Wednesday, 31 August 2016

review: MAM breast pump

It's Expressing Week on The trainee mum! Today I'm reviewing the MAM Manual Breast Pump which I've been trying out for the past week. I've already reviewed the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature manual breast pump and later in the week I am planning a post that answers all of the questions I had before I started expressing.

Comfort: the breast shield on this pump is very solid (I think I prefer the Tommee Tippee's flexible one for comfort) but this set does include nipple shields for if you do find it uncomfortable. So far I've not actually needed to use them.

Suction: the main bonus feature on this pump is the dial that allows you to change the amount of suction. You can start off with the very strongest setting to let your milk flow down and then turn it down if you find it a bit too strong. I keep it quiet strong and it is so fast. I haven't had an issue with getting a fairly good milk yield when I pump but it can take a while to get a good 3-4oz. With the MAM pump, I can get 3-4oz in about 20 minutes.

Cleaning and assembly: this pump disassembles into four pieces for cleaning. The handle is not intended to be sterilised (it doesn't come into contact with the milk) but it is a little tricky to get the handle off the pump section. If you're struggling, make sure you use some force (I wasn't using any and it wouldn't come apart!).

Accessories: the MAM Maternity Breastpump Pack includes
1 x Manual breast pump
1 x Sealing disc
1 x Cotton drawstring travel bag
1 x lid, teat, collar to make complete 160ml anti colic bottle
1 x pair of nipple shields
1 x pair of breast pads

The baby immediately took to the MAM bottles. The shape of the teat is so different to any I've seen before and it seems that for a breastfed baby, these are the most similar to a nipple.

Price: the MAM Maternity Breastpump Pack that I was sent is £38 at MAM but you can get the MAM Breastfeeding Starter Set for less than half price at Argos right now.

Verdict: I love this pump. The MAM manual breast pump is the best I've tried for a good portable pump. It is really fast and comfortable. It is perfect if, like me, you want to pump maybe once every day or every other day for one feed.

If you're not sure how to use a breast pump, check out this video:

Disclaimer: I was sent the MAM manual breast pump to try in exchange for an honest review. I have since bought two more MAM anti colic bottles as they have worked so well for our baby.

Monday, 29 August 2016

review: tommee tippee closer to nature manual breast pump

I've been trying out the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Manual Breast Pump for the past few weeks. When I first started breastfeeding the idea of expressing and the fact that I might be able to pass some of the feeds to someone else kept me going when it felt like the feeding was never ending.

I had so many questions about expressing and although I don't profess to be any sort of expert, I am planning a post that answers the questions I had. Today, though, is all about the Tommee Tippee pump.

I'll be reviewing the MAM manual breast pump later this week. Heck, I might as well name this Expressing Week on The trainee mum! So that you can properly compare I'm going to comment on the same criteria for both pumps.

Comfort: the breast shield is large and made from a flexible plastic that moves with the breast as you pump. This makes it really comfortable. I was so worried about pumping being really sore - I needn't have worried.

Suction: this pump offers pretty good suction with a good milk flow. It's not the fastest (check back in the week for my review of the MAM manual breast pump which is much faster).

Cleaning and assembly: the pump disassembles into four bits for cleaning and sterilising. The main pump section is pretty enclosed however and I have noticed that mine looks a little cloudy and you can't properly get inside it.

Accessories: the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature manual pump pack includes
1 x Manual Breast Pump
1 x Easi-vent 150 ml bottle
1 x Milk storage pot
6 x Disposable breast pads
1 x Microwave steriliser box

We don't have a microwave but the steriliser box has come in handy as a storage container.

Bottles: our baby really didn't get on with the Tommee Tippee bottles - or rather, the teats. They did seem really big and slippy and he couldn't seem to get a good latch.

Price: the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Manual Breast Pump is half price at Boots and Argos right now for just £14.99. It's a great price for anyone wanting to give breast pumping a go.

Verdict: if you want a portable and cheap breast pump to use occasionally, the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Manual Breast Pump is a good option.

Come back on Wednesday to read my review of the MAM manual breast pump and on Friday for a post which answers all of the questions I had when I first started expressing.

Friday, 19 August 2016

#3things: gifts for a mum-to-be

Got a baby shower to go to? Friend who's about to give birth? Or maybe a friend who's already given birth? Often around this time, mums-to-be and new mums can get forgotten in a pile of baby grows. I've picked out three gifts to make those mamas feel extra special:

3 things to buy for a baby shower

  1. If you haven't heard of the amazing site Don't Buy Her Flowers - get on over and check it out. Don’t Buy Her Flowers was founded with a simple aim: to provide thoughtful gift packages for new mums because they deserve something lovely just for them. How nice is that? There are lots of gift options but I like this Care Package, complete with magazine and chocolate!
  2. This Maternity Essentials Hospital Set by Asos is ideal for any mum-to-be. I'd totally wear the nightdress for daywear too - in either outfit you'll feel ready for visitors in those early days after having your baby. The eye mask will help you to sleep in the hospital ward - they can be quite bright even at night. And the socks are something you'll forget to pack but you'll be surprised about how cold you can get.
  3. The Boots Mum to be Essential Kit has all of those toiletries you need postpartum. The maternity pads and breast pads have long since been used from my pack but I'm still using the nipple cream. And although I didn't have too many stretch marks, the oil is really nicely moisturising.
Last but not least, if you're in a real bind over what to buy your mum-to-be friend, buy her chocolate! I didn't realise what a great gift this was until a couple of weeks postpartum and was needing snacks while breastfeeding - chocolate is a must!

