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Things to Make Breast Pumping Easier

Breast pumping is a wonderful way to continue to provide your baby nutritious breast milk while you are at work or away from your baby for a prolonged period of time. Because breast milk production increases the more that the baby nurses, breast pumping after nursing can also help struggling moms to increase their milk supply. Make your breast pumping sessions successful with these simple tips.

Acquire a Breast Pump that Works for You

We offers a variety breast pumps equipped with features to make pumping as comfortable and convenient for mom and baby as possible. Our models offer two pumps which allow you to pump both breasts at the same time, saving you valuable time and energy. The Affordable Care Act requires that most insurance companies provide breast pumps to new and expectant mothers. We accepts most insurance providers. By completing a simple form, we handle all the paperwork and you receive a quality breast pump that suits your individual needs.

Find the Proper-Size of Flange

Breast pump flanges, which attach to the breast and drain the milk, come in a standard size of 24 millimeters. Because there is no “standard” size of breasts when it comes to moms, you may have larger or smaller breasts that require a different size of the flange. An ill-fitting flange can decrease milk production or cause clogged milk ducts. Try the standard-size of the flange to see if it works for you. Your nipple should move freely in the flange, with a small amount of your areola being drawn in while pumping. If too much areola is being drawn in or the flange is tight on your nipple, a larger or smaller flange can make pumping more comfortable and more productive.

Establish a Pumping Schedule

Most babies require milk every three to four hours. In order to get the most out of your pumping sessions, establish a pumping schedule that mimics your baby’s needs by pumping at least every three hours. Begin in the morning, when breast milk production is at its highest, and continue to pump regularly throughout the day. Each pumping session should last between 10 and 15 minutes. Experts recommend pumping at least eight to 10 times a day for the best results.

Eat Healthy Snacks and Drink Lots of Water

Your body requires extra calories and water while breastfeeding. Eating a nutritious snack while pumping is a great way to get the extra calories and nutrients you need for healthy breast milk production. Pack a small bag with apple slices, string cheese or nuts and place it in your breast pump bag, along with several water bottles, to make healthy snacking easier.

Encourage Let-Down

Some moms have difficulty with milk let-down without their baby present. Encourage your milk to let-down by relaxing, placing a warm compress on your breast, gently massaging your breast in a circular motion and thinking about your baby. Many moms find it helpful to look at a picture of their baby during pumping away from home. Including a small picture in your breast pump bag can help.

Get Your Nursing Station Set-Up

Whether pumping away from home or after nursing your baby in the nursery, it’s important to set up a place for you to be you comfortable while you pump. A small blanket or cardigan nearby will help if you get chilly or feel more comfortable covering up during pumping. A good book can help keep you relaxed and occupied while pumping. Always sit in a comfortable chair with good support in order to prevent muscle tension or fatigue.

Tips for Moms Who are Increasing Milk Supply Through Pumping

We understand how challenging it can be to increase your milk supply or build up extra milk while still nursing your baby at home. Try pumping on the side that your baby didn’t nurse on, pumping for five to 10 minutes after each nursing session or pumping every three hours during the night while your baby is sleeping.

With the right preparation, you can continue to provide your baby breast milk after you return to work or for the babysitter while you are out through pumping. With our unique selection of pumps, moms can rest assured that they’ll find a fit and flow that’s most comfortable for her unique needs. We can help you gather the supplies and equipment you need so that you can relax and take care of yourself while you provide milk for your new little one.

The Truth About Alcohol and Breastfeeding

The Truth About Alcohol and Breastfeeding

Through three long trimesters, a plethora of pre-natal appointments and bellies that swelled bigger each week, we did everything in our power to have a healthy pregnancy. Now our bundle of joy is here, and we’re focused on keeping our little one thriving with a steady supply of breast milk. Everyone knows that breast is best, and we’re happily giving our new addition their tailor-made supply of nutrition straight from our bodies. However, there’s one issue that breastfeeding mothers don’t always agree on, and that’s alcohol. Is the occasional glass of wine after baby’s in bed okay, or should we forget about imbibing until our little guy is weaned? If we do indulge, do we need to “pump-and-dump,” or can our little one take their midnight meal as usual? Read on to find out everything there is to know concerning alcohol and breastfeeding.

