October 06, 2008,
N.B. asks from New York, NY on September 30, 2008
Cleaning Wipes for Breast/nipple and for Medela Pump Parts and Storage Bags
I'm stocking up for breastfeeding supplies and wanted to know...
Do I have to use the cleansing pads specifically sold to clean your breast before breastfeeding or can I use baby wipes or other natural wipes instead?
What about cleaning the Medela breast pump parts? They sell a specific wipe just for that too. Can I use something else?
Does anyone have a recommendation for something I can use for all of these purposes?
Lastly, I'm looking for recommendations on breast storage bags. I heard about Gerber, Lansinoh and Medela bags. Lansinoh have double zipper seal, but I read mixed reviews about all of them leaking for some people. Any tips for preventing leaks or recommendations on bags?
I plan to use them to store milk, but want to warm them in the First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer, then pour into the Playtex bottles with disposable bags. I'm only using these bags b/c a breastfeeding consultant recommended them for the nipple shape and least air. If anyone has better tips, I'd love some!! Thanks!
So What Happened?™
Boy, do I like this site! Thanks everyone for all the great advice! As one responder reminded me, I am a teacher... so I guess that's why I'm doing all this planning. It's in my bones! I'm home from work now, so my mind is a bit restless. Great tips! Thanks for taking the time to write it all down.
J.L. answers from Rochester on October 01, 2008
I would use the medela bags. I used them and loved them. They never leaked, they held up in the freezer and even when my clumsy husband would knock them over in the fridge they wouldn't leak. I didn't use any of the wipes I would just wash the pump pieces after I would pump.
H.G. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I used the Medela bags for the first few months, and then switched to the Lansinoh because they held more. Both were exactly the same, functionally. Technically, you can attach the Medela bags to the pump, but I never did that. I rarely got 5 full oz out of one breast, so it just seemed like a waste!
Good luck with your pregnancy, and be patient with yourself as you and your baby learn the whole breastfeeding business. I was one of the unlucky ones who found it quite painful for the first 8 weeks. But I pushed through, and felt very blessed (and lucky!) to absolutely love nursing after that. It's a special time!
Oh, and skip all those wipes. And make your husband clean the pump parts for at least the first 2 weeks! :)
1 mom found this helpful
S.B. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
Hello third grade teacher!
I too am a teacher. We are trained to keep a smooth running ship with our classes, so it's only natural to plan ahead. I did the same thing. Believe me, I had no idea how much my baby would control my daily activity until he came. Listen to what these other ladies have written about that. 'nuff about that...
Use the Lanahsol (sp?) cream. Start before delivery. Apply morning and night. When you start breastfeeding, use it after every feeding to prevent your nipples from drying out. Before each feeding, wipe off your nipples with a wet wash cloth -- just water, no soap. The lotion is not toxic for the baby, but it is slippery and it makes it hard to remain latched. I never had cracked nipples and this method was recommended to me by my doula (birthing coach).
For the breast pumps -- wash with warm soapy water after every use. If you can't wash them right a way, soak them in soapy water until you can get to them. You can sterilize once a week (and before your first use) in boiling water. I think that I did 5 minutes. Check your box's directions.
Bags -- If you follow the directions and don't over fill them, then you won't have a problem with leakage. Store them upright in the freezer until solid.
That's it. I tried to be brief since you have gotten so many replies already. We are a helpful bunch, huh? :-)
J.G. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I happily nursed my daughter for 15 months and never once "cleaned my breast" before feeding. Totally unnecessary if you have any kind of normal hygiene habits. In fact, it's better to leave the natural oils on your skin/nipples.
All these wipes for specific purposes sounds like a racket to me. Don't waste your money!
I would also second the advice not to stress too much about all this ahead of time. New babies throw you all kinds of curve balls. It's best to go with the flow, use trial and error, and use what works best for you.
Congratulations and good luck!
S.T. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I would skip the wipes! I wash my Medela pump parts in warm water and soap and then I put them in my bottle sterilizer that goes in the microwave for 3 minutes. I just started back to work after 3 months so I won't be able to wash and sterilize the parts so I plan on just rinsing well with HOT water.
As far as the bags go.. when my husband bought me the medela pump in advance system it came with a few sample bags from medela. I hated them!! They were the ones that had the tape that you put onto the horn and pump the milk directly into them. I could never get them to work right and lost a lot of milk. A friend of my mine gave me some Lansinoh bags and I love them!!! I have never had a problem with them leaking. I also like the fact that you write the date of the milk on a tab not directly onto where the milk is stored. So I can pour the milk into the bags and then write the date. I have about 50 bags of frozen milk stored up right now. Some is 4oz and the others are in 6oz.
