Friday, February 27, 2015

Weaning from the pump

So everyone's goal while pumping is simple, make enough milk for my baby to drink for however long your personal goal is. 

My original goal was to pump until I had enough milk in a deep freezer to get her to a year... Simple, right? So I thought. 

I started pumping a couple days after Clare was born because of latch issues and since that day I was an over producer. I was making 30-60oz (at my peak) of milk a day. I worked my butt off for it! I woke in the middle of the night, pumped through mastitis, missed out on spending time with family, instead spending time with my pump. Listened to countless people tell me, "You should drop a pump, you don't need to pump that much! You're making so much milk!" "You're over stimulating you're breasts, you shouldn't make that much milk." And countless other accusations and comments. Those types of comments  come with the territory of being a mom I guess. You're going to be criticized, critiqued and looked at with a weird eye no matter WHAT you do. So I say, do what makes YOU and baby feel good.

Anyway, so starting around 9-10 months postpartum I started having major anxiety just thinking about dropping pumps and eventually quitting. What was Clare going to drink? I had this ridiculous thought in my mind that I didn't want her to drink frozen milk because the antibodies were not as prevalent as they were in fresh. Personally, I'm crazy. I admit it. 

I talked about weaning with a friend and my pumping group on a weekly basis. I'm surprised they didn't kick me out and she didn't defriend me. That's why it is so important to have a good, solid support group; to talk with people who UNDERSTAND how you are feeling and going through or went through what you're currently going through. 

On Novemeber 3rd, 2014 just past 11 months post partum I dropped to 3 pumps per day. (3ppd) I was able to maintain 28-30oz per day (30opd) until the middle of December when I dropped to 22-25opd. But I was still making JUST enough milk for Clare to make. I would make it to my goal of a year!!! 

The feelings I was having really weren't what I expected. I was expecting to feel proud of myself, happy, excited to wean! I made it!! I did something that probably less than 5% of the world can say they did... Yet I was feeling almost empty inside... Anxiety was at its highest. 

Everyone around me was asking me, "When are you going to stop pumping?" "Why don't you just quit? You made it to a year. Not many people can say they did that!" That made me feel SO MUCH better... NOT! 

No one in my life could really understand what was going on in my head, in my heart. I was feeling guilt about dropping to 2ppd in fear my supply would tank, as so many people stated when you drop to 2ppd that's when you tell your body you're weaning. 

But on December 27th the day before Clare's birthday and party I only did two pumps. I barely felt engorged (that means my breasts didn't feel like they had a ton of milk in them) I felt a little full, but wasn't in any kind of pain. I dropped my mid day pump and never looked back. 

That's when all of the symptoms of weaning started. I started getting headaches, moody, and sad. I knew all these symptoms could happen but I didn't think they were going to happen to me. I NEVER get headaches and now I started getting them daily. It was like I was pregnant all over again. I am so thankful for the essential oil PastTense because it took away my headaches and tension almost immediately! I didn't want to take any medication for it. It could mess with your supply and I'm not one to take any type of medication unless I'm about to give labor. :)

So as I sit here 14mpp doing my morning pump before work, I still have the guilt (hence why I'm still pumping). I still have the anxiety, but because I have no idea what kind of milk to give Clare. I have a deep freezer with about 1,600oz in that I try to use 1 bag a day (normally an 8oz bag). Clare is drinking anywhere from 12-18oz a day. That means I have enough milk to get her to about 18 months old. 

So why am I still pumping???? I want to get her through flu season, and well frankly I'm a control freak and she loves her Mama's milk. If she see's a bottle she signs please, more! Maybe she just loves her bottle and if I were to put cows milk in it she'd drink that just fine too. But I'm not ready to figure it out just yet. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DōTERRA: my new obsession

So a couple months ago I had a friend personally message (pm) me on Facebook when she noticed I was having trouble with Clare's teething. She recommended I try an essential oil called Clove. She told me to dilute it in coconut oil and put it directly onto Clare's gums. I was skeptical, yet hopeful. 

