Breastfeeding & pumping: Tips that made a difference

first time mom breastfeeding pumping tips

Molliya lace robe S (softly knit & love the striped one too! Similar w/ more sizes & colors)

It was bittersweet pumping for the last time when Nori entered 15 months. My breastfeeding journey was one of ups and downs – sometimes it felt completely time and energy-consuming, but at the same time it was rewarding and something I deeply cherished between us. I supplemented with formula at times and am a big proponent of feeding your baby whichever way is best for your family. In that spirit, I wanted to share a few things that helped me along the way (or that I wish i knew sooner!). I hope it can encourage any new mamas feeling as lost or frustrated in this process as I once did!

first time mom breastfeeding tips and useful products

Kindred Bravely nursing pajamas xs (also sold here. So comfy; pants a little long on me)

1. SCHEDULE in-home visit(S) with a Reputable lactation consultant

I can’t recommend this enough! Also, check if your insurance will cover the visit(s). The nurses and lactation consultants at my birthing hospital and at the dr’s office were helpful, but it was a lot of different opinions and methods being thrown at me immediately after giving birth. After settling home with my newborn, I had all sorts of new questions and challenges come up. Here’s a few things my IBCLC (certified lactation consultant) helped with:

  • Weighed Nori before and after feedings on her lactation scale (supposedly a lot more precise than consumer scales like on our diaper changing pad) to determine how much milk she consumed in one session.
  • Taught me how to use my pump settings properly and measured me for proper pump flange size, both of which I was CLUELESS about.
  • Observed and guided a nursing session for proper positioning and a deep latch. Inspected Nori’s mouth, jaw and around her tongue (a doctor at the birthing hospital had already suggested we have her tongue tie addressed)
  • Discussed my questions on feeding schedules, building and maintaining milk supply, probiotics, gassiness and fussiness after feedings

I asked around a lot and was referred to Rachel O’Brien (based in the greater Boston area) and loved her, so if you worked with a lactation consultant or service whom you were very happy with, please leave a comment with their info and location! All this being said, consultants and doctors will always have varying opinions, so sometimes it’s important to trust your own intuition.

Along the same vein, you can also look for local breastfeeding support groups to join. My birthing hospital had one with free weekly sessions that I didn’t know about until later!

best boston lactation consultant
my brest friend boppy nursing pillow comparison
Left: Lactation consultant checking Nori’s latch // Right: My Brest Friend (top) vs Boppy nursing pillow

2. SET UP a portable nursing / pumping “station”

I kept my nursing & pumping essentials in a large felt organizer caddy like this one for portability.

  • Silicone suction milk catcher (or the Haakaa brand w/ anti-tipping base). Since milk letdown usually happens on both breasts at the same time, I used to have a lot of leakage on one side while nursing Nori on the other. This gadget was great for catching milk that would otherwise be wasted, though I only used this at home because it protrudes. The silicone suction creates a gentle pull to help draw out the milk. However, this is not a replacement for an electric breast pump because the ability to empty your breast of milk is not the same. PS – here’s a hack for securing it.
  • Sunflower lecithin (also at Target) was a must for me to prevent clogged milk ducts. I started taking this daily and never had a clogged, lumpy milk duct issue again, until during a trip when I forgot to pack some!
  • My Brest Friend nursing pillow. You certainly don’t need a nursing-specific pillow, but I personally much preferred this over the Boppy, which is very round so Nori couldn’t lie comfortably on top. It’s personal preference so ask mama friends to try or borrow theirs if possible. The Brest Friend also has a strap to secure around your waist and a little pocket for storing nursing pads, nipple cream, etc. I used this pillow around the clock in the beginning, then gave mine to a friend after getting the hang of things.
  • Nipple balm. Another item that I used religiously the first few weeks. After my nipples “toughened up” and didn’t need this anymore, I used it as a lip balm.
  • Giant water bottle, snacks, TV remote and phone charger within easy reach. Workin’ Moms or Letdown on Netflix are both apropos shows to watch during this time ; ) Some of my smart friends also had chair massagers and lactation cookies at their pumping stations. I don’t know if these dairy free lactation cookies worked in terms of increased milk production, but they didn’t hurt because they’re delicious. Several of you also told me you baked these for friends after they gave birth – so thoughtful!

spectra s1 pump review
dairy free lactation cookies recipe
Left: My friend’s genius pumping corner w/ chair massager // Right: Delish dairy free “lactation cookies” (recipe)

3. GET a good hands-free pumping bra

Even if you don’t plan on pumping much, having a hands-free bra makes a big difference. The ones I have are good but not great because the fit is not snug enough around my bust (my band size is 30 to 32). If you have a good hands-free pumping bra that fits properly on a smaller frame, please share! For regular nursing bras, I like that H&M makes affordable and lightly padded ones.

