April 2022 Moms

Product Spotlight: Newborn Feeding Series: Breast Feeding, Pumps and Accessories

Part one of our three week newborn feeding series focuses on Breast Feeding, Pumps, and Accessories (next we will spotlight formula and the following week will be all about bottles and bottle accessories)

STM+ share your recommendations, must haves and just skips.

FTM: ask questions. 

As always fell free to revive this thread as questions come to you. 

Find past spotlights and see the schedule here:  Product Spotlight Spreadsheet

TTC#1 10/2016
TTC/IF:included medicated cycles, IUIs and 2 rounds of IVF with 1 embryo each. 
BFP finally in 12/2018

TTC#2 06/2021
planning FET

"Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks,
some doors are open, some roads are blocked" 

Re: Product Spotlight: Newborn Feeding Series: Breast Feeding, Pumps and Accessories

  • I need to know y'alls favorite pump.  
    I had Medela PIS with my first which I didn't necessarily dislike, but I kinda want to see if there is something better, quieter, more portable, etc.

    Also - must have - the Haaka.  GAME. CHANGER.
    IAmPregnant Ticker
  • IBCLC here! Best pump is what works for what your specific needs are. Medela and Spectra are the most popular. Highly recommend the Haaka, even if you aren’t planning on pumping, it works great for overactive letdown or leaking while you're nursing on one side. The Willow is also a good one especially if you’re planning on returning to work or school, but can be very pricey. 
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  • I didn't love any BFing pillow

    I had the spectra pump but didn't use it much

    I didn't have any leakage so I never used breast pads and didn't have a need to use the haaka or anything, but I might try it this time and see if it would work since DD3 only ever age one boob at a time, and I could've maybe saved a stash with the haaka (but then again she also never took a bottle so a stash was pointless)

    The BFing things I did think were essential: a *recliner* chair (like a glider recliner) - I had a really fast flow, and so being able to basically lay down and have DD3 nurse on top of me made it a lot easier for both of us. I also definitely needed nipple cream the first couple weeks. And I used my hand pump at first, and it worked really well - I don't think I used the electric pump until DD3 was like... 6mo?
  • Ivorytower2Ivorytower2 member
    edited October 2021
    The Spectra was awesome for me compared to Medela PISA which I had with my first. It’s bulkier and does not travel well though. I was constantly flying with that chunker and I actually had to use a Medela battery pack for long flights, etc., because I don’t think the Spectra is meant to be used unless plugged in.  Worth it though because it was so much better.

    I also never needed a breast pad and I was wayyyy overprepared with like thousands of them. 

    One strong recommendation for the first few months is the Lanisoh cooling pads. I kept them in the freezer and they saved my ass(boobs).
  • @Ivorytower2 omg yes the lanisoh cooling pads are a LIFE SAVER!!!
  • aloha_mamaaloha_mama member
    edited October 2021
    @Ivorytower2 I give those gel pads out to my clients like candy! They are amazing. 

    ETA grammar is nice
  • With DS4, I breastfed for a year, which meant also pumping at work for a year. I loved breastfeeding (most of the time) and hated pumping because it was all work and no cuddly reward. 

    Regarding BFing: I used a Boppy pillow which helped prop him up, but it never seemed quite high enough for me. I liked the side lying position so I could nurse him in bed during nighttime feedings. I recommend having nipple shields on hand in case you get the cracked/bleeding nipples. It allowed us to keep BFing but reduced the pain until the cracking healed. Also I used one of the things that captures the milk that leaks from
    the other boob while BFing. Don’t remember the brand, but that drippy milk definitely adds up so have one! 

    Regarding pumping: I used the Medela pump in style, and it worked well! I’m interested to see the updated pumps now though since it’s several years later. I used the pumping trick at work of putting all the pumps parts in a gallon baggie and putting them in the fridge between pumps, so I only had to wash once a day instead of 3+ times. Also, freeze extra milk lying flat, and then stack the bags after their frozen. Saves a ton of space!
  • I feel like everyone had said everything haha.

