Category Archives: Breastfeeding

The Beginning of the End: HUTH

I think my half crabby balance post yesterday was stemmed from a milestone that my daughter and I have recently reached and it’s hit me like a pile of bricks. 

Yesterday, I retired my pump.  I hung up the horns and I’m officially partially weaning her.  Right now, as I typed that it became all the more real and upsetting.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I would do this if it was upsetting to me and part of me wonders that very thing.  But, the truth is, I don’t have enough time and balance in my life to continue pumping anymore.  I feel guilt and relief all at the same time about this as I sure many moms before me have.

Why did I really do it? 

I can’t keep up with everything at work and still make the time to pump.  Sure, I’m protected by law for a year but guess what?  It’s been one full year to the day (today) that I’ve been back to work plus being a salary employee means I have oodles of work on my desk that needs to get done, period.

Is there another reason?

I need to get rid of the pressure to get milk for the next day.  There is a constant fear that lingers in a pumping mother that cannot be silenced.  Every single time my daughter has a drop of my precious milk I need to express… the pressure to keep up my supply stressed me out so much some days I couldn’t eat and then I couldn’t pump because I hadn’t eaten.  It’s a vicious cycle.

The Last Time

I nurse my daughter on my lunch hour.  I’m lucky enough that my sister-in-law who watches J during the day lives within 10 minutes of my office.  Now instead of crunching 2 twenty minute pumping sessions and a half hour lunch into my day to go nurse her for ten minutes, while hoping that she doesn’t want to nurse longer, I take a one hour lunch.  I can grab something to eat or prepare what I’ve brought in, drive to see her, play with her, talk with her, then leave to get back to work without being rushed.

How did I wean from the pump?

Well, in the beginning I had to pump 6+ times a day.  Yeah, that’s right.  I had to pump on my way to work, 3 times at work, once on my way home and another time in the middle of the night.  I did this for months just so my daughter could continue to be exclusively breastfed.  As my daughter got older her bottles spread out a little more through the day, then her need for milk when she was away from me decreased so I’d gradually work out a pumping session.  Midnight pumping first, then on my way home, then on my way in, then my middle of the day, then my morning and finally I just stopped.

Luckily, I never had an oversupply so skipping a session or two was never really a big deal for me.  When I wanted to drop a session I’d just pump for 5 minutes for a day or two during that session then the next day I’d drop it.  I’d let me body adjust for 2-3 weeks and then onto the next one.  For the longest time I was down to a morning session and an afternoon session until I finally found a good substitution for milk during the day.

J is lactose intolerant.  I cut dairy out of my diet when her reflux was at its peak and I wasn’t surprised when she threw up after we gave her an ounce of whole milk.  We tried rice milk a couple days in a row one week but she balked at it.  A couple weeks later we tried almond milk but she would have nothing to do with it.  The stress of having to pump and not having something to give her during the day was intense.  I felt like I couldn’t keep up with life and I was drowning.

Then, in a last ditch effort we gave her soy milk.  She loves it.  She loves it so much I was actually hurt that it only took 1 cup of soy milk to sway her.  She does still come to me for “mmmm” (nursing) right away on my lunch hour so I can’t be too heartbroken but part of me really is.  She doesn’t need part of me all day anymore and it’s a weird feeling.

Part of me is happy to see my little independent toddler yet part of me wishes I could have my little newborn baby.  So, this is the beginning of weaning and it stings a little.  But, at least I still have the nighttime snuggles and we’re not giving up nursing anytime soon 🙂

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Picking & Paying for The Pump

Pumping sounds like a really simple procedure, right?  Just put on the horns and it’ll suck the milk right out of you!  HA, if only.  I personally know a mama who is a high-yielder, a mama who has struggled then eventually supplemented with formula and I’m right there in the middle getting only what I need, more if I do a special milk rain dance (more on that later). 