  • Bravado clip-on pumping attachment (also sold at Nordstrom), starts in size S. Loved that this works with my existing nursing bras by other brands and my H&M nursing camisoles which I wore daily. You simply unclip the front of your nursing bra / cami and then snap this attachment on over it to pump hands-free.
  • Bravado makes really comfy nursing bras in general (which I convert for pumping using the above clip-on attachment). I love the Belle convertible bra which has light padding on it and a very soft, comfy moisture wicking material. It also comes with a bra band extender which is so helpful when your body is fluctuating throughout pregnancy and nursing!
  • Dairy Fairy hands-free pumping and nursing bras. This small, mom-run business defies the stereotype of hideous pumping corsets. Their pieces are very pretty and functional, but current sizing is a little big for extra petite ladies. My favorite bra from this brand was the lace Ruby but it only starts at size S. In general, I found that thicker, more structured bra materials like lace held up the pump flanges more securely than softer, lightweight fabrics that could get stretched out by the pump.

best hands free pumping bras

4. Bookmark Kelly Mom + Follow @legendairymilk

Kelly Mom is an incredible resource for straightforward, well organized motherhood information. Nick and I both also LOVE following Legendairy Milk on Instagram for everyday nursing + pumping info and tips/hacks shared by fellow moms (here’s their main site). Some useful tips include:

5. research pumps + understand pump parts / settings

Ideally start prior to giving birth, so you’re not sleep deprived & googling pump basics like I was!

A. research & Choose a pump

Some FAQ’s I’ve gotten on this topic:

What is your overall favorite pump?

After trying Spectra, Medela, Willow, and Elvie, my favorite is the good ole Spectra S1 (I was also very interested in the Baby Buddah after hearing great things, but it was on backorder when I gave birth). It always got the most milk output for me. For first time pumpers especially, a clear flange (the funnel-like piece) with complete visibility is important for properly aligning your nipple each time. The Spectra also lets you toggle easily back and forth between letdown and expression modes and various speeds with good suction.

Tips: A reader (thanks, Amanda!) shared a tip to use these adapters and pump directly from a Spectra into storage bags so you don’t have to lose milk transferring from bottle to bags. I also saw on Legendairy Milk that a lot of moms use the Freemie cups (they look like this) with a Spectra pump.

What’s the difference between the Spectra S1 and S2?
The Spectra S1 (blue) and S2 (pink) are the same except the S1 blue one is portable because it has a rechargeable battery (remember by “blue” = battery). I highly recommend the blue one for this reason, but because I didn’t do my research I ended up with the pink one. If your insurance will only cover the cheaper S2 pink one, a hack is you can buy and attach this rechargeable battery pack.

elvie vs willow pump comparison review
willow pump container bag elvie compare
Elvie vs. Willow wearable pumps

Amongst wearable pumps, do you prefer the Elvie or the Willow?
I received both of these for press purposes, and must say these tube-free, cord-free pumps that tuck into your bra are revolutionary and felt SO freeing to use compared to traditional pumps. I’ve pumped easily with these in the car, on the plane, and even on a party boat in Miami during a bachelorette. However, despite the traditional Spectra being more cumbersome, I always got more milk output using it. Partially due to the suction power, but also because I could better align the pump flange and tailor the settings (for example, on the Willow you currently cannot go from milk expression mode back to stimulation mode, which I did every time on my Spectra to induce a second letdown).

Between the Elvie or Willow I don’t have a clear recommendation because it’ll depend person to person. I liked the Elvie better because it’s smaller and lighter in weight (although if your smaller framed, both brands will feel quite noticeable inside your bra and visually add a few cup sizes), and the learning curve on the Elvie was a little easier for me. However, some find the Willow to have better suction power. Previously a big difference was that the Willow only took one-time use bags but they also have the option of reusable containers now just like the Elvie! I will say though, that although wasteful and more costly, the auto-filling and auto-sealing Willow bagging system can be more convenient when on the road, so you don’t have to fumble with bottle caps and pouring bottles into bags later.