    I also use Medela PISA with my first (2017), got the Spectra S2 (?) for my second and I thought it was the same. However, I didn’t use the Spectra as much with my second because it was quarantine baby and never went back into the office…so it was not used/tested enough. 
    I BF both girls for 1 year.

    +1 Lansinoh gel pads
    +1 Haakaa, game changer for my second. 
    +1 Boppy for the first few weeks for nursing, then we would use it to lay/sit the baby as she got older. Once I got the hang of nursing I didn’t need a pillow, just a good glider/rocker with foot stool.

    I didn’t leak too much either, but got the bamboobies pads, which are super soft and washable. And no, I agree, you don’t need a million breast pads. 

    I considered getting those fancy wireless pumps, but glad I didn’t, they are quite expensive and it would have been a waste of money for my particular situation (covid).
    ******TW******Siggy warning
    BFP1 04/24/2015 EDD Dec 2015 MMC 10W5d;
    BFP 2 09/25/2015 EDD June 2016 MMC 9wks; 
    BFP 3 03/22/2016 EDD Dec 6th 2016 

       Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

  • @aloha_mama In your experience as an IBCLC practitioner, have you found that using heat or ice on the breasts affects milk supply? My initial thought was that heat might increase production or flow since it dilates blood vessels, while ice or cold therapy on the breasts might decrease it since it constricts blood vessels and decreases blood flow, but it sounds like many women recommend ice with no issues noted! I haven’t found many research studies, but what has been your experience?
  • bluecampanulabluecampanula member
    edited October 2021
    Ha, well, I do leak. And have a forceful let down so for awhile it seems like there’s just milk everywhere. I have a small stack of reusable/washable pads and a box of disposable ones. The cloth ones are less likely to irritate, but the disposable ones keep me feeling dry longer. 

    The Haakaa is super helpful. I have a manual pump and some medela one through insurance. I’m not a great pumper because I don’t use them often, but still recommend having something even if you’ll be home all the time for the few times you end up engorged or want to leave baby for a date or some other outing. 

    +1 for the gel pads. Though I never put them in the freezer, maybe the fridge, but they also feel cold because of the gel surface

    I have a boppy, it’s not perfect. I’m rather small and high chested so it’s not quite tall enough. And the full C shape means the ends push against the back of my chair and push the boppy away from me, so there’s usually a gap. Some of these shapes look better to me https://www.babygearlab.com/topics/nursing-feeding/best-nursing-pillow
  • I’ve EP’d or mostly EP’d for a combined 34.5 months. I was never able to be successful with breastfeeding despite having the best care. A big road block was PPD for me, bf’ing triggered it. 

    I used the Medela PISA for my first two kids. This thing was my rockstar! I had an over supply with DS1 and had a 5 month freezer stash, but had a little over supply with DS2. I think I ended up with 2 weeks of a freezer stash when I was done with DS2. I caved to peer pressure with DS3 and had a Spectra 1 & 2. The Spectras were convenient and quiet, but they weren’t nearly as effective as the PISA for me. I had to supplement from about 6 mo to 10.5 months with DS3. I also had 4, yes I typed that right, 4 bouts of mastitis. Never had it with my first two. I stopped pumping at 10.5 months because I was barely making a bottle and killing myself over it. I’ll be going back to my PISA this time around. 

    One good thing from my Spectra experience is that I became very comfortable providing both BM and FF. My PPD was a big roadblock to this, but DS3 is unbelievably smart. I had a lot of fear about him somehow being behind with FF. Just goes to show that the fears in your head can absolutely be irrational. Don’t kill yourself over bf’ing! FF is amazing too! 



  • Gosh its been a while since I've thought about this stuff! (I was an EPer so not a ton of actual BF relatedadvice)

    I had quite a forceful letdown and I think I always let down on both sides immediately. so I'll have to check out the Haakaa. I've heard it recommended by others as well.

    I used disposable pads for the first few weeks because they helped me feel a lot dryer. The reusable ones were a bit chunky and would get bunched up sometimes so they weren't my favorite. I did eventually stop leaking though which was really nice. (so don't buy a million of these)

    I used the Medela PISA and hospital grade Medela at home. I retrofitted my Medela to handle the hands free Freemie attachments. They were nice when I really needed to be hands free (aka driving!) , but they could get a bit cumbersome. I think I didn't have the right size so they leaked a bit too. They are a cheaper option than the Willow, which had just barely came out with DS5.


