Categories
Hurdles and How-To’s

Cookie Cutter Solutions, Myths, IBCLC judgement, theories and the real McCoy

At this point in my IBCLC career (the beginning, but also a long time building up to this starting point), I am starting to think more about something that really interested me the moment I opened the book and read about “cookie cutter” solutions. I really do love that word… but why? Breast milk is not a cookie, it is not a quick fix or a buy in. It’s something that is socialized and also sets up a baby for life, yet it’s got me questioning (with some excitement!) what is life itself?!

Cookie solutions are appropriate at times. When you are stressed and you need a quick fix; or an ability to put a simple band aide on something and ask it to resolve on its own. For example: nipple confusion is considered a discussion point for a quick fix in my opinion. Pacifier use to help soothe gas- quick fix. Follow up feeding with bottles is like a quick fix for someone that may need help with family dynamics. The nice thing about quick fix cookie cutter solutions is that they often kind of have a lingo to them and thus, you can kind of reach out to something or an ibclc or someone and let them know that you might need help in this area. But sometimes, you need help with something deeper, something deep down that the mother and child desire together, that they can only make happen for themselves in the feeding department and that is the nature of wonderment in the eyes of the ibclc.

As a new IBCLC, I keep my commitment to being sort of your cheerleader and encourager as my utmost priority. I’d like to thank other ibclcs for also building up a sense of trust in the nurturing department. However, at the same time I’d really like to question other things that aren’t really cookie cutter solutions. Things that the mom and baby can help themselves out with for example increasing hindmilk can milking the duct help with this, yes it can but it matters how it is done. Thus it is not necessarily a cookie cutter solution. Family issues around feeding, such a scheduling, wasting breastmilk, routines such as changes, need to be addressed but it matters how it is done in that various people in the family like their new role or find meaning in it. For example, if a mother is forced to wean against her own accord, this may be disempowering to the mother. But, if the baby is led to wean on behalf of the family, the mother gets to see the babies progress and grow with the mother.

As a new IBCLC, I keep my commitment to being sort of your cheerleader and encourager as my utmost priority. I’d like to thank other ibclcs for also building up a sense of trust in the nurturing department.

This also brings up the point of theories. There is lots of literature out there on breastfeeding that is written by a licensed medical professional that does not hold an ibclc license. For example the book baby wise is a theory about following a schedule to get the baby some more hind milk and slowly distancing sometime between feedings essentially stating that weaning is inevitable in relation to someone’s sleep or maybe even in a broader sense tying weaning back into something that has to do with the mother’s body so she doesn’t get too depressed when weaning. For example, maybe switching or not switching sides in relation to feeding or maybe that how a mom deals with engorgement sets her up for the nature of her breastfeeding experience or maybe thinking about how some feedings can be lighter than others in relation to the breastfeeding experience.

As a new ibclc it is nice to give myself permission to use cookie cutter solutions in the form of education but also thinking about the power of either not using a cookie cutter theory solution or backing up your idea with concepts from a theory because this is the nature of connecting breastfeeding to humanity and letting everybody decide and grow in the breastfeeding world for themselves. For example, it is okay to pump and dump when drinking but using awareness of how alcohol might be affecting your milk might be better. Keeping milk moving through engorgement might be best for preventing mastitis but may lead to more engorgement issues to be dealt with affecting breastfeeding. Keeping the mother and baby a dyad can help with this issue because one may help another but at the same time keeping the mother and baby a dyad might be harder for someone going back to work or just wanting a sense of independence from their baby. A mother who is aware of her baby and her baby’s needs is stronger than an ibclc any day of the week, but it doesn’t mean that an ibclc can’t be helpful in any situation.

I want to change the world in relation to breastfeeding, I want to get out there and take some risks and some of my ideas may be sort of new and different, for example possibly starting breastfeeding education earlier in some cultures where formula is over utilized or giving mom’s independence in areas where other cultures where moms are rooted down to their homes but at the same time, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be on different pages of breastfeeding and it also means that as a people this begins the ibclc’s journey and this is essentially why I have started this blog. We are all different and yet all the same.

