I never thought I'd be a breast pumping mom, but here we are! I am 90% breast pumping and have realized a lot of mamas struggle with pumping and have reached out to me for advice. I'm such a newbie at all of this but I hope I can help those who want to either build up their supply or start exclusively breast pumping.
I personally have a Spectra pump but I rented a Medela from the hospital while waiting for it to arrive. I love them both in their own ways, but I feel my Spectra has more controls and settings. Nonetheless, they all do the same job and have most of the same parts. Spectra consists of the flanges (what you put your girls in), a three part membrane with cases, a filter, the connecting tubes, and the machine. I personally have a plug in one, but it does come in a battery version. There are different settings for speed, vacuum, and also a let down mode option. While pumping, I usually keep it at 50-54 speed and at L03 or L04. I massage my breasts during if I feel lumps, but the massage setting is great as well. This blog post explains it all very well!
I recommend finding a pumping schedule for you and trying to pump for at least 20 minutes every time. In the beginning your baby will eat a lot closer together in time, so you want to always try and stay ahead. So say your baby is taking a nap, pump during that time and keep a bottle out and store anything you have left over. It's a lot easier in the beginning when they are only eating a few ounces, so your oversupply can go into freezer storage. Milk is good at room temperature for about four or five hours so this gives your babe a perfect timeline for when they wake up to eat next. Now at almost two months old she eats four ounces every four to five hours. So every four hours I'm pumping and have a bottle ready and anything over the four ounces goes in another bottle or milk storage bag. I filmed a typical day in my life with my pumping routine. It works great for us, but will soon change as I go back to work ha ha!
With your breast pump, it comes pretty standard, but make sure you get the correct nipple size for your comfort and for the best breast pumping experience. You can get help from a Lactation Consultant while in the hospital to determine what size you are. If you find yourself not getting a good suction, which can result to not getting a lot of milk out, it could be the size isn't right. Also, check and make sure all of your parts are intact, I know the white filter can sometimes be off and it all makes a huge difference!
So I've already touched on the electric machines, but let's be real we don't always get 20-30 minutes to be strapped to a machine ha ha! My Medela hand pump is a life saver. If she let's me, I will lay her down to nap and hand pump both sides for about 15 minutes each. I am able to get 2 ounces on each side during that time which is a full bottle for her. I find myself using my handpump throughout the day more than my electric pump because I can pump while doing other tasks in the home. I strive to pump with my Spectra three times a day, once early morning, one during her bigger afternoon nap, and again in the evening when my husband gets home. All of the time in between I use my handy dandy hand pump!
Other equipment you should look into is a Haakaa pump. These are great if you have a let down and usually leak throughout the day. Most moms will breastfeed one side and attach the haakaa pump to the other to catch all of that let down. For us pumping moms, this would be convenient if you find yourself hand pumping, you can attach this to the other side and then combine all of it together so nothing goes to waste. A Haakaa pump is basically a silicone pump that suctions on to your breast and catches any let down.You can search them on Amazon, or here.
Another great thing to consider is your nursing pads. I am wearing my washable Medela nursing pads all day, but after pumping I try and put my Medela soft shell shields on to protect my nipples. These are amazing and allow for airflow. The pumps pull out your nipples, so afterwards we are normally just squishing them again when we put our bras back on, which can be painful. These soft shell shields keep them out and let them slowly go back to their normal shape, and also has a sponge that catches any leakage. I will warn you though if you have a good let down, do not bend over because it will spill out of your shirt! I've learned this a few times ha ha. Other equipment you should consider investing in is nipple cream, gel packs, a pumping bra to hold your bottles in place, and good nursing pads. I linked all of the brands I use!
Build Your Supply
Now, when I was fresh out of the hospital and trying to get my milk in, I was pumping every two hours for about 30 minutes. This helped build up my supply and tell my body to produce milk quickly. I slowly started to space it out over the month to two and a half hours, three hours, and now I go four to six hours. You don't get much sleep the first few weeks so be prepared! It seems like a lot, but the more often you pump, the more your body will signal to produce milk to keep up. So, if you find yourself still barely producing, keep at the every two hours for a longer period of time before spacing it out more.
Also, you can power pump! Power pumping is pumping for 20 minutes (if your milk stops flowing before the 20 minute mark stop then), rest for 10 minutes. Then, pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10 minutes, and pump for 10 minutes. Attempt this once a day, but you can do it three times a day for three days to really boost your supply. Also, listen to your body. Your breasts will become engorged and harden when they are full. You want to take care of yourself and prevent things like clogged milk ducts that can turn into mastitis.
While the routine I wrote above is a great way to build your supply, here are other things mamas swear by! Note, I am not a health professional and these are just ideas I or other mamas have tried out. Talk to your provider about taking certain things, as things like Fenugreek have been reported to boosting some mom's supply while completely delpleting others.