A pumping mothers’ breast are as unique as the babies we’re pumping our liquid gold for.  There is no manual that will tell you how you’re going to respond to the pump and how to adjust things – it’s all about trail and error.  I’m breaking this down into a series of posts because there is just SO much information I’d love to share regarding pumping.  I’ve seen the ins and outs, been through the ups and downs and there are many, many things I wish I would have known in the beginning.

First things first, you need a pump.  Unfortunately, most insurance policies will not cover a pump unless it is “medically necessary”.  It makes my blood boil typing that out.  Personally, I believe there should be a program at every hospital which provides mothers with a good manual pump free of charge no matter what and also full coverage or a discount program for mothers who require a double electric pump.  Instead, Big Formula has their foot securely wedged in the door still and most of the time you just get free product “just in case” you need it.  !*$&#

If you want to save some serious cash on your pump and you have insurance talk to your provider first.  Maybe, just maybe, your insurance is awesome and they’ll tell you how to file a claim to get your pump covered.  Our provider told me that the pump needed to be “medically necessary” and I’d need a letter with the ICD-9 code for the reasoning from my doctor to submit for a claim.  I asked my midwife to write a letter for me to submit just in case I needed it down the road. 

Breastfeeding Related ICD-9 Codes  
Child  
Cleft palate/lip 749
Abnormal tongue position 750.1
Down’s syndrome 758
Neonatal candida infection 771.7
Breastmilk jaundice 774.39
Other transitory neonatal 775.5
Feeding problems in newborn 779.3
Abnormal loss of weight 783.2
Feeding difficulty – infant 783.3
Failure to thrive 784.4
Dysphagia 787.2
Suck reflex abnormal 796.1
   
Mother  
Twin pregnancy post-partum condition or complication 651.04
Abscess of nipple 675.03
Infections of nipple 675.04
Abscess of breast 675.1
Nonpurulent mastitis 675.2
Other specified infection of breast and nipple 675.8
Unspecified infection of the breast and nipple 675.9
Retracted nipple 676
Cracked nipple 676.1
Engorgement of breasts 676.2
Other and unspecified disorder of breast 676.3
Suppressed lactation 676.5
Other disorders of lactation 676.8
Unspecified disorder of lactation 676.9
Dermatitis contact 692

 

Since my hosptial [is awesome!] has lactation consultants and a lactation “shop” I decided to wait until I was at the hospital to see if they would provide a pump.  Luckily, they did and they also submitted the claim for me deeming it “Engorgement of breasts 676.2”.  Sounds silly that my boobs being engorged were good enough reason to cover a pump but going back to work was not!

If you don’t have insurance have no fear – you can find an affordable solution.  I know that we’re all trying to save money but there are two items in which I advise you to buy new not matter how good of a deal it is: car seats and breast pumps.  Personally, I would NEVER suggest buying a used pump even if it is a closed system.  You don’t really know how old the pump truly is, how often it was used, if the motor is in tip top shape plus you have to buy all new flanges, valves, tubes, bottles, etc. 

There are plenty of options out there that will meet your needs and won’t break your bank.  Think of it this way – instead of paying $20+ a week on formula once you go back to work you can buy a brand spankin’ new pump for under $150.  The savings could be at least $600 in formula alone PLUS there are amazing benefits to continued breastfeeding!

Pump Styles

Single or Double and Manual, Electric or Battery Operated

Generally if you’re going to be seperated from your child for 3 or more hours daily or over 10 hours a week you’ll want a high-quality double-sided electric pump.  It’s important to extract enough milk to maintain your milk supply while you’re working and here are the pumps that meet the bill.

Ameda Purely Yours (Ultra)

Ameda Purely Yours Ultra

This was the pump I received from my lactation consultant.  The Ameda Purely Yours Ultra comes with the cool ‘n carry tote, 6 bottles with lids, 3 flange sizes, pump motor, pump pieces and a huge fancy bag to carry it all in.  If you’d like to try this pump but you’d like to save some cash I’d suggest just getting the Ameda Purely Yours which comes with the pump motor, pump parts and two bottles.  Then use your own cooler, freezer packs and bring a few bottles that your child uses to store your milk in.  A great bag to carry the whole lot in is one of those green grocery bags you can get from your supermarket.

