breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Series: Final Thought – Reward Yourself for Breastfeeding

We’ve talked about clothes, pumping and storing milk and all of the weird places I’ve had to pump. And now to wrap up the series, I have one final piece of advice: Reward yourself for breastfeeding.

If you are a full-time breastfeeding, full-time pumping, part-time nursing/part-time pumping mama, you are doing an amazing thing. This is a time-consuming, self-sacrificing action. If it didn’t work out for you, fine, but if you are in the middle of it, you know you need to hear those words.

The nights are long. The breasts are sore. The teeth are sharp. The plugged ducts are blinding. The pump is cold. The milk is gold. And you are doing a great thing. So–reward yourself for breastfeeding!

A former coworker gave me this necklace when I met my six-month breastfeeding goal.
A former coworker gave me this necklace when I met my six-month breastfeeding goal.

When I finished nursing my first-born she was six months old. I had to stop. We were in the process of moving, I was tired and it was time. I worked with a girl I considered one of my best friends. She gave me a charm of a mother holding a baby. At least, that’s what I see. I see a mom breastfeeding her baby. I see a medal. I was being awarded for the dedication and commitment I had to meet my six-month goal.

I still have it. The leather is worn out. The charm is tarnished. It’s hardly that shining example of success that it once was. But to me, it’s still a representation of what I accomplished. I will always treasure that. And of course, her friendship.

For my second daughter, I rewarded myself in advance, with an iPod Touch. I needed the internet access on a portable device to ease the late-night feedings and give me some motivation to keep going.

After all, I had saved us all of the money in formula.

When my third daughter was 6 months old, I learned about The 16 Minute Club. It was just starting and I was excited by the concept. Based around 16 minutes, roughly the time it takes to pump, the company curated monthly boxes that were sent to moms to support breastfeeding and nursing. I jumped on board and got them for six months.

Each month, I received a box with products like lactation cookies, lotion samples, a nursing scarf I mentioned in another post, toys for the baby and lots and lots of coupons to really cool places.

I also got information sheets. It had suggestions for keeping up with pumping and nursing, milestones that were coming up and things to try. The website itself was a wealth of information and I’ve recommended this site to so many people.

I was so excited to see what was out there. Every month, I knew I would get my box, but only if I kept going.

I’m not saying a reward is going to make it easier, but use it as a way to mark the accomplishment and give yourself credit for the work you are doing.

Breastfeeding Series: Nursing is hard, here’s my story
Breastfeeding Series: DIY Nursing Cover
Breastfeeding Series: Clothes for Bresatfeeding
Breastfeeding Series: Developing a Good Breastfeeding Routine

Breastfeeding Series: Pumping Tips

The first time I opened up my breast pump, I couldn’t figure out where all the hoses went and how it was supposed to turn on and what in the world were those horn-looking things for? I was terrified of it. But with incredibly short maternity leaves, I needed to establish a hardy supply. By the time I finally retired my breast pump, I had figured out how to pump everywhere from my car while driving to the bathroom floor at a Detroit Lions football game. I had mastered it and now I’m going to share the wealth. Here are my pumping tips.

Storage

My stored milk was organized in 3, 4 and 5 oz bags, flattened and then organized by date in our deep freezer in the basement. At 11 months, I had more than a month's supply of milk and was able to stop pumping.
My stored milk was organized in 3, 4 and 5 oz bags, flattened and then organized by date in our deep freezer in the basement. At 11 months, I had more than a month’s supply of milk and was able to stop pumping.

My pumping routine fell in step with my nursing routine. For the first few days home, I’d pump for about 15 minutes after each feeding, but slowly cut my pumping sessions back to 2-3 times per day. I’d store the milk in a bottle in the fridge until I had 3, 4 or 5 oz. Then, I’d put them in a milk storage bag, stack them in my milk storage container to make them flat and then store them in the freezer.