B. Determine your proper flange / breast shield size

After choosing a pump, you can test it out and then measure your proper flange size. A lot of women may not be using the right size, and this can affect milk output and cause pain or discomfort. You should be measuring after pumping because nipples expand during pumping, also I’ve heard your flange size may change over time.

spectra S1 S2 pump parts guide
image source
C. order replacement pump parts in advance

Pump parts (especially duckbill valves) in need of replacement are often the culprit for decreased pumping output. A valve could tear or get stretched out over time and definitely affect the pump effectiveness, or you could lose a piece like I did and go into a frenzy borrowing parts from a neighbor.

On a similar note, my first few times pumping I would often mis-connect a pump part like the backflow protector or tubing by just a little bit while assembling it, and it would create an imperfect suction seal so the pump wouldn’t be as effective. Or, the pump part wasn’t fully dry after washing which affected the suction. So when troubleshooting, I would always check these aspects first.

6. EASE into nursing in public

How to get comfortable nursing or pumping in public was one of the top questions I received over Nori’s first year. I didn’t want to let nursing hinder us from going about our day and traveling, but it took practice to get comfortable. Here’s a few tips for easing into it:

  • Start at a “safe” place like a new mom’s group, lactation support group, mother’s room at a department store, or in the home of a fellow mama friend. The first few times I nursed at restaurants, I would pick off peak hours like mid afternoon and ask for a quiet table in the back. I’ve also nursed in my car more times than I can count just because it’s more comfortable sometimes!
  • Know your rights to nurse in public and prepare a comeback in case someone makes a comment.
  • Dress for ease. I layered an H&M nursing tank under pretty much everything except for strappy dresses. I like them for added coverage for when my topmost layer was either lifted up or pulled down to nurse.
  • No shame in using a cover if it makes you feel more comfortable. I was shocked when I got criticized by breastfeeding advocates online for using a cover. A big part of supporting breastfeeding is in supporting every mom’s CHOICE in regards to it. I loved these knit multi-purpose covers and always had one in my diaper bag to use as a blanket or carseat cover, but I did need to use my hands to hold open the top when I wanted to see Nori’s head. Several of you prefer apron-style covers which give hands-free visibility. If you plan on using a cover, I suggest getting your little one used to it early on.

new mom breastfeeding tips boston
tips for breastfeeding in public positions
Two of our typical nursing positions (second one only after Nori gained some neck strength)

Mamas, please pass along any tips that helped in your breastfeeding or pumping journey!

Leave a Comment

59 Comments

  1. irma wrote:

    soon-to-be-mom here!
    do you have a milk storage bag you recommend? reusable or throw aways? thanks so much!

    Posted 9.4.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Congratulations! I used Lansinoh and heard great things about Target up & up brand milk bags.

      Posted 9.9.20 Reply
  2. Taylor wrote:

    I had no idea there is a such thing as lactation consultant!

    Posted 7.21.20 Reply
  3. Vickie wrote:

    This is an awesome post for first time moms. I have a newborn and I struggle with breastfeeding efficiently. She falls asleep on my breasts and I find pumping to be easier. I wonder what you did in terms of the combo of breastfeeding and pumping… What worked for you Jean? Thanks again for this post!

    Posted 6.9.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Vickie, congratulations on your new little one! I breastfed on demand and pumped once a day (in the morning, after a breastfeeding session) to express out any leftover milk, but that is just my personal experience of what worked well for me. This might sound crazy, but our lactation consultant gave us a few tips to keep Nori awake while feeding like tickling her feet. I can’t recommend working with a lactation consultation highly enough! It’s such a huge help to figure out what makes the most sense for you and your baby. x

      Posted 6.10.20 Reply
  4. Julia wrote:

    Hi Jean! Thanks for such helpful and comprehensive posts about motherhood. I had to pump exclusively with my first baby, so now that I’m preparing for my second baby I feel like I’m still clueless when it comes to breastfeeding. I’m really hoping it works out this time because pumping exclusively was extremely hard. One thing I’m trying to make as uncomplicated as possible is my nursing wardrobe. Did you wear a nursing bra underneath those H&M nursing camisoles, or did the camisoles have enough coverage on their own? It seems like a hassle to have to open up whatever nursing top you’re wearing *and* unhook your bra. Any tips on that?

