Tag: medela

Chronicles Of A Working Mum – Tips To Help On Your Breastfeeding Journey

Chronicles Of A Working Mum – Tips To Help On Your Breastfeeding Journey

I love being a working mother, I love being able to have my “own identity” at work and earning my own money. I love being a mother slightly more though, and my children are by far the greatest gift I have ever been given and the most important thing in my life.

The hardest thing you will ever have to do is “go back to work” after having a baby. I have been extremely blessed so far in my career to work for organizations that are flexible in terms of hours and working conditions, something I am pleased to say is becoming easier in South Africa. I only truly “went back to work” with my eldest, and I did that for 4 months before finding a role that allowed me to work from home and be with my boys for over 4 years. Now on baby 3 I find myself “returning to the workplace” once again, leaving a little 3 month old baba at home.

Yes, part of me wants to “run back to the office”. Lets be honest here, and don’t judge me, having been a “stay at home” mum and a “working mum”, it’s a hell of a lot easier on some days to run away to the office and let your caregiver take care of the crying, nap times and feeds. A large part of me however, also wants to stay at home and soak in every single cuddle and sweet smile. The years fly by and in the blink of an eye she will be walking and talking. But, like 90% of South Africa’s women, I need to go back into the office and I am beyond grateful that I have a super nanny to look after my babygirl and I don’t need to put her into a creche yet.

The hardest part of going back to work is always the preparation stage. If you are breastfeeding, it’s making sure whenever you have a free moment, that you are pumping milk to freeze. It’s getting baby used to the nanny/ caregiver and allowing them to learn each other. It means sitting in another room and using all your might not to run and hold baby at every single cry. Hearing your baby crying but knowing that you need to let another person get used to her and understand her cues, to learn her signals like you do as her mother.

The one thing I can do for my babygirl is feed her, and I wouldn’t give that up for the world. Breastfeeding for me is just the most special journey. I breastfed my eldest for over a year, my second son for over 2 years and although circumstances are different now, I fully intend to feed my babygirl for over a year too. Maintaining a corporate career and breastfeeding a baby is a full on commitment in itself and one that I certainly wouldn’t be able to do with some help along the way.

If you are planning on keeping up your supply whilst working there are a couple of things you can do to help you on your journey:

  • Firstly, a really great double pump, and make sure you get a hands free bustier. I’m currently using the Medela Freestyle and loving it! Its compact and small and has a fully chargeable lithium battery, meaning I can pop down to my car to pump (open plan offices and clear glass windows in meeting rooms aren’t great for pumping). It takes 17 minutes from start to finish for me to pump out a full feed for Raya, and with the hands free bustier I can even carry on working. Nothing makes you feel more like a superwomen then multitasking 🙂 They key is to try and pump as close to baby’s normal feeding times as possible. I make sure I have enough of a freezer stash available to last a week or two and then whatever I pump that day gets replenished. As soon as I am at home, baby feeds from me as normal.
  • Mrs Milk Lactation Bars – Different to traditional lactation cookies in that Mrs Milk provides nutrition, for both mum and baby. “Mrs Milk” bars are fantastic for busy mama’s, not only providing you with key “milk boosting” ingredients like fenugreek, flax and brewers yeast, but also providing you with nutrition and energy for the day ahead. Calories are important when breastfeeding and life is chaotic! We often forget things like breakfast or snacks when you are running between work and kids, and Mrs Milk bars are the perfect in between! They fill you up with all the right things and come in two flavours, the classic and the green apple and moringa (my favourite).
  • Lactation Cookies – I have also been munching my way through “Nursing Mama” cookies. The ULTIMATE pick me up treat 🙂 No more mid afternoon or late night choccies for me, because these lactation cookies curb every craving. They are super yummy and come in 3 flavours, coconut and almond (my favourite), peanut butter and chocolate as well as white chocolate and almond. There is even a range to help curb morning sickness.  I find some of the flavours a little sweet, but I love the fact that you can buy pre-mixes, because honestly, who has time to run around looking for ingredients like flax seed and brewers yeast? When I bake the pre-mixes I just add a little less chocolate or sugar in to suit my taste.
  • Hydration – Goes without saying. Water=Milk, in this case anyway. If you do not increase your hydration, you will not produce enough breastmilk. It’s that simple. So whether its herbal, nursing teas, or plain old water; drink drink drink!
  • Finally a crucial item you need to consider, and it just occurred to me whilst I was pumping in the car, is your clothing! So here’s a HUGE shout out to companies like Cherry Melon, Sophie and Jane as well as Mama Noo nursing, who make breastfeeding friendly underwear or clothes. There is a BIG difference in being able to pump or feed discretely when it comes to the clothes you wear. Cherry Melon has some fantastic feeding cami’s that unclip at the strap, I wear these under my work clothes everyday, which allows me to maintain a sense of dignity whilst pumping 🙂

