Breastfeeding: Going Back To Work

My goal for breastfeeding is always EXCLUSIVE for at least one year.  In the beginning, it proves to be difficult then gets easier, and once I get the hang of it, guess what?  IT’S TIME TO GO BACK TO WORK!

I don’t have the luxury of being a full-time SAHM, and honestly I don’t think I would want to.  Being a mom living in the US OF A, you will return to work sooner rather than later.  I really wish we had year PAID maternity leaves like other countries in the world.

Anyhoo, if you’re a mom who has to return to work, I’m sure the question “how do I maintain my supply,” crossed your mind several times.

I’m not expert on what a woman should do, and honestly, what works for one woman may not work for the other.  Therefore, this is information on how I managed to make it to 1 year and beyond with my son exclusively feeding him my milk.
1.  I began storing my milk in the early days when my milk first came in.  I did this because typically the body will make way more than baby needs, and I’d have an abundance of milk left over.  So I would pump it and store it.  Doing this also helped cut down on cluster feedings during growth spurts as well.  (I used the Medela Breast Pump to pump my milk)
2. I planned financially to be out of work for the maximum amount of time my job allowed (usually 12 weeks).  The older they are the less you’ll have to pump (usually).

2. When he was only drinking milk (no solid foods), I did my best to mimic his schedule while at work. So in a 12 hour day, I would pump at least 3 times and save the last pump session for when we reunited (and it felt so good).

Engorgement after work (reuniting selfies)


3. When he got older and was on solids, I cut back my pumping to 2 sessions and would have dad or whoever was caring for him supplement with watered down baby juice, water, (by 6 months of course) with his meals, and offer snacks in between.  They could give him milk, but no more than 2 bags could be used, because that’s what I was bringing home. Then when I got home again, I would have a full stash of milk for him to feast on.

4. I did try Mother’s Milk herbal tea, to help boost my supply when I was traveling to Disney.  I mainly wanted to have some extra milk for travel and park days.  I must say that tea taste like black licorice (which is disgusting in my opinion), but it did work for me.  I would drink a cup at night, and have excess to pump and store.

5. With my daughter, I was given Reglan for nausea in my early pregnancy and when my milk supply stated dropping I learned this too help increase milk supply and it really did work within 2 to 3 days.

I know other women have tired, the lactation cookies, recommend eating oatmeal, or even drinking a beer to help increase supply.  Some take herbal supplements such as Fenugreek and Milk Thistle supplements and rave about them as well. I personally have never tried any to increases my supply and can’t speak from experience.  I did however have a co-worker who used the supplements, and she still was only putting out a spit’s worth of milk, so again it works differently for everyone.

Overall, my best recommendation for breastfeeding and returning to work is planning from day one, invest in an high quality breast pump, take advantage of excess milk in early days, and try to mimic baby’s schedule when away.  Eventually it get’s easier and you’ll become a pro.  Most of all remember if there’s a will there’s a way, and YOU CAN DO IT!

YES I STILL Breastfeed My 14 Month Old

My goal for breastfeeding has been to nurse for one year and be done with it.  For my daughter, mission accomplished.  However, for my last son, he’s not being a good sport about giving up his boo-boo.

The no shoe bandit awaiting his mama!

I have read countless article, posts, statuses etc about the hurtful looks, comments, and stares woman get from other people when they nurse beyond the infancy age.  I have to admit, I even asked my co-worker when was she going to stop nursing her son who was almost 3.  I promise I was asking out of curiosity, and not out of disgust.  However, not until this weekend, did I realize how even a innocent question such as mine, can make a mom feel…less than supported.

This weekend at work, I did not have a full schedule, so I went into my office to wait around to see if I could be of any assistance (I was feeling like I was stealing money).  I ended up waiting for almost 2 hours past when my day in the field typically ends.  I went to my supervisor and explained to her, I really needed to get going whether it be home or to another client’s house because my breast were full and I was getting uncomfortable.  Her reply was, “OMG, you’re STILL BREASTFEEDING?” Then the other ladies in the office asked, “How old is he?” I replied, “Almost 14 months,” and the room fell silent.

I appreciate the fact, if they didn’t have anything nice to say, the didn’t say anything at all, but I have to admit, it would have been nice to have one person say something reassuring.  I immediately became defensive and began making excuses such as he’s allergic to milk, and MANY FOODS, and he’s my baby, and then I had an epiphany.  I told them, “My milk is better than any cows milk, and he can have it as long as my body will make it.”  Exited stage left, went home to my son who was eagerly awaiting his bounty.

