I have officially hit the three month mark of breastfeeding my precious Charlotte. I wouldn’t say I was worried about my second breastfeeding journey but I will definitely say I put a lot more pressure on myself for this breastfeeding journey. With Maddie it was a case of ‘if it works awesome, if it doesn’t thats fine too’. Once I began my journey with Maddie, I began to take it very seriously and gave it my ALL! My goal of three months became six, six became 12, 12 became 18 months and 18 months became three-years-old. There were plenty of ups and downs, cracked nipples, engorged boobs, responsibility and commitment (it’s overwhelming to know you are the primary and only source of food for the first six months) and plenty of discomfort and selflessness. Our three year breastfeeding journey came to an end the night before Maddie’s third birthday. Her last ‘feed’ was less than three minutes and it was done – she never asked for boobie again. It was mutually the end of the journey for both of us. It was emotional for me, yes, but after doing extensive research and following the recommendation of the World Health Organisation (I see it has now changed to two-years-old) I knew that after three there were minimal nutritional benefits feeding beyond this age. Maddie enjoyed her ‘boobies’ but it was never a problematic reliance or attachment.
Now that I am on my second journey of breastfeeding with Charlie, I had initally worried that for whatever reason that breastfeeding her wouldn’t be as ‘smooth sailing’ as it was with Maddie purely because all children are different and she could have been an entirely different experience. Three moths in – I am committed to reaching three years as I did with Maddie – purely because it was a beautiful journey and I have seen the massive benefits of having breastfed Maddie for as long as I did.
With the three years ‘experience’ I gained breastfeeding Maddie I know first hand that the first few months are the hardest and once I hit the six month mark (when introducing solids) it would get easier and easier as her reliance of me being her primary source of food became less and less. By a year/ 18 months it was super easy and eventually it just became night feeds. I also know that the engorged boobs, leaking and overall discomfort is short lived and the ease of having milk ‘on the go’ and ‘readily available’ was a massive benefit.
I managed to breastfeed Maddie for three years without needing any additional top ups of formula bottles and kept up my supply by expressing, expressing expressing to keep my supply up! I owe a large part of my breastfeeding success to expressing regularly! I am a firm believer in stimulating and keeping your supply up with a breast pump and feeding as much as possible because breastmilk works on a supply and demand kind of way.
I went back to work with Maddie at four months and the only way I could ensure I didn’t decrease my supply and ensured that I kept up with bottles for her day care was to express as much as I possibly could.
This brings me to my second journey and choosing my breast pump and accessories I know I needed and something new that I never had with Maddie that blew me away!
I was fortunate enough to partner up with Tommee Tippee in all my expressing and bottle feeding essentials! They put together a parcel of their range for me to try and having used the range over the past three months – I am super excited to share what I would say are my personal ‘must haves’ that could possibly help you on your breastfeeding / expressing journey. I am so hugely passionate about breastfeeding because it was and is now a hugely special experience and I would love to be able to share what worked for me. I know we all have hugely different experiences, realities, bodies, babies etc and what works for one may not work for another but if I a mom can take one piece of useful information or product find out of this blog post that can help her have a successful journey then I am one happy woman!
So here are my top five Tommee Tippee expressing must haves:
1. Made for Me Single Electric Breast Pump
A few of the most important things to me when looking at a breast pump (from experience) is it needs to be easy to put together, portable to express on the go, lightweight to carry and discreet enough to express when and where I want!
When I read up on the Made for Me single electric breast pump it fit the bill on all accounts and more! They say the pump is small and discreet, truly portable and mighty quiet… well it lived up to its reputation with me!
A feature that stood out for me the most is the fact that the power unit is rechargeable via USB which means I can charge it in the car, at my desk via my computer or via a traditional plug! This is HUGE for me! I spent hours and hours sitting in my car expressing when breastfeeding Maddie. I lost count how many times I either forgot to charge the rechargeable batteries I had bought for my pump at the time or forgot to put the batteries in the pump! The Made for Me can also be used while charging to give you maximum flexibility too. A full charge can also last over an hour!
It’s gentle on my breasts with a soft, cushioned silicone cup that’s gentle on sore breasts – especially during those first few weeks. It has five different massage modes as well as nine express settings to stimulate milk flow and express breast milk in a way that is most comfortable for me. Not every day is the same, especially at the start of my breastfeeding journey so being able to adjust the settings to what feels comfortable for me is a
I absolutely love the fact that it is easy to put together! There are no more than five pieces to fit together and only three pieces to sterilise after each express excluding the bottle used. There is zero frustration putting the pump together. The electric breast pump handset connects to all Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature and Advanced Anti Colic baby bottles (excluding the glass bottles).