I also use Avent bottels and nipples. If you are into the bag thing they have the Tempo system with disposable liners. I have not had a problem with nipple confusion.
I am not sure that I would put the bags into the warmer if that is what you are saying. I would pour the milk into the bottle 1st and then warm.
If you have the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Pump you will be very happy. The pump is wonderful!!! With my 1st baby I did it manually using the Avent pump. After giving birth to baby #2 we invested in the Medla pump and it was worth every penny!
One more thing I was using Gerber breast pads but now I love the Lansinoh brand. They are excellent!!!
CONGRATS and GOOD LUCK TO YOU!
J.L. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I did not like the medela breast pump cleaning wipes. I got an itchy red rash on my breasts from them. You can just wash your parts in warm soapy water. I wash them every night and during the day in between pumps I just rinse the parts with hot water.
I did not like putting milk in the medela storage bags either. They had a funny smell. I just freeze milk in the medela bottles.
As long as you shower and keep yourself clean, you don't need to "wipe/clean" your breasts before each feeding.
E.E. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
You don't need to clean your breasts before or after breastfeeding. You need the natural oils on your breasts in order to protect them from irritation and breast milk is naturally antibacterial. A lot of those wipes will strip away those natural oils and they contain chemicals that you don't want in your baby's mouth. What you can use to protect your nipples in the first few weeks when then are still very sensitive is Lansinoh brand lanolin. It's medical grade and it's very soothing for the soreness that happens in the first few weeks. And you don't have to wipe it off before breastfeeding (unless you really slathered it on). It's also good protection in the shower. You should not wash your nipples with soap.
You also don't need any special wipes for the breast pump parts. Just wash them in hot soapy water as soon as you are finished pumping. I guess you may need them if you are at work or something and you are pumping but if you have access to a sink it's not necessary. Also Medela makes these reusable microwave steam sterilizing bags that I use every now and again to sterilize the parts. You can also sterilize bottle parts in them too, but again that's not necessary.
I would also just invest in the medela milk storage containers or bottles to store the milk in the freezer. Those bags tend to tear and also studies have shown that the vitamins tend to cling to the sides of the bags when you pour them into the bottles. Why waste money on something disposable when you can reuse these storage containers? For bottles, I recommend the Born Free bottles. They have a valve to reduce gas and they are BPA free and the nipple is a better shape than the playtex.
You also don't need a bottle warmer- they take a while and don't work that well. Waste of money. I just get a coffee mug and place the bottle in it and pour the hottest water I can get from the faucet and let it sit. It takes about 5-10 minutes to warm up. If the water cools off you can just add new water a few times. The milk doesn't need to be hot, just warm. Just shake the bottle to make sure the fat layer reincorporates.
For some good breastfeeding advice, I would buy The Breastfeeding Book by Dr. Sears. It's great and it saved me a lot of times. They believe in the family bed and breastfeeding until toddler ages, but even if you don't plan to do this, (I'm not) the rest of the advice in the book is spot on!
A great website is http://www.kellymom.com.
I would also get a lactation consultant to come to your house the week you bring the baby home. It's pretty overwhelming at first so you need all the help you can get. Also, I would not introduce a bottle until the baby is latching well and your milk supply is well established- say a month to 6 weeks, maybe even 2 months. The sucking technique needed for breastfeeding is much different than for a bottle. If the baby has not learned how to suck properly and is given bottles too early, the baby will not be able to get out the milk efficiently.
If you are interested, I have a baby blog with a posting especially for expectant moms who are wondering what to buy for the baby. http://edenhamilton.blogspot.com/2008/08/newborn-essentia...
K.T. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
i believe the gerber bags can be used in bottles with drop in bags which saves a pouring step.
I never cleaned my breasts before b'feeding or pumping unless there was a need. Make sure you don't use soaps that will wash away the oils on your skin.
Stay away from the first years bags, I had too many leaks. I liked the gerber or lasinoh ones. The gerber ones were cheaper. I usually froze my bags laying down on a piece of cardboard in the freezer and once they were frozen flat, it was much easier to "file" them in date order. No need for those milk storage bag holders, they never worked well.
I had the medela wipes but never really used them. I just washed the parts after using them or put the whole assembly in the fridge for the next pumping session.
I really liked the Sassy MAM Ultivent bottles. I thought the nipples were great and my sons had no problem. THey were also BPA free.
***Another great tip, look into the easy expressions pumping bra. This pumping bra was so wonderful, It allows you to have your hands free when needed. I've bought it for friends and they have said that it totally changed their pumping.
good luck. please let me know if you have questions. I've been an exclusive pumper for my first and a then an exclusive breastfeeder with my 2nd.