Three ounces lasted until she was about 3 months old. Then I moved to 4 ounce bags and capped at 5 oz. My middle daughter never took more than three 5 oz bottles at day care and my last went through a phase of reverse cycling–which means she didn’t take a bottle at all at day care, but nursed all evening.

Once they were flat, I’d rake them out and store them in boxes in the basement freezer. Milk in a deep freezer can be stored for up to a year. This was never really an issue as I always did first in, first out.

To make things easier, I always kept the milk in the upstairs fridge until I had enough for 3, 4 or 5 oz pages. Almost every bag in this picture is 5 oz because I pumped them when my daughter was 4-6 months old.

Oh and one more tip for pumping at home. Keep the catch bottles and the horns in the fridge too and then I cleaned them once per day rather than every pumping session.

Pumping on the Go

I liked pumping in the car. With my first daughter, anytime I was the passenger to my husband, I would pump. Onec I got good at connecting everything, I began pumping as a driver. I’d pump on my way to work, meaning I had a solid few hours once I got there, and on my way home.

I figured there was no better time. I was just sitting there and I had the time, so why not?

So, how did this all work?

Well, I always wore a nursing tank under a shirt. I’d loosen my top shirt just enough to get the horns under it and then wedge them between my top shirt and my nursing tank. This sometimes meant I had to use the 8 oz bottles to catch the milk as I could prop them up on my thighs, but I could do it with the 4 oz-ers as well.

I’d plug the pump into the cigarette lighter and put it on the floor of the car. I could easily reach the dial to stop/start it if I needed to.

Once I had pumped for 15-20 minutes, I’d disconnect everything and leave the milk containers in the cup holders until I got where I was going. I’d use nursing pads to wipe up any drips, pull down my nursing tank, straighten my shirt and be on my way.

I pumped in a bunch of bathrooms between Detroit's airport and O'Hare in Chicago.
I pumped in a bunch of bathrooms between Detroit’s airport and O’Hare in Chicago.

I’d also pumped during a day-trip to Chicago. I pumped after I had gone through security but before I boarded. Then I pumped after the hour-long flight (give or take a bit for boarding, taxiing, etc.). My boss (oh, yeah, my male boss so that was fun) took the El into the city. Once we got to our destination, a hotel, I inquired about a place to pump. These amazing people gave me a hotel room to pump in. I could have kissed them. I did the same on the reverse trip. Pumping before we boarded and again when we landed. Apologizing to my boss for every 20 minute delay. He was a saint.

The only downfall to all of that pumping was that I couldn’t save it. I was taking Xanax to fly and that isn’t good for baby so I had to pump and dump. It was a sad, sad day to watch that milk go down the drain.

Pumping at Work

11874168263_2cc3b3e414_bThere are some companies that have rooms with comfy chairs and private fridges for nursing moms. I was not that lucky. At my first job, I had a private office and could pump behind a closed, locked door. At my second job, I first pumped in a storage room. We locked the door and the secretary kept watch to make sure no one came in. There was an adjacent bathroom, so that was convenient.

For my third baby, I pumped on the floor of an office bathroom. There were many, many odd moments doing that. It was the office of the school psychologist, who often had students. I had to knock and ask permission each time. Once a student came in while I was in there and my pump was making it’s whirring noise as she cried to the psychologist about some trouble she was having with classmates. There was also no electrical outlet, so I had to run my cord to the nearest outlet outside the bathroom, which meant I had about 2 feet of slack and was relegated to the floor. Ick.

I pumped every 2-3 hours depending on how much water I had, how much milk I pumped on the way to work and how full I was getting. You’ll know when it’s time. Even if you don’t think you need to pump, do it anyway, because like I said in the Developing a Good Breastfeeding Routine post, it’s all about supply and demand.

Don’t Count Every Ounce

Every day is different. Sometimes stressed, lack of water or exhaustion will bring down your supply. If you have an off day and only get 5 ounces when you typically get 8 while at work, don’t stress, it’ll only make it worse.