    As an EPer, I used a bazillion milk storage bags. I had a massive supply and would pump 50oz per day but DS5 would only ever eat about 20-25oz per day. I had them on subscription delivery from Amazon. I didn't like the Medela ones, they didn't freeze flat and I felt like they were always leaking everywhere when I thawed them. My favorite were by far the Lansinoh bags. As long as you didn't overfill them, they freeze really nicely and you can then pack into gallon bags for organization.
  • AvrilmaiAvrilmai member
    edited October 2021
    I BF for a year and I still have a lot of negative feelings about pumping. I hated pumping, but I powered through with the help of Netflix sitcoms. Anyway, I had a spectra S2. It’s the only pump I used  so nothing to compare it to, but it did what it was supposed to do. 

    The haaka, I’m torn on this. I didn’t have leaking/overproduction/etc. so it kind of messed with my head. I used it once DS was a bit older, but I also found he moved so much he could dislodge it. 
    I had a Medela hand pump that came in handy in a pinch. 
    I also got the car adapter for my spectra. 

    @minnie_yoga_mama  I actually preferred heat, especially when I was pumping at work. I had those same gel pads, but I would heat them. I also used an electronic hand warmer. 

    I used the kiinde system and pumped straight into the bags. 
    I had a sarah wells pump bag and it served me well. It had a lot of compartments and a specific spot for the pump. I also kept all of my parts in a bag. I did use pump wipes to wipe the parts down after pumping. 
    Breast size does not equate to flange size. So ask for help if you need it. 
    I had a boppy and the my breast friend pillow, I had to stick a regular pillow under either to get it high enough. 
    I liked the earth mama nipple cream. 

    TTC#1 10/2016
    TTC/IF:included medicated cycles, IUIs and 2 rounds of IVF with 1 embryo each. 
    BFP finally in 12/2018

    TTC#2 06/2021
    planning FET

    "Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks,
    some doors are open, some roads are blocked" 

  • For pumping supplies as an EP’er, I went through a ton of lansinoh lanolin cream. Remember to lubricate you’re Breast shields! I didn’t use disposable pads much as I didn’t typically leak. I did favor the Lansinoh ones though. Also the lansinoh ice/heat pads were godsends! I used a ton of the lansinoh freezer bags as well. I found this brand to be the best and easiest to use. I have a couple simple wishes hands free pump bras that I can’t live without! For really bad cracked or bleeding nipples, I had neosporin handy and some non-stick gauze pads. A bf’ing cover came in handy as well since I have been known to pump in front of family or close friends or in vehicles. I’m very discreet when I need to be. I almost always kept a phone charger and headphones in my pump bag too along with a notepad for taking notes on random thoughts, or for making a grocery list. I tried to make my pump time be as efficient as possible. Videos of my baby hungry crying and pics of them feeding were another essential to help get as many letdowns as I could. 

    I heavily invested in multiple sets of pump parts as well. Don’t buy too many breast sheilds ahead of time though until you know what size will be best for you. This is a bit different this time around since I work from home now, but I would have a clean set of pump parts for each pump session at work and at least one for home (I’d do the fridge method between pumps at home). A dishwasher basket for bottle (or pump) parts is a must too along with Medela’s pump part cleaning wipes. I used older tommee tippee bottles with Medela adaptors for collection since I had lots of them. The big bottles were were my typical size. I have a large storage capacity though so I pump less often, but more milk at a session. 

    No need to buy the fancy freezer devices that neatly stacks frozen milk. I laid the milk flat on an ice cream box or whatever was there to freeze flat, then stacked them upright in my deep freeze in a 12 pk soda box with the top cut off. Newest dates back to oldest in the front. I’d then mark the beginning and end dates on the box for easy reference. Cheap, but effective! 

