I knew before I had a baby that breastfeeding would be challenging. As far as I knew, no one in my immediately family had done it because they didn't want to be "chewed up." That turned out to be the perfect way to describe how I felt for the first several weeks of my nursing experience. It seemed like I was running into issue after issue, and since I had little family support, I went through lots of needless trial and error. But as a millennial mama, I should've realized that there was, in fact, an app for that. Here are the apps, gadgets and creative solutions designed to save the savvy breastfeeding mother.
Issue #1: How much milk is your baby getting?
I love my pediatrician, really, I do. But she (and many other pediatricians) are simply not well-versed in lactation education. Used to her roster of bottle-feeding moms, she would ask me at every appointment how many ounces we were getting daily, and I would stare at her blankly. That's where Momsense comes in, a sleek looking pair of headphones with a baby sensor attached. The sensor measures how much milk baby is taking in by calculating their "effective swallows" — and records all this information for you on a handy (and pretty!) smartphone app. It's super satisfying for technical people like me that love statistics. $89.99, Buy it here.
Issue #2: Pumping sucks.
Solution: BeauGen Nipple Cushion
At worst, pumping was unbearable nipple torture that resulted in a pathetic looking spray of milk in an impossibly large 6oz bottle. At best, it was something I had to do if I wanted to leave the house. Thankfully, someone shared my pain and thought up a creative way of relieving it. BeauGen makes a tiny, stretchy, one-size-fits-all nipple cushion that, for me, eliminated nearly all of the discomfort and sizing issues I was having with my pump. The BeauGen is easy to clean, simple to use, and honestly, such an obvious and ingenious solution that I'm embarrassed I didn't think of it myself. As a bonus for this tiny life-saver, it makes pumping more discreet, as the pink cushion obscures your nipple in the flange. $30, Buy it here .
Issue #3: One of my boobs won't stop leaking!
Solution: Milkies Milk-Saver
This was me (and still is most days), perpetually staunching an overflow on my right side only. (Isn't it crazy how breasts have different personalities?) I would be fine nursing or pumping on the right, but if I tried to nurse on the left, I'd have an enormous letdown that would soak the right side of my shirt almost immediately. The Milkies Milk-Saver, seemingly designed with me in mind, allowed me to collect all that breast milk that was going to waste. You simply slip it into your bra or tank on the non-nursing/overzealous side. To be honest, I thought that there was no real point to trying to collect the milk--how much could there be? Turns out that my non-nursing side was leaking nearly two ounces of breastmilk, which the Milk-Saver held with room to spare. Needless to say, I'm now a believer. $27.95. Buy it here.
Issue #4: So many bottles to wash—so little time!
Solution: Kiinde Twist
I have a knack for doing things the hard way. Nursing was no exception. I would pump into one bottle, pour that bottle into a bag, and then pour that bag into a different bottle. Wash, rinse, boil, sanitize, pump, repeat. I found myself always scrambling to match bottles to lids to nipples, and it made pumping even more stressful for me. So, seeking to minimize the chaos, I came across the Kiinde Twist storage system. Kiinde seeks to minimize the transfer (and waste!) of breast milk through a collection, storage and feeding system. You pump directly into a bag, which then can be labeled and stored as is. The system includes a bottle warmer, which heats the milk to the right temperature, and then the same pouch can be snapped into a nipple and holder and used for feeding. It's a genius way to make sure every drop gets used, and to keep unnecessary dishes out of your sink. $31.99. Buy it here.
Issue #5: I'm going out. Where am I going to heat up a bottle?
Solution: Innobaby's warmers
This one's a toughie, because the number one source of convenient heat (the microwave) is a no-no when it comes to heating breastmilk. Innobaby's warmers really shouldn't even be in the bottle warmer category--they're really portable space-age kitchens. Add a packet and a little hot water, and you have an on-the-go heat source that can be used to warm baby bottles, liquids and foods. I love the fact that there's no plug or battery required, and the heat time is pretty fast—less than two minutes! $36.95. Buy it here.