So I created my concoction of 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1-2 drops of clove oil. Whenever Clare seemed like she was in pain I would do my best to rub it all over her gums. (It is rough getting into a 10 month olds mouth!) I really think that and the amber necklace she was wearing helped. We rarely had to administer Tylenol or Motrin. It seemed to help, a lot! The only time we started using motrin again was when Clare would no longer keep her amber necklace on. That day was sad to me :( my child will not leave a hat on her head, a bow in her hair or her necklace on! 

I was also hoping to find something that would help with my husband's migraines. He gets them at least 3-5 times a week. So, I also ordered a bottle of peppermint and a roll on of PasteTense. Peppermint has so many different uses I found out! Not only is it great for curing headaches and migraines but it's also good to use on the bottom of your little ones feet (diluted in coconut oil, as peppermint is a hot oil. That means it burns, kind of like icy hot) when they have a fever. It will help reduce the fever. You can also use it on yourself as an adult and put it on your head to ride a fever. It is a natural cooling agent. You can diffuse it to help you wake up and it can also relax your muscles. 

The PasteTense has become a favorite of mine and my mother's. I started the weaning process of pumping (breastfeeding) about 2 months ago and have sense started getting pretty bad headaches. I have found much relief in PastTense. I also put it on my shoulders when I feel tense or tight. This specific blend is made up of wintergreen, lavender, peppermint, frankincense, cilantro, marjoram, roman chamomile, basil and Rosemary. 

I received my kit the other day and it came with 10 oils and a diffuser. It came with, lavender, peppermint, lemon, breathe, digestzen, oregano, on gauard, deep blue, melaleuca, frankincense and a diffuser. 

Clare got a booboo on her finger a couple days ago so yesterday I decided to create another concoction with 1 tablespoon coconut oil and a drop of lavender and a drop of melaleuca. It has been working great and her scab is already looking better.

I love to put a drop of lemon in my water everyday as it can help detoxify. It can also be combined with water and white vinegar to make a house hold cleaner. There are so many other uses for it too! 

As I dive deeper in the world of oils I plan to write a post about each specific oil I use and how I use it. Please stay tuned!!

This is a picture of my starter kit! I love all of my oils and I plan to do a lot with the oils! Please share how you use your oils at the bottom! If you have any questions or are interested in more information about any dōTERRA products please feel free to email me at or leave a comment below! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My first experience making baby food

I have had a few moms come to me and ask me what I feed Clare and how I made her baby good. The world of food is so wide and if you have a little one that is adventurous you could have a lot of fun with trying new foods! 

I started making Clare's baby food when she was about 6 months old. I'm not going to lie, the first time I made it, it took like 6 hours. However, I did make a huge batch and had Clare with me! So lots of interruptions to change a diaper, have a bottle, put down for a nap (which this was when Clare was striking naps unless I was holding her so I was in the midst of the cry it out method) and I had to pump too. 

Anyway, the first batch of baby food consisted of the following: 

Sweet potatoes- sweet potatoes are so easy to do! All you have to do is wash the skin, poke it a bunch of times around it with a fork and put in a foil lined baking sheet. I put foil down so the pan is easy clean up. I pre heated the oven to about 375°. You want to leave them in until they're soft to the touch. Just like a baked potato. Once it is finished cut the sweet potato in half, let cool down a little then scoop out the flesh and place it in a bowl. If you would like the consistency of the puree thinner just add a little water at a time. Do not use breastmilk or formula if you are planning to freeze it. 

Plums and Peaches-  plums and peaches were not so much fun the first time I did them. I choose to boil them  whole. Bad idea. It took forever for them to cool, I had to peel them which took forever, and then pit them. That was a ball! I feel like I lost so much of the fruit. The next time I made them I steamed them. (See more details about steaming fruits and veggies below.) I peeled them, cut them in half and took the pit out, and then quartered them. I then put them in to my pasta pot for two, pictured below. I put just enough water where it wouldn't fill past the colander. I steamed them until they were fork soft. I never timed anything.  

Peas- I bought a steamer bag of frozen peas and put them in the microwave. I later found out that microwaving food was the worste way to cook food. I rarely will hear Clare's food up in the mircrowave. The microwave kills a lot of the nutrients in the fruits and veggies. So if I were to make peas again, which I didn't because A. She didn't seem to care for them at the time and B. by the time I tried them again she could pick them up and eat them by herself, I would steam them in a pot. 

