Best Breat Pumps and Breast Pads

Updated on September 08, 2009
B.H. asks from Panama City Beach, FL
34 answers

Good morning, Ladies!

I am trying to do research on the best best pumps, both manual and electric. I've heard good reviews about the manual Lansolil but most reviews I have heard that the Medula double-electric is best...but so expensive!! Any thoughts from your experience? I am a new mom-to-be come November, so only want to make 1 purchase instead of trying these out.
Also, is it okay to buy a used one with the sterile factor?

Lastly, I was looking to buy reusable nursing pads, but are they effective? It would be nice to be able to reuse them, but I don't want to spend the money on them and try to be eco-friendly if they don't work.

Thanks so much!

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L.W.

answers from Tampa on

I would definitely buy used and the Medela is wonderful. I tried a double which I rented and also used their single and wished I had the double. If you buy it used on Craigslist or at a consignment store you won't spend that much and you can replace all of the reusable items or sterilize them.

I did reusable pads and they worked well depending on how long you are going without. Overnight or when you are weaning they didn't work well enough. If you get ones that are cotton and waterproof on the other side you will be fine. The wool didn't do great for me. You can get some on Diaperswappers.com that are really nice and made by mommas working from home or used. I also used mommacloth and recommend that if you are interested.

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H.J.

answers from Tampa on

I was advised by the woman who taught my breastfeeding class that they only ever recommend Medela for electric and Avent for manual. I can vouch that the Avent manual was fantastic! It was comfortable, easy to operate and easy to clean. That being said Congratulations!

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C.P.

answers from Tampa on

I moved up to a Freestyle now that I'm pumping at work. I have my Pump in Style from my first pregnancy that I need to sell. It was used regularly for about 6 months. Send me a message if you are interested in it.

More Answers

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J.M.

answers from Orlando on

I can't tell you anything about pumps, but I wasn't too impressed with the reusable nursing pads. They would work well nearer to the end of the nursing period for me, but it seems like at the least the first half (which for me would be nearly 6 months) they seemed to leak and soak through. Everyone is different, but that's how they were for me. I stick with Curity ones now.

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T.M.

answers from Orlando on

I rented a breastpump from the hospital at first to get my supply to come in well. Then I bought a Medela pump in style. I LOVE that pump. Double, electric with the let down simulation. It was expensive, but I bought it from the Mom's store run by Florida Hospital and got a discount. You can also use one of the BabiesRus 20% OFF coupons and get it at a better deal there if you time it right.

You can buy used if you trust the source and know that the motor hasn't been run a million hours. Just buy all new horns, tubing, etc. I think that would run you between $20-30. Ask your friends, church members, etc that might have one sitting at home collecting dust. Often we girls put these things away, in a closet somewhere, and are quite happy to pass it along to a good friend who needs one.

For breast pads...don't invest a lot in those. You won't leak once your supply is regulated so you won't need these nearly as much as you think. I just bought a box of the disposable Lansinoh pads (LOVED them, they have a bit of lanolin on them to decrease soreness) and used the same pads for a couple days and then threw them away. I used maybe half the box before my supply was regular enough to stop leaking.

Otherwise, getting a pack of inexpensive washcloths, cutting one into quarters and "padding" your bra with it will work just as well as most reusable nursing pads. You really won't need them long...generally by the time you have your 6 week follow up check up and are ready to start getting out, you've stopped leaking anyway.

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K.D.

answers from Jacksonville on

Yes, the Medela is expensive, but it works well. I'm not sure about buying a used pump. I know milk did back up into my tubing and the motor a few times. So if you buy from a stranger, it's possible that their milk backed up into the motor also.

Definitely do not buy a pump until you know that breastfeeding works for you. The warranty on the pump starts from the day you purchase it. So, if you buy it months in advance, you won't be able to take full advantage of the warranty. I did take advantage of my warranty. I have the backpack version of the pump in style advanced. My zipper broke, so I called the company and they sent me a new one.

