Pre-Made Lactation Cookie Mix

Pre-made Lactation cookie Mix- super quick, easy and tasty way to boost your milk supply!

This post is sponsored by Mommy Knows Best.

Did you know it is clinically proven that you crave more sweets while you are breastfeeding?

I’m actually not sure that is true… but I sure like to use it as my excuse!

So when I find a  treat that satisfied my sweet tooth AND helps keep my milk supply high and healthy… I’m a BIG fan!

Enter Mommy Knows Best pre-made lactation cookie mix.

The BEST pre-made lactation cookie mix.

If you look up any lactation cookie mix recipes, there are going to be a few key you have in any cookie: flour, butter, eggs. Chances are, you have these on hand.

Then there’s the milk makin’ ingredients: brewer’s yeast and flax-seed… We can’t leave out the blessed thistle.  It’s proven to really help boost your supply so should  be included in any GOOD lactation cookie recipe.  Problem is, I wouldn’t even know what isle of the grocery store to look for regular thistle, let alone someone to bless it.

My point is, to create a GOOD and EFFECTIVE lactation cookie, you need some not-so-common ingredients. Sure, we could browse the grocery isles and endlessly search for these things, but let’s not forget we have a baby at home (maybe even two!).

That’s why I love this cookie mix. It’s all in there. The brewer’s yeast, the flax-seed, oats, flour, and yes, even the blessed thistle.  All I had to add to the mix was 2 eggs, butter and water.

They baked for just 10 minutes and came out looking delicious!

There technically isn’t a “suggested serving size” listed on the package so I assumed I should eat them all to get the best results 🙂

I had spent the weekend prior to eating my cookies away from Nora for the first time. While I tried to be diligent with my pumping routine, it didn’t go quite as I planned.

I ended up only pumping twice the first day away and ONCE the second. I was so worried I would see a huge dip in my supply.

So Sunday afternoon I made a batch after arriving home and noticed NO dip in my supply what so ever. By Monday morning, I got a little under 3 ounces in my haakaa from the non-feeding side! That’s a little bit more than average for my first feed of the day!

If you are on the fence, I’d recommend checking out the reviews from all the other breastfeeding mamas on this product.

Pre-made Lactation cookie Mix- super quick, easy and tasty way to boost your milk supply!


 

 

Is Breastfeeding a Reliable Method of Birth Control?

Breastfeeding and Fertility. How nursing your baby effects your chances of getting pregnant again

Is Breastfeeding a reliable form of birth control?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard it.

“You can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding.”

This, my breastfeeding friend, is a big, fat myth! How do I know? Well… meet Nora.

I became pregnant with Nora while my first daughter was just 7 months old and still very actively breastfeeding. Nora is my little breastfeeding baby blessing!

The truth is, breastfeeding CAN be a reliable form of birth control. But only to a certain extent.

In order for breastfeeding to be a reliable form of birth control, you have to meet all of the following:

  • You baby must be less than 6 months old
  • Your period has not returned
  • Your baby is still exclusively breastfeeding

Again- you have to meet ALL of the above!

In my case, Emmy was 7 months old when I became pregnant with Nora, my period returned when Emmy was just 4 months old and Emmy was eating baby food 1-2 times per day at this point in time.

So why is it that these requirements can lead to you not being fertile enough to get pregnant?

When you are breastfeeding your baby, your body releases hormones that interfere with ovulation. This natural form of birth control through breastfeeding is called the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM for short).

LAM is 99% effective to preventing pregnancy, but this can quickly change once baby gets older, meaning they are likely to sleep through the night (and you stop nursing at night!).

Once you fall outside of the above parameters, pregnancy is absolutely possible.

It’s important to discuss your future fertility plans with your OBGYN as each woman is unique and should seek advice as to how to avoid or attempt a second pregnancy.

Thinking about trying for baby #2? See how we prepared for two under two here!


More Breastfeeding Reads:

Nursing A Newborn: What First Time Mom Need to Succeed

Nursing Your Newborn- Everything first time moms need to know when it comes to breastfeeding

Breastfeeding your Newborn

There are certain types of struggles that come with breastfeeding a newborn. Come 3 months of age, most of these struggles resolve themselves and you wake up one morning to realize things are just easier.

I’ve now been through breastfeeding 2 newborns. The struggles were very similar from one to the next. The biggest difference was with baby #2was that I knew what to expect. I knew what would one day pass. I knew what was a more serious issue and needed attention.  It made my mama anxiety calm and the process much easier.

So in an effort to help any first time mamas through this unique but challenging phase of mamahood, I’ve complied some of what I believe to be my most useful tips for breastfeeding itty bitty babes.

Number of Feedings

In babies earliest days, they will be eating 10-12 times per day, meaning every 2-2.5 hours. As baby gets older, you will want to really try to set a good feeding schedule, but in those first two weeks, aim to feed on demand.

Feeding on demand means feeding as soon as you see a hunger cue. Hunger cues include rooting (rubbing mouth around your breast or skin), sucking on fists, sticking out tongue.