If your supply is off for a few days, consider adding in a pumping session or let baby nurse a little longer when you are at home. Supply and demand!

They Are More Afraid of it Than You Are

My husband got suite tickets to a Lions game while I was breastfeeding. We decided to go as a date night, with my pump as our third wheel. We ended up driving some friends to the game so pumping in the car was really not an option. That meant my pump was going in. I was so nervous and almost whispered it to the security woman. But then I realized it made her more uncomfortable than me. She had to open it and look in the bag and swabbed the residue to make sure it wasn’t an explosive.

Sadly, I was forced to pump on a bathroom floor, but I survived.

Pumping conditions are often less than ideal. Pumping itself is no fun. But it’s necessary for maintaining your supply and also feeding your child. Find what works for you, but hopefully my pumping tips give you somewhere to start!

Read more of my breastfeeding series:

Breastfeeding Series: Nursing is hard, here’s my story
Breastfeeding Series: DIY Nursing Cover
Breastfeeding Series: Clothes for Bresatfeeding
Breastfeeding Series: Developing a Good Breastfeeding Routine

Breastfeeding Week: Clothes for Breastfeeding

My go-to outfit when I was breastfeeding including a loose top over a nursing tank. This gave me the access to pump or nurse without having to expose more than I had to. What I wanted was something that didn’t feel like I was layering up and dressing only to feed my child. Thankfully, I found some pretty cool stuff–and these days, there is even more on the market.

I’ve seen nursing hoodies and some really cool shirts available now, but it wasn’t until my third child that I even owned nursing clothes besides tank tops. I bought three dresses from Milk Nursingwearing. They were cotton, colorful and they made nursing incredibly easy.

I wore one to my daughter’s baptism, another to my grandpa’s funeral visitation and–well, I still wear them. They look so much like regular dresses, just with access to the areas needed for nursing and pumping.

I’m about as cheap as they come, so the idea of buying dresses that I would only wear when breastfeeding seemed like a giant waste–especially for my last child. But the thing was, I couldn’t wear dresses while I was nursing. There was zero access without getting completely undressed and in church or at events where dressing up was important, that really wasn’t an option.

So…I sprang for three dresses. Two were tank top dresses and one has short-sleeves.

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I loved, well I should say love as I still wear them, because they were flowy and comfortable, even when I had to dress up shortly after she was born. However, they were, and are still, normal looking. I wear them now and you can’t tell they are designed for nursing.

Previously, I subscribed to the 16 Minute Club boxes. They are a cool way to encourage moms who are nursing/pumping with monthly gifts and treats. One of the gifts one month was the Itzy Ritzy Infinity Scarf that doubled as a nursing cover. This was a great idea. It could be worn like a scarf and then used to cover up when pumping or nursing. I loved this so much that I’m still using it. And when I do, it reminds me of those precious days with my little ones.

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There are so many things out there now when it comes to clothes designed for breastfeeding. My nursing wardrobe went from nursing tanks basically nothing with my first child to nursing tanks with my second and dresses and scarves with my third. I’m glad that I had the chance to try some clothes for breastfeeding before my nursing days were over.

Having clothes for breastfeeding made me feel more confident. They made me feel more put together, especially when I returned to work. They gave me options. As we all know, breastfeeding is hard, and the better a mom feels about herself, the easier in becomes. These clothes provide comfort, style and modesty to moms looking for something different.

Breastfeeding Series: Nursing is hard, here’s my story
Breastfeeding Series: DIY Nursing Cover
Breastfeeding Series: Clothes for Bresatfeeding
Breastfeeding Series: Developing a Good Breastfeeding Now

Breastfeeding Week: Nursing is hard, here is my story

It's breastfeeding week on my blog and this post is all about my experience.
It’s breastfeeding week on my blog and this post is all about my experience.

