Sunday, August 18, 2013

bum genius v. flip v. econobum cloth diaper systems

BumGenius, Flip, and Econobum cloth diapers are all made by the same company, Cottonbabies.  These three diapers are VERY similar and I am going to point out the differences and similarities I see between the three brands.

Our experience:
I had purchased all three of these brands to try on Elliot.  Out of the collection our Flips have been the workhorse of them all.  We started using the Flips right away with Green Mountain prefold diapers in a simple trifold with a fleece liner (Elliot was 8lbs 11.8 oz, 20 inches at birth). As a new mom and dad this combination seemed pretty easy to do.  They have a lot of little pees and poos in the newborn stage and this helped keep laundry a bit lighter.  I also liked when the snaps were on the smallest setting the diaper didn't give him a huge fluffy but.

We still use our Flips.  Occasionally I will use them with a Green Mountain prefold with fleece liner or the Flip stay-dry insert during the day.  The Flip gets the most use in our home as a nighttime go-to diaper cover.  Out of allll of our other diaper combinations, the Flip + TotsBots + 2 or 3 Hemp Babies + fleece liner is our stay-dry-all-night solution.  Our second nighttime diaper option is a Thirsties + Flip organic insert + 3 Hemp Babies layered in prefold + fleece liner.

I did not use my bumGenius diapers in the beginning because I thought that they looked so big.  Even now at a few days shy of 5 months I think they look big on him (Elliot is 18lbs 10 oz, 29 1/4 inches).  But they are a good diaper and I think I will really like them in the toddler stage.  When I polled my YouTube subscribers, this brand was the overall subscriber favorite. The inside fleece has held up nicely to washing but I have not been impressed with the after-multiple-washes aplix on either the bumGenius or Flip.

The Econobum diapers are still sitting in a drawer, new in package.  I overbought cloth diapers and I felt that I did not need them considering my abundance of other choices.  I will be selling them or giving them as gifts.  I do think that they are a good diaper and I have heard excellent things about the prefold diaper that comes inside them.  If a person was on a very tight budget I think a stash that included Flip and Econobum diaper covers would be great!

Fluffy-bargain tip:
Cottonbabies sells their "seconds" several times per year.  These are diaper covers only.  I have bought from these sales a couple times and the quality is near perfect- usually I can't tell what made the item a "second."  As of August 2013, a BG second is $11.75, a Flip second is $7.25, and a 3-pack organic Flip prefold seconds are $17.95.  I personally have never seen Econobum on their seconds sale.

Do you have bumGenius, Flip, or Econobum in your cloth diaper stash?  What is your favorite? Are there any likes/dislikes you would like to point out to readers?  Please comment below with your experiences.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

coping with bittersweet milestones

In yoga we are taught that the root of suffering is attachment.  This doesn't mean not caring about the people/places/things in your life.  Living in the present moment, letting go, and identifying with the inner true Self, that shared collective energy (some call God), can reduce the suffering in your life.  The quote by Rumi resonated with me when I came across it by chance tonight.  Perhaps master yogis would say, "life in balance is learning to let go." How does a parent handle non-attachment?

As a new mother I never thought my heart would ache as much as it does to see my son grow up.  Of course, all parents want to see their children healthy and thriving.  But there is something terribly bittersweet as your child passes each developmental milestone.  Time goes insanely fast on baby-time and I feel each day is a celebration and mourning.

I am certain that infertility compounds this bittersweet dichotomy. I waited over four years to get this sweet baby boy in my arms.  And now in a mere 4 months he is trying his hardest to scoot around on the floor and grow up on me. Although I feel like I am doing a good job living in the present moment, milestones are met with a cheer and a tear. Somehow I must not be totally in the moment and I need to continue to search for where that moment-leak is at. Why do I hang on so hard? Is it the fear that life will never be as good as it is at this very moment?

I hypothesize that the only way to reduce this pain is to somehow fully accept and live in the present moment, meditate, and to not be attached to my son in his little body but instead to see him as his big Self. This is a lesson I am trying to learn daily and hope that I learn gently. 

