Saturday, July 23, 2011

Breastfeeding Part 5- Final Thoughts

My final thoughts on breastfeeding... enoughs, enough, right?

Breastfeeding is quite literally a pain.  It hurts, it's time consuming, it's messy (well babies eating is just messy), but it's worth it.  I have been breastfeeding #2 almost exclusively for close to 9 months, I love it.  It's fast, it makes less dishes, and the best part is I have gotten to bond with my baby.

I know that breastfeeding is not for everyone, but I truly think everyone should TRY if physically possible.  I am a strong believer that if you don't try something at least once, how will you know whether you like it or not?  Had I based my opinion of breastfeeding solely on the first 2 weeks of #1's life.. I would be telling people to quit before they started.  But I stuck with it and ended up pumping for 10 1/2 months exclusively with him.  #2 my husband wanted me to give up right away and pump, I stuck with it and I couldn't be more pleased!  (I think secretly my hubby likes it, too, because he gets out of baby feeding duty every time when I am home).

So, short story long, try it.  You might like it!!

In case you missed the first four installments...
Part 1-Clothing
Part 2-Pumping
Part 3-Pumping Supplies
Part 4- Books

Monday, March 28, 2011

Nursing... Part 4 ... Books

4th installment of my "Breast Feeding" Series

I'm a LOVER of books.  I love to own books, I love to read books, I love to look at books, I love to think about books.  That being said, I am trying to tone down my love of books, because I don't get time to read them now with kiddos!!  For Christmas I received a Kindle.  LOVE IT, however, I am still on the very first book.  So, before my first little guy I read a ton of books about babies and people having babies (when I should have been reading my Masters' courses books and doing those projects- still passed with A's).

Here are some of my favorites.


Your Pregnancy Week By Week -I LOVE this book.  I read it each week with both my pregnancies and enjoyed the quick, but thorough  information.  It does not scare you with every scenario and situation (like another book everyone seems to think they need) and there is just enough information to give you updates.  A MUST have.  Yes, you can get this information on the internet, but it's nice to have that quick reference by your bed at night.  My hubby and I would read it at night- it was a great way to keep him in the pregnancy loop.

Belly Laughs-  This is a super cute book by Jenny McCarthy.  I liked her antidotes and humor.  Fun and quick read.  It helps you to know that you are not the only one going through all that crazy pregnancy stuff!

Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy -  Another fun book that just puts it all into perspective with stories and a little advice.


 The Nursing Mother's Companion - I liked this book for the technical help, it's a good reference.  I did not read it page for page, though.

Breast Feeding Sucks - I really liked this book because it gave a lot of good information about breastfeeding in an entertaining format.  Quick read, too... which you need when the baby arrives!

General Baby Books

Your Baby's First Year Week by Week  -  I really liked his as a reference for development and still use it with #2.  you forget what they should be doing and it gives activities to do to further development.  Another great thing to read with the hubby to keep him up-to-date on development.
Your Newborn: Head to Toe - This is a quick medical reference and explains common (and some not so common) aliments of newborns.  I liked it because I could quickly look something up while feeding or in the middle of the night.

Your Toddler:  Head to Toe - Just like Newborn, but for Toddlers.

The Girlfriend's Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood - Funny book to read about all those great and wonderful flubs we make as first time Mommies!! :)
I know there are tons of other books out there, but these were the ones I found most useful  during the last 4 years.  There is also a ton of information out there on the internet, but I find it hard sometimes to determine good info and reliable sources, so I like a book to check with too!

**addition*** 7/22/11

Activities/Learning for Toddlers

I have also found some books that I like to pull out that have good educational learning ideas for little ones.  (with #2 here, this has definitely gone by the wayside, but I will get better- starting in August).  Websites are really GREAT for this though!  I'll share those another time.
The Preschooler's Busy Book- There are several different Busy Books, I have really enjoyed looking through them for seasonal activities.  These came in really handy this winter when we just needed to DO something but couldn't get out of the house because it was too cold.  There are learning games, activities, and movement ideas.  Great series.

Do you have any good books you read about pregnancy, newborns, or raising children?  Please share!

Last installment.... breastfeeding last thoughts...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nursing... Part 3... Pumping Supplies

Third installment in my "Breast feeding" series.

Pumping Supplies
*** #1 Rule of pumping- do it often and on a schedule!! If you don't pump as many times as your baby eats, your supply WILL go down and it WILL be frustrating***


It is SO tempting to buy a cheap (meaning both inexpensive and made) pump.  I don't suggest it.  I suggest spending the money for the GOOD pump... why, you ask?

