socially acceptable (society is way too uptight). The only things you have to worry about are: Do we both want it? Have we got some form of birth control? And what are the odds we’ll get through it without one or both of us falling asleep?

Once you have consent, a condom and enough pillows that you can pass out comfortably, have at it. After all, as Linda sang triumphantly at the end of the episode, “I’ve still got two out of five sexy bits left!” 

Camille Atebe is the mother of three kids, ages 18, 11, and 1. Camille acts, writes and paints in between mothering stints.

You can find her at www.camilleatebe.com