Have you ever felt this bittersweet feeling and how do you cope?  Please comment below for other mothers searching for guidance and comfort.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

SuperMom Tag

1.  How many kids do you have/what age(s)?
My rainbow baby, Elliot, is 4 1/2 months old.  I also have 2 babies that miscarried.  Hope Allen would have been 3 this October and Sparrow Lee would have been 2 as of this past July.

2.  Do you feel like you have it "all together" everyday? Cleaning/laundry/beauty/etc?
Haha, no.  Not at all, but that is okay!  I do a great job with laundry and livable level of cleaning and beauty has gone out the door unless it is a wedding or some other reaaaally important event.  I'm learning to see my plain face as my beautiful face.

3.  When do you make time to shower? Day/night?
I usually shower late at night when Elliot is asleep. I'll admit there are plenty of days I don't get a shower, but that is getting better as he gets older.

4.  Do you wear makeup everyday?
No. I didn't before I had Elliot either. Funny thing is that I used to manage a makeup counter for a while in my early 20s and I was good at it, too.  I'm trying to learn to love the skin I'm in and not cover/alter it as much as I used to.  And now I'm just too tired and would rather spend the time playing with my son on the floor than in front of my mirror.

5.  Do you style your hair everyday? Or pony tail it?
No. My hair is super thick and takes forever to wash and dry.  If I air dry it takes 1-2 days for it to dry out.  I either straighten or use hot rollers in my hair once every 1-3 weeks.  The rest of the time it is pulled up in a pony or in bun.

6.  When do you find time to do your hair and makeup? When the kids are awake/asleep?
I don't. If I have to put a little on I will do it in a minute or two while Elliot is playing on the floor or my husband is watching him.  Under-eye concealer, mascara, brow powder, and lip balm are my quick makeup go-to items.  I do make time to do my skin care routine *almost* every day which consists of cleanser, anti-aging serum,  eye cream, and moisturizer.

7.  Do you workout? When?
Kind of.  I take Elliot for on walks in the baby carrier one to three times a day.  I also manage a yoga studio and try to practice 1-2/week.  Hubby works very long hours so that doesn't always work out.  I have a couple DVDs at home that I enjoy that occasionally get a wild hair and do them.  I also let the little things add up from moving naturally during outings like parking far from the entrance, taking the stairs, using a baby carrier instead of a stroller, etc.

8.  What is your household cleaning routine? Do you clean everyday?
I would love to say I have a regular schedule, but I do not.  I'm not a huge fan of structure- it makes me feel trapped. We do the regular maintenance things everyday and try to catch all the rest once every week or so.  I do well keeping up with the laundry though with ~3 loads per day.  Cloth diaper laundry is done every day at our house.

9.  Do you ever get overwhelmed with all the responsibilities as a mom?
Yes.  I'm still trying to find balance.

10.  How often do you have alone/"me" time? And how do you relax?
Rarely.  As far as outings alone, I can occasionally slip away for an hour or so.  Since Elliot's arrival I have been to a few massages and multiple studio yoga classes.  Long, hot showers are also nice escapes but those are often interrupted. I am also trying to reestablish my meditation practice. And lastly, my blog and Facebook are nice brain decompressing activities. I do take time to unwind every night.

In my opinion, putting makeup on, doing your hair, and cleaning are things that barely go into the"SuperMom" equation.  Creating new experiences, actively and patiently engaging your child, providing an emotionally and physically safe home, and more are all a much better measure of a "SuperMom."  Never-the-less, this was a fun and easy tag to do so I did it and now I tag you! Feel free to link up in the comments if you participate in this tag.

