One of the best decisions Michael and I made as parents is to breastfeed our children. We believe that breastfeeding is the most natural, most nutritious way to feed our child. So we researched, shopped and geared up to make our breastfeeding journey easier. Of course as parents, we know that even if we think we are prepared and have done our homework, it won’t be a guarantee that it will be easy. In my case, it was not easy at first – heck it was very, very, very difficult – but I was glad I did not give up. I breastfed Mia until she was 2.5 years old, and we only had to stop because I was having contractions when I was pregnant with Mika. Now with the little one, I have exclusively breastfed her until she was ready for solids.
Because I’ve been breastfeeding since 2012 – 4 years already! – I’ve had the chance to research, scout, and try different items related to breastfeeding. I’ve bought breast pumps, nursing pillows, nursing bra, cover, storage bottles and milk bags, galactagogues, breast creams, pads – you’d be surprised how much breastfeeding-related products are available in the market! Here are some of the items which I can recommend to moms who are planning to breastfeed:
One of the most expensive breastfeeding product that we’ve invested in is an electric double breast pump from Medela. Although the Freestyle Double Electric pump cost us a few thousand pesos, I believed that it has returned our investment a hundred fold. I also bought a manual pump for back up, just in case the electric one failed or low in battery charge. Although moms can opt to manually express milk since this is the cheapest but most effective way to express, I found it very time consuming when I was still working (in a regular office) as I had to express more than 30 minutes during my scheduled milk breaks. With the pump, the time to express was cut in half as it can express at both breasts at the same time.
Now that I work from home, I do not need to express milk regularly and there was no pressure to build a milk stash since I can just let Mika latch whenever she wants to. I still use the pump though to keep my supply up, I express whenever Mika misses a feeding schedule or I feel that my breasts are full.
A related post on this breast pump can be found here.
Milk Storage Bags or Bottles
If you need to build a stash for the baby to consume when you need to go back to work, you would need containers to put your expressed milk in. You can either choose to purchase reusable bottles or containers, or the non-reusable plastic bags. Your choice of container really depends on how much milk you want or need to store, where you will store it, and how much your baby can consume. If your freezer or refrigerator space is small, I suggest that you use the bags since it’s easier to flatten and stack. Also, if the amount of milk you express is not as much, it is very impractical to buy the 6 oz bottles as it will take up space even if it’s only half-filled. If you don’t plan to build up a large stash though, using bottles can be the cheaper alternative since you can re-use it. Here some of the storage containers and bags that I’ve tried.
Avent Storage Cups
Philips Avent cups are re-usable, BPA-free, leak-proof and stackable storage cups. For moms who have Avent pumps, I think they can use this directly with the pump making it more convenient since they do not need to transfer containers anymore. There is also an adapter you can use so that this can serve as your baby’s bottle – you just need to attach the regular Avent teats. The best thing about this is that you can also use it as a container for baby’s solid food once he or she is ready. I’ve used these cups to store baby food that I’ve cooked for Mia and also to put it snacks when we travel. I didn’t buy much of these though as it takes up a lot of freezer space, even if it is stackable.
Medela Storage bottles
My Medela Freestyle Kit came with 8oz storage bottles and covers – it was what I initially used for storing milk. It was very convenient since I can just pump and store, but then again since I was just expressing 3-4oz per session, it was a waste of freezer space. However, when it came to the point when I just expressed milk for the next day’s consumption, these were my storage of choice. I would just bring 4 of these at the office, fill it up and then store in the fridge for Mia to drink the next day. We’d just wash and re-use so it was very cost-effective. It would’ve been very nice too if Mia liked the Calma teats that came with the pump – however she did not get used to using that teats and we ended up just not using it.
HoneySuckle Pump Bags
This is the one that I’ve used the most- these are milk storage bags that I use together with an adapter so I could easily pump and store milk. It is just like any ordinary double zip-locked bag but it has a hole at the top so you can hang it on the adaptor that you connect to the pump. Instead of using the pump’s bottle and transferring it to the bag after expression, I can just pump directly into the bag. No more messy transfers and spills! The bags are leak-proof, the material is also durable and not thin so it won’t break easily – although there were some milk bags that were punctured somehow during storage. I buy these online at HoneySuckle Breastmilk Bags’ facebook page – each box costs 370Php.
Galactagogues are substances that aid in increasing supply – you can read more on this at Kellymom. When I was breastfeeding Mia, I could only express 3 oz on the average. I would always be panicking that she might not have milk to consume on the next day. So I bought a lot of galactagogues – Moringga or malunggay capsules, Fenugreek capsules, Mother’s milk and yogi tea, Life oil supplements, etc. I would even order lactation goodies from different sellers so I can snack on pastries that help boost supply. What worked for me was the malunggay capsules – I took Natalac then and now taking Mega-malunggay- and also Fenugreek caps which I bought at healthy options. I took them 3x a day and it help me sustain my milk supply. The teas help too – I think primarily because it also replenishes the liquid I lose because of breastfeeding.
I’ve tried ordering from Mamachows, Mommy Treats and from Bettina Carlos. My favorites are Mamachow’s lactation cheese cup cakes, Mommy Treats’ lactation brownies (moist and not too sweet!) and BITE’s milking bombs. They are all yummy!
Here are the prices of some of their products:
- Lactation brownies: 12 day supply – 660php
- Chocolate Cupcake bites: 2 week supply – 749 Php
- Lactation Cheese Cupcakes: 42 pcs- 850Php
- Choco-Chips (Ghirardelli) Lactation Cookies: 42pcs- Php. 850.00
- Milking bombs: 1 doz – 450 Php
All of them deliver goodies at your doorstep so it’s pretty convenient!
There are some more items which I’d like to share with you like breast pads, nursing clothes, pillows, but this post seem to be very long already! I’ll take time to write another entry since this is one of my favorite topics. Please also note that I’m not a breastfeeding expert and I’m just basing my write-up from my experience. 🙂
I’d also like to help other moms and expectant moms in their breastfeeding journey. I’ll give out these Medela Pure Lan cream, Mega-malunggay capsules, breast pads and sample milk bags. If you are breastfeeding, planning to breastfeed or know someone who does, just subscribe to this blog and leave your name and email on the comment section! I’ll raffle this off when July ends.