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Archive for the ‘Breastfeeding’ Category

Lil Z-Bear turns 6 months old in just 5 days.  Wow!  Half a year…how is that even possible, he was just a couple of days old like a second ago.  With this milestone comes another one: I will stop breastfeeding in 3 weeks.  Rather, I should say I will stop pumping, because it’s been over a month since I nursed Lil Z.  Once I went back to work which meant spending a good part of the day away from Z-Bear, it got harder and harder to get him to latch on.  He has been drinking expressed breastmilk since then.  And now, he will be exclusively formula fed.  I feel comfortable with the formula we feed him (check out this earlier post), and he is doing great with eating solids. But I can’t stop feeling guilty about depriving him of my milk.  I wish I could continue the breastmilk, but two reasons why I am choosing to stop: I am spending so much time attached to the pump, and my supply has gone down so only 2 of his bottles are mama’s milk.  The rest is formula.

This post isn’t about making me feel less guilty about stopping the breastmilk.   I have read so much stuff that tells you not to feel guilty about giving your baby formula, because those babies do just fine and blah blah blah.   Deep inside as a mom, I know I should continue with breastmilk.  And I am ok with feeling guilty about stopping, it’s an informed decision I have made.  This post is simply mourning the impending loss of my body’s ability to provide nourishment for my baby.  And it’s to tell myself to enjoy these last 3 weeks where I can watch Lil Z guzzle food I produced for him.

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I make my way to the lactation room at work about 3 times a day.  And by lactation room I mean the utility/LAN room tucked away behind the customer support department in the building next to ours.   It’s cold and excessively noisy due to the fans blowing near the spaghetti mess of wires and routers combined with the whir of the breast pump.  But I don’t mind it much.  It’s private and I’ve grown to love the hour to hour and a half I spend in there each day thinking about Lil Z-Bear, what to make for dinner that night, and why I never seem to be able to find the right length for pants as I stare down at my feet.  I am so thankful for each and every day that I can produce milk for Lil Z, and today I want to share my review of products I have used related to breastfeeding.

The pump: Medela Freestyle.  As a mom, you quickly discover that Medela is synonymous with breast pumps.  It’s hard to be in love with a breast pump, but I sure like this fellow.  It’s lightweight and powerful, and I can get up to six 20 minute sessions with just one battery charge.  However, I am not a fan of the SoftFit breast shields, and I prefer using the PersonalFit breast shield that fits easily with the Freestyle.  I don’t use the hands-free option; I don’t mind sitting the 20 to 30 minutes holding the pump while daydreaming.  Unless you have small breasts, I definitely recommend getting a larger shield rather than the default size that comes with the pack; it’s much more comfortable.  I also recommend checking with the hospital to buy your breast pump, they often sell it at wholesale prices, I got mine $100 cheaper than retail.

Breast cream:  Apply a small amount of breast cream after every pump/nursing session.  You will be glad you did.  I have tried both Lansinoh Breast Cream and Medela Tender Care.  I like the texture of Medela better, it glides on easily and it works great.  However, if you are dealing with a lot of soreness and pain, then Lansinoh, which is pure HPA lanolin, does a better job at coating.  You don’t need to wipe off either before feeding, which is a plus.

Nursing pillow:  Check out this earlier post.

Teas to help with milk production: I’ve tried Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk and Yogi Woman’s Nursing Support.  Traditional Medicinals works much better.  They both taste like fennel seed and are very drinkable, no sugar or honey needed.  Also, eat oatmeal.  It works!

Nursing covers:  Bebe au Lait covers are cute and what a name!  However, they really don’t work any better than using a receiving blanket.  Better yet, try aden + anais swaddle cloths as a nursing cover: they work great because of the very pliable muslin material.

Breast pads:  When you are breastfeeding, it feels like…ahem…your headlights are always on.  Breast pads are great not only to soak up any leakage but also as an extra padding between the world and the ‘gals’.  I’ve tried Lansinoh Disposable Pads and Philips AVENT Ultra Comfort Disposable Pads.  I prefer AVENT because it doesn’t have the odd cup shape and the unnecessary extra adhesive strip that Lansinoh does.

Notes: Medela Quick Clean Wipes work great when you don’t have water to clean the pumps.  Also, stick to these Medela bottles instead of the longer Medela freezer bottles.  The latter can easily tip over, and believe me, watching hard-earned breast milk spill will make a grown woman cry.

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A few weeks ago my sister and her friend were over for dinner.  The conversation inevitably kept coming back to babies, when my sister’s friend asked “What is the Boppy, anyway?”  She is so cute, I thought.  But wait, I had no clue either not so long ago.  Who knew motherhood would entail the use of so many different pillows?  So today I want to take you on the journey of soft, cuddly, and odd shaped pillows.

When you are pregnant, your expanding girth makes it necessary to get some kind of pillow that will provide support.  The options include full body pillows, some which looked taller than me, or the likes of this very unassuming Boppy Pregnancy Wedge.  Much as I liked the idea of being engulfed in softness and support with a full body pillow, I knew it would take up too much room on our modest full size bed. (What can I say; we are cuddlers and didn’t see a need for a bigger bed.)   All I can say is this little pillow packs a lot of punch, it was all I ever needed throughout my pregnancy (and let me tell you, the belly was ginormous!)  It felt good because it supported my stomach and back.  And on the occasional days when my feet were swollen, I simply propped them on a pillow in conjunction with using the wedge.  Bonus: I continue to use it after baby, now under the breasts.  Sounds odd, but it totally works to provide some much needed relief while nursing.

Once baby comes, you graduate to the Boppy.  This guy comes in all kinds of fun covers that can match the rest of your nursery decor.  It’s perfect for propping up Lil Z, and great for tummy time.  However, as far as using it as a nursing pillow, I give it a thumbs down.  I am sure if you have a small waist, it could work well.  But for those of us with lots of curves, it is an awkward fit around the hips and waist.  And the softness can work against you when trying to keep the baby in a good position for latching.  Bonus:  Makes a great neck pillow while relaxing on the couch watching TV (that is, on the rare occasion when you do).

Then you graduate to My Brest Friend (yeah, I giggled at the name when I first saw it too).  But this pillow is nothing to laugh at!  It is made of firm foam, with padding in the back which feels oh so good while feeding.  The strap is completely adjustable; there is a pocket to hold bottles, wipes, etc.  And there is even a little mound for elevating the baby’s head slightly to help with latching.  The pillow is great for wiggly newborns, even when bottle feeding.  It doesn’t have the snazzy covers the Boppy does, but it comes in very nice shades of green, brown, blue, and pink.  Bonus: Nope…no creative uses for it…yet…

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