While there remarks were unwarranted, they did not get me to a point where I wanted to start a petition or become an advocate.  I was just writing this because I’ve never experienced it, and hope those who read this understand that no matter the intention, when questioning a bf mother about her extended session, do realize we may get defensive, and if you don’t have anything supportive to say, well….

Thanks for listening!

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Overwhelmed With Breastfeeding?

Everyone rants and raves about how wonderful and beautiful breastfeeding is.  However, no one speaks about the DEMAND of breastfeeding.

I am in total agreement that breastfeeding is one of the best experiences I have experienced with my children being babies.  I love the bonding moments of their little fingers exploring my face, looking into my eyes with pure love, twirling their little fingers around my hair, taking breaks to coo in conversation with me.  Yes these are all moments I will cherish for as long as my memory permits, and I’m grateful I had the opportunity, support and patience to go exclusive for over 1 year.
(and still going).

Nursing moment in the early days…

DESPITE all the lovely moments we share nursing our little ones, we forget to take a BREAK.  Breastfeeding is one the most demanding events of motherhood, especially in the early days.  EVERYTHING, I repeat, EVERYTHING YOU DO WILL REVOLVE AROUND BREASTFEEDING!

Every move you make without baby, you have to anticipate emptying the boo-boos.  Oh, and yes, you NEED to make moves WITHOUT BABY!


Me at the Mall shopping for…Wait for it….ME!!! ALL BY MYSELF!

Remember these rules:

1. Everyone, that includes YOU, needs a break and me time.  Baby napping does not count.  You have to physically get out, about, and away from baby.  HOW YOU ASK?

2. SOLICIT HELP! Remember all those who visited when baby was born, offering a helping hand whenever you needed? TAKE THEM UP ON IT!  (in-laws, aunts, uncles, sister, brother, cousin, spouse, mailman (jk) )

3. NEVER feel embarrassed, ashamed, or like a failure for WANTING OR NEEDING a break.  It’s how we keep our sanity.  You have to remember despite all the hats you wear, you are still YOU.

4. Plan for breaks on a recurring basis so those in your life can plan as well, and help you accordingly.  Plus it gives you something to look forward to.

5. ALWAYS take your breast pump with you when traveling without baby.  You never know what life will bring you.  Engorgement can cause all types of problems besides discomfort.

6.  Remember, it’s only temporary, and breastfeeding will not last forever.  Enjoy the time and ability to do so,  but always TAKE time for YOU! Your baby needs you happy and healthy!

My oldest baby 14 years later…so I cherish these moments because the time flies!

Must Haves For Moms On The Go!

Having 4 kids, and ALWAYS on the go, I sometimes literally have to dash out the door at a moments notice! With an infant, this can prove very difficult.  However, I think I finally have mastered the task!!!!

First, my son’s diaper bag, almost NEVER leave my car unless it needs to be restocked. I like the “book-bag” style bags, because I can sling it on my back and carry my baby in his wrap at the same time.  They also are not so obvious that it’s a diaper bag, and day can use it too.
Second, I have the Bundle Me in his carseat which eliminates the need for having to take time to put a coat/snowsuit (which can prove to be very time consuming).


Lastly, my zip and go outfit!  I absolutely LOVE the one piece sweatsuit outfits for baby!  First my son HATES to wear clothes, so he usually has on a onesie in the house.  This past week he was sick, and I had to beg, plead and barter with his pediatrician’s office to give me a sick appointment versus going to the emergency department.  Well they did, but I had 30 minutes to get him there, and the office is 20 minutes away and I was blocks away from home and baby!


Guess who made it on the DOT??? Me, and I like to thank my 3 steps, especially the outfit, for getting me there.  The other plus to this outfit, is when you’re at the doctor’s office. They make you take everything off baby, and with only a zip outfit and a onesie, I was following the nurse out the room, instead of her waiting for me to undress baby.  She (who was pregnant) was impressed!

As I was writing this post, I was inspired to do the same for the princess who takes FOREVER and a day to get dressed after gymnastics. (Drumroll)….Well I found the solution from Gap Kids that will work all season (see pic below)!  For spring/summer you can wear a denim jacket with flip flops, crocs or moccasins.  Winter/fall throw some Uggs and a hoodie on! YES!!! She can test my patience now if she want to in that stinky, sweaty, feet smelling gymnastics gym!  “You have 2 minutes to get dressed or I’m leaving!” (That’s the speech she’s going to get from now on!)


Do You Know Your Baby’s “Baby Cues”?

This post was inspired by a family friend.  Recently, my cousin called me to see if I had any spare formula.  Since I received multiple samples in the mail, and I nurse, I was like, “Sure, why?” She told me her wife’s daughter’s baby keep running out of formula.

