Monday, July 21, 2014

Pregnant and Plan on Breastfeeding? Tips on How to Prepare Beforehand

When I was pregnant I planned on breastfeeding. I didn't really know much about the act itself, I just knew I wanted to give it my best try to make it work. I had a few resources that helped out tremendously, and others I stumbled upon along the way. I've kind of proclaimed myself as a resource to my pregnant friends that also plan on breastfeeding. I thought I would offer help and advice that worked well for me. If you're pregnant and plan on breastfeeding, here are some tips to set yourself up for breastfeeding success.

Disclaimer: this post is not meant to put down moms that feed their babies in any other fashion. I understand that breastfeeding isn't for everyone. For those that want to breastfeed, I hope you find this information useful.

1) Golden Hour immediately following birth. Golden hour is where the parents and baby get special skin-to-skin time immediately after the baby is born. Even after your baby is weighed and a wellness check is given, this time is crucial for both the parents and baby. Find out what the policy is at the hospital where you'll be delivering. If this isn't part of it, I'd talk to you doctor about it. If your baby is not immediately sent to the NICU and if you are doing fine too, that time is so important. Don't take my word for it, check out the info here.
On my chest, immediately after birth, even after having a c-section!


2) Hospital lactation support. Does your hospital have a certified IBCLC on staff (having someone certified is important)? Will that employee be there while you're delivering? After you've delivered? If you're not sure if someone will be available, have the number of an independent IBCLC that can come visit you in the hospital. Although breastfeeding is natural, that doesn't mean that it comes naturally for all women. It is better to be prepared, just in case! Here are some great local IBCLC resources. Do your own research. Stick up for you and your baby. Kellymom.com is a wonderful breastfeeding resource. Some hospitals and hospital staffs don't understand the complexities that go along with breastfeeding so they look to formula for easy answers. Supplementation with formula before your milk comes in isn't always necessary. (See size of a newborn's stomach here.) Supplementing with formula because your baby is jaundice isn't always necessary. Get a second opinion. If you don't want hospital staff to give your baby any formula, explicitly say so! Know your rights as a parent.


3) Find a local support group. Your hospital probably has one. If not, look for a local La Leche League or Breastfeeding USA chapter as they typically hold weekly meetings. The first few weeks (about 6) are tough. Cluster feedings, all-nighters, snacky babies that only eat a little at a time... Having support IN PERSON of other moms that are doing the same thing you are definitely helped me. It also helped normalize the act a bit. I had never seen a woman breastfeed before and being in a circle surrounded by a bunch of moms also breastfeeding their children made me feel more at ease with what I was doing.
Halloween Party at the Palos Hospital Nursing Mom's group


Online resources are also helpful! There are a few closed Facebook groups (it doesn't show up on your news feed) that offer support to moms that seek it. Breastfeed Chicago is a local Facebook group that I have enjoyed being a part of.


4) Find a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician. Your local support groups most likely have some great resources available. Or, ask other moms that are also breastfeeding. Most doctors will say that they are breastfeeding friendly, although many are following older, outdated practices. Not all pediatricians understand that breastfed babies grow at a different rate than formula fed babies, and may state that you're not making enough even though your baby is doing just fine. (The updated WHO charts are what should be used.) I thought my pediatrician was breastfeeding friendly, but after several meetings and appointments, it turned out that I didn't like his advice. We switched and the new pediatrician is great. Changing pediatricians is pretty easy and there are lots of options out there. Spend time to find one that works best for you and your family!


5) Make friends with other moms that are breastfeeding. It definitely helps to talk with someone else who's also going through it. Breastfeeding is kind of like a club or alliance. Were all trying our best to make this work. We understand the nuances, the clogged ducts, the nipple pain, the leaking and all the other fun things that go along with being a nursing mom. I have to fight the urge to fist-bump other moms I see downtown with a recognizable Medela tote. Don't worry fellow mom, we got this.
Patsy and Layla play date from several months ago.
Meghan is a fellow nursing mom and we've definitely swapped stories over the past several months!