    Posted 1.31.20 Reply
  5. Nue wrote:

    Jean, thank you for sharing such a thoughtful and thorough post that invites dialogue for women and partners alike for topic that is somehow still a sensitive in 2020! I’ve heard a lot of the same great things about the Spectra S1 and S2 so it was validating to hear your similar confirmation. I’ll be a first time mommy this spring and thankfully I can pick either model with insurance (the S2 completely covered and $75 upgrade for the S1). I’ve heard/read varied reviews about the S1 battery life from the Spectra website (full charge holds 3 hours) and I was hoping you can comment on your experience with the battery life. I’ve heard from other moms who pump that the battery only holds 1 hour and wouldn’t be worth the upgrade (especially if I find out I may be unable to produce/breastfeed/pump for my desired prolonged period) to raves on how the battery on its initial charge lasted 24 pumping sessions of 20–25 minutes each (roughly 8-10 hours by my calculations!). That is quite a wide variance so I’d love to hear about your thoughts after being able to pump for over 12 months! I’d also love to hear if you had any recommendations on a bag for the pump when traveling/working 9-5. <3

    Posted 1.30.20 Reply
  6. Monica wrote:

    Hello Jean, Ive always loved all of your posts, but especially love the ones with your baby advice (I actually got pregnant right after you). I’m still breast feeding & I am dreading the thought of stopping, but I know that time is coming up soon. I just wanted to say thank you for all your wonderful posts.

    Posted 1.29.20 Reply
  7. Denis wrote:

    Hi Jean,

    Thank you so much for this informative post. I’m a first time mama with a three month old. There is so much information out there that it is very overwhelming. I trust your insights and opinions so much that I am looking forward to applying them.

    Posted 1.29.20 Reply
  8. Yvonne wrote:

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve also just reached the end of my breastfeeding / pumping journey, and it’s certainly bittersweet — so much relief that it’s over (pumping around the clock is hard work!) mixed with nostalgia for that special bond.

    Agree with most things you’ve outlined above, and I also wanted to share that I learned to convert a regular nursing bra into a hands free bra. (Game changing for me! I only had one hands free bra, and I got the same clip on bra you had, but I was so sore and upset at having to even wear a bra, that I couldn’t bring myself to wear 2 bras!) In a nutshell, I unclipped the nursing bra and wrapped the loose strap around the flange, encircling it, and then clipped it back to the bra. It might not be as tight of a fit as a hands free bra, but I personally didn’t have trouble keeping it in place, and I didn’t notice any change in pump production. Hope some other mamas will also be able to benefit from this hack!

    Posted 1.28.20 Reply
    • B wrote:

      I second this hack! I’ve got a five month old and I was having trouble with my supply in the beginning due to his tongue tie. I was told to pump while supplementing and I ended up just buying one of the simple wishes bras. While it worked, I have more wider-set boobs than protruding, so it wasn’t always the best fit/suction for me. Changing to just using my nursing bras was a game changer. I also don’t need to bring a separate bra to work for pumping!

      Posted 1.29.20 Reply
  9. Jennifer wrote:

    Hi, again thank you for this amazing post. I am finding it incredibly useful for my own breastfeeding and pumping journey with my 7 week old baby boy. I was wondering if you would be willing to sell me one of your elvie? My co-worker has lent me hers but one of the two pumps is not working. In the meantime I am just trying to take it one meal at a time – and hope I can give my baby breast milk for as long as I can!

    Posted 1.28.20 Reply
  10. Bridget wrote:

    Silverette nipple covers saved my life – look up on amazon and read the reviews. My friend gave them to me and I have given to every friend that’s had a baby. Worth every penny – healed my nipples and never used a cream after that.

    Posted 1.28.20 Reply
  11. Tracy wrote:

    I found out from coworkers that I could get a free breast pump if my obgyn wrote a prescription for one while I was still pregnant. That’s how I obtained my Medela.

    I second the Kelly Mom website. My hospital has a lactation consultant on-call. When I had a clogged duct, she literally read info off Kelly Mom to help me.