Categories
My Favorite Things

“Milk”-crafted Poetry about Breastfeeding

Once there was a drop

Then two, three four

To count is not to wish, but add up what we have

And we can go forth to grow big and strong

I like myself as I am, but until I know what this is I will trust in my bodily instincts I have had since birth

There are such things that meet my needs

Day by day our blessings grow

Our views are similar to others expectations

I hear a cry, I know my own I hear a voice, I dare to learn

Desire to be I let that live, but in love I find much comfort

In milk I find much joy

Transition into what I need and we can help

We can earn

Many years later, I sit by your side and remember what I said to you

I believe in equal for many babies but not temptation

In life ward actions in public places

In giving and receiving

For maybe you have taught me connection and that I can trust myself

Categories
Pumping & Storing

Milk Storage Guidelines- Tips and Tricks for Understanding Plus Utilizing

Some of the rules for saving breastmilk can seem tricky and hard to explain. Yet we simplify it to help mother’s conform to the norms and help people get the basics down of how to save breastmilk should it be hand expressed, pumped or leaked out. The picture above is of a magnet that I found recently at the mother baby clinic where I took my new arrival, Daniel. I have two different types of these magnets on my refrigerator at home and they both say almost the same thing in two almost slightly different ways. I liked this one better because the picture also illustrates how room temperature can be a range from 60-77 degrees farinheight. It is very interesting because for me, saving breastmilk at room temperature is often the most appealing way to go because it means skipping a step in the bottle preparation process of reheating the milk. But, saving milk this way also has the connotation of having to waste the most milk because once it has sat out for four hours it is unfortunately, no good. There are other little tips and tricks relating to this mode of breastmilk storage. For example, if a baby drinks out of the room temperature milk or it touches something that is unclean it is really only good for an hour at that point, but not an additional hour past the 4 hours.

A popular way for a lot of mothers is to save milk at the freezer temperature. This is a nice method because despite variances in multiple methodologies of saving breast milk, the freezer recommendation has pretty much always been consistent where it can last for up to 6 months at precisely 0 degrees fahrenheit. One of the issues that I have with this method though, is in order to maximize the 6 months storage time, how much time do you have to place it in the freezer? Of course, immediately after pumping, especially if going to the milk bank since there are so many other factors that can affect preservation of breastmilk including, which pump you use, the quality of your breastmilk, possibly diet and exposure to air. Lots of bags on the market make this step easier. Some people prefer to get the milk frozen into cube form which can have its positives and negatives. The greatest positive is that since it is saved at a nice small amount and also consistently, you are able to get exactly what you think you might need out of the freezer when feeding your baby consistently with exclusive bottle feeding and have to get a certain amount in him or her just like when you are using formula. I tried this method with my first, one thing to note about this method is that if you are doing paced bottle feeding, the most compatible method of bottle feeding when a mother is hoping to continue her breastfeeding method (of course lower flow bottles can sometimes help too), however with paced bottle feeding usually the baby gets to decide when he or she is almost done with the feeding either by exhibiting signs of satiation or blowing bubbles in the breastmilk in relation to holding the bottle level and exposing some air into the nipple. Through paced bottle feeding I have realize that there really is no way for a baby to swallow air into his or her stomach except through integration of air directly into the breastmilk. This is why so many bottles have an air protection valve which is why I like to think of the milk as “heavy,” when I am holding the bottle as a breastfeeding mom and also put the valve on top and then visualize the air floating away out the bottle like a little balloon. There are so many visualizations one can do with bottle feeding including as you heat the bottle, allowing steam for resonate off of the milk as a way of warm water transferring a deep radiator heat into the bottle. Personally, my son is doing great with the bottle because it is just another method, another nipple to expose him to, rather than solely focusing on the training and teaching that I did at the breast during the early days, he can be a multitasker in different times and spaces gracefully switching back and forth between breast and bottle while dexterously utilizing his lips and gums in an organized fashion.

Aside from the cube method of saving stored breastmilk in the freezer… there is also the method of placing it in a bag. Currently I mostly use the medela bags with the medela pump bottles and noticed when you dump the breastmilk into the bag while creating a good catch with the bag surrounding the bottle, some of the milk can get stuck in the bottle due to medela’s method of exposing the milk to less air. How great medela! And, how curious?! At the same time. I look forward to trying lots of different bags including the trusty up and up brand, perhaps a vitamin sealed package bag and even the willow bags that make my milk look extra yellow. But still, a tummy is still better than a bag, and I would rather fill my baby’s tummy than a big old bag everyday anyway. Breastfeeding is going great, I do like feeding in the quiet wee hours of the night when everyone is asleep because it feels like me and my baby are good companions.