I bought my pump online from Hackley Medical Equipment. They were a lot less than Babies R Us. I had gotten on their email list and received an email about the pump in style being on sale for the month. I think I paid about $200. There is another website that has the pump in style for about $215. I think it's called addalittlelove or something like that.

Pumps are expensive, but remember that formula is expensive too. The pump will pay for itself in no time.

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R.W.

answers from Tampa on

A hand pump is best, you have better control. The reusable breast pads work great. Just throw them in the washer with your whites. Be sure not to bleach them as they might make your breasts sore

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R.S.

answers from Tampa on

I used the electric pump and yes, it is great but I couldn't afford it it was borrowed. But I bought a simple manual hand pump and it worked just fine. Not that hard to pump and got plenty of milk. I also used reusable nursing pads and washed them with not problems at all. I highly recommend both. I even used lanolin on my breasts while feeding because of cracking, and the nursing pads would still clean up very nicely. Good Luck

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C.S.

answers from Miami on

Hi B.,

Breast pumps are not returnable so I wouldn't even consider buying one until you are sure that you will use it. My best friend's milk did not come in (yes, those people in the breastfeeding classes tell you this will not happen but I've seen it with my own eyes and I can tell you that it does). Unfortunately, she had bought a pump and never used it. She had to give it away to a charity, unopened! That is a very expensive donation.

I would recommend using something in the hospital if you need it there and if not, then rent something from the hospital for a month to see if you like it. I rented the Medela Pump in Style, double electric and it was great. I did purchase it after pumping for a month and ended up pumping exclusively (my guy never learned how to latch, even after 3 lactation consultants tried to work with him) for almost a year. A ton of work, and couldn't have done it with a single or a manual.

As for breast pads, I tried the resuable and found them to be bulkier and not as reliable in absorption. This was a major problem for me since I was working... I really liked the Playtex disposable best and I could buy them at Publix, but you can try different types. No need to purchase tons before baby is born.

Congrats, I wish you a happy delivery! C.

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D.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

I would wait to buy a pump until you need it. I breastfed my daughter for a year and only used a pump a handful of times. I have a cheap electric pump that works well....I don't suggest a manual though.
With my oldest I couldn't breastfeed and had a pump but never used it.

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H.F.

answers from Boca Raton on

Congrats! The lactation departments at some hospitals will let you rent the pumps. When I had my son in Pittsburgh, the women's hospital let me rent the Medela double electric pump, and gave me new parts for what actually touch me as well as new bottles for the milk. Since I'm now a SAHM, I'm planning to purchase the Medela double electric, instead of renting, when my second boy arrives in October. So if you don't want to invest in a new pump, you might check around to see if you can rent one.

I used reusable, washable nursing pads and they were absolutely fine.

Good luck!

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M.B.

answers from Tampa on

Depends on how often you plan on pumping. Occasionally so someone else can feed the baby then a manual would suffice. If you are going back to work then I recommend an electric pump. It doesn't need to be fancy or double. Remember you have to fall in love with your pump while pumping, like your baby, to get that milk to flow. It ain't easy, but practice makes perfect.

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M.S.

answers from Miami on

I totally understand your predicament. I actually bought a used Medela pump in style and when I called the company to see what parts to replace they lectured me on how unsanitary it is to share pumps. Apparently they say milk can back up into the machine........ But- other people have told me they bought replacement tubes and were fine.

I haven't used my Lanisoh double electric pump yet, but I will tell you I am a HUGE fan of the AVENT disposable breast pads. (NOT in resealable packages) They do not leak and hold a lot of milk. I have a few reusable pads, but they just add to my laundry..... I haven't tried to clear gel pads yet because I'm afraid I'll get a rash or skin irritation.

