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.

Hosting a Gender Reveal Party

Posted 11-7-2013 at 07:30 AM by whitneywalters

I knew I wanted to have a gender reveal party the moment I got a positive pregnancy test. I spent the next sixteen weeks planning and prepping for the big day.

We found out October 11th what our baby was. My mom and I went to the ultrasound ( she helped me cook and make the cake ) and I opted to make the cake so the tech told me the gender. There are several different ways that you can do a gender reveal. You can opt to know and make a cake ( or whatever way you decide to announce ) yourself, you can have the tech put the gender in an envelope and have a friend or family member make the cake ( or whatever else ) for you and you can find a local baker that does gender reveal cakes and have them do it.

There are several different ideas for gender reveal cakes available online. I made myself a board on pinterest with all the ideas I liked and then decided from there which one I liked best. My top three choices were a candy filled cake, a layered cake with colored frosting or frosting filled cupcakes. I picked the  cake with a hole in the center, filled with colored candy. When you cut into the cake and pull the slice out, the candy falls out and reveals the gender. I found colored sixlets in the walmart cake isle. You can also use other candies, the choice is yours.  Instead of doing a large layered cake and cutting the hole in the middle of the layers, I made a bunt cake. After is cooled, I put it on a cake stand, filled the center with the candy, frosted the whole thing and put frosting over the hole. I then put a pink and a blue rattle on the top and covered the top in pink and blue frosting.

We invited close family and friends to our little get together. First we had dinner and then cut into the cake. Our cake revealed that we were having another little girl.

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.

Why I Cover Up the Ta-Tas

Posted 10-29-2013 at 11:51 AM by yoliyoda

Yes, I do cover-up when breastfeeding in public. I’m probably going to inflict the wrath of some of my fellow milky-mommies by admitting this, but I believe if able, all moms should cover up when in public.

Now, before the anger boils up, let me be clear: I do think that it is my right and prerogative to breastfeed in public. I don’t go hiding in a corner, or feeding my baby in a bathroom. If the location we’re in has no nursing facilities I sit right where I am and “whip it out”… I just also “cover it up”.

I don’t consider it an issue of embarrassment, or being shy about the human body and natural functions. Nor do I live in fear of what the law might say. In fact, I’m proud to live in a state that has a breastfeeding statute on the books. It’s just that sometimes I think in society today we get so focused on our “rights” and not on what is right.

I want my son to grow up to be a man who takes care of himself and those he loves. So how can I be shy about taking care of his very basic need to eat while in public? I want him to see the human body and all of it’s functions as beautiful. So why should I act like breastfeeding is anything but beautiful. In the same breath I want him to be considerate of other humans. While I think it is my right to breastfeed in public, I acknowledge that it might make others feel uncomfortable. It isn’t about if they should feel that way–the fact is that they do. As a caring human being I believe that I should acknowledge that. If there is something that I can do without hurting myself and my baby, why shouldn’t I? I wonder how I can tell him he should be empathic without trying to be the same myself.

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.

A Breastfeeding Bully Hospital?

Posted 10-28-2013 at 08:43 AM by yoliyoda

Is there such a thing as a breastfeeding bully? A recent article in Australia’s paper The Morning Bulletin had my head spinning to realize that not only do they exist–some of them should know better.

In the article the mother of a child in the ICU at the Wakiato Hospital in Australia was not given meals because she did not breastfeed. She was directly told that the reason that she only received toast for breakfast and nothing else was because the hospital only provided extra meals to mothers of children in the ICU that breastfeed. The mother indicated that for her own medical reasons she decided not to breastfeed. She also indicated that she didn’t want to leave her child alone in the ward while she went to the cafeteria to get food. The Southern District’s Health Board said that the long standing policy was put into place to encourage mothers to breastfeed.

Ouch. Can you said “overkill”?

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

Growing Too Fast, As Shown By The Stash

Posted 10-4-2013 at 02:25 PM by yoliyoda

It’s like it was almost yesterday, seeing the doctor hold my little baby up for me to see him. “It’s a healthy baby boy.”

Amazing. Such small fingers and toes. He was swimming in every outfit and diaper I put on him. Ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes. I thought he’d never grow.

Here we are, not even three months later and he has grown out of his tiny gDiapers, and his Lil Joeys have about an ounce more to go before they become history. I couldn’t believe it when I recently tried to fasten his newborn diapers and the two ends of the velcro just wouldn’t meet.

It’s funny. It feels like I spent hours and hours hand selecting the cutest, most efficient diapers to make up my son’s newborn stash. Ok, I did spent hours and hours picking them out. I think, deducting the time he was in disposables, he probably only used the stash for all of 9 weeks. Seems like such a short time. Soon he won’t even able to have his One Size Flips snapped to the smallest setting. And while I can’t wait for him to start wearing all of his One Size covers and All-In-Ones that I’ve been hand picking here and there, I think I’m going to cry when he completely outgrows all of his Lil Joeys and newborn covers.