Refrigerator is another method where you can save milk up to 3 days at a point of 39 degrees or cooler. This is a great rule of thumb because it sets a limit and also illustrates one of the (not exactly exception), but rather, supporting points to the rule of thawing out breastmilk from the freezer. As long as there is some ice in your breastmilk, which means it is kept colder and able to last an additional 24 hours. Of course this method might not matter as much if you take your breastmilk out of the freezer before the six months is up. You can also thaw breastmilk at room temperature by waiting up to 2 hours.

Refrigerator is another method where you can save milk up to 3 days at a point of 39 degrees or cooler. This is a great rule of thumb because it sets a limit and also illustrates one of the (not exactly exception), but rather, supporting points to the rule of thawing out breast milk from the freezer. As long as there is some ice in your breastmilk, which means it is kept colder and able to last an additional 24 hours. Of course this method might not matter as much if you take your breastmilk out of the freezer before the six months is up. You can also thaw breastmilk at room temperature by waiting up to 2 hours.

These exceptions bring up other questions such as do not refreeze, or rather do not drastically change temperature in any way or continue to save. Example in place would be if you warm it up and the baby doesn’t finish it so you put it back into the freezer for baby to finish later, or you warm it up and it is too hot so you quickly try to cool it down by putting it on ice or running cool water over it.

I feel breastmilk storage guidelines are one of the biggest public health issues in our society today for a variety of reasons. One is that our value in breastmilk is being placed in how well we can save breastmilk and deliver it to the baby without wasting it. Breastmilk doesn’t always have to do with abundance, but rather, gratitude between family and baby. Mothers often have to rest due to maternal exhaustion in the early days and it is so nice to have someone give a good bottle of milk to help mom recover while also letting caregivers feel brave and confident to care for the newborn in a loving and authentic way being creative and true to ourselves while seeking out information and guidance.

Also the ability to use good storage guidelines with breastmilk or formula can be so uplifting to a mother who has to go back to work. For example I want to get these guidelines in place from the early days so I know I can work with a confident mind and well fed baby. Being able to talk and discuss about these guidelines with family care providers or friends is literally rewarding and keeps the free and easy aspect of relating to breast milk out in the open, social and the weaning process readily available once baby is ready. That’s why I am grateful to breast milk guidelines.com for coming out with this cute magnet with medela…

Categories
Hurdles and How-To’s

Birth Plans

Do you plan to birth? {I do !} If so, I do not necessarily suggest or defer away from the sense of a birth plan, but rather suggest that you look at the whole picture and collaborate with your provider to let them know your wishes. Let me talk a little about my birth plans and how it related to my birth experience. Overall, I would suggest understanding the energetic wish behind your birth plan and how it relates to your providers role in your birth experience. When I handed my provider my electronically submitted birth plan, she said “no, this helps me,” what did your provider say?

                Different situations call for a different plan. For example, coronavirus is a situation causing for worry among providers, among patients, and could it be possible that even babies be effected? In that case, I would suggest that you take in the considerations of your provider’s worries, along with your trust in your provider. People choose different things for different reasons.

                When I gave birth to my first child, I picked 3 things on my birth plan per March of Dimes format along with my nurse. They were practical things that were already endorsed with the hospital such as skin to skin time directly after the birth, waiting to give a bath until baby had acclimated to its feeding situation, preference towards breastfeeding, preference towards husband cutting the umbilical cord. I can’t remember exactly but also some preference towards reduction of pain medication, or at least not offering it to me.

       When I gave birth to my first child, I picked 3 things on my birth plan per March of Dimes format along with my nurse. They were practical things that were already endorsed with the hospital such as skin to skin time directly after the birth, waiting to give a bath until baby had acclimated to its feeding situation, preference towards breastfeeding, preference towards husband cutting the umbilical cord.