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A.M.

answers from Orlando on

I used the First Steps double electric pump since I was going back to work with both children. It wasn't as expensive as the medala and had all the same qualities. I have really liked it. Also, if I got milk in the tubing or something cracked, I would call the company and they would send me a replacement part right away. I have a single medela brand electric pump, which I like, but the First Steps breast suction cups molds to the breast better, which I liked. Course, I bought my pump 5 years ago, so it all could have changed since then :) I also used disposable breast pads from Lansinol that worked well.

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L.T.

answers from Jacksonville on

i used the medela pump-in-style with both my children. i bought new and never had any problems. you can absolutely buy used, just purchase new tubing and, of course, sterlize the parts that come in contact with you or your milk. i seem to remember liking the avent and lansinoh disposable pads the best. never tried cloth reusables. the lily padz are effective, but for me, it was kind of pain dealing with the milk leakage and just condensation that would form every time i nursed or pumped. you really have to wash them every time you take them off. and then they have to dry before you put them back on. best for nights out!

hope this helps. congratulations and best wishes for a beautiful delivery and healthy baby! enjoy.

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E.M.

answers from Jacksonville on

The re-usable pads worked okay for me with my first child, but I had a fairly low milk supply. With my second child, I have more milk and they do not work for me. I still leak too much overnight (the baby is 5 months old), and the reusable pads don't provide enough absorption for the un-suckled breast during let down. The baby drinks from one breast and the other leaks more than the reusable pads can hold.

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T.O.

answers from Jacksonville on

About pads- I bought the reusables and yes they do work. The one problem i found was i would leak through them at night. But i was really big in the boobs. So at night i started using little washcloths for the baby.

I had the same problem with my second pregancy but used the disposable kind and then i didn't wake up in the morning with a big wet circle. After a week or so then i wasn't so heavy due to not nursing and could use the reusable ones at night.

About machines- U can rent a pump from the hospital to see if you need it. It cost me about $40 for a month and it turned out nursing wasn't for me.

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T.B.

answers from Miami on

Hi B.,

Please don't waste your money on resuable breast pads. The WORST advice I got from a well intentioned friend when I had my first baby was to buy washable breast pads. I produced so much milk that I soaked them by the half hour and they often left me embarrassed by having to walk around with big wet spots on my chest. I tossed them out and bought a box of Johnson and Johnson disposable breast pads. Wow, what a difference! They work like a maxi pad...super absorbent and no leaks! At night, you may need to double up on the pads, especially when the baby begins to sleep at longer stretches. I know lots of women want to do the "eco earth friendly way," but you will have to buy a lot of reusables just to keep up with the ones you soak, if you soak any at all. Every woman is different. Some women get a ton of milk, some not so much so I'd wait until your milk actually comes in before buying a big box of disposables. My sister had a coupon for a buy one, get one free deal and she used maybe 4 pads from only one box.

I'm going to share something with you, a personal experience I had with pumping. I think it's important enough to share here, especially since other moms may read this as well. When I had my last child 3 years ago, he had breastfeeding issues from day one. He wasn't sucking strong enough, he wasn't gaining weight, and I ultimately had to supplement with formula. It crushed me because I exclusively breastfed my first two children without ever having any issues...and neither of my first two children had a bottle...ever. And, with my first two, I never had to pump so when I had to pump with my third child, it was a new experience for me, one that I didn't like very much. My milk supply decreased due to my son's weak suck. I contacted Le Leche League immediately who put me in touch with a lactation specialist. Long story short, with what little milk I was able to pump, I stored it in the refrigerator throughout the day until I had enough to freeze, which was 2 oz or less a day from BOTH breasts (and that was with pumping every two hours for 20 minutes at a time around the clock and yes, that was double pumping...). Once I had enough stored up in my freezer, I began defrosting them to mix with the formula. What I discovered was that my breastmilk had soured once it was chilled. It wasn't anything I had done or had anything to do with how my milk was handled. Every bag of frozen milk I had was sour. I cried to the lactation specialist who told me that every woman has an enzyme in her breastmilk called Lipase. Some women have just the right amount...others, like myself, produce too much Lipase and it causes the breastmilk to sour once chilled. I was devastated to find this out as I wanted so badly to give breastmilk to my baby. While I was reassured that this sour breastmilk is not harmful to the baby, the smell and taste of it was so bad that I could not bring myself to feed it to my son. So my advice to you, before you invest in a very expensive breast pump is this: Once your milk comes in, do a trial pumping by expressing some milk and chilling it or freezing it. If it has a strong odor or bad taste to it, then you will have to flash boil your breastmilk before chilling it. This is what the lactation specialist told me. Devastated, I threw all my frozen milk away and returned the breastpump, which I was renting at the time. Flash boiling prevents the Lipase from souring the milk. And if your milk does have too much Lipase, intrestingly, the longer the milk is stored frozen, the more sour tasting/smelling it gets.