-oatmeal, garlic, carrots, nuts, ginger
-drinking lots of water
-Mother's milk tea
-upspring milk flow
Finding Your Routine
I think this is the most challenging part for moms wanting to breastfeed, when do you find the time? First, see how often your baby eats. I'll use mine for example and she eats every 4-5 hours. She typically wakes up at 4 am so I will feed her, change her and then lay her back down. I pump for 30 minutes in the morning and make a bottle out of it, saving any extra in the fridge or freezer. I rinse off my pump parts and put the second bottle in a bowl to be washed. I go back to bed, and at 8 am I pump again for 15-20 and feed her that first bottle I had left out. This time afterwards washing all the parts and the bottles.
If you can get really good you can pump right before your baby wakes up, but most of the time she ends up laying on me because she doesn't like to lay down by herself very long ha ha. I only wash my pump parts every other time I use them, because I'm using it again within a 5 hour time span and I figured if milk can sit out, my rinsed pump parts can too. I also read recently that moms will put the entire piece in a ziploc bag without rinsing off any milk and it can stay good for a full day; but I haven't tried that method. Find what works for you and don't feel too overwhelmed with having to figure out a schedule. It will be hard at first, but now I feel like it's second nature and pumping and washing is just a part of our day!
I hope this helps those of y'all who have come to me for advice. It's been a lot of trial and error for us, and hasn't been an easy road. It is very draining mentally and physically, but I am just so happy to still provide for her even if breastfeeding isn't working out for us! I am still striving to breast feed more and will just replace a pumping time with feeding her, and then pump the opposite side she doesn't eat off of. If you have any additional questions feel free to reach out to me in the comments or on my social media, I'd be happy to help!
This post is in collaboration with LilHappyMoments. I was sent product to review and not only was our experience magical, but all of my opinions are my own.
Sooo I am one of those moms that is a perfectionist. We went a few weeks ago to check out Walmart's halloween selection for babies and I was very disappointed. I also checked out Target and Amazon and everything was lame, weird, or worse: sold out. I was just at my whit's end and just wanted Sav to have a unique costume that was also super cute. Thankfully, a special gem of a person reached out to me that next day and wanted to collaborate! Lil Happy Moments definitely has created a happy moment for us and curated the best unicorn outfit ever.
If you are a mama needing to fulfill your want for a custom costume that is unique to your babe and style, I highly suggest this shop! She allows you to fully customize everything and I received the outfit at lightning speed. Seriously, like Amazon Prime fast ha ha! So you have time if you order quickly. I wanted her to be a unicorn so badly, and was afraid I'd have to just settle on something else. Thankfully we had a fairy godmother who could make this Halloween a magical one. The link to her shop and Instagram will be below. I love that it's not like the typical costume that they just wear once and it sits in the closet. The custom onesie will pair nicely with cute pants and every girl needs a tutu in her closet. This headband is to. die. for. Seriously I've never seen something so cute!
Happy Halloween y'all!
I tell everyone that our dog is our first baby, and it's true! Pepper recently turned two years old and we've had her since she was a new puppy. She was our baby and the first addition to our little family. When I had our baby, I was so afraid of how Pepper would feel and react. I wanted to make sure that she still felt loved, had playtime, and most importantly had her needs met.
I recently discovered the beauty of online shopping and having fast deliveries and man has it been great! Hill'sScience Diet dog food is such a great option for your pup because not only does it have no preservatives, artificial flavoring, or coloring; but also their a part of Amazon's subscription service!
With my busier new schedule, I've tried to make it a priority that she still gets the love and attention she deserves. If you are a busy pet owner as well, this one's for you!
Introduce your dog to your baby on their terms, but with your leadership. When we first brought her home, we greeted Pepper and loved on her while keeping our baby in her car seat. We sat the seat down and let Pepper approach it slowly. She gets anxious easily, so we didn't want to overwhelm her. She took her time and sniffed everything out and took to her well. She keeps her distance because Pepper feels like this whole baby crying thing is not for her, but likes to come up and sniff her still.
The way to my dog's heart is food. Seriously, anytime she hears that food hitting her bowl she acts like she's never seen food before! Ha ha Because she loves food so much, I wanted to make sure she got the best of the best. Science Diet is awesome because there are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Starting with a good dog food is key to not only keeping your pet happy, but keeping you happy too! This dog food supports a healthy immune system with a clinically proven blend of antioxidants with Vitamins C and E. This may seem like an irrelevant point but just as us humans need vitamins, so do our pups.
Playtime is so essential, especially now that they aren't your only area of focus. Pepper and I used to play all day everyday, but now with a baby that has a lot of needs, it's just not possible. So, I've learned to carve out time to play with Pepper. This doesn't always have to be strictly one on one time, and you can get creative. I put my baby in a carrier and head outside to throw the ball (her favorite activity) or her toys. Even though I can't go run around with her, she's still getting exercise and playtime.
