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Friday, August 20, 2010

Medela Party part 2: Pumping tips

As I mentioned in the previous post, I hosted a MomSelect party for Medela with some pregnant friends this week.
   I know a lot about pumping and Medela's products because I went back to work full time with my Pump in Style when Lauren was 8 weeks old.   At peak, I pumped at home in the morning before I left, then at work 2 times, and then once in the evening after Lauren fell asleep.  I went through a lot of trial and error so I learned a lot about pumping.  Here are some things I learned:

   - Morning pumping always has the most milk, and less comes out as the day goes on.  This is normal.  If at the last pump of the day, not much is coming out, fiddle with the pump's knobs to get the letdown reflex more than once and keep drinking water throughout the day.
   - You need to set aside about 15 minutes to pump, but much of that time goes to disassembling and sterlizing the pump parts.  If you use a double pump, you'll get twice as much out in the same time.  I used to use an Avent Steam sterilizer when at home (makes a great drying rack, too) and the Medela Quick-clean Micro-steam bags when at work or traveling.  Medela has since come out with some special Quickclean wipes that I can't wait to try, as they will save time in the clean-up/sterilizing phase.
   - You don't have to just use the bottles that come with the pump, you can fit many other brands on and pump directly in using the bottle the baby will drink from.  I had Dr. Brown's bottles and the narrow size fit the pump perfectly.
   - I found it easier to pump into bottles and dump the milk into the bags, because if I needed to set everything down, the pump set-up comes with little yellow plastic "feet" that the bottles stand on, so they won't tip over.  Set down the bags before they're full, and they might just spill.  You don't want that!  Also, don't overfill the bags, they might leak.  (They show the limit line on the bags, but if you have just a little extra, it's tempting to keep going...)
   -  Milk comes out better if you are fully relaxed, easier said than done!  But to help, lock the door of the room where you're pumping, so you don't have to worry about Bob from Accounting barging in. ;) And have a magazine or something mindless to do so you're not stressed while pumping.  Pictures of the baby help the letdown reflex, too.
     - When organizing the milk, put the most recent milk in back and the oldest in front.  You can label the date with a piece of masking tape on the bottle, or write directly on the bags if you're freezing them.  I kept a Sharpie in the pump bag, it was easier than pressing with a ball-point pen.
      - If for some reason the pump does not seem as effective after awhile, change out the membranes.  They are little white pieces that are only $1 each and they can wear out after awhile.  Really easy to pull them out and put new ones on, takes half a second!

   If you have any questions or suggestions for other moms, feel free to post a comment for me and I will do my best to answer.  Another great resource is Medela's webpage.

   Final tip:  If you end up having extra milk, consider donating it to a local mom in need.  Milkshare is a great resource for matching donors with recipients.  It is illegal in most states to sell breast milk, so you cannot accept money for it, but the recipient should provide you with milk storage bags, a cooler (if you are shipping the milk) and perhaps other things that you need in conjunction with pumping.

Medela party: Part 1, my breastfeeding tips

On Tuesday, Ryan took Lauren to a Dodger game (Matt Kemp bobblehead night, yay!) and I hosted a party for some of my pregnant friends. 
    This was my first MomSelect party, and it was sponsored by Medela, a company I happen to be a huge fan of, so it was right up my alley.  Medela gave me goodie bags to give the guests, which contained Breastfeeding Information Guides and:

    -  Tender care lanolin
    -  Quick clean wipes
    -  Disposable nursing bra pads
    -  Quick-clean Micro-Steam bags

    Here are some photos of us, (note, it looks like we're getting drunk but they're all mocktails!)


    With Lauren, I went back to work full time at 8 weeks and I got tons and tons of use out of my Pump in Style Advanced breast pumpMedela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump.  I had so much milk I ended up donating the extra to three other babies.  
    Here are some of my breastfeeding tips, things I was doing anyway, that I later learned increase milk supply:
    -When you are still in the hospital, have the nurses watch you feed the baby and show you how to do the correct hold. 
    - If you have a Boppy pillow (my favorite) or My Breast Friend, bring it to the hospital so you so you can practice using that too. 
    - Ask the nurses for the pumping kit from Medela, they will probably give it to you for free and then you save $56!  It has all the attachments, membranes, etc., that you need to hook up to a rented breast pump but it also works on your Medela pump at home and then if you need any of those parts, say while you are washing one set, you have extra.
    -Consider meeting with a lactation consultant while you're in the hospital and a few days after you get home, to make sure your baby has the latch down right.  If you do it while you're there, it should be covered by insurance as part of the hospital stay.
     -If it hurts when the baby nurses, get help!  Lauren had nursed so hard on my left side that I had a very painful blister, and that is when I discovered the nipple shield.  They have them in the hospital or you can buy them online, but they're not available, say at CVS, Longs, RiteAid, Albertsons, Vons, Ralphs, etc. (Yes, I did go on a desperate shopping trip one night to all of those places!)
     -Remember to drink tons and tons of water.  I went through cases of Perrier and Pellegrino, my favorites.  I was also eating lots of oatmeal because I like it, but that is supposed to boost milk production, too.  Also Mothers' Milk Tea tastes pretty good and couldn't hurt.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this blog posting, however, MomSelect and Medela provided products for this review and for the party guests.  I have also previously bought all of these products myself and I heartily endorse them!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New toy and sibling anticipation