Zucchini - zucchini I ended up doing in an actual steamer (see picture below if you don't know what a steamer is.) I did not peel my zucchini but there is research that shows it can cause gassiness or give your little one a tummy ache depending on how they deal with it. I knew my daughter didn't have a hard time processing anything or have any issues so I chose not to take the skin off. I cleaned them, peeling them, cut them in 1/2 and then cut the 1/2 pieces into little half moon shapes. After I was done prepping I threw them all into the steamer for about 6-7 minutes. Again you want them to be fork soft so you can easily puree them. 

To puree my foods I used an immersion blender. It worked great. CAUTION: DO NOT STICK YOUR FINGER IN WHERE THE BLAD IS! I did that when I was making chicken and ended myself up in the hospital... I'm lucky I didn't cut my finger off.. It was our 2nd wedding anniversary and thankfully I was only at the ER for an hour. Anyway!! Pictured below is me using the immersion blender.  Next time around I plan to use my nutribullet to puree my little one's food. 

This is the one I have. I received this as a wedding gift from crate and barrel. I also used the food processor attachment when making smaller batches of foods like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. 

The first time I stored my food I did them in the infantino storage bags. I honestly wish I would have just did them in ice cube trays because my daughter wasn't eating 4oz at one sitting. BUT, they are great for traveling with and when you are trying foods out for the first time they're great because you'll end up using them if you feed your lo the same thing 3 days in a row. I didn't do that with Clare. I plan to do that with my next child because it is just easier! 

You can use a couple different items to steam your fruits and veggies. I don't like to buy one stop items; I like items that can be used more than one way, which is why I used my pasta pot for two from crate and barrel. It is great for cooking pasta for just my husband and I, and I have used it countless times to make her babyfood and also finger foods. Pictures below is the pasta pot for two.

Another easy, inexpensive way to steam your fruits and veggies is a steamer basket. You place it inside of a pot and put a lid on it once the water below starts to boil. That is a very important part of steaming, THE LID. 

The last method, that I also used when I made the zucchini the first time, was an actual steamer. You can also use this steamer for many other things, as you can see pictures below. I like to make my rice in it, also. 

Please feel free to leave questions you may have about purring foods. My next post will have more details on berries, squash's including yellow, pumpkin, acorn and butternut. Also, spinach and carrots. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Easiest, fastest pasta you'll ever make!

I Almost three years ago when my husband and I were living in our little two bedroom townhouse I found a pasta recipe that called for four ingredients: pasta, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. (Salt and pepper to your taste) 

I can remember my mother in law and I standing in our little tiny galley style kitchen chopping clove after clove of garlic because we had to triple the recipe! (My husband has a large family and I was still learning how to cook for one.) it turned out pretty good but I was looking for more flavor!  Since then I have doctored it up into the most delicious pasta!! 

Start by putting a pot of water on for whatever type of pasta you want. Add some salt (which will help the water boil faster) and cover the pot. (A watched pot never boils) 

Then, chop up some onion to your desired thickness (a whole onion is probably good if you're making one box/bag of pasta) and a couple cloves of garlic. (depending on how garlicky you want it you can always add more or less) 

Chopped onion 

Chopped garlic 

Coat a medium to large size pan with olive oil. You can always add more later but you'll want enough to cover the pasta with, it's like a sauce. Turn your stove top on to medium, medium high heat to get your olive oil hot. (You don't want to burn the onion so watch the pan to make sure it's not TOO hot.)

Once your olive oil is hot you can add the onion. I'd let the onion sauté up for a couple minutes and then add the garlic. You don't want the garlic to burn. You want the onion to be translucent. (almost see through) Once the onion has reached the translucent stage you can add the red pepper flakes (if you want it mild, only add a little, if you like it spicy, shake away!) salt and pepper to your desired taste. 

Once the pasta is finished strain it and add it to the pan. If you pan isn't large enough, that's ok! Put the pasta into a bowl and pour the olive oil, garlic, onion and red pepper flake mixture over it. 

Once again I forgot to take a picture of the food before we are but this was what was left over in the pot once we served ourselves. 