Pour the Myth of Pump-and-Dump Down the Drain

Considering how many times the term has been on the lips of our fellow moms, it’s amazing how little credibility there is to the idea of pumping and dumping. As this article from Romper explains, because alcohol leaves the body without a mother doing anything at all, the action of pumping breast milk and pouring it down the sink will do nothing but waste time and energy. Any remaining breast milk in the body will still contain a percentage of that glass of wine or bottle of beer, so turn away from the gossip and focus on the facts. Instead of condemning ourselves to sore nipples and spilled milk, we nursing mothers can gladly enjoy a drink or two as long as we indulge responsibly and make sure to properly wait before feeding our baby. The CDC offers a great guide on how long to wait depending on the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed, and further clarifies the ineffectiveness of the pump and dump method.  

The Smart Way to Drink

Drink responsibly. It’s another phrase we’ve heard a hundred times, but this one carries a lot more clout. Along with avoiding the entire pump-and-dump process, breastfeeding mothers can consume alcohol without feeling an ounce of guilt. It’s perfectly fine to have that glass of wine during girls’ night or to grab a beer when watching a movie with the hubby. As this article by KellyMom states, less than 2 percent of the alcohol we drink actually reaches our breast milk, and research has shown that an occasional one or two drinks is not harmful to a nursing baby.

How Much is Too Much?

However, just because our little ones won’t be slurring their words or feeling a buzz doesn’t mean we should let down our guard. Consuming any amount of alcohol can make an adult less coordinated, and we all know that walking through the obstacle course of a child’s toy-filled room is hard enough when we’re completely sober. For this reason, it’s best to have our special drink after all children are snoozing away peacefully. With everyone asleep, there’s no need to worry about searching the house for a lost teddy bear or favorite book, and we can simply relax and have a moment to ourselves. Furthermore, younger babies who are still prone to middle-of-the-night wake-ups will have time to snooze for a couple of hours, precisely the amount of time needed for our milk supply to be alcohol-free and ready for their midnight snack. For a definitive guideline on how much is too much, go by the rule this article from MamaNatural suggests, and don’t nurse if you wouldn’t drive a car.

Happy Moms Equal Happy Babies

We know there’s nothing more important than keeping our little ones happy and healthy, and we also know that breastfeeding is an integral part of that equation. However, a stressed-out mom inevitably leads to a temper tantrum, and not just from the baby! Sometimes we nursing moms need a moment to ourselves, and research has proven that moment can safely come in the form of an occasional drink. Without the aggravating myth of pump-and-dump around to concern us, we can be confident that imbibing every once in a while is perfectly safe. In fact, tonight seems perfect to try out a glass of that new bottle of wine!

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Read time: 4 minutes

TL;DR

  • Packing your hospital bag might seem like a small task, but preparation is key to ensuring comfort at the hospital during labor, delivery and recovery.
  • Be sure to have your ID, insurance card and credit card safe and easily accessible in your bag. Bring multiple bags to leave room for things coming home with the baby.
  • Bring comfortable socks, nightgowns and a cardigan for you, a maternity outfit to come home in, extra clothes for your partner and a coming home outfit for your baby.
  • Don’t forget phone chargers and camera batteries!
  • You’ll need comfortable underwear and absorbent overnight pads for postpartum bleeding, and your favorite shampoo, conditioner, soap and toothpaste will be a must.
  • With the car seat buckled in and coming home blankies for baby, you’re ready to take your little one home!

 

Packing your hospital bag is one of the final preparations you will have to make before meeting your new little one. While packing the bag seems like a small task on your third trimester to-do list, we understand how overwhelming it is to choose what exactly should and shouldn’t come with you to the hospital. Our list of essential items to bring will help you decide what you will need during delivery and what items are better off left at home.

Pack More Than One Bag

While it would be nice if everything you need for birth could fit in one bag, but chances are that you will need more than one. A large suitcase or duffel bag for you and a small one for your partner will help keep all of your items organized. Many moms also recommend bringing an empty duffel bag along to the hospital as well for all of the diapers, supplies and samples that the hospital may give you to make transporting everything home easier.

Essential Information

Even if you pre-registered at the hospital, bring a copy of your insurance card and you and your partner’s photo IDs in a place in your bag that is easy to access. If you are choosing to use a birth plan, be sure to also bring extra copies along. A credit card for paying your hospital deductible or co-pay should also be packed in a safe location.

Clothes

The hospital will provide you a gown and sterile socks to wear during labor and after delivery. Most moms, however, feel more comfortable wearing their own clothes. The key is selecting clothes that are comfortable and you don’t mind getting stained. Pack several pairs of thick socks to wear while walking the halls and a comfortable nightgown. A soft cardigan and slippers are also good to have.