1.  Longevity- I used my Medela Pump in Style 5+ times a day for 15 minutes each time for 11 months and have had ZERO problems.  No battery problems, no parts going crazy, it's a good working machine.  I have a friend who pumped solely with both of her children for a year and has had NO problems with her $300 Pump-in-Style.  It's worth it.
2.  Suction - the better pumps get more milk out, plain and simple.
3.  Let-down feature- this is AWESOME and will help you get more milk each time.  I use to use it 2 times during a pumping session to help build up supply.
4.  You only have to buy it once (and maybe your insurance will pay for it)
5.  Resale- many people will purchase a used pump-- it voids ALL manufacturer warranties, but if you buy all  new tubing, shields, bottles, etc.  It should work just fine (the milk doesn't get to the machine really).

Breastmilk Storage
1.  Buy the cheap bags if you are pumping solely... it makes it worth it.
2.  I buy the Medela bags for travel purposes.  When we go somewhere I have them to pump into so that I  can store the milk easier (in a cooler or fridge), plus bottles take up lots of packing space.
3.  Look for sales and stock up- I like the NUK brand sold at Target and the Lansinoh
bags are more sturdy, but more expensive.  Stock up when they go on sale!
4.  Storage Box- I use one of these storage boxes to help keep my frozen milk flatter for storage.  It really helps with storage in the freezer.
5.  We store breastmilk in zip-lock freezer bags in our deep freezer (we had one for food storage before babies).  I can fit 12, 5oz bags in 1 ziplock.  I write on the outside of the bag how many ounces are in the bag and the dates of the milk inside. It helps with rotating milk.


1.  Exta bottles- I have about a dozen bottles between my 2 kids and it comes in handy to store in the fridge and for fast transfer to the fridge.
2.  Extra set of tubing- in case your tubing gets wet (or your 2 year old chooses to suck on it) and then you always have 1 set handy
3.  Extra set of shields- I have 4 sets of shields that I use, that way I can keep them super clean and they dry easily-- I had Mastitis a bunch of times with #1, so I am super paranoid with cleanliness... see my post about it here.
4.  Sanitizing wipes-  I love these things.  Medela sells packages of 24, I use them when we are on the go and I can't clean everything out with running water.  I also use them when we travel so I can clean everything well and only carry 1 set of shields.  See #3 for my reason for using these wipes.
5.  Car Adapter- if you are pumping or ever leave your child- you will want one of these!!!  Medela came out with an actual car adapter so you don't need to have a converter anymore... but a converter works, too!

What is your "can't live without" pumping supply?

Next up... Books...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I love sending out invitations... I love designing invitations.  Here is Maxwell's Baptism annoncement.  We are having a small gathering, mostly family. 

I designed it in the Creative Memories Digital Scrapbook.  I  really like this software, it's easy to use and has so many different things you can use/do without purchasing anything beyond the software.  Something elsoe i like about this software, is that you can find any digital scrapbook paper, picture, etc. and use it with this software.  I can't wait to start making some 12 x 12 pages for Maxwell and have them printed (not by Creative Memories, by Persnickety prints)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Nursing... Part 2... pumping

As promised part 2 of my "Nursing" series... pumping...

Let me explain my situations first. 
#1 and I at about 1 week

First Child:  I had #1 in 2008.  He was a big boy 9lb 9oz.  In the hospital I had a lot of trouble nursing, because of all the medications I had to have with my c-section.  I didn't feel I could hold him for the first hour, because I was shaking so badly from the epidural and just being cold... of course I had been in labor for 20 hours, ending in a c-section and all that contributed to my coldness. I tried nurising exclusively with him for the first 2 weeks of his life.  It was the most stressful  time of my life.  He cried all the time, he lost weight, I was exhausted, and in pain.  I even went back to talk to the lactation nurse in the hospital.  All adding up to we went to his 2 week appointment and he was STILL loosing weight.  The doctor said, you have to supplement.  So, we started right away with giving him a 2 oz bottle right after we tried nursing.  He slugged down the bottles and was never interested in nursing after this.  I pumped exclusively until he was about 10 1/2 months old.

#2 about 2 months old

Second child:  #2 was born in November 2010, also a 9lb 9oz baby boy.  I had a c-section with him and was only in labor 6 hours.  However, I had much less of a reaction to the drugs and it was a little better after the birth.  I was not afraid at all to ask for help EVERY TIME I NURSED while in the hospital.  I only have 2 hands and sometimes I needed more!  With #1 I didn't ask for help enough.  #2 is 15 weeks and we have trouble getting him to take a bottle!  I do pump every morning to get a stash built up for him.  And I pump if we are going to be gone for very long from the baby.

