REVIEW – Breast Pads – The Good, The Bad and the ESSENTIAL! :)

I consider myself to be fairly lucky on the breast feeding front, in that I have always had a good milk flow and strong let down, and therefore I have never struggled to feed my daughter. However, what this has meant is that Ive found myself in a few awkward situations, walking around with large wet patches on my tshirt and having to try and hide the fact that my breasts are leaking milk… everywhere.

Because of this, even before my baby was born, I had to invest in some breast pads. Believe me when I say… I have tried them all! The challenge was finding a breast pad that was comfortable, that stayed put in my bra, and that was absorbent enough to soak up the milk that automatically sprayed out the boob that wasn’t being utilised!

Here is the Real Mums Review on 3 of the breast pads I tested – the Good, the Bad, and the Essential!!

THE GOOD – Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Breast Pads

Cost – Between £3 and £5 for a pack of 50 pads.

The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Breast Pads come in packs of two – making it very easy to pop a sealed packet into your handbag or changing bag when going out for the day. Described as having a special moisture trapping layer, these are relatively discreet, with a sticky pad to stick onto the inside of your bra.

Pros:

  • Reasonably cheap and regularly on offer in Boots, Mothercare etc
  • Reasonably absorbent – I have only had one or two occasions of leakages using these pads.
  • Comfortable fabric, not itchy against skin.
Cons:
  • I found it handy that they were wrapped as a pair, but there may be occasions where you just need one, and therefore this could be seen as a negative.
  • The sticky pad isn’t particularly sticky, and therefore they can ride up in your bra which can be embarrassing, particularly in the summer when wearing strappy vest tops!
  • These would be more than adequate for someone who only leaks occasionally, however if you are a regular leaker like myself, then you may need slightly more absorbent pads to ensure no accidents occur.

THE BAD – Boots Own Breast Pads

Cost – £4.09 for 80 pads. Sometimes part of the Boots Mother and Baby Events. Benefit from extra advantage card points for Boots Parenting Club Members.
Described as soft contoured breast pads – they are supposed to provide protection for your clothes from leaking milk especially just before a feed when your breasts are full or whilst breastfeeding when you have a let-down reflex.

Pros:

  • Cheaper price per unit.
  • Large size pad fits fully within your bra.

Cons:

  • Quite simply I found that these didn’t work! Despite having the pads in my bra, I still came home with wet patches on my top. I guess the ‘you get what you pay for’ mentality is really true!
  • The material can be a little itchy against the skin, feeling more ‘paper-like’ and the pads are notably thinner.
  • No protective wrapping so the pads would get dirty if you took them out in your changing bag unless stored in a separate plastic bag or nappy bag.

 ESSENTIAL – Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads

Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads are described as having an ultra-thin but super-absorbent contour for a natural fit that won’t show under clothing. The soft, stay-dry lining
is supposed to draw milk away from the skin and into the core of the pad where it is absorbed
by a special polymer to prevent leakage.

Cost: Approx £5.50 for 60 pads, however significantly cheaper when purchased online (currently retailing for £3.79 on Amazon (plus postage fees).

Pros:

  • Not visible under clothes, discreet even when worn in the summer under strappy vest tops.
  • Stay put and do not ride up – two sticky pads unlike a lot of breast pads on the market – most tend to have just one.
  • Very absorbent-  although they do become thick and heavy when full, they do not lose their shape, and don’t feel wet against your skin.
  • Easy to open packaging.
  • Shaped and contoured (curved) so seem to fit closer to the breast.
  • Great at night when my leaking was at its strongest.

Cons:

  •  More expensive than others on the market – but this is clearly an example of “you get what you pay for”.
  • Wrapped individually – although great from a hygiene point of view it does waste packaging – I seem to have little tabs and wrappers EVERYWHERE!
  • Not as readily available in store – tend to be more easily accessible online or in larger boots stores only.

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Review – Widgey Donut Breast Feeding Pillow Birdy

Product Name – Widgey Donut Breast Feeding Pillow – Birdy

Available at – John Lewis

RRP – £29.95

The Widgey Donut Breast Feeding Pillow, Birdy is described as a multi-purpose feeding pillow – strong and firm, with an award-winning design. It provides the necessary support for baby whilst feeding. Styled in print cotton jersey, the removable cover features a cute retro bird design.

I was bought this pillow as a gift before my baby daughter arrived back in June. I used this for breast feeding for the first few weeks, putting it around my midriff and resting my daughter against it to allow her to gain a good position for latching on. The pillow allowed me to sit upright on a sofa or bed, and still maintain a comfortable angle to get my daughter in the optimum breast feeding position, without hunching forwards – believe me, back pain and a newborn don’t mix!!