This week, I’m devoting my blog posts to my breastfeeding journey. It’s not a path I ever thought I’d walk, but it turns out, it’s a route that I loved and traveled down several times. I’m hoping that my experiences and breastfeeding advice can help someone else learn to love it too.

When I found out I was pregnant the first time, I was asked several times if I was planning to breastfeed my baby. I was so worried about just taking care of the baby, there was no way I could comprehend learning the mechanics behind breastfeeding too.

I really had no idea about breastfeeding. My mom didn’t do it. I hadn’t grown up knowing many who had. I was the first of most of my friends to have babies, so I didn’t have built in resources. I did a little research and decided that maybe I would give it a try. Our hospital offered a class, so we decided to take it, but I still had no idea how this would all actually work.

The books made it out to be so easy. The baby would be placed on my belly shortly after she was born and she would move her way up and instinctively start nursing. It would be great and I’d gaze at her lovingly while my body magically morphed back into shape and my husband gently stroked my hair.

Um, that’s a great picture, but it does no happen that way. Breastfeeding is hard.

Once our baby was born, we were in our room alone with the nurse and I finally asked if it would be okay if I tried breastfeeding her. I literally asked permission to feed my own child. I had no idea what to do or how to do it. And things were a struggle. None of it was like the book.

It hurts.

Despite the fact that I had an epidural, I still felt most of her birth. As it turns out, epidurals don’t work well for me so I was able to experience every inch of birth. And for the first few days of breastfeeding, flashbacks of those contractions and the pain came back with every suck.

That’s because the baby sucking actually helps the uterus to contract back down to size. But, contract…yes, it’s the same thing as labor and yes, it hurts.

Of course, there is the pain that comes along with the nursing. The bleeding and cracking and the pain from engorgement and plugged ducts. It’s not quite the peaceful process the books make it out to be, especially at the beginning.

Not every baby jumps right in.

All three of our daughters had some sucking issue at birth. The first liked to suck her own tongue, but nothing else. The second was better, but she was a sleepy girl and was often too tired to suck. Our third, the premie, was just too young. She had a hard time getting it all together.

It can be very frustrating, but it’s not your fault.

Consider that the baby is just a few hours old. You just met face-to-face and you need some time to get to know each other and learn to work together to get this feeding thing down. Try different positions, move the baby around until they seem comfortable and you are relaxed. My first baby hated the Boppy. I had to use pillows with her. It was all trial and error, but you’ll get there.

There is help.

I wasn’t clicking with my first baby. I saw lactation consultants in the hospital, nurses tried to help, they even had me tune to a channel on the TV for more tips and tricks to try and make the process better. I was determined but I lacked any confidence. I figured that once I was out of the spotlight of the nurses, once the visitors had come and done, once I was in my own house–everything would just click and I’d be able to successfully nurse my baby and nourish her myself.

That didn’t happen.

Our first night home, I took her into our room, turned on the TV and decided I would sit there until it worked. She screamed and cried. I did too. My husband came in and said something I will never forget. He said he admired my dedication. She appeared to hate me for trying to make her eat and I didn’t want this brand new baby to be scarred by my attempt to keep her alive. But I kept trying.

When, two days later, we just weren’t getting anywhere, my husband suggested we call the hospital and meet with a lactation consultant. Totally worth it. She worked with me one-on-one for about an hour. She showed me different holds, looked at my latch, analyzed the process and really helped us establish the missing connection.

Then, she referred me to the La Lecha League and other breastfeeding support groups to help me get through the potentially rough weeks ahead.

Pumping is part of the deal.

I had no idea how a pump went together and I was horrified the first time I used it, but it’s just part of the deal if you plan to be away from your child for any length of time while nursing. It’s not fun. It’s work to clean it. It can hurt. But it’s necessary. There is no other way to stock milk or keep up your supply if you aren’t able to feed on demand. Plus, if you plan to go back to work, your baby has got to try to take the milk in a bottle or you could really have a rough transition to childcare.