Including your pet is a great way to keep them happy. I take my baby on walks with the stroller and bring Pepper along. It's good to get out of the house and she loves to explore, and sniff, everything! Keeping them included in tasks they are able to be a part of keeps them a part of the family and have that stimulation. When our baby is up in the middle of the night and needs a car ride around the block, Pepper is more than welcome to tag along and come with.
Now I'll get real with y'all, it is so hard to make sure all of her needs are met. I can't tell you how many times I've had to make late night store runs to get more dog food for her because I simply forget or don't have the time. If you have mom brain like I do, or are too busy to make those tripsAmazon Subscribe and Save is the answer. You can easily subscribe toScience Diet dog food and have it delivered automatically, however often and much you want. #gamechanger You set up the free regular delivery times AND you save up to 15% each time and more. This dog food is Vet's #1 choice to feed their own pets and easily my #1 for the great convenience of it being delivered to my door step!
Focus on your dog's behavior. If your dog seems sad, you may need to give them more attention. Watch out for aggression cues and try to be proactive. Some dogs are just naturally aggressive towards children, and others are born out of jealousy. Keeping your pup happy and well loved will hopefully curb envy, but never ignore a dog's cues to their attitude. Also, your dog may become depressed and not eat as much which could result in a trip to the Vet. Keeping a close eye on your pooch is never a bad idea, you know them better than anyone!
I know if Pepper could speak, she would agree 100% that spoiling your dog is beneficial! Take them to a trip to the store and buy a treat, give them that extra belly rub, and maybe even give in and let them lay on the couch (totally guilty!). Keeping your pet happy, especially as you are all adjusting to this new life, is definitely possible. Don't feel frustrated or stressed about keeping everyone alive. Your pet loves you and will adjust, too. I love that I have one less thing to worry about with knowing Science Diet is made with natural, high quality ingredients; and I just have to open my door to get it. If you are wanting to get it a go, it's 100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. Here is to a happy and healthy pup, fur parents can enjoy convenience without sacrificing quality time with family!
It has been nearly three weeks now that I've had my baby and it has been a whirlwind of emotions. While I am so blissfully in love with her and with being a mom, I have found myself pulling towards the opposite end of the spectrum. I know baby blues are very common, and I think my struggle with Breastfeeding has a lot to do with my feelings of inadequacy and anxiousness. After you have your baby, you just have such a rush of hormones where you find yourself feeling a certain way and have no control over it.
Dress c/o Shop Pink Blush (all opinions are my own, I picked out this adorable dress to review & obviously rock it in my wardrobe!)
Accepting your Postpartum body is a huge wave of emotions all tied into one look in the mirror. You are already a jumble of emotions and to mix in sleep deprivation, caring for a new baby, and then having to accept your new body; it can be overwhelming. I look down with pride at my stretch marks and think of the long hard journey it was for these markings to become part of my appearance. I prayed so hard for this baby and I would take any aftermath with humble gratitude. I know stretch marks tend to tear away at mothers' confidence thinking they look less beautiful and are now imperfect because of these markings. I know it's easier said than done to look at your stomach or thighs and think "oh man this is beautiful", but they are. Your body made room for a baby and stretched itself to its limits to accommodate them. How magnificent is it that our bodies can work in such a way that creates a life?
You may not lose all of the weight as quickly as you seemed to gain it, but that's okay. Your health and sanity greatly outweigh those few extra pounds that helped support your baby's journey on this earth.
I know I personally am having a time accepting my new body, I have always been small and it was a bit hard for me going through the pregnancy and seeing the numbers go up. Not because I expected to be one hundred pounds and still somehow grow a baby, but it was just hard psychologically to experience that change and accept it.
For me, I have been cautious of the psychological damage putting on my pre pregnancy clothes could do. I have been wearing a lot of my maternity clothes, but also relying a lot on more loose fitting clothes that I can be comfortable in. I know this may seem so simple, but avoiding your smaller clothes can make a world of a difference and it's one less thing for me to stress about and let's me focus my energy on my baby! I feel happier because not only am I getting dressed in the morning but I can focus more on being happy and accepting my new body.
As a new mom, I cherish the times that we are getting out of the house and I switch out of my nursing robes (I alternate between my two from Shop Pink Blush, they are so comfy!) and put on real clothes for the day ha ha! I love the fall time and it works perfectly that this is the season of layers and more loose fit clothing! Use the colder months to your advantage mamas!
I adore this dress from Shop Pink Blush and know I'll be styling it a lot during this fall season. This outfit was super comfy throughout our entire day. I pumped before we left and when we got back to his sister's house, so I know it's not the most nursing friendly look. I will have outfits soon that are though, so be on the look out! This dress is great for any woman honestly, I feel like it's so flattering and loose in the right places. I can't wait to dress it up and down this season, I have so many different ideas.
