My daughter, LoveBug, is almost 18-months-old and I had the privilage of exclusively breast feeding her for the first 6 weeks of her life. After I returned to work, I became a 7:30am-3:30pm pumper (unless I was working an ambulance shift, in which case I could pump instead of nurse for over 12 hours straight!) and nurser the rest of the time. Around one year of age (and after I was pregnant with our second child), LoveBug refused to take a bottle and so I was able to end my pumping routine. She still nurses around once a day now, even though I'm 29 weeks pregnant. Will I be nursing my second baby? ABSOLUTELY!
Medela sent me samples of their Tender Care Lanolin cream and Tender Care HydroGel Pads to try out for this review. I've used lanolin creams from other companies (only pure lanolin) and reusable nursing pads, but never a nursing cream with anything other than lanolin in it or pads for anything other than absorbing milk. In comparison to the pure lanolin creams I've used, this one was a lot easier to apply since it's of a thinner consistency than lanolin itself. The ingredients in Medela's Tender Care Lanolin are USP Modified Lanolin, C8/C10 Triglycerides, and Beta Glucan. They do claim that these are all natural and do not need to be removed from the nipple before nursing. Other than being easy to apply, I found that it was definitely soothing to me as I have found that the hormonal changes during pregnancy are causing my nipples to be dry and more painful (similar to what you may experience when you first start nursing). This cream did soothe and moisturize them and was so easy to apply (no rubbing between the fingers here)! The only thing I didn't like about it is that it's not clear and so could stain clothing; be sure to wear a set of nursing pads to avoid staining anything important.
The Tender Care HydroGel Pads are a pretty interesting concept. There are two sets in a box (so four total) and are basically meant to put into your bra against your skin as a regular set of "nursing" pads. These pads, though, instead of just absorbing leaking milk, actually become cool to the touch after you wet them. They can be rinsed out and reused for 24-hours before loosing their coolness. I would have never thought to apply something cool to soothe any soreness (come on, wouldn't that just make it hurt WORSE?), but it's actually really good for engorgement (meaning, REALLY full milkers) and I imagine also for mastitus (inflamation of the milk ducts), though I haven't personally experienced that (thank you, God). I do think the pricing is a little high considering that these get thrown out, so I'd love to see Medela come up with a system similar to a bluebandoo product so that we could reuse it. Until then, I say it could be helpful to get a box of these and then save them for when you really need them, like when your milk first comes in and you are heavy and achy. :-)
Buy It! Medela has a "where to buy" location finder on their website, but there products are readily available at many retail and parenting stores, as well as on Amazon.
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This review is based on sample products provided by Medela. No other compensation was received and I was under no obligation to give a positive review. The opinions expressed are all mine!