It will take time for the swelling and extra fluids to leave your body after birth, so pack maternity clothes with a soft waistband for a going home outfit, or wear the same outfit home that you wore to the hospital. A nursing bra without underwire should also be packed to help provide extra support to your breasts and help make nursing easier.

Though your baby will probably wear the hospital-provided gowns during his or her stay, your baby will also need a going-home outfit and blankets to come home in. An extra outfit and pajamas for your partner will also come in handy if he or she is planning on sleeping at the hospital with you.

Electronics

Prepare your phone or tablet ahead of time by downloading plenty of soothing music that will help keep you relaxed during birth. A set of speakers can also come in handy in order for you to hear your music above the hustle-and-bustle of the delivery room. Remember to also bring your phone charger, camera and any extra batteries necessary in order to capture your baby’s first pictures and to keep in touch with family. Consider packing these devices in your partner’s bag so that he or she can easily access them for memory keeping.

Snacks

Though many hospitals will only let you have ice chips during labor, you will likely be pretty hungry after giving birth. Be sure to pack some healthy snacks for both you and your partner – this is especially helpful if you deliver in the middle of the night and the hospital kitchen is not open.

Toiletries

One common issue that moms have stated during labor is dry lips. It is helpful to have your favorite lip balm on hand during labor. Though the hospital will provide shampoo and soap, you may be more comfortable packing travel-size tubes of your favorite toiletries for showering in the hospital. You’ll need supplies to take care of your hair and skin as well. Consider also packing an extra tube of toothpaste, a toothbrush and deodorant for your partner if he or she is planning on staying overnight with you.

Extra Underwear and Overnight Pads

After you have your baby, your uterus will begin shrinking, shedding its lining as it contracts to its pre-pregnancy size. Postpartum bleeding is much like a menstrual period and can last up to six weeks. The hospital will provide a mesh pair of underwear and a thick pad to wear after birth and for going home, but many moms find them uncomfortable and bulky. Packing extra-absorbent, overnight pads and extra underwear from home can help you feel more comfortable while at the hospital and on the trip home.

Car Seat and Blankets

Most hospitals won’t let you leave without ensuring that your baby has a safe way to travel home. Bring the car seat, with the base properly installed inside of the car, with you to bring your new little one home. Depending on the weather, extra blankets may be necessary to keep your baby warm while traveling.

We recommend packing your hospital bag at least three weeks before your due date and storing it close to the door to grab as soon as you need to go to the hospital. Preparing ahead of time for your hospital birth will make the process go smoothly and will help ensure that essentials don’t get left behind when you go into labor.

From packing your hospital bag to ordering your breast pump and bringing your new bundle of joy home, BreastPumps.com is ready to provide the support and resources you need throughout your parenting journey.

TSA Travel Tips for Nursing Mothers

TSA Travel Tips for Nursing Mothers

Read time: 3.5 minutes

TL;DR

  • If you’re nursing and traveling without your baby, you’ll need to bring along your breast pump and extra supplies and accessories to ensure your trip goes smoothly.
  • Be sure to bring your normal supplies, plus extra batteries, cleaning supplies and milk storage containers.
  • We recommend traveling with your pump in your carry-on luggage to avoid it potentially being damaged or lost with baggage.
  • Mothers are allowed to travel with breast milk and breast pumps in the United States, regardless of whether they are traveling with or without their children.
  • If you are hassled or stopped in airport security, ask to speak to a supervisor.
  • Although pumping en route presents some unique challenges, it can be worth the extra effort.

Breastfeeding can be challenging, frustrating, emotional, rewarding, and incredibly wonderful all at once. Mixed with the rigors of travel for business or even family visits with baby in tow, traveling away from home while still breastfeeding is one of the biggest challenges faced by today’s mothers.

Although pumping or breastfeeding while in the air or on the road can be uncomfortable, inconvenient and downright unpleasant, many mothers find it worthwhile, particularly since it allows them to continue their breastfeeding journey without disruption.

Lactating moms can benefit from planning ahead, regardless of whether you’re bringing baby along for a family visit or leaving your child with your partner for a business trip. We’ve put together some tips to help you prepare for those trips both with and without your little one while continuing your breastfeeding journey.

Pump Supplies Checklist

If you’re nursing and traveling without your baby, you’ll need to bring along your breast pump. Pumping while traveling requires a few additional supplies, some of which you might not necessarily need when you are at home or if you’re traveling with your baby. This checklist will help ensure you’re ready for anything you might encounter during your travels.