    Also remember! BF’ing and pumping supplies are fully reimbursable with your traditional FSA’s (Flex plans) through work. If you don’t have one, get one! It’ll save you some money on these items using your pre-tax dollars. 



  • @minnie_yoga_mama Great question! The general rule is that heat increases fluid flow and cold decreases fluid flow. Warm compresses or a moist washcloth applied to the breast for short periods of time can help with swelling and pain due to engorgement or mastitis. It helps the milk flow better and more easily so you can more efficiently empty your breasts if that is a problem you’re running into. And like @Avrilmai mentioned, if you are planning to pump a lot for any reason, warmth can help stimulate letdown, which can be tricky when separated from baby’s cues. Cold application constricts the milk ducts so it should be used sparingly. I usually recommend putting the breast gel pads in the fridge to make them nice and cool when dealing with sore nipples, but too much cold application can restrict the milk flowing and decrease supply if used too often or for long periods of time. 
  • I exclusively pumped and loved the Spectra 2. I've heard good things about Medela but they are so loud and people have that sound forever scarred in their mind. I might get the S1 this time around because it doesn't have to be plugged in and I forgot my power cord a couple times and it was a long day. Spectras customer service is the BEST. They tend to overnight pumps to customers, at no cost to you,, when you run into a problem.
    I didn't hate pumping at all.

    My best advice is go into your feeding journey with your baby and assume nothing. You will drive yourself crazy comparing yourself to others.
    I wanted to breastfeed and found out that I HATED nursing and tried pumping. I approached it with the attitude of "I hope this works out, if not my baby will be fed and healthy no matter what". Stress can truly affect your output so try to not plan out the perfect story and say, the story we put together will be perfect for us. 

    Oh and replace your pump parts like tubes, flanges, etc. on a regular basis. You'll notice a difference if you don't; like a lack of suction. 
  • Hi all

    Can I please ask the ladies who exclusively pumped here for some advice… how did that work on a practical level?
    I EP’d for DD3’s first couple weeks due to other issues, then switched to BF, but from memory it felt like I pumped, fed her, cleaned all the equipment and then it seemed like it was time to start all over again! So obviously that’s not sustainable long term.

    So I’m wondering how you made it work, as in how many times a day did you pump, did you do it at night etc? Did you feed the milk you pumped or freeze it and use an earlier stash for the feeds?

    Like another poster here, BF was a big factor in my PPD, so I want to be as prepared as I can for any eventuality this time around.

    Excuse my ignorance on all this. I’m in awe of how long some of you managed to BF and/or pump!!

    Thank you
  • @teamama80 it really depends on your output. You can supplement with formula or donor milk to try to build up a stash if you are not an over-producer.
    In the beginning I pumped 8 times a day, 20 minutes a time. The first 3 days of his life I supplemented with formula because I wasn't producing enough. I pumped at night when my son woke up at night to eat. My husband fed him while I pumped. Kept us both awake for under half an hour. I power pumped once a day for a week to help build up my supply.
    After that I over-produced and was able to drop to 6 pumps a day and stock up milk. I was down to 4 times a day by 6 months and still producing more than enough. By 9 months I had enough to feed my son past a year so I weened and stopped pumping by the time he was 10 months old.

    I fed fresh whenever it was available and froze the extra from the day every night. Fed frozen when we went out (it acts as its own ice pack and slowly thawed by the time we needed it). There is no wrong answer for feeding fresh vs refrigerated vs frozen, everyone has their own preference. 

    A big thing is when you EP you tend to have multiple sets of pump parts. So you wash them all once a day or every couple days depending. That way you aren't pumping, feeding, and cleaning every feed. Like you don't own just one dinner plate and wash it after every meal.

    There is a FB group called Exclusively Pumping Mama's (Instagram too) and they have so much great info on there.
  • @robbenson That’s all so helpful, thank you very much! I should have said, oversupply was my issue, which everyone said was a great problem to have but it didn’t feel that way (hello mastitis, my old friend!). This is another reason I feel EP may be more manageable, and possibly easier on baby.

    Makes complete sense to have spare pump parts, and I love the idea of one week of power pumping just to get ahead of the game.