Another stand out how affordable the breast pump is! It retails for R1799 – incredible considering it has a USB rechargeable power unit!
2. Made for Me Silicone Breast Pump
This simple little breast pump is one of my number one new mom must haves! I really wish I had something like this when Maddie was a baby because I cannot tell you how much milk I have managed to ‘catch’ during my first few months of breastfeeding. With this silicone breast pump simple attached to my breast either while feeding or when I experienced leaking, I managed to collect 100-150mls per feed.
This 3 in 1 simplest of all our breast pumps is a gentle way to express that can be used as a pump, as a let-down catcher when you’re feeding from the opposite breast or to provide relief to engorged milk-filled breasts. The gentle suction pump helps draw milk from breasts, it’s a simple, compact and completely silent and small and discreet enough to use anywhere. It’s made from 100% food grade silicone – BPA, PVC and phthalate-free – safe for mom and baby and it’s easy to clean – the one-piece design with no fiddly parts for germs to hide. You can pop in the dishwasher, store the pump in a sterile environment in its re-usable travel and microwave steriliser bag. Two features of the pump I loved the most were the clear measurements – to help you monitor milk flow as well as the suction base to ensure there aren’t any accidental knocks or spills. It’s also super affordable – around R250. I found it so incredibly useful and affordable that I bought a second one! I cannot recommend it enough! It was a lifesaver for the first two months. I don’t use it anymore as I am no longer leaking and prefer to use my electric pump which I find gets a lot more milk out over the silicone pump now that my milk has settled.
3. Microwave Steam Steriliser
I used the same steriliser when Maddie was a baby and absolutely loved it. It’s compact and does the job with such ease. The Tommee Tippee Microwave Steam Steriliser sterilises up to four bottles in just four minutes depending on what microwave you have, and the contents stay sterile for 24 hours with the lid closed. It also fits most bottles, soothers and breast pump accessories. It’s BPA free 100% natural steam steriliser, kills 99% of germs without using chemicals. The lid also doubles up as a space-saving sterile surface to help prepare baby’s bottles. It’s super easy just to pop all pump and bottles into the steriliser and into the microwave and it does its job without taking up too much space on my kitchen counter. It can also easily be packed for holidays when away from home too. It’s an inexpensive, convenient solution to sterilising.
Tommee Tippee was our bottle of choice with Maddie when she was a baby and she took it with ease. We fortunately never experienced any problems with her taking the bottle. So we naturally decided to do the same with Charlie. We love that there are a variety of bottle options on the market from Tommee Tippee to suit all babies needs – including;
Closer to Nature baby bottle – our bottle of choice. This award winning Tommee Tippee original baby bottle features a classic wide teat for easy latch on. The teat gently elongates and flexes for a comfortable feed.
Anti-colic baby bottle – designed to help reduce air bubbles.
Glass baby bottle – an environmentally friendly option.
Extra Slow Flow baby bottle – for newborn feeds.
Milk storage bottles – these are an expressing must! They collect, measure and store breast milk without spilling a drop! They are suitable freezing, thawing and heating breast milk. They come in a pack of three 150ml bottles each with a screw rings, milk storage pot lids and bottle caps. Teats can be purchased separately to convert the milk storage bottle into a feeding bottle.
5. Milk Storage Bags
Tommee Tippee‘s Closer to Nature Milk Storage Bags are pre sterilised allowing you to simply pour expressed milk directly into the bag without needing to sterilise in advance. I went through boxes and boxes of these bags with Maddie as I built up my freezer supply. I would collect milk throughout the day from expressing, pop them in the fridge and at the end of the day I would mix them (all at the same temperature) to make up 150ml / 200ml bags of milk (a typical bottle feed per bag) to store in the freezer labelling them with Maddie and now Charlie’s name (for her school), with the date to keep track of which milk to use first as well as the volume of each bag.
Each box comes with 36 pre-sterilised, stand up bags (for easy milk transfer) that can hold up to 350ml of breast milk. What I love about the Tommee Tippee range of storage bags is that they are double fastened to prevent leaking.
These five products have helped me so much over the past three months and I have had an incredibly smooth sailing experience with their range!
I would love to put together a blog post on a bit more about my breastfeeding journey, all that I have learnt, some tips and tricks, some questions I often get asked and general advice. I am no medical practitioner but I can share what worked for me and it could possibly work for you on your journey. So keep an eye out for it over the next few months.
A huge thank you to Tommee Tippee for partnering with me on my breastfeeding journey.
For more information on these Tommee Tippee products and more visit their website: https://www.tommeetippee.co.za/