My Life of Travels and Adventures: October 2012

Tips for the Breastfeeding/Working Mom

30 October 2012

 We are in our 9th month of breastfeeding here and still going pretty strong.  Of course we have had some ups and downs throughout this journey but overall everything is going well…

I have been back to work for 4 months now and have developed quite the knack for pumping… So I thought I would share some of the things I have learnt with you. 

(Yes, learnt is a word.  Yes, I have had this discussion quite a few times.  Yes, I used it frequently.)

1.  Invest in a nice double electric pump - I feel like this is a no brainer.  Having to use a manual pump day after day.  No thanks!
2.  Have 2 sets of pump parts -  I started back to work with one complete set of pump parts, some spare tubes, extra membranes and a bunch of bottles.  Each night/next morning either Neil or I (who am I kidding, it was mostly always Neil) had to disassemble, wash and reassemble the pump parts.  When Reid was in the hospital, I was given a set of pump parts to use with their hospital grade pump.  Lucky for me, everything would work with my pump too.  Score!  Extra set of parts for me.  Let me tell you… Having two sets of parts is like heaven.  Now we do not need to (and usually do not) wash dishes and parts each night. 
3.  Prepare as much as you can the night before - We always try to have the parts washed the night before and at least drying on the rack when we head to bed.
4.  Don’t wash your pump parts between sessions in a work day -  I work at a small manufacturing company that resides in 2 twin houses… There is no kitchen, there is no sink other than that in the restroom… The place gets cleaned once a week.  I am not comfortable using that sink to wash and clean things that are going to touch my babies milk.  No thanks!  I start out the day with clean parts, pump once, store the milk in a bottle, wipe the flanges, connect a second set of bottles and pop everything back into the cooler. 
5.  Bring a cooler - I actually am using an insulated lunch bag as my cooler with a reusable ice pack made to fit around soda cans.  I keep my pumped milk and parts in the cooler for the entire day. It was easier than storing the milk in the fridge (we do have a small common fridge for all 20+ of us).  I was afraid someone would get into it or I would forget it.  The lunch box next to my desk works great.
6.  Have a freezer stash - I went back to work with an awesome freezer stash… 1000+ oz… Yes, I was crazy.  Is that much necessary?  No.  We had some issues early off where Reid refused to nurse for about a week and I was exclusively pumping.  I realized at that point, once I was pumping for entire feedings I was not going to keep up with him for long. 
7.  Drink - Water that is.  Drink lot’s of it.  I think I pee more now that I did when I was pregnant. 
8.  Don’t worry so much - I found that if I worry about the amount of milk I am producing, it just makes it worse.  So now I just go with the flow. 

There you have it.  My tips for the breastfeeding/working/pumping/do it all momma. 

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Book Review: The Lone Wolf

28 October 2012

Lone WolfI love Jodi Picoult!  I was so super excited when I saw this book in the store and was not disappointed

According to goodreads... "Edward Warren, twenty-four, has been living in Thailand for five years, a prodigal son who left his family after an irreparable fight with his father, Luke. But he gets a frantic phone call: His dad lies comatose, gravely injured in the same accident that has also injured his younger sister Cara.

With her father’s chances for recovery dwindling, Cara wants to wait for a miracle. But Edward wants to terminate life support and donate his father’s organs. Is he motivated by altruism, or revenge? And to what lengths will his sister go to stop him from making an irrevocable decision?

Lone Wolf explores the notion of family, and the love, protection and strength it’s meant to offer. But what if the hope that should sustain it, is the very thing that pulls it apart? Another tour de force from Jodi Picoult,Lone Wolf examines the wild and lonely terrain upon which love battles reason"

Definitely a good book and highly recommended. 

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How to Build Your Breast Milk Freezer Stash?

23 October 2012

When Reid was 5 months old, I went back to work full time with over 1500 oz of milk in my freezer.  Yes, that is a crazy amount. 

However, we had room in our deep freezer for it and I was producing it.  So why not store it up for a raining day.  Or a day when it would be needed. 

Okay, on to the point of this post… how I built up my stash. 

1.   I Pumped Early -  My milk came in when Reid was 3 days old.  That happened to be the same night we came home from the hospital.  This lead to a 2am melt down at our house.   

I had an awesome nurser at the hospital.  He would happily suckle away every other hour for 10/20 minutes at a time.  Easy peasy, right?  Not so much when I was super engorged.  Reid would not latch.  I was sore from the c-section.  I was tired.  He was frustrated.  He was gassy.  It was 2am.  It was not a good combination. 

Thank god (maybe?) my mom was there.  We knew he was hungry.  We just could not get him to eat.  So at 2am, my mom busts open my pump box.  (Okay, I know everyone says not to open the pump before you need it, since then it can not be returned.  My advice is to at least find the manual online and read it prior)  Neither of us, having every seen or used a breast pump before had quite some trouble assembling it for use the first time.  (Of course the instructions say to sterilize everything prior to use… That was the least of our worries at that time)

Needless to say, I pumped my first 3/4oz my first night home from the hospital and Reid had his first bottle at 2am.  (After which he burped and we all promptly fell asleep)

So, began my pumping journey… 3 days postpardum.