Wherever you are in your breastfeeding journey, know that you aren’t alone. Its tough but it is manageable. Its also a very personal journey, so if you feel that the natural cycle has come to an end, that okay too. This post though is here to encourage you. You can do it, if you want to. There will be ups and downs and ebs and flows, but we have incredible support in this motherhood community, and if you feel you don’t have any, I am here for you!

The Baby Items That Are Worth The Splurge For First Time Parents

The Baby Items That Are Worth The Splurge For First Time Parents

Becoming a mother for the first time is all a bit overwhelming, in addition to all the hormones, body changes, lack of sleep and anxiety, there are hundreds of different lists of “what to have” and “how to prepare”. You could end up spending your whole year’s salary on all the “must haves” on some of the lists. I had endless debates with my husband when we had our first child on what we really needed versus what was a nice to have.

We are 3 months away from baby 3 and I realised the other day that I have actually bought this baby nothing yet! Looking around the house however, I saw that we still had a few key items that had lasted us for both boys and that we will continue to use for baba 3 as well.

They are some of the “bigger” buys, but that being said, they are completely worth the extra spend. So if you are considering buying these items but debating the cost. I think the following items are absolutely worth the extra money upfront.

A crib – A good quality crib will last a lifetime, literally. In fact, the bassinet we use for our baby’s as newborns is the same one my mother had with me! I’m so grateful she kept it all those years, it’s very special to use with our children. Our wooden cot which was gifted to us with our eldest has lasted us as well. It may be one of the most expensive items you buy, but it’s definitely worth spending a little extra on.

A high chair/ feeding chair – This has proudly held a place at our dining table for over 5 years now. Considering you use these for at least 2 years with each child, a good quality feeding chair is most definitely worth the extra money. Thankfully we got “leather” covered one which makes clean up a breeze. We use : Peg Perego Prima Pappa Zero which we purchased from A-Zee Baby World. I personally love this chair as it has a slight recline, a tray that can easily be removed, it has back wheels for easy transport and the leather is super easy to clean. Its suitable up to the age of 3!

A Baby Bouncer – One of the best items I have ever received. We got ours with my eldest and not only will we continue to use it with baby 3, it’s also been used by various friends and my niece as well. The perfect spot to pop baba into when you need a few minutes, keeping baby’s entertained and comfortable. We use the Fisher Price Rainforest friends Bouncer, similar to this one from Takealot.com .

Muslin Baby Blankets – The ultimate. Aadam was a summer baby in Africa. Which means one hot and sweaty baby. Muslin cloths offer the perfect “thin sheet” to wrap baby up in at night, covers them from the sun, wipes up any sweat or ick and doubles up as a “doo doo” blankie if they need something soft. The possibilities are endless, and the more they get used the softer they become. Some brands can be a little pricier initially, but again, they last a lifetime. We use the Baby Sense or Maccie Range (obsessed with Maccie’s prints).

A Bath Seat – We had both a nifty little chicco changing table/come bath as well as the bath seats you put into the bath. Sadly the changing table is something I gave away recently, but with a newborn baby it was super helpful to not have to bend down over the bath. The lid lifted up and you could fill just enough bath water in for your newborn, allowing you to stand and bath baby, and then quickly change baba all at shoulder height to minimize your bending. Super helpful if you have had a c-section! I’m currently lusting on the Shnuggle Bath and seeing as though I sold our previous one, this is on our must buys for this baba. I love that baba sits more upright and that you can purchase it on a stand, trust me as a new mom, when you are petrified of bathing little one, this is well worth the price! Available from Kids Emporium.

