Thursday, May 29, 2014

Breastfeeding & Returning To Work

Replace the young woman with my pump and this is exactly how I feel, but it's all for my sweet cheeks!

My #1 tip- Water, water, water....oh and MORE WATER!! It has made a HUGE difference in my supply while pumping at work. But we'll get to that soon. Ok so a lot of this information comes from the book I've been raving about.

I've also gotten advice from my coworkers, lactation consultant friends and other working Mom's. Everyone has their tricks of the trade and I'll take all the tips I can get. I will compile most of those tips here!

What you'll need...

-All of your supplies of course, but how you bring and store it may vary. I decided to use one set, rinse between use, store in ziplock bags and keep them refrigerated during the day. You may also choose to buy enough sets to be able to use them just once.

Bottles vs. Bags…or Mason Jar :)

And yes, that is a Classico spaghetti jar! 

Depending on the amount you are able to pump during your work day could determine what you bring to store your milk. Because of my 12-13 hour work day and my milk supply I need to have a lot of room for storage so a mason jar works great for me. I clean and sanitize the jar after each use. I pump anywhere from 16-21 oz so bringing enough bottles to store my milk just wasn't efficient for me. Pictured above I have the 2.5 oz bottles that I was pumping into, but I end up pumping more than that in one sitting so instead of stopping and pouring it into the mason jar mid pump, I started bringing 4 oz bottles and pumping into those to save time.

Once I get home I divvy up the milk into my breast milk storage bags. Noelle drinks about 3.5oz each feed so I try and put 7oz in each bag so I know 1 bag is 2 feedings.

I've switched over to more bags than bottles. The bottles are reusable obviously but they do take up more space than the bags. Freezing your bags flats is best for making more space. Also the bags thaw much easier than the bottles. 

*Side note- the wipes container you see in the picture above was something I saw on Pinterest as a way of storing your breast milk bags, but I could only fit 4 bags and it wasn't worth the space it was taking up.

 I haven't quite figured out how to organize my milk yet  > <  I'm having to dig to the bottom to get the bags that have the furthest back dates. I'll figure it out soon enough. Any suggestions?

Here are some of the things that have worked for me in order to keep up my milk supply:
-As I said before lots of water.
-Pumping once in the morning even when I am off. Your milk supply is greatest in the morning so making sure to pump during that time is important in making room for your body to keep producing milk.
-Mother's Milk Tea. I don't drink it as often anymore but I made sure to drink it everyday I worked when I first returned.
-Trying to pump as often as your baby eats (this can be hard, especially if your baby is still eating every 2-3 hours when you return to work, but try your best)
-Put your baby to breast as often as possible when you are with them. Before and after work if possible. Your baby is way better at emptying your breast than the pump.
-*For my nurse friends, I know an every other day schedule usually sucks rocks but doing that schedule when I returned to work worked best. Two 12 hr days in a row was murder to my supply.

Advice I've been given:
-Continue eating like you are still pregnant. This might sound like crazy talk for some of you preggo "savages" as my husband liked to call me, but it's really because dieting while breastfeeding can affect your milk supply.
-Drinking Beer…..something about the hops.
-Drinking Malt- non-alcoholic
-Lactation Cookies
-Lots of oatmeal and cream of wheat
-Pump while looking at pictures/videos of your baby

I know you're looking at my fat stash with milk envy. It definitely took some time for it to look like this. I started pumping on a regular basis when Noelle was about a month old. Building my supply for when we were to be separated. I pumped at least one time per day, in the mornings after one of her feeds. I continued this everyday until I went to work. My milk supply is so great now that I produce more milk than she drinks in the amount of time I am away from her. I am completely aware that a lot of Mother's aren't able to do this and I thank God for how easy it has been, I do not take this for granted. 

I definitely freaked out the first few times I pumped because I wasn't getting as much as I had previously but like the book says, bad pumping sessions do happen so don't get discouraged. If it happens consistently then you may need to make a change. 

My favorite breastfeeding products

Medela Pump In Style Advanced
Oh…I almost forgot! You might think what's the point of buying a hand pump when you have an electric one but believe me, it is so easy and fuss free, sometimes it's the best thing ever. Great for traveling with and when you have things to do you don't have to be stuck in one place. I use it frequently in the mornings when I'm getting ready for work. 

Happy pumping my friends!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

We're Moving...

Noelle to her crib :(

I'm ready, I think? Noelle is 14 weeks now and we had always planned to move her into her own room and crib around this time. I am definitely ready to snuggle with my husband in our room alone but I am gonna miss her.

We will be using the Graduated Checking Procedure or Graduated Extinction to make the transition. In a nut shell the sleep training allows your baby to learn to self soothe without letting them completely "cry it out". You gradually reassure them without actually picking them up. I can't lie, I have some real mixed emotions but overall I think it's time. I know she will be fine, the question is will I?

I learned about this sleep training method after going to an infant sleep class at the hospital where I had Noelle. It was recommended by the Pediatrician and Nurse Practitioner who hosted the class. It was suggested to begin around 3-4 months when babies are better at self soothing. I wasn't quite comfortable with the cry it out method so this modified version seemed like a better fit for our family. I felt really anxious about making the decision but after talking to my Mom and a coworker who had successfully sleep trained her baby boy, I felt more at ease and decided to tough it out. With the support of my husband it was a go.

I couldn't find much information on this method so I took a pic of the handout I received at the sleep class and I did find this article from the NewYork Times which briefly mentions it.

We have a couple products to aid us in this transition.

Noelle was never really a fan of her bassinet and actually slept in her Newborn Lounger (which clearly says not for sleeping) for the majority of the time she was in our room. I can already tell that I probably won't be following all the "rules" lined out in the mother handbook. We placed the lounger in the crib to give her some sort of normalcy in her new space. 

We are on our 5th night now and it is going better than expected. Praying I can keep up the self control. She is so sweet, my sleeping beauty!!