    Thanks again!! x
  • Ok so, now on second kid with first I did a combination of nursing, pumping and after about 6 months some formula. My child decided she was done nursing at 9 months and I decided I was done pumping shortly after. My major issue with pumping was feeling lonely and excluded. I very much disliked pumping. That said, I work and after hopefully 3 months off I'll go back to work. I will try to pump again but I'd like to set myself up for more success this time. I honestly did not have supply issues at all till I missed pumping at work and overnight because I was overwhelmed at work and couldn't pump/clean and the 30 min break because our appointments are every 30 min so if I went longer now it's an hour break and I am paid on commission so I don't want to miss a ton of work if I can avoid it. Also these are prescheduled appointments so I can't just run late I have to block my schedule in advance so no one schedules on it. I was always crammed for time and stressed.I couldn't do other office work like phone calls because it was too loud ( I rented a medela sonata, hospital grade) and after I got called out on it, I stopped. Also, I really hated cleaning the pumps 4x at work and trying to make that happen inside of 30 min was tough because if my assistant has questions or anything happens then I would miss pumping time. Even 5 min is huge loss as I have to put on pump, pump, deal with milk, and clean equipment so I'm ready for next "break" to pump next time all inside 30 so I'm not late for next appointment. Thinking about it now is making me stressed. All that to say, I'm contemplating a hands free like a Willow but I don't know  a few things so I wanted to see if anyone else had used these and knows.

    1. How much less production did you get vs Traditional pumps like spectra? 

    2. I have large breasts like DDD now but will be bigger upon birth I'm sure and I have a larger nipple size does this effect ability to use this pump. I don't want to pay 500.00 for a useless to me pump. It's not like I can resell it. Does anyone with larger breasts/nipples use this pump? Does that effect supply?

    3. How quiet? Can I do patient or doctor callbacks? Will someone hear me pumping? 

    4. I know the bags cost more but do they store flat or will I need to transfer to freeze? 

    5. How much cleaning is involved post use time wise vs Spectra?

    6. To me most important, can you actually walk around and join society with this pump on if necessary? I'm thinking if my assistant has questions or needs me at office or just to be with my family doing dishes or playing with my 5 yo, or going on walks which is my main exercise.

    I only get 500.00 from insurance to buy a pump and supplies. I already put the discount for healthcare workers in and then put that towards bags so helpful for sure but I just don't want to blow it all on willow and it won't work for me or help with any of the other issues I have with pumping.

    Also if you don't have experience with a hands free pump how did you do pumping for a year and stay motivated or enjoy experience more?

    Thanks for any help.
  • @rbflei I hear you. I’m a NICU RN so you would think my workplace was nursing mom friendly, but I was only given a thirty minute lunch break and two fifteen minute breaks the rest of the day. Most shifts I was lucky to get a pee break, let alone to get a pumping session in during my lunch break. It’s tough. I would pump in the car on the way to work and on the way home— got lots of funny looks from other drivers but hey, whatever. I managed for about two years and then DD6 weaned herself. I’m planning on getting a Willow this time so I won’t have to worry about blocking that time out. 

    1. You should not have production issues with the Willow vs Spectra, Medela, etc. They are still designed to pump like the others, just hands-free. The most complaints I’ve heard about it is that the bags are small and sometimes you have to switch to a new one mid-session. 

    2. Do you remember your pump flange size? Willow offers up to 27mm. Breast size does not equal nipple size, so even women with large breasts like yours are able to use traditional pumps. The flange corresponds to nipple size and not breast size so your cup size won’t matter as much. There are ways to measure your nipple size ahead of time— if all else fails you can buy an extra flange for cheap at Target, Walmart, Walgreens, etc, and see how it fits. It’s rare for a woman to need larger than 27mm but it happens. 

    3. The Willow is almost completely silent. I’ve done consultations over the phone with clients using it and I had no idea the whole time. I have heard that it can make some noise in the beginning of the session when it’s empty but once it starts filling the noise goes away. 

