My Milk Sharing Journey: Part One

Posted 11-26-2013 at 09:55 AM by angelaw

After I gave birth to the twins via surrogacy, the parents asked if I would pump milk and send it to them. Of course I agreed. I don’t know if I realized what a commitment it would be, but knowing that I was giving them an amazing gift kept me going strong. I pumped every three hours round the clock for 6 months, collecting approximately 60-70 ounces daily that I would freeze and then ship to them once a week. I appreciated the extra calorie burn that came with making milk and I was quickly down to well below my pre-pregnancy weight in no time!

After the six month mark, I had some issues with the parents and I had decided to stop pumping and shipping to them. However, since I was pumping so often, just stopping would have caused some extreme engorgement. I chose to continue to pump and store the milk, but to slow down significantly on how often I would pump. I was pretty much weaning myself from the pump.

By the time I was done pumping completely (around 12 months postpartum), I had built up quite a stash of milk. I had heard from a lady I worked with about moms looking online for breast milk donations for their little ones. I decided to check it out. I will admit that at the time (before Facebook and other social media sites were a big deal) I had a tough time finding moms in need of milk. I, instead, came across many men who were looking for the milk for, um… “personal reasons”. After posting an ad on one site that I had milk available, I finally started getting some emails from somewhat local moms looking for milk.

Diaper Swapers

Cost Savings of Breastfeeding

Posted 11-22-2013 at 07:21 AM by angelaw

I guess I never really thought about it until recently, but there are HUGE savings for the breastfeeding mom’s family over using formula. I have nursed my two boys for well past their first year of life (youngest is 26 months and going strong!) and have never supplemented with formula. I honestly didn’t know how much it cost until I looked it up to make sure I was accurate before writing this blog.

I am part of an online baby and children’s resale group and noticed a lot more demand for formula. Even at a ‘discount’ mothers are paying around $15-17 a can from other moms on the site. I have heard that a can usually lasts around 3 days maybe up to 5 and that the retail of the average can of formula is around $25. So, just by nursing exclusively the first six months, I saved my family approximately $1500! Now, I’m sure that if I were to have chosen formula, I would have used coupons and shopped sales, so that may not be an exact. But, I think that my estimate is pretty close to the savings I have benefited from by breastfeeding and what I figured above was just for the first six months each time.

I won’t lie and say that there are no costs when you choose to breastfeed. I, myself, bought a breast pump and around 5 nursing bras and a couple nursing tank tops. I also would consider the increase in the cost I saw when I went to the grocery because of my ‘nursing mom’s appetite’. But, if I am supposed to add all of those up when comparing breastfeeding over formula feeding, I should probably consider all the bottles, bottle cleaning tools, drying rack, purified water, etc. that also come with formula feeding.

Handling SPD

Posted 11-22-2013 at 07:10 AM by whitneywalters

What is SPD?
– SPD or symphysis pubis dysfunction is a stiff joint the connects your pelvic halves. Your body produces a hormone called relaxin, which softens your ligaments to get your body ready for birth.
You pelvic joint moves a lot more during pregnancy, which can cause inflammation and pain. It may lead to SPD.

Common symptoms are -
Back, hip or pelvic pain.
A grinding or clicking feeling in your pelvic area. ( I had it with my last two pregnancies and again with my current. The best way I can describe the sensation is sand in your joints. )
Pain in your thighs. Often made worse by walking up stairs, getting out of bed and parting your legs.
Pain is often worse at night, making it hard to sleep.
If you get SPD in one pregnancy, you are likely to get it again. SPD can develop after pregnancy as well.

For more information –

I have had SPD in my past two pregnancies and again in my current. The first time I did not start getting symptoms until around thirty weeks, it was around twenty five  weeks the second time and now in my current pregnancy I started getting the pain at twenty weeks. There are several things you can do to try to lessen the pain. 

Breastfeeding: It’s All Or Nothing?

Posted 11-8-2013 at 01:15 PM by yoliyoda

“Exclusively breastfed”. It’s two words that when placed together create a golden ideal for some mothers. Many of us read the research about the benefits of breastfeeding our children exclusively for the first 6 months and then continuing afterwards for the first year or beyond. So many of us start with the idea that we can do it. We don’t think about the fact that life happens, issues arise, and something just might get in the way of the best laid plans.

