‘Pumps and bottles and teats… oh my!’

Keeping on top of sterilising

As detailed in my previous post, I am an exclusive expresser meaning I need to use a breast pump and bottles to feed my hungry little milk monster!

All part of the “fun” in the early days was establishing a routine with sterilising that didn’t make me want to pull my hair out.

Here is what works well for us…

Equipment needed:

Process:

1. I wash and sterilise the breast pump accessories once a day (washing it up, rinsing and then boiling in a saucepan for 5 minutes). I then put the bits together and store it in the fridge for the day (pouring milk into bottles after each use). It is possible to do this hygeinically as the suction nozzles have clean plastic cups to put on and keep bacteria out.

2. While my pump accessories are boiling, I wash up and rinse any used bottles and put up to 4 of them in the steriliser along with 200ml of water and microwave for 6 minutes. An easy way to keep the bottles sterile is to (using clean hands) put them back together again with their lids on after removing them from the steriliser. They will then remain clean for 24 hours.

It is as easy as that! I find I only need to use the bottle steriliser twice a day. I also put Isaac’s Tommee Tippee dummies in the microwave steriliser once a day.

We also have the Milton cold water steriliser which does not require heat, however it has sat on the kitchen side unused as the microwave version is so easy!

*If you do use heat to clean your equipment, make sure to buy new bottles and dummies every 3-6 months to avoid possible plastic degradation – I have just bought new ones as Isaac is now 3 months old.

I hope this helps any new mums and dads to navigate the crazy world of bottles and sterilising! For us it took a good month to get into a solid, easy and safe routine, so I highly recommend the above tried-and-tested method! Good luck!

Best breast pump – a brilliant buy!

When Isaac was born breastfeeding did not come naturally to either of us and it was more than a little stressful. However, I was fortunate enough to have lots of milk supply so I decided to express milk for him. Once you get over the initial feeling of being a cow hooked up to a machine it really is quick, easy and handy!

I started out with a Haaka. This pump creates a kind of vacuum on the breast and can be used hands-free; many women have a lot of success with it. I found it useful for releasing milk when I was super engorged in the early days but it took far too long to drain the entire breast and as I only had one it took double the time of the hospital electric pump.

When later looking up the price of an electric pump I initially only considered Medela (as this was what the hospital used) but there was no way I could afford the price tag! I opted to buy a manual Medela pump called ‘Harmony’ as in the back of my mind I still thought we’d nail breastfeeding and didn’t want to waste money. This pump was pretty good but having to use my hand over and over again meant a serious risk of repetitive strain injury!

After about 3 weeks still trying to breastfeed, Isaac was getting grumpy and not gaining enough weight (plus my supply was way down!) It got to the critical point where if I didn’t exclusively pump then we’d be on formula- no harm in this but as I was blessed with choice I wanted to use breastmilk.

After some extensive Googling my husband and I decided to buy the BellaBaby double electric breast pump. It had excellent reviews and was only £40 so our attitude was very much ‘if it breaks we’ll buy another’. Well, here I am 3 months later pumping with it right now as I type and I couldn’t be more impressed!

This double electric pump has four different suction settings to mimic a baby’s sucking and even uses a massage setting so you don’t have to ‘prep the breast’ before use! I find I can hook it into my nursing bra which is helpful and it only takes 10 minutes for me to drain both breasts (simultaneously) and express around 150-200ml a time. Generally this has been plenty for Isaac who drinks around 150ml per feed. I store excess milk in the freezer in these handy Medela storage bags so when he has a particularly hungry day I always have some spare to hand.

I express around 6 times a day so, taking just an hour out of my day, it really has been a life-saver. This portable little pump has all the strength of the hospital-grade ones and is battery operated. I charge it once a day for about 2 hours and I’m good to go.

I hope this helps to ease any expressing concerns you may have and gives you an honest, first-hand review of what works well.

In my next blog post I will be detailing my easy daily sterilising routine and the bottles and sterilising equipment I use!