So what else is there to write about when it comes to breastfeeding? Plenty. I’m looking forward to sharing with you how I made my own nursing cover, my favorite ways to cover up, traveling and pumping, nursing clothing, storing milk and ways to keep up a healthy supply.

I never thought I’d breastfeed my children, but I did. And now I hope my advice can help someone else succeed at it too.

Check out my other breastfeeding articles:

Breastfeeding Series: Nursing is hard, here’s my story
Breastfeeding Series: DIY Nursing Cover
Breastfeeding Series: Clothes for Bresatfeeding
Breastfeeding Series: Developing a Good Breastfeeding Now

What’s in my diaper bag: Review of Medela Breastmilk Removal Soap

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Gross breast milk residue just gathers on parts no matter what you do.

This product must be new. I don’t remember having it for my other two kids and, believe me, if this were around then, I would have invested in it.

Breastmilk is thick. It’s not homogenized so after sitting, even for the shortest time, it begins to separate. This can leave even the cleanest, clearest bottle or pump part looking…cloudy. Even after soaking in water, pump parts can have hard-to-reach places where the milk fat clings and leaves a residue.

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Here is another part, a clean one. The Medela Quick Clean Breastmilk Removal Soap is amazing.

Last spring, I attended a baby fair at Beaumont Hospital. There were many exhibitors handing out samples. I was there to get information on the new Affordable Care Act and pumps, as well as natural childbirth (hahahhah). At the Medela table, the representative handed me a bottle of this soap as a sample. She said it is no-scrub soap that will tackle the residue-The Medela Quick Clean Breast Milk Removal Soap.

Medela Quick Clean Breast Milk Removal Soap can remove the ick from just about anything.
Medela Quick Clean Breast Milk Removal Soap can remove the ick from just about anything.

I was pretty excited to use it. After my baby girl was born in July, I started using it to make sure my pump parts were spotless…and it worked.

The soap is thin and it only requires a little bit to wash bottles from day care and my pump parts every day. I usually fill the sink with hot water, add a few drops of the Medela Breast Removal Soap and then let it soak for a few minutes. I then get the pump parts out and scrub them really well. If there is anything left over in the part, I take a tiny amount of the soap and drip it into the offensive area. While I wash the rest of the parts, the soap loosens that hard, stuck junk and by the time I get back to it, it just rinses away.

I began to wonder how important this actually was to me. Was it just a convenience?

Apparently not. After washing bottles with a sample of Dapple that I had and then regular dish soap, I realized there wasn’t much else made specifically to cut the crud left by breast milk. So, I ordered another bottle and I plan to continue.

The box also indicates that you can use it for clothing. This is getting better every day. I feel like some of my clothes could really use it.

Babies R Us sells the 6-oz bottle for $8.99 and Amazon has it for $9.42, but because I’m a Prime shopper and have free two-day shipping, it is worth the aggravation and gas money to order it online.

And full disclosure: I received nothing for this review. I got the sample at a baby fair and loved it. That’s why it’s in my diaper bag.

Doctors don’t know everything

11e5bccb4debc0ad6697d829b5d29289I sat in her office. My five week old baby beside me.

Her medical degree hung on the wall. Her knowledge of how the brain works and how to get me through life despite the obstacle of OCD, well for that I couldn’t be more grateful.

“Well, your nursing so at least we won’t have to talk about introducing birth control until you are done. You can’t get pregnant while nursing.”

Cue sound of screeching tires in my head.

Immediately my respect for her went out the window. The same way it does when even the smartest people I know say “alls” (as if “alls ya have to do..”) Or someone cheats at a board game or life, whatever.

All I could think about were all of the materials I read, videos I watched and advice provided to me by my OB and lactation consultants: you can get pregnant while breastfeeding.

It flashes as the beginning of all those videos, right next to the FBI warning about copyright. It is that important.

