breastfeeding

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.

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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.