The fun thing about the pasta is you can add whatever you'd like to it! We have added mushrooms on more than one occasion. (You can cook the mushrooms before you add the rest of the ingredients and set aside.) You could also add spinach and/or red/yellow peppers to add a little color. The possibilities are endless! You could even add a protein to the dish and make it a meal! 

That's the fun thing about cooking!! You can take a recipe and turn it in to your own!! 

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do and change things up! Share here what you did to change things! You never know who's reading, they might want to try it too!! 


1 box of pasta
1 medium to large onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
Start with 1/2 cup olive oil (add as needed)
A pinch (or a couple shakes) of red pepper flakes

You can also add:

Red or yellow peppers
Chicken or any other protein you'd like. Maybe tofu if you're a vegetarian. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Turkey meatloaf

Goodness, it has been a while since I've posted! The past couple of days have been crazy busy! I hope you enjoy this recipe. 

Even though my daughter is 13 1/2 months old I am still learning to balance my time when it comes to making dinner. I hate putting her in her play pen but she's at the age where she is getting into everything! No matter how much I plan, I never prep during her nap time. 

This turkey meatloaf recipe has saved me on many occasions. It is healthly, easy and doesn't take much prep time at all! This time around Clare sat nicely in her height chair while I prepared everything but by the end she was begging to get out! 

First, measure out/prep all of the ingredients. Finely chop up the onion, whisk the egg, and measure out the milk and Panko crumbs. 

Next, add all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix together with your hands (or a spoon, but hands are best). 

Once the meat mixture is combined line a baking sheet with tin foil (easier clean up) and shape it into a log. 

Then make the sauce that  goes on top of the meatloaf. It is brown sugar, mustard and ketchup. 

Mix the brown sugar, mustard and ketchup together and then spread it all over the meatloaf! 

Place the meatloaf in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes (or until done)

Serve with mashed potatoes and corn, or whatever your heart desires! We were both so hungry I forgot to take a picture of it done. This is it... 1/2 eaten :-D

We ended up making corn and a pasta side dish that I'm going to blog about next. :)

Enjoy!! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment!

Turkey Meatloaf

Preheat oven 350 
Cook for 45 minutes 

1-2lbs of turkey (the original recipe calls for 2, I always just do the package I get from Costco and it always turns out great!)
1 egg
1 small onion or 1/2 of a medium/large chopped to your desire. I like finely chopped 
1cup of milk
1 1/4 cups of bread crumbs (I use Panko) 
Salt and pepper to taste

Ketchup sauce

1/3 cup ketchup
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp mustard 
(I sometimes do extra because it taste so yummy!!) 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Exclusively pumping: part 2 It's Getting Easier

I had to celebrate because I made it through three months of pain, pure exhaustion and emotional struggles. I had a goal now, a plan. I was going to continue to pump until I had enough milk to get Clare to a year. 

The next 6 months (months 4-9) all kind of blended together. It probably felt that way because pumping started to become routine, easier, and a part of me. Pumping becomes a part of your life whether or not you want it to. I personally started to enjoy it. I loved looking down at the bottles and seeing how full they were!!

This was one of my morning pumps after I had dropped my middle of the night pump. This was 17oz. The most I ever pumped in one morning was 23oz. 

I bought a second pump; a Medela Freestyle which is hands free and cordless. It is battery operated and is pretty small. I bought it so I would have two pumps. One to keep at home and one to keep at work. 

It was about 2 weeks before I was supposed to go back to work. I was so nervous! Not only to be leaving Clare 5 days a week for 10 hours a day, but where and how was I going to pump?? 

So I emailed the two teachers I was currently working with and asked them how I should go about this. One of them emailed me back and told me there weren't really any rooms designated to pump. After all it was a catholic school built probably 75-100 years ago. Nuns didn't have babies and there was no need for a lactation room. I would be allowed to pump in the furnace room or a bathroom. Ek! I was NOT ok with that. 

I started seriously freaking out!  I would have to be at school no later than 7:30... I would have had to get up at at 4:30-5am. (Which looking back on it now I probably totally over reacted and I could have made it happen but I was a new mom. Scared to death to lose my supply.) I forgot to mention we were in the process of buying our first house too... Can you say ball of stress??? 