Monday, July 15, 2013

top 10 diaper bag essentials for babies

1 & 2: Diapers and Wipes
Fuzzibunz Cloth Diaper
According to my husband, this is all you need.  And as obvious as it may seem, I still frequently forget to pack reusable cloth wipes.  But I’ve learned to outsmart myself by always keeping a thin 10-pack of Honestnon-toxic disposable wipes in his bag.  As far as diapers go, I suggest packing at least 2 more than you think you’ll actually need.   There are times you will end up using them.  
Pro-Mom Tips: Keep a back-up stash of diapers in your vehicle if you need to keep your bag as light as possible.  We keep a small stack of disposable diapers in a tote in the back of our car in case we would go through the cloth diapers that were packed. Also, small coolers normally used for storing breastmilk also keep things warm if you prefer using warm wipes on your baby.

3:  Wet Bag
Wet bag and wipes are my most commonly forgotten items when I pack Elliot’s bag. If you are cloth diapering then the need for this is obvious.  Consider a wet bag with two pockets if you are cloth diapering.  I sometimes use one pocket for clean wet wipe storage.

If you are using disposables it is still nice to have a wet bag so that you can dispose of your baby’s waste at your own home instead of at the homes of others.  Wet bags are also great for clothing after spit-up or blow-out disasters.
dual pocket wet/dry bag
Pro-Mom Tip:  Keep a spare wet bag or repurpose a few plastic shopping bags in your vehicle as a backup.  You will forget your wet bag at some time and you will be grateful that you planned a backup.

4:  Change of Clothes
Spit-up, leaks, mealtime, toddler play and more give little ones plenty of opportunity to soil their outfits.  Pack one more extra outfit than you think your baby will need unless you have a backup bag in your vehicle.
Pro-Mom Tip:  Keep a spare t-shirt for you and your partner in your vehicle if you have a baby that likes to spit up or a toddler that likes to share their tornado.   If you need to keep your diaper bag light, keep a spare onesie and baby leggings for your child in your vehicle backup bag.

5:  Changing Pad
FuzziBunz reusable pad
Many diaper bags come with their own changing pad.  If you feel like your changing pad is too small or not soft enough, consider the FuzziBunz reusable changing pad.  It is a nice size fleece lined pad that will protect baby from germs and help catch any changing “accidents” that occur.  {These pads are also great for immobile-baby-naked-booty-time or infant massage at home}.  
Pro-Mom Tip:  Do you have a SUV? Set up a changing station in the back of your vehicle.  On longer outings take your nursery changing pad along with you for quick and comfortable changes for you and baby.  No room in the back and need to use public restroom changing stations? Check out disposable changing pad liners.

6:  Muslin Blanket
a + a blankets
A good quality muslin blanket is one of the best baby accessories you can carry with you.  These lightweight, breathable blankets function and substitute as swaddles, spit up rags, changing pads, car seat cover, shade cover, nursing cover, stroller cover, play mat, towel, newborn carrier butt-booster, and oh yeah...a blanket.

7:  Occupiers
Oball shaker
This is a wide category that includes all things that you depend on to keep baby busy and happy:  pacifiers, toys, books, teethers, nursing necklace, and lovies.

8:  First Aid and Grooming
Dreambaby grooming kit
It seems like I notice my child's grown out fingernails on the car ride to visit a grandparent or friend.  I like to keep a nail scissors/file and hair comb in Elliot's bag for quick touch-ups when I don't notice them at home.  My hubby is quick to check Elliot's temperature when something seems "off" about his behavior.  Underarm thermometers are relatively inexpensive so we keep a spare thermometer in each of our bags. Other items to consider packing depend on the needs and age of your child: Colic Calm, butt balm, nipple cream, nail file, band-aids, antibiotic ointment, infant's ibuprofen, and stickers {to put a smile back on a toddler's face after a boo-boo}.

9.  Snacks
Munchkin snack catchers
Of course, if you are bottle feeding you'll need to pack your feeding supplies. As your child transitions or makes the switch to solids you will want to carry snacks for them in your bag.  You might even want to throw in a disposable spoon if you have a baby that likes to feed themselves. If your child drinks from a sippy then pack that, too! (Skip that stage by teaching them how to drink from a straw or Doidy cup).