J.C. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I tried both the Gerber and Lansinoh breast milk storage bags and settled on the Lansinoh bags. I had leakage with both, although very infrequently, Gerber one or two more times than Lansinoh. The Lansinoh bags are thicker and have a double zipper seal. I felt that if both leak, it would/could be less likely with the thicker bag and double zipper seal. I used the Lansinoh for just under a year with very few unfortunate accidents, some of which were due to user error. I did not bother with Medela bags because of the cost (about 2x the others), esp since the reviews were pretty equal for all.
Both Gerber and Lansinoh bags will fit into the Playtex bottles and over their rims. I found that the Lansinoh ones fit a little more easily over the rims than Gerber bags. This reduced the need for additional disposable bags. You can squeeze as much air out of the storage bags as possible prior to feeding. I warm the storage bag, then slide the bag into the Playtex bottle, open the bag, and flip the zipper over the bottle rim. Make sure to pull the zipper pass the bottle treads (otherwise, leakage during feeding).
My ultimate recommendation would be to buy a small box of each and try them to see which you like/prefer.
D. answers from New York on September 30, 2008
I never wiped my breast down before pumping. But I wouldn't use baby wipes. I wouldn't use anything you wouldn't put in your baby's mouth. Get lanolin, it will help with any nipple soreness. Also, after nursing or pumping, allow your breast to air dry. Don't "put them away" immediately. Stock up on disposible breast pads. You will leak. My left one use to leak when I was nursing on the right. I use to use the wipes to clean the pump when I was done pumping, but run it through the dishwasher on a regular basis. It helps to sterilize it. I used the Gerber bags to store milk. You can actually use them directly in the playtex bottles. I also used the playtex bottles. They made life easier. You push all the air out of the bottle before feeding and the baby gets less gas. Lastly, when nursing, don't watch the clock. I don't care what any consultant tells you. My son could nurse on one side for 45 mins. He was a slow eater (not much has changed there) and got all he needed from one side. My daughter could empty both sides in 20 mins and still take more. When the baby is done with one side they will let go. Burp them and then offer the other side. If they are still hungry they will latch on. If their full they will turn their head and fight you on it. Don't force it. Relax, and the baby will relax. If your hospital has a lactation consultant on staff request them observe you nursing. They may have tips. Don't be surprised if your nipples get sore or are tender. This is normal. Continue to nurse through it. By the time I left the hospital, I had a blood blister on my left one and a huge crack on my right. It made it very painful to nurse, but push through it. It's worth it. This is why you need the lanolin. It will help with sore nipples. Allowing your nipples to dry before you put them away will help prevent thrush (a yeast infection) that once you have it, it's almost impossible to get rid of. Just remember, don't be surprised if it is difficult in the beginning. Neither of you (the baby or you) have done this before. It is a learning experience for both of you. Relaxing helps. If you tense up so will the baby and it will make things more difficult for both of you. If you think something is wrong ask for help. Enjoy this time with your new baby. Just follow his cues. You will learn his needs. It won't happen over night. You have to learn, and so does he. It will take time, be patient. It took a month or better before I started to figure my kids out. It's frustrating, but be patient. Enjoy this time in your lives. It goes quickly.
J.H. answers from Syracuse on October 01, 2008
I would tell you to skip the cleansing wipes...follow your own proper hygiene routine and leave it at that...too much cleaning is going to dry you out and then your nipples will crack for sure...you want to avoid that at all costs!
Also, when you are done nursing, you can squeeze a little milk out and rub that into and a bit around your nipple, there is a lot of fat in breast milk, and that can help...(I did that after every nursing 'session' and I never had cracked nipples)...Lansinoh cream is also good.
I used Medela bags because I had a Medela pump. Pumping never worked for me, so I didn't do much of it...I don't have much experince with the bags, although the times I did use them, they were fine, no problems with them.
Be sure to remember this baby is a unique individual and will throw you for a loop at times...just be patient and go with the flow...it'll make for a happier mommy and baby!
Best wishes, enjoy this new journey and welcome to the club!
L.W. answers from Albany on October 01, 2008
I used the Medela breast pump with my second son (he was a preemie, and stayed in the NICU for 2+ weeks after I came home...). I never used wipes - even when I breastfed. Of course, I never used soap on them, either, or lotion or anything else when I showered - just plain old water.
As for cleaning the breast pump parts - there are steamer bags (that I bought from the hospital, but you can probably get online, too) that you put all the parts into (tubing, shields, etc.) with a little (2 T, I think) water, and steam for something like 2 minutes. Boom. They are done.
I actually stored my milk in bottles. The hospital gave me a bunch, and replenished my supply whenever I needed them. After I was home, I actually ran them through the dishwasher to clean them instead of dispose of them (although we didn't keep up the bottle thing with my son, and he began protesting the bottle after coming home, so I ended up throwing out a lot of milk...). They were nice, because they were a good size (2 oz., maybe?) and I didn't "waste" milk (he always ate at least 2 oz...).