2.  I pumped often - Starting then, I pretty much pumped every day.  When there were others around, I would nurse Reid and then pump after every feeding I could.  In the early weeks I wouldn’t get much… An ounce or two at a time (It all adds up though) but I stuck with it and started a freezer stash.  I froze my first bag of milk when Reid was just 4 days old.

No I don’t feel like I missed a lot by pumping so much.  I only pumped after nursing sessions if someone else was around to play with Reid.  Most of the time, it was once session in the morning before Neil left for work and then 2 in the evening when he was home from work. 

3.  I pumped overnight - Once Reid was a few weeks old and getting into a consistent sleeping pattern overnight (Sleeping a good 4/5 hour stretch at once… Oh, how I miss the swaddled baby sleep) Neil would feed a bottle and I would pump for this first overnight feeding.  This is really how my freezer stash grew.  Reid would take a 3-4oz bottle and I was pumping between 10-15oz.  Grow stash grow. 

Yes, I was not working and Neil was at the time.  Yes, Neil got up with us overnight.  I started out nursing overnight as well.  Neil would get up with us then also.  It would take forever for Reid to nurse.  Sitting there in bed, I would be soo tired.

 Once we figured out that it was s good 10-15 minutes quicker for me to get a bottle from downstairs, bring it upstairs for Neil, go back downstairs, set up the pump parts, pump, store everything, and then go back upstairs to bed… all while Neil gave Reid a bottle… that became our middle of the night routine. 

4. I pumped until I was empty plus some more - 99% of the time I would pump a good 3-5 minutes past when my milk stopped flowing.  Of course there was a couple times, when something urgent came up and I stopped early.

5. I kept it up - Up until the week before I went back to work, I pumped every night while Reid took a bottle.  I pumped after most nursing sessions when Neil was around.

6.  I nursed often and on demand - For the first 3 -4 months, Reid was nursing every 2 - 2.5 hours during the day and a once or twice (plus a pumping session) overnight.  Early on, I swear all I did was nurse him.

7.  I let (and even encouraged) him comfort suck

8.  I drank (water that is) - I drank at least 8oz of water every time he would nurse.  I still do… In addition to whatever else I drink during the day.  

 I think #9 should be that I peed a lot!

By pumping after Reid had ate, it set aside a few minutes of dedicated Daddy/Reid time each evening.  Something that I love!

I really am glad that I was so vigilant about pumping and growing my freezer stash.   When Reid was sick and not eating it took a hit.  Also, now that I have been back to work for a bit… I am not pumping enough to cover Reid’s daycare bottles each day.  So little by little my freezer stash is being depleted. 

Again, I don't think this much of a freezer stash is necessary.  I am rotating through it now.  I may donate some soon.  But for now I am happy to have it. 

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Book Review: Angry Housewives Eating BonBons

22 October 2012

Another one of the books I read while pumping at work... Angry Housewives Eating BonBons by Lorna Landvik.

It was an interesting book... I kept waiting for something to happen but there was no big dramatic event.

According to goodreads..."The women of Freesia Court are convinced that there is nothing good coffee, delectable desserts, and a strong shoulder can’t fix. Laughter is the glue that holds them together—the foundation of a book group they call AHEB (Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons), an unofficial “club” that becomes much more. It becomes a lifeline. Holding on through forty eventful years, there’s Faith, a lonely mother of twins who harbors a terrible secret that has condemned her to living a lie; big, beautiful Audrey, the resident sex queen who knows that with good posture and an attitude you can get away with anything; Merit, the shy doctor’s wife with the face of an angel and the private hell of an abusive husband; Kari, a wise woman with a wonderful laugh who knows the greatest gifts appear after life’s fiercest storms; and finally, Slip, a tiny spitfire of a woman who isn’t afraid to look trouble straight in the eye. 

This stalwart group of friends depicts a special slice of American life, of stay-at-home days and new careers, of children and grandchildren, of bold beginnings and second chances, in which the power of forgiveness, understanding, and the perfectly timed giggle fit is the CPR that mends broken hearts and shattered dreams."

Overall it was an okay book.

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Homemade Laundry Soap

18 October 2012

Yup, I jumped on the bandwagon.  

When our huge bottle of All Free & Clear was nearing its end I started looking into recipes for making my own laundry soap.  

I opted for a powder formula so I wouldn't have to figure out how to store large amounts of liquid detergent.  


-1 bar Fels-Naptha soap 
-1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
-1/2 cup Borax

1. Chopped the Fels- Naptha bar with a butter knife into 6/7 pieces

2. Food process the heck out of them.  It takes a while in the food processor for the bar to turn into a powder
3. Add the washing soda and borax. 
4. Process again. 
5. Store and enjoy!
6. Use 1 Tbsp per load (sometimes 2 for very large/dirty loads)

Notes: Each batch makes enough for about 40 loads.  Each load costs about $0.09.  

I usually make 5 batches at once and it lasts us several months.  

We have been using our homemade laundry soap for a few weeks now.  It does the job.  Everything comes out clean.  It smells nice.