PROS: Closed system, great suction/power, easy assembly, bottle/flange holder built into pump motor, adjustable suction & speed unique to user’s needs, small, lightweight, easy to clean, Playtex Nursers pump adapter kit available to pump directly into Playtex Nurser system.

CONS: Noisy, bottles do not have nipples available, contains BPA (this one does not!), and replacement parts not available at most retailers and need to be ordered online or through Ameda.

Personally this pump worked fine but it wasn’t very comfortable for me.  I couldn’t use petals to make this more comfortable because the only size that was available was too small for my nipples.

Avent ISIS iQuo Duo

Avent ISIS iQ Duo

My new favorite is the Avent ISIS iQ Duo.  This pump is amazing for me and fits everything I wanted/needed from a pump.  The “massaging” petals are soft and comfortable.  The hand control makes it so easy to mimic my daughter’s nursing and once I have a let down I just hit the blue button on the handle and the pump takes over.  I couldn’t say better things about this pump and it’s available at Target instore if you want to register for it!

PROS: Comfort petals (removable), very quiet, flange covers included for travel, manual expression turned to electric with the trigger and button right at your fingertips instead of on the pump motor, and a great travel bag.  Plus, pump, store and feed from same Avent bottles!

CONS: No bottle stands (I’ve spilt milk, and yes, I cried)!  More parts to wash and assemble.  Tubing is kind of stiff and ridgid.

Medela Models

I’ve never used a Medela pump so I cannot give an accurate review on one of these pumps.  From other moms I’ve talked to I gather that the Medela Pump in Style is the best of the Medela options but this is not a closed system pump and the pricing is steep.  It’s a very good name but I’ve also hear that this under $150 Lansinoh Affinity Double Electric Breast Pump works just as well for over half the cost.

Check back for ideas to make pumping easier, how to pump hands free, how to increase your output and how to deal with co-workers and bosses!

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Bedsharing Saved Us

This week over at Natural Parents Network, they’re talking about the “family bed.” I submitted a post on my experience with our family bed and how it saved my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter. 

Stop by and check it out plus see the other great posts on the benefits of cosleeping past infancy, bedsharing with multiple kids or the Wordless Wednesday post to see cosleeping!

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Getting Over “Extended” Breastfeeding

My daughter is starting to cruise around the house all by herself now, it’s amazing.  On Thursday she’s going to be a year old, unfreakingbelievable!  But, *gasp* I’m “still” breastfeeding

Unfortunately, my youngest sister-in-law, B, has a daughter, A, that is about 4 months younger than J.  I say unfortunately because it seems like everything is a competition and everything I do is scrutinized against how B is doing things.  I really try to avoid getting wrapped up in mommy wars and I try to let people’s comments or pressure to change the way I’m doing things roll off my back (Pass the bean dip!) but I feel like it’s going to get worse over the next few years.

The latest is “Well, B is only going to breastfeed until A is one…”, “You’re still doing that?”, “When are you going to give her milk?” or “When are you going to stop?”  My answers: Oh, that’s cool.  Yep, still doin’ it!  She’s drinking milk right now… and she’ll stop when she’s ready.

My daughter is only a year old.  She nurses for nutrition and for comfort which she is obviously ok with and I’m obviously ok with so why does it matter to you?  What’s the point of asking these questions?  Why don’t you just tell me what’s on your mind instead of beating around the bush?

So, you know what?  Next time anyone asks me when I’m going to stop or if I’m still doing that I’ll simply ask why.  Really, why do you want to know?  What’s it to you?  Yes, my daughter can eat regular food but she still has a need to breastfed just as your son/daughter might need their bottle, pacifier, thumb and/or to be rocked, swayed or bounced. 

