What are Silicone Breast Pumps? And Why You Would Need One

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If you are like me then you are always researching the latest products to make your life easier as a mom.  Having just recently had my second baby, I was on the hunt for any product to make breastfeeding easier. I knew I would be chasing a toddler this time around. That’s when I stumbled upon article after article about silicone breast “pumps.”

They were EVERYWHERE.  So, I did some research and decided I would buy one and try it out.  I bought a brand that was a bit cheaper than the name brand Haakaa I had read about. Many of the reviews had said both brands worked well but I decided to try out the Bumblebee.

So, what are silicone breast pumps?

First of all I had no idea that you could use these products as a ‘pump.’  Most of the articles that I read marketed these as ‘milk collectors.’ (Which you can totally use them for, especially if you are an over producer or leaker). But they are in fact pumps.  Not in traditional sense ,these will by no means be as efficient as your electric pump but they are pumps.

These types of pumps use natural suction pressure to ‘pump milk. It’s all hands free once your milk is flowing.

How to use it

It’s super easy to use one of these:

  1. First, flip up the cone shaped opening back.
  2. Then, squeeze the pump at the base.
  3. Place nipple in the opening and release the pump creating a suction.
  4. Finally, simply flip the opening back onto your breast.
  5. Voilà!  You are now hands free pumping.

A few helpful tips:

  • you might want to try and hand express some milk to get a letdown before placing the pump on.
  • using the pump on one side and nursing on the other can help achieve let down and get a stead flow of milk.
  • squeezing the middle of the base will get you the strongest suction, for less suction squeeze higher on the bottle.
  • using nipple cream makes for a more comfy fit especially if you have dry skin like me.

Once let down is achieved either by nursing on the opposite side or by hand expression you simply just leave it on for the feeding or until your milk stops flowing. It’s so simple!

Why use one

These pumps are amazing!  They can be great for a wide range of reasons.  So, why would you use one…

  • if you are an over producer and don’t want to waste precious milk (it’s liquid gold every drop is worth collecting).
  • if you get engorged easily.  These are great for keeping in the diaper bag and using to pump on the go to release pressure from a missed feeding or if you are away from your baby.
  • if you want to build a stash of milk. I read you can collect any where from a few drops to 4 oz a session.  ( I normally can collect 2oz).  By collecting small amounts at each feeding you could build a stash a little at a time and have milk frozen for others to feed baby.
  • if you want to increase your supply a bit.  As you probably know, breastfeeding is supply and demand.  So, if you use the pump on the breast you’re not nursing on, your body will continue to make that amount of milk if you are using it consistently.

Mom Approved

If you are nursing or are planning on nursing in the future then you NEED to have one of these!

Pros:

I have been using mine for a little under 3 months now and oh. my. gosh!  In the beginning it helped me collect milk
I was leaking.  But my favorite thing about these pumps are how much milk I could pump WITHOUT being attached to my electric pump.  IT gave me the freedom to pop this on, nurse my babe and chase my toddler if I needed to.

Cons:

I highly suggest you invest in one if you are a nursing mom my ONLY “con” which could be a pro for some is, watch how often you use it.  I started to produce WAY more milk than my little guy needed because I was using it every session.  If you need to increase your supply this may be a pro for you.  If your supply is normal then I would limit your use to once or twice a day so it doesn’t interfere with how much milk you are producing.

 

Let me know in the comments your experiencing if you have used one of these.

 

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What to Get a Mom to Be for Her Baby Shower?

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What to get a mom to be for her?

I don’t know about you but I am really big on handmade gifts or gifts that are helpful. So, when I got invited to my first baby shower since becoming a mom I wanted to make sure my gift would be helpful. I knew that this mom to be had lots of family who had made sure she was covered for baby essentials.  So, I wanted to make sure she had a few items that made all the difference to me. Which led to making a mom to be care box.

Making a care box

Once I decided to collect a few items for the mom to be and skip the traditional baby shower gift. I knew I wanted to add items that were useful.  So, I added the following “somethings”:

  1. Useful- an item that I used a lot once I was a new struggling mom.
  2. For self care- beauty, bath, an item that would make her feel good about herself.
  3. Sweey/cozy- who doesn’t need to feel cozy after baby is here.
  4. Helpful- an item that you wish you would’ve known about sooner.

Something Useful

Think of a gift that helped you get through those early days of being a mom.

For my something useful I went with this laundry backpack.  I was so sore after I gave birth and with our laundry on a different floor I couldn’t hold a basket against my tummy.  I found something similar to this on clearance when I was  postpartum and I LOVE IT!  It made getting laundry done so much easier.

Self care

At my baby shower a close friend made me a little hospital goodie bag of things to pack. It was a super sweet and useful gift and full of things I would’ve never thought of.

Two of those things were dry shampoo and face wipes. So, so simple but made me feel so human after delivery. These were my two self care items for this care box.

Just try and think of the thing that made you feel clean or fresh while at the hospital or when you got back home. What helped you feel “put together?” Include this as your self care item.

Sweet and cozy

This one was easy. What is something that would make your mom-to-be feel cozy or sweet? Maybe she likes a certain kind of chocolate or is she a coffee lover?

