Friday, June 16, 2017

All Things Breastfeeding

So I am roughly 4 months into breastfeeding Georgia and so far it has been going really well.  Aside from the issues I had in those early days and a clogged duct I had a few weeks ago when she decided to sleep through the whole night, I have had no issues whatsoever with breastfeeding and producing milk.  I'm so thankful that this newest journey has been easy and very rewarding. 

If you follow me at all on Instagram then you know I'm somewhat obsessed with Instagram stories (sorry Snapchat) and I often post videos and photos of my pumping sessions, pictures of how much milk I've frozen for the month, and anything else breastfeeding related I feel is important to share.  I guess I've become somewhat of an advocate (surprise, surprise) for breastfeeding just like I did with infertility.  I get several questions a week in regards to my breastfeeding posts and I am always glad to share my tips and tricks that I've discovered or learned from my own resources that I rely on. 

I thought I would compile a blog post of the questions I get asked the most so it will always be available as a reference for anyone who is looking for some answers.  Those Insta-vids disappear after 24 hours unless you save them so they're pretty much useless after you've viewed them a time or two.

1. Nursing and Drinking
This is the most asked question.  I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not.  If you have some kind of negative judgment towards me about it, keep it to yourself, however, if you're like most & you just want to enjoy a guilt-free drink without worrying if your kid is turning into an infant alcoholic, then here is my advice--use your best judgment...use your mommy instincts to know if you're safe to nurse, if you feel like you don't have any mommy instincts after a few drinks then you probably shouldn't nurse, but if you can safely find (yes, I said find) and care for your baby, you can safely nurse.  I often refer to this article (amongst MANY others) from KellyMom.com which states that studies show 1-2 drinks does not harm the baby & that less than 2% of the alcohol actually collects in the milk.  This is what has worked best for me and I am comfortable having 2 drinks and then nursing.  Again, USE YOUR BEST JUDGMENT.

2.  Pumps
So my insurance covered the Ameda Purely Yours double electric pump and I got it for free.  A friend of mine sold me her Medela Pump In Style Advanced, and I ended up buying a Spectra S1 used from a friend of mine.  I've used all 3 pumps enough times to have a pretty good opinion about them and I can honestly say, they're all good pumps.  I do like the Spectra the best because its the quietest, it has a night light, a timer, and it has a rechargeable battery so it's portable.  The Medela and the Ameda are both really great pumps and I did the majority of my pumping so far with the Medela until just recently.  I was able to buy adapters for the Medela bottles (I needed a smaller size flange) from Amazon to use my Medela flanges/bottles with the Spectra pump.  I would recommend making the investment in the Spectra if that's something you're on the fence about.

3.  How do I make so much milk
I honestly don't make "so much" -- I make what is needed by Georgia to keep her satiated and gaining weight.  I do this by nursing her on demand which means when she is hungry she gets to eat, this is roughly every 2-3 hours.  When I am at work I pump every 2-3 hours and some days that means 4 times a day.  It is A LOT of work and it's a commitment.  It helps that my boss and co-workers are supportive and understanding because I have to take so many 15+ minute breaks.  I take what I pump for the day and bring 12oz of it to the sitter the next day, anything left over gets frozen.  Remember milk production is a supply/demand system, your supply will boost if you increase your demand.

4. How did I build my stash
As I stated above, anything over 12oz pumped goes to the freezer, but in order to start my stash and have a well-built supply before returning to work I started early.  One month prior to returning to work I started pumping once a day about 30 minutes after her morning feeding.  It's said that milk is most plentiful between the hours of 1 and 5am so the first couple days I would pump after that first 4-5am feeding, then I pushed back to pumping after her 7am feeding once I felt like I was getting the hang of things.  I would pump maybe 2oz or so which would go in the freezer, well 2oz x day x 30 days equaled out to 60+ ounces frozen in 1 month which I felt was a good back up.  Note: do not start pumping regularly until about 6 weeks after your baby is born unless you are exclusively pumping.  It takes about 6 weeks for your supply to adjust and build once your baby is born and you don't want to create an oversupply by pumping on top of nursing. 

5.  Favorite supplies
May favorite breastfeeding accessory are Lily Padz,  hands down, the best invention ever.  They're silicone & they're sticky, I wear them at night so I don't have to wear a bra & nursing pads.  I do recommend the wash & the wipes with these because regular soap is not recommended for cleaning.  They are the best at preventing leaks!  I love the Target Up&Up storage bags, they're easy, cheap, and freeze well.  I lay them flat in the freezer then I use the 12 pack soda "fridge" packs to store them upright in my freezer upstairs.  Each month I take them all and put them into gallon freezer bags (about 20oz x bag) and put them in the deep freeze.  I highly recommend the Bravado Click & Pump hands-free bra that attaches to my Bravado bra & these that I got from Amazon.  I also like the Simple Wishes hands-free bra.  To carry my pump & cooler I use this Stella & Dot Day Tripper bag which can expand.  I can carry everything I need in this bag & it's super cute. 

6. Favorite resources
I love Kellymom.com for all things breastfeeding and parenting, I've found lots of helpful articles and almost always head straight to their website when I'm looking for specific advice.  One of the best books I was recommended was The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding which was written by Le Leche League so it's seriously tops as far as being THE go-to breastfeeding bible in my opinion.  Other than that, the best breastfeeding resources are others who have been successful!  Ask questions to your friends who are currently or already have breastfed or find a facebook group to join, there are several out there. 

I hope this can be helpful to anyone looking for advice or  has questions about breastfeeding.  I've been lucky that I've had some amazingly supportive mamas helping me through this journey since I got pregnant and I am a very firm believer in researching and educating yourself to become an expert at something that you really want to be successful with.  And as always, contact me with any questions, I'm an open book and am always happy to help!

5 comments:

  1. Awesome job Mama! I just weaned from EP for 11 months and wish I had known about those Lily Padz!

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  2. Awesome job mama! I just made it to 18 months and still going strong!!

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  3. Love that you have become such an advocate! Keep it up!

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