Yesterday I bought something on Craig's List that I have been wanting for awhile.  It's a Valco Hitchhiker, which attaches to the back of a stroller so that Lauren can stand on it and get a ride.  What appealed to me about this particular brand is that it attaches to many strollers, and has a weight limit of 66 pounds.  So for example, the Bugaboo wheeled board has a weight limit of only 40 pounds and attaches only to a Bugaboo.

The nice guy who sold it to me attached it to our Maclaren  for me and showed me how to use it.  It is very easy.  The Maclaren can still fold as usual, because with 2 clicks, the board part detaches, leaving only two smalll attachment pieces that are clipped to the stroller.  I plan to put it on the back of Wrigley's Bugaboo after he's born.  But for now, will keep it on the Maclaren (which he won't use until 6 months).  Last night Lauren got so excited to try it out that we took a walk around the block in it, using one of Ryan's 25 pound free weights in the front of the stroller (it would tip over if you put extra weight on the back without a kid or weight counterbalancing in front).  She had such a good time that she didn't want to come inside, and I had to explain to her that neighbors you meet in the darkness are not as um, chatty, friendly (showered, sober??) as ones you meet in daylight, and it's good to come inside at dusk.

Lauren's startin to get excited about her brother being born, and now this is one more exciting part.  To ride on the back of his stroller like a big kid!  Tomorrow we are testing the Hitchhiker again with a trip to Farmers' Market with our friend Laurel in the front, Lauren riding on back.  If Laurel's handlers will allow it, I may post a photo.  :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quote from rude stranger at the store

On Tuesday, Lauren and I were shopping and this strange lady came up to us, didn't even acknowledge me, just talked to Lauren, and here is what she said:

"Wow, you are lucky you didn't get you mom's hair! Daddy must have the curls, huh? Or does your dad even have hair left?"

Just when you think you have heard everything...


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Wrigley update and Lauren quote

First the Lauren quote, from last night:  "I love corn chips!  They  make me smile like a bad wolf!"

And speaking of bad wolves...ok, speaking, as we were not, of her brother...At the last fetal cardiologist appt and OB appointment, they heard NORMAL heartbeats!  So I'm transferred back to the nurse-midwives.  I do see my doctor one more time at the 32 week appointment.  They also tested me for all sorts of rare auto-immune diseases because lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and a bunch of other syndromes can sometimes cause heart rhythm problems in babies.  My tests all came back negative.  I didn't think I had anything wrong, I've been pretty healthy other than the obvious pregnancy stuff, certainly no stiff joints, itchy rashes or whatever other symptoms those diseases express.  But we had a worrisome week anyway, waiting for the results, because the doctor had explained that it was possible I had a rare disease that was in remission but would show up later.  Phew! 

So now that I'm back to "normal pregnant person" status, I'm dreading the glucose test I have to do in 2 weeks.  It wouldn't seem like such a big deal to most people, except I'm not most people!  I'm someone who eats breakfast every day.  And I walk around like a zombie and can't fully function until I do.  So, I'm supposed to not eat breakfast, then conjure up energy somehow to drive to the lab and drink a sugary orange soda, then wait 1 hour, then get my blood drawn.   Don't enjoy skipping breakfast, don't enjoy orange sugary drinks, not fond of laboratory waiting rooms, really hate getting my blood drawn.  Hence the dread.  I was really hoping this would slip through the cracks as I was transferred from my doctor back to the nurse-midwives, they might each assume I had done this.  Nope, thanks to astute chart-reading, they caught it.

I might add, they test me (and every other  patient) for diabetes at every visit.  Yes, TMI coming up, guys, but they make everyone pee in a cup at every visit.  Lauren was fascinated with this, and has been asking me if she could please do it, too, at home.  She even offered to pee in one of her play kitchen cups, so as not to ruin my kitchen ones.  I told her that if she was very lucky, someday her pediatrician might ask her to do it but it was something special you only get to do in the doctor's office.

New dress from Poppy


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