Welcome to the second post in a series about my baby gear obsessions. The last post covered transportation gear: car seat, wraps/carriers, diaper bags and bike accessories. The next post will cover home items include our top crib choices, changing table, diaper stuff, bouncy seats, and play accessories like mats.
This one is all about eating, because that takes up a good portion of a new baby’s time and, even if you’re breastfeeding, there’s a surprising amount of gear associated with the task! Breast pumps, bottles, support pillows and high chairs will be covered here.
Disclaimer: I haven’t purchased/used all of these products so these posts are not reviews but rather an overview of research I’ve done.
Ah, breast pumps. The Holy Grail of working mothers (and SAHMs who need a break sometimes!) is a good, reliable, comfortable and quick breast pump. I’ve done the most research about this product than I have any other baby item I think. A close second would probably be the wraps for all the babywearing I have planned. I digress…
I started doing my research way back in the early second trimester after I had a weird dream about my baby’s birth, memory lapses, loss of time and pumping (it was a weird dream). But it prompted me to research pumps, including Avent, Medela and Lansinoh. Check out that post if you want the full run-down, but for this post I’ll just focus on the one I’ve picked (and have purchased already, just not used so again, this is not a review).
What’s important to me in a breast pump? To reiterate the dream post:
- It must be fast, a double-pump is required.
- It must be electric and preferably has a battery-operated option (I can only plug-in if I walk all the way over to the “quiet room” at work).
- It must be relatively compact so that I can lug it back and forth to work each day.
- It must be comfortable.
- It should be quiet. Everyone (well, all the ladies in the bathroom) will know that I’m pumping and I’m cool with that, but I would still like to keep the noise to a minimum.
- And adding from the last post, it should be easy to take apart and clean.
I’ve chosen the Avent Isis Double Electric pump.
- I used the single-pump manual option with my first round of breastfeeding (for Kiddo1). We didn’t have enough money for an electric version, but the Avent was still awesome. It was fast (even for a manual pump), compact, comfortable and easy to take apart to clean.
- As far as the double electric option is concerned, it is apparently lightening fast – reviewers consistently state they’ve been able to pump 5-6 oz in 10 minutes from one breast. One breast! In 10 minutes! That means I can get up to 12 ounces in one pumping session which is approximately two feedings for a four-month-old baby.
- Powerful (one reviewer favorably compared it to a hospital-grade pump). And it’s got to be to get that much volume right?!
- It comes in a nice black shoulder bag that doubles as a cooler. It’s discrete and not too huge. It’d probably fit in my large Big Buddha bag just fine.
- Customizable pace with memory and speed controls right on the neck of the pump: this is super cool because you set the pace manually for the first session and the pump remembers that pace for future sessions. So you can go slow at first to encourage let-down and then speed up once things are flowing (literally). And you can change the rhythm any time you want to. And the machine will remember again! Genius!
- Quiet: people say it is a quiet electric pump, which is great. I imagine I’ll be using the dedicated room for pumping at work most often so quiet isn’t a huge issue anymore, however some discretion is still preferred.
- Pump right into the same bottles you can use for feeding (although I’m interested in trying glass bottles this time, see below).
- Like I said above, the manual option was quick and easy to clean. The electric option looks almost exactly like I remember but with the added suction tubes and motor. The suction tubes have this anti-back-fill feature or something so they don’t get milk in them and therefore don’t have to be cleaned. Easy peasy.
I’m very excited to start using this pump. It will be such an upgrade from what I had last time!
One more thing about pumping… I found this little device on Amazon and I’m hoping beyond hope that it lives up to its promises. That’s right, it’s a bra with holes for your pump so that you can pump hands-free! That takes electric pumping to the next level right?!
You just strap it on – there’s a zipper closure in the front – stick the pumps in the convenient little holes there, turn your machine on and then get your Angry Birds on! (Or whatever it is that you’d rather be doing than sitting there holding your pumps in place which you try to somehow distract your mind from the boredom.) I think it’s genius. It had better work!
If you’re going to pump breastmilk then you’ve got to have a way to feed it to the baby, so everyone needs bottles even if they’re breastfeeding. I’m quite interested in these glass bottles by Kinetic, for a few reasons:
- We’re trying to eliminate the plastic food storage at our house and go all glass. We’ve gotten to an almost 100% switch so why would I start bring in plastic now?