A good quality Pram – If you spend a little bit extra on this it will also carry you through the times. Both boys have used ours as have many friends. A quick wipe down and its all ready to go for baby 3. We got the Stokke Stroller from Kids Emporium with our first-born. You can swap between the car seat and the pram at your convenience and can use the pram from newborn right up to toddler (and more). Have a look at my blog post on tips on selecting the perfect pram here. 

Steam sterilizer – I would not have survived our first year without our Tommee Tippee steam sterilizer. From bottles to dummies it takes 3 minutes to sterilize all of baba’s essentials, without using harmful chemicals. Its been taken out the cupboard again all ready to use daily again. This personally is an absolute must for new mamas!

Electric Thermometer – We first started out with the good old “stick under your arm or in your bum” thermometer’s as I didn’t think the electronic or the thermal type were worth the money. I swallowed my words within the first month and quickly ended up at a clicks buying the electric/automatic type. The last thing you want with a newborn is an inaccurate or hard to move thermometer.

Good Quality Breastpump – If you choose to breastfeed I cannot emphasis the importance of getting a fast, effective pump. With boy boys I expressed as i was working and Medela was my personal go to for both. I started off with a single pump and quickly followed up with the double pump to save time. One word of advice, if you buy the double pump, do get the supporting hands free bra as well. Otherwise like me, you’ll be caught with your hands tied. Literally.

Baby Wrap/ Carrier – I debated whether or not to put this on the list as I only really found value in it once I had my second child. However, the value its value has been HUGE! My baby wrap literally was a lifesaver as I had a newborn and I was running after a 15 month old. Trips to the store meant baby went in the carrier and toddler went in the pram. My wrap of choice was The Caboo Close Wrap, which we got from Kids Emporium, it’s definitely a little pricier upfront and completely worth every single cent as you don’t have to fiddle around and tie things. My favourite carrier was Ubuntu Baba of course.

Cold Steam Humidifier – There are debates around the humidifier and children, each with their own pros and cons. We have always chosen cold steam humidifier as they avoid any bacteria build up, and unneccessary burn scares. In a city like Johannesburg, with its thin air and high altitude, this has been pulled out on many a “croupy” night. We use the Vicks Cool Steam Humidifier which has a cute little night-light option, which we got from Dischem Pharmacies. 

OPTIONAL: Baby Monitor – I feel I have to include a baby monitor as so many new parents swear by them. Personally, for our first child, our flat was small enough that we would hear him all the time. For some reason when our second child was born I panicked and sent my mum in law out to buy the fancy Angel Care Monitor that measures breathing and movements. We took one look at the functionality and set up and decided it was waaaay too complicated for us and swapped it for the standard Angel Care sound monitor. This was super helpful as I was running around with a 16 month old in a bigger house, so I often carried the receiver on me if I took my eldest out to play. There are so many options available out there but our first choice was Angel Care.

There you have it. In my personal opinion, these 11 things are worth spending a little extra upfront to make your life a lot easier in the long run. All of these have lasted well for us and we will have used for all of our children. Now I guess I just have to stock up on the baby grows and clothes as I’ve given most of those away!

What are your must haves?

The truth about breastfeeding, and products that can help you along the way.

The truth about breastfeeding, and products that can help you along the way.

So there is phase of motherhood that no one really “tells you about”… You know all about the milestones and a little about the burping and sleep patterns, but everyone fails to mention those first 8 weeks, where as a new mother, your body aches in places you never knew existed. If you have chosen the breastfeeding route, you feel as if someone has put you through 12 rounds of a boxing ring. The one thing you don’t see in those cosy cute pictures of mammas breastfeeding their babe’s is the endless hours of “back end” work to get them there. Soothing hot towels, cabbage leaves to reduce swelling, nipple creams slathered on 🙂

So let me set the record straight, Breastfeeding, in the early days is PAINFUL! Before everyone jumps on and shouts at me to say Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, I’m not referring to the ACTUAL act of breastfeeding, I’m referring to everything around it. Your breasts are adapting, your milk kicks in and they are they are full, hot, swollen and bruised and then dealing with a baby learning to latch correctly you can get all sorts of issues happening with your nipples (I looked for a more kosher word but sorry, there isn’t one 🙂 ). Let me say this does only normally last for about 3 weeks, the pain does go away, but in that moment, it can feel like a lifetime. I encourage all mums to HANG IN THERE! Please, continue on in your breastfeeding journey, if you can, it is one of the worlds most beautiful experiences.


