Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pumping Supplies

Now, if you plan to leave your little one to return to work, want to ensure you have a stash, or just leave your little one for a few hours you will need to pump. Here are the things I used for my pumping sessions.

1) A Pump - If you will need to pump at work with a limited time frame, you will need a double electric pump. If you will only need to use it every once in awhile then you could probably get away with a single electric or a hand pump.

I used the Medela Pump in Style (PIS). It worked very well for me. It is a little pricey but from my research I learned that you pay for what you get. I also have only heard GREAT things about Medela pumps. From customer service to product reviews, it has always been good.

2) Storage Bottles - Now, that you have a way to get the milk out, you need something to put it in. Most pumps come with a few storage bottles. I got these storage bottles from BRU. They were ok. I wasn't crazy about them because the lids were sealing disks and rings. So unless you got them on just right, they could leak if they tipped over. Plus, the oz. markings starting to wear off after so much use. 
I wish I had splurged and got more of the Medela bottles. The sealed wonderfully, the labels never came off and then all my storage bottles would match. 
How many storage bottles will you need? The Medela PIS comes with 4 storage bottles. But most people need more. For my routine, I needed at least 8 storage bottles to make it through the day. And I liked to have enough bottles for two days so I could pack my bag for the next day without having to wait on the dishwasher to finish running. That's just me. Depending on how much milk you get, you could pour all your milk per session into one bottle and wash the other for your next session but that wasn't a good option for me. To start with, I would just get one extra set and see what works for you while you are still at home. Then before you return to work, stock up on what you need. 

3) Membranes - These little puppies are what give your pump suction. Without them, you will not get any milk out. So, these are pretty important in my book. I always made sure to have a back up set in my bag. They are small and thin, so they can easily be lost or torn. Also, they will wear out eventually. When I noticed that I wasn't getting as much milk as I usually do, I would replace the set and I could definitely see improvement. 

4) Freezer Bags - Milk only stays good in the fridge from 5-7 days, so if you plan to freeze your milk for long-term storage  you will need to figure out how to store it in the freezer. I found the Lasinoh storage bags worked best for me. It seems like every sample pack I got while pregnant came with a few of these in it, so you can always try them out before you buy a whole box. 

5) Breastshields - The PIS comes with 24mm breastshields. These may or may not work for you. I ended up needing a few different sizes throughout my nursing career. There isn't any easy way to figure out what will work best for you. It's kind of a trial and error thing. I would just use the ones that come with your first set and see if those work first. 
6) Steam Bags - These came in handy when I needed to sanitize my pump parts and didn't have time to wait for the dishwasher to run. You just add some water, your parts, zip it up and throw it in the microwave for a few minutes. I didn't use these after each session (some people do). I usually only sanitized once a day, after my last pump session. These are also great because you can use one bag up to 20 times. 
7) Hands Free Bra - This is a great invention. You can just strap this on and hook up the pump and your hands are free to do whatever you need. I did not have one of these but I want to invest for the next baby. I think it would have come in very handy so I could continue to do my computer work while pumping at my desk. 

8) Car Adapter - This nifty contraption will allow you to plug your pump into your car and pump there. I usually had to turn my pump us higher than usual in the car but it worked just as great. This was perfect if I needed to pump on the go. (This isn't necessary if you have a Medela Freestyle). This isn't a total necessity, it would just depend on your schedule and if you will need it. I have heard of people with hands free bras that pump on the commute to or from work. 

9) Bottles for baby - This is different for every baby. We introduced the bottle at three weeks. I started with the Medela bottles because it would have been great to only need one bottle but he didn't like those. Then I tried the cheapy Gerber bottles to no avail. So, I decided to try a wide nipple since that would be more like my breast. I tried the cheapest wide nipple first, NUK. They were a hit. We have stuck with those since then and they have done us great. There is no real way to know what bottle your baby will take. Again, it's a trial and error. I would start with whatever you want to try (only buying one or two), test it out and see. Just make sure to give your baby time to establish a good latch with breastfeeding but not too much time that they refuse to take anything but your breast. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Breastfeeding Supplies

I have several friends that are pregnant and plan to nurse. They have been asking me lots of questions (which I love) so I wanted to write a few posts about my breastfeeding experience. I am by no means an expert. We only nursed for 6 months and I've only one had child. But I am incredibly passionate about breastfeeding and I want to help anyone I can be as successful as they want to be.

I am going to start with a list things I found important to have to nurse my son.

1) A Nursing Pillow -  Nursing can take a toll on your back. Having a nursing pillow can help you nurse in a much more comfortable way. I used the boppy until he was about 4 months old. I would recommend getting a boppy that comes with a slipcover. They are cheaper that way and then you can wash the slipcover.

Bonus: A boppy is also a great way to prop up baby for tummy time.

 2) Breast pads - Once my milk come in I leaked like crazy. I woke up soaked every night. When he was nursing and my let down hit, I leaked from the breast he wasn't nursing on. And I leaked after a hot shower. It was crazy. So, I went through a TON of breast pads. The Lasinoh pads were great. I keep a stash of them in my purse, in the diaper bag, in the glove box and by all the places I nursed in our home.