For my care box I got her a coffee mug that had a cute Mom saying on it. This is her first baby and I always love getting mugs that make me feel good when I read them. So this seemed fitting.

Helpful

Who doesn’t want something helpful as a first time mom? Think of an item you discovered or were introduced to when you were a new mom that you wish you knew about sooner.

My something useful was Mother’s Milk Tea. 

My friend wants to nurse and doesn’t have any moms around who have nurses so I wanted to include this tea.

This particular tea helped keep my supply up when my son and I were struggling with nursing. Such a simple gift but a game changer I wish I knew about before beginning my nursing journey.

Finishing touches

After I collected all my gifts I bought a super cute box that could be used after she opened the present and of course added a small hand written note explaining my gift.

There is something about personalized gift that always made me feel special and hopefully my friend I gifted this to felt that way. Small things can go a long way.

What would you include in your mom to be care box? Let me know in the comments.

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How to Go From Nursery to Toddler Room

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When we first put Killian’s nursery together we focused on simple pieces, that didn’t take up a lot of space. We also, only baby proofed what we thought he could reach as a baby.  Being a first time parent we didn’t realize how fast he would grow, learn to walk and even climb on things. Now that he is 14 months old he is in desperate need of a toddler room. This lead to the budget friendly update of his nursery to toddler room. With number two on the way I needed him to have his own space he could play in, safely. With a budget of only about $150 this is what we updated in his nursery to make a toddler room.

How to Go From a Nursery To a Toddler Room

The first step is to figure out what you are working with.  I am going to share before and after pictures of our nursery to show you what we updated.

Problem Areas

Take a good look at your nursery and try to imagine you are a toddler (I know that sounds absurd, but bear with me) and answer the following questions:

  • What can be climbed?
  • What can you reach?
  • Are there any cords, blinds, or outlets you can reach?
  • Can any furniture fall over on you?
  • Do you have a space for everything you need (toys, clothes, sleep, etc.)?

Once you identified the problems, make a short list of what you need to update in your nursery to make it a safe toddler room, safety hazards first!  I promise we will get to the fun, cute stuff in a second.

This was our list:

  1. Anchor the dresser to the wall.
  2. Cover outlets.
  3. Move humidifier, monitor and sound machine out of reach.
  4. Clear area under the window so there is no access to the windowsill.
  5. Remove the standing lamp and replace with something mounted.
  6. Make a space for toys that is age appropriate. 

Find Solutions

Many of our problem areas involved our son being able to reach and get to things he couldn’t as a ‘crawler.’  He could’t get behind his crib to the outlet there before, he couldn’t reach his dresser drawers, etc.  So, we set out to find solutions.

  • Furniture– I can’t stress this enough (at least in our case and in yours too I’m sure) our son is smart and strong! He can get into stuff so quickly and he is learning so quickly!  Furniture can fall over.  Especially tall furniture.  We ended up needing his dresser for baby 2 so he is getting my dresser which is a bit taller.  Mounting it to the wall was priority.  Accidents can happen so fast!  These furniture anchors are awesome and super easy to install.
  • Outlets– The next issue we had was outlets and more specifically cords.  When we put our son’s nursery together we used the traditional outlet covers for the outlets that were not being used. But since he can actually pull on things now we needed to toddler proof the cords that were plugged in so we invested in the outlet covers that kept him from the outlet AND plug.  Both of these items are great for making outlet safer and a great solution for this problem.

  • Moving “pluggable’ items out of reach– As you can see in the ‘before,’ photos there are a few items that have cords that he could reach and get into.  If you are having the same issue we opted to hang another small shelf to put things up he could reach.
  • Lighting– We needed to remove the standing lamp or mount it to the wall.  If you are like us and a have a standing lamp OR a normal lamp that could be pulled over, a wall light is a great option.  We bought one very similar to this one that is a cloud.  You can run the cord down the wall and pin it to the base board. The switch is right on the wall and there is nothing to be pulled over.<
  • A space for everything This is not necessarily a safety issue unless you are working with a small space (like us).  I wanted to make it so there was an area for everything my son needed.  This also ensured I wasn’t falling over things 7 months pregnant. Which leads us to the FUN PART, DECORATING!

Decorating a Toddler Room

Our son is only 14 months but he is walking, climbing and is pretty mature for his age so I wanted to make an area where he could play independently.  (But he also isn’t old enough for a toddler bed necessarily so I won’t be covering that in this post.)

I had to move some furniture around to make a corner but here is the before and after of the corner we converted for a okay area.

Lots of these items came from IKEA because we have one so close to us but there are similar products you could buy online to make the same look.

When we started to pick pieces for his room I wanted the following:

  • inexpensive (remember we had a budget of $150)
  • compact (for his small room)
  • colorful
  • and items he could use independently

For the decorating, which took place mostly in this corner we picked the following items (the links are similar items to what we bought):

Finished Product

We managed to stay on budget with a grand total of just under $110 after tax!

Here is what the after looked like for our little guy!

This is how we went from a nursery to toddler room on a budget.  What did you need to change in your babies room to make it toddler appropriate? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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