- These particular bottles have a wide neck which makes them easier to clean. There are glass bottles that look more like standard baby bottles but we wouldn’t be able to fit our scrub brush in them. Since we don’t have a dishwasher we need bottles that are easy to clean!
- These look a lot like the Avent bottles. I’m hoping (fingers crossed) that these might even be compatible with the Avent breastpump so I can pump and store right into the glass. However, if that doesn’t work out I can still just put the milk in the bottles when I’m done pumping. Then I won’t need to use so many plastic bags!
- What would be really cool is if I could use the glass mason jars that I have instead of bottles! But I suppose these would be the next best thing!
I don’t have so many requirements for a support pillow. It’s a pillow, how hard can it be, right? Last time we used a Boppy Pillow. I know there are a whole lot more options out there for pillows now (including some that have pockets, but I’m not sure what you’d keep in there). I still like the Boppy because we could use it for more than just breastfeeding support for my arms. It was helpful for assisting Kiddo1 when he was learning to sit up. It’s good for tummy time too! And we took each monthly photo with Kiddo1 sitting in the pillow so we had something to compare his growth too. It worked out pretty well!
I thought for sure we had kept our old Boppy around but Mr. Handsome doesn’t think so. I can’t find it anywhere so I suppose I’ll get another one! This time I’m making a removable cover for it so I can clean it up. I never had any problems with it getting too dirty last time but you never know!
I like a chair that can be pulled up to the table so that baby can be close to the family during meals. We had a regular “stand-alone” high chair for Kiddo1 and has always felt so far away. Plus I think it’s more difficult to turn around and help them out. You could always pull the chair up to the table but then the tray sometimes gets in the way, maybe it doesn’t adjust to the right height, blah, blah, blah. I think the following two options are better in that they facilitate family dinner time with all members of the family, no matter how small. A high chair also has to be:
The Platinum: Stokke Chair
Honestly, I wish I could get one of these for every member of my family. Seriously! Look at how they work: the horizontal piece for the seat can move to any height using the cool slots on the inside of the “Z” pieces, making it fully adjustable and customizable. Mr. Handsome can have a low seat, Kiddo1’s medium and Baby2 can have a nice high seat so we’re all looking at each other at about the same height. Genius!
- The chair has an attachment (sold separately) so baby can get all strapped in and safe. Of course baby needs to be able to sit up, but this milestone usually coordinates nicely with the introduction of solids, so no worries there.
- See above versatility – this chair literally grows with you!
- Okay so it’s all wood which accounts for the optional seat pad, but the back is curved so reviews say it is pretty comfortable. And it’s not like it’s a lounge chair or anything. Dinner only lasts so long!
- I love modern furniture so this is a great looking chair in my book!
- All this awesomeness aside, these chairs aren’t cheap. They run $200 each on the low end, so getting one for each member of my family probably isn’t going to happen at this time. We could get one now and one every, I don’t know, year or so until we have four. That’s quite a commitment to chairs, though.
- Reviews describe it as safe because it has non-slip rubber on the bottom and straps on to the chair securely plus there’s a harness to strap the little one into the booster itself. I wonder if a baby just starting out on solids (six months or so) could handle such a minimalist seat, but we can always see how it goes.
- It could be used for any table activity, such as a game or art project, because it can be pulled right up to the table.
- It doesn’t look like the most comfortable seat in the world since it’s made of hard plastic, but reviews say it’s a snap to clean, just wipe it down. Plus the same could be said of this chair as the Stokke: you don’t spend a whole lot of time at the dinner table! At least not in one sitting.
- I think the little turtle is adorable and what child wouldn’t like it? One who doesn’t like turtles I suppose… Sure it isn’t the most grown-up thing in the kitchen but it’s little so it can be put away if needed.
- It costs less than $15. Nuff said I think!
The only problem with this option is that we don’t really have kitchen chairs. We use stools because they’re stackable, lightweight and they won’t break. We used to have real chairs, but they were clearance from IKEA and they broke. All three of them (no, actually two of them broke, while we were sitting in them, so the third is condemned to the basement because we’re too frugal to actually get rid of it. “Oh I’m sure we can use it for something!” I’m not really sure why we think this).
So in order to make this option work we’d need to buy real chairs. Which does make “The Platinum” option more feasible. We’ll see!
Whew! All that just for eating?! Next post will be about Home gear. I think that actually might be a two-part post… Stay tuned!