If baby is asleep, wake them every two hours to feed. More below on how to actually KEEP them awake for a feeding. 

For more details on how to tell is your baby is getting enough milk, see the resource guide below for an entire blog post I wrote on the topic!

The Power of Proper Latch

Latch refers to the way your babies mouth is connecting with your nipple. A common misconception may be that baby needs to simply suck on the nipple, almost like you would suck on a straw. However, baby needs to have a much large amount of the nipple are in his or her mouth.

A proper latch includes having a majority of the areola in the baby’s mouth. The best illustration I have found online is from kellymom.com. You can read more about proper latch techniques on their website, which is listed in the resource section of the bottom of this post. 

One of the 5 things you should do in the first 24 hours of your babies life to promote breastfeeding success is to speak with a lactation consultant. They are usually on staff during the day at all hospitals. They will be able to walk you through the latching process and help you get a good visual for what babies mouth should look like while feeding and how it should feel.

Having a poor latch can lead to a lot of breastfeeding difficulties, including sore nipples (more on that below).

Nipple pain Relief

With Nora being in the NICU, I got a TON of one on one attention from their specialized lactation consultant. I took full advantage of her being there at every visit and picked her brain on just about everything under the breastfeeding sun.

My biggest concern was blistering, bleeding or sore nipples. She explained to me that those issues stemmed from a poor latch. She must have walked me through the process of properly latching a dozen and a half times while we were there. I felt like a pro by the end of our stay. And you know what…. I STILL got sore nipples.

When I told the nurse of my tenderness she explained that the tissue in the nipple is experiencing something it never has before and it will take some time to adjust to the new job it is doing. 

There are many products out there designed to help soothe the pains that come from breastfeeding. Here are a few of my favorites:

Medela Hydrogel Pads

The hospital gave me a folder filled with a ton of breastfeeding information and support material. In there were two of these Hydropad things. I had never heard of them before but it was the first thing the lactation consultant suggested I use. and what a GAME CHANGER they were. I ended up ordering a pack of them from Amazon from my hospital bed.

These pads almost look like the pasties you would wear with a backless top, except they are clean and filled with tons of goodness for your nipples. You peel off the backing and run the gel under water and let it sit for a few minutes before placing it on your nipples. When you go to feed baby, remove and rinse the area with water BEFORE feeding.

I would simply place the plastic backing back on and repeat the water process when I was ready to use them again. One gel pad can be reused for up to 24 hours!

Support for Baby While Breastfeeding

As you can obviously see, there’s a lot to focus on while feeding baby. On top of all of that, you actually have to securely hold the baby.

There are a number of different breastfeeding positions you can use while feeding baby. Your selected position may change over time as baby grows and as you become more acquainted with nursing. Select the position that works best for you and baby.

In my personal experience, I liked using the football hold (middle photo) in the earliest days. I found it very helpful to have the hand closest to baby’s head free in order to maneuver it for the perfect latch.

Once baby and I got a little bit of a better grasp with feeding, I would switch to cradle hole (left photo).

The Different Breastfeeding Positions

Photo Source: RaisingChildren.net.au

There are a ton of great products to help with this task of positioning baby to feed.

With my first, I used a boppy pillow for support for the first few weeks. Then I discovered My Breast Friend and what a game changer it was. The reviews on this product show that other mothers agree!

There’s a few reasons I like this support pillow so much better. First of all, the snap around my back made it so much easier to move around. I could snap on the pillow THEN bend down and pick up baby, walk to my chair, sit down and Bam!… I’m already ready to go.

With the boppy, I had to sit down with baby, bend down to get the pillow and get myself situated with just one hand because the other was occupied holding baby. It was a very ungraceful process.

I also love how much larger and firm the pillow surface is for baby. The roundness of the boppy just doesn’t provide as great of support.

I also loved the little pocket on the front of the My Breast Friend. I always kept a burp cloth stashed in there for easy access.

Baby Gas

It’s a strange topic to write about, but it was a big deal. I hate to admit it, but I was completely clueless that baby gas was such a common issue for newborns!

There are so many causes of baby gas. Baby can swallow air while crying, something in the mothers diet can cause gas, even certain breastfeeding positions can cause baby to bloat.

New mom’ need to be prepared to recognize it and fight it.

If you have just finished feeding baby and they become fussy within the following hour, chances are, they have gas.

Babies will also pull their legs upward when facing gas pains.

I have an entire blog post dedicated to fighting baby gas. You can read it here!

Baby gas usually resolves itself around 3-5 months. In the mean time, ensure you are always burping your baby after feeding to minimize air getting into the intestine.

If you have serious concerns about it, talk to your babies doctor.

Keeping Baby Awake during Feedings

One of the biggest struggles I faced with Nora was keeping her awake while nursing. While the view of her snuggled up close and fast asleep was cute as could be, I knew it meant that she was not getting a full feeding and would need to eat again in just half an hour or so.

