Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mother: 11 Not So Warm and Fuzzy Truths

This is not a pro or con breastfeeding post.  It is a reflection of nursing my first child for 15 months.

1. I thought about quitting all the time.

For the first four months of breastfeeding I had to talk myself into not quitting almost everyday. I felt like my baby nursed all day long, he wasn’t on any type of schedule, I never knew when he was actually hungry or full, and it drove me bananas.

2. The older my baby got the more uncomfortable I was nursing in front of others.

It felt awkward to me if my baby would bury his face in my chest or pull on my top because he wanted to nurse. After my baby turned about 7 months old I stop nursing him in front of others which wasn’t that complicated because he was also eating foods at that age.

3. It made me lazy.

I nursed my baby to feed him, comfort him, and put him to sleep. Its just so easy.

4. Formula, cereal, and baby food were my biggest enemies.

From my family to the doctors I really didn’t want to hear about feeding my baby anything but breastmilk especially since I was really relying on breastfeeding to help me lose the weight I had gained during my pregnancy.  I always felt pushed to give him other foods even though I didn’t think it was time.

5. I felt unsupported by everyone.

When I was pregnant I assumed I’d be glorified for breastfeeding my baby, but I always felt like my family was trying to talk me into quitting or questioning whether or not baby was getting enough to eat. Even the doctor told me to quit after baby developed a milk protein allergy, like there were no other options at hand. I didn’t quit, I ate an extremely dairy free diet and kept right on nursing.

6. I found support on the internet.

There are a lot of Facebook groups and websites with tons of support out their for breastfeeding mothers. I visited sites like these often especially when I wanted to stop nursing.

7. I had mixed feelings throughout my entire breastfeeding journey.

I could never figure out if I loved breastfeeding more than I hated it or hated it more than I loved it but I know I loved and hated it. If that makes any sense at all, to summarize I had an intense love hate relationship with breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding is tough, but formula feeding comes with its own bag of issues, and its an expensive bag.




8. I dreaded weaning.

Nursing is just so easy, once you get the hang of it. My goal was to nurse for a year, but once a year came and went the thought of weaning daunted me to no end. I didn’t know where to start. I really just didn’t want to deal with the “drama” of cutting my baby off, and I was still using nursing to put him to sleep. Eventually though, around 15 months, he lost interest and over about two weeks he completely stop nursing.

9. Breastfeeding can make you feel chained to your baby.

Any time I was away from my baby I turned into a mathematician trying to figure out how long I’d been gone compared to the last time baby had nursed. I never really could let go or feel free.

10. Breastfeeding can be so awkward.

When I would nurse my baby he was make these sounds, like sounds you make when your eating really good dessert. It was so cute and funny, but in front of people it was enough to make me want to crawl under a rock.

11. It made me snobby.

I really grew to dislike mothers that turned their noses up to breastfeeding, never at least giving it a chance, but I liked them more than the mothers that harped on their “exclusively breastfed baby.” My baby was never exclusively breastfed because the NICU fed him formula without running it by me. We had to use formula quite a bit in our breastfeeding journey.

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To the Mom with the Loud Kids in the Waiting Room

Recently I found myself in a crowded waiting room with only one empty seat. I was waiting for a routine prenatal check. Several women had babies with them, but one mom in particular had a 4 year old girl and a 1 year old boy. Her children had not yet mastered the art of whispering and were quite vocal in the dialogue with their mom. The older sibling was drawing with some crayons and paper her mother had brought for her, while the little boy ate a snack.

Later she blew bubbles for them to keep their boredem at bay. Her only request was that they stay close to her proximity. She never once shushed them. While the children were behaved, it was clear that the noise brought on by them had gained the attention of everyone else in the waiting room, the majority of us silently glued to our cell phone screens sporting epic double chins as always.

I noticed a few women locking eyes with each other and smirking in annoyance over the children’s noise level; a few sighing in aggravation.

So, to the mom with the loud kids in the waiting room… Thank you.

Thank you for giving your attention to your children. Thank you for interacting with them and allowing them to interact with each other. Thank you for meeting their age appropriate needs and not giving two flocks of seagulls what others think. Thank you for not shoving devices in their faces while having your own shoved in yours. You rock!