Don't forget mom when packing the snacks!  We are usually quickly rushing out the door and while taking care of everyone else I forget to take care of myself.  When hunger strikes I glad I keep a snack for myself in my diaper bag.  This is especially important for breastfeeding mamas.

10.  Mother Necessities
reusable Bamboobies
Who wants to carry around a purse AND a diaper bag?  Not me! I have a small clutch that came with my Timi & Leslie bag that holds my driver's license, debit card, cash, hair tie, bobby pins, lip balm, and mascara.  I move this clutch from bag to bag so that I'm not constantly repacking all of these items.   I also like to keep a spare set of Bamboobies in my bag if they need a change later in the day.

Did I miss anything? 
What else is a must-have in YOUR diaper bag?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sample Natural Birth Plan (Birth Wishes)

Birth Wishes for Renae Launderlife

Please know that we have struggled for years to conceive our son and do not take our decisions concerning his care and health lightly. We are firm in our belief that we can all work together as a team to provide the best individualized care for mother and son, and that includes informed consent, mutual respect, and an open mind. We understand that these are “birth wishes” and that adaptability will be necessary.  Thank you so very, very much from the bottom of our hearts for your time and loving care during the most amazing moment of our lives!

Sincerely with gratitude,

Chad and Renae Launderlife

• I would appreciate being assigned a nurse who enjoys working with couples who have prepared for a natural birth. I would like strong and calm energy around me. I will not be offended if a nurse chooses to switch patients due to a better support team fit.

Essential medical staff only; no students.  If present, the midwife student who I have met a couple times at NAME OF DR OFFICE is welcome to attend with a quiet voice and calm energy.

•Please never tell me what I will feel unless I ask. I prefer to have my own experience.
•If I express my feelings, it is okay to tell me what I am experiencing is normal when appropriate.
•You may ask what I’m feeling if necessary, but do not ask my pain level.

•I am an experienced yogi and meditator.   I hope to be able to go within during my labor as part of pain management and coping, which may mean that I may not respond quickly or at all to verbal questions, suggestions, and prompts. 
•Please be very patient with my responses as they may not be immediate, look for non-verbal communication, and if necessary ask my husband what my wishes would be. 

•I wish to be surrounded by quiet voices and calm energy throughout this experience to help me stay in an inward state. I want to be able to hear conversation going on about me, but do not want it to be disruptive.

• Informed consent is required for each and every procedure/medication introduced to our situation. Please do not assume we are comfortable with standard protocol/processes.
•My husband or myself asking questions does not mean we are necessarily worried or anxious.  We want to make informed and thoughtful decisions.  Questions do not equate worry! We value your input and opinion, both factual and antidotal, and will freely ask for it.

I would like the environment to be kept as quiet and calm as possible at all times.
I would like the lights in the room to be kept low during my entire labor/delivery/recovery.
I do not want a saline lock.  (Strep B negative.)
I would like my husband to be alerted to call our birth photographer when I am approximately 6 cm dilated.  Please alert him when I am close to transition so he can set up our video recorder.
I do not wish to have continuous monitoring unless it is required by the condition of the baby.
•Please remind me to “RELEASE” physical tension in jaw, shoulders, arms, etc. (Avoid the word relax.)
•When checked for dilation, effacement, and station, I would like to know the numbers.

I do not wish to be pushed into standard hospital protocol timelines.  I believe my best chance at a healthy labor and delivery will be if my body is given the time it needs.

I realize that pain medications and epidurals exist and I’ll ask for them if I need them.
My husband and I appreciate my midwife’s calm encouragement and guidance on natural pain relief techniques.

I would appreciate guidance from my midwife in when to push and when to stop pushing to protect the perineum and allow it to stretch.  Please express that is why you want me to stop pushing. 
I am open to natural methods to protect the perineum during delivery including warm/hot compresses.
I would like a local anesthetic to repair a tear or an emergency episiotomy.