Every baby is different and may or may not react to a stimulus to keep them awake. Here are a few of my favorite go-to methods that have worked well:

  • Undressing baby
  • Playing with baby’s hands and feet
  • Using a baby wipe to gently wipe his or her head or tummy
  • Blowing on baby’s hair
  • Moving baby away from the breast for a few minutes to position where they are not so snug. (I would place my legs together and lay Nora on my thighs for just a minute or two. The change in comfort would usually stir her back awake)

Make a commitment and get support

I can’t even begin to count the number of people who have helped me through my breastfeeding journey. From my mom to lactation consultants, my husband, other mom bloggers… there is such an amazing amount of support out there for new mamas. Reach out when help is needed or when you just need to talk through your frustrations. As always, you can email me! Caroline@swaddlesnbottles.com

Happy nursing, mama!

Resources:

Kelly Mom Latch Resource Guide

Is my Baby getting enough milk?

5 Things to Do In Your Babies First 24 Hours to Promote Breastfeeding Success

High Milk Supply Support Supplements

How to Make a Healing Milk Bath for Baby

The Benefits of a Breastmilk Bath. Help Soothe common Skin irritations for baby

Benefits of a Milk Bath for Baby

Ahh the power of breastmilk. Turns out it can be as good for your baby on the outside as it is on the inside. All of those wonderful nutrients in your liquid gold can do wonders for the skin.

Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Relief from itch that comes from bug bites
  • Moisturize dry  skin (it’s wonderful for Eczema!)
  • Soothing benefits for diaper rash
  • Helps get rid of cradle cap
  • Healing benefits to minor cuts and scrapes

Funny enough, my need for the healing benefits of a milk bath were not for the baby who is actually breastfeeding, but my 16 month old daughter.

Emmy had a terrible case of Hand Foot & Mouth in September 2017 and we are still working to get rid of the lingering “scars” from the spots.

They are not actual scars, the doctor has assured us they will fade, but her skin may need some help to do so. So in comes the breastmilk and all of it’s healing powers.

Here’s to make a milk bath for baby

  • Thaw 7-10 ounces of breastmilk from the freezer ( I would simply set it out on the counter an hour or so before bath time)
  • Fill the bath with the amount of water you usually use for baby
  • Add enough breastmilk to the water so that it is milky, but you are still able to a faint outline of baby’s legs through the water.
  • Let baby soak as long as they would like in the tub.
  • Once done, dry skin and later up with some good ol’ fashioned coconut oil to lock in the healing effects!
  • Repeat 1-2 times a week until skin is healed!

Hope this helps! Comment below and let me know how quickly you see the positive effects of a milk bath!


How to Increase The Milk Production In Your Slacker Boob

How to fix a slacker boob- Increase milk supply on your lower producing breast

 

We’ve all got one… a breast that produces less milk than the other. While a slight variation in production (1-1.5 ounces) is A-OK, any more than that can be frustrating. Luckily, with a varied pumping and feeding technique, it can be easy to whip the slacker into shape.

Variations to your Pumping Schedule

As your probably already know, breastmilk is made by your body based on supply/ demand. Somewhere along the road, your slacker boob got the message that it needed to produce less milk.

To get the breast producing again, we need to up the demand, but ONLY to one breast. Do this by pumping on the slacker boob in between your normal feedings and pump sessions.

For example, I pump 3 times a day (morning, noon and night). If I was working to fix a slacker, I would pump between my morning and lunch feeding and my lunch and evening feeding. If I was feeling extra ambitious, I could wake in the middle of the night to pump between night and morning session.

Continue to do this until you see an increase in production and a balance in both breasts.

Maintaining the Milk Supply

Once you have your milk producing equally, it is important that you maintain it by balanced feedings for baby. Make sure you are alternating between each feeding and giving baby equal time on each breast.

As always, make sure you are taking the right supplements to help maintain your milk supply. Here’s a post that has the details on all of my favorites!

High Milk Supply Must Haves for all Breast Feeding Mamas


Be sure to check out more Breastfeeding reads like this one:

Clogged Milk Duct Remedies

 How to relieve clogged milk ducts. A step by step guid on how to fix this common breastfeeding problem

Clogged Milk Duct Remedies

Clogged milk ducts can happen to a breastfeeding mama for a number of reasons. Some of the most common are:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Wearing Bras that are too tight
  • Not emptying your breast

It is very important to work out a clogged milk duct as it can lead to mastitis if not treated properly.

Luckily, clogged ducts can be fixed at home with a few simple remedies. However, please contact your doctor if the pain in the effected area continues!

Signs of a clogged milk duct

Clogged Milk ducts make their presence known through pain around the effected duct.  The area may or may not be slightly red. You may be able to feel lump in the breast under the skin where the pain is occurring. You may also notice a lowered milk supply from the effected breast, either while pumping or while feeding baby.

How to unclog a clogged milk duct

  1. Start with wet heat– a warmed wet wash cloth or a hot shower is the first thing you should do. While applying the heat, gently massage the effected area in a circular motion. This will help loosen up the milk that is causing the clog.