I also invested in some washable pads. You can buy some at Babies R Us but those aren't actually waterproof. I found some on that I really LOVED. Charis Baby Designs has great pads. I threw them in the wash, air dried them and used them OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. I think they are definitely worth the investment. I think they paid for themselves at least 4 times over. I only got one set the first time, I think I will get two sets next time. 

 3) Nursing Cami's - I lived in nursing cami's for the first month. They are great. My hospital attire consisted of pj pants, a nursing cami, and a zip up hoody or a button down sweater. It gave my instant access to the "bottles" whenever I needed to feed my son. It was also great when my milk first came in because I was too engorged for a bra. They are comfy and gave me enough support to feel fine wearing them out layered. I got mine from Target.

 4) Nursing Bras - My favorite nursing bras came from Motherhood. They were good quality and surprisingly inexpensive ($20-$30). Plus, they were experts at sizing (your size WILL change in ways you never imagined). Don't buy them before baby, it's useless. I waited until it was almost time for me to go back to work before I went and bought any (6 weeks post-pardem). You need to wait until the engorgement is gone before you can get a good idea about the size. I went to Motherhood, she sized me up and picked some for me. She answered my questions about sizing and I was good to go!

5) "Sleep" Bras - I got mine from Target. I have seen that Motherhood and Medela makes them too. But these were great for sleeping in and laying around the house in. They were very easy to pull down when it was time to nurse. In fact, I found these much easier to nurse in than a nursing bra. And they were comfortable in the first few weeks that I was dealing with engorgement.

6) Nursing Cover - If you will find yourself in nursing in public and aren't comfortable with showing skin, you will want a cover. There are a lot of different versions by different brands. Some have pockets, some have tools to keep track of which side you nursed on. I just got a regular one from Target.

7) A comfy nursing seat - This depends on you and how comfy you want to be. I liked having arm rests and and a foot rest. We had a glider in the living room (that we already owned) and my in-laws bought one for the baby's room (it stayed in our room until we moved him to his room at 6 months). It was nice to have two "nursing stations". I liked having the glider in our room/his room for night time nursing sessions but also for when company was over. That way I could have some privacy and still be comfy. And it was nice to be able to veg in front of the TV when it was just us at home. Of course, you don't necessarily need a new chair. A recliner or any 'ol couch will work too!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm Thankful For...

I've really been wanting to join everyone in the daily "I'm thankful for" updates but I've been lazy. So, here it is all wrapped up into one post (in no particular order):

My husband - Sometimes he drives me batty, but man, I love him. I truly believe that God created us for each other because we just seem to fit so well together. I'm very thankful that we found each other and we continue to work on our relationship.

God - I'm thankful that He loves me despite all the other garbage in my heart and mind and was willing to die for me.

My job - I am thankful that I was blessed enough to find a career that I LOVE when so many other people are still looking for that. I am thankful that I have a full-time job that helps provide for my family.

My home - I am thankful that I have a warm place to stay and that we are blessed enough to be able to have things in our home that we don't "need".

My friends - I am thankful that I have people to share with in my life. We may share a lot of time or just a little. We may share common interests like teaching, God, or our alma mater. But I treasure all my friends both old and new.

My students - Some days I may not be so fond of them all but I am really thankful to have these 20 children in my life. They teach me so much and love me even when I'm not doing my best job.

My job at The Apple Tree - This gig came at a perfect time in my life. I am thankful that I have the ability to make extra money to help make things a little easier. And I am mostly thankful for all the wonderful ladies that work there. They embraced me from day one and it just feels like one big family there.

Jackson - I haven't even met him yet but I am so thankful for him. I thankful that God has blessed me with being able to conceive and carry him this far. I am thankful for getting to experience the good, the bad and the ugly of pregnancy - it really is a miraculous thing. I am thankful that God is trusting me to take care of this precious soul. And I am thankful for the transformation that has happened our marriage because of him.

My daddy - My dad is amazing. His life hasn't always been easy and he hasn't always made the right choices but I know he loves me more than I will ever understand. He has really worked hard to make things right in his life and I have really enjoyed watching that transformation. The best part is watching him get excited about Jackson. He is going to make one amazing grandfather.

My momma - I am thankful to have such a wonderful woman in my life. She loves with her whole self and I am thankful that I am one of the people that gets to feel that love. She is the hardest working person that I know (usually too hard of a worker) and she set a great example of what real work ethic is to my sister and I. She has had to deal with quite a lot in the past year and she has handled it with amazing grace and dignity.

My sister - Sometimes she drives me crazy but I am so thankful to have her in my life. We haven't always gotten along but I am glad for the relationship we have now. She is such an amazing, intelligent and beautiful woman and someday I hope she realizes her full potential. She could do anything she set her mind to but she just doesn't know it yet. I know she loves me more than she could probably express. I will forever remember her reaction of pure joy for me when she found out I was pregnant.

My in laws - I am always sad when I hear people talk negatively about their in-laws. I am so blessed to have married into such a wonderful family. They embraced every bit of me and I often joke to Jake that they will usually take my side over his.