So I called my principal to ask him if I could meet with him. I asked him if there was any possibly way I could get to school by 8am. I didn't see if being possible to get there any earlier. He told me it would be no problem. I also asked him about a room where I could possibly pump. I sadly got the same answer from him, a bathroom. But I could ask the resource room teacher if I could use her office. I was ok with that! He was probably the best boss I ever had. He took such good care of all of his teachers and always tried to accommodate us. 

So it sounds like everything is falling into place and I'm good, right?? Wrong! I didn't see how it was going to work... We were closing on the house the week I was supposed to go back to work! We had so much crap in our house to pack, every single day I looked at the shit and thought to myself.. WHERE DO I START?! I was so overwhelmed I didn't know what to do! 

I talked with my husband and we decided that it was probably best if I took the rest of the school year off and look for a job in the summer. It was the hardest decision I have ever made. I loved working at that school. I loved the people I worked with, the parents were so invlolved with their children, and ask I mentioned before I knew I'd never find a boss like him again. I was devastated. It took me an hour to put an email together to let him know I would not be coming back.

I had to think about what would be best for Clare and I and that was to stay home. If I could do it all over again, however, I probably would have sucked it up and made it work. 

So anyway!! It's the middle of April and we finally had everything packed. Thankfully my mother, mother in law, husbands aunt Cheryl, and husband helped so much in the packing process. It would have been a lot easier without a 4 month old. 

During the packing process I always felt so bad that I would have to stop to pump. I always felt like I was a burden, holding up something because I had to pump. I wish I didn't feel that way, I was doing something for Clare. I was making sure she would be fed for as long as possible on Mama's milk! But for some reason I always hesitated to bring it up, to step away. 

The night before we were supposed to do the actual moving part I started feeling cold, weak, achy and had a good amount of pain in my breast... I felt like I was getting mastitis again. I was freaking out, this could not happen... I was too busy to get sick. I called the doctor for a perscription but was hesitant to take it as I was feeling better the next day and I was worried my about my supply again. But my husband told me, better to be safe than sorry so I sucked it up and took the script for a week. My supply didn't dip too low so I was happy about that. 

After we got all settled in and got everything somewhat organized I tended to my freezer stash. We were already in need of another deep freezer as the one I had was nearly full. The first one I found on one of my mommy swap sites for $65. So it was hard for me to purchase a new one for $200. We finally caved and bought one because our refrigerator had been taken over by breastmilk. 

Coincidently Clare's six months pediatrician appointment was a couple days later. I talked to her about frozen breastmilk and how long it was good for. She told me that it was good for up to a year, but the anti-bodies died after six months. Right then and there I decided Clare would not be getting any frozen milk that was more than six months old. The next question was what was I going to do with the 2,500oz of breast milk I had in my basement? 

I had been told by some moms in my pumping group that you could donate breastmilk. I had never heard of this before. But I decided to look into it. I went to my mommyhood group and it just happened that someone had posted if anyone had breastmilk to donate! I couldn't believe it, I took it as a sign from God that this mommy was meant to have my breast milk. I commented on the post saying I had quite a bit of breastmilk then I could donate. The mom looking for breastmilk donations was adopting twins and they would be born in a couple of weeks. The problem was she lived in Indiana which is a good 2 1/2 hours from where I live. But A mom came to the rescue and stated she would be coming home to Michigan for Fourth of July weekend and she would pick up the milk from anyone willing to donate. 

So this is the first donation I made of milk it ended up being 1,071oz. I couldn't believe I was donating this much milk. When I was packing up the coolers I was having a tiny bit of anxiety. It was like I was giving away a part of me. But I kept thinking about those twins and how they would be getting milk from me, I was helping a mom give her babies something she could not give. Pictured below is the the milk I donated.

Over the next 6 months I donated over 7,000oz of breastmilk to 13 different mothers/babies. I always made sure I had 2,000oz in my deep freezer just incase my supply took a hit and I stopped making enough to give Clare only fresh milk. It's a feeling that is impossible to describe. Being able to help so many babies with something I made. It was like I had found my calling. I get such pleasure helping others and what better way than by donating the milk I spent so much time producing. 