Lansinoh makes this amazing Therapearl relief pad for breastfeeding mamas. It can either be frozen or heated to provide relief. You can even use it WHILE pumping to speed up the release of your milk and pump for LESS time. Read more details here.

Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy for Clogged Duct Relief

Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy for Clogged Duct Relief2

2. Pump– Now that the milk is loosened, the duct needs to be emptied.  While pumping, continue to massage the effected area.

3. Feed on the effected side– during your next few feedings, start with the effected breast. This will help ensure any milk that your pump did not remove will be released.

Continue with steps one through three until you no longer feel pain in the effected area.

If you are struggling with continuous clogged ducts, speak with your doctor. He or she may recommend a supplement. like Lecithin, to help you avoid the clogs.

I am not a medical professional and information shared on this blog should not be taken as medical advice.  Always consult with your medical provider concerning any issues you have regarding you or your baby. 

More breastfeeding posts from Swaddles n’ Bottles:

 

How I Built a Freezer Stash of Over 400 Ounces of Breastmilk in 30 days

How I filled my freezer with breastmilk in 30 days

Building A freezer stash for baby

As of today  I have 426 ounces of breastmilk taking over my freezer!

Whether you are planning on returning to work or simply stocking up for a few date nights away from baby, having extra milk on hand is something many mamas aim to accomplish.

Now, if you don’t plan on going back to work, you don’t need an excessive stock pile. While I fall into this category, our situation was a little different.

Due to some breathing issues, my little Nora was in the NICU for 4 days when she was born. Her meals started out as formula through a feeding tube, then formula combined with what I could pump, then just to what I was pumping. Once the nurses saw that I was producing enough for her to get her needed mL’s, they removed her from the feeding tube and we began learning to breastfeed together.

Because of this, I was pumping the night she was born and every 3 hours from that point forward. I ended up coming home from the hospital with about 10 ounces of milk ready to go for my freezer stash (again, we were there a few days longer than normal so my milk had started to come in). Once I had started on my pumping schedule, I didn’t want to stop.

So I fell into a pumping routine and within 30 days, my freezer was full.

Chances are, it is more milk than Nora will need and have since started the donation process with milkbank.org. And as long as my milk keeps coming and baby girl is getting what she needs, I will keep donating.

UPDATE: I have completed the interview process with MilkBank.org and it turns out that the herbal supplements I take to support my supply are not approved supplements for milk donation. The woman who conducted my interview explained they have tighter restrictions on donated milk because the milk is mostly used to help premature babies in the NICU. Even Fenugreek and Mother’s Milk tea were considered no-no’s! No worries though- these are definitely still safe for full healthy babies!

When Should You start pumping?

Deciding when you start pumping is a decision you get to make as a mother. I have read many blogs of mamas who started pumping week 1 their baby was born (list of these at the end of this post) and built a freezer stash of 1,000+ ounces. I have also read about many mothers who started just 4 weeks before maternity leave ended and were still able to build up an impressive stash.

LivingWithLowMilkSupply.com does a wonderful job of explaining why pumping in those early days could have it’s benefits:

The milk production is calibrated within the first two weeks postpartum and in that period, your breast is busy producing milk-making cell to meet your baby demand.

After these two weeks (which is also known calibration phase), your breast will stop producing milk-making cell and your milk production will stabilize to meet your baby’s demand.

If you start pumping during this phase (in addition to nursing your baby), you will have a better chance of producing more milk making tissues in your breast.

A word of caution for those who are thinking of starting out from day 1, keep an eye out for signs of oversupply.

You may be thinking “Oversupply sounds great! I want that!”… but it can actually be pretty rough.

Oversupply can cause some issues for both mama and baby, including mastitis. With oversupply, your let down may be so forceful that it can cause baby to cough and gag. It can also give you too much foremilk and not enough hindmilk (where are the good stuff is). Kellymom has a great post explaining what over supply is and how to manage it.

So as you can see, there are benefits and downsides to starting on the early end of waiting until your body regulates the milk making. So when should you start?

The answer to the  burning question…When you start is up to you based on what you are trying to accomplish.

If you need a huge stash due to your future plans, start as soon as you are ready. If you don’t need much, wait until you are more settled into a routine.

Now, I don’t mean to downplay my stash, but if you do the math, building this kind of stockpile in 30 days is not difficult. 400 ounces over 30 days is just 13 ounces per day. This is totally possible over multiple pump sessions (even if pumping 2-4 ounces at a time!!), and for some mamas, may be possible in just one early morning pump!

Now to get back to the details, there are three main areas that I feel contributed to being able to build my stash: my pumping schedule, my pumping tools and supplements used to promote

My pumping schedule

Once we were home and settled, I pumped 2-3 times a day, morning,  noon and/or night.  I would pump immediately following a feeding for about 12-15 minutes.

I would say I stuck to this schedule 72ish% of the time. There were plenty of days I was tired and only managed 2 pumps. There were days when my baby needed me more and I skipped afternoon and night pumping session.

Skipping a session here and there is not going to make or break your stash. First priority is always taking care of baby and mama.