6) Donate formula samples. Registering for baby gifts gets you on the list for the formula companies. Before Patsy was born, I had received at least 6 tubs of free formula. I kept them around at first "just in case." There were definitely weak times when I was tempted, but I'm also stubborn. The stubbornness won and I didn't open a single tub. After that point, I donated them to a local woman's shelter. They need it more than I do. Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand. If your baby demands more, your body will make more. I felt it best to not have it at home, especially since I had a freezer full of milk once I started pumping. If we had any "just in case" moments, I'd rather give her my own milk.


7) Get the gear. This one is only partly true as not much has changed in the world of breastfeeding in the last thousand years... Breastfeeding doesn't really require a lot of "gear" but a pillow (Bobby or Breast friend) will help make things easier. Also, in the nervous early days/months, I didn't go anywhere without my nursing cover. I felt most comfortable while being covered so that is what worked well for us. Although now that she is quite unruly and a little sweat hog, it is harder and harder to use the cover.
Feeding Patsy, covered, while at the outlet mall

8) Breastfeeding isn't all or nothing. Sometimes mom isn't able to make enough. Sometimes mom can't pump enough. Sometimes babies just need more! When that is the case and mom cannot exclusively breastfeed, that doesn't mean that you can't have breastfeeding success! Any milk you can provide for your baby is better than no milk at all. I love this post from a mom about "inclusively breastfeeding." It is encouraging for all moms that are doing the best with their situation!
I can't always feed Patsy from the breast, so she does take several bottles a day while I'm at work.
I pump enough so she still gets mama's milk even when I'm gone.
Check the latch on that bottle!


9) Don't give up on your worst day. There are going to be tough days ahead. I would equate it to running, since that is something I'm familiar with. Sometimes if there is a tough long race, you just have to tell yourself "just one more mile." Just one more day. Being a mom is hard, whether you're breastfeeding or not. Determination is sometimes necessary when it comes to breastfeeding. Let your mommy instincts guide the way.

2pm, haven't showered in a few days, still in pajamas, covered in baby puke, and the tears keep coming.
Somehow still with a smile on my face. Wouldn't change it for the world!

Spitup on all of my pajamas--on the reg.

Please don't get discouraged by reading this post! Breastfeeding is really wonderful and for some moms, it works out wonderfully and there aren't any issues. But the world is full of Booby Traps and I think we owe it to ourselves to do our best to guard ourselves against them! I hope you find these tips helpful.



Any other breastfeeding mamas out there want to add to this list? What helped you to breastfeed successfully?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Baby Wilson Update: Patsy is 10 Months Old!

Patsy is currently: 10 months old. I'm getting really excited about planning her first birthday. As August is going to be insanely busy, I'm trying to get a head start.
At the butterfly exhibit at the zoo!

Weight: She was 19 lbs, 8oz. when she went to the doctor for her 9 month checkup so I can only imagine her weight has increased since then.

Height: 28 inches -- same as weight, no update from 9 month appt.

Clothing: She is in mostly 12 month clothing now. It seems like I'm packing away more and more clothes with each passing day. They really do grow up so fast. It is shocking.

Nicknames: Newest nicknames include Bratsy, when she doesn't want to go to sleep in her Pack N Play, but magically falls asleep in your arms the second you pick her up... And then "Stink Bomb" when she has a diaper full of an unpleasant surprises.

Health/Diet: She is loving table food more and more. Also, we are starting to make meals where we can give her parts as well. She is still vegetarian and will probably stay that way for a little while.
Going out to breakfast with her future BF, Mikey

Sleep: I've been trying to be better about sleep training. We had a nice routine going and then we lost power for a week and things were so crazy. Now, I think we need to get back into the old routine and hopefully she'll follow along. She takes really awesome naps in her pack n play when she's at Grandmas. At home, however, is a totally different story. She screams and cries if she's in her pack n play... While she's sleeping. It makes no sense.