As for buying a used breastpump, you can use a used breastpump as long as you can buy the sterile tubing. Sterile tubing runs about $50. Look on Ebay...and shop around for the best value. Many blessings and enjoy breastfeeding. It was the ONE thing I looked forward to doing after my babies were born and I feel so blessed to have been able to breastfeed my first two for as long as I was able to. With my son, he eventually weaned at 9 months but by then I was barely producing any milk at all and one breast completely dried up by then. If you do run into any problems, contact Le Leche League in your area or get in touch with a lactation specialist.

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P.P.

answers from Tampa on

Hi B.! Congratulations on your upcoming baby. I have 2 children 19 and 3 months old. I can tell you from experience do not get a manual pump. It is hard work, takes a lot of time and you don't get as much milk out as with an electric one. A used pump is ok if you get all new tubes and things. I have a Ameda Purely Yours double pump and really like it, but I only use it on occasion and only at home. If you are going to be working I would suggest getting the Medula and make sure you have a traveling pack for it.

On the nursing pads, I tried the reusable ones and I leak through them. But each women is different. Get a set of disposables and see how much you leak. If it isn't a lot then you could try some reusables.

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H.P.

answers from Orlando on

B.,
Hello!
Congrats on your new bundle arriving in November!!
I have the Medela electric & I love it...although, I HATE pumping & dont do it often if I dont have to. I have friends with manual ones & they say it's a lot of work, especially if you are taking care of a new baby.
Check on craigslist for a used one. You can buy the parts that touch your body & they arent expensive at all. I have a friend that found a Medela at a garage sale for $3. It retails for $329!!
For the pads, not all women leak. I dont, so I dont use anything at all. So dont spend a fortune on pads until you know how your boobs will be. Maybe get a small pack of disposable ones to start. I have friends that have used lillypads & liked those. They are reusable.
Hope that helps.
H.

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N.H.

answers from Tampa on

I have the Medella swing and have also used the Medella double pump. The swing is nice because it is small and very portable. It doesn't seem as effective as the double pump, but I figured I would save $100 and since I am a stay at home mom I wouldn't need the double. Bottom line, if you are going back to work, the money is worth it for the Medella double. If not, the Medella Swing works fine.

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B.A.

answers from Tampa on

Sorry, I can't help you with the pump... I have never been able to pump. I do use reuseable breast pads though. I love them. I have gotten so used to them that I tried to use some disposables that I got for free and they felt awful! If you sew, I can send you a great free pattern to make some.

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R.S.

answers from Tampa on

by personal experience i would recommend the medela double electric pump. I have 2 children and breastfed both. With our first, i started with the medela single electric pump, it worked well but took at least 20 minutes to pump both breasts. When i had our second, we invested in the double electric and i was able to pump both breasts in half the time. I had stated in a previous post that you can use second hand pumps because all you have to do is replace or even sterilize the portions that are touching you. The pump itself has been designed so that nothing but air is exchanged. If you are interested i am in the process of selling a lot of baby items including a double electric pump. you can email me: [email protected]____.com

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S.D.

answers from Tampa on

I think you can buy a used one, but read the info online about sterilizing and what parts you may have to buy new.
As for the breastpads, I used the Gerber reusables. They worked well for the most part. They did start shrinking after awhile from washing (even though I'd lay them out to dry). They will leak around if they get too wet (esp like with overnight use), just always make sure youhave an extra set on hand. Good luck!