Breastfeeding offers amazing immunological and nutritional benefits plus it’s the perfect time for connection after being separated all day when I’m working.  Not to mention children who breastfeed for an “extended” amount of time also benefit from fewer allergies, they’re well adjusted, possibly smarter, AND mother (and daughter, if you have a girl) can benefit from reduced risk of MANY cancers.  (Get the fact sheet here.)

When kids have needs they express them and I believe in “giving in” to those needs not suppressing them with what I’m being told that they should or should not need.  If my daughter has a need to nurse, I let her.  Not because someone told me that was right or wrong but that’s what feels right to us.

I want to know why everyone has such an issue with “extended” breastfeeding because really, is it “extended”?  What is considered “extended”? 

In my eyes my daughter has a need and urge to nurse, so I let her and I’ll continue to let her until she and I are ready to stop.  I think a better way to look at it would be continued breastfeeding.  When is this magical time that it becomes “extended”?  I’m not extending anything and I don’t think my daughter is; we’re simply continuing to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is natural.  Breastfeeding is normal.  Breastfeeding doesn’t become “extended” it just continues until the need is gone.  So, when you ask me why I’m still breastfeeding I’ll ask you why you’re still breathing.  Oh, because you need to?  Well, my daughter still needs to, too.

What are your experiences with “extended” breastfeeding?  When do you think it crosses over to “extended”?  Is it because of social pressure that you think it is now “extended” or personal beliefs?

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Formula Companies = Marketing Genius!?

With the rise of amazing communities like Best for Babes, Eats on Feets and Kellymom I’m sure Big Formula is feeling the hit.  Obviously since they’re loosing formula sales they need to take a step back and rethink their target market’s needs.  Hence, observe this new spin: Similac Mom

SIMILAC MOM is a nutritional snack or meal replacement to help pregnant women and breastfeeding moms meet their nutritional needs. SIMILAC MOM is to be used as part of an overall healthy diet that includes following doctor’s recommendations for using prenatal vitamins.”

Similac (Similacrap?) Mom

Really?  I mean, really?  Clearly this is a spin off of the product Ensure which is also an Abbott product… but MEAL REPLACEMENT?

If you’re pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant, or you’re a nursing mother please don’t fall victim to this company’s poor marketing tactic.  They’re marketing to moms who are unwittingly wrapped up in the disease called “Perfection” by throwing “meal replacement” in the product description which makes me sick. 

You don’t need this product to be healthy.  You don’t need this product to replace any of your meals.  This product is not a miracle that will forgive all your bad eating habits by simply having it as a snack or in the place of a meal! 

Do you want to have a healthy pregnancy?  Eat real, nutritious food, take a prenatal vitamin, exercise and keep yourself balanced.

Do you want to be a healthy nursing mother?  Eat real, nutritious food, take a prenatal vitamin, exercise and keep yourself balanced.

No disgusting meal replacement/snack smoothie needed. 

I foresee a product geared toward dad and his little swimmers next.  Or, is that too far?

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Breastfeeding is The Most Natural Way…Alies the Challenge

Breastfeeding seemed to be and I’ve always heard that it is the easiest and most natural way to feed a baby.  Like the urge to have a natural birth was just, well, natural – breastfeeding seemed like a given, too.  Maybe I was dense but I didn’t realize that it wasn’t something that was always easy to do until my daughter and I struggled.  In many ways I was (and still become) booby trapped along the way.

During my pregnancy it seemed like 99.9% of my brain was being used for planning the birth of our daughter, learning about pregnancy, learning about babies and getting the apartment ready.  I mean, we took one of those hospital classes, mainly to see the hospital, but other than the 5-10 minutes they talked about breastfeeding I didn’t do much to prepare.

My daughter was born at 7:41 in the morning after about 12 hours of labor.  Needless to say I wasn’t quite thinking straight after she was draped across my chest.  I sat there in a daze just simply amazed with her and myself.  When I think back about that morning I think about all the things I could have done differently that could have helped us.