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9 Things My 9 Month Old No Longer Uses

16 October 2012

    My teeny tiny little baby longer teeny or tiny.   Somehow we both have survived these past 9+ months.  But a lot has changed.   I was surprised at how much stuff a little baby uses and how fast we are packing things away.  

    So without further ado, things we are no longer using…

    1.  A nursing pillow - 

    I mentioned prior that we received our boppy pillow as a hand-me-down from Neil’s sister.  I also received a …… at one of my baby showers.  In the first couple months of breast feeding these were lifesavers.  I could prop Reid up against me, insert boob into mouth and relax (well as much as you can) while he ate.  Seeing that he ate every 2 hours around the clock having my hands free during this time meant that I could eat dinner, control the remote, or play on the computer.  

    However right around 5 months Reid started being much more interested in the world around while eating.  He would not just lay there and eat anymore.  He was rolling away from me and whipping his head around to see the dogs.  Using the nursing pillow became more of a hassle than help and they got packed away.  

    Now I just plop Reid in my lap while he eats for a few minutes a side, then he is off again to play. 
2.  The swing - 

Oh how I miss you.  He would sleep beautifully in the swing for naps or at night.  He loved the movement and I loved that he was cozy and safe… Oh yeah and that I could sleep too.  Well once Reid was able to sit up on his own, he would arch his back and make the swing a dangerous place.

Yeah, there is a seat buckle that I could use, but that was just too much of a hassle… So the swing got packed away.  

3.  The Rock-n-Play - 

After sleeping in the swing for a bit at night we put Reid in the Rock-n-Play.  He slept great at night again.  However, as the day approached for me to head back to work and Reid to daycare, I knew I had to get him used to sleeping flat on his back.  So sadly, the Rock-n-Play was folded up and shoved in a corner of our bedroom. 

4.  Swaddleme’s -

This just makes me sad.  Reid would sleep so good all swaddled up.  Ugh.  Uninterrupted sleep.  Sound sleep.  How I miss you.  Anyways, near the end of the Rock-n-Play days, Reid was able to consistently escape being swaddled, so, I sadly packed these heaven sent items away. 

5. The Bumbo -
 We only really used this for 2-3 months. It worked great to entertain Reid in the morning while making breakfast and chores in the kitchen.  

Again, once he could sit up on his own, the bumbo was a goner.

6.  The Moby Wrap - The Moby was heaven for the first couple months after Reid was born.  I would wrap him up tight against me and get housework done around the house.  He would snuggle in close and sleep away.  I used the moby to run in and out of stores with him.  Somewhere around the 3.5 month mark, it started to get uncomfortable with Reid in the Moby so we switched exclusively to the Ergo.  

7.  Activity/Play Mat - 

Reid loved to play on his playmat when he was stationary.  However, as soon as he was a rolling and then sitting, the playmat was a thing of the past.

8. Infant Seat -

At 7 months we started transitioning Reid out of the infant seat.  Reid weighs less than 20lb (our seat goes to 30lbs) but is just 1.5inches shorter than the requirements.  I was hoping to get through the summer with the infant seat, but in and out of daycare with that sucker each day made me reconsider.  Once I saw the carseats I wanted go on a stellar sale, I snagged two of them up.  After staring at the boxes for a week, we installed one of the seats in my car to get Reid used to it.  He loves it.  I love it.  So much easier on my back.  He has more room and can actually see around in the car.  Happy baby = Happy Momma. 

9.  The infant bathtub - 

Again that pesky sitting thing was the demise of yet another infant item, the bathtub.  Our little baby is now taking baths in the big bathtub.  
    Even though we are not using these items any longer they all did serve there purpose.  I would not to redo these first 7 months without any of them.  Oops case of the double negative there… 

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Book Review: The No-Cry Sleep Solution

15 October 2012

I read this book in an attempt to get Reid to sleep longer.  Yeah, did no happen. 

According to goodreads "A breakthrough approach for a good night's sleep--with no tears

There are two schools of thought for encouraging babies to sleep through the night: the hotly debated Ferber technique of letting the baby "cry it out," or the grin-and-bear-it solution of getting up from dusk to dawn as often as necessary. If you don't believe in letting your baby cry it out, but desperately want to sleep, there is now a third option, presented in Elizabeth Pantley's sanity-saving book "The No-Cry Sleep Solution."

Pantley's successful solution has been tested and proven effective by scores of mothers and their babies from across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Based on her research, Pantley's guide provides you with effective strategies to overcoming naptime and nighttime problems. "The No-Cry Sleep Solution "offers clearly explained, step-by-step ideas that steer your little ones toward a good night's sleep--all with no crying.

Tips from The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Uncover the stumbling blocks that prevent baby from sleeping through the night Determine--and work with--baby's biological sleep rhythms Create a customized, step-by-step plan to get baby to sleep through the night Use the Persistent Gentle Removal System to teach baby to fall asleep without breast-feeding, bottlefeeding, or using a pacifier"

Yeah. I though it was a rip off.  It's basically, try this idea for a few weeks then implement another idea. I guess I was hoping for the idea and/or plan to be written out for me but there was none.  There was no list.  Overall, I did not find this book helpful at all.  

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