Review: The First Years Breast Flow Bottles and Pump

Since before Gareth was born, my MIL has been offering to help look after him.  She also suggested I express my breast milk so she can bottle feed Gareth.  I had been reluctant to express and bottle feed during the confinement month because I didn’t want Gareth to have “nipple confusion” which can happen when an infant hasn’t had a chance to get used to suckling from the breast.  If you want to breastfeed, it is usually recommended that you do not introduce any artificial nipples during the first month.  I have read some recommendations that suggest the first six weeks.  Since Gareth is such a pro on the breast, I figured one month would be enough.

Now that Gareth is in his fifth week, I decided to start expressing some milk.  Since all our earlier bottles were polycarbonate Avent bottles, hubby and I decided to get the new BPA-free bottles.  These days all the baby bottles on the market seem to be BPA-free, or so it appears.

Some time back I remembered seeing an interesting bottle design by The First Years called Breastflow.  It is supposed to be a good imitation of the breast and supposedly makes it easier for baby to switch between the bottle and the breast without problem.  Recalling how difficult it was for Gavin to take the bottle when hubby and I were supposed to travel to Shanghai for my brother’s wedding, I didn’t want to risk using Avent bottles again.  I never did get around to trying the Breastflow bottle with Gavin, but our recent experience with Gareth is very promising.

This is what the bottle looks like:

breastflow

I also bought The First Years Easy Comfort Manual Breast Pump to replace my Avent pump since the rubber on the Avent pump was starting to discolour.  I figured it would be better to stick to the same system for easy storage of milk.  The best thing about the bottles and breast pump from The First Years is that it is a fraction of the price of Avent – half the price if I recall correctly.  A set of three First Years 5oz bottles is only RM60.

As for the ease of extracting milk with the First Years breast pump versus the Avent breast pump, I can’t really say I noticed a difference.  Expressing breast milk has always been difficult for me.  I’ve had to get creative about it in order to get the milk out – such as letting baby suckle on one side while I collect the milk from the other breast during the let down.  Of course, if I had to express the milk without baby’s help, I’d be in real trouble.

I can’t really say I’ve had loads of experience with bottle feeding since I’ve always been too lazy for it and prefer to nurse directly from the breast whenever possible, but I really do like The First Years bottle system.  Gareth, it appears, likes it, too.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

13 thoughts on “Review: The First Years Breast Flow Bottles and Pump

  1. Think I should add… I busted the First Years pump on the second day of use because I sterilised the handle when I wasn’t supposed to. It seems the rubber warped and it lost the suction required to express milk.

    It was my fault really. I didn’t read the instructions carefully… There goes another hundred bucks… *sigh*

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  2. I completely agree!!! With my first son, I only ever used bottles once and that was during the period when I went to Shanghai for my brother’s wedding. It was so difficult to express milk that I gave up. I get even less sleep when I try to express milk.

    I only started expressing this time because Gavin has become such a handful that it seems easier for me to handle him while my MIL helps with the baby. Like when I had to take Gavin to see the doctor, my MIL stayed home with Gareth.

    I don’t know how working Mums do it because I find I get very stressed out with the pumping schedule.

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  3. Pumping is very tiring and troublesome indeed, when compared to direct feeding. I pumped a few times a week when baby was 2-4 months to get him used to the bottle, just in case someone else needs to take over the feeding. Even then, i found it troublesome and stopped expressing for a month. Then baby rejected the bottle and we found that cup-feeding works, same as what you discovered.

    Your blog is very informative and I’m hooked to it.
    We have pretty much similar thoughts when it comes to breastfeeding. I have a lot to learn from you, especially when planning for baby #2 next year.

    Thank you very much for the efforts.

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  4. Yeah… I’ve been pumping for one day and I already want to give up! Well, I have a break now anyway since I have to get a new pump to replace the one I ruined.

    The problem with cup-feeding was that I was the only one with the patience for it. My MIL prefers to use the bottles and since she will be the one helping to look after Gareth if hubby and I want to go out, I have to leave her with something she’s comfortable with. Thankfully, Gareth doesn’t mind these bottles. Gavin was a lot fussier. Then again, we never tried the First Years teat with him.