For starters, I did a great job coming up with a birth plan that worked for us but it really only included the fact that I’d like to breastfeed and not that I’d probably need some help.  I birthed at a Certified Baby Friendly Hospital so I thought that getting help would just be a given, I guess.  I am not the type of person to ask for help with anything unless I really need to and by that point I’ve usually messed up pretty bad.

I didn’t get good skin on skin contact with my daughter right after her birth because I was so excited to have everyone meet her and I didn’t really know about the importance of skin on skin contact.  I mean, I read a bit about it in my Hypnobabies workbook but it went in one ear and out the other.

I remember asking the nurse about 5 minutes after she was born if I should try to breastfeed.  She said sure, you could try and as I put J to my breast I felt this pang of panic.  She didn’t just latch on, or lick, or show any interest at all.  So, I stopped and the nurse took J for her bath (in the room!).  I don’t know why I told her to take her and give her a bath instead of just laying there skin on skin with her for a while.  It’s something that I really truly regret.

Our family members all came in to meet our bundle of joy.  It was a great morning and we were all so happy.  After an hour she started to grunt and protest which got me excited.  Our first real breastfeeding session would be under way!  I put her to my breast and she slurped it up like a champ.  It was pretty uncomfortable but I figured it was because I wasn’t used to the sensations. The nurse told me to let her nurse as often as she’d like but not to go longer than 2 hours while also checking her poops and pees.  I diligently obliged and nursed her on cue like I was told (and I had read).

Things were going great except I noticed that it was every half hour or less

Dad's tuckered out!

that she’d want to nurse.  It seemed like she was on the boob more often than not. The first night together we happily co-slept in my hospital bed and I’ll never forget lovingly gazing at my sleeping husband across the way as my little nursling ate to her hearts content all night. 

I remember in the middle of the night our nurse came in so I asked her if she could help me because I didn’t know if I was breastfeeding right.  She helped my figure out the football hold which was AMAZING.  But,

J sleeping on Mama

when I asked about the latch she told me I’d have to ask the lactation consultant.  The next morning we were supposed to be discharged right away so things with the LC were rushed.  J was sleeping the whole time and I didn’t want to wake her because it was the longest stretch she’d had yet.  So, the LC asked me questions, showed me how to manually express, answered my questions and we were good to go!

I didn’t know we had a shallow latch issue for months. I thought that she just needed to comfort nurse, a lot.  When A’s entire family (seriously, like 9 people) came over on Christmas night at 9:00pm I was pissed, she was fussy, we couldn’t get a good latch the whole time and we damaged my left nipple.  My nipple has never been the same since that.

When people asked me if she needed to nurse again after she just ate I started to doubt myself.  When the first weigh-in at the doctor’s office showed that she’d lost too much weight I really started to get freaked.  I called the hospital lactation consultant and asked questions but I was always leaving messages, not getting calls back and when I did it was something that I already found out myself – or something not really helpful.  I didn’t know any LC’s that did home visits and I didn’t really have money for one.

So, I sat down with my nursling and read a zillion blog posts, articles, kellymom, watched youtube videos, read The Breastfeeding Book, listened to insights from my ONE nursing friend etc. until I could figure out how to get her to latch better.  Once we had a proper latch (which, sometimes I failed at my first round of discipline as a mother and let the lazy latch be ok) most of the time she still wanted to nurse CONSTANTLY unless I was wearing her.  Once I started wearing her in my moby wrap things took a glorious turn.  I felt like I was finally starting to understand her and we were jiving.  I’d know when she was getting hungry during her pre-cues.  It was fantastic.

Now I understand that although breastfeeding itself is natural, the act of it isn’t always a natural one for mother and baby.  Especially for those moms like me that live in a world of assumptions.  To succeed at breastfeeding you need to be informed, be dedicated, be flexible and most importantly have support and USE IT.

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