Milestones: She is saying Dada pretty much all the time now. Most of the words she says start with the "d" sound. She also says "Dat" and loves to yell for no reason. She still doesn't say Mama, but thankfully her dad has started to teach her to say "Chris", which she has learned as well. She is also starting to pull herself up to stand with different objects--the coffee table, a laundry basket, her walker. You know, all the most dangerous items is what she tries to stand up against. She's also starting to make the transition from army crawl to regular crawl. Watch out guys!

Likes: cucumbers, yogurt, puffs, falling asleep in mom's arms, making fart noises (she's her father's daughter), kisses from Pepper, tubby time or any time she's in the water

Dislikes: cherries, avocados, when mommy leaves the room, when dada leaves the room










Monday, July 14, 2014

Weaning from the Pump and Other Breastfeeding Thoughts

Patsy is now 10 months old. WOW. It is now time for me to think about weaning from the pump, or at least start decreasing my daily sessions. My work has been really supportive throughout my pumping journey. We have a special "wellness room" where I've been able to go several times a day, every day for the past several months. I have a chair to relax in, internet connectivity, personal mini fridge, and privacy. My job is very deadline-based and I'm a salaried employee. Therefore, as long as I get my work done on time, it doesn't really matter how I do it. Considering I'm in a male-dominated industry, major props to my employer for making this a comfortable environment for a working and nursing mother.

Back when I went back to work when she was only 4 months old, pumping every day for her was a huge chore. I got up early to pump before I got ready for work. I then would pump 4 times during my normal 11 hour day away from Patsy (1.5 hour commute each way, 8 hour work day).
Storing my pump parts in the fridge between sessions. Crucial time saver. And I'm lazy.

As she started solid foods, 5 times went to 4. I was still waking up early, but dropped one of my work day sessions. Then, I enjoyed my sleep a little too much and started sleeping through my morning session so we were down to 3. After the most recent power outage, I realized how much milk I really had in our freezer. (I had to transport it to another freezer until our power was restored. Crisis averted.) And now we're down to 2 sessions per day.

Freezer stash filling up an entire cooler. Holy crap.

I've been looking forward to ending my pumping journey for months. Looking forward to that one year mark where I could stop pumping on a regular basis. I never expected to feel sad about the fact that as we approach her first birthday, she is less dependent upon me for her nourishment. I was her only food source for 6 months of her life. That is kind of crazy to think about! I still plan on breastfeeding beyond a year, in the mornings and evenings. My justification for it is that she has zero plans on stopping any time soon. She really loves nursing. Also, I'm away from her for most of the day, most of the week. I think she nurses for comfort at home as she misses me while I'm gone. I really want to enjoy the time where she smiles when she sees me walk through the door, smiles as she looks up at me while she's nursing, and gets so excited she jumps for joy when I walk into the room. And just enjoy this time while she is still a baby, as I know she won't be a baby forever. And I mean, let's be real folks... who could deny this face.

I still haven't quite gotten the balls to post a breastfeeding selfie on social media, or here. Major props to MichelleMeghan, Jen and Ashley who keep it real about their own breastfeeding journeys on their blogs. Breastfeeding is definitely an adventure, but one that I felt has been worth taking. :)

If you stumbled across this page and you're looking to end your own pumping journey, check out this great resource.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Latest Loves -- Summer 2014 Edition

Now that summer is upon us, it is time to sit back, relax and enjoy the sunshine while you can! I thought I would put together a list of things that I've been enjoying this summer, in hopes of sharing the wealth!

1) House of Cards.
Now that Game of Thrones is over and True Blood is pretty much un-watchable, the husband and I have decided to start watching House of Cards with our Netflix subscription. This has been a great decision as we are both now totally addicted to this show, only 4 episodes in. Have you seen it? It was a slow start with the beginning of the pilot episode, but it picked up real quick.


2) Iced coffee.
I don't know why but I'm completely obsessed. But it needs to be cold brewed coffee. The good stuff. I am sick of Dunkin Donuts iced coffee and Starbucks is a bit too strong so I've been enjoying trying the different boutique coffee places in the city to get my fix. If only the suburbs had unique coffee places with fun and delicious iced coffee on the way to the train.