I would like the chance to touch the baby’s head when it crowns.
Even if I am fully dilated, and assuming the baby is not in distress, I would like to try to wait until I feel the urge to push before beginning the pushing phase. 
Please do not count while I am pushing unless I am not making ample progress on my own with a generous amount of time.
I would appreciate having the room lights turned very dim for the actual delivery and recovery.
I would appreciate having the room (including voices) as quiet as possible when the baby is born and during recovery.
Depending on the position I decide to deliver in, if physically able, I would like to be able to catch my own baby.  If this is possible, please guide me in this process after the head has been delivered.
I would like to have the baby placed on my stomach/chest immediately after delivery.
Do not require the baby to cry after delivery. 
If a peaceful quiet birth happens, please allow it to be.

Do not wipe off vernix; we will be rubbing it into his skin. 
Unless there is evidence of meconium during delivery, we will not be bathing our son with soap while at the hospital.
•We plan on possibly using a Leboyer bath or bath with mother and baby shortly after cord is cut.
Please gently encourage my husband to cut the cord after pulsation and preferably after placenta delivery. He wants to decide to do this the moment. 
If he does not wish to do so, I would like the option to cut the cord myself.
I would like to hold the baby while I deliver the placenta and any tissue repairs are made.
Please don’t apply traction while delivering the placenta if I am able to do it on my own. 
Please coach me to push as needed.
I do not want a routine injection of Pitocin after the delivery to aid in expelling the placenta. 
It can be used in the event of high hemorrhage risk.
I would like baby’s evaluation done in my arms and delayed 1-2+ hours after birth.
•All tests and evaluations on baby require consent from parents and should be done in their presence.  If the baby must be taken to receive medical treatment, a parent will accompany the baby at all times.
I would prefer to hold the baby skin-to-skin rather than have him placed under heat lamps.
I would like to decline the eye medication, vitamin K shot, and all vaccinations for the baby.  We intend on doing a delayed vaccination schedule with Dr. Pediatrician.
I would like to see the placenta after it is delivered.

I plan to breastfeed the baby and would like to begin nursing very shortly after birth.
In anticipation of possible gestational diabetes low-blood sugar for baby, I have a small supply of expressed colostrum if supplementation is necessary.  Consent is needed before use.
Absolutely nothing PO other than breast without mother’s consent. This includes glucose water, formula, pacifiers, etc.  Father’s consent will substitute in the emergency event Renae is unconscious and baby feeding needs are immediate.

We do not want the baby circumcised.

I would like to be fully informed and to participate in the decision-making process.
I would like my husband and birth photographer present at all times including a Cesarean.
I would like the possibility of future VBACs kept in mind when making the incision and sutures (double-layer sutures). 
I would also like the incision to be symmetrical and minimal in appearance and visibility.
I would prefer carefully placed steri-strips/glue/ subcuticular sutures to minimize scarring.  Do not use staples. If there is a better option to reduce scar visibility, please discuss this option with me!
So I can view the birth, I would like the screen lowered just before delivery of the baby.
I would like at least one arm free so I may touch my baby.
If possible, I would like delayed cord clamping. 
Do not remove vernix.
If the baby and I are not in distress, the baby should be placed on my chest and allowed skin to skin and an opportunity to immediately breastfeed. Secondary preference would be that our son is given to my husband immediately after birth.
If other family and visitors are present, no one other than my husband, our photographer, and me should be allowed to see or hold our baby until I am able to.

Monday, May 27, 2013

mother's day 2013

Always remembering my Hope Allen and Sparrow Lee...

Hubby planned a trip for the family up to Minneapolis/St. Paul.  This was our first family-of-three interstate trip. We arrived at the cities around 4pm so unfortunately it was too late {and chilly} to go to the zoo.  But thanks to several recommendations from friends, we decided to go to the Science Museum of Minnesota.  It was great and I'm looking forward to taking Elliot back to it when he is a bit older.

After the museum we went to the Mall of America.  We didn't buy too much- just a refill on my powder foundation from Lancome {and gift with purchase, of course} and an adorable little hat for Elliot.