Many mothers may find themselves in the position that I was in: formula in the fridge. I had a hungry baby and supply issues that just weren’t going to be solved overnight. I did what I had to do for my son at the time. However, just one sip of one bottle took him out of the “exclusively breastfed” club. It was devastating on so many levels, and for a short time I wondered if my breastfeeding efforts were still worth the results. Very rarely do we read about the benefits of supplementing. It can leave a mother feeling it’s all or nothing.

However, there is hope on the horizon. Often articles do a clean-cut comparison to show the dramatic differences between breastfed and formula-fed babies by citing the statistics on exclusively breastfed babies. It might be that many scientist only include exclusively breastfed babies in their research because there are too many factors for babies that are supplemented–factors that might skew the outcome, or make result subjective (such as how much formula they have, what time of day, what brand, ect.) But remember, the wording of the studies and statistics don’t null and void the benefits of some breast milk over none at all.

There simply needs to be more research done into the benefits of supplementing over exclusively formula-feeding. The information published prompting breastfeeding should speak to the mass experience of mothers. The truth is that according to the CDC, in the US 76.5% of babies

Cloth Diapers and Tummy Troubles

Posted 11-8-2013 at 12:29 PM by whitneywalters

It is the middle of the night, your baby wakes up crying. You pick her up to comfort her and the smell hits you. You know immediately what is going on, your baby has diarrhea. I know I am not the only mom that has dealt with this. I will never forget the time that my youngest came down with rotavirus. She was so miserable and the smell was the worst. We were washing diapers around the clock to keep up and keep the smell away. We thought about switching to disposables during this time but since her skin was already very irritated from the diarrhea, I did not want to make it worse. Between lots of diaper changes, lots of CJS at each change and baths, I was able to keep the rash pretty much at bay.

Even my best diapers were not able to contain all the mess at times. We had a few blow outs and times it would leak out around her legs. It did not matter if you changed her in a matter of moments after, the diaper just was not always able to keep up. For this reason, I was keeping a fleece cover over her diaper at all times. If it got dirty, I would immediately rinse and wash it to prevent it from getting a lot of stains.

We were washing her diapers twice and I sunned her diapers as much as possible to help with the staining as well. It seemed like the minute one load was out, another was in. We made it through all seven days of her being sick and used cloth the whole time. One of my fleece diapers did get stained

Breastfeeding as a Working Mom

Posted 11-5-2013 at 08:45 AM by angelaw

After I had my first son, I was so busy relishing in the time I got to spend with him I didn’t realize how fast my short 12 week maternity leave had gone by. I was surprised at how many of my friends and family members expected me to wean just because I was returning to work. I had planned to nurse him for one full year and had no intention of stopping at 12 weeks!

When “K” was around six weeks old, I decided to try to introduce him to a bottle. That was a joke. He completely refused each and every bottle there was on the market. By the time I was to return to work, I was very worried about what he was going to do for food for the 9 hours plus commute time I would be away from him. I had started pumping (with my trusty hand-held pump) the week before I was due back to work to build up a little stash for “K”, although I was unsure how he was going to be able to drink it.

My mother (who really wasn’t pro-breastfeeding) was going to be keeping him while I went to work, and she was a bit concerned as well. The day before returning to work, she and I found a solution. It wasn’t the best thing, I’m sure, but it worked. She fed him expressed milk through a medicine dropper. This took time, but she didn’t really have anything else to do during the day and this was her first grandchild, so I lucked out having someone available that would take the time to feed my precious little one this way.

As far as the pumping went; this was well before all the laws were passed about lactation rooms and a place to keep the milk, etc. but I was fortunate enough to have a place to pump and time to do it. Granted, I pumped in the family restroom, it was large enough that I had a chair brought in and I was nowhere near the toilet. There was also a plug in there in case I had an electric pump (which I never used by the way). We had a sink and fridge in the lounge that I appreciated for clean-up of my pump and storage of the milk. While this is far from what many would see as ‘ideal’, I was impressed that this ‘big box’ store (that gets such a bad rap for how they treat their employees) had worked so well with me before any laws were put into place.

Battle Of The Yeast

Posted 11-5-2013 at 07:25 AM by whitneywalters

Diaper rashes are bad enough to have to deal with. Yeast diaper rashes are a whole nothing ball park and an even bigger issue when you are using cloth diapers.

I never had to deal with a yeast diaper rash with my first three children, my fourth child was rather prone to them. Any time I needed antibiotic while I was nursing her or she needed one, she would end up with a yeast rash. She also got them randomly.