Being a mom is tough, it kicks my a$$ daily, but this mom set a clear example of the type of mom I’d like to be. So often I stress myself out trying to make the people around me happy instead of trying to make my child happy.



If you take kids in public, things will get interesting. I’m personally thinking back to when my son put the death grip on a buggy he didn’t want to get out of in a grocery store parking lot, and once I literally pried him from his seat, he yanked the neck of my dress down exposing God knows how much of my boobs. Well God and the guy sitting in his truck next to my car. I was certain bystanders were dialing 911 to report a kidnapping and/or indecent exposure case. All the poor child wanted was to ride in the buggy a little while longer.

Sometimes motherhood in public can be so stressful that it starts to effect the way you do things. But this mother put her childrens needs above everyone else’s and that is just plain awesome.

9 Must Have Products for Pumping

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

1. Formula

My NICU baby started off on formula.  We used the Ready to Feed Similac because they are so much easier to travel with, especially when formula is not your go to feeding style.  We got off to such a rocky start breastfeeding that during each feeding time I would attempt to nurse, then my husband would feed my baby formula (or pumped milk) while I pumped.  We had to do this for about a week until baby finally latched.  Sometimes I would be in so much pain from nursing that I’d use formula too.  When I started leaving my baby, I didn’t have a lot of pumped milk stashed so we also used formula for those times as well.

2. Medela Pump

This Medela Pump is awesome.  I started out with a Lansinoh Pump, but the Medela is so much easier to use, and travel with, plus it is so much more efficient.

3. Car Adapter+

I purchased the  car adapter to go along with my Medela Pump. When I returned to work I would pump in the car during my 30 minute commute.  Pumping in the car really boosted my supply.   I used this pumping bra to remain hands free.  This nursing cover helped me cover up everything without interfering with my seatbelt.

4. Small Cooler

I purchased this small cooler because it would be easy to lug around when I returned to work.  It held everything I needed to pump at work everyday.

5. Medela Ice Pack

I used this Medela Ice Pack in my cooler bag when I returned to work.  I recommend having two of these in case you forget to refreeze it one day. It fits perfectly between the bottles, not taking up extra space.  It is also dishwasher safe!




6. Extra Pump Parts

Keeping everything ready and clean can get very overwhelming.  I recommend have extra pump parts so you don’t have to constantly wash something after you use it.

7. Lansinoh Bottles

Lansinoh Bottles are essential for breastfed babies.  They are clinically proven to reduce nipple confusion.  The design of the bottle and nipple enable baby to use the same feeding actions they use while breastfeeding. I love how few parts these bottles have, while also reducing air intake.  They are also BPA and BPS free.

8. Breastmilk Bottle Warmer
The Kiinde Kozii is a bottle warmer specifically made for warming breastmilk. The Kiinde Kozii creates a flowing warm water bath to quickly and gently thaw and warm breast milk according to CDC and USDA guidance. You don’t have to add water each time you use it. It has a timer that lets you know how much time is left before the milk is ready.  When the time is up, the warmer shuts off and completely removes the heat source from the milk, which means you don’t have to worry about overheated milk. Kozii can be used for breast milk, formula, storage bags (frozen or thawed), liner bottles, plastic, glass, and food jars.

9. Hand Pump

The Lansinoh Hand Pump  has two modes to stimulate and express, for for milk in less time. It is great to use when you don’t have enough time for a true pumping session. It is BPA and BPS free.

 

Must Have Baby Stuff: 6 Items I Wish I Had From the Start

6 Baby Items I Wish I Had From the Start

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Parents learn very quickly that things constantly change and the only way to make it out alive is to monitor and adjust accordingly.

6 Must Have Items for You and Your Baby

I spent countless nights searching on Amazon for things that might help taking care of a new baby just a tad easier. I joined mommy groups on Facebook, searched Pinterest, and had many many trail and error experiences, not to mention many many wasted dollars.

I created a list of 6 awesome products that got me through the baby stage without absolutely going bonkers.