It is at the top of just about every pamphlet, paper and info sheet about breastfeeding I have ever read.

The doctor basically screams it at the six-week postpartum appointment. Mine makes her patients tell her how they plan to avoid getting pregnant. And if you look at your amazing little bundle of sleepless nights and smile, she will slap you upside the head and tell you to get real. And then she will remind you again that you can get pregnant while breastfeeding.

Apparently my psychiatrist missed that day of med school.

Maybe she doesn’t have children. Maybe she does but she chose not to, or couldn’t, breastfeed them. Maybe she is way older than she looks and that medical advancement and discovery had not been made yet.

Maybe it is just a good thing I know better.

But it just continues this cycle I see around me all the time. The idea of breastfeeding is being pushed to new moms with the assumption that everything will click right away, there won’t be pain involved and it’ll be so good for the baby.

No!

That happens in about like 2 percent of the cases.

What they really need to be teaching is the art of establishing a good supply, how to get rid of a plugged duct and what to do when the baby believes mom is its pacifier and it won’t. let. go.

They need to teach moms how to find help once they leave the hospital. They need to teach moms that while dads can’t feed the baby, they can certainly help, not just physically but emotionally too. And, I think, there needs to be a push for moms who want to do it and moms who have done it to team up. Ask questions no matter how weird it sounds coming out. Lean on those who can cheer from the sidelines and provide some advice.

If I didn’t have three young children, a job, a husband and a jam packed schedule, I would love to figure out how to make that happen. I think it all starts with moms though. If you have breastfed and know someone doing it now, say a little prayer for them and then buy them so lanolin (or a glass of wine…it’s basically the same). If you are thinking about or are breastfeeding, ask your friends for advice and use the stuff that works for you. There is no harm in having too much information.

And for all that is good, just know YOU CAN GET PREGNANT WHILE BREASTFEEDING.

I’ve mastered pumping while driving

My Medela pump gets a lot of use now that I'm back to work, especially in the car.
My Medela pump gets a lot of use now that I’m back to work, especially in the car.

Have you ever noticed the people driving around you? I sometimes do, but I never make eye contact. What have you seen them doing? Singing? Sneezing? Eating? Reading? Texting? I often think of what I do in the car and I wonder how much of it is weird, particularly when I’m pumping while driving

My brother once said watching another driver sneeze is one of the funniest things ever. I’ve never caught a sneeze. I have caught nose-picks, dancing and, sadly, vomiting.

Driving is my longest stretch of “down time” and I don’t want to have such a big block of unproductive time. Sometimes I make necessary phone calls, sometimes I listen to books, but lately, I mostly pump. My half hour drive to and from work provides a nice window for that.

For the most part, the pump first under my clothes. I have a double, electric pump so I get it set up before I take off, hook it on and go to town while driving. Once it’s on, it mostly stays on without intervention. I’ve done this for all three kids and never really thought much about it. The people in the other cars aren’t people I’ll see again (probably) and they can’t see anything (I think). However, there has to be some distortion of my shape that might call for a second glance or a double take. By that point, I’ve probably moved on.

I drive a minivan so it’s not as though I’m up high or that my doors come up high enough to cover that area. I don’t have tinted windows. There is always room for errors. I just hope I never get pulled over while this is going on. That would be embarrassing.

So what weird things do you do in the car?

Review: Bring in the breast-milk with Milky!

Milky! by Need Brands is designed to help nursing mothers establish a good milk supply.
Milky! by Need Brands is designed to help nursing mothers establish a good milk supply.

Disclaimer: I was provided Milky by Need to try out the product. The thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

As I prepared for our new baby, I made sure the crib sheets were washed, the car seat was ready to go, my bags were packed for the hospital and that I had all the breastfeeding essentials for those early days.