    Thanks! I’m glad you find the information here useful. 🙂 It’s great to find another like-minded Mum here. I was very surprised by the negative feedback on breastfeeding when I first said I wanted to breastfeed Gavin. Thankfully, that battle’s pretty much gone now with Gareth – I guess now that it’s been observed how well it went with Gavin, no one has any more arguments for me. In fact, they’re all kind of pro-bf now thanks to all my rantings :-p

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  5. My hubby is very supportive; our mums are supportive though they’ve never breastfed (we educated them along the way on why certain things had to be done or avoided when breastfeeding); confinement lady was co-operative (breastfed her children for 1 month each); gynae and pediatrician are pro-breastfeeding,
    The above really helped us with a good headstart.

    As a vegetarian through pregnancy and nursing, I was bombarded with questions on whether I could provide enough nutrition for baby. The results now show for themselves and every one’s pleased at home. Phew! 🙂

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  6. I was a vegetarian before I got pregnant with Gavin! I wasn’t a very healthy one though. I suspect that there must have been nutrients lacking in my diet because I craved meat so much when I was pregnant with Gavin. That’s why I switched back to eating meat.

    I was also being bombarded by others about vegetarian diets and being able to sustain the baby. Since I started eating meat, they pretty much left me alone after that. If I wasn’t craving meat so badly, I probably wouldn’t have switched back, though.

    I heard from friends about confinement ladies who sabotaged their breastfeeding efforts so I made it clear to hubby and my MIL that I wouldn’t hesitate to kick her out of my house if mine gave me any nonsense about it. My MIL and my Dad were both pressing me to consider supplementing with formula for various reasons – in case there wasn’t enough milk, to make it easier for me, etc. My Dad’s was mostly through misinformation – he’d heard from my cousin that she didn’t have enough milk but that was because she tried to do scheduled feedings every four hours and then she would substitute every second feed with formula. No wonder she wasn’t producing enough milk!

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  7. It is amazing how many mothers don’t get to breastfeed exclusively due to misinformation. That’s why we need blogs like yours to help educate them before their efforts get sabotaged by people around them.

    Personally, I think the ‘worst’ type of sabotage is if it happens in the hospital, by medical professionals who are not pro-breastfeeding or misinformed themselves.

    With more mums who breastfeed successfully, there should be more positive influences in future years.

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  8. Craving meat might be a sign of lack of complete protein?
    I read up quite a bit when transitioning to a vegetarian diet, to ensure sufficient nutrition for two. I catered vegetarian confinement food since the confinement lady had no experience in this area. The variety of dishes was huge and very delicious, which made confinement relatively enjoyable.

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  9. Actually, I think that’s why I started writing about breastfeeding. Even though I did my research before I started with Gavin and I knew how good breastfeeding was for him, I was not immune to the negative feedback around me. There were so many times I felt I would have caved-in what with the hormones and the new-Mummy insecurities and the difficulties I had getting started with the breastfeeding. I just didn’t want that to happen to other mothers who have all the best intentions for their babies. I felt the hardest part of breastfeeding was the lack of proper support. That’s the biggest barrier.

    Perhaps you’re right about my lack of complete protein. I never really studied up much about making sure I added my vegetable proteins properly. Then again, back then, my reasons for becoming vegetarian was not about health. The issue of health only came into play when I got pregnant.

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    1. Hi Kasie – I must confess I was never very good at pumping milk out so I did it the easy way – I’d nurse from one side and pump from the other (basically catching the letdown that my son triggered). I have spoken to other mothers as well and it sounds like it all comes down to the pump you use. Some of the working mothers invest in a heavy duty electric pump and those can be pretty effective.

      The other thing that helps is to trigger an emotional response. A friend of mine used to look at a particular photo of her son. If you have a video, that might be even better. Sometimes it is a specific photo or memory that works best so keep testing until you find the best one for you. Hope that helps.

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