Months 3-9 were rough, but pleasurable. I became more comfortable in my skin. My pump became an accessory instead of a ball and chain. I was able to visit my sister in Chicago several times. I pumped in the car, at other's houses and even started feeling comfortable pumping in public. It was always in the comfort of a home and only around family members, but that was a big step! 

I was able to successfully drop a pump every two months and maintain my supply mostly. My average daily total was between 40-45oz a day. By the end of the 9th month I was only pumping 4 pumps per day and let me tell you I felt like I was on cloud 9! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The First Three Months of Exclusively Pumping

The first three months of exclusively pumping were not only the hardest but the most important and I didn't even know it. I will try and be as specific as possible and give as many details as possible. It has been 10-13 months since I experienced some of these events. 

Week 1-3 I had NO idea what I was doing. I didn't know I was supposed to be pumping every two hours, I didn't know I should be pumping until I emptied, I just had no idea about anything. I had emotions flying everywhere! I knew my husband was going back to work, my hormones were flying and my daughter was jaundice. I was an emotional wreck. 

Since we were going back and forth between the hospital and home for four days to get Clare's bilirubin check I wasn't pumping nearly as much as I should have been. 

Going into my second week of pumping I was in severe pain, my breast was hot and tender to the touch and I was starting to have flu like symptoms. I called the on call Gyno and they called me in a script for mastitis. They said I could alternate between motrin and Tylenol to help reduce the fever and inflammation.  I was spiking fevers as high as 103.1. I had the chills, I couldn't get warm, I was in physical pain all over my entire body and all I wanted to do was sleep! I did my best to get up as often as possible to pump. 

Note: when you have a clog or mastitis you should pump more often, you should take hot showers and massage your breasts in there and while you pump, you should also try and get lots of rest. Easy, right?? 

I was pumping every 2-3 hours, taking my antibiotic and rotating between motrin and Tylenol. I was trying to get as much rest as I could. 

Note: during the next 7-14 days my supply took a dip due to antibiotics. If you're ever on an antibiotic for mastitis you will most likely see a dip in your supply. 

Every morning I would wake up feeling pretty good but by 11-12 o'clock in the afternoon I would crash. I thankfully had the help from my mom, my husband and my MIL. One day my MIL came over and watched Clare all day and took care of me until my husband got home, then my mom did the next day and my husband stayed home from work one day. I felt so horrible making him stay home from work, but I didn't feel like I could take care of her. If you've ever had the flu that's exactly how you feel with mastitis, but accompanied by a horrible pain in your breast. 

I called the doctor 3 days after I started my antibiotic and told them things weren't getting better and I went in for a check up. They gave me a different antibiotic and my OB told me I needed to be careful. My breast was getting extremely red and if it didn't start getting better it could turn into an abscess. I could possibly end up being hospitalized. Worst case scenario it would need to be surgical removed.  

Anyway, to make my long story short it took 2 weeks for me to get 100% better and get my supply back up. 

Weeks 4-8 
I started to get the hang of pumping, but man was it hard to do ANYTHING! I was not comfortable AT ALL with pumping anywhere else, especially not in public. I remember going to visit my mom at the mall and I ended up staying longer than I should have. I was in so much pain. I was engourgedand ended up with a clog.  I needed my "set up".

 I had two set ups in our house. From 9:30pm-9:30am I would pump in our bedroom in our glider and I used the foot rest to put my pump on.  Clare would either be in her bassinet sleeping or in her little chair right at my feet. 

My pumping view every single day :)

From 12pm-7:30pm I would pump on our couch downstairs in the family room. I would place my pump on the arm rest of the couch. While I would pump Clare was most likely sleeping in her rock n play or in her swing once I was comfortable with it! 

My snuggily little bear. 

Getting bigger, loves her swing! 

by now I had my hands free bra, but was still experiencing pain when I pumped. Someone in my pumping group suggested coconut oil (instead of the lansinoh cream that didn't work at all for me!) So I went to Amazon and ordered a jar because I had no idea where to go buy it.. And it was freezing out. It came in two days... And let me tell you that changed my pumping experience like I could have never imagined! It wasn't painful at all to pump, it was pure bliss! I could actually stand to do it! Now every time a mom tells me or I read that they hate pumping I tell them to get some coconut oil. 