Snuza Hero

The Snuza Hero is a movement monitor that alerts baby and parents when no movement have been detected over certain periods of time. First the baby is alerted with vibrations, then the parent and baby are alerted with an alarm.  I purchased the Snuza Hero prior to my son’s arrival, but once we brought him home, I was too scared to use it. I was worried that the rubber sensor would irritate his tummy, or just plain bother him. I was worried that the device would have “false alarms” and do more harm than good. One night, when baby was probably 5 weeks old, and I just couldn’t stand the sleepless nights and constant worrying anymore, I finally decided to try the Snuza Hero. I could tell right away that my baby didn’t even notice it. False alarms were not an issue and I finally was able to have some relaxing sleep. I used this little do-dad until baby was about 6 months old. I highly recommend this to new parents.

Rock n Play

I was initially against using the Rock and Play. It has a lot of bad online reviews regarding SIDS and causing flat heads. Eventually I gave it a try with the Snuza Hero and a 4Moms newborn insert and it worked wonders for my baby. I think the incline and the way it cradles baby really helped him stay asleep, and the insert gave me piece of mind for his head. The one I bought had an automatic rocking feature, and played music. I used this until baby started sitting up on his own.

Medela Pump

I started out with a Lansinoh Signature Pump, I did like it, but once I tried a Medela Pump in Style I never looked back.  The Medela is more powerful and is easier to get set up and put away. The Medela has an adjustable speed, which helps you find the right speed and comfort level for yourself. All of the parts that come in contact with breastmilk are BPA and DEHP Free, and it even has a car adapter for pumping in the car.  I highly recommend the Medela if you are planning on pumping at work.

 

 




Lansinoh Bottles

I heard so many great things about Dr. Brown bottles that I registered for them, pre-washed them and all, but baby never really seemed to like them and there’s so many pieces to one bottle. I tried a Lansinoh bottle that came with my pumping kit, and absolutely loved it. I strongly recommend these bottles, especially for breastfed babies. I do wish that they were available in glass bottles, and additional colors though.

Halo Sleep Sack

I was so cautious about putting baby down swaddled in a blanket, and I was always so worried about keeping baby the right temperature. Halo Sleep Sacks are so great at keeping baby covered without posing the dangers that blankets can cause. There are several different varieties. We loved this kind the best. They all zip from the bottom, which makes diaper changing a breeze. I do not recommend the fleece versions though, they are very hot.

Milk Snob

I didn’t even know Milk Snob nursing covers existed until my baby was 4 months old. I was a little concerned that the price was high for a hunk of fabric, but knowing what I know now, I would pay double. These covers, cover everything. Baby cannot kick it off of you, its not too hot or too sheer and its so soft. My Milk Snob was used as a nursing cover, and security blanket. You’ll love using it as a car seat cover too.

6 Must Have Baby Items I Wish I Had From the Start

Pumping at Work: 10 Tips for Success

Pumping at work can be so daunting and can discourage a breastfeeding mother retuning to work, from continuing her and her baby’s breastfeeding journey.

I’ve compiled a list of tips that helped me successfully breastfeed for 15 months, even after returning to work 12 weeks postpartum.

I’m a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Pumping at Work: 10 Tips for Success

1.  Don’t be afraid of formula.

My baby’s caregiver always had formula as a back up.  It really took the pressure off me because some days I just didn’t pump enough or baby was really hungry.  The caregiver knew to always use the pumped milk before using formula.  And my baby had had formula prior to my return to work, so he was accustomed to it.

2. I recommend having a Medela Pump.

I have this one.  The book bag makes everything easily accessible. Medea also has a car adapter.  When I first retuned to work I was using a Lansinoh pump, after I switched to Medela, I was pumping more, and had a much easier time lugging everything around.

3. Consider pumping in the car.

I had a 30 minute commute, so I would often pump in the car, after I made the switch to the Medela pump.  I purchased their car adapter, and used this pumping bra to remain hands free.  This nursing cover helped me cover up everything without interfering with my seatbelt. The extra pumping helped me increase my supply too.

4. Use a small cooler.

I purchased this small cooler because it looked more like a lunch box than a cooler.  I kept it in the fridge at work, but it also kept everything cold on days that I kept it with me instead.

5. Use the Medela Ice Pack.

I used this Medela Ice Pack.  I recommend having two of these in case you forget to refreeze it one day. It fits perfectly between the bottles, not taking up extra space.  It is also dishwasher safe!




6. Use one set of pump parts a day.

You do not need new pump parts each time you pump during the day.  All you need to do is keep your pump parts cold.  My cooler had two pumping bottles, and two spare bottles in it each day.