Here is an example of a optimal day’s pumping schedule:

6 AM: Feed then pump

9 AM: Feed

12 PM: Feed then pump

3 PM: Feed

6 PM: Feed

9 PM: Feed then pump

Suggestions for pumping schedule

  • The most important pump of the day is always morning time! I had a record 15 ounces in ONE morning pump!
  • Some serious pumpers swear by the middle of the night pump. I did this for a short time with Emmy when I was working to increase my supply. It does work, but it’s tough. If you are working to increase your supply to build your stash, it may be needed. If you are just starting out, stick with a regular day time schedule and see how it works for you.

My Pumping Tools

Like a majority of mamas. I went with a well-known and trusted pump- the Madela Pump In Style Advance. The let down button really helped ensure I was getting the maximum amount of milk in the shortest time. I love the bag it comes with, even though I’ve yet to  pump outside the home. Overall it is an affordable, reliable pump that I have been pleased with.

I got my breast pump for free through my insurance! Be sure to call yours to see what type of coverage you have!

One of the coolest gadgets I have discovered while breastfeeding is a Haakaa. A Haakaa is a silicone pump that attaches by suction to the breast that you are NOT feeding on. While feeding baby, the Haakaa collects all the milk that comes from your let down that would otherwise end up in your breast pad.

I found out about the Haakaa from the lactation consultant that helped me in the hospital. I ended up ordering one from my hospital bed and it was waiting for us when we got home! You can find them here on Amazon (cheapest price I’ve found so far)

Here’s what it looks like:

Haakaa- How to build a freezer stash for when you return to work.

Just to give you an idea of HOW much this helped me build my stash… I get about 1.5-2 ounces in my Haakaa every time I use it, which is about 3 times per day. That’s 4.5- 6 extra ounces I am storing a day. Meaning 135 EXTRA ounces minimum in a month that would have otherwise been tossed in the trash with my breast pad.

My Milk Supply Supplements

While I would like to take all the credit for this milk makin’, I had a little help. I relied on a few supplements and some key liquids and foods to help keep my supply up.

Water

64 ounces of water a day. That is what your body NEEDS to produce the milk. Water is the main ingredient in your breastmilk, so if you don’t give it to your body, it’s going to pull what it can from you (meaning you could get dehydrated easily) and then past that it just won’t produce. Get a water jug that makes drinking water easy on you. I have been using an Arctic cup for months now and am mildly obsessed with it. It seriously can keep a cup of water cold for like 8 hours straight.

Oatmeal

The breakfast of breastfeeding champions. I eat 1/2 a cup of oatmeal every morning. I rotate between adding honey or brown sugar to sweeten it.

If eating a plain ol’ bowl of oatmeal isn’t your thing, I have some great recipes to sweeten’ things up: Quick Results Lactation Smoothie and Milk Makin’ Munchie Bites (they have chocolate in them!)

Let There Be Milk

I discovered Let There be Milk when I was breastfeeding Emmy. I’ve completely lost count of how many bottles I have gone through. I made sure I was stocked up before Nora arrived.

It is a concentrated supplement that is stacked with all sorts of natural supplements that help boost your milk supply. I have mentioned how much this product has helped me keep my supply high in many other posts and I cannot tell you how many positive emails I receive about the results readers see.

High Milk Supply Must Haves for Every Breast Feeding Mama

Any time I recommend this product, I always like to include a little warning: this product tastes like a pinecone. It’s potent and best chased with a whoooole lot of water. I always use the dropper to put the liquid as far back in my throat as possible to hopefully avoid tasting too much of it. It’s a strong taste but yields strong results. Just trust me on this one.

Find it on Amazon here.

Mothers Milk tea

Another staple in my morning routine with the oatmeal, Mothers Milk tea. Like the Let There Be Milk, it is full of all sorts of natural ingredients proven to help boost milk supply.

Again, the taste is kind of blah. Honey or your favorite sweetener will help it go down easier.

Mothers Milk tea- a must have to keep your milk supply high

Milk storage

Storing all this milk was a challenge at first. I made a ton of freezer meals before having Nora so space was already scarce. Luckily I found a few hacks to help get things organized

My first time to future breastfeeding mamas- buy the Lansinoh breastfeeding bags over any other brand (I buy them in bulk from Amazon).  I started out with a different brand that was smaller and those bags are a HUGE pain in the butt to store. The Lansinoh bags are much longer and freeze much flatter. See what I mean?

How to properly store breastmilk for a freezer stash

When labeling your bags, be detailed! If you plan to take your little one to day care in the future and send milk, write their name on the bag now. Always include the date AND TIME!

Why should you put times on your pumped breastmilk

I used gallon sized freezer bags to store my milk. I numbered each bag in the order that they should be used and put the closest expiration date on the label. While I haven’t started using any stored milk to feed Nora (I have used some to make milk baths for Emmy), I plan to put the bag that is currently being used at the very top of the freezer for easiest access.