    Posted 1.28.20 Reply
  12. Lisa Z wrote:

    My kids are teens, so my nursing and pumping days ended long ago, but here is something I did with my 2nd baby that helped. When I went back to work I reserved 5 days off, and then took every Wednesday off of work for the first month back. That way, I only had to go 2 days without nursing the actual baby during the day. For me, this made a big difference because pumping didn’t keep my milk supply going as well as nursing did. Of course, I didn’t have one of the new fancy pumps shown above either!

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  13. Taylor Anderson wrote:

    I like how you mentioned that one should test for high lipase in their milk, as they may need to skim it. One of my friends had a baby, so these nursing tips could help her. Thanks for all the lactation tips.

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  14. Emily wrote:

    Jean – Thank you so much for this, and for everything you’ve shared about your journey to get pregnant through IVF, your pregnancy, and the first part of Nori’s life. Years ago, I came and stayed for the outfits – while I’m petite by most definitions, your specific recommendations weren’t always necessary for me, although I did like the way you put together an outfit! But the humanity that your blog has gained through your motherhood journey is just amazing, and I’m glad I can remember where you started and see where you are now. I’m expecting my first in June, and your blog has become such a wonderful reference for me in many areas. I’d like to praise you for how well you share your experience while making it clear that every person, every body, and every mom/baby is so different in this journey. Thank you!

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  15. Maureen wrote:

    I wish I had this guide when I had my son. Breastfeeding for us was a nightmare. There was so much we didn’t know. That said, I am glad you wrote this post. There are a lot of information on it that is valuable for new and breastfeeding moms. I will definitely pass it along amongst my friends!

    Maureen | http://www.littlemisscasual.com

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  16. Tracy wrote:

    I’m a second time mom who went back to work after 6 weeks so pumping started right away for me! Pumping was a necessary evil for me with my first kid and it was definitely a love-hate relationship. This time around I made two changes and it literally made pumping so much more enjoyable.

    These two things were a game-changer for me:

    1. Buy 4-5 sets of pump parts. This will save your from having to wash at work or refrigerate your parts (not everyone has a fridge at work). It’s amazing how much time this saved!

    2. Buy 4-5 reusable wet bags (I use Bumkins) to throw your pump parts into as you use them. Then just wash them all when you get home. The bags are machine washable too so I just throw it in with the pile of baby laundry.

    Optional 3rd tip: Buy a desktop fridge to keep your breast milk in. This was necessary for me since the communal fridge is used by so many and there literally isn’t space for my milk. Plus…awkward. I got the one that can be used in the car too so on long trips I can pump and store the milk without worrying.

    Hope this helps another mama!

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  17. Nikki wrote:

    The lactation classes at my local hospital REALLY helped. It allowed me to get out of the house but still be with my baby and with other moms all wing able to be honest about struggles and advice.

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  18. Ella wrote:

    Today is literally our due date, so it’s excellent timing to have this post as reference – particularly for the things that are better to get sorted before baby arrives. Thank you for sharing!

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  19. Ka wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    Have you tried or hear anything about the Ameda Mya portable pump compared to the Spectra? I had Medela as a pump for my first child and was not too fond of condensation build up in the tubing.

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Amanda wrote:

      We just ended our 22 month nursing journey the beginning of this month.

      My only advice is do what feels right. Our hospital LC told us to immediately correct both a tongue and lip tie. Our pediatrician disagreed. Hospital LC said we would never have any success if we used a shield. Guess who made it 22 months! (Finally dropped the shield around 6 months.) We we’re lucky to have a relatively easy breastfeeding journey, but had some moments of strong self doubt.

      Oh, and make little goals. We set a goal to nurse for ten days, then 6 weeks, then 3 months, 6 months, 12 months…each time I reached a goal I felt more confident. And knowing there was an out/end was also very helpful in the down moments.

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Bridget wrote:

      Because of the back flow preventer you never get condensation buildup in the spectra! You could use for a 2nd child or even let someone borrow it. Love my spectra so much I bought the s9 travel one as well. It’s more gentle than the Medela.