My nephew - I never imagined how wonderful being an aunt really is until he came along. I am thankful that he has turned into such a healthy and bright boy despite his rough start. He is such a character and I really love watching him grow up. Jake and I still credit his birth as the reason we got back together.

My education - School has always been pretty easy for me. I am thankful to be able to learn in so many ways. And I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, so I always knew that college was going to be a must. I am thankful that I was able to go to college and find a way to pay for it all (even if I am still paying for it). I know that it was a luxury not everyone can have.

My husband's job - I know he doesn't enjoy 85% of it but I also know that it helps pay the bills. I know that someday he will find himself in a job he loves, whether that be a change in jobs or a change of heart. I pray that that day comes soon but until then I am thankful that he has a job that provides for us.

Books - I really enjoy reading! I thankful to be able to read and have an unlimited number of books ready for me to check out from our public library.

Food - I am thankful that I have never know what real hunger is like. I am thankful that I can eat just about anything I want. And I am thankful that I am a semi-good cook!

Hobbies - I am thankful that when I do make time for it, I have hobbies that I enjoy. Scrapbooking and general crafting are my go to hobbies. I am thankful that I have the abilities to enjoy such things.

Entertainment - With my ticket to see Breaking Dawn: Part 1 sitting in my inbox, I can't help but be thankful for all the entertainment I have in my life. I think that is something we take for granted in the good 'ol U.S.

Being an American - I don't always agree with all that goes on here and sometimes I am down right frightened of the direction some things are going with our government, but I am thankful to be a member of this great nation. I am thankful that I was born with luxuries that some people in this world don't even know exist.

Our Military - I am thankful for those who have fought and are fighting for our freedom. I may not agree with the reasons they are fighting (I know some of them don't either) but I am thankful for the sacrifices they and their families make.

My Extended Family - I am surrounded by so many wonderful aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. I am thankful to have them all in my life.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Getting Ready for Jackson

We have slowly been getting more and more ready for this little boy to become a part of our lives.

We have had the room painted for awhile. And we picked up some furniture the other day.

Notice the brightness of the walls. Turns out that the color we picked out is a little bright. And I wouldn't want to repaint it, so I'm not going to ask Jake to. We will just work with it. We finally got some blinds up, that helped a lot. We are on the hunt for actual curtains and I'm betting that will help even more. I just plan to get decor that is more muted to balance it all out.

We went to register on Friday and I registered for this adorable little bedding set.

I have been calling around about childcare, which has been an adventure! And I signed us up for birthing classes today. That, I'm sure, will be another adventure.

I am so excited to have this little boy in my arms.

Baby Boy Update

I wanted to follow up on my last post. It was supposed to end with the fact that I am over the whole thing but I guess I left that part out.

After about three days and one good cry (while my husband laughed at my silly worries of not knowing what to do with a boy), I took a deep breath and embraced this baby's boyness with all my heart.

Please know that I understand there are so many people out there that just want a baby, regardless of gender. And please understand that I realize how selfish I was to even have such feelings, trust me I had a good cry about that guilt as well. I did not mean to come across as complaining, I just wanted to express my thoughts.

Friday, August 5, 2011

It's a BOY!

Meet my baby boy...

The ultrasound was very overwhelming. All of the sudden I went from having a baby to having a SON, a little boy whose name is Jackson. (His middle name is still TBD). I'm going to be the mother of stinky boy, who gets dirty and will someday become a teenager. AHHHHH!

They checked his lips, palette, kidneys, heart, and brain. It was amazing to watch it all. His little mouth was moving like crazy. It was like he was talking to us.

But I have a confession...

I was a little bit sad that it was a boy...

I feel like a horrible person for it! I love this little boy so much already but have you seen the selection of boy clothes? It's pathetic compared to all the clothes they have for girls. I was really looking forward to hair bows and dresses.

It is all my fault, really. I felt from the beginning that it was a boy. Everyone told me it was a boy because I wasn't sick and I didn't crave sweet things. But I still held out and was hoping it was a little girl.

But it I have learned anything from this pregnancy, it is that God knows what he is doing. I wanted to be pregnant 9 months earlier than it happened and I wanted a girl. Maybe someday I will know why get gave me a son to be born in December and maybe I won't. Either way, I trust that God has a plan for our family and for our son. I just pray that we do everything possible to keep this little boy on track to fulfill God's plan. Will you pray the same?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Two Lines

So, we are pregnant!

I'll post how we found out later but first I just wanted to say thank you for your wonderful comments and prayers. I don't think it is any coincidence that the month I blogged about it was the month that it happened. I know that nothing about God's timing is coincidental. I guess someone needed me to write about it or maybe God just needed me to realize a few things first. I also chose not to do fertility tests this month, I just let it go this time.

I also know how incredibly lucky I am. My Dr. assumed I would need help getting pregnant, so I began preparing myself for that fate. I have realized that 9 months of trying is cake compared to what some people have had to go through.

I am only 7 weeks along. I am due on December 10th. My first appointment with my OB is on May 5th. I did go to my family doctor and took a urine test there and they did a blood test and said my hgh levels were right on track for where I should be. Please pray for us and our tiny baby. That everything would go smoothly.