Wednesday, June 1, 2011

An overview of my experiences with nursing bras, breast pumps, and that kind of thing.

Note my replacement key chain!
I've been back to work for about 5 weeks now (though I was out sick last week), and I've been using my Medela Pump in Style Advanced pump for about 8 weeks (I started early to get used to it, and because the baby started daycare a couple of weeks before I came back to work). While I have no other pump experiences and thus no other pumps to compare this one to, I can say that using it has been simple and convenient. I've had a lot of success pumping milk for the baby, and so I have no complaints, really. I got the one that's a little backpack; it was the only one they had in stock when I purchased it, but it's probably the one I would've chosen anyway. I like it.

I do have a couple of suggestions for Medela (as if they're reading this!):

It would be nice if the backpack was slightly larger and could accommodate the pump parts a little better. Sometimes fitting them in requires a bit of jigsawing and planning ahead. Also, I like to bring along a small hand towel and there's really no place to put it. Medela might look into coordinating a towel of their own into the design - a small black towel, with their pretty light yellow logo in a corner? They could charge more, and I wouldn't have to figure out the towel business on my own. It could fit in one of the side pockets, maybe.

Also, the pump itself, located in the bottom portion of the backpack, is set back a little too far. There's about an inch of space that could've been utilized better by bringing the face of the pump forward a little.

And, this is unrelated to the actual pump but instead to the bottles themselves: I had the misfortune of dropping a full bottle (with a cap screwed on tightly). I knew this nightmare would occur someday, so I did not cry when almost all my hard-earned milk wound up on the kitchen floor. I was pretty pissed off that the lid stayed screwed on but actually broke - the inner portion of the lid popped out in a perfect circle. I don't sterilize my bottles all the time (I use the microwave bags about once every two weeks; since my baby wasn't premature or have health issues, very, very hot, soapy water is my preferred method of cleaning them) so I'm sure it wasn't a case of having been weakened through some kind of overexposure to heat. I ended up losing about 3 ounces of milk, and for those of you who don't know firsthand, 3 ounces is pretty much a whole feeding's worth. That stuff is valuable, and every ounce counts. If this had happened earlier in my pumping experience, I would've been inconsolable. I'm not sure if I had a defective bottle cap or what, but now I am even more careful with the bottles, even if I know the caps are screwed on tightly.

Finally - I'm not sure if mine was just not sewn properly or if I've been handling it roughly, but one of the little tags on one of the zippers came off completely yesterday. This is no big deal, I simply replaced it with a little key chain my boss brought me back from a recent trip she took to Hawaii, but I thought I should mention it.

Before I had the baby, I bought a nursing bra from one of those Motherhood stores that are in the mall, and though it was less than $20, I wish I had waited. It was ugly, uncomfortable, and didn't fit well. Cheap, so I guess I got what I paid for (I have since donated it to the Salvation Army). Afterwards, I went a little crazy and purchased 3 Medela softcup nursing bras. I really like them - they're comfortable and kind of pretty. I also bought one with an underwire that I don't like quite as much - it gives me a bit more of a va-va voom shape than I'm comfortable with. I also bought their "comfort" nursing bra, which I love but only wear at home (not to work) because it makes me look a little bit like I'm wearing a sports bra - not quite as sausage-y as sports bras usually are. I don't like how it looks as much as it feels (super comfy, nice fabric, easy to use). As an extra, I purchased the funny little camisole/bustier thing that's supposed to make the whole pumping at work business "hands-free" with the idea that my supervisor might be able to find me a private cubicle (i.e., one with a door that locks, and a PC) so that I could do some work while pumping. It was a good idea, but unfortunately it didn't pan out. I use the bustier thing only occasionally - if I have something I want to read, for instance. It's a nice product, but it didn't end up working out for me. Oh, and I also bought a sleep bra, which is really a simple, comfortable, well-designed bra, but not something I really needed. Like I said: I went a little crazy.

I found out yesterday that Medela bought the Bravado line of nursing bras, and talk about pretty! If I needed more I would get one of theirs but I really don't. Their bras cost more than the Medela bras, but I do think they're prettier. They look more like regular bras.

The baby is now 4 months old, which means I've almost made it to my goal of breastfeeding for 6 months! I'm really proud of myself for sticking it out. It hasn't been easy but I think it's definitely worth it. Once we hit the 6 month goal, I'll see how I feel about continuing. A whole year for him would be, I think, totally beneficial to his development and health, so yes, that's the next goal, but we'll just have to see how it goes. I don't want to get ahead of myself.


  1. The longer you breastfeed, the more weight you will lose....just sayin :) Good for you for being able to pump. That was not a skill I ever mastered.

  2. I know! And supposedly you lose it from hips and belly (WOULDN'T THAT BE AWESOME!?), but I might've read that somewhere that was trying to sell me on breastfeeding! :-)

    I'm about 10 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, and though initially the weight was coming off fast, I've been at this weight now for about a month. I want to go 10 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight, but I don't think I can start dieting yet. In fact, I just had to take a close look at my eating habits to make sure I'm eating ENOUGH - So maybe I won't lose anymore but I feel a lot better when I'm well-fed! :-)

  3. I am not sure who said that about losing weight off your belly, but in my case - NOT TRUE! I have lost it evenly from everywhere else but belly and boobs. My legs are almost cheerleader-skinny again (nowhere near as muscular, meh.) even though I am much smaller than before I got pregnant, my body has changed shape dramatically so be prepared for that. No more coke-bottle curves for me. Oh well. But I know being smaller is better for my health and I intend on staying around for Rudy as long as possible!

  4. Gosh, now I can't find the reference but I swear I read it somewhere. Now all I can find is this a note about losing it from the buttocks (found that in a La leche league article). I'll take that, too!

    My pre-pregnancy pants, for the most part, fit, though I've bought a couple new pairs 1 size bigger just to be more comfy. My upper body is bigger; I'm now a large or XL where I used to be a medium. Boobs, man!

    My legs were never skinny or muscular (I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike!) but they do seem less fatty than they used to be. I could be nuts.

    And, coincidentally, Patrick and I both said the same thing (about being around for JP)! Ah, parenthood: we all want the same things for our precious babies!

    Are you still breastfeeding? I want to go a year now.