      Posted 1.28.20 Reply
  20. Mae wrote:

    Great post with a lot of great info! Kudos to all you mamas on your own breastfeeding journeys. I was unable to latch for a week because of tongue-tie and it was such a big difference after we finally had it removed. A visit to the lactation consultant also did wonders. I also pumped religiously every 2-3 hours at home while we were still waiting to get the tongue tie removed. After his surgery, I would still pump at least once a day to build up my stash and to have overproduction in anticipation of the slowdown when I went back to work. At work, I used the Spectra S1 with freemie cups(they were a little clunky and tedious to use but at least I could use regular bras) and Sarah Wells has these Pumparoo wet/dry bags and mats that I would recommend. I also would recommend pumping and nursing at the same time while at home to build up stash using the Hakaa pump/catcher or the Milkies milk catcher (when I had a lot of leaking). I also did jump or bounce a few times before pumping since I read that encouraged supply. Have one of the baby’s worn clothes and look at photos and videos while pumping to encourage letdown. Also took Fenugreek capsules and drank lactation tea after I went back to work and supply dropped dramatically. For any lumps, I got a Lavie lactation massager so I was able to avoid mastitis even though I did feel sick a few times when I was too busy and had to skip pumping sessions.

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  21. Brandi wrote:

    Jean, you’re awesome. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and personal experiences with us!

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  22. Jennifer Ford wrote:

    I’m getting ready to start this whole journey in March and found your post so helpful! Definitely bookmarking for future use!!! 🙂

    Wondering if you might be willing to share what “nursing essentials” you kept in your felt organizer? I’m struggling with this and with what I need to keep out on top of the changing station. Any advice would be a huge help. Find me on insta @jeniford17 or email.

    Thanks Jean!!!

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Jennifer – congrats! Hope you are feeling good. Regarding nursing essentials, you don’t need much. I listed pretty much everything I used out in the post under that section!

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Anna-Lisa wrote:

      Hi Jean! My little one is almost 13 months and has self weaned off the bottle and daytime nursing. She really only asks to nurse to fall asleep at bedtime. I feel bittersweet about stopping the nursing and pumping also. It’s been so wonderful. Can you post some tips on how you dealt with it? It’s nice to talk to other moms who have gone through this also!

      Posted 1.29.20 Reply
  23. Tes wrote:

    Please share info. regarding the neutral/tan block heel sandals you are wearing (in the picture of you in a blush pleated dress sitting on a bench breastfeeding). I like that it covers most of the toe area and heels are not too high. Thanks!

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      They are old INC brand slide sandals from Macy’s!

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  24. Vy wrote:

    My baby girl is now 5.5 months and I finally am barely feeling confident enough about nursing to give tips.
    I’d say my #1 tip is to not worry about pump and building a stash in the beginning if you don’t need to. My baby was jaundice and I had to pump the day after her birth to syringe feed her during light therapy. Then she wasn’t latching well or gaining weight so I again had to continue to pump so that we could give her supplemental bottles after nursing. If I didn’t have these issues though, I’d say don’t worry about pumping until a bit later. It honestly stressed me out so much! After we stopped having weight and jaundice issues, I was still pumping for some reason. I’d try and get 2-3 pump sessions on top of trying to feed her on demand, but it was not working. I was always stressed that she’d wake up midpump and want to nurse and I wouldn’t have enough. This did happen a few times and she was pretty upset. I finally got into the groove around 3 months and now I only pump once a day in the morning while her dad gives her a bottle from the previous morning’s pump. I pump a surplus in the am so we still managed to build a stash. It’s much less stressful!

    Also a bonus tip is that while I really like my LC for getting my started, she later said my baby would never latch without a shield even after her lip and tongue lie was released. It definitely made me super sad, but I powered through and we dropped the shield at 2 months. So while LCs can be very helpful, just know some aren’t super awesome (the one in the hospital laughed and said she bet I couldn’t make it past cluster feeding without formula) and don’t take their word as 100% gospel… You know best as mommy!

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Completely agree with you that although I had great luck with one specific lactation consultant, to not take the word of advisors / consultants as the gospel and to trust your intuition as a mom. In addition to the LC I ended up liking I saw many others at the hospital and doctors office and was told conflicting things, so at the end of the day it’s important to do your own research as well and listen to yourself!

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  25. Virginia wrote:

    Thank you for all the great info Jean! Regarding the third section above, I have a fairly small bust (about a 32 band size) and the Medela hands-free pumping bra in size small has worked great for me so far. It fits snugly enough to pump completely hands free and it was a total game changer for me. Medela also has excellent customer service which is a plus.

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Great to hear, thanks Virginia!

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  26. leahboston wrote:

    I’ve nursed many times in those Adirondack chairs at Treehouse Brewing! 😂 They’re the best! Especially on a sunny day 🤗

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Haha YES mama needs to pass time in a comfy spot while dad is in the 2 hour line.