                When I made my birth plan, each thing I chose had something to do with a personal commitment to myself should I choose to carry it through. Not offering pain medication meant I would have to be the one to ask for it. Skin to skin time meant being with child in a loving way and embracing differences in the way that I had been brought into the world, preference towards breastfeeding meant I would do my best to always feed my child. I made a mistake with two of my internal commitments to myself because they were done with a weaker energy of asking a question… I chose to distance myself from the inevitable and they were followed through by other people. My husband did not cut the cord in relation to my consent to life. {The provider may not have known my birth plan}, yet with hope we were able to get life going together. When I became a NICU mom, everything changed in relation to my birth wishes.

                Every birth wish had to do with resuscitation in a time a COVID, I placed my wishes in writing to have to do with being present at a time of resuscitation, to having access to a mask and also a throw up bag at all times and a few other things that I placed in a preferencial order but luckily, may not be too relevant this time.

                Every birth, every wish has a hope yet uniting my trust with the provider bringing life into the world was my greatest hope of all.

Categories
Hurdles and How-To’s

To Normalize or Not to Normalize? Is What to Wear the Question?

Can what we wear actually help us to normalize pregnancy and breastfeeding? In my opinion, yes it can. Normalization is the process of saying everyone can do this, it is acceptable and understood in our culture. I think that for the most part pregnancy and breastfeeding is pretty normalized, however, I would never assume so and think that especially for certain types as moms such as someone visiting from another culture, a shy or sensitive mom, even a boisterous outspoken mom, or anyone who is somewhat of an outlier to society could probably benefit from a sense of normalization of pregnancy or breastfeeding. It can help Dad’s too. It can help society as a whole accept some of the ups and downs of pregnancy and breastfeeding so that we can all grow together and enjoy the process. At the same time, it is still important for people to accept differences and acknowledge unique personalities contributing to the process in their own unique way. It’s a little bit like getting dressed in the morning. We all know we have to wear clothes to leave the house but depending on what we are doing that day, how hot it is and how we are feeling we all accessorize with different clothes differently.

This morning when I left the house for my prenatal care appointment, I felt pretty good about what I was wearing, and it made a difference in my day because it was comfortable, practical and similar to what other people were wearing which happens to fit into my unique and stable beliefs. However, I also don’t feel this way every single day. Especially when I am pregnant or in the postpartum period…

What can moms do to feel good every day in every way possible without neccesarily spending a fortune on a new wardrobe when dressing as a pregnant person or a breastfeeding mom? They can revitalize the wardrobe they already have. I am not saying you can’t ever throw out clothes that don’t fit you anymore, but sometimes keeping a couple things around that may run a little large or a little small and repurposing them into a maternity style or breastfeeding outfit can be a beautiful way to feel gratitude in your mind, body or spirit, especially if it was an old outfit that meant a lot to you, that someone gave you, or just a piece of material that you really love. Take a look and see if you already have something that could work for you. I happen to love and treasure maternity fashion, the high empire waste lines, the stretchy but quality fabric and the panels that are woven together in a lacey synched fashion. It can be fun and different than everyday wear and also highlight the body and make us feel good about ourselves in a variety of functional ways. When I began to enter the postpartum period, I still had some maternity favorites that I continued to repurpose and wear because I loved the vibrant color or I still felt it looked pretty good on my body. And so the cycle continues…

Ultimately it was the joy and confidence I found in being a mom that helped me to normalize it for myself and hopefully a few others.

With breastfeeding there are also lots of options. Some people prefer a modest look with a slit on the side, other prefer a double layer, some like to slip under others prefer to unbutton and others like to pull down and pop out. Some throw a modest layer over the top which can also help the baby to soothe and enjoy playing peekaboo with mama. As a mom, I had trouble getting my baby to even latch in a public place in the first four months due to positioning issues and over stimulation. I hope this will go better for me this time around. I hope it will go well for other mothers and babies in their feeding situation. What you wear can affect your confidence, but I would also like to acknowledge that as you go about breastfeeding and letting it teach you to be a better mom in all sorts of ways, it doesn’t matter so much what you wear, and that is part of the normalization process. Ultimately it was the joy and confidence I found in being a mom that helped me to normalize it for myself and hopefully a few others. I remember one day reading online the comment of “are you a pull up or pull down person?” and thinking to myself happily how I like how that person took it so lightly and also acknowledged that people have all sorts of differences and that matters in some ways in not of others. Clothes certainly aren’t the be all, end all when it comes to normalizing pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, but I say, if it makes it more fun… then hopefully you can go for it, whether it is buying an outfit you really love, or repurposing something you already have with a sense of gratitude. Both ways are powerful, and hopefully all will win!