I did find the pillow helpful and practical particularly in the early weeks when my daughter was very small – (she was 6lb 4oz born).

However, after a few weeks, I personally found that the pillow became more of a hindrance than a help. I could never get it in quite the right position, it got covered in milk, and my daughter would get impatient and hungry whilst I faffed around getting comfortable.

Not to be defeated though, I still made great use of this product, and actually prefer it for the alternative use. Whilst my daughter was still very small, and too little to sit unaided, I used the pillow as a rest for m daughter, placing her head in the centre of the curve and allowing her legs and body to rest in the middle. My daughter really enjoyed sleeping on this in the garden during the pleasant summer. With reflux, she liked to sit slightly more upright, and therefore I think she found it easier to nod off resting on this than when she was lying flat on her back! If the doorbell rang, or I needed to pop the loo, I could place her in the confines of this ‘seat’ and she would rest reasonably contently until I returned.

Pros

Comfortable material and soft for babies to be supported on

Attractive design

Washable cover for spillages (which lets face it are quite frequent!)

Great for posture and I believe it would be particularly useful for those who have a weak back and are likely to be uncomfortable slumped over whilst breast feeding.

Offers great support during those shattering early night feeds when you are so tired you can barely hold them!

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Cons –

The pillow just didn’t feel natural to me. I liked to support my childs neck / back with my own hands skin to skin. This however did cause my back to ache more from being hunched over, so probably not recommended!

Personally felt that the product was expensive for what it was.

I’m not sure how comfortable it would be for someone larger than a size 14/16 as the centre gap isn’t particularly large.

Solihull Breast Feeding Friendly / Baby Friendly Locations

So your a new mum and you’re just getting used to the thought of breast feeding in public. You’re braving Solihull for the first time with baby in tow, and you’re terrified. You’ve got your changing bag bursting at the seams with 12 muslin squares and 300 nappies and you are READY. You are going to brave Touchwood. With this review, Real Mum Reviews aims to take the pressure off by helping you out with our verdict on the best breast feeding and baby friendly locations in Solihull.

The Real Mum Reviews Choice – John Lewis – Parenting Room

As breast feeding and baby changing locations in Solihull go, the John Lewis Parenting Room is like the Hilton of baby changing! The facilities are quite simply great, and partners are welcome to go in too – hence why its called a Parenting room and not a Mother and Baby room. The room is located on the same floor as the children’s clothing, tucked around the corner by the prams and cots.

As you walk in, to the left there are four or 5 changing mats, all with blue disposable sheets to ensure that they are hygienic before use, as well as sinks to wash your hands after changing.

There is a large toilet cubicle with two loos (great for going the toilet yourself with the buggy and potentially a toddler in tow)

The room then consists of two large “booth” type areas, with comfortable leather chairs, and ample space for the pushchair as well as privacy for breast feeding – in that you are not immediately visible when someone walks in to the room – no fumbling to hide your modesty!

For those that are bottle feeding there is also a bottle warmer to heat up your babies milk.

Now that my baby is a bit older, the dog border design on the wall really catches her eye and she loves staring at it whilst feeding or being winded. Its amazing what a few bright coloured doggies can do! 🙂

Pros

  • Suitable for both mums and dads (or nannys and grandads for that matter)
  • Privacy for breast feeding
  • Ample baby changing facilities
  • Hygienic and clean
  • Sociable – I usually end up having a chat with other mums and dads in there, or cooing over someone else’s younger baby and reminiscing that E was once that small!

Cons

  • If im being realllly critical, and this is really clutching at straws – the carpet could do with a bit of a clean.
  • If you’re going there for the first time it can be a little tricky to find, although the room is clearly signposted. I originally thought it was located by the toilets in the café as there is a mother and baby toilet there- but this room is much much better!!

Parkridge Centre Brueton Park

A hidden gem, particularly in the summer, I spent a lot of time here in the early weeks with my newborn.
The Parkridge Centre Café is located in the centre of the Brueton Park, and is very child friendly, with a baby changing room and lots to entertain toddlers who might be in tow. Close to the nature reserve, older children can watch the bird cam or bird spot whilst you have a coffee.
When I first went there I asked the lady behind the counter if I was ok to breast feed and the lady said “If anyone complains, I will ask THEM to leave”. Best response ever! 🙂 I was always made to feel comfortable and welcome.
Pros:
  • Within the park, great for a pitstop during those belly busting buggy walks.
  • There is plenty of room for pushchairs
  • Good baby changing facilities
  • Breast feeding friendly
  • A great baby friendly meeting place for new mums and their friends.
  • Quite simply the best lemon cake ever. If you’re breast feeding you need all the calories you can get 😉

Cons:

  • In the winter it closes quite early.
  • In the summer, it can be particularly busy, particularly at weekends.