If you're reading this, you pump and you don't have coconut oil.. STOP AND GO GET IT ;). You can find it pretty much anywhere now; target, meijer, whole foods, trader joes, and my favorite place COSTCO! They have a 2 pack, each 42.3FL oz for $28. See picture below. 

So once I figured out what I was doing I tried to religiously pump every two hours. I never really had a schedule because some times I would have Clare sleeping on me, I would over sleep or I was just too lazy to do it! But I tried to fit 8 pumps a day in. 

It was difficult, my family members couldn't quite understand why I was pumping so often. I had a surplus of milk, I was freezing at least 20oz a day. But my original goal was to get to 6 months and hopefully have enough to get Clare to a year. So I was freezing as much milk as possible! 

It was time consuming, I was missing out on so much. If we had family or friends over I would have to leave every 2 hours to pump and it would easily take me 30-35 minutes including set up and clean up time. I could hear everyone gooing and gaaing over Clare. "Oh my goodness look how adorable she is! Oh look at that face she just made!" "Wow! That's the first time she's ever done that!" It was heart wrenching! But, I sucked it up and pumped on! I knew I was doing what was best for Clare. I've never done something so selfless in my life. You don't realize how much of yourself you give up having children. 

Don't get me started on cleaning bottles and pump parts. I had no routine down so the sink would just fill up with bottles. It was horrible. Either my husband or I would be at the sink for easily 45-60 minutes every single night. Especially once we started using Dr. Brown bottles.

Tip: get more than one set of pumping parts. Also, store in fridge during the day so you only have to clean once a day. Saves tons of time   

We had such a hard time finding a bottle that would work for Clarr. For the first month and a half we were just using the bottles and nipples from the hospital. They were the only nipples she could drink from without leaking milk everywhere. The Avent bottles that we registered for didn't work; the nipples were way too wide. They were the natural nipples so they were meant to mimic a breast... Well Clare wouldn't breastfeed so that explained that! I went to my pumping group for help on what bottles they use. Dr. Brown was a favorite, along with Tommie Tippie. A cousin of my husband's and one of our friends both use Tommie Tippie bottles, but they were both also able to breastfeed and I felt the nipples were just as wide as the Avent. So I ended up going to Targeting a purchasing a 3 pack of Dr. Brown bottles. Clare loved them! There was no leaking and that girl could suck down a 4oz bottle in 5 minutes flat! 

Watching Clare suck down a bottle and the way she looked after made pumping worth while to me.

My happy baby in a mama's milk comma! :)

 There were SO many days that I wanted to throw in the towel and just quit! Any time I wanted to, I would rant about it in my pumping group. The best 6 words that I was told and I took heart were: "Never quit on a bad day!" Those words are burned into my brain for the rest of my life. And they can be applied to many aspects of motherhood! 

Weeks 8-12

I'm still struggling emotionally... Trying to get Clare to latch. At one point I had her latching somewhat. It seemed too easy... I would try and breastfeed Clare, successfully (I guess I really had no idea what I was doing) and would go 6 hours between pumping. I couldn't stop pumping, A. Because I was making way more milk than Clare would drink.  She was drinking about 24oz a day and I was making close to 50oz a day. Sometimes more, and B. I mentally and emotionally couldn't do it. I had a routine down by now.. I was used to pumping. I had worked so hard to get where I was and I wasn't sure if I could emotionally change. My husband was also used to feeding her, our routine and I was supposed to go back to work at the end of the month! 

So to end the worst three months of my pumping journey I had one thing clear: I was giving up on breastfeeding Clare. I was thankful that I could feed her breastmilk. I didn't care how she got it, as long as she got it! By now I was pumping between 6-8 times a day. That's what worked for me. I was making more than enough milk, so if I DID lose a couple oz while dropping a pump it would be ok. (Side note I didn't start dropping oz until I was at about 8-9 months postpartum. I stayed steady at about 48 to 50 ounces a day.) 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tips from exclusive pumpers

This post will be about tips I have learned during my pumping experience, as well as what other pumping mama's have shared with me. I hope you find this helpful and please leave comments if you don't see a tip you found helpful during your pumping experience or if you have a question about something you don't see here.

