Saturday, August 26, 2006

LilyPadz- Ditch those disposable nursing pads

Nursing pads are one of the things that I definitely didn't consider before becoming a new mom, but they are one of those necessities that can't be overlooked.

Generally, we avoid disposable things, so I started with the cloth nursing pads because they're better for the budget and the environment. They weren't however very good for my wardrobe or my willingness to be in public, and they were uncomfortable. I tried two major makers and gave up.

Next I tried disposable pads. They definitely kept my clothes drier- unless they moved. Funny, it's hard to keep them in place when you keep opening and closing a nursing bra throughout the day. Plus there was also the problem of what to do with an old one when you find (while publicly nursing) that you need a new one. Stick it under your seat like old gum? No good options came to mind.

The local hospital boutique carried LilyPadz in their lactation merchandise, so I felt they would be safe as a lactation staff had approved them for sale. They prevent leaks rather through constant (though not discomforting pressure). The silicone pads stay in place and "stick" to skin adhering with the slight tackiness of the silicone. They wash beautifully in tap temperatures and mild soap- regaining their tackiness with each washing. I disinfected them with boiling water (per manufacturer's instructions), but was disappointed with the end results. They gained a slight skin on the surface and the silicone felt more grainy rather than smooth. I would probably try disinfecting them with steam in the future (probably in a Medela micro-bag).

I had a great experience with LilyPadz and know many other women who have benefited from their use. Any infant's mother has plenty to occupy herself without public leaks and maintaining an adequate supply of breast pads. It's nice to leave the house in the morning with the only set of pads you'll need all day.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Breastfeeding with limited exposure: Hooter Hider/Bebe Au Lait

This is a bit of a blast from the past for our family as baby Geek is now enjoying the wonders of Enfamil (lactators, exhale, there was an insumountable medical reason for abandoning lactation before his 12th birthday).

Anyway, this geek family actually believes that the breast is best (this is actually probably a highly misunderstood phrase in many all-male geek societies). Belief in nurtitional best interests however, doesn't make the necessity of public breastfeeding in the conservative (yet ironically Hooters-loving) Midwest any less awkward. Seriously, if your screaming 2 month old wants sustenance NOW in a public place, you can assume that about half the women present will look at you like you're a hooker, and the men, well... it's closer to 90%. I sometimes found myself worrying that leering lurkers were going to start stuffing singles in my nursing bra.

So, if you don't like lots of attention or feel a bit shy about using phrases like "If you like this one, you should see the other: it's stupendous!" and "Is the baby blocking your view?" you may wonder what to do when you no longer want to sit in a room with just your darling suckling babe. Let's say you want to rejoin society for the few fleeting moments you aren't cleaning barf out of your hair and shoes and parts in between.

The alliteratively named Hooter Hider (later changed to the more upscale Bebe Au Lait in a disasterous marketing decision- really, who can resist saying Hooter Hider- I bet if you haven't heard it before, you're looking around for someone to point this page out to- just so you can say it aloud- repeatedly even) can help moms get back in public without feeling topless (although your child will find other ways to make you feel completely exposed despite a full complement of garments- see earlier reference to barfing for ideas).

Anyway, this wonderful large piece of cloth hides all your parts from the general viewing public. Many people didn't even realize that I was nursing a baby when they spoke with me. Some thought he was napping and others thought I was just a lumpy woman on break from Dippin' Dots (take this either as a warning against the Hot Dots pattern or nursing at the mall or both).

There is however, the limited possibility that your actions, especially with a difficult to nurse baby, will be taken by strangers as a subtle attempt on the baby's life (see baby posture in top photo).

None the less, you will be out in public and your breasts will not be.

The great features of this breastfeeding privacy tool over the ones you will find at Babies R Us and other mega-retailers are:
  • a little terry cloth pocket that can hold a breast pad while you nurse.
  • a non-burka like assortment of colors and styles. The mass market privacy covers are either 1) navy, 2) black, 3) navy plaid, or 4) black gingham.

    (the stylish navy cover shown here is actually called a "nursing veil" [no joke] available at Target packaged with a baby sized mystery restraint)

    I'm sure children nursed under such covers are melancholic and disproptionately drawn to the works of Edward Gorey in later life.

    Hooter Hider babies on the other hand have been shown to have a strange affinity for 1970s curtain patterns and Dippin' Dots.

    I have spoken out of turn. There is a new, exciting color infiltrating the otherwise bland mass market covers: Hold your breath, momma- you can now wear


  • A plastic rib between the straps that gives momma (and pretty much momma alone) a view of baby. This is unique to the patented Hooter Hider and quite useful.
  • The cover is lightweight (amazingly important when you consider how much body heat a newborn emits- think nuclear reactor). It's also easily packed into a coat pocket or diaper bag.
  • Easily machine washable.
  • Adjustable strap.
  • Privacy for prevents baby distraction and resultant extended feedings.
This is easily one of the best baby gear purchases we made in baby geek's first year. It let us leave the house together for more than 2 hours at a time and made everyone more comfortable (us, baby, and innocent bystanders).

New from maker: $26-35 plus shipping. Sometimes on sale at other retailers.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Baby Gear Addiction

Like most geeks we are gear afficianados. Thus it comes as little surprise we are now baby gear addicts. It's not that we BUY every piece of baby equipment made, but we investigate anything that looks innovative and/or practical.

We don't own a wipe warmer or a little duck that holds plastic bags, but we have some wonderfully useful things that get us stopped in stores and restaurants with inquiries, so we decided to move the list of our favorite baby things online.

May this list bring you information, entertainment, or another fine reason not to confront that growing pile of laundry in front of the washer...