Apr 042013
 

with breastfeeding that is.

Work’s been crazy for the last few weeks and I’d been dropping pumping sessions randomly to make meetings and it just kind of became a habit. So last week I went pump free and just nursed at night. Then something happened – Lia decided that she didn’t want to nurse to sleep like she always did and I just went with it. So, it’s been over a week since I’ve pumped and about 6 days since I’ve actually nursed her. Funny enough, the stomach flu hit around the same time making it pretty easy on me with engorgement since I was so dehydrated. ::Spoke too soon, it was just delayed…ugh..::

I still have some frozen milk that we’re cycling thru. I think I have enough to get her thru another two or three weeks if we only use it during the week.

So, in the end we made it to 8 months nursing/pumping. 2 months past my big goal and so far past what I actually thought I could do. Part of me mourns the loss of that connection with her (and the convenience) but the other part of me is ready to move on and watch her grow independently. Plus it’s nice to be able to nudge hubsy to get that middle of the night bottle vs. having to get up and feed her – who am I kidding, I’ll still be the one to get up with her since I hear her (DH is tuned into Noah, I’m tuned in to Lia, it’s weird).

Feb 212013
 

Disclaimer: I’m talking about breastfeeding below…if you’re my brother or my dad or anyone else who doesn’t want to hear about my boobs, just continue on your merry way. There’s lots of other non boobie related posts on here for your enjoyment. Haha…

Okay, with that out of the way lets get down to business. Breastfeeding and the working mom.

With Noah, as you all know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I wasn’t able to breastfeed. It just never really worked. This time however, it’s been much easier. Perhaps it’s because I’m more relaxed, perhaps it’s because I weigh more, perhaps it’s just because my body decided to cooperate. Whatever it was it’s working this time which meant I needed to figure out how to include pumping into my work schedule since I was only home for 8 weeks.

I’m fortunate to work in an office that is very supportive of new breastfeeding moms and had designated rooms that we can schedule so that we have a comfortable private space. Each floor has a kitchen/fridge and the privacy room is just outside of one of the kitchens so you can walk straight from the room to the kitchen to clean up your parts if you want.

So, in preparation for going back to work I made sure I banked a bunch of milk in the freezer just in case. I also introduced a bottle of expressed milk on a few occasions when she was like a month old just to make sure she’d take a bottle (because she hated pacifiers I was really worried). There was no need to worry, as long as she was getting fed she was fine – bottle or boob.

The week that DH was home with her was our trial week. Mainly to see if I could pump enough to feed her while she’s a daycare plus to see if she’ll take the bottle consistently. I ended up with 9am, 1pm, and then 4pm on the privacy room schedule which was a bit of a shift from what I was doing at home but since I was double pumping it all evened out over time.

I know I have some working moms or moms to be that will be working that could benefit from my experiences so here’s a bullet list of high points:

1. Have multiple pump parts and bottles – generally enough for two days. That way if you’re exhausted when you get home (which most new moms are) you don’t have to worry about washing and sterilizing things right away.
2. Stash extra parts in your bag (membranes, flanges, milk bags in case you forget your bottle caps:)). It really sucks when something breaks and you’re at work with no way to relieve the pressure without the pump. I’ve ended up taking an emergency trip to Target once or twice to fix things (or BRU when my pump completely died)
3. Hands free bra is key. Since I’m double pumping I picked up a Medela bra so that I can do work on my laptop while pumping. So funny to arrange it all but it works:) I can be avail to my team from the comfort of my privacy room. Telecons are a little challenging but we’ve made it work.
4. Drink Drink Drink. It’s easy to forget to drink throughout the day and I’ve found it really important to make sure my h20 intake is on par. If I forget and let myself dehydrate a bit then my production slows.
5. Eat Eat Eat. You’re consuming calories in order to make the milk so you need to make sure you make that up. I saw an estimate of 500 calories a day for a full time nursing mom. So I was tracking calories to make sure I was getting that in addition to what my body needed to function normally (My Fitness Pal is awesome for that!). On days I didn’t eat enough not only would my production suffer but I’d be dragging and out of energy. Lots of protein and complex carbs to keep you going!
6. Between pumping sessions I don’t wash my parts. I just wipe them down and put them in my cooler bag (which gets stuck in the fridge). Since they’re in the fridge they’re good for the day. It saves sooo much time.
7. Pack your pump bag the night before (although, this has backfired for me once or twice and I forgot caps once and forgot a flange another time).
8. Wear pump/nurse friendly clothes. Sucks to sit there topless or mostly naked because you wore a dress that didn’t pull down at the top. I wear pants mostly these days with nursing tanks or bras under my shirt. I have one dress that zips up the front that works to nurse/pump too.
9. On Friday, immediately freeze your milk and then on monday, cycle out some of your frozen milk so that what you have in your stash gets rotated. As it stands now she gets mostly frozen on Monday only and all my Friday/weekend milk goes into the freezer.
10. Because I need a #10 – relax:)

It’s also good to know that U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act now requires employers to provide break time (unpaid unless you work while you pump like I do) and a private spot for moms to express their milk, other than a restroom, where co-workers can’t observe or intrude. (Some exemptions apply for businesses that employ fewer than 50 people.) So, if you find yourself pumping in a bathroom or your car and you’re over 50 employees it would be worth it to talk with your HR folks and point that out. Even if you’re under 50 employees it would be worth it to talk to them to see if there’s anything you can do. In the past I’ve given up my office (when i had an office:) ) so that a co-worker could pump in peace.