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K.R.

answers from Miami on

I really liked Medela but the manual one from Avent works just as good. With my daughter I tried evenflo and that worked well also. Medela is good but really over priced. I used pads also - some women don't leak so...you'll have to see. I liked the Medela pads the best. Good luck!

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A.P.

answers from Sarasota on

hello. I would not purchase a breast pump. Too expensive and if you dont like it you cant return it. You can rent one from the hospital and it is much cheaper then you would expect. I had every intention of breast feading my child but it never seemed to work out. So rather than buying one and not being able to use it. Rent one and if you like it and it works for you then consider buying one. The store bought ones never seem to work as well as the hospital ones anyway. They are completely sterile the only part that touches your skin or the milk is disposable and every one gets brand new parts that you keep whether you rent the pump or not. Good luck and congrats..

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D.W.

answers from Gainesville on

I had a Medela Pump In Style double electric that was used and it was a work horse! I felt comfortable with a used one but I knew the previous owner. I did have to hunt down new tubing on the internet (and if you need the website send me a message and I'll find it for you!) and you need all new parts. Yes they can be pricey but you won't be disappointed. I had to replace mine as i lost it during hurricane Katrina and bought a less expensive Medela model and was not happy at all. Even if you will be staying at home it's a great idea to introduce a bottle at around 6 weeks (I personally love, love, love the Playtex nurser with the latex nipple-very soft like the breast). I suggest this because you will want times to get out of the house and be able to leave baby with a sitter. And by 6 weeks your supply is established and regulated by baby. It's also nice to have a stash of milk in the freezer in case something comes up and you need to be away from baby for a few hours. Never know when hubby/partner might surprise you!

DO NOT use the gerber reusable breast pads! They were terrible! But do some on-line research there are lots of reusables that can be purchased that moms are very happy with. You have to be careful if you consider making your own because they need to be breathable to prevent moisture from just hanging out on the breast and typically the ones from a cloth diaper supplier will have a layer of waterproof but breathable material. You can find reviews on-line with a google search.

Since you are looking to be more eco-friendly have you considered cloth diapering? I started cloth with my 14 month old when she was 4 months old and I wish I has started right from birth! It is a great feeling not having to buy diapers! I haven't had to buy diapers (unless one of the in-laws watches her lol) for the last 10 months! And it's not like what I thought. I had all these thoughts of old school cloth diapering. If you would like any info on it just send me a message and I'll be happy to share my positive experience and offer some tips about what I have learned/choices to consider.
Congrats!

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M.H.

answers from Sarasota on

I joined the publix baby club and got awesome coupons. I got buy one get one for both playtex and lansonil disposable breast pads. Whith my first child, I used the washable ones. My experience was that the disposable ones were far superior with absorption. I had leak problems just about every day with the washable ones and just thought that was how it worked. Having the disposable ones, never leaked once, even when my breast was about to explode! I wouldn't use the washable ones again. I had the medula electric and loved it. If you are planning on more than one child, it makes no sense to rent in my opinion. you will end up spending that money and not own anything. It is rare that you wouldn't be able to use it. I used my pump for months, almost exclusively, with both of my children and have no complaints, well worth the money! Have fun and a wonderful birthing experience!

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J.G.

answers from Orlando on

I would maybe also suggest that you rent a pump from the hospital. Until you know what your experience will be with nursing, it may be wiser not to spend the money upfront. The Medula probably is the best, but is expensive. With my first, I tried to nurse and it didn't work. How frustrated I would have been if I had spent the money! Also, the ones from the hospital are the best pumps so that should help "get you started" too.
The re-usable nursing pads are fine. The only problem I would say is bulk. They are fabric and so must be a certain thickness to absorb. The disposable ones are much thinner and form fitting. I liked the re-usable ones though because I could tell they were there and doing their job.
Good luck. Nursing is a great experience. It got better for me with each successive pregnancy.