This blog is focused on products that can help you through that, and hopefully, get you on track to one of the most rewarding experiences ever. I managed to exclusively breastfeed both of my boys for over a year each (I don’t have anything against formula, I personally just found it more convenient to breastfeed.) Here are some of the things that helped me through:

A lanolin based salve can do wonders for sore, cracked nipples in the early days. I tried both Medela and Lansinoh. My personal favourite was Lansinoh – it has no horrible “stickiness” to it.

Seamless nursing bra – A good nursing bra is a God send, you will literally spend 24 hours a day, and then some in them 🙂  Personally I used “Carriwell”, and used both the normal t-shirt ones and the ones with extra padding. The extra padding can really help especially when baby starts sleeping for longer stretches.

Electric pump – Personally for me, this was my best friend and I would never have lasted so long in my breastfeeding journey without my Medela swing pump. I actually started off with the single swing pump, and after spending 20 mins each side expressing thought I should switch to the double. Ironically, the single pump was waaay more effective and remains my staple. Going back to work when expressing is always fun, I would hide myself in a locked interview room pumping while interviews were taking place in the rooms around me J. I will say I HATED the time spent pumping, I felt like I was wasting time (though I know the end result was far from that), often I considered pumping on the way home whilst stuck in traffic and I know many mums that successfully do so. Pumping also helps to stimulate milk production if you have a dip in your supply.


Nursing pads – I started off using the Phillips range and to this day that was by far my favourite. Soft, non itchy and disposable but for some reason I couldn’t find them anymore in South Africa, so I switched to Pigeon. Once your milk is more settled and more of a routine formed I switched to cotton based, washable ones which were a big cost saver.

Cooling Gel Pads – Can be used hot (to stimulate your milk production) or cold (to soothe the pain). I will be honest, I didn’t use mine . I found them a bit uncomfortable and heavy, and in the early days the ONLY thing that worked for me was warm wash cloths and cabbage leaves J YES, Cabbage leaves. However I know a lot of new mums that swear by them.

Extra Vitamins – This is a must! breastfeeding, coupled with lack of sleep, or rather broken sleep, drains you! You need essential vitamins to promote healthy supply. Continue with your prenatal vitamins even after birth. You need all of those extra vitamins for breastfeeding. Personally the found the hugely popular Preg-Omega disagreed with me, the Salmon Oil content (or something) was too high and made me terribly nauseas. I switched early on to a generic pharmaceutical brand and that worked like a dream. My best breastfeeding tonic was Vitaforce’s Schlehen Blackthorn Berry Elixir (with my firstborn I swore by it). I would make up litres of jungle juice to store in the fridge. With my second, I just took a good old tablespoon every time I felt I needed it. The other thing you desperately need is WATER, and lots of it!


C Shaped nursing pillows – These are life changing. They take all the weight off your arms and baba sits at the perfect position, so no wriggly awkwardness. If you have had a c-section, it also protects your scar.

Nursing Cover/ Breastfeeding blanket – Debatable … Ummmm I will admit I never really used it. Nothing that a good old muslin blanket won’t quickly cover up when you need it to and IF your baby doesn’t mind the cover over him/her.



Whatever your breastfeeding journey is, or for however long it lasts, remember each day is an accomplishment. You have given your baby precious anti bodies and created a beautiful bond. Try and join your local la Leche league to invaluable advice and encouragement.

I’d love to hear your breastfeeding stories, one thing I have learnt is to talk about it more. Every woman who has had children and gone through the same thing but for some reason, the struggles around breastfeeding aren’t spoken about enough. The aim of this blog is to open that up. Its okay, we have been there, and as fellow mother’s we should all support each other. Every way we can.