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My Favorite Things

The Meaning of Weaning

Can a child guess when they might have been weaned or should they have never been told? Is weaning scientific? Can we actually talk about weaning in a truly scientific manner or will it always be considered an art form? Does weaning at a different time from your friend seem to be something that may affect your life or development?

The truth is we do not know the answers to these questions yet our human species does know how to wean. Luckily, we are all given the ability to wean because we are all given the ability to nurse. However what I would like to talk about during this time is not the path of weaning, or the science or art of weaning but whether or not weaning at different stages of development may or may not affect our mind in the future.

In my instance of weaning, I happen to believe that I was weaned around 4 months of age. This is when children have more propensity to sleep through the night on their own accord, they step out of the zone of simply being subconsciously connected to a parent and start to begin to see things on their own. Thus I happen to believe that if you are weaned around this time, it is likely that you may even begin to wean more in your subconscious mind than in your reality mind.

In my instance of weaning, I happen to believe that I was weaned around 4 months of age. This is when children have more propensity to sleep through the night on their own accord, they step out of the zone of simply being subconsciously connected to a parent and start to begin to see things on their own.

I also happen to believe that the earlier you wean a child, the easier it will be. That doesn’t mean that it is the best, because there is always a need to nurse and to be close. It just means that transitioning to more worldly things can be answered easily by simply reaching out for and meeting a need through some other means.

I also happen to believe that the earlier you wean a child, the easier it will be. That doesn’t mean that it is the best, because there is always a need to nurse and to be close.

Personally, the time that was spiritual for me around weaning had to do with talking. I love words, I love to talk, and as you happen to know, I love to write megs’ milk stories for a variety of reasons and a variety of people. Megs’ Milk Stories came to life when my daughter was about 4 months old, a time when my creativity began to spark in my subconscious mind through mother daughter love that is eternally passed down from one generation to the next. It got a new spark through glimpses of communication with my daughter around the time she started doing sign language or began to be a big communicator. Sleeping through the night was never easy for us, responding to each other was, and thus also weaning was for a sense of value of communication.

When I wrote about sign language and mentioned how sacred breastfeeding is to me through the fact that humans likely breastfed before they could communicate with words, I knew I wanted to wean for a developmental stage. We can also wean for other developmental things like crawling, walking, friendship or even noticing a child’s personality appear. There is often not always a lot of grace available during the weaning period, but there is no way it can actually happen without cooperation between the mother and the child.

Categories
Breastfeeding Basics

Let’s Get Down to Business… Of thanking Donor Moms

I have never been a milk donor but I of course have been an advocate and also a hardworking pumping mom. Today as I begin to step up to the plate and plan my baby’s first feeding, I know everything will be okay. And, it’s not because I was able to express some golden colostrum at 37 weeks (yay! Normal). But also because donor moms make a difference and have a different way of helping.

With coronavirus approaching I am considering not signing the waiver to receive donor milk and yet I am starting to realize that I can not feed my baby by myself in the early days. Every baby everywhere has a right to passive immunity and it’s not just about immunity to stop the coronavirus. It’s about immunity to build up from where they are at and defeat other little things that they have no immunity to. It takes at least 48 hours from when the placenta is delivered to when a mother can begin to produce her own transitional breastmilk. She may have some colostrum during that time, but there is no guarantee. Lets take a look at what it takes to get a baby through those first 48 hours on minimum.

For the first day of feedings a baby needs 5-10 mL per feeding every 3 hours for the first 24 hours. For the second day, the baby is going to need 10-20mL per feeding every 3 hours for the second 24 hours. This means that a minimum of 40mL plus 80mL should get you through the first 24 hours. This is 120mL of breastmilk or 4 oz or a half cup of breastmilk.

For the first day of feedings a baby needs 5-10 mL per feeding every 3 hours for the first 24 hours. For the second day, the baby is going to need 10-20mL per feeding every 3 hours for the second 24 hours. This means that a minimum of 40mL plus 80mL should get you through the first 24 hours. This is 120mL of breastmilk or 4 oz or a half cup of breastmilk.