Boots Parenting Room

The Boots parenting room has the potential to be really good. Unfortunately in our experiences so far it has fallen really short.

Firstly – the lift in Boots is AWFUL. As someone with claustrophobia I have never been a fan of lifts, and the thought of getting stuck in one terrifies me. Enter the boots lift, which sounds like it has broken down as it jolts to a stop, and I’m like a stressed jelly by the time I get out.

The room does have a chair for feeding (although a basic wooden one) and three or four changing mats, but the overbearing smell of bleach put me off as soon as I walked in.

I wouldn’t use it again unless we had a Code Red NPD – “Nappy Blowout Emergency”  and particularly wouldn’t feel comfortable feeding in there.

Product Review – Infacol

Picture the scene, its 3 in the morning and your 6 week old baby WILL.NOT.STOP.CRYING.

Not just any cry, but a sharp, ear piercing squeal of a cry that cuts rights through you and tugs repeatedly on those hormonal stretched to the limit heart strings. The kind of cry that can make even the strongest of mothers crumble into a jibbering panicky mess. You feel like you’ve tried everything. You’ve tried to feed her- the crying gets louder and she pulls away from your breast like your nipples are laced with poison. You’ve tried to pat and rub her back and she squirms and turns rigid beneath your palm. You’ve tried to lay her down.. and regretted it immediately as the screams dramatically increased in volume.
Your baby has colic – you’re shattered, they’re shattered and you just want something, anything to try and ease the pain.

 

After a few weeks of this every single night, (yes I was a VERY tired mummy!) a friend of mine recommended that I tried Infacol.

Infacol is specially formulated to relieve wind, infant colic and griping pain. It is available pretty much everywhere, from supermarkets to Boots, Superdrug and most chemists and pharmacies. A bottle costs between £2.80 – £4.00 depending on where purchased. It can be used from newborn, unlike a lot of medications which are from 12 weeks, and tastes of orange, a flavour that my little girl at least appeared to find fairly non offensive. To use Infacol, you simply add a dropper of the liquid into your babies mouth before a feed. The dropper in the bottle makes this very easy to administer, and despite a bit of face pulling and a slightly confused furrowed brow, my daughter took this medication quite willingly.

One thing you should probably know about Infacol is that it is a cumulative treatment – in other words, unfortunately for us tired parents, it doesn’t work immediately, or turn off the cries like a magic wand. Some of my friends were bawling “it doesn’t work!” after just one dose – and we should know by now – life is never that simple. However, by adding a drop into her mouth before every feed, I did notice a marked substantial improvement within a week. My daughter learnt to actually quite enjoy the taste and this might be coincidence, but it almost felt like the sight of the Infacol bottle made her realise that food was on its way – associating the sight and orange taste with the milk flavour that followed.

So how does Infacol work – well I’m certainly no scientist – but it appears to assist in creating that release sound that every tired mum loves – THE BURP. After a week of giving her Infacol with every feed, my daughter would bring up her wind quickly and easily after her feed, with just some subtle back rubbing and patting, and although we did still occasionally get a ‘trouble maker’, they were few and far between.

I found Infacol caused a marked improvement with my daughter and therefore would strongly recommend it. After a while, as she grew older and her digestive system matured, I found that I didn’t need to give her it as regularly, and gradually reduced the amount I gave. She is now Infacol free, but I still keep a bottle in the bathroom cabinet just in case! 🙂
Pros:

  • Non offensive taste (orange flavour)
  • Easy to administer dropper – no need for syringes or measuring
  • Had a cumulative calming effect
  • Small bottle easy for on the move in changing bag.
  • Can be used from new born unlike most other medications

Cons:

  • Doesn’t seem to last very long. Bottle says up to 100 doses but it seemed to run out pretty quickly in our household!
  • The bottle can only stay open for 28 days before needing to be thrown away – if using at every feed it probably shouldn’t last that long anyway, but recommend that you label it with the date opened to be on the safe side.
  • You probably need to have more than one bottle. I had one in the changing bag, one in the bedroom and one in the lounge, so that we never had a “WHERE IS THE INFACOL!??!” moment whilst your baby is screaming for food.

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