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L.H.

answers from Miami on

good for you & eco-friendly!
LOVe my reusable breast pads!
feel free to send me a personal message- I love giving breastfeeding/new baby advice!

as for pumps: used BOTh the Medela and the Ameda.
they are BOTH great. the AMEDA is one where you CAN use a used one SAFELY! so look on Craig's list, etc, and save your money :)
the manual ameda was ALSO great! but NOT to have as 'only' pump!

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C.C.

answers from Tampa on

I LOVED my reusable breast pads and although bulkier than the disposables I thought they were way more comfortable.

As for buying a pump used... the lactation consultants will tell you not to but if you look at the way that they're made it's virtually impossible for your milk to actually back flow into the machine and contaminate it. I have an unused set of tubes and whatnot still sealed in the pouch from Medula if you end up needing the hook-ups.

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S.C.

answers from Sarasota on

I love my Lansinoh double electric pump. I didn't need all the bells and whisles the other pumps has as I'm not traving with it daily. Very small and easy if I need too as it also can be used with battries so I can pump by the pool when she is napping. I cringle at the thought of a manual pump. Heck I'm pumping now - I've gotten very good with multi taksing. I can't think how much work using a manual pump would be if you plan to pump for any time. There are times when it's all I can remember to do in the middle of the night is sit down and turn on the pump - heck I'd cry if I had to manualy pump - she would be drinking lots of formula if I had to manualy pump every 3- 4 hours. Our daughter now only nurses at nap time and before bed. She likes that she can get it faster from a bottle during the day and LOVES to have a bottle with her dad.

As for pads - I've tried lots and LOVE LOVE LOVE the Johnson and Johnson disposible ones. Don't forget the tube of Lansinoh Lanolin - great stuff and our daughter is not phased by it.

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M.B.

answers from Miami on

Hi B., Medela it is expensive but it worth the money, you can buy it used at craig list, with medela you only buy a breast pumu ONE TIME in life keep that in mind.
On reusable nursing pads I recommend to buy it, they are effectives, non allergenic and you can help the planet :-)
Good luck

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T.B.

answers from Boca Raton on

I had a very good friend lend me her Medela double pump.... for both kids. She only used it for a few weeks with her first... I would have been LOST without it. In fact, I had to wait to get it back with baby #2 and couldn't stand it when my milk came in, so I drove back to the hospital with son at 4 days old so I could rent one right away! Medelas are great... hospital rentals will be expensive if you plan on pumping for a while, but if you discover it's not for you then it may be the best thing to start with.
The hospital will charge you separately for the tube set. (sterilized)

I always produced too much milk to wear the cloth nursing pads... and after they are washed they bunch up are are very evident under clothing. I liked the Johnson and Johnson ones and the Avent ones... they absorbed alot and were inconspicuous!

I bought two sets of Lily Padz (silicone shields) that are washable and reuseable. I only ever used one set... so if you're interested in the second set, send me a message and I'll sell the unused set very reasonably. (Still in pkg.) They were awesome... especially for a day at the beach in your swimsuit! Since they are silicone, you will still need to switch them with something else to let your skin "breathe" and not get an infection... but they really cut down on the number of disposables that you will need. (I needed breastpads almost the whole 9 months with my first and 6 months with my second child... I produced a lot of milk with each. Some women find that they don't need pads once supply is established.)

Good luck... congrats...
If I could share one piece of advice without scaring you, it would be to expect breastfeeding to hurt for a few weeks and be a lot of work and adjustment (for both Mommy and child.) I think it's a myth that "it will come naturally... it sometimes doesn't and takes patience and practice... It's also a myth that if it hurts you're doing it wrong... it will hurt... but one day, it won't anymore. It is definitely one of the most enjoyable moments of motherhood once established... give yourself time and don't second guess your abilities to do it!

T.

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