Anyways, I’ve been back to work for 5 months and I’m still pumping! I did drop my 1:00 session last week in preparation for weaning her but I’m taking my sweet old time. I figure I’ll drop another next month and the final one during her 9th month. While I don’t love pumping, I love that I’m still providing for her. My first goal was 1 month and my ultimate goal was 6 months. We’re at 7 months and while she’s not exclusively breastfed any longer (we introed formula when I dropped that pumping session) she’s still getting a majority of her nutrition from me. Now I’m shooting to get her to 1 year with at least some breast milk in her diet.

Aug 272012
 

Yes, you read that right – lactation cookies! Like I said before I was determined to make this breastfeeding thing work so I was looking for everything I could do to help boost my supply and who doesn’t want to eat cookies! I found an oatmeal raisin recipe that looks promising and set out to find the special ingredients.

The thing that makes lactation cookies what they are is the presence of brewers yeast, oatmeal, and flax seed meal which are all lactogenic foods (lactogenic foods are foods/ingredients known to increase milk supply, other lactogenic foods are things like spinach, carrots, salmon, apricots, asparagus and many others). Combined into a cookie and you’d never know they were there:)

Now, finding the oatmeal, flax seed meal and raisins was easy. The brewers yeast on the other hand was trickier to find. My normal grocery store didn’t carry it and neither did the local Trader Joes. I had to trek the whole way over to Whole Foods to find it (and it was $18 for a large can…sheesh!).

I made one batch to try them out and after hubs deemed them good (and my father in law) I went and made a double batch (because I had to supply hubby too…lactation or not, they were cookies and he likes cookies:)). I’m on my 4th batch now and have to go get more oatmeal for another. They’re super quick to put together and yummy to boot. Who knows if they’re helping my supply but who cares…they’re yummy cookies!!

Aug 252012
 

On the heels of that last breastfeeding post I thought I’d share this. I don’t know how I stumbled upon it but somehow I found it on Pinterest and pinned it for later.

Melanie over at The Jenson Jaunts discovered a thrifty way of recreating the popular Undercover Mama nursing coverup. It was so quick and easy. The longest part of the whole thing was waiting for the tanks to arrive from Forever 21.

I followed her instructions and even bought the tanks that she suggested and spent maybe 2 hours converting 9 tanks into covers. I love them! They work like a charm and for a grand total of $20 I have 9 covers to hide those lovely side rolls that I have yet to get rid of.

Breastfeeding moms, you’re welcome:)

Aug 222012
 

Talk about night and day…my experience breastfeeding Noah was fraught with tears and failure. Aside from a little bit of success the day he was born, we struggled the whole 7 weeks that I tried. After 2 weeks we moved to exclusively pumping and not too long after we started supplementing and then exclusively formula feeding. At the end of it all I was relieved to be done with the whole thing although a part of me was disappointed that we just couldn’t make it work. Hindsight being 20/20 I think I could have fought harder for it but at the time my sanity was more important.

This time I was determined to make it work for as long as possible. We had it easier from the get go because Lia was with us in our room 100% of the time (or rather, avail to us, we did send her to the nursery in the evenings so that we could get some sleep) vs Noah who spent a majority of his stay under the UV lights to fight jaundice. I was able to latch her on right after she was born and then from there nurse her every 2 – 3 hours the entire time we were in the hospital. I really think that had a huge impact in our success.

Where as with Noah my milk never really came in, I came in spades for Lia. From the start I was able to pump an ounce or two from each side even after I fed her. We’re only three weeks in and I’ve stored up over 60 oz of milk in our freezer (is it ludicrous to buy a deep freeze just to store my breast milk??:) ).

I think another factor in our success is that I’m more relaxed this time around. With Noah and his jaundice I was frantic to make sure he was getting enough to eat. With Lia I know that as long as she’s pooping and peeing that she’s getting enough (that was the case with Noah but as a first time mom I was a bit of a control freak about things:) ). I know she’s doing well because she only lost a few oz in that first few days home and gained it all right back within the week. I realize this time around the my main job is to feed here and sometimes that means we never leave the house or even the couch (i’ve also become proficient at walking around holding her while she nurses so that I can help Noah do things). It’s a whole different mind set.

So, for now I’m still taking it week by week. I’m not saying I’ll BF for the full first year but I am saying that we’ll go as long as we can go and right now I have no plans to stop which is so much more than I could have ever said at this point with Noah.

For mom’s that had a hard time with their first, did you find more success with your second (and subsequent?). What do you think was the difference?

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