Store breastmilk in gallon sized freezer bags and label with expiration date

I hope this helps with building your own freezer stash! Be sure to follow me on Instagram as I continue on my breastfeeding and pumping mission!

Resources for your to read to better help you on your freezer stash mission:

Living with Low Milk Supply: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Breast Milk Stash

Moms who pumped at different times with different results:

Semi Delicate Life- Pumped from Day 1 and stocked over 1,000 ounces!

The Pumping Mama- Explains why you don’t need a HUGE stash to keep feeding baby when you return to work.

Resources to help increase milk production:

How I doubled my milk supply in 48 hours

High Milk Supply Supplements for Breastfeeding mamas

Resources relating to oversupply:

Taproot Doula-how to manage your oversupply

KellyMom- Oversupply and  The Forceful Let down

How to build a freezer stash in just 30 days


More posts like this one:

 

What To Pack in Your Pump Bag

What to pack in your pump bag when you return to work full time. Breastfeeding mama must read!

What to pack in your pump bag

This is a guest post by Katie who blogs at From North to South. We are so thankful that she shared her pumping wisdom with us! Read more about Katie, her blog and her adorable kiddos at the end of this post.

A few months ago I placed my pump on full time retirement. It was a bitter sweet moment, for months at a time over the last five years it had been a part of my everyday work routine. Which for me, meant two ‘breaks’ each day to pump for my growing baby. A break from one job to do another. This most recent time, I made it a year. A full year of lugging that bag back and forth every day. Many days of forgetting milk in the fridge at work. And even a handful of nights when the milk was left out on the counter. But none the less, an amazing year that I am so proud of myself for keeping up with.

I may not have been able to increase the capacity of my mom brain (re: forgetting my milk everywhere) over that stretch of time, but I can assure you my bag was packed to perfection by the end.   Because not everyone (OK, no one) wants to take five years and three kids to learn the perfect items for your work pump bag, I’ll let you in on my secrets.

The Bag:

From one bag obsessed lady, there are so many out there to choose from. I didn’t get the black carrying tote that typically comes with my pump because my insurance was like ‘we provide the pump but the accessories are up to you’. I said thank you for the pump and was happy to get to pick my own bag.

Over the years I used a number of bags, when I was pumping and working in the same building I liked a tote style bag. Once I started walking through the hospital I switched to a standard backpack which worked well for my daily treks to and from my office and the pumping room. What type of bag you get really depends how much traveling you are going to be doing from your work station to your pumping location.

What to Pack in your Pump bag when Working Full time

The contents:

Spare parts – Always keep extra parts for your pump on hand. Extra valves should be a staple in your bag. Even with manufacturer recommended cleaning these parts can accumulate some funky fuzzy things in hard to reach places. They can also break! Yikes- last thing you need is to have a part break, making your pump inoperable for the remainder of the day, and leaving you engorged.

Pumping Bra – You’ll want to be hands free. Grab yourself an easy on hands free bra to hold your pump on your breasts. I’d suggest a band kind, or a snaps in the front kind, to avoid putting it on over your head.

Snacks –What better time to eat then when you’re finally sitting down and no one can/should interrupt you? I followed the calories out/ calories in model. Meaning, I was using calories to produce the milk that was leaving my body, so I had to be sure to add more calories back in.

There are snacks made just for a nursing mama that promote healthy lactation. Check them out here!

H2O – Drink all the water. Do yourself a favor and buy a huge water bottle, fewer trips to the water fountain and more frequent trips to the bathroom is a good model.

Entertainment – If you have to clock out of your sessions, DO NOT DO WORK. I brought my iPad one day and never looked back. I caught up on all my shows in a matter of days.

Pictures/videos – If you feel like you are having supply issues, make sure to have a few pictures of your sweet little one on hand. Or even better, take a short video of them eating (at breast or bottle) and get ready for your letdown!

Milk Storage – Bring extra bottles/caps/milk bags, whatever you keep your milk in. Too many days I found myself pumping into an empty Gatorade bottle. Make sure you have a sharpie to label your precious liquid gold.

Milk Transportation –I got a cute little lunch carrier that fit an icepack and three bottles. Something small that can easily go from fridge/freezer, to your bag to home.

Nipple cream – When you start using the pump on a regular schedule that feeling and pain from the first few latches in the hospital can come back and rock your word. And since it’s frowned upon to go shirtless in the office, to avoid chafing, and the urge to rip your bra off like the Incredible Hulk – keep some Lanolin in your bag. This is one of my favorite products because it’s a two-for. Meaning MULTI USE (like baby wipes). Hopefully you’re staying hydrated enough (drink all the water), but sometimes even with all the hydration, we find ourselves sitting in a chair, zoning out to the sound of the pump, mouth open, breathing heavy drying our lips out. Just me?What to Pack in your Pumping Bag while working

Boob pads – because wearing a pad in-between your legs isn’t enough, let’s toss some in our bras too. Bringing you back to the days of middle school, make sure to stuff your bra. Keep extras in your bag at all times. I have no problem walking around the house in a shirt that gives the appearance that my breasts are crying, but I don’t like to rock the look at work.