J.L. answers from Rochester on October 01, 2008
I would use the medela bags. I used them and loved them. They never leaked, they held up in the freezer and even when my clumsy husband would knock them over in the fridge they wouldn't leak. I didn't use any of the wipes I would just wash the pump pieces after I would pump.
M.M. answers from Jamestown on October 01, 2008
I used the Medela steam cleaning bags to sanitize my pump parts and bottles, nipples. You can use it up to 20 times (but we use to use it way more than that until the bag looked funny..maybe even 35 uses! And if I pumped alot in the day I would just rinse the parts with warm soapy water and let air dry. At the end of the day I would try to santize them with steam either with these bags or the dishwasher top rack. Also the bags worked great when you were on vacation..you can most likely find a microve oven anywhere. For milk storage, I got the First Years storage containers and bags. The amount on the bag was never accurate when lined up with the milk so I always had to date and write the amount on it. Also quick note...try not to freeze more than 3-4 oz. in one bag...because once you defrost by a warmer you have to use it within an hour before it goes bad. If you defrost it in the refridgerator you have 2-3 days to use it. Hope this helps...I wasn't a big fan of pumping honestly because my body naturally overproduced so much milk and it seemed to aggravate the problem.
J.C. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
Isn't it amazing how many products they sell for a natural process?? Breast milk has antibacterial properties, so I'm not sure why you would ever need a wipe for yourself. As long as you have washed your breast pump parts (or at least rinsed them off well until the end of the day when you fully wash them), I also don't think you need to wipe them with anything (why add anything that could alter your milk or change it's taste for your baby when it's really not necessary?)
I always used the Medela storage bags and never had a problem with leakage. You don't need anything to defrost the milk other than a large glass of warm water--drop the bag in it, shake it gently, and it's defrosted in a matter of minutes (don't use the microwave!) You might have to run new warm water into the cup after a minute or so (since the milk will have cooled it off), but really it's fast and easy that way, and you can do it anywhere.
As far as bottles go, I always loved the Dr. Browns, and they are known for their design, as it decreases any air your baby gets. Not sure, though, with the whole BPA issue now, whether they've redesigned with safer material.
K.S. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
Congrats on your pregnancy! I think it is great that you are planning ahead, but I just want to warn you about purchasing all of these things ahead of time... I know your intentions are to breast feed, however there are times when this is not possible or things arise that make it impossible, if that was to happen you will have wasted lot's of money on these items only to find you can't return them. Especially the pump itself. I have seen it happen.
I highly suggest waiting on these items until after you know you need them. I also suggest renting a hospital grade pump prior to purchasing a Medela,
However my tips are go with the Laninsoh bags, they seemed the best to me, but I actually preferred the little medela bottles even better! They can be purchased at Buy Buy Baby. They are hassle only because you have to clean them, however they are much easier to use than the bags.
Regarding the wipes for the breast, quite frankly don't waste your money. I have 3 children, pumped for 1, breast fed the other two and never wiped my breast prior to feeding. I never have known any family members or friends that breast fed their children using any wipes.
The Wipes for the Medela Parts, maybe they would come in handly if you are not in your own home, but hot soapy water is the best medicine for your parts. For the first 3 months I would sterelize after every feeding, after 3 months I only did it daily, then eventually just went to washing with soap and water, except for the rubber valve, which shouldn't have soap.
Most companies try to sell useless items just to get you to spend your money!
C.L. answers from Buffalo on October 01, 2008
I use a Medela manual pump but only pump for occassional feedings. If you plan to pump alot I would suggest purchasing an electric pump. I stored the milk directly in the bottle when using the refrigerator. I also store frozen milk. I bought an ice cube tray and freeze the cubes in ziplock freezer bags dated for use. Research said to use refrigerated milk within 2 days and frozen within 3 months. The ice cubes are approximately one ounce each - this method makes it easy to thaw the right amount. I always thaw and heat the milk under warm tap water directly in the freezer bag before transferring to the bottle.
A great tip to reduce engorging at the beginning of breastfeeding is to place cabbage leaves in your bra. This worked wonders for me. I often went to sleep with cabbage leaf inserted in my bra ( also doubles as a breast pad).
A great site for breastfeeding that includes videos is
Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and best wishes for a quick and easy delivery.
E.Y. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I used the Medela bags and also the Lansinoh bags, and I only had leakage issues with the Lansinoh ones. I always kept a stash of Medela bags in my workbag, in case I needed to pump one more time at work or forgot (in my frequent state of sleep-deprivation) to bring bottles to pump into. You might also like to know that the cheap Evenflo, old-fashioned glass baby bottles fit directly onto a Medela pump...in case you want to pump into glass bottles for BPA concerns, more eco-friendly, etc.