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  27. Wentz wrote:

    I’ve shared my ivf journey in your ivf post before. 2 ivfs and 4 transfers later, I’m now finally a mother to a 5 months old girl named Mirelle.

    I wish you could have shared this post earlier as I struggled so much in my breastfeeding initially. There were many issues but the main culprit was using a flange that is too small for me which I have no clue about since all my friends never had any issue using the “standard size” flange their pumps came with. I’ve since overcame it all and my girl has been on breastmilk exclusively.
    I’ve recently found out you could make jewellery using breastmilk. Try google to see if there’s any such service around your area. Wonderful keepsake to remember our breastfeeding journey by. Here’s a website for you to get an idea how the jewellery will look like – woodiepie.com

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Wentz, so wonderful to hear the happy outcome from your ivf journey. Thank you for sharing your experience and confirming how important the proper flange size is!

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  28. Misha wrote:

    This is a really great post, Jean! In regards to a hands-free pumping bra for smaller frames, I used the Simple Wishes pumping bra (found on Amazon) which is completely adjustable with Velcro and the zips up in the front. I am not quite as petite as you but small around the rib cage and didn’t have any issues with this bra fitting tight enough!

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Misha, that’s good to know! I held off because the corset looked cumbersome but I figured there had to be a reason for all of the good reviews by women of all sizes.

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Monica wrote:

      I found the Kiinde system really helpful because I could pump straight into the bag (which closes with a twist on cap) and could defrost and feed it to baby straight from the bag! Although that only worked for my first baby as the second baby REFUSED the bottle. All the pumped milk (about 300 bags) went down the drain 😢

      Posted 2.1.20 Reply
  29. Roanne wrote:

    Hi Jean,

    Thanks for this post and all of your motherhood posts. I appreciate all of your openness about your parenthood journey. In addition to following @legendairymilk on IG, the Facebook group Legendairy Mamas is a great resource. It’s a supportive community of breastfeeding mamas moderated by IBCLCs. I learned so much by posting my own questions and also reading posts by others.

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Great to know, thank you!

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  30. Mary wrote:

    What bra did you find was best to wear with the Elvie? Using them now and sometimes losing good suction halfway during my pumping session due to positioning.

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I wore my regular non padded nursing bras but read online there were particular styles that worked better with these wearable pumps (can’t find or recall details right now, unfortunately!). If anyone else has tips on this, please share.

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  31. Christine wrote:

    Hi Jean! My baby is tongue tied also. Did you end up getting Nori’s tongue tied removed? If so, what are your thoughts about the results? If not, what were your reasonings for not pursuing it? I have heard varying responses from different doctors and am torn about whether I should get it done for my baby.

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Christine, we had it removed when she was two days old because the pediatrician at the birthing hospital said it would be quick and easy (we were hit with a big bill afterward for it though which was not a nice surprise). However, I did feel rushed in that decision process. I personally had my tongue tie removed as a teen since it was causing a slight speech impediment, but if I didn’t go through that myself I would’ve been a LOT more torn about the decision so I feel you!

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  32. Pam wrote:

    I use the Amma nursing cover (weareamma.com) when breastfeeding in public — stylish (no silly patterns that screams “I’m breastfeeding!! (Lol)”, looks like a scarf, and breathable fabric where baby can see out and no one can see in.

    Thanks for sharing all your tips — I am a longtime fan/lurker!

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      They are beautiful! I was unsure how long they’d be on a shorter frame.

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Olivia wrote:

      So fortuitous that I came across your post and been struggling at almost 4 months if supplementing with formula is something I want to do because of the stress of baby preferring bottle over breast and it’s really been wearing on my me. Seems like my baby’s lost interest in the breast since I’ve been back to work and I can so relate that feeling of “‘my baby hates me” and “feeling unfit” as his mother. Is there a specific formula you suggest? Also, how often were you pumping vs breastfeeding during the 4-6 month period? Thank you being so transparent on your journey to help new moms like me!

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
      • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

        Hi Olivia, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling. Breastfeeding has enough challenges on its own and continuing while returning to work adds another layer of difficulty. Just know that whatever you decide, it’ll be for the best for both you and your baby. Please ask your pediatrician if they have formula recommendations. Ours had us use Alimentum because of my baby’s allergies and sensitivities. In my initial 4-6 month period because I worked close to the home, I would go home for nursing sessions because it was faster than pumping so I primarily breastfed.

