I have had the privilege of testing and introducing my readers to a lot of products since launching my blog in 2012. This is the first time that I am going to hop up on my soap box and say this is a game changer.
Every nursing mother is different, but I am willing to bet that many, many Moms are like me: really leaky. If I’m not wearing a bra, milk gushes out of my other breast when my baby is nursing. After every nursing session, I have to change my nursing pads, and most times my bra, too. If I had enough t-shirts suitable for nursing and someone else was doing my laundry, I’d be changing my wet shirt, too. At times, I’ve held a baby bottle under my leaky boob to prevent soaking my nursing pads and collect some milk for a future Papa feeding. But if I’m holding a bottle under one boob and my baby with the other, guess how many hands I have left to check Facebook or sip my tea? [If you just had a baby and your brain is mush, the answer there is zero.]
Enter the Milk-Saver.
You’ve got a soft, silicone shell and a plastic, rectangular “nipple shelf” (that’s my term, not theirs). Wearing any bra (nursing or not) or a snug tank top, you plug your non-nursing nipple into the hole and feed your babe on the other side. All the milk that used to squirt into your nursing pads is now being collected at the bottom of the shell.
When you’re done nursing, remove the Milk-Saver and you can now save that milk that would otherwise have been wasted by pouring it into a bottle or a breast milk baggie.
I’m collecting milk to donate to the Calgary Mothers’ Milk Bank, so I’m saving every last drop. On average, I collect an ounce at every feeding. (According to comments from Facebook fans, some Mamas collect 2-3 oz. at a time!) I pour that milk into one of my sterilized storage bottles and put it in the fridge. I basically work throughout the day on a rotation, since my goal is to put 4-5 oz. together in a baggie and freeze it, but I don’t want to mix fresh, warm milk with the milk that’s already been chilled. By the time I’m on my third collection, I just combine the two already chilled bottles into one and pour the fresh milk into the now empty bottle or bag. At the end of the day I put it all together and into the freezer. Most days, assuming I’m home almost each time I nurse, I collect 4-5 oz. just from the Milk Saver, and if I pump, I’m stockpiling double that. I sanitize my Milk Saver by boiling it for 5 minutes at the end of the day. In between feedings, I rinse it with hot water and mild dish soap.
If I weren’t trying to collect extra for the milk bank, my Milk-Saver would pretty much eliminate my need to pump, since it’s not very often that my babies need to take a bottle.*
So while my main goal in trying a Milk-Saver was to avoid wasting any milk, the other immensely positive side effect is how much less laundry I have to do. I was having to make sure to throw in a load daily, otherwise I was running out of nursing pads and bras. The first day I used my Milk-Saver, I was getting ready for bed wearing the same bra and nursing pads (and t-shirt) I’d started the day with.
The Milk-Saver comes with a storage case that doubles as a stand, so if you can’t get up right away, you can set the Milk-Saver down like so:
The one improvement I would suggest would be for Milkies to offer a duo-pack: I think most Moms would prefer to have two Milk-Savers rather than just one. Having two would mean you’ll more easily have one at hand and clean when it’s nursing time. (Hungry babies don’t wait for your to wash your Milk-Saver.) The only other improvement I can think of is one I don’t think is possible: to alter the design so that you can use it lying down.
A Milk Saver will set you back $36 CAD. I’ve had Mamas ask if it’s worth the price tag. For me, all the milk I will be able to donate without having to pump makes it worthwhile, but if you’re not a milk donor, I can assure you of the following:
If you have leaky boobs and you spend money on disposable nursing pads; time, energy and water washing milk-soaked clothing and nursing pads or just time pumping milk for bottles, then yes, it’s $36 well spent.
A word of warning: make sure you remove your Milk Saver before you get up and lean over to change a diaper or help your toddler pick up a toy!
Milkies also sent me a set of their Softies nursing pads to try. They are PUL-backed (a must if you’re leaky) with soft, bamboo terry against the breast and an inner core of microfiber. They’re my favourites for nighttime because they’re large and super absorbent.
* I just want to add that in speaking with the Milk Bank, I learned that they don’t encourage the use of a Milk Saver because it mainly collects the foremilk for donation, and the NICU babies, of course, require a balanced feeding. They will still accept it, but must take this into consideration when pooling it with other donated milk. I plan on labeling my Milk Saver collection as such.
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Have you tried a Milk Saver yet? Wish you had one when you were nursing?