How would you style it?
Looking down at this little girl and having her snuggle up in my arms, makes the stretch marks and extra weight fade away. I made this and my body somehow carried an almost 9 pound baby which I think is a miracle in itself. You had a baby mama, don't feel in such a rush to go back to your pre baby body, your life is different now and that's a high expectation to put on yourself. You have a new life now, so look at all your stretchmarks, extra weight, and scars with pride that they all had a hand in making you a mom.
Breastfeeding was always my plan for my children. "Breast is Best" is always toted around and I couldn't fathom why moms would want to pay so much for formula when they have free milk already enstilled. I loved the idea of having that bond with my baby, giving her the valuable nutrients she needed, and I've heard from other moms how amazing it was.
Well, things didn't exactly go as planned.
Shortly after giving birth, we moved up to our room and I was helped by my nurse to have our first feeding. This was it, my time to finally have my mom moment. And, she couldn't latch right. I was in so much pain and I felt frustrated but I wasn't ready to throw in the towel. A lactation consultant came in several times and she was a saint. She showed me how to cup my breast, how Savvy was supposed to be angled, and also different positions to hold her in.
But still we just couldn't get it right. We discovered she had a shallow latch and at this point I was so raw and was bleeding a bit, it was not the special and magical moment I had envisioned.
At 3 am during my hospital stay, she was hungry. I followed each step how I was showed, and even then she was screaming and just hungry. I didn't know what to do. I was alone (husband was passed out on the couch bed ha ha) and sleep deprived. My angel of a nurse came in and tried helping, and ultimately she suggested she warm up some donor breast milk so she could eat. I lost it. I couldn't provide for my baby and I was the biggest failure of a mom. The ONE thing I thought would just happen and be a long with the postpartum process was stripped from me. I felt inadequate and like I failed her. We fed her donor milk the rest of the stay while I filled syringes and table spoons with colostrum.
When it was time to go home, I accepted that we would just formula feed her and I would continue pumping while my milk came in. In the very least, when my milk was to come she would be getting that so it wasn't all bad. But, still I felt like I had failed and looking back now this caused me a lot of postpartum stress and anxiety. I would cry at night as I held her and offered her bottles, and saw how intently she would guzzle them down and enter a milk coma. I was a pumping machine, literally. I wanted to give her the best and was pumping every two hours and now I have an oversupply stored away.
I wasn't ready to give up. I spoke to my mom about waiting too long and how she may not want to latch at all, so a few days later I decided it was now or never. I picked up my nipple shield, got situated with some support pillows, and was handed my baby. Immediately on the first attempt, she latched perfectly.
Now, don't think it was some fairytale ending from there. She still has a short latch and sometimes it feels like she is intentionally wanting them to rip off ha ha. I wince through the pain and continue to try again until it's comfortable. I believe those days of bottle feeding truly helped her with using the nipple shield so in a way I'm thankful for our struggle.
Sharing this bond together is the best blessing, because this is what I wanted. It's still pain and I have come to terms that I will never be like those super crunchy moms that can just nurse wherever they are, not having to look down to make sure baby latches right.
My point of this post is breastfeeding is hard and it doesn't always work out for every mom. You may get the latch perfectly from your first try, you may find you're a pumping goddess, or you may even find you're the best mom for keeping your baby fed and full with formula. Whatever you find works best for you and your baby, own it. We do all three still and when she's laying there with milk dribbling down her cheek after passing out, I know that she is getting exactly what she needs from parents that love her.
Find ways to bond and make each feeding special. Do skin to skin time, hold your baby close, and know that no matter what is in that bottle: you are providing for your little one.
Throw away the mom guilt and shame others, or you, may bring on. I suck at Breastfeeding but I know I'm giving it my all. It took a lot of self pep talk to return her to the boob. I lived in fear of that pain again and then I felt even more guilt for fearing every time she got hungry. What kind of monster mom was I to not look forward to my baby needing food? I felt stripped down and like I got cheated out of being a natural of a mom.
Now I look forward to feeding because whether it's from my breast or a bottle, that's are special time for me to sit there, hold her, and meet her needs. And mamas, that's all your baby is really going to care about in the end. Feeding your baby is what's most important and no mom should feel guilty for not feeding their babe a certain way. I had to learn to take myself out of it and not be so caught up on my wants for motherhood were, and focus more on what my baby's wants and needs are. Most importantly, having support around you is crucial. Below are some resources you can check out for some support locally, or virtually! I suck at breastfeeding, but I am feeling less and less guilty about it.
Find a lactation consultant near you.
Join a Breastfeeding group.
Join a Pumping group.
Join a Formula group.