A few months ago I wrote my post about my experience with low milk supply and I was swamped with loving emails and comments from people who went through similar issues. I felt for the people sending me their stories of wanting so badly to breastfeed their babies, but who eventually had to just give up and give the baby a bottle. I totally get that, and I have been there (hugs).
This time around, with baby #2, I am handling things a bit differently and I am in LOVE with it. I am using the Lact-Aid Nursing System. I used this with baby #1 and it was a DISASTER (in fact, my 3-month old, while wrestling with a latch, grabbed the Lact-Aid bag, threw it, and it somehow came apart and spilled all over my brand new laptop). This time around, I had a friend come over and give me her tips on using the Lact-Aid. She breastfed her babies for at least 14 months (some even longer) with this system. She gave me some great tips and I am passing them on to you (with a few more I have figured out).
Here is a video where I talk about the tips and give you a tour of the system. I tried to write as clearly as I could in this post, but sometimes it’s better to just see it in action because it is tough to explain:
Prefill the bags:
My friend makes one LARGE pitcher of formula and then pours the servings of formula into the bags. She then puts each on in a cup and has them in the fridge, so you just pop the Lact-Aid tube into the bag when you are ready. I do 6 ounces at a time since sometimes I mix up formula when out an about and since formula lasts only 24 hours, I don’t want any extra at the end of the day.
I keep my bags in a pint-size mason jar. When it is time to feed the little one, I stick the jar in the sink, put the water on hot, and then go change the little guy’s diaper. By the time the diaper change is done, the milk is the PERFECT temperature. I do feel bad that I am wasting some water here, but I have found no other way to heat the milk up in time. Shake the bag and hold it against your wrist to check temperature. If it is too hot, run under cold water.
Re-use the bags:
When people compare the Medela SNS to the Lact-Aid they say that the re-use option of the bottle is a big plus with the Medela. But I actually clean out my Lact-Aid bags and re-use them. At the end of each day I fill them with soapy water and get them good and clean. My friend will fill them with water after washing and then test for no leaks. She will use them to their death!
Well, this was one BIG issue with me since I couldn’t stand Baby #1 wrestling with the Lact-Aid. But this time around I learned a tip. Get one of those lactation bras where there is a triangle (my hubby calls them the butt-chaps bras because they look like those cowboy chaps with the whole for the bum). Stick the Lact-Aid in that space right at the middle and then run the tubing under the fabric that goes on top of your breast. This reduces the odds of it shifting around AND keeps you from having to use tape. Yes, the wrestling will still happen, but this helps.
The instructions say to tip the bag over and squeeze out excess air, but I ALWAYS got leaks doing this. Now I just fill the bag, then pinch the top part of the bag where there is air to make sure it escapes. My guy has no gas issues with this method.
Drain, then Wrap the tubing up.
Kind of no-duh for many of you, but my first time around I didn’t do this and when I saw my friend do it, I thought, “Why the heck didn’t I think of that?” Basically, when the baby is done, but didn’t finish off the bag, hold up the small tubing so that the milk runs back down into the bag. Then wrap the tubing around the little space (see video). I usually just put the tubing in the little notch to seal it off, I never thought about wrapping it around. Totally reduced the leaking (although Hubby would argue that I NEVER do this…and he has milk drops on the couch to prove it!)
DON’T use the whole stilts on a cup contraption you get. It is SO MUCH easier to just use your hands. Just put the funnel in and grab the bag by the part where the funnel is. Then fill. Then grab the part of the bag where the holds are and put in the tubing. Then push down on the tubing unit while pulling up the bag (see video).
Instead of putting the little circle on the bag first (I did this and the bag always closed back shut), put the circle on the tube unit. Then stick the tube unit into the bag and it will open the bag and keep it open while you put on the circle and squeeze together the tube unit and the circle.
On the go
My friend likes to just use an ice chest that stands up and puts them in there. I seal mine in Mason jars (so they don’t get squished and leak). But I gotta say, most of the time I like to just mix and fill while I am out…it’s much easier to pass the baby off to someone to hold while I can quickly mix and fill.
Nursing while laying down:
Many people like the Lact-Aid over the Medela SNS because you can lay down and nurse. The best tip I have found with using it while nursing laying down is to lay the Lact-Aid bag on the pillow above the shoulder closest to your baby. I found that having it between the breasts made it fall on his face all the time OR it would get squished between us and then he would get a massive flow of milk.
The system comes with a nice bulb that you can clean the system with. Only problem is, the bulb tube is BIGGER than the tube of the system. What does that mean? It means I have been prayed in the face many, many times. They now have an extra part you can put on your system that makes it to where you can stick the tube into the system just fine (see video for this). That attachment is worth buying.
I also squeeze the tube from the part closest to the actual system and then to the end of the tube to draw out the formula so it is going out the BIG end of the tube, rather than making the bulb push all of the formula through the smaller tubing (see video). THEN I flush it all with soapy water.
Supposedly the system is allowed to withstand 30 pounds of pressure, so I guess I have a little iron man because my guy grabbed it at about 8 week sold and totally pulled out the tubing that goes into his mouth. Before you try to fix it, let me just say, there is actually NO WAY to fix it. Hubbs tried and the company confirmed, there is no way. However, the company did replace mine completely, free of charge.
I am also known for LOSING things, and I lost the tube that goes inside of the bag (not the tube that goes in the mouth of the baby). Need a quick substitute while you are waiting for the replacement to come in? I cut the tube on my breast pump and it worked great (it didn’t heart the breastpump….I don’t really care about losing 3 inches on the tubing).
So there ya have it. Those are the tips I have thus far. Also, I just want to note that this system is VERY easy to use in a baby carrier. I have both a BabyHawk and an Ergo and both are perfect for breastfeeding with the LactAid.
Have you tried this system? If so, PLEASE provide some tips here in the comments.
Have questions on using this? I’d be happy to help provide some tips, although I am not a Lactation Consultant, just someone passionate about something that allowed me to breastfeed.
Don’t let low milk supply*** stand in your way of the breastfeeding relationship.
*** Before trying the Lact-Aid, I highly recommend that you meet with a Lactation Consultant. There are many remedies that may increase your milk supply. But if you find that those don’t work (for example, if you have hypoplastic breasts or hormonal issues), then this is a great way to be able to breastfeed.
**** Thank you to my amazing friend who made it possible for me to breastfeed. This post is dedicated to you, my lovely, nauseous, pregnant friend. You have no idea how much joy your one small suggestion has brought into my life.