7. Pump into the bottles your baby uses.

Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me, and may not for you either, but there is a way around it. I was using a Medela pump, but my baby used Lansinoh bottles.  My cooler had two capped Lansinoh bottles, and two Medela bottles topped with the pumps parts.  On a typical day I would pump 10 ounces, which filled both Lansinoh bottles. I kept an extra capped Lansinoh bottle in my Medela book bag. After each pumping session, I would pour the milk into the Lansinoh bottle.  Each day when I picked up baby, I would place the capped Lansinoh bottles in the fridge.  Tip #7 is crucial because chilled breastmilk separates, and much of the fat will stick to its container once chilled.

8. Get a breastmilk friendly bottle warmer.

The Kiinde Kozii is a bottle warmer specifically made for warming breastmilk.  My baby’s caretaker would warm the Lansinoh bottle and top it with a Lansinoh nipple, easy peasy.

9. Work out the details before you go back to work.

Prior to returning to work I talked with my pricipal about when and where I thought I could pump.  I pumped 3 times a day, for 20 minutes at a time, in a small storage room.  It was not an ideal location, and I was walked in on a few times.  I always kept my back to the door just to be safe.  Also ideally you need 20 minutes of pure pumping, try to factor in additional time to get set up, etc. 30 minutes would be best.

10. Keep you eyes on the prize.

Countless times I was beyond ready to throw in the towel.  Keeping up with all the bottles, being unavailable during my planning time, the awkward moments of being walked in on or lugging my supplies around, I was ready to give it all up. I would just remind myself that my goal was to nurse my baby for a year, and I did not want my job to get in the way of that.

Don't let the fear of pumping at work put an end to your breastfeeding journey. These tips will help you be successful!

A Working Mom’s #sorrynotsorry to SAHM’s

A few weeks after returning to work because my glorious 12 week maternity leave had come to an end, I had just made my 30 minute commute from work to pick up my little one, when I received a lofty Facebook message from an acquaintance asking me to buy something she was selling.

At the time I was really struggling with the emotions of going back to work. I had to leave my still brand new baby every morning around 6:45 AM, and the earliest I could get back to him was 3:30 PM.
Getting to him at 3:30 PM meant that I felt guilty for leaving my classroom and coworkers behind. My grade level would often meet and plan together after school; while I crept down the hall and slipped out the door, hoping they’d remember the days of having littles ones, and forgive me for not contributing.

Once I arrived to pick up my son I would often be so exhausted from the day, that I felt like he was getting second best.

It seemed as if I was giving myself to someone else’s children all day, and was too exhausted for my own child that evening.  Hearing of milestones he met, or new things he was doing hurt too; as happy as I was to hear the great news, my heart broke that I missed it.  I struggled with the thoughts of my son loving his caretaker more than me, or him not understanding where “home” was.

With a goal to nurse for at least a year, I was still breastfeeding. Between the pumping at work and in the car, painful engorgement, leaking, and the constant chore of transporting milk and cleaning pump parts, I battled my decision to continue to breastfeed daily.

And there sat the Facebook message. Sent from a former teacher and mother of two little ones. She had become a SAHM and was selling books, or makeup, or something on the side.

Her polite inquiry for me to purchase something from her, absolutely enraged me, down to my very core.





Here I was forced to go back to work, to meet my financial obligations. Struggling daily to be a good teacher, coworker, mom, wife, and take care of myself, and she wanted my money. I wanted to tell her so bad that I would not contribute to her having the best of both worlds. No dollar of mine was going to let her enjoy an income while she raised her children at home. I wanted to hurt her feelings because her quick little message, that she probably sent to the masses, was the icing on the cake in my world.

Her message is one of many I’ve received since I went back to work last spring. I’ve never replied to any of them, I just delete them and try to extinguish the little fire that’s ignited inside me every time. I feel jealous of these women that get to stay home, and I know if takes guts for them to put themselves out there and reach out to people to sell things. I’m sure they miss adult conversations, and jamming out on the way to work, while they sip coffee, but I miss time with my son that I’ll never get back.

Maybe they are selling things to have some cash of their own, or maybe they too have financial obligations. Whatever their reason, I only have my point of view, and no lash extension miracle mascara, embroidered bag, or children’s book is going to be purchased with the money I regretfully earned while being away from my child.