Apr 8, 2013

I Bought All the Things: Newborn Feeding Edition

Throughout my pregnancy, I did a decent job of posting my thought process and research on the baby things we purchased. Now we can analyze what we have. The NICU Edition can be found here.
Once we got home with the boys, we started using different (and more!) things. In fact, our living room turned into this:
Can you spot two babies?
The sheer amount of baby stuff available, and even the amount we have, is overwhelming. Some of these things are amazing while others are big busts. Lets look at a few of our heroes and our duds.


Consistent with NICU Edition:
I still love the Medela Symphony Breastpump. I still haven't gotten brave enough to trade it in on a purchased pump and in fact extended my rental until the end of June. I'm giving myself lots of time to get comfortable with pumping! When it comes time to purchase I am torn between the workhouse Pump in Style and the more portable Freestyle. Luckily, my insurance will cover a double electric pump, but probably not one of those and I have heard a lot of really questionable things about the pump it will cover. To go with my pump, I have switched to Pumpin' Pals flanges instead of the standard Medelas. Many women say they see an increase in output with these. I noticed a little bit (maybe?) although it might have just been that I was having a bad few days before I ordered. What I did notice was how much more comfortable they are! It is also easier on my back. Since the Pumpin Pals tilt downward I don't have to lean forward while pumping. Win.
We have now increased to two Boon Grasses set up side by side in the kitchen. I wish we had started with the larger Boon Lawn, but I had no way of knowing we would be a bottle-feeding family.
My bottle drying/storage set-up.
I still wear breast pads and still like the ones my MIL made best. They are softer than any of the other brands I have purchased. And cuter! Of the ones she made, I currently like the ones with PUL on one side best because I can't leak through them. I also really like the ones with minky or microfleece on the side closest to my skin because it wicks the wetness away and so I don't get as cold. What fabrics to use in homemade breast pads is hottly debated online and seems to really be personal preferences. With my Renaud's, the flannels feel to cold directly against my skin and cause problems for me.
The differences from NICU Edition:
I no longer like the Medela Hands Free Pumping Bustier. I discovered the Milkalicious Double Nursing Tank that allows nursing, pumping, and all day wear. This tank is absolutely amazing! I seriously LOVE it. I also bought the Rumina Pump and Nurse Tank, which is a better known more popular pumping tank, but it didn't fit me as well in the shoulders so I didn't find it as comfortable. I wear a pumping/nursing tank 24 hours a day and own three total, with a fourth being shipped as I type! I recently started leaving the house a bit more and so the tanks aren't always practical. I was introduced to the Arden bra, which is new to the market (in fact pre-orders for the bra won't ship until the end of April). I took advantage of the pre-sale and I am hoping that since it is a regular bra it will give me a bit more flexibility and work under dresses for summer but is still a hands free pumping bra that can be worn all day.
While in the NICU, the boys used single use bottles and nipples designed for preemies. We took a bunch of these home and continued using them. Eventually they wore out and we had to switch to a more permanent bottling solution. We started with Avent bottles because we had been given four of them from another twin mom. They were okay, but Avent doesn't have a preemie nipple and the flow was more than the little guys could handle. They were choking and spitting up quite a bit. We switched to Dr. Brown's with the level 0 nipple and have never looked back. Our only mistake was not getting enough to start with. Our advice: once you choose a bottle, get enough to last all night so you aren't washing bottles at 2AM. We now have enough to make it 24hrs, but I don't like seeing my sink that piled up so I only keep 6 bottles on the counter. If I'm too lazy to wash, I can always grab two bottles out of the cabinet.

While the little guys are feeding, I need baby chairs. They aren't to the high chair stage yet, so we use two baby lounge chairs (also known as Boppys). They are perfect for holding the babies up.

Boppys are NOT perfect for breastfeeding. In fact, I find it pretty uncomfortable. For our attempts at breastfeeding I use a My Breast Friend Twins Deluxe. This is comfortable for feeding one and allows tandem feeding, which we have done successfully but not with much frequency.

Finally, since Tripp and Davy are still small and below their ideal weights, I religiously track every feeding, every diaper, and every pumping session. To do this I use an amazing iPhone/iPad app called Total Baby. It tracks doctors appointments, shots, nursing, pumping, bottles, diapers, sleeping, baths, medications, etc. Most importantly, it will do it all separately for multiple children. I don't normally like having to pay for apps, but this one at $4.99 was a bargain.

The Duds:
In terms of feeding supplies, we haven't experienced much in the way of duds. We have a bottle warmer we recently purchased in the nursery. It was on clearance at Target for $7 because it was an online return. For the price, we are happy with it, but honestly putting the bottle in a bowl of boiling water works just as well and doesn't take any longer so I wouldn't spend much money on a bottle warmer. That said, it does make middle of the night feedings easier because I can have the bottles ready to go in the attached cooler and then transfer them to warmer when the boys wake up. It is nice not having to go to the kitchen before the feed.

I am now trying to feed two babies and do it on my own for the large majority of feeds. This means I need a system because holding and feeding one while the other screams absolutely breaks my heart. So, I bottle prop**. I tried a fancy bottle swing, but the angle it held the bottle on caused it to flow too quickly for my little guys so those are now living in the closet. We have good luck using a rolled cotton blanket on the Boppy pillow (preferred; pictured top) or even the tummy time pillow on the Boppy pillow (pictured bottom).

Still to come: Newborn Entertainment and Newborn Transportation (get excited for this one -- it has a giveaway!)

**Go ahead perfect mothers and judge. I for one am completely comfortable with it. I sit on the ground with them and talking to them and this way they both get to eat. We get plenty of skin-to-skin and one-on-one time when we practice breastfeeding, during storytime, when we sing songs and play, etc.

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