I am an advocate of feeding your baby. That’s kind of it. A well-fed baby makes for a well-adjusted mama, which makes for a well-adjusted family unit. I have had three very different babies, each with their own feeding experience.
With my first child, I was a basketcase. With undiagnosed post-partum depression, I went into nursing with all the naivete of my 28-year-old self. For his part, he was a lazy nurser with a bad latch. He would slop on and drool all over the place for 45 minutes each time, only to be hungry 45 minutes later. The first six weeks of his life were a roller coaster of painful boobs and feeling like a failure, alternating with the utter joy and fascination of having a newborn. Very early on I discovered the relief that my handy backpack breast pump could offer, and after six weeks of crying every time I nursed, I made the full-time transition. For the next ten months, I would vanish for twenty minutes every three hours, read a book, and pump for milk. My son got 12 months of breast milk out of me, from a bottle. He was a chunky baby, and I was a happy mama.
With my second child, I approached nursing with extreme fear of every instance of failure with my first son. Every false labor brought me closer and closer to failing at nursing again. I made the decision late in my pregnancy that I would try, but I repeated to myself the mantra that I would not blame myself if I couldn’t do it. When the nurse handed my son to me and I brought him to my breast, every bad feeling I had while nursing the first time came flooding back, and I asked for the formula. It was utterly liberating, and I refused to let myself feel guilty. Yet again, I had a chunky baby, and (with diagnosed and treated PPD) was a happy mama.
My third child was a bit of a surprise, but by this time I had two kids and six years of parenthood under my belt. I decided that this time I was going to take my time, not feel pressured by anyone around me, and try this nursing thing again—once again repeating to myself that I refused to feel guilty about whatever happened. My daughter was an Olympic champ. Perfect latch on day one, she nursed with efficiency and at regular intervals. She was the baby of textbooks, and it needed no skill or emotional crutch from mama to nurse successfully. And so, on baby number three, I nursed for the first time until she was 11 months old, pumping only when I went back to work. Yet again, I had a chunky baby and was a happy mama. Also still with diagnosed and treated PPD.
So, yes, I am an advocate of feeding your baby in any way that is good for you and your child. I also have a very strong passion for the rights of nursing mothers and for the technology needed to help working mothers. Given that my youngest is seven, and no longer in need of my boobs, I was ridiculously excited when Tommee Tippee reached out to GeekMom for an unboxing of their Made For Me In-Bra Wearable Breast Pump. We’re talking about a level of excitement akin to the arrival of Girl Scout cookies each year.
The pump comes beautifully packed with a cloth pouch, two pumps, and all the pieces you could ever need. It comes with universal adapters to charge in all countries. I have pumped in only two countries, but I have pumped in parking lots, airplanes, and all manner of airports—I even once pumped on a secure Navy base. The cable is split, so you can charge one or both pumps depending on your boob needs. The pump itself has a four-hour battery life. It is evident in every part of the enclosed pieces how much care and thought for the mother has gone into the design of this product.
The pump comes with four milk collectors, and each has its own spare parts. This is super handy, but even handier is Tommee Tippee’s policy of free replacement parts for pumps. No strings attached, just free replacement parts. They are so committed to getting you off to the right start, that you can also get free flanges in different sizes if the one it comes with doesn’t fit. One boob does not fit all after all. Then as your boobs change size with motherhood, you can get different size flanges, again for free. They also include bra extenders for comfort.
While the physical equipment itself is impressive and highly considerate, the technology it comes with is also designed to help moms at every stage. On the back of the box is a QR code taking you to videos and information about usage. It comes with access to a one-on-one product setup; you can watch the videos and call the phone number to set up a one-on-one session with a product expert. Here I have to throw in a thank you to my friend Lyndsey who walked me through the setup of my breast pump in 2009… over the phone… at 3 in the morning.
You can pair the pump to your phone, and, yes, there is an app for that. The app has a parent room with tips on breast size, latching, etc to help you along. You might not have a Lyndsey in your life, but here you can find your people, and they are probably also awake at 3 am! You can use the app to turn your pump on and it will then track your milk supply and boob health. It will tell you when the best time is for you to pump based on your personal usage, keep track of how much you get from each breast, and give you all the information you always wondered about. The more you use the app to track, the more accurate and useful the information can be.
