Sunday, December 29, 2013

13+1 Must-Have Breastfeeding Products (December 2013)

My list of top 13 14 items which I believe make breastfeeding easier (in no particular order)

Breast Pump - Medela Pump In Style® Advanced

Medela Pump In Style Advanced
At first, I was using my First Years Single Breast Pump from 2003 ... until the motor went. As I shopped around for a replacement, I learned that under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are covering breast pumps nowadays! Yay! All I had to do was contact a medical supply company (for the breast pump iteself and the completed forms for processing) and my OB/GYN (for a script and verification I had a baby). Through this process I now am a proud owner of a Medela Pump In Style® Advanced and I love it!

Lanolin Cream - Lansinoh® HPA® Lanolin

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin
Not to be confused with hand lotion ... yes, my sister used is as such when she visited us in the hospital a day after the baby was born ... although, I'm sure it works wonders for dry, chapped hands, too. Everywhere I read said nursing *should* be pain-free. Well, it's not - at least not for me. Never was. Not the first baby and not the second baby I nursed. Discovering lanolin for my ouchy boobs was God-sent. Combine with the shells below to eliminate stained clothes while experiencing the miraculous healing power covered up.

Breast Shells - Medela SoftShells (for nipple soreness and flat or inverted nipples),  Medela TheraShells (for sore nipples, flat/inverted nipples and engorgement)

Medela SoftShells
Medela TheraShellsTM Breast Shells for Sore Nipples
I only own the SoftShells; however, I can see how engorged boobies would be better suited in the TheraShells. I stumbled upon these beauties while reading up on how to heal faster and what more I could do aside from using lanolin. They clean easy and come with two sets of sponges to absorb leaks.

Nipple Shield - Medela 24mm Contact Nipple Shield (for latch-on problems, sore nipples or fast let-down)

Although I didn't have much use for a nipple shield, it's known to help primarily with latching issues. During my baby's one month visit, the nurse highly recommended using one in the event we would encounter such problems. Given how initially sore I was, we assumed we were having latching issues. In hindsight, I may have just needed to "toughen up".

Hands Free Pumping Bra - Simple Wishes Hands Free Breast Pump Bustier

With a single breast pump, I had absolutely no need for this ... then the double pump came along. How was I going to surf the 'net while pumping? Enter the double breast pump bustier. Spectacular product and well made. It was a toss up between a Medela bra or this one. I'm a sucker for pink ... and the reviews solidified my choice. Furthermore, the bra comes with a piece to lengthen the width - bonus!

Bottles - Medela Calma Breastmilk Feeding Set with 5 oz Bottle, Medela Calma Breastmilk Feeding Set 8 Oz, Philips AVENT 4 Ounce BPA Free Natural Polypropylene Bottles 3 Pk Pink, Philips AVENT 9 Ounce BPA Free Natural Polypropylene Bottles 3 Pk Pink Flowers, Lansinoh mOmma Feeding Bottle 5 ounce 2 count

Medela Calma Breastmilk Feeding Set with 5 oz Bottle
Philips AVENT 4 Ounce BPA Free Natural Polypropylene Bottles 3 Pk Pink
Philips AVENT 9 Ounce BPA Free Natural Polypropylene Bottles 3 Pk Pink Flowers
Okay, so we have no idea which bottle our baby was going to take to ... we got *all* of these. Each baby is different and we still haven't gotten bottle feeding down. More on this subject to come :)

Milk Storage - Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage BagsThe First Years Milk Storage Organizer

Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags
The First Years Milk Storage Organizer
This is where the list went from 13 to 14 ... duh, I forgot the breast milk storage bags. The storage bags are super and I have had no problems with them leaking. My freezer was a mess and before I knew better, I was freezing breast milk in the storage bags standing up. Now, the First Years Milk Storage Container and the Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags aren't exactly compatible if you freeze the bags *first* and then place them in the container. The trick is to freeze them in the container and let the contraption do its job :)

Cold/Hot Breast Therapy - Lansinoh® TheraPearl® 3-in-1 Breast Therapy

Feel good solution for engorgement, mastitis, breastfeeding in general. I purchased two sets - one for the freezer and one for the microwave.