  • Power cord, pump parts, tubing and breast shields: Next time you pump at home, make a note of all the parts and equipment you need prior to, during and after you have pumped. If you do not have all the essential parts with you, a breast pump is not going to do you any good.
  • A battery pack and extra batteries: Checking to confirm that your battery pack works before you leave your home and loading your pack with new batteries are among the most important details to remember. Forgetting your battery pack could leave you stranded without a working pump. Depending on the length of your trip, we recommend carrying an extra set or two of batteries. Pack the extra batteries in your carry-on bag can help to avoid any potential problem with checked luggage at the airport.
  • Adapter or converter: Breast pump electrical adapters often do not adjust to different voltages used internationally. Make sure you research and pack the appropriate power adapter or converter plug when traveling internationally to ensure your pump will work once you arrive at your final destination.
  • Cleaning supplies: Although accessing a place to scrub and clean the various parts of a pump might not always be possible while traveling, most offices and hotel rooms have a microwave, which is why we recommend purchasing microwave sanitizing bags for your trip. All you need to do is throw everything into these disinfecting bags and pop them into the microwave for about three minutes to ensure everything is sterile for the next use. Be sure to follow the specific manufacturer’s instructions and bear in mind that microwave voltages can vary.
  • Milk storage containers: If you intend to bring milk back after your trip, be sure you pack enough storage bags or containers. We recommend medical-grade, pre-sterilized storage containers since they are reliable and convenient. If possible, freeze your breast milk flat so that you can easily stack them up on your return trip.
  • Ice or cold packs: Ice or cold packs will help to keep your milk frozen on the return trip, which can come in handy for long or multi-segment flights. After traveling, putting the milk in a freezer as soon as possible is of the utmost importance since some thawing could occur. Once you get back home, use the milk pumped on the trip as soon as you can.
  • Hand sanitizer: Just in case you don’t already have one, packing a little bottle of hand sanitizer inside your carry-on is always a good idea.

Pack Smart

Fitting the pump into your small carry-on suitcase would ideal; however, this may not always be an option. You will otherwise have to check your luggage and keep your purse or computer bag and pump as carry-on items.

We suggest refraining from checking a breast pump as a stand-alone piece or in a suitcase. Aside from potentially being damaged in the shuffle, travel delays happen from time to time and luggage can get lost. Arriving at your destination without a functioning pump is the last thing you need on your trip.

Be Security Savvy

It is important to know your rights. Nursing mothers are allowed to travel with breast milk and breast pumps in the United States, regardless of whether pumping mothers are traveling with or without their children. Alerting security that you are traveling with a pump and/or milk upfront makes the process as smooth as possible, but if you are hassled or stopped, you should ask to speak to a supervisor.

The TSA classifies children’s juice, formula and breast milk in the same category as liquid medicine. As such, these substances are not subject to the 3 oz. rule applicable to other liquids and gels. Parents are permitted to pack ice packs, empty bottles, liquid-filled teethers and jarred baby food inside a carry-on as well.

Here are some additional security tips to help you experience a smooth journey through security:

  • Separate and declare your breast milk and equipment when going through the security checkpoint.
  • Pull the breast pump out of your carry-on and place it in a separate bin before your bag goes through the x-ray machine.
  • Inform the agent that it is a breast pump. Although you should be prepared for the possibility of additional screenings, tasting your breast milk is not a requirement. TSA officers might request you to open your containers during the process.

While there is no limit on the quantity of breast milk you can bring aboard in your carry-on, the TSA encourages traveling mothers to only bring the amount of breast milk, juice or formula necessary for that particular trip. If you are carrying breast milk on the return journey, place the milk inside a separate bin and then inform the agents that it is breast milk.

Pumping En Route

You might find it necessary to pump before you reach your destination. Fortunately, most major airports feature family bathrooms fitted with electrical power outlets, which provide a perfect place to pump. If you need to pump while aboard the airplane, especially on international or longer flights, ask the flight attendants to suggest a suitable pumping location.

Worth the Effort

Although pumping en route presents some unique challenges, it is ultimately worth the extra effort. With some planning, preparation, and patience, maintaining your milk production while away from your little one is entirely possible.

BreastPumps.com offers a wide variety of spare parts and accessories to ensure your breastfeeding journey is enjoyable for both you and your baby—regardless of where you’re pumping.