The nurse in me couldn’t help herself, and began investigating asking a zillion questions…”Don’t she get WIC?” “How much is she feeding the baby?” “Does he throw up a lot?”  She informed me the baby does get WIC, the baby eats all the time, as much as two 8 ounce bottles back to back, and he does throw up a lot.  Immediately, I told her, “OMG, she is soooooooo overfeeding that baby!”

Well according to my cousin, the mom, my great aunt, and my cousin’s wife, I was CRAZY! The baby eats it, so he must be hungry.  I, the nurse, certified NCAST feeding nurse, maternal-child nurse know nothing, and they know everything!  Just an update, this baby is currently over 20 POUNDS, 4 MONTHS OLD! (I rest my case).

The Princess as a Baby (Baby Buddah)

I do want to point out that overfeeding is more common in bottle-fed babies because the milk is free-flowing and it takes less effort.  Also, even when baby is finished eating, a parent has the ability to offer more formula even if it’s not needed or wanted.  Here is where a parent needs to pay attention to baby cues for hunger and satiation.

So here are so clues to know if your baby is GENUINELY HUNGRY

Early Cues

  • Opening closing mouth
  • Sucking on fingers or clothes
  • Smacking mouth or licking lips
Active Cues
  • Rooting
  • Attempting to get in nursing position
  • Squirming Fidgeting
  • Fussy
  • Breathing fast
Late Cues
  • Crying
  • Frantic rooting, turning head side to side
Typically  your baby needs to exhibit 3 or more of these Hunger Cues to be considered hungry.  Crying alone does not always equal hungry.  Also, just because the baby sucks the bottle, does not mean he’s hungry.  Sucking is comfort for babies, so many times a baby will take a bottle offered and don’t really want or need it.  That’s where the good ol’ pacifier comes in handy.
Here are signs of offering more than baby needs or wants.
  • Throwing up a lot after feedings- while some babies have reflux, sometimes babies throw up a lot due to overfeeding
  • Refusing bottle- some babies will turn their head away from the bottle or push it out
  • Wasting Bottle- while the baby may take the bottle, usually they won’t drink it all, they end up wasting more than they eat
  • Relaxed body- when a baby is full their body will be totally relaxed with arms and legs extended.

Crying Baby Anyone?

This post is inspired by my son’s “mi-mi” (aka grandma), and his dad (as I’m sitting here typing this he’s suggesting he’s hungry, but just had a 4 oz bottle).  Yesterday, I reluctantly left the newborn prince with his mi-mi for the first time, while I attended a Labor Day barbecue.  Now the last baby she dealt with is now 30 years old, her daughter.

An angry Alexander (Zander)!

I say I left him reluctantly, for my baby boy is a divo (made up male version of diva).  At just 2 weeks, he has his preferences, likes and dislikes, and to date, I’m the only one who actually knows what they are (pats self on back).  So a couple hours into the family event, I sent my SO home to relieve his mom, for I knew she was in over her head.  Then about another hour or so I called to check on him to see if he was hungry and guess who I hear in the background SCREAMING!! MY ZANDER!  I rush home to nurse and RESUCE  my baby boy.

However in hindsight, I know now to leave this list for all those taking care of my baby:

Why babies cry!

1. Hunger- This is the obvious that everyone nails.  However, it’s usually the only thing people think of, when caring for babies. Please Please Please pay attention to your baby’s “cues” to determine if hunger is the culprit, or you need to move on.  If baby is rooting, sucking, thrusting tongue, or putting hands to mouth, he is probably hungry.  If he is turning his head, content when you brush his cheek with your finger, or spitting the bottle/breast out, WELP, not hungry.

2. Wet/Dirty Diaper- Some babies could care less if they are rocking a soiled diaper, and then you have my Divo son who cares very deeply if his diaper is a mess, so much so he won’t even nurse, sit, or lay down until he has a clean diaper on.

3. Bored- Yes, babies do get bored, and want to be entertained.  They want you to give them eye to eye contact and engage in conversation with them.  Pick up a book and read to them.  Sing them a song.  Play with them with some age appropriate toys.  Just because they are a baby does not mean they do not want companionship.

4. Tired- Many babies will get fussy and cranky if they are sleepy, and need your assistance getting them comfortable.  Try swaddling, soft blanks, skin-to-skin, singing, rocking, holding next to mommy’s heart.

5. Cold/Hot- As the parent, you will have to pay attention to your baby to see how he/she responds to different temperatures.  For this can greatly affect a baby, thus making him or her cry.  Just because mom or dad likes to be smothered in blankets or freezing like the Antarctic, does not necessarily mean the same for baby.  Check feet, nose, and hands to see if they are chilly, and check hair and skin for warmth and sweating, and adjust accordingly.