Now that you know about me... Let's just get it out there Breast Feeding SUCKS!  It's painful, it's time consuming, and your body is not yours.  But the benefits of breastmilk are so awesome, it's worth it!

I decided to pump exclusively with #1 and not go to formula for several reasons:
1.  I bought that $350 pump, I was going to use it
2.  I know the benefits of breastmilk
3.  I'm not giving up!
4.  Hope of easy weight loss

With #1 I learned a lot about pumping...

First it's your attitude
  1. You have to go into it with a good attitude, if you don't  you won't have that great of results.
  2. Realize it might not work for you, I know lots of people who get NOTHING from pumping and it just doesn't feel worth it.
  3. Keep remembering that "breast is best" and breastmilk whether it's coming from your boob or the bottle, has the same nutrient
  4. You need time away from your baby and if you don't get BM for him, you can't leave or you have to supplement

  1. Some really lucky people have insurance that pays for breast pumps... yeah you!  I didn't and had to buy my non-returnable breast pump... so I USED it (still am for that matter). 
  2. Although my breast pump was expensive, it has saved us at least that much money in cost of formula. 
  3. When you pump, you have to store the milk... there are several ways to store milk.
    1. Ice Cube trays- these are about 1oz per cube and I know a lot of people who do this.
    2. Milk bags- I use milk bags.  They have worked for me and I like them. -- look for these on sale.  $8 for a box of 50 is pretty good.  Don't buy the Medela ones-- too expensive!! 
  4. Nursing bras (see my previous post)
Actual pumping:
  1. Number 1 KEY point is be relaxed.  If you aren't relaxed your milk won't let down and you really won't get much milk.  I use to read a book or watch TV while pumping to try to get relaxed. 
  2. When you are pumping I find I get the best results when I massage the breast and push the milk down.
  3. Pump as often as your baby eats (if you can).  if you don't your supply will go down and it will be stressful for all.
  4. Keep everything CLEAN.   See this post I did on Mastitis.  It's no fun. ;)
  5. Store your milk ... this is something that is kind of up in the air, but for the most part try to get it in the fridge ASAP and freeze soon after.
  6. Set a goal for yourself.  Mine was to "use up" all the milk bags that I had bought (I bought more as the time went on, but at first it was to fill 100 bags, then 50 more, etc.) Maybe your goal would  be a certain age.
Upping your supply:

Do you feel like you aren't getting enough milk?  Is your baby fussy after feeding?  It could be that your supply is low.  I had troubles with this with #1, so here are my tips.
  1. Pump OFTEN, as often as you can.  Especially pump when your baby eats.  Your body only produces milk when your nipples are stimulated... no stimulation, body thinks baby doesn't need it.
  2. If nursing, pump after each nursing.
  3. Use the let down feature on your electric pump to stimulate more production.  With #1 when I started to  get very little milk out during a pumping, I would hit this button and try to get more.
  4. Massage your breasts from the chest to the nipple, helping push the milk down to the nipple.
  5. Take a supplement.  I took Fenugreek, which is an herbal supplement and worked really well for me within 2 days my supply would be way up.  I took it almsot the whole time with #1.  You do start to smell like maple syrup when you sweat, but it's worth it.
  6. There is something called Mother's Milk Tea... I have never used it, but I know of people who say it works wonders.
Next installment.... specific pumping supplies...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nursing... Part 1... clothing

Nursing or breastfeeding is one of those things mommies's NOT easy and I for sure don't judge people who choose not to or can't.  It's a difficult/time-consuming/painful/frustrating experience although the benefits for me FAR outweigh the negatives.

I will share over the course of several posts some things about nursing and pumping that I have found out or what works for me.  I hope you find these things helpful, too!!

I'm starting with the "fun" post, clothing...

I have this shirt and it's Fab!!

Nursing clothes... this is one of the things I love to hate.  With #1, I thought- what a waste of money, plus I saw NONE that I liked and they were super duper expensive.  With #2, I have bought quite a few items.  However, I am stingy and picky about what I get.  I bought a couple and I was HOOKED!  Nursing tops make nursing so much EASIER!! Here are some pointers about buying nursing  tops and some brands I have found.  I really wish I had bought some of these when I had #1.

What is a nursing top?  It's a fabulous invention that alows you to nurse by just moving a part of your shirt... you are not exposed to the elements and you feel much more "covered".  Most have a panel that covers your belly and you just move a panel and unhook your bra and you are nursing.  All of the tops I have I can do it all one handed (definate plus with a squirming infant in your arms and a 2 year old climbing on your lap).
1. Use the "deal of the day" sites to get good stuff.  All of the websites will send you an email (if you want) to tell you what the new deals are.  However, if you REALLY want something (especially from babysteals, you have to get on WHEN they put up a steal). Here are my favorites...