I know that I am glad that a friend of mine had already dealt with this issue with her child. She was able to give me the run down on what I needed to know to clean my diapers, kill the yeast and how to protect my diapers in the process.

The first step is treating the rash.  Your doctor can prescribe you a medicine ( I have done it this way and cured it in more natural ways ). The cream they give you is not cloth diaper friendly. If you want to keep using your cloth diapers while on this cream, you will need to use a liner of some kind. A fold cloth wipe, fleece liner or throw away liner will do the trick.

There are other ways to treat the rash. CJs makes a yeast rash cream, some people have used coconut oil and I personally have used tea tree oil.

A Letter To Mom, a Breast Cancer Survivor

Posted 10-29-2013 at 09:25 AM by yoliyoda

Dear Mom,

Even though you are always on my heart and mind–it’s even the more so in October. This is the month that a whole nation takes a moment to think about the disease that almost took you from my life too soon.

Breast Cancer almost denied you of seeing me graduate, get married, and have your grandson. It almost took you out of my son’s life before he got a chance to know you. This beast almost took my confidant, human reality check, biggest cheerleader, and best friend.

You may not always understand why I chose some of the parenting techniques that I do. Cloth diapers seem like more work. Attachment parenting doesn’t seem structured enough. And breastfeeding, well, that seems like an unnecessary challenge.

But, you’re one of my inspirations for so many of my parenting decisions–especially breast feeding. You remind me every chance you get that cancer, especially breast cancer, runs in our family. You tell me to get my mammograms, do my monthly check up, and always follow up with the doctor. However, those aren’t the only things that I can do.

The first time I ever saw someone breastfeeding…

Posted 10-22-2013 at 12:43 PM by angelaw

I find it interesting when I hear other people talk about the first time they saw someone breastfeeding. At La Leche League meetings, the question comes up quite a bit. Most of the mamas there share their stories about how they had seen their moms nursing their younger siblings, a handful will share that it was much later in life that they first witnessed a mother nursing her little one. I spoke on behalf of La Leche League several times at the local hospital during a section in their breastfeeding training about community breastfeeding support. I always asked this question of the nurses attending. Sadly, many of the labor and delivery nurses shared that they had never seen a mother breastfeeding until they worked with postpartum mothers at the hospital. But, even as I look around my town, I have yet to see a mom nursing in public, so I completely understand that if you don’t have someone in your family or close group of friends that breastfed, you more than likely have never seen it done.

The first time I ever saw someone breastfeeding was when I was eight years old. My aunt through marriage was nursing her firstborn son. I remember it being the ‘talk’ of the family. My grandmother never nursed any of her seven children and my mom never breastfed us so breastfeeding was never anything that I had even heard in conversation. My entire collection of baby dolls had all been bottle fed; I don’t even think I was aware of breasts at all at that time. Suddenly all of that changed.

“Why is she doing that?!” I remember asking my mom.

“Hush!” she warned me with stern eyes.

I couldn’t even ask about it?

Breastfeeding Beyond the First Two Years

Posted 10-18-2013 at 12:38 PM by angelaw

This is the first time I have ventured into the unknown world of nursing a two year old. My oldest son self-weaned right before his second birthday, so I never had the opportunity to nurse beyond the two year mark. I must say it has been a lot different than nursing a one year old. I understand that every child is different, but I was expecting a big decrease in the number of times (and the length of those nursing sessions) my little one nurses compared to what he had been before. “B” nurses probably 3-4 times during the day, once before bedtime, and then again upon waking up. This is a lot more than I had imagined as my older son was down to bedtime and nap time nursing only at 15 months. While I’m sure it has a lot to do with my low milk supply due to being 5 months pregnant, “B” hasn’t slowed down on eating solids either. So, he’s eating everything in sight and still wants to nurse.

We have pretty much stopped nursing in public at this point. Not that I’m embarrassed of breastfeeding, but just that he has gotten so big and I used to be able to carry him around while I was getting things done and nurse him. I look (and feel) quite awkward walking through the grocery store, nursing my toddler, and trying to push my cart and shop for groceries! So, unless we are sitting down having a leisurely meal out (which we usually aren’t), I don’t even try to nurse him in public.

He is much more verbal and demanding. He lets me know when he wants to nurse and when he doesn’t. A lot of times it is really inconvenient – again this has a lot to do with his size. I can’t multitask while nursing very well with a 35lb toddler. I use these times to try to teach him patience. However, that doesn’t