    Mama to be bunting via Etsy

    Monday, 15 August 2016

    #3things: nobody told me about after giving birth

    Nobody told me you can’t use toilet paper
    Nobody told me that you bleed
    Nobody told me you might need a secret place
    where you can scream.
    My mother in law gave me a book for my birthday (at 35 weeks pregnant) called Nobody Told Me, by Hollie McNish. Nobody Told Me chronicles three years and nine months of poet Hollie McNish’s life from finding out she was pregnant, through to becoming a mother. I've been reading the book in realtime - so at the stage that I'm at, as each time I've read on, it's started to freak me out!

    If you're pregnant, you might be advised to look away now! There's probably a reason that nobody talks about this stuff until afterwards but to be honest, sometimes it's good to be prepared.

    1. You'll be losing fluids. Think your waters breaking is a worry? Turns out that's nothing compared to what happens after giving birth. Make sure you stock up on maternity pads because however you give birth (vaginally or caesarean) you will bleed. And for the first few days, at least, it'll be pretty heavy. You'll also find that there is a whole lot of other fluid to get rid of from your body. My feet swelled up like balloons for a good few days - the best way to get rid of them was to sleep flat on my back with my feet raised up on a few pillows. Add on to that the night sweats - as well as your feet swelling, you'll be sweating out all of those fluids every night. Seriously, as if you didn't have enough to deal with after giving birth!
    2. You'll still look pregnant. And you might feel like you're still in labour. For the first few days (at least) you'll still look about six months pregnant. And you'll continue to look pregnant for weeks afterwards. Unless you're a model and you snap straight back into shape within days. But who really does that? Six weeks later, I've returned to my pre-baby weight but still have a pretty sizeable bump! As your bump does start to go down, you'll feel contractions as your uterus begins to shrink back. If you're breastfeeding, these contractions will be most noticeable as you're feeding.
    3. You will cry! A lot. The first 24-48 hours, you'll be on an adrenaline high (as well as high on whatever pain killers they're giving you) and will be feeling so elated over what you've done and the baby you've got. Then suddenly on the third day (usually when your milk comes in - whether you're breastfeeding or not) you will cry. You'll suddenly realise that you have a baby. And that you are responsible for this small person for the next 18 years - at least. And that will scare the **** out of you. I cried for two weeks, nearly constantly. The baby blues - as this period is known as - are so common that they are considered completely normal and are not to be confused with postnatal depression (PND). PND normally occurs four to eight weeks after giving birth but can start any time in the first year after giving birth. If you think you might be suffering from PND, you can find out more here.

    What surprised you about after you'd given birth?

    Wednesday, 10 August 2016

    style: what to wear when breastfeeding #4

    Who doesn't love a Breton striped tee? I know I have a whole host of such tops in my wardrobe. So it is no surprise that I also have this nursing striped top. In fact, this is one of my favourite tops that is specifically designed for breastfeeding. It is a dual purpose, maternity and nursing t-shirt from Marks and Spencer. I got the green stripe version in the sale and have since bought the blue version because it is just so good! (You can see it in action when I was pregnant here.)

    If you're after some stripes for your nursing wardrobe, I've also found this Topshop double layered nursing dress - which also works while you're expecting.

    m&s nursing striped top

    Shop the post: Marks & Spencer Maternity Feeding Striped Top with Modal; and Topshop Maternity Stripe Nursing Maxi Dress.

    Monday, 1 August 2016

    style: what to wear when breastfeeding #3

    This week, it's all about the shirt for breastfeeding. It seems like the obvious choice but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. I'm actually loving the excuse to wear all of the shirts in my wardrobe. I seem to own a fair few but don't think that pre-baby I was all that keen on wearing them. I'm so glad I didn't ever get rid of them as they are certainly coming in handy now.

    The jeans are still my maternity jeans. I'm still finding I need the band because of my c section scar which is a little uncomfortable from time to time and the band means that it's not rubbed. I'm hoping I can get back into my old jeans soon though.

    breastfeeding friendly shirts

    Shop the post (left to right): white stripe sleeveless shirt; mint green sleeveless shirt; and pink stripe rolled sleeve shirt.