Sunday we took Elliot to his very first baseball game.  Unfortunately the Twins lost to the Baltimore Orioles but it was still a fun memory.  My husband's top choice for a boy name was Harmon after the Twins player Harmon Killebrew {seriously}. Thankfully after meeting our son he was willing to pass on the name.  Here is hubby and Elliot next to the Harmon Killebrew statue at Target Field.

I am so thankful to be the mother of this sweet baby boy.  I can't believe after 4 years of infertility and miscarriage I finally have my "someday" baby in my arms.  Being a parent is an amazing, amazing experience. Elliot is pure joy and has my whole heart.

I love my boys.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

top 10 items for a new breastfeeding mother

When it comes to breastfeeding you naturally have all you need to get started.  But there are some items that you might decide to purchase that will make breastfeeding a more enjoyable (and do-able) experience for you and your baby.  Here is my list of the top 10 items for a new breastfeeding mother:

1.  Breastfeeding reference books to read at the end of your pregnancy.  Trust me when I tell you that you won't have time, energy, or free hands to read them after baby arrives.  I thought Ina Mae's Guide to Breastfeeding was a great resource.  Dr. Sears' The Baby Book has a nice section on breastfeeding.  Many other moms recommend the La Leche League's Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.  Combine your reading with a breastfeeding class at your local hospital to help your partner feel more comfortable with breastfeeding and to reinforce what you have read.

My Breast Friend
2.  Support pillow.  I started off with the Boppy because it looked simple, and that is precisely what it is.  Simple support.  But, OMG, life improved when I finally took the My Breast Friend (MBF) out of its package and tried it out.  I almost didn't use it at all because it looks so "contraption" like.  But the MBF wins, hands down, in my book.  It offers adjustable support and encourages good, comfortable posture. My husband laughs at me every time I put it on, but that silly little pillow is worth every penny.  I am still using the MBF and have since only used the Boppy as a photo prop. I purchased my MBF off of deal-site Zulily.  There is no promise that it will come up again, but I've seen it pop up every 6 months or so in the past.
Lansinoh's lanolin
3.  Nipple cream.  I'm not sure I would have been able to continue breastfeeding if it wasn't for nipple cream.  I rotate between Lansinoh's lanolin, Earth Mama Angel Baby's Nipple Butter, and plain ol' breast milk.  Use this from the beginning even if you feel like you are okay without it for the first couple days.  I did not because I thought I didn't need it and suffered with blisters and bleeding that developed several days later.  Nearly 7 weeks later I still use these when Elliot is nursing heavily or as a barrier from the water in the shower.

organic unrefined coconut oil
Unrefined coconut oil was recommended by my lactation consultant as a great natural nipple cream due to its moisturizing, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties.  Coconut oil is an all-purpose baby and mommy product that can be used for so many things (nipple cream, lotion substitute, baby massage, healing oil for mama's perineum, cloth diaper safe diaper rash remedy/prevention, and more)!

Ameda ComfortGelPads
4.  Cooling pads.  Like the nipple cream, use cooling pads right away from the beginning even if you feel like you are okay the first day or two.  You'll need them in that beginning 2 week "toughening-up" and engorgement phase. My favorite disposable option for nipple pain is Ameda and my favorite reusable/disposable system for engorgement is The First Years.  The Ameda gel pads are slightly larger than nipple while The First Years are larger for more surface area contact on the breast.

EMAB Boobie Tubes
A reusable option are the Earth Mama Angel Baby Boobie Tubes.  These are nice because they are multipurpose.  They can be chilled in the refrigerator for use during engorgement and initial nursing adjustment or heated up in the microwave for use with clogged ducts. I liked these but I did not feel like the Booby Tubes held the cool nearly as long as the disposable options.  If a person was being frugal and practical I would recommend Bobby Tubes in your breastfeeding survival kit.  But if you can splurge the extra money I would also recommend a disposable option for when things may be especially painful in the beginning-even if it is just one set to give you some extra cooling during that time.