3) Burnout by Oiselle.
As the summer sun is quite brutal, I am really loving the breezy burnout material in the latest line by Oiselle (tank and tee available). It is lightweight, see-through without being really see-through, and wicks sweat amazingly. I also like how it is dark without being too dark to attract that sunny sun.


4) Lazy days with Patsy. During the week, things are so insane. During the weekends, we have lots of obligations from family parties to birthdays to bridal and baby showers. I love when the chaos calms and I get to have some nice quiet time with my girl. As she continues to grow, more of her personality comes out. She really is one happy kid. I absolutely love getting her to laugh. I found out that she enjoys being surprised, when it is a happy surprise. Likes: "Where did mom go? Oh! She's behind the blanket!" Does not like: "Where did mom go? She walked out of the room?! START CRYING NOW!"


What are some things you're loving during this beautiful summer?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Running Tips -- How to Beat the Heat?!

As some of you may know, I do not do well when I try to run in the heat. I've learned this the hard way while training for a goal race in July (kind of a duh moment, after the fact). Oiselle recently put together a blog post on some tips from their readers and ambassadors. As I've trained through the last few summers, I thought I would offer up some of my own tips on how to beat the heat and what worked for me.

1) HYDRATION is key. Even if you're going out for a 3 mile run, bring water!!! Since I'm still breastfeeding, I feel like I need more water than the average human. I'm already thirsty by mile 1 on any sort of run, and that was never the case before. If you're feeling thirsty, you are already on the road to dehydration. If you're getting up early in the morning to run, make sure you drink plenty of water the night before. If you're running at night, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Also, it doesn't hurt to use some of those fun hydration tablets as an at-work beverage as opposed to having a pop. (Although, I find very few brands and flavors that I would like to have in a non-workout setting.)
Whether you're an infant, enjoying the fine wine of Mommy's Milk while she's at work
Or drinking some Zipfizz after a rough summer workout... Hydration is important

2) Sunrise Running - If you're a morning person, you probably feel most comfortable waking up at the buttcrack of dawn to get your workout in before the temps heat up too much. Although sometimes even at the earliest morning times, that sun can be a beast! I used to do this a lot before I had Patsy--so I may start doing this again once she starts sleeping a little better. That weekend alarm can be rough when it is earlier than your weekday alarm!



3) Nighttime Running - As I work downtown, far from my home, 4 days a week, I prefer not to get up early during the week. When I was marathon and half marathon training before I was pregnant, I got in many quality workouts after the sun had gone down with my headlight. Summer nights can really be magical in more ways than one! And feel free to sing "Summer Nights" from Grease as you think about running tonight.
I'm glad I've gotten some use out of this fantastic photo!


4) Get one of those nifty cooling towels. I have one but I haven't used it yet. I don't know why, I'm sure it will be amazing! I got mine from Brookstone but my husband (who works in construction) says you can find them at Menards or any local hardware store.


5) Hop on the treadmill. Or, also known as, the DREADMILL. I find the treadmill to be incredibly boring, but sometimes necessary when the heat index is incredibly high. Sometimes it is medically necessary to escape the summer heat. And you can get in your miles while getting caught up on Netflix or HBO. However, I do not recommend reading a paperback novel on the treadmill. It leads to headaches and risk of injury. Not like I'm speaking from experience or anything...


6) Have a cold beer waiting in the fridge. Let's be honest, even with all the best prep and precautions, you may bonk a workout or shorten the distance when it is a hot summer day or night. After you've properly hydrated, give yourself a reward for going out there and GETTING IT DONE anyways!


7) Take a cold shower when you get home. Sometimes I would get so warm that I felt like I would never be cold again. Taking off my sweaty running clothes and taking a shower can really help get your body temp back down. And you can enjoy your beer in the shower, especially if you have one of those shower beer koozies.

What do you do to beat the heat? Any tips you can share that aren't mentioned?