Three months after the birth of my son I had to return back to work. I originally had an Ardo Breast Pump. The breast pump worked well but I felt trapped to an outlet. It had batteries but they would die quickly. I purchased a Spectra S1 and it was a game changer. I felt like I had more freedom. The fact that it was easily portable and had a battery built inside was definitely a win in my book.
The spectra S1 is a closed system. A closed system means that I don’t have to worry about milk getting into the machine. This is an important feature because you want a product that is hygienic. It can be a single or double breast pump. It also has a letdown mode. You control the settings. It’s not like there’s just 2 settings and then if it’s too soft or the suction is too high then you have to deal with it. This allows you to find what works for your body and comfort.
The only thing is that they don’t have a huge selection of flange sizes. However, I just bought this yellow adapter piece on amazon and was able to use the medela flange. It was super easy. The fact that it doesn’t have a wide variety of flange sizes wasn’t a big deal considering all the other great features that it has. You just modify it and you are good to go. There is a nightlight and a bottle holder in the back. For Americans many insurance companies cover the spectra s1.
When I first started pumping. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t understand flange sizes. I didn’t understand that it didn’t have to go fast and have a high suction in order to be efficient. I ended up tearing the skin from my nipple. Ouch isn’t even the word. I was so frustrated. I had breastfed with no problems and now that I was back at work the pump is what messed me up. I started researching what I could do, since I still had to pump. I had to keep up my supply and also provide my son with his milk for the next day. I found these breast pump nipple cushions by BeauGen and decided to give it a try. The cushions are soft and stretchy. They stick to the flanges. They are 1mm thick, so it will change the flange size. For me I also had the wrong flange size, so once I figured out all of this I didn’t have to use the cushions anymore. However, if you are in the learning stages and injure yourself then these will definitely help. I would suggest you check with the company to see if it is compatible with your pump. It is compatible with most major pumps.
Like many moms I worried about my milk supply. I always wondered if I needed more milk. Was I pumping enough? Is this a good amount? A colleague suggested I try Mrs. Patel’s products. I started taking Mrs. Patel’s fenugreek bars. I must admit it that it does have an acquired taste. However, I did get use to it. Mrs. Patel’s teas on the other hand are delicious. I would eat one bar a day in the morning and I noticed an increase in my milk supply when I pumped. I was able to feed my son and build up a stash. I had also tried the munch crunch, which was great on salads. Drinking a ton of water was very important as well. I had a half a gallon jug that I would drink and then refill.
As a pumping mom actually scratch that as a mom in general we have to carry around so much stuff. Before I went back to work I bought a Sarah Wells bag. I loved my Sarah Wells bag so much that I bought two of her bags. I have the Annie and the Abby bag. The Abby is slightly bigger. Both bags have two big pockets on the side. I was able to fit the spectra on one side and my cooler with the milk on the other side. The inside is big enough for a laptop, my lunch and all the other stuff I carried throughout the day.
It’s a nylon bag, so it’s easy to clean. My first day back at work all the water from bottle fell out. I was able to just flip the bag over dump the water out and wipe it dry. It’s a stylish bag that can double as a diaper bag or just a regular bag. The pockets fall down to make an even larger space inside the bag. It is thermally lined on each side with a pouch to put a picture of your baby. The owner is extremely nice and sent me a new bag when I got a tear in mine. We agreed for me to donate the one I had to a mom in need and that’s exactly what I did. The customer service is truly phenomenal.
I went through my trials and tribulations with pumping. It was definitely a learning experience. The things we do for our children. It was important to me, so I made it happen. Pumping is in no way fun but figuring out the right pump, flange size and settings will make the process easier. Pumping support groups on Facebook were my saving grace. My personal favorite is Fancy Pumpers. If there is one piece of advice that I could give is to always seek help and guidance from others, especially when it comes to pumping/breastfeeding. Support and lift each other up because pumpin’ ain’t easy. You got this!
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