5.  Milkies milk saver.  As long as you remember not to bend over while using this (you'll learn the meaning of crying over spilled milk), you'll have a great stash of "free milk" that didn't require pumping. Milkies are especially great in the first couple weeks, during times of engorgement, or if you are a regular leaker. I used my Milkies religiously in the beginning and I am so thankful I have that colostrum rich transitional milk frozen for when my baby may need it in the future.  Not everyone will leak, but I think it is worth the cost just to have them on hand in case you are.  I still use these at seven weeks post-partum for leaky days (yesterday I collected 3.5 ounces- enough for a bottle feeding).

6.  Bamboobies.  Speaking of leaking, you'll want something to protect your clothing and to serve as an insurance against embarrassing leaks during outings. These reusable pads are eco-friendly and wallet-friendly in the long run.  I have found that the regulars serve my needs just fine, but I do like the overnights during periods of engorgement. Pro-tip: make sure your nipple is dry before placing the Bamboobie against the skin or else you will have to peel it off your nipple when you take off.  {Ouch!}

7.  Breastmilk storage bags. You'll need a place to store all that "free-milk" you've collected in your Milkies.  If you are going to return to work outside of the home or want your partner to take on some of the feedings, you'll likely want a longer term milk storage solution like these freezer bags.

When I surveyed my mommy subscribers, the Lansinoh brand was overwhelmingly the preferred choice and so far they have been working great for me.  Be sure to ask your OB/midwife/hospital if they have any samples.

Freeze the bags flat and with minimal air for orderly storage.  Check out this pin for an up-cycled way to keep your freezer and stash organized.

8. Breast pump.  If you are going to be returning to work outside of the home or wanting to build a freezer stash of breastmilk then you will likely want to invest in a quality breast pump.  I use the Medela Pump in Style and have been happy with it thus far.  I have only used it pre-labor (natural induction method) and several times for relieving extremely engorged breasts.  The Simple Wishes hands-free breastpump bra is worth every penny if you are going to be pumping on a regular basis.

If you are going to be a SAHM and only need a small breastmilk stash or want something for quick engorgement relief, a manual pump will likely be all you need.

Glamormom Long Top
9.  Nursing Bra/Nursing Tank.  Go ahead and let the girls air out and be free at home when you can {really, do it! it is good for your nips to get some air.}, but you will want nursing bras and tanks for outings.  When your baby is fussing or crying because he/she is hungry you will want very quick and one-handed access to the ladies.  Only buy a couple of these toward the end of your pregnancy and then order any others after your milk comes in and you know what size you will need.

I asked my subscribers for favorites and the Bravado and Glamourmom were preferred brands.  I have the Bravado brand and although they are pricey they are supportive and great quality.  I also have a Glamourmom and Le Leche League tank ordered.  I will update this blog post once I have tried them out.  For an economical option, Wal-Marts Bestform line is "okay." Personally, I don't feel like this brand gives enough support but decent enough to have one or two cheap tanks in your wardrobe. Old Navy also has nursing camisoles but I have not been impressed with them. 

10.  Comfortable place to nurse. You will spend A LOT of time nursing.  Please have one or two comfortable places set up for nursing before your baby's birth day.  A rocking chair or glider is great for both nursing and for comforting a fussy baby.  A reclining chair is also great for practicing laid-back breastfeeding/biological nurturing. Set up a little basket at each chair with breast pads, nipple cream, burp rags, muslin blanket, and nursing pillow.  Put the lights around your nursing locations on a dimmer switch.  Keeping the lights dim will help keep your baby (and you!) in sleep mode during nighttime feedings.

Were there any other items that you felt were essential as a new nursing mother?  What were your must-haves?  Please comment below to help others that come to this page looking for advice.

If you are on Pinterest, I'd greatly appreciate a pin.

If you are having challenges breastfeeding, visit this site to locate a lactation consultant near you.