Lansinoh makes great disposable pads. Or you could opt for washable and reusable like these.

Cleaning products – No need to buy the fancy, extra expensive wipes ‘made for your pump’. Any seasoned mom knows regular wipes you use on your baby’s bum (the interior of your car, the spit up on your work shirt, etc.) work just as well until you can get to a sink for a real good clean. Also be sure to grab yourself a microwave sanitize bag and keep it in your pump bag for use at work. Sometimes it’s easier to just rinse your parts and put them in there and in the microwave, instead of standing at the kitchen sink while Sally Jane shoots you the hairy eyeball for cleaning your parts in the open.

What to pack in your pumping bag when you return back to work full-time!

Signage – You’re going to want a sign that says ‘DON’T COME IN HERE, I’M MFing PUMPING AND MY BOOBS ARE OUT’ – but obviously in a more ‘politically/office appropriate’ manner. I had someone walk in on me once, yep. Thankfully it was a woman and mom.

So that’s the big list. The things that are my must haves. I do have a few more things I’d like to suggest, some add on’s (extra little things that might be helpful to have, you know, like the things you put in your cart to bring your total up to get free shipping);

Extra Pump – If you’re a forgetful person, or have a long commute, I would suggest getting yourself an inexpensive manual pump for the car. I kept a manual pump in the car for those days when I ran out of the house too quick and left my pump at home. It was even more helpful on those days I got stuck in some traffic on the way home and was feeling just a bit too much pressure.

Madela makes a effective and inexpensive hand pump. Find it here.

What to pack in your Pumping bacg when working full time

Haakaa – if you have a single or manual pump, you’ll 100% want this. This is going to catch all that liquid gold that leaks out when you letdown on the side you are not actively expressing from. Great for if you feed at breast as well.

And remember, no matter how long your journey is, you’re doing one awesome thing for your little one, mama. Keep up the hard work <3

Meet Katie


 

Pumping at Work: What You Need to Know to Make Breastfeeding While Working Full-Time a Success

Pumping at work- How to successfully continue breastfeeding when you return from Maternity Leave

Sharing material to support full-time working mamas who plan to breastfeed has always been something I have wanted to do. Unfortunately, I do not have the personal experience to give me any credibility to speak on the subject. I am oh-so-thankful for Brenda from Paper Heart Family for sharing her expertise on the subject! Read more about Brenda and her wonderful blog at the end of this post.


The first thing that I want you to know is that working full-time and exclusively breastfeeding your child is absolutely possible.

As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. Which would inevitably include pumping when I went back to teaching.

I’m happy to say that I was able to nurse both of my children for more than a year.

Was it easy? No.

Was it worth it? A thousand times YES.

Before taking the plunge and returning to work, there are some things that you need to know.

Speak with your employer ahead of time so that you can secure a comfortable place to pump.

Pumping is not natural. You need your pumping place to be as close to ideal as possible in order for your output to be maximized. That means no pumping in a bathroom stall. See the Department of Labor’s website  for more information on your rights.

Start a freezer stash now.

This will eliminate so much stress. I pumped on one side and nursed on the other during one night feeding for a month before returning to work and accumulated 150 ounces.

For tips on how you can increase your milk production to have enough supply for a freezer stash, see this post.

Freeze in small quantities.

You never know how much your baby is actually going to drink at each feeding while you’re gone. Following this important step will prevent you from crying when pick up your baby and you see the ounces of milk that will be thrown out because your baby knew that you were coming home soon, and waited for milk straight from the source. I suggest freezing in bags of 4 ounces.

Have the right tools.

Here’s what I used and recommend:

  • An efficient pump such as the Medela Pump In Style Advanced
  • Freemies- collection cups that are discreet and simply get placed into your normal bra. Read more about them here.
  • A pump bag- If you are short on time and need to maximize your pumping time, this is a must. They can be stylish and extremely efficient.
  • Breastmilk storage bags
  • Microwave sterilizer bags

Make sure you have back-up.

What is this back-up I speak of?

Extra bottles or storage bags that you keep at your workplace. And if you pump at home also, you need extra pump parts at work.

You don’t want to be scrambling at work to find unused Tupperware for storing your breastmilk. Not that I’ve ever had to do that. I heard it from a friend.

If you can’t find said Tupperware, you’ll be dumping your milk. Forgetting an integral part of your pumping repertoire doesn’t mean that you get out of pumping. Unless you like having leaky breasts in front of your colleagues. Or in my case, students.

Taking the effort to pump and then seconds later dumping it down the drain is torture.

Don’t cry over spilled milk? You will be weeping inconsolably.

Have everything already assembled.

Take a few minutes after you wash your pump parts the night before to assemble them. It will save you time at work and this way you won’t forget a small part.

Place pumped milk in an opaque bag.

Unless you have a cooler compartment in your pump bag, you do not want your coworkers to open the fridge and be face to face with your booby milk. They may never be able to look at you the same way again.

