Thursday, April 24, 2014

six SIMPLE tips for pumping at work

Warning: this post is girly in nature. Men, you may not want to read it.

And if you read it and are weirded out, you can't say I didn't warn you.

My breastfeeding journey started out rough. We struggled through the first few weeks, sorta kinda got the hang of it by week six, and seemed to get in a good grove after that growth spurt.

Just in time for me to go back to work...

dun dun duuuuuuuuun

I was absolutely terrified to go back. There were so many uncertainties and so much pressure. Would I be able to pump enough? Would Reuben still want to nurse after getting a couple of bottles a day? Would my supply totally go down the drain?

It was scary!

But it has a happy ending :)

Everything's worked out better than I ever could've imagined. There was no nipple confusion, no irreversible supply drops, and he always had plenty to drink.

I know it doesn't always go so well for others and I know I'm not an expert at it by any means, but I figured since it's gone so well and I've learned so much, I'd share a few quick tips I learned along the way.

1. Be aware of the recommended number of ounces to leave with your baby.

I've heard of moms saying their babies need 6-7 oz a feeding and they're just not making that much so they have to supplement with formula. If I learned anything, it's that young babies will take just about anything you give them in a bottle, especially if the bottle has a fast flow. With breastfeeding, babies have to suck to get milk and they take a break when they swallow. In bottles, when a baby swallows, more milk is sucked in and it creates a cycle that ends with them taking everything in the bottle because they don't know how to stop it. Breastfed babies only need 1-1.5 ounces for every hour they're away from you. has a great calculator to help you figure out their needs.

2. Have a set time of the day to pump.

Breastmilk production thrives on schedules. You'll be a lot more successful if there are set times in the day you pump so your body knows it needs x amount of ounces by x time. On days my pumping schedule got off, I noticed a difference in how much I would pump.

3. Build up a stash before going back.

I'm not talking like 300 ounces or anything. Maybe just a "week's worth" of milk as a cushion. I liked not having the pressure of pumping 8 ounces every single day. If I only pumped 6 or 7, I could grab a bag from the freezer and send that instead. It takes a lot of the stress out of the equation.

4. Hit the "let down" button multiple times.

I have a pretty quick and strong let down, so I don't wait for the standard 2 minutes it takes to automatically switch to the longer setting.  As soon as I feel the let down, I press the button and as soon as I can see the milk has stopped coming out, I press it again. and again. and again. and will try and get as many let downs as possible. That way you can be much more efficient with your time since we all know breaks don't last forever!

5. Have a second (or third) set of accessories.

I, personally, think you can never have too many sets of pumping gear. I only have two, but I wish I had more like three or four! I hate washing the stuff SO much and dread it. Also, if you're pumping multiple times at work in a day, remember that breastmilk can stay out at room temp for 6 hours. So if you're pumping closer together than that, don't worry about washing them in between! If you're a nurse or have another sort of 12 hour shift job, put them in a grocery bag and stick them in the fridge in between so you don't have to wash them! Can you tell I hate washing them? haha

6. Remember... there is an end to it.

Pumping every three hours at work is SUCH a drag. Telling people why you're going into a room with the door locked will never not be awkward. Finding a place to store the milk without people seeing it and being totally weirded out is always a challenge. But it ends! It's not forever! And when you get to the end, you'll be able to look back at your accomplishment and know you did every single thing possible you could to give your baby the very best.

Have any other questions? Want to know anything else? 

Let me know!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

the body of Christ

It's been two years since our miscarriage today.

It's such a strange feeling. Part of me feels like it was a lifetime ago. But there's another part of me that can still feel the pain and loss like it happened yesterday.

I try to not let that part win.

I'm so incredibly thankful for Reuben and his life. I know that he wouldn't be here if we hadn't lost that baby, but I can't help but wonder who that baby would've grown up to be.

Would it be another rambunctious, mischievous, little boy? Or would I be having tea parties with my little tutu-wearing girl?

I saw my facebook post from that day on TimeHop...

I still feel this way two years later.

God had us positioned perfectly for Him to show his love for us through his Body. We had meals brought to us by our small group, prayers for and with us, and plenty of people to just BE with us. Nobody tried to fix anything or offer any encouraging words. They were just in it with us. And that's exactly what we needed.

I've said it before, but God used that baby's short life to change ours entirely. We came to fully understand the purpose of the Body of Christ. That we're to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Yes, we felt peace from knowing the baby was in heaven and that God had a plan, but that peace was amplified through our friends and family's love and support.

Since our loss, I've had several of my friends go through hard times where they need someone to be in it with them. They don't need to be told they'll get over it one day. They don't need to be told life goes on. They don't need to be told it could be worse. They need me to roll up my sleeves and get in there with them. To cry with them. To listen to them. To tell them, "You know what? This sucks. I'm so, so sorry."

Food never hurts, too. ;-)

But seriously. People need you WITH them. That's part of our job as a member of the Body. To let struggling people know God is WITH them. He hasn't left them to fend on their own. He's there for them even more than we ever could be. Sometimes it just takes a little reminding.

I wouldn't know that the way I do if it wasn't for that sweet, sweet little baby. I praise and thank God for it's life and legacy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

sick and changes.

Reuben was crazy sick last week with roseola.

It was super pitiful.

And a major time-suck.

I've missed blogging.

This week is Clint's last week home with us full time.

He officially moves to Knoxville Monday.

I may be minorly freaking out and not able to blog much for a little while.

Wish us luck and pray for us!
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