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Breastfeeding is something that I totally underestimated. Before having Milai, I literally thought, you just put a baby on the boob and milk comes when whenever, wherever, and however much will come out. HA. boy was I wrong. Well anyway, whether you’re a new mama or a soon-to-be mama, I thought I’d share a blog bost on MY personal guide to breastfeeding featuring my favorite breastfeeding products that you can get from Walmart at such a great price! Walmart literally has everything you can imagine for your little ones whether you’re strictly breastfeeding, formula feeding, or whatever else you need for your littles. You also really can’t beat their price, selection, or convenience! Since having the baby, I literally buy EVERYTHING online, and Walmart makes it so easy to shop for everything. They have next day delivery and curbside pickup- what more can a mom ask for?!
Okay, so here we go! I’ve broken down this blog post into sections, so it’s easy for everyone to come back and find the info they need. PS – read my blog post HERE where I did a Q+A with a lactation specialist to help answer my top FAQ on breastfeeding!
My Milk Supply
I get a lot of DMs asking me about my milk supply and why it’s great. Just like everyone, my supply goes up and down all the time, but I believe my milk supply is so great because I established it the first few weeks. Milai has always been a great sleeper since we brought her home from the hospital. If you want to see her 5-week schedule read it HERE. The first week home, she would sleep 4-5 hour stretches and the following week she was sleeping 6-8 hours, and then by the 3rd to 4th week, she was sleeping a full 12 hours. With that being said, because she was a great sleeper, she was constantly eating during the day. So here’s what I did…
The first 8 weeks:
- During the day, I nursed her every 30min to 2 hours. She was hungry ALL THE TIME and I kept at it and just breastfed her. THIS is key to building your supply in the beginning.
- When nursing her on one side, I would use the Haaka manual pump on the other to catch the leakage.
- I started pumping using my Medela pump at like week 2-3. Probably a little too early than what the lactation consultant would suggest (she suggest start at 4 weeks), but I had no choice! I was so full of milk at night because I was nursing her so much during the day, and because she was sleeping at night, I had to get the milk out! I’ll get more into pumping in another section, but this is also what helped. You can always just use the Haaka manual pump to express the first few weeks!
- By the 3rd week when baby was sleeping through the night, I was pumping as if she was waking up every 3 hours and would pump 10pm and 2am.
To build supply back up:
- I try to nurse her 8-12x a day, as much as I can, even if I don’t get much out. I try to increase the number of letdowns, so I can tell my body that I need to produce more milk.
- I try not to stress about it. When you stress, your supply will go down. I try to never worry about my milk supply and always go into it confidently that it will build back up!
- Take supplements! I’ve heard great things about this one.
When I Pump
As I mentioned above, I started pumping at like 2-3 weeks, because I had so much milk. I would only pump at night because I was so engorged the first few weeks. My milk supply has leveled out since then, but here’s what I did in the beginning and here’s what I do now.
Again, as I mentioned above, I was pumping a night a lot the first few weeks because baby girl was sleeping through her feedings. If you’re a new mama and your baby is waking up for feedings, obviously you don’t need to pump!
She would go down around 7:30pm and I would pump at 10pm before bed then again at 2am. By 8 weeks, I dropped my 2am pump. It hurt a little to drop that pump, but eventually, my body was in-sync with me and the baby’s sleep schedule.
8 weeks – now:
I now pump to build a stash. I pump twice a day. Once in the morning immediately after her first feeding. On average, typically get around 4oz each side. My morning pump is typically my biggest since that’s when I’m the most full! My second pump is my 10pm night time pump where I get anywhere from 2oz-5oz each side. I find this pump just depends on how much she ate before bedtime.
TIP! I learned this trick from my girlfriend, but after I pump at night, I put the pump bottles in a Ziploc bag and put it in the refrigerator, that way I can use it again for my morning pump without having to wash it twice! I will then wash it after my morning pump, so it’s ready to go for my night time pump!
Nursing vs Bottle
We introduced Milai to the bottle at the mid-end of week 2. We would have Kell give her one bottle a day, just so she would get used to it and did that until she was about 10 weeks old (pretty much until we were confident she would take a bottle whenever, wherever). We also started giving her cold milk, warm milk, room temp milk, just so she would take it at any temperature.
Milai is 16 weeks today and when we are out and about during the day, depending on where we go and how long we will be gone for, I will take a bottle just in case. I do always try to nurse her if possible, but if we’re going to be in the car a lot and on the go, it’s nice to know that I have that bottle. I use this milk bottle cooler, just to make sure it lasts longer!
My Breastmilk System
Okay, this one took me a bit to figure out, but here’s what I do… I go by the 6/6/6 rule; milk lasts 6 hours in room temperature, 6 days in the fridge, and 6 months in the freezer. Since pumped milk lasts on average 5 days, I always keep 2-3 bags of pumped milk in the refrigerator, just in case I need my milk to last 5 hours if we’re out and about. Since I’m pumping twice a day, I typically pump about 2-4 bags a day, so whatever milk I don’t use, I put it in the freezer. So, I have a nice rotation of fridge milk to freezer milk.
Now, let’s say Kell is watching the baby while I’m out and he needs to feed the baby, I always prefer that he thaws one of the bags from the freezer because thawed milk only lasts about 1-2 hours. I hope I’m making sense. hah I know it’s a bit confusing.
I hope that helps you guys and again, I am no expert, but this is what I’ve learned and what has worked for us!
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