- You should be treating your pump like it is your baby; you should be pumping every 2 hours. (2-3 is recommended and 8-12 pumps per day is also recommended, including 1-2 pumps during the 12am-6am hours (middle of the night- MOTN)) Keep up this schedule for at least the first three months. 

-pump for at least 20 minutes. It may take you longer to empty (for some moms it takes 20 minutes, others I found it could take up to 60 minutes. It NEVER took me 60 minutes, but as I dropped pumps it would take me a little longer to pump in the morning. Longest ever was 45 minutes. 

I always pumped 5 more minutes after I emptied (just had small drips) especially in the first 3 months to stimulate or "tell my breasts" that I needed more milk or to make sure I didn't get another let down. 

-Massage while pumping. It will help get the milk out. A pump will never empty you as well as a baby so massaging really helps push the milk out. 

-Use the let down button on your pump. I never knew what this was for until I finally asked! It will help possibly stimulate another let down. I would have 2-3 let downs during a pump, sometimes more. 

-get a hands free bra (holy miracle this saved. My. Life!!) You can make your own hands free bra with a sports bra by cutting two small holes in the bra where your nipples are and you can put the flanges through there. This is the one I use.

Air out your tubes- the tubes are what connect the pump to your flanges. Sometimes they can get condensation in them (mine do all the time) if your pump parts are not completely dry. This is ok as long as you air out the tubes. To do this just leave your pump on for an extra 10-15 minutes unattached to the flanges. It will dry them out. 

Make sure you have the correct size flanges. It will make a huge difference in your pumping experience, as well as your output. I was using the incorrect size flanges and it was so painful. (I use a medela pump in style advance and the standard flanges that come with the pump are 24mm flanges. I use 30mm flanges. The sizes are:

-21mm S
-24mm M
-27mm L
-30mm XL 
-36mm XXL

Please see this website for more details to get the correct size flanges. See the "COMFY" word to help determine if your flanges are the right size. 

-Your diet is a HUGE factor in your supply. If you plan to exclusively pump (EP) long term (even breastfeed) don't plan to diet. You burn about 20 calories for every ounce you pump. I was pumping about 45-50oz a day for a while. That means I was burning 900-1,000 calories a day just by pumping.
-My go to meals were Thai, and burgers and fries from smash burger. Fajitas also allowed for a great morning pump! You want to make sure you're consuming more calories than you're burning in one day. 

Other foods that mom's have found helpful:

-coconut water

-Sleep is another factor. The more sleep you can get the better. Quite ironic since our little ones (LO's) are up every 2-4 hours :) 

-Drink water like it is your job! staying hydrated is very important to maintaining your supply.

-Try and make sure you're as relaxed as possible during your pumps. Try thinking about your baby, looking at pictures and/or videos.

-Don't be afraid to pump in public, or anywhere else for that matter. It's hard to work up the courage to pump in public or in front of anyone, but eventually you'll get the hang of it!

-Do your research on pumps; some are better than others. Medela is a very popular brand and I have two of them. I have the Pump Instyle Advance (PISA) and the Free Style. The PISA is my favorite pump and I will recommend it to anyone I talk to who is looking for advice. The Free Style is a great pump if you're traveling. It is battery operated and it's very small.


-when pumping use coconut oil go "line your nipples so they slide nicely through the flanges

When freezing breastmilk lay the bags flat so they stack better in the freezer/deep freezer. 

-Refrigerate your pump parts! You only need to clean them once a day!! It saves so much time! 

-If you find that it takes you a long time to empty or you get clogs often try taking Lecithin. (sunflower is better than soy) 

-after milk sits undistubed for a while it will separate into hind and fore milk. You will want to swirl the fat back into the milk. Do not shake the bottle. If you find you cannot get the fat off the side of the bottle run it under warm water for a minute or so. Not hot water. You don't want to curdle the milk. 

This post will be updated as I remember or think of more tips! Please feel free the leave comments of tips you have!