        Posted 1.27.20 Reply
        • Joyce wrote:

          I’m 10 months in right now and the only thing I have to add is when it comes to washing pump parts…someone told me she would put all the parts in a big bowl of warm soapy water and then clean parts from there. Maybe this is obvious to others but that one big bowl made a big difference for me! Otherwise I was struggling with where to put all the parts because I didn’t want them just chilling in the sink. Also those Boon grass drying stands are great. Oh, and I used Kiinde bags which I attached to my Spectra 1 and I ended up preferring those to Lansinoh bags.

          Posted 1.27.20 Reply
      • Michelle wrote:

        I’m similarly framed and exclusively pump – I’ve found this to be the best option that I can wear all day (works for nursing too). I take the XS but do feel like after a few months the elastic stretches out a bit too much but it has been the best thus far! Essential Pump&Nurse All in One Nursing and Hands Free Pumping Bra, Black XS https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GU1P4TK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_jNCnEbVMNWK8F

        Posted 2.1.20 Reply
  33. Yen wrote:

    Join a breastfeeding support group!
    It was a safe space to share tips and frustrations – not just about breastfeeding, but newborn life in general, especially for a first time mom. You could weigh your baby on hospital-grade scales while there, and a certified lactation consultant is always present to facilitate these meetings and give you professional advice. It also gets you out of the house, and for me personally, cabin fever had a HUUUGE effect on my postpartum anxiety.

    Posted 1.27.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Agreed on getting out of the house! It’s funny, I was cleaning out old mail a year after giving birth and found a flyer from my birthing hospital about their weekly free lactation support group. Had no idea this was a service offered by them and my OB there also didn’t know. So I encourage others to check online or ask someone at their birthing hospital if they have a similar free service.

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
  34. Tiffany wrote:

    Oh wow – my two are 6 and 4 now but how I would have loved a comprehensive, helpful post like this when nursing.

    *little known Tip* With my first we accidentally found out that if you stop nursing but want to resume, it is possible – I stopped at Week 3 and restarted at Week 6, nursing until 10 months. With my second I was overexhausted with a bad cold and mentally frazzled (not to mention pushing a turkey out my private’s) – knowing I could pick it up later When my daughter didn’t latch well I formula fed for the first 2 weeks and started at Week 3! And continued nursing her for 12 months. (Details below, note both also required tongue tie clips)

    With Baby 1 after 3 weeks of nursing, pumping, tube feeding ( a small plastic tube taped to your nipple so they drink it like a straw but get used to sucking your nipple), the hospitallactation consultant suggested that with the latch issues, supply issues and stress it may be healthiest for mom and baby to just go with formula. It was a tough but the right decision. At that time I was weary of taking pharmaceutical drugs to increase milk supply.

    Fast forward to Week 6 – as I waited for a midnight bottle to heat up, she was fussy so I tried putting her to my breast to try to distract her and to my surprise she latched on. I casually mentioned this to the nurse in my well baby visit and she explained that we could try again – using domperidone to aid with milk supply (pharmaceutical). Whaaaat???? Nurses said if we didn’t get this done properly in the first few weeks it was a done deal!!!

    With my second I was hit hard with postpartum and knew I needed to prioritize my mental health. Knowing i could pick up nursing later (while less ideal) was a massive weight off my shoulders.

    I’m not advocating to be laissez-faire with nursing and I believe in being cautious about using medicine while nursing . But I also believe each family needs to do what’s right for them. I know how valuable nursing straight away can be, but it would have been *really* helpful to have known there were options other than “nurse/pump now or forever withhold your boob”.

    The hospital staff can, with best intentions, be confusing and pressuring in an already vulnerable situation. Much love mamas!!! ❤️ Whatever you’re going through at this very moment – you’ve got this.

    You’ve. Got. This. 💋

    Posted 1.26.20 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Thank you for sharing your experience! Relactation is such a fascinating concept to me after I saw that was a service some lactation consultants help with. Wonderful to know that it worked for you.

      Posted 1.27.20 Reply
      • Tiffany wrote:

        Oh my goodness – 7 years later and I’m only now learning the term relactation. I thought it was all some magical fluke!

        Always teaching us something new, Jean! 😉

        Posted 1.27.20 Reply

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