My daughter was about as picky about bottles as a baby can be. Some babies don't care what brand of bottle you choose, but breastfed babies are notoriously picky. She would rather go a whole day only drinking 1 ounce than accept that she was only going to get a bottle when mommy is at work...but she eventually (after a few months) accepted the Playtex nurser bottle system (BPA free!), as recommended by our lactation consultant. Trust me, we tried at least 10 different brands of bottles. I was also thrilled to learn that there are adapters sold within the Playtex Breastmilk Storage Kit so you can attach a Playtex Drop-in Liner directly to your pump. So, I primarily pumped directly into the Playtex liners...and the kit comes with lids so you can freeze the bags/liners and eliminate yet another step of pouring your precious milk back and forth. I would suggest purchasing at least 2 kits, because each kit only comes with only 1 adapter, and I often liked to pump directly into 2 Playtex liners at once. I LOVED these adaptors! Another great thing about these bottles is that you will not need a bottle warmer. The bags are thin enough that you can warm the milk by just dropping the bottle in a bowl/cup of hot tap water. I purchased a bottle warmer but realized that a hot tap water bath is even more efficient with the Playtex bottles.
I would also highly recommend the Easy Expressions hands-free nursing bra (not really a bra). It allowed my to type at my computer and pump at the same time.
Yes, I would agree that there is no need to wipe. You might have trace amounts of breastmilk on there from the previous pump/feed session, but the milk has antibacterial properties and also is naturally soothing to your nipples...plus, you don't need to introduce any foreign chemicals to the area. I never even used soap directly on my nipples, just water in the shower, because I didn't want any soap to enter the crevices...as recommended by our lactation consultant.
One more word of advice if you have your heart set on breastfeeding your baby: get the name/number of a lactation consultant ready before your baby is born. You may not have trouble and may not need to call, but since you seem like the type of person to be prepared in advance, it's helpful to get recommendations for LCs ahead of time. I would never have been able to make it through the excruciatingly painful first 6 weeks without the help of my LC. My daughter is now 11.5 months old, has never had a drop of formula, and last month ditched all her bottles to drink from sippy cups all day long while I am at work. Good luck!!!
O.C. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I found the easiest way to clean all the breast pump stuff is to rinse it with dish soap and water and then put it all in a medela quick steam microwave bag. you can also use the micro bag for bottles, pacifiers. they are the best and it's not another bulky piece of baby equipment!
I don't think you need specific wipes for your own breast. as long as you're clean, there's no need. I don't think you need most of the stuff they try to get you to buy!
As for bottles, I don't think it really matters what you use, unless your baby is fussy. I used playtex, avent, gerber bottles and my kids didn't seem to care.
A.M. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I am a working mom of 3 and my youngest is 5 months old. I am still nursing exclusively and pumping during the day at work. I am using the Medela "Pump in Style" electric breastpump and I love it! I would recommend it to any mom who wants to successfully continue breastfeeding and work at the same time. I used the older model with my middle child and the new version is so much more efficient. I use the Medela storage bags and they work great. I've never had any milk leak from them and they stand up perfectly in the fridge and freezer. I actually bought the First Years bottle warmer and let me tell you-save your money. Its not worth buying. There is a temperature indicator on it that never seems to be accurate. The "too hot" water signal comes on even when the water is barely warm. I returned mine and use a mug with warm water to warm up my breast milk.
As for bottles, let your baby be your guide. Each of my three kids used different bottles. They have their preference about nipple shape. I am currently using the Born Free bottles and my son loves them. They are Bisphenol-A free too. I am a big fan of Medela and their products and I use most of them. Good Luck and I hope this info helps!
S.L. answers from Binghamton on October 01, 2008
Your breasts aren't dirty so you don't need to clean them with wipes or even soap and water (both of which can aggravate nipple irritation). In fact it is very important that you DON'T clean your breasts especially after you give birth because it is the sense of smell that allows your baby to find the breast and latch on (they can do it by themselves). Your milk contains antibodies for the germs that are on your body PLEASE don't worry about it.
S.K. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I have never heard of using wipes on your breasts before feeding, I would recommend PureLan after feedings a few times a day, but unless you're wearing a dirty bra or running around topless, you aren't getting anything on your breasts between feedings...
For cleaning your pump parts, I rinse mine in HOT water after each use, and then soapy-water clean them at the end of each day.
I myself am a bit old-fashioned and kinda think using special wipes is silly...but if it makes your experience enjoyable and good, then by all means!