I wasn’t exactly ready. My pump needed tubing, though I ended up getting a new pump through the Affordable Care Act and it cost me nothing. I needed a nipple shield, but the hospital helped me out there. I had no lanolin or nursing pads, but one thing I did have was supplements in the form of tea. Milky!, a small tea drink created by Tia and Tamara Mowry with all the herbs needed to stimulate milk production, especially in the early days.

And if you hop on over to DetroitMommies.com, you can enter for your chance to win a box of Milky! (Link will be added when contest starts tomorrow!)

Breastfeeding a premie, who spent several hours in the special care nursery after delivery and received formula a few times to help bring up her sugar levels, was not easy. The nurses were on me the first 24 hours about her caloric intake. She needed the calories to keep her sugar up. If she didn’t, she’d have to stay in the hospital more days and get calories via IV treatments. If there was room, I’d be permitted to stay with her, if not, I’d have to pump and bring it in.

Nursing was hard. She was incredibly sleepy those first two days. We were dealing with her poor little boarded up arm with the IV. Her tiny mouth had a good latch, but she’d wear herself out eating. Visitors were dropping by without a consistent schedule, unaware that I was on a strict pumping/feeding regime with the baby and I felt uncomfortable trying to do it in front of them.

Formula was our best option at that point. My husband and I had a system. I would attempt to latch her on, try for a few minutes and then feed her a bottle of formula. When I was done, I’d pump for 15 minutes on each side (silly single pump at the hospital) and get a bit of rest before doing it all over again.

I discussed my method with the lactation consultant who visited me within the first 24 hours. And there was a method to my madness.

  • By attempting to latch her, I was stimulating milk production and giving her a chance to get used to what was still to come.
  • The formula provided her the calories the hospital wanted her to have as well as the output to clear herself of any jaundice, another complication that would keep us confined to the hospital longer.
  • Pumping would allow me to start nursing whenever she was ready and have a solid milk supply.

The lactation consultant indicated I might be pumping for up to four weeks—her actual due date—and she got more mature. Knowing I was going to be relying on pumping to establish my supply through demand, I was ready to start herbal supplements early. Can’t hurt right?

I brought a few bottles of Milky! with me to the hospital. The lactation consultant looked at it and was impressed. She had never seen it before. She deemed it something I could try, though she recommended I wait to weeks to see what my body would do on its own.

I waited two days—until I was home.

From the moment we got home, I was nursing full-time. I pumped the first few days after her feedings to make sure she was getting enough, but in the comfort of my home with fewer interruptions, I was able to generate a good nursing relationship with the baby.

The next morning, I was determined to follow all the steps I had heard about for making sure I had a healthy milk supply. I had oatmeal for breakfast, drank lots and lots of water and then drank some Milky!

Tia and Tamara Mowry (you know, the “Sister, Sister” costars?) developed this drink after the birth of their children. They wanted a yummy alternative to the herbal capsules and something that could help nursing mothers bring in and maintain a good milk supply. The tea is safe to use even in the early days of breastfeeding.

The strawberry tea flavor is quite good and I’m not a tea drinker. I don’t know whether it’s recommended or not, but I prefer mine on ice. I like it super cold. The directions say to drink it two to three times per day so I enjoy one of the 2.5 oz bottles in the morning and one in the evening.

During my last pregnancy, I drank Mother’s Milk tea, which is a hot tea that tastes like tea. This is cold and has a bit of a fruity flavor to it, which makes it more appealing for a non-tea drinker like me.

Whether or not it has impacted my milk supply is really not something I can judge. There are too many variables. What I do know is that I have a hearty supply. I’m building up a freezer stash already. I can satisfy the baby. My premie was given extra time to gain back her birth weight, but she ended up not needing it, gaining 7 oz in one week.

But it can’t hurt.

The fenugreek and blessed thistle are all things that were in the Mother’s Milk tea and were all things that I have used in the based to stimulate milk production. This time, I’m drinking it in a tasty tea rather than swallowing the capsules.