The pump can 100% be used without the app, but then you miss out on all these perks. Also, advancements in the app that occur from product testing and from consumer feedback will be made in real time, so you won’t have to wait for the next physical machine to get the updates.
The Tommee Tippee In-Bra Wearable Breast Pump comes with ConstantComfort technology. The patent pending “stroke” technology provides a baseline pressure and pulsing of the pump to more accurately simulate the pulsing of a tongue. This is not just a step closer to real nursing simulation but several steps closer. The physical pump is quite substantial in size to aid in mimicking the baby better, so there is a better shape than the typical conical pumps of the past. Tommee Tippee also uses a patent-pending light technology that helps you guide the pump to the nipple for the right latch for the best boob health and maximum milk output.
Given all this new tech and tracking ability, I was curious as to whether this pump has helped with clogging and the reduction of occurrences of mastitis. While it’s too soon to have gathered any information on that, the rep I spoke with was very keen and posited that the ConstantComfort technology makes it easier to pump with more frequency, and frequency would reduce clogging.
Technology aside, all care for ease of use and regular considerations have gone into this new pump. You can feed your baby directly from the collection vessel, you can freeze the vessel, or you can decant it into the storage of your choice. The vessel is plastic and PDA-free and is completely dishwasher safe.
While the app tracks how much milk is coming from each boob, the pump can be used as a double or single pump if feeding at the same time. It comes with a nipple measurement guide and has 8 express modes. Expression rate can be changed through the app, which will also help as you track how your boobs are behaving, and each pump can go at different rates to help with your overachiever and your slacker boob.
I was able to attend the Tommee Tippee online launch event with actress Ashely Greene (Twilight) and Deema Soufan, postpartum psychotherapist. For thirty minutes they chatted about all things breastmilk and motherhood, answering questions, and all while using their Tommee Tippee In-Bra Wearable Breast Pumps! Deema pointed out that an approximate 1800 hours a year are spent in pumping, with Ashley noting that with this wearable pump, she feels like she has some of her freedom back.
Ashley was speaking to my heart with her stories of early motherhood. How frustrating it can be as a new mom, when all you’ve heard is the good stuff, that nobody explains how brutal the first few months can be, and that we need to normalize being real about it. The biggest takeaway from her first few months matches what I have taken away over the years. You have to listen to your body and your child; your experience is not likely to mimic someone else’s experience or expectations.
Currently, Ashley’s daughter likes to nurse at night and in the morning but prefers a bottle during the day. The next one might be completely different. Concerning expectations, Deema spoke to the effects of social media on new mothers: “I can’t keep up with what makes me a bad mom today.” Both had the advice for new moms that you should do your own research, but no matter how much you plan, things will deviate. Try and silence the people around you—you don’t have to care about the opinions of other people. I asked Ashley what she wished she’d have known on day one, and she simply wishes someone had told her that It is normal to feel lost. It is normal to not feel baby bliss. “It is okay. You will figure this out.”
Both love the new technology of this pump, and Deema particularly loves the red light, especially at night, to help with alignment. This was really useful because her son was a NICU baby and the latching was a struggle early on.
Both agreed on the freedom that this pump gives you in no longer being bound to a power pack or wall socket. Ashley listed off a whole host of things that she does while pumping: meal prep so that there are easy snacks around the house, laundry, nails, playing with the dog, and even workouts. (She uses a squat machine.)
Ashley confirmed my thoughts as I checked out the pump, that “it feels like a mom made this for a mom.”
Currently, the Tommee Tippee In-Bra Wearable Breast Pump is exclusive to Walmart and retails at $297. I am past my milk-expressing years, but this would be high on my baby wish list if we were to go again! I had so much fun talking with the people at Tommee Tippee about this pump. Their bottles were my choice of bottle when I had a fully formula-fed baby, and they are so passionate and full of humor and compassion about their product line.
After the experiences described in this post, Tommee Tippee provided GeekMom with a gift package for nursing mothers, that we were happy to give to a new nursing family through the good people at Pumpspotting.com. Pumpspotting exists to help businesses to create inclusive, feeding-friendly cultures that attract, engage, and nourish employees, customers, students, and visitors.