As for the Playtex bottles/bags...I used them with my first child and LOVED them...the fact that you can literally squeeze the excess air out of the bag before feeding (or keep pressure on it if you have a slow feeder) is awesome...my first child almost never spat up and rarely had digestive issues.
D.M. answers from Binghamton on October 01, 2008
Most breast milk storage bags are compatible with the playtex nurser so no need for both. You also don't need to clean your breast every time you feed babies actually like the familiar smell of mom. You can also just use soap and water to clean your breast pump parts. The sterilizer bags I use weekly if I am using my pump on a regular basis. I definatly like the playtex nurser I have used it with all 4 babies. Good luck and congrats on your baby and delivery.
K.N. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
Congratulations on your upcoming arrival! I'm sure that you will find that you will get lots of breastfeeding support here!
Having some things on hand before the baby arrives is good, but I wouldn't purchase too much because you'll find that you might not end up using all of the things you thought you needed.
I didn't realize that any wipes were made to specifically clean the breast. I have never used anything like that. I agree with the other post that you should let your breasts breathe both before and after nursing. Get one of the lanolins - they are all pretty much the same - it will help with soreness. You should definitely get at least a large box of disposable nursing pads - you will leak a lot at the beginning. I really liked the Lansinoh pads because they are really thin and absorb a lot of milk. However, I found that the washable Gerber pads were better as my milk production stabilized (around 6 weeks) and let my breasts breathe better.
I have one pack of the Medela parts cleaning wipwa - they are good for occasional on the go use, but the breast valve parts are very small, so it's better to get in there with a small nipple brush - I had to improvise because for some reason, Medela doesn't make brushes for their parts. I would not count on using the wipes on a regular basis. Get a box of the sterilizing bags - they help a lot. While I don't sterilize every time I use the bottles/pump parts, I do it occasionally. I pumped a lot at the beginning because we had some latching issues (which resolved itself around month 7), and I sterilized the parts/bottles every day or two. The best thing to use is soap and hot water. It's the cheapest too!
The Medela bags are good because they fit directly over the pump, but they are expensive, so if you're going to be pumping frequently, I recommend the Gerber bags. They are great. Out of 4 boxes that I used (that's about 200 bags!) - I only had leakage with about 4 bags. They were cheap and if you end up using the Playtex nurser, the bags fit directly into the bottle - you wouldn't have to switch.
I would not use a bottle warmer - I don't feel comfortable with any kind of heating element near plastic intended for baby use (actually, I don't like it near plastic for adult use either!). I warmed all my bottles in a mug with hot water. If you know ahead of time that you need to defrost milk, leave it in the fridge overnight and it will be slushy the next day. If you need to defrost quicker than that, place the bottle/bag in the mug of cold water and then into a mug with hot water. Don't try to heat frozen milk too quickly - it separates. You don't really need the expense of a bottle warmer. Hot water in a bowl or mug really does the job quite well.
As for the bottles, you can try to use the Playtex, but your babe might not care for it. After trying a bunch of bottles, it turned out that my daughter didn't really care how she was getting her milk. She moved from breast to any kind of bottle with ease. I spend a lot of money trying different ones, because I was worried about nipple confusion - I'm not even sure that I believe that there is such a thing anymore! Maybe it's nipple preference....Anyway, I ended up using the Medela bottles, which are one of the cheapest on the market. I did have some issues with leakage when using the Medela nipples with their bottles, so I got the Dr. Brown's nipples instead. They work beautifully.
After talking to other moms who exclusively BF and those who tried and gave up, I have found that the only difference is that the ones who stayed with it knew that things would get easier and accepted that it would be hard for a while. I can't tell you the number of times that I cried - especially during that post partum blues time (mine lasted a little over three weeks) - having a supportive husband is a wonderful thing at that time. It helped me to keep the samples of formula that we got from the hospital nearby, just so I knew that my baby wouldn't starve. It relaxed me enough to help my milk let down. I'm happy to say that I gave those samples away, and she will be 8 months, and I'm still BF exclusively.
As I mentioned before, you will get lots of support here. I've found that it's unlike other online communities - there isn't too much judgment here. Come back and ask questions after your baby is born if you need help! We've all been there.
Everyone says it, but you don't realize it until you're past it that newborn time goes way too fast. It's hard when you're exhausted and feel like you are just the milk lady, but try to slow down for a few minutes each day and cherish it. Good luck to you!
A.N. answers from Albany on October 01, 2008
I have been nursing my eight month old from birth and have never purchased wipes to clean my breasts before or after nursing. Just some warm water and a soft cloth will do, no need to buy wipes. It's not like your breast get "dirty" either but if there is milk leakage, you may want to wipe it away gently(avoiding the nipple itself). I emphasize gently because of the pain and discomfort I felt during the first four weeks of breast feeding. Just be as gentle as you can and it is more important to keep your nipples dry than clean. Just let the breast milk dry on your nipples, without wiping, because the breast milk will help sore nipples heal.