    4. The Willow bags are designed to go straight to fridge or freezer and do lay flat. 

    5. Cleaning should be similar if not easier than a Spectra or Medela, because there are less parts. Their website suggests soaking the parts for 5 minutes in hot soapy water, and while this is great practice it isn’t always practical when you’re in a hurry. I would sometimes just rinse my parts in hot water, steam-sterilize it in a microwave bag, and then leave it in the bag until next session. Skipping a full cleaning session won’t be terrible as long as you’re not doing it every time, so you can avoid bacterial growth. 

    6. The Willow is designed for just that— they advertise spill-proof systems so you should be able to just skip them on and go about your day. It will make your breasts look a lot larger but it shouldn’t be noticeable to anyone else, since they are so quiet and fit into your bra. 
  • @aloha_mama thank you for the info! This was super helpful. I even figured out my last breast shield size which was 27 because your post reminded me I could look through old Amazon purchases so thank you. Also good to know about the bag changes and that it can happen mid pumping session. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer. I'm really leaning towards the willow so this was very useful information.
  • @rbflei I’m wanting one, too, but I’m not sure I’ll buy one right away because I’m planning to stay home for a few months with baby if I’m able— if you end up getting one I’d love to hear what you think about it! 
  • @rbflei a few more tips that helped me get through the work day and pumping.

    - If you went with the Spectra, you can always buy multiple sets of bottles/pumps. It would be less of a financial investment than the Willow and then you can just wash all the pump parts at the end of your day. I exclusively pumped for about 6 months and this is what I did even at home because I felt like I was constantly washing bottles and pump parts. DH helped wash and we both thought we were going to lose our minds standing at the sink all day.

    - Look into the Freemies for a hands free option that can work with Spectra (you might have to buy special tubes, but there should be a way to convert). I used these in the car occasionally.

    - I didn't have any letdown or supply issues so I didn't need to look at pictures of baby while pumping. So to help with the overall attitude I tried to really allow this time to be me time. I didn't do any work if I could swing it. I would watch videos, surf the web, play games, etc. Things that were enjoyable so that I didn't dread the time. I know that isn't always possible, but try what you can!

    - Not always possible in the customer service field, but try to block your schedule at the same time every day for pumping. That way its on a predictable schedule for your body and you can schedule weeks in advance to block your calendar. I think I put a standing meeting on my calendar every day at 10am and 3pm. That way that time was always available for me to step away and pump. I kept my supply up pretty well for a long time and only had problems if I skipped one of those sessions.
  • @rbflei I would recommend finding a Facebook group for pumping. I'm in Exclusively Pumping Mama's (35k members) and there is so much useful info on there including stories from people on your exact situation. And so much info on pumps and how to make any pump hands free.

    If you can get on a regular schedule then it will help a lot. Also, once you establish supply you shouldn't need to pump 8 times a day so you have some wiggle room to help ease the stress. I think at 6 months I was only pumping once a day at work.
  • @rbflei there actually is a lot of data that the handsfree pumps do not empty all women as much as regular pumps do. Karrie Locher (LC) has talked about this on her IG, so have a few other OBs I follow on ig (about their own experience using them - they're not LCs).

    Here's a video from an OB comparing options from her own experience using them as a mom recently: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWeSsoCr4PE
  • Just here to say that I used Spectra with my second baby and it was much better than Medela. I haven’t tried the hands free pumps but I have also read they aren’t as effective which might be ok if you are using it a few times a day and the nursing later that day, but not if you have to travel away from baby for 2/3 days in a row like I do. You would for sure end up with Mastitis and that is really not fun.

    I would always freeze my pump parts after pumping during the day and wash them once at night. If I was traveling I would use the Medela wipes and hot water for 2/3 days at a time and I never had an issue with any bacteria, etc.

    For moms who have struggled with breastfeeding, I learned with my first daughter that using a nipple shield can really really help in the early days. I struggled to feed my second DD at the hospital and the lactation staff didn’t even mention the shield to me, but luckily I knew the secret and had packed up with me. With both kids I was able to ditch the shield after a few months once my kids got the hang of it. I would 100% reccomend at least trying that out if you are struggling. I am convinced that it saved me both times.
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