Distract, distract, distract.

I had to continue working while I was pumping and that was distraction enough for me. Some women need to do other things in order to get the milk flowing, such as looking at photos of their baby or reading.

Know that sometimes your output will be lower.

There will be days when you simply don’t pump as much as others. Frustratingly, you might never know why. There are many factors that could contribute to it. Your diet, your hydration level, the amount of sleep you didn’t get, or your stress level are the most common. This is why having a frozen stash is so important.

For a list of supplements you can safely use while pregnant to help increase and maintain milk supply, see this post.

Stick to a schedule as much as possible.

Pumping on a schedule is extremely important because the pump is not as efficient as baby. Your body will become more efficient if it knows when to expect machine milk extraction.

Consider pumping while driving.

Remember when I told you this wouldn’t be easy? I pumped on the way to work because with my schedule, I had no other choice. I was not going to sacrifice sleep for that additional pumping session.

A hands free pump bra is a must for this one- see this post for a list of the best ones!

Stay hydrated and nourished and (semi) rested.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the working mom life that you forget to eat and drink. Get a cute (and huge!) water bottle and take it with you everywhere. A stressed, hungry, thirsty and tired body is going to struggle to produce breastmilk.

Know that baby might reverse cycle.

Your baby likely will miss you and might make up for that missed time in the middle of the night.

Know that baby might refuse the bottle even if she was previously drinking from one.

I have no suggestions for this one. You’re probably dealing with a very headstrong (and smart!) baby.

Expect people to be nosy, jealous or intrigued.

Don’t worry about what others are thinking. What’s the only thing that matters? That you are doing what’s best for your baby.

You might have the coworker that gives you an icy stare every time you leave to go “relax”.

Or the clueless coworker who asks every day what you’re doing in your “private office” and how he can get one of his own.

Don’t wash pump parts between pumping sessions.

Hallelujah! Simply rinse or even better, pop them in the fridge if possible.

Know that it gets easier.

As baby starts solids and gets closer to her first birthday, she will require less and less breastmilk, which means you may be able to cut out a pumping session (or two!).

Just remember that pumping at work is absolutely doable. Good luck!


Follow Brenda on Facebook and Pinterest too! She has binge worthy content perfect for mamas of littles!


5 Things You Should Do in Your Baby’s First 24 Hours Bring on Breastfeeding Success!

5 things to-do in your baby's first 24 hours to promote breastfeeding success

1. Breastfeed within the first hour of baby’s life

Baby is ready to eat for the first time within their first 45 minutes of life. Making that first latch is programming their sweet little brains that this is how they will receive their food and nutrients.

2. Lots and LOTS of skin-to-skin

Skin-to-skin has been proven to have a long list of benefits for baby. It can regulate their body temperature and heart rate as well as their blood sugar levels. It also has great benefits when it comes to breastfeeding success.

Communicate with your nurses that you would like to do skin-to-skin as soon as possible. If you deliver your baby naturally, they may even be able to place baby directly on you as soon as he or she is born. with my first-born, I had an emergency C-section. Unfortunately, this meant baby could not be placed directly on me, but was with me about 7 minutes after she arrived and we began skin to skin then.

3. Speak with a lactation consultant

A certified lactation consultant has dedicated their career to helping women have a successful breastfeeding journey. Take advantage of this amazing blessing and speak to one as soon as you can! In most hospitals, they have a lactation consultant who makes rounds to speak with new mothers. Have her sit with you while you breastfeeding and she will shower you will words of wisdom and guidance that is sure to set you up for success!

4. Feed on demand

If you are anything like I was when I was pregnant with my first, I had about 43 pins saved that gave tips on feeding schedules and getting baby on a routine. While aiming to get onto a solid feeding routine is great, it shouldn’t be your priority right away. Feeding baby on demand (as soon as they show a hunger cue) in those first few days will greatly increase your chances of breastfeeding success. It will also help your body start bringing in the milk supply. Breastmilk is made on a supply and demand type system, so the more demand, the more milk you’ll be makin’ for bebe! (Another fun tip for more milk- order oatmeal at every meal while in the hospital! It’s an essential for high milk supply!)

This may mean if you at staying in the hospital that you keep you baby in the room with you as much as possible so their nursing cues are answered as soon as possible.

5. Commit with your partner

This should technically be step one, because it should happen before baby is even born. Making a commitment to breastfeed with your partner by your side is a huge factor when it comes to breastfeeding success. While breastfeeding is natural, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Like 99% of all other moms, you will likely face a few hurdles. Without verbalizing your dedication to each other, it may be easy to throw in the towel. If it is truly important to you to breastfeed your baby, make the commitment together.

In order to fully prepare for you breastfeeding, I would also suggest reading this post so you can stock up on the BF necessities before baby arrives:

High Milk Supply Must Haves for all Breast Feeding Mamas


More reads for the breastfeeding mama:

How to Increase Your Milk Supply in 48 Hours
Breastfeeding and Alcohol- How much is OK?
Is My Baby Getting Enough to Eat?