I am telling you this because I wish that someone would have told me before I started the journey of breastfeeding. I also did do some pumping and yes, the breastmilk can sometimes drip after you pump. Don't use soap and water, just plain water. Also, I found that using the lansinoh ointment on my nipples made them worse. I don't recommend it, no matter what. Definitely have a good relationship with your lactation counselor either through the hospital or pediatrician/obgyn. I found my obgyn did not offer a whole lot of help with b/feeding before the birth of my daughter. You pretty much have to ask. Also, get a good breastfeeding book and read it as it will help you tremendously. I got "The Breastfeeding Book" by Dr. Martha Sears and it is invaluable and will help you a lot.
As far as cleaning the parts, I usually rinsed them out immediately after pumping and just used a mild soap to clean. You will notice a residue of breast milk on the pump parts if you don't wipe it off with a cloth or paper towel. I got the steambag system to clean and it worked well. They sell that at Target and it is not expensive. As far as storage, I used the gerber storage bags that were given to my by my sister. They seemed to work good for the time I used them.
Best of luck to you!! Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your baby.
p.s. All of the advice to sleep while you can is SO TRUE. I thought sleeping during pregnancy was hard but it pales in comparison to when the baby is here. It is all worth it:)
A.B. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I never used any wipes to clean my breast before feeding but I did use the Lansinoh lanolin cream for the first few weeks after every feeding to keep my nipples from drying and cracking. I would definitely recommend using it!
To clean the pump parts, I just used a bottle brush with soap and water. I sterilized about once a week in a microwave sterilizer. Medela also sells microwavable sterilizing bags that make cleaning the parts really simple. I have a friend that used them to clean the parts after each use. I've used the Medela wipes for traveling but not on a regular basis.
As far as storage bags, I love the Gerber bags. They're relatively inexpensive and work great. I only use them for freezing my milk and I've never had any trouble. A friend advised me to store the bags flat instead of standing up in the freezer. It saves a ton of room in the freezer and makes it faster to thaw because the milk is spread out instead of in a big lump in the bottom of the bag. I still have never had a leak. I thaw the milk in the bags using a thing I got at Babies R Us that is specifically for thawing milk stored in bags (it cost about $7), then pour it into the Playtex bottles that have the disposable liners. I agree with the person that told you they're the best. My daughter would only use them, not any of the others I tried. If you're going to pump and not freeze, Playtex sells a kit that lets you attach the liner to your pump so you can pump directly into the bottle liner and use it later. It's only about $10 and I got it at Target. Works great and then you don't have to pour from one bag to another. Neither can be used with the bottle warmer, though. I have the same warmer and it's gone to waste. I just put some water in a small glass, microwave the water for 30 seconds, then put the bottle in the water. It takes a few minutes more than the bottle warmer but the bags can't be put in the warmer. It's definitely worth it, though, to use the Playtex Drop-Ins, in my opinion.
T.M. answers from Utica on October 01, 2008
my only thought on this is baby wipes don't taste good. make sure of what the ingredients are in the wipes before you use them on your breast or equipment. if you wipe your hand with it and it taste awful to your tounge or stings, the baby won't appreciate it in their moutn either. T.
T.M. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I have never used a cleansing pad before pumping, so I can't give you any advise on them, but for the pump parts, I just use soap and water and let it air dry or I put the parts on the top wrack of the dishwasher. I have tried the Medela bags that you put in the microwave to sterilize the parts, but I wasn't impressed and have stopped using it.
For storage, I always pump into the bottle and then transfer the milk to a bag. I then put the bag into the freezer standing up until the milk is frozen. My mother in law (who is watching my daughter during the day) then stands the bag up in the fridge when it is time to defrost it. In 2 months I have never had a bag leak (my daughter is 3 months old).
I reccomend the Medila bags because the bottom opens up so that the bag will stand nicely. I have tried the Lansinoh bags, which are able to hold more milk, but the bottom of the bag rounds when filled, so they have to be proped when the milk is not frozen.
For heating, I have never put the bag in the warmer, we have always put the milk into a bottle before warming it. Also, we had some issues with the First Years warmer. I'm not sure if it was the water or something from the bottle, but the inside of the warmer was turning brown and would occasionally smell like something was cooking so we have stopped using it. (It never over heated the bottle, it just made me nervous) My MIL now heats the bottles the old fashioned way in a pot.
(We're using the Dr. Brown's bottles)
Hope this helps!
