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Staying in Step for a Successful Military Life

My Top Breastfeeding Items for Military Moms

by | Jan 4, 2020 | Family Care

Disclaimer for my Public Affairs heart: None of the recommendations/links below are endorsements by the DoD or USAF. They’re just my personal opinions and things I found helpful!

I’ve been back at work for a few weeks now, so I’ve had a chance to establish and tweak my routine for breastfeeding. I think it’ll still be a work in progress as I roll with the ebbs and flows of my workload, but these are six things I’ve found helpful in supporting my desire to breastfeed while working!

Pumping at work – the Willow breast pump
This is probably my top favorite item I have for breastfeeding, and it’s obviously the most necessary component for being able to pump while at work. The Willow breast pump is wearable, which means I don’t have to worry about cords, bottles, etc. I can even tuck it into my bra and wear it around the office without anything showing if needed. (I’ve heard from other military moms that have worn while flying, going to meetings, and shooting!) It’s got rechargeable batteries and self-contained bags (or reusable containers), so it’s really practical.

That being said, it’s new technology and may have a learning curve, especially for women that are used to other breast pumps. It also has a higher price tag than other pumps, and currently Tricare will only cover part of the cost (which is different depending on if you’re CONUS or OCONUS). It’s been great for me, however, and it was worth the out-of-pocket expense for me to have the wearable, hands-free convenience.

The right support – Kindred Bravely bra
To use the Willow pump in a truly hands-free way, you need to have the right bra. I tried a couple cheap ones, and they just didn’t cut it. The Sublime full-coverage nursing bra from Kindred Bravely has worked really well for pumping at work and nursing and is comfortable for daily wear.

Building the stash – the Haakaa suction pump
This one seems pretty popular with moms, but I didn’t quite understand how helpful it could be until recently. This kind of pump can be helpful for building a stash during maternity leave before you go back to work. Stress and change (like going back to work!) can cause a dip in milk supply, so having a stash ready to go can help cover your baby’s eating while you get into a routine. I’ve heard of women that use the Haakaa pump during nursing sessions and build their supply little by little without having to use stronger (and potentially more painful if you’re feeling sensitive) electric breast pumps. You can combine the few ounces it produces each day and add it to your stash. It’s an option!

Toting all the supplies – the Tactical Baby Gear bag
There can be a lot of things to bring with you if you want to pump at work, and I’ve found the black diaper bag from Tactical Baby Gear to be perfect. It has lots of interior pockets that I store my pumps, bags, chargers, water bottle, and containers in. It also has a little bottle cooler pouch you can attach (MOLLE compatible), and that’s what I keep my milk bags/bottles in for transport. It’s big enough to also add my laptop or any paperwork I may need, too. Plus… tactical, haha!

Easy access – the Miss Military Mom uniform nursing tees
At first I thought… $25 a pop? I’m not going to buy nursing tees. I’ll just make do with a normal t-shirt for the next few months. I thought that until I was at work having to awkwardly untuck and re-tuck every time I needed to pump or when I went home to feed my baby. Not fun. I decided the nursing shirts may be worth it after all and bought them. THEY ARE WORTH IT.

I got the OCP nursing shirt from Miss Military Mom, and it’s SUPER soft, comfortable fabric. It’s made my pumping time at work faster and more practical (and less exposing!). They’re high quality and they’ve washed well without shrinking, too. They have them available for the all the branch utility uniforms!

Know your rights – Breastfeeding in Combat Boots
The military has come a long way in supporting military moms who want to breastfeed their children, but not everyone in the military is up to speed on what the regulations say about it! Breastfeeding in Combat Boots has a helpful resource page that links to regulations and policies regarding things like parental leave, breastfeeding breaks, lactation rooms, postpartum fitness, etc. These can come in handy should you receive any pushback at your workplace or want to fully understand your rights as a military mom.

So what about you other military moms? Have you found any items you absolutely love that you would share with a new mom?

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