Pros & Cons of Nipple Shields

Pros & Cons of Nipple Shields

Read time: 3.5 minutes

TL;DR

  • If you are having a difficult time getting your baby to latch properly, a nurse or lactation consultant may recommend the use of a nipple shield.
  • A nipple shield is a flexible, soft silicone nipple that fits over your nipple and areola that can help your baby latch on properly as you both get used to breastfeeding.
  • Research has shown that premature infants who nurse with nipple shields intake more milk than infants who don’t use a nipple shield when nursing.
  • Nipple shields can also help transition babies from bottles to breastfeeding.
  • Because your baby may not be able to completely drain your breast with the nipple shield, it’s important to use a breast pump after nursing, keeping your milk supply up and reducing the risk of plugged milk ducts.

If you are having a difficult time getting your baby to latch properly, a nurse or lactation consultant may recommend the use of a nipple shield. A nipple shield is a flexible, soft silicone nipple that fits over your nipple and areola. Using a nipple shield can help your baby latch on properly as you both get used to breastfeeding.

When to Use a Nipple Shield

A nipple shield can be helpful for you to use in several situations. These situations include:

  • Breastfeeding a baby who is premature, small or ill – The nipple shield holds the nipple in an extended state, which will allow your baby to latch and nurse easier. Research has shown that premature infants who nurse with nipple shields intake more milk than infants who don’t use a nipple shield when nursing.
  • Flat or inverted nipples. The nipple shield can help hold inverted or flat nipples in the proper position for the baby to latch on properly.
  • Switching babies from bottle to breast – Silicone nipple shields have a similar texture to bottles, providing comfort for babies who refuse or are used to breastfeeding without the aid.
  • Cracked or bleeding nipples – An improper latch may traumatize your nipples, making it extremely painful to breastfeed. A nipple shield can help protect sensitive nipples while they heal.

Disadvantages to Using a Nipple Shield

  • Your milk supply may decrease as a result of your nipple not being directly stimulated.
  • You are at an increased risk of developing blocked milk ducts and mastitis because of decreased milk transfer.
  • It can be difficult to wean your baby off of the nipple shield.

Different Types of Shields

Nipple shields are either formed from silicone, latex or rubber. They come in different sizes ranging from small to large. It’s important to choose the proper size in order to fit both your baby’s mouth and your nipple. Some types of nipple shields have a cut out lower portion, which allows more skin-to-skin contact.

Using a Nipple Shield

How to Use a Nipple Shield

Place the shield onto your nipple with the brim of the shield upturned. Once the nipple is in place, smooth out the edges. The will help the shield to stick to your breast. If you still have difficulty in getting the shield to stay properly, try moistening the edges only with a little water. If your nipple doesn’t fit into the shield properly, try the next size up, ensuring that it isn’t too large for your baby’s mouth.

Remember to Pump

Your body will make breast milk based on “supply and demand.” The more milk that is removed from your breast, the more that your body will make. Because your baby may not be able to completely drain your breast with the nipple shield, it’s important to use a breast pump after nursing to express the milk as your body regulates itself. Without a breast pump, your milk supply may decrease if your baby can’t remove all of the milk he or she needs. Pumping can also reduce the risk of plugged milk ducts. Most insurance companies will provide you with a breast pump at no cost to you.

When Not to Use a Nipple Shield

If your baby isn’t having at least six wet diapers a day and isn’t gaining weight, you may need to discontinue using a nipple shield and try a different method (such as pumping) while you work on your latch. Talk with your doctor, lactation consultant or nurse for help.

Tips for Weaning Your Baby from the Nipple Shield

As your baby grows and you become more comfortable with nursing, you won’t need to continue to use your nipple shield. Because your little one will be used to using it, however, it may take some time to wean your baby from the nipple shield. Try these methods:

  • Pumping for a few minutes before breastfeeding until your milk has “let down.”
  • Applying cold water or ice to your nipple for a few seconds to harden it.
  • Breastfeeding without the nipple shield while your baby is very sleepy.
  • Breastfeeding more often than usual. If you wait until your baby gets too hungry, he or she will be more likely to reject your breast without the shield.
  • Try nursing in different positions.

How to Care for Your Nipple Shield

Because it’s coming into contact with your baby’s mouth and your breast, it’s important to clean your nipple shield after every feeding. Wash your nipple shield in hot, soapy water and allow it to air dry. Boil it once a day in a pot of water for 20 minutes to keep it sanitized.

Using a nipple shield can help you nurse successfully while your baby grows or while your nipples heal. Be sure to use a nipple shield with the help of a lactation consultant or nurse for the best results.

For more information or parenting support, visit our blog.

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