Nursing Pads - Lansinoh® Nursing Pads Disposable, DIY Reusable Breast Pads

Lansinoh® Nursing Pads Disposable
DIY Reusable Breast Pads
For leaks. Nuff said.

Nursing Bra - Thyme Maternity Soft Cup Lace Nursing Bra

Thyme Maternity Soft Cup Lace Nursing Bra
I needed a cup size larger at first ... it's almost time for the next size up. Thyme bras do the job and are the least expensive outta the bunch from what I've found - especially when they are on sale at Toys R Us/Babies R Us.

Nursing Privacy Cover - Eddie Bauer Nursing Privacy Cover

I have this just in case I feel uncomfortable nursing in public. Public in my case also includes in front of family members which shall remain unnamed. Some places do have nursing rooms; however, I have seen first-hand how they have been abused and used disgustingly for other reasons (such as changing a dirty diaper instead of waiting a whole 2 minutes for the changing table).

Nursing Pillow - Boppy Bare Naked Pillow with Slipcover - Pink Owl, Boppy Slipcovered Pillow - Backyard Bloom

Boppy Bare Naked Pillow with Slipcover - Pink Owl
Must, must, must have. Major help when it comes to positioning the baby for nursing - especially when they are newborn tiny. A Boppy can also be used for propping a baby and tummy time.

And of course, a baby!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

DIY :: Breast Pads

finished product this tutorial

made 4 pair so far ... one pair using a serger with four layers of flannel and three pair using double overlock on a sewing machine with three layers of flannel and one layer of anti-pill fleece

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DIY :: Pack 'n Play Sheet Pattern/Tutorial

Here's how I made a couple sheets for a Graco Pack 'n Play ...


Materials (for one sheet)


1. Fold the fabric lengthwise and width-wise.

2. Measure and cut a 3-1/2" square from the corner (when unfolded, each corner will have a square cut out).

3. Pin and sew each corner right sides together. I used a 4-thread overlock with 
integrated safety seam on my serger; however, a straight stitch on a sewing machine will do.

4. Serge or zig zag stitch around the edges to prevent fraying when laundering.

5. Iron over 3/4".

6. Mark a stopping and starting point about 1" apart. I used flower head pins.

7. On a sewing machine, straight stitch about 1/4" from edge (for me, this was along the serged stitch) from the start marker to the stop marker leaving about a 1" gap to insert the elastic.

8. "Thread" the elastic through the opening. I've seen some use safety pins, bodkin needles, etc. I haven't had much luck with safety pins and do not own a bodkin needle ... so I improvised and used a bobby pin. To use a bobby pin, simply cut a teeny, tiny slit in the elastic about an inch back to thread the bobby pin, like so.

9. Now that the elastic has been threaded, zig zag stitch the two ends together.

10. Straight stitch over the gap to enclose the elastic.

Viola! Done!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rug Hooking ... From Paper to Linen

Draw and Transfer a Pattern onto Foundation Cloth for Rug Hooking

First, draw a pattern on a piece of paper. I start with pencil (better to erase mistakes) and retrace in a dark colored Sharpie. For larger patterns, I use wrapping paper ... the kind that has a one inch grid on the back makes for measuring much easier if you know ahead of time how large your canvas is.

Second, I retrace the pattern with pencil onto Red Dot Tracing Material. To do this, simply place the tracing material on top of the pattern. I corner tape both the pattern and tracing material to hold them steady while I trace.

Third, I replace the pattern with a piece of Foundation Cloth ... my favorite is Dorr Linen. Then, with a dark colored Sharpie, again retrace the pattern. The Sharpie will bleed through the Tracing Material and onto the Foundation Cloth. Do make sure the Sharpie is good and new - otherwise, the pattern will transfer too light or not at all.

Lastly, I do one more trace-over with the Sharpie to make sure I will have no issues seeing the lines on my Puritan Frame (purchased at Homespun Woolens).

I recently dyed a couple yards of wool just for this project :) Should definitely keep me busy 'til the baby's born :)

Pattern inspired by an area rug first found on Pinterest and later tracked down here.