D.M. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
One quick question - do you have the breast pump yet? I went with the Ameda Purely Yours and Love it!! The milk doesn't go through the pump at all so it is much more sanitary and mold won't build up etc. I don't know about the cleaning for Medela - I just use soap and water on the flange. I use the Gerber storage bags - my sister in law suggested them and they have worked for me so far.
D.B. answers from Albany on October 06, 2008
Hi, Just wanted to add that if you are going to use Playtex bottles with disposable bags, then most of these bags (at least the Gerber bags - that I use) can just be loaded into the bottle, instead of transferring it to another bag. Just fold it over and screw the lid on. It works just fine. It says this on the Gerber bags box, if you want to check it out. ONE LESS STEP - YEAH!!
I've never had trouble with leaking bags. I freeze them on their side and then store them according to date in those disposable tin bread pans that you can buy cheap at the grocery store. They have similar storing compartments marketed towards new moms for about four times the price.
(I started stockpiling some milk prior to returning to work so that there would always be enough on hand just in case - The first couple of weeks can be REALLY hectic before you settle into any resemblance to a routine - Breastmilk lasts up to 3 months in a typical freezer. But, that being said, the fresher, the better nutrition - wise, so I don't rely solely on frozen milk)
If I am storing in the fridge, I just go ahead and put it in a clean bottle, so it's closer to being "ready to go".
I've never used a bottle warmer with the bags, I just soak them in a bowl of warm water. It seems quick enough.
I agree with everyone else about skipping the breast wipes.
I find that at work, I use dishsoap and a brush at the bathroom sink and the medela steam sterilizer bags to clean the parts. And at home I use a plastic microwave sterilizer for everything - I did find that it was a little quicker than boiling everything.
The breast pump parts wipes might be an option if you are not around water - like for a college student who is pumping out in her car, or something...but if you have access to running water, then one less thing you will need to buy.
It can be confusing wading through all the options out there. They have tried to take a natural process that has been around since the beginning of time and are trying to market it as part of a product that can be bought and sold at a department store. You will find that you will mostly just breastfeed directly. Until you return to work, no accessories will even be necessary.
A.H. answers from New York on October 01, 2008
I use the Born Free bottles and they are great. There is a vent so they let in less air and they are BPA free. I use the First Years Bottle Warmer and it works well. If you are going to use the disposable drop ins, I wouldn't reccomend a bottle warmer because it could make the milk too hot then you need to cool it down while your baby is crying for food. I have used the drop ins while traveling and found that just dunking it in a cup of hot water for a few seconds or running it under the faucet with hot water warms it enough.
As for the pumping, you don't need to clean your breasts. The milk is an anti-bacterial and the residue is good to keep your breasts less sore. I would reccomend getting lasinoh cream to use to relive soreness for the beginning. I wash my pump parts like I wash bottles - with soap and hot water and let it dry and they are fine. I store my pumped milk into bottles and then just heat it up when he is ready to feed. I have heard of freezing extra milk in ice cube trays and then in regular bags or vacuum sealing the bags for easier storage.
S.H. answers from Rochester on October 01, 2008
I breastfed my son for a year, nursing when I could and pumping and leaving bottles for my husband and caregivers when necessary. I really liked the medela storage bags, they never leaked and they have a yellow tab that you can use so you don't have to hold on to the bag while you pump. You can also check out the medela bottles, which if you have a medela pump will attach right to the breast shields and when you are done, put the top on the bottle and store it that way- you can either refrigerate or freeze. They worked ok for me, but my son refused that nipple, so I used Avent bottles, which were great, he had no nipple confusion and they sell them in various flow rates, according to age. I had a problem with the lansinoh and gerber bags breaking after being frozen, never with the medela.
As for the wipes- I put all pieces to my medela breast pump in the sink and washed them by hand- I don't have a dishwasher. Once a week I would sterilize the parts in the microwave bags, as well as his bottles. They are not hard to clean with a bottle brush, but if you are really germ-phobic and you have one, use your dishwasher. I also never wiped off my breasts before feeding. I made sure not to use any lotion on them (except the lanolin for the first few weeks) and my son never had even so much as a cold until he was 8 months old, and even then there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. I applaud you on wanting to breastfeed, but I caution you not to get too nervous/anxious or what have you. It is a natural process and works best when you just go with the flow, so to speak.
T.F. answers from New York on October 02, 2008
Just wanted to add a note about Lansinoh cream - try to only use it when you really need it e.g. when you first start breastfeeding & when your nipples are very dry. It contributed to my getting thrush, which was very painful & hard to get rid of. I went to a dr that specializes in breastfeeding issues, and she told me to use olive oil instead because Lansinoh cream does not let the skin breathe. She also said to let your nipples air dry after breastfeeding rather than putting your bra back on right away.