The Milky! contains:

  • Fenugreek to increase breastmilk supply
  • Fennel to promote faster let-down to alleviate baby’s colic symptoms
  • Ginger help relieve upset stomach
  • Chamomile to aid in tension
  • Rooibos, which delivers natural anti-oxidants

So are you a nursing mama, expecting a baby with the hopes of nursing or do you know someone who fits those categories? Well, you can win your own case of Milky! From Need. All you have to do is enter the contest at Detroit Mommies.com, wait until Aug. 29 and see if you won. The Milky! will be sent to your home after the contest ends.

And if you just want to pick up a box, head over to the Milky! page on the Need Brands web store or find a local Destination Maternity, A Pea in the Pod or Motherhood Maternity and pick up a box today!

Breastfeeding debate

I’m going to preface this by saying that I’m not a breastfeeding Nazi. Yes, I nursed both of my children, one for six months and the next one for a year, but it wasn’t my sole purposed in life. In fact, up until just a few weeks before my first daughter was born, I was not going to do it. All I could this was “yuck.” But I’m pretty sure that was because I was never exposed to it growing up. So when I saw the debate around this new breastfeeding baby doll, it made me sad. I think little girls should understand that babies don’t just need bottles and that the human body was designed to sustain a baby until it is ready for solid food.

Breastfeeding baby
The breastfeeding baby just presents another way of feeding an infant.

Evidently this baby has caused quite a stir. People are in an uproar that these little girls might put little stars on their shirts where the nipples would be and the baby will make suckling noises when put near these stars. People think this is disgusting and inappropriate. How? How could it be inappropriate to teach our children about the natural way of feeding babies. I mean, we teach them to go potty, don’t we? Aren’t bowel movements and urinating part of the natural process too?

I was on the fence about nursing my daughters. The only thought in my head was “this baby has had my body for nine months, why would I want to give it more time to suck the shape out of yet another area. Plus, that’s just weird.” That was until I did some research. It turns out breastfeeding helps the uterus contract more quickly after child birth, it burns calories and helps me get my pre-baby body back, it helps prevent breast cancer and it provides my baby with some extra immunity. Plus, I was afraid my husband was going to get all the good baby time and this would ensure I would get some too.

I had no idea how to do it. No clue. I knew it would be tough. I took a class through the hospital where I was having my baby. I got help from lactation consultants after both of the births. I came home with babies that wouldn’t latch. I fought with them for days to get into a good routine. I pumped and pumped and pumped and pumped in the car, in closets at work, in bathrooms at the airport and even in the middle of a zoo. Every time I fed my baby I covered up. Everytime I pumped, I made sure it wasn’t obvious. But why?

Apparently because this completely natural, healthy thing has become so taboo that people actually are making it hard. It doesn’t have to be this way.

I even get grief from my bottle-feeding friends. “You know you could get more sleep if you give your baby formula at night.” “Your husband could help out with feedings if you switch to formula.” “It’s so much less time consuming to use formula.” And the one I hated the most “Your baby sure has a lot of ear infections for a breast-fed baby. I guess I don’t know if I trust the study that breast-fed babies are healthier.”

Oh Shut UP!

It doesn’t matter how we feed our babies, but I think everyone should be educated about it. I’m happy to see the health department is putting ads out endorsing breastfeeding and the benefits surrounding it. I’m glad to see this doll. My oldest daughter is too young to remember me nursing her sister. Having a doll like this would teach her that bottles are just one choice, there is another. If it works for you, fantastic. If not, that’s fine too, but you should at least know about it.

Maybe it would have made things easier for me had I understood the process a little better. Maybe if I could have gone to my mom for advice I would have felt better and more confident. But she didn’t have the education in her generation either. We need to bring this back. We need to let our daughters know that this is how God made our bodies and it’s natural, not something we have to hide under a blanket or be afraid to discuss for ridicule.

This is life.

And if anyone I know gets my daughters those dolls or if we purchase them for our kids, I’ll know they support the movement too.