Experienced Mom Says: Nine Tips From Breast Pumps To Diapers for New Mothers
I have read many Hubpages on being a new mother, and I decided that I have a lot of good information to impart. I had successfully collected mother's milk to fill a large stand-alone freezer, which was the sign that I had to stop, because I was making much more than my first baby could drink. I repeated this success for my second child. Each child received a year and 4 months of mother's milk. I was able to keep my children from being sick, even though a lot of the other children at the home care and preschool were repeatedly sick. I will share what I have learned from my experience.
1. Don't Skimp on the Breast Pump.
What is so interesting about my whole pregnancy experience was through sheer luck. I went to pre-natal visits and picked up a brochure on a study on pregnancy and stress. Of course being a trial attorney in a fast pace federal field, I told myself that I should check it out. I was so active during my pregnancy that prior to my 31st week of pregnancy, I was offered a detail to Seattle to avoid any possible riots when the Democratic National Convention was held in Los Angeles. However, the study ended up telling me that I had premature dilation and was strongly advised to commit to bed rest at 31st week. I could not escape biology and repeated the bed rest for my second pregnancy at the same week, advised by the same doctors from the study. The doctors also made the decision that my son could arrive early. Since he was early, he was an incubator baby for age (not his size because he was almost 8 lbs.) and for mild jaundice. Even though Cedar Sinai was a big proponent of breastfeeding, the nurses advised us to find another solution, even suggesting formula, because I had limited visitation to the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU). Immediately I sent my husband to the hospital's store, and I told my husband just to buy the most expensive breast pump. After being banned from birthing classes and my husband went "stag," being admitted for premature contractions at week 35, having a son was in NICU, and suffering major post-birthing symptoms, I was not going to pinch pennies on the next phase of my life. So, my husband picked up a large Medela pump. Not skimping on the breast pump was the best decision. See below.
2. Set Breast Pump On Maximum Pump and Pressure
So, I had no idea how much a baby drinks because I had a premature baby in NICU. So, with my big clunky pump, I figure that I just make as much as I could. Going with an electric pump was the best idea for a soon-to-be nursing mother and full-time trial attorney. I set the pump to the maximum pump repetition that my body could tolerate and maximum pressure that my body could tolerate. At the beginning I was not making very much but what I later learned is that the body produces milk based on demand. So, if I was pumping like I had triplets, the body accommodates. I learned later on that my friends were letting their baby dictate the feeding schedule, but they dried up within three to six months. Other friends bought inferior pumps that also did not allow them to make enough milk. They, too, dried up. My homecare lady told me that some women drink alcohol to increase milk production. I didn't need to since I made enough to fill a large stand-alone freezer for each baby. However, here is an article about it.
3. Have The Dad Share Nightly Tasks
Although I had my husband do all the nightly activities and this worked out for me, most new mothers never think about illiciting the help of the Dad or someone else to help at night. We were a bit paranoid for the first week because we were so ignorant, my mother-in-law, husband and I took 8 hour round the clock shifts to watch him. After that, my husband took over the night shift. He ended up with the best father-son bonding at night. Meanwhile, I was responsible for making the milk and keeping my energy for work.
Sterlization and Bottles Suggestions
This is the one we used. Big enough for a large load.
4. Determine Whether To Boil Or Microwave For Sterilization.
At the beginning, I was boiling the bottles and pump pieces on the stove. One day, everything dried out on the stove because I fell asleep from tiredness. I decided that I was never going to make that mistake again. I researched and bought a microwave sterilizer. This was the best idea ever.
5. Pampers v. Huggies v. Luvs
Cedar Sinai used only Pampers. When we came home, we figured that all diapers are the same. Boy, we were wrong. On the day that we bought Huggies, my mother-in-law flew home and my pre-mature baby soaked through his diaper three times. We changed his clothes three times. We later learned that all diapers are not the same. Pampers are wider for each size. So, since he had a bigger butt, he needed more coverage. He was deemed a Pampers baby. We also learned that Luvs had great coverage but Costco did not sell this brand. Huggies worked for my daughter because she was a much smaller baby, but we still call Huggies "leakies."
6. Choose Thin Baby Outfits If You Can For Easy Change
Even though my son was almost 8 lbs., we found that of all of the outfits that friends and family gave us were not as easy to use as the two very sheer jumpsuits that my baby's great grandmother sent us. We had never seen these baby outfits before, and they proved to be the best.
First, it is not easy to slip a baby's arms into a long sleeve one-piece outfit. However, it is easy to fit a baby into a short-sleeve onesie. So, we noticed that putting a baby into a onesie and then into a long sleeve sheer outfit worked very well. The sheer long sleeve outfit was enough because he was going to be swaddled anyways. He really didn't unravel the blanket until he was a little bigger and stronger.
7. Determine Your Pump Interval.
I had a job where I was not near an electrical outlet for a period of 3.5-4 hours. I had to train my body to wait this interval before I pump. Finding a pump with the maximum setting is important when you have limited time during lunch to pump as well. It was a big sacrifice for 9-10 months, too, when for the most part, I ate lunch at work with only my electric breast pump.
Since I made quite a bit, I also carried a large empty stainless steel containers to collect everything. Instead of the two small bottles that came with the pump, I switched them out for the large feeding bottles for convenience.
Vitamins for Babies
8. Keep Frozen Peas at Hand.
You will need frozen peas for both the beginning of your milk production and also weaning off. No matter how long I stretched it, I had the fear that it was going to hurt if I stopped completely. With both breast-pumping experiences, I had to stop at the 9 months point because (1) I had filled a large stand-alone freezer and (2) foreseeable travel for work. I ended up with enough milk to last nearly 16 months before each infant was then transferred to cow's milk. The frozen peas came in handy. Since peas are small and they do not stick to each other, they were the best frozen vegetable bag to use.
9. Don't Forget the Vitamin Drop or Chewables
Everybody knows the benefit of mother's milk is to strengthen the baby's immunity system. However, we also noticed that when a baby is on vitamin drop or chewables, he or she also reduces the number of colds. This is important because in a family, members pass the colds back and forth. In fact, we were able to convince our home-care lady to give vitamins to the other children under her care.
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