6. Mom-  Unfortunately, sometimes MOM, is the end all for a fussy baby.  Dad and family members have to realize that for a newborn, MOM is all baby is familiar with in this new place called earth.  Sometimes the bullet has to be bitten and let mom do her “thang” and calm her baby down, like no one else can.

7. Held- Please don’t worry about spoiling your baby.  It has been proving that babies are not capable of being spoiled until they have developed a sense of cause and effect which does not happen until around age 4-6 months.  The little bundle of joy was just balled up in your tummy for 9 months, and the comfort and security of your touch, smell, voice, heartbeat, tummy growling is calming and settling.  Enjoy these bonding moments and give your baby the trust he or she needs with touch.

8. Pain- This is funny, for when mi-mi was on the phone with pop-pop with Zander in the back SCREAMING, he kept saying, “is something pinching him?”  While mi-mi was irritated at such a suggestions, pain could be a likely culprit.  Sometimes the baby may be sitting on something like a strap from a chair, a pacifier, or even in pain from sickness.

9. Formula- Sometimes (I have experienced this) the type of formula your baby is on can greatly affect his/her mood.  Many formulas give babies, gas, constipation, reflux all which will DEFINITELY make a baby cry! This is why I now breastfeed my children; I have not had an abdominal problem since.  However, if you bottle-feed, try gripe water, gas drops, rubbing baby tummy, or simply changing the formula.

10. Colic- This is a situation where some babies cry for no real know reason, for hours at a time, with peaks in the evening.  This can be very stressful on the parent and baby. If nothing you do seems to help settle your baby, take him/her to the pediatrician to rule out illness or colic to help you better know how to deal with your baby.

I hope this helps, if you have any questions please leave a comment!

Bottle Feeding: Let’s Stop Shaming It!

Since everyone is going absolutely CRAZY over breast feeding this month (I have nothing against it, Promise), I figured I’d start my feeding series off with the bottle.

Unfortunately, everyone is not able to nurse their baby or maybe a nursing mom is just unable to.  She may be working, latch issues, baby is in the hospital (premie maybe), etc.  Well thank goodness we live in times with alternatives.
I am simply going to list what is entailed (good and not so good) when a parent chooses to use the bottle.
1. Types of Bottles- there are sooooooo many different types of bottles on the market it can be overwhelming.  Choosing a bottle in my opinion is really a matter of preference for the parent more so than the newborn, for if milk is coming out a baby will suck. Many bottles claim different features, but at the end of the day, you turn the bottle upside down, the baby suck, milk comes out, and some air will go in REGARDLESS of the bottle.  When it’s all said and done, you burp them and go on about your business.
2. Cleaning-Bottles have to be throughly cleaned to avoid germs, and the only bottle that can be sanitized via the old-fashioned method of boiling is glass bottles.  The least hassles are the Playtex with drop-ins.  Other bottles have multiple pieces you have to assemble and disassemble when cleaning which can be tedious.  There are bottle cleaning kits you can purchase, but hot soapy water with a bottle brush will do just fine.
3. Anyone Can Feed the Baby!- This means the nurses after you deliver, dear old dad, grandparents, siblings etc!  The act of feeding is not left entirely up to you, giving you the opportunity to rest, run errands, work uninterrupted, or to simply take a break if so desired.  This is an area where bottle feeding really frees mom up to handle business.

4. Preparation of Bottles- Bottles do require mixing of formula and powder and heating before actually feeding the baby.  There are ready made formulas available, however, they do not last long after opening depending if you buy the individual bottles or the large bottles.  The individual bottles are good for 24 hours after opening, and an hour after the baby has fed from it.  After the recommended time has passed, you have to throw it away.  The larger ready made bottles are good for 48 hours after opening and have to be refrigerated.

5. More to carry in diaper bag- When bottle-feeding, you have to carry water, the formula (there are handy containers available), and the bottles, which will add weight to your diaper bag.

6. Formula- All formulas are not made for every baby, hence some babies go through several different formulas until they find one that suits their digestive system right, and there are MANY different formulas on the market.  In the meantime, you may have some rough days and night due to gas, constipation, colic, reflux, and/or upset stomach.

7. Feed your baby without EYES- Bottle feeding is a method that is obviously accepted universally, and you can feed your baby anywhere, anyplace, anytime without having to find cover, reach for a cover, or cover up.  You don’t have to worry about stares, questions, possibly being put out of establishments if your views differ and so forth.  Let’s face it we all heard the stories.

With every decision we make as parents, we will always upset someone somewhere. Just remember to make the decision that is best for you and your baby.