2.  I have gotten all of my nursing gear either at Target (for bras & cami's) or these deal of the day.  Target has the best price on Cami's.  Look on the clearance rack for really good deals, otherwise you can get them at (much better selection), this is my favorite tank.  I think they run a little small in the chest, so I have gotten bigger sizes.

3. Brands... there are a ton!  However, they all run a little "small" (read tight) and for my self-consious self and baby belly & boobs, I always order a size up.
  • milkstars (these are about $70 retail, I got mine for under $30 from babysteals)
  • Everly Grey (again retail for well over $70 and get them for less than 30- run a little small)
  • Annee Matthew ($75 retail, got them for $28 and they fit so nice... flattering even for not so flat tummies)
  • CT Maternity is another, very reasonable
  • Bravado- nursing bras
  • Undercover mama - cami that you attach to your nursing bra, really comfy!
4.  Yes, there is shipping, but it's reasonable!!  Plus, no tax. :)

5.  I do not care for the styles or bras from Motherhood Maternity.  My boobs fall out of the bras (especially when they are full) and for the price, the clothing is not stylish.

6.  Nursing Bras- YOU NEED THESE if you are nursing.  Don't get underwires, get a good bra.  They are awesome, because you don't have to take off your bra in order to nurse (or pump), it has a little snap and it hooks on (usually) with one hand.  Awesome.

I have 3 brands... Motherhood (see #5), Bravado and Target's Gilligan & O'Malley.  I have Ds when not nursing, so I need something that holds up!  I used my Bravado for almost 12 months with #1 and they are still in great shape (I'm a single use bra wearer, so they were washed often - especially with milk involved...).  Around here I can't get anything good- so I order it all online and usually there is some kind of free shipping.

Next post... pumping supplies.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

3 months...

My baby is now 3 months old (it was on Tuesday, but that's how it goes when you have a 3 month old)!  He is getting so big!  I love all of his smiles, giggles, and even his cry is kind of cute (except at 2:30 in the morning).  Here is a quick list of the things little Maxwell is up to these days...

  • He loves to look at his big brother.  When Jackson is playing he watches him like a hawk and if Jackson goes up to him he will smile. 
  • He gets kisses from his big brother at bedtime and SMILES so big! Maxwell likes to give big open mouthed kisses to Jackson!
  • Sleeps from 9-1030pm before going  down after his last "meal".  He sleeps after his last "meal" for 4-9 hours just depending.  We have moved him from the swing, but he only likes to sleep propped up.  So, he sleeps on his boppy in the pack'n play in our room. 
  • He wakes between 8:30 and 9am, eats and goes back down for an hour or two. 
  • He is still nursing almost exclusively... sometimes he gets a bottle, but not very often.  It's just easier.  I still pump every morning and  have quite a stash built up. :)
  • He eats about every 3-4 hours in the morning/early afternoon, but by 4pm, it's every 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
  • He is less of a messy eater... he has gotten it down and goes pretty fast these days.  But he likes to hang out and suck.  I call myself the "human pacifier".
  • As I eluded to above, still not that interested in a pacifier.
  • He only cries when he is hungry and right before he falls asleep.
  • After every "meal" he spits up... a lot.  The most is usually about an hour after he eats.
  • He smiles all the time.  I missed this with Jman since I went back to work and I just love it!
  • Maxwell is very vocal and makes TONS of sounds all the time, he gets especially "wild" when he and Daddy are playing after Jman goes to bed.
  • He is now in 3-6 month clothing (but can still wear 3 month stuff and some 6 month things)
  • We are cloth diapering... this has caused a lot of his clothing to fit a little snug (3 month), but otherwise it's going well. :)
  • Hates belly time.  Screams after about 15 seconds, but we keep trying it. :)
  • Grabs at toys that are hanging.
  • sucks on his hands when he is upset... sometimes gets a couple of fingers in his mouth, he likes that.   He is really a noisy sucker. ;)
  • clasps his hands together in front of his  face and looks at them for a long time.
  • He loves these flat blanket toys he got for Christmas.  they make crinkly noises and have soft plastic corners or silky corner, he really likes them and will grab and play with them.
  • Likes to have a burp cloth near his face (probably because we always have one close by, because of his spitting up).
  • Still has all his hair (minus the back where it rubs from sleeping) and is starting to get a curl on his forehead I think.  His hair is still  lighter than Jman's and really fluffy after a bath.
  • He also has great head control and loves to stand up!  Strong legs!!
That's quite a list.  He is just such a good baby.  We fall more in love with him each day!