I think it is possible for mom’s to achieve this together if they keep their supply up in an organized fashion. My personal goal is to make 2oz of colostrum before delivery, and then receive less than 2 oz of donor milk to get through the first couple days. Moms and doctors are a little bit different in this regard, and I just like to say really it is a little bit random and not total rocket science, but you can make it into rocket science if you want, to each his own.

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Hurdles and How-To’s

The Peaceful Fight: The ways of Mothers

In these days of the Corona Virus, as much as people may deny, life is happening as we know it. Yes there are still people having babies. I would like to take a moment to go over the different types of immunity and how they can affect us all in these crazy times.

Passive Immunity. This is something you receive from another being, such as a mother, through an umbilical cord or through breastmilk. It can help you to fight a disease in the here and now if you are sick, it may (but no guarantee) also help you develop immunity to a potential host down the road, but, it depends on how the passive immunity is acquired, as in how it is acquired from the mother. For example if the mother has corona virus and she is able to breastfeed and not give the corona virus to her children then this would help to prevent a corona virus outbreak down the road if there was no vaccine. The only other way I hypothesize it might help prevent a corona virus is if the person were able to overcome corona virus while breastfeeding and take it to the next level of immunity by fighting back with their own immune system at the same time. This is called passively acquired immunity.

Passively Acquired Immunity is mostly occurring when we receive a vaccination. When you are given attenuated, or dead viral cells that your own immune system is allowed to develop immunity to in a passive way without getting sick. It can also be when you are around another sick person who has infected other people around the same time, but you, yourself has not spread the virus even though your body has been a host. Both of these types of immunity happen fairly quickly and may or may not prevent viral spread in the future.

The last type of immunity is the strongest: Active Immunity It is when you get sick, and your body fights back, your immune system remembers the blueprint of the virus and will always be able to fight it off. You may still be able to pass on passive immunity to others through breastfeeding or having children. Life goes on after viruses and this is our bodies’ way of saving future generations.

The last type of immunity is the strongest: Active Immunity—It is when you get sick, and your body fights back. Your immune system remembers the blueprint of the virus and will always be able to fight it off. You may still be able to pass on passive immunity to others through breastfeeding or having children. Life goes on after viruses and this is our bodies’ way of saving future generations.

The CDC’s stance on breastfeeding, is currently supportive of breastfeeding, yet does not fully specify how. Everyone makes their own choices. Some breastfeed longer, some shorter, some more, some less. Every milk is different but luckily made especially for your baby and comes at a small expense of the mother. Aside from this, mama milk is also very, very nutritious and promotes a lifelong quality connection between a mother and her child. It is impossible to social distance while breastfeeding in my opinion, but boy is it worth it! As an IBCLC and a mom I sure do feel encouraged by the CDC’s stance on breastfeeding. Be sure to ask your doctor for more information. We are here to fight, not flight- lets work together and stay strong and peaceful.

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My Favorite Things

My Envisioned Transition to Pumping on the Job- a Message of Sanctity

When someone begins to transition, from one step to the next, making little changes at a time let’s start with something that you know that works for you. In my case, I have been making a lot of changes in my life. Changing my routine, preparing for birth, and coping with my desire to pump in a job situation where I am not legally allowed to pump in order to protect a patient at all costs due to a sense of distraction. I respect this. As I eat my lunch in my break in place, I happily do so with the sense that I could easily drop everything at any time and initiate a response to an emergency.

Today as I begin to plan to evaluate pumping supplies and bottles and other baby products and such in relation to ones given situation and pumping and nursing as whole, within a community of mothers, I also reflect on sanctity and what it means to me. Sanctity may have a different meaning to different people and yet remain true to a person’s inherit nature. The Catholic Church expresses the prioritization of sanctity of life over sanctity of body yet recognizes that both are essential to life. The sanctity of life is harder to understand and thus connected to a sense of sacredness we can not explain or even fully endorse.

Sanctity may have a different meaning to different people and yet remain true to a person’s inherit nature. The Catholic Church expresses the prioritization of sanctity of life over sanctity of body yet recognizes that both are essential to life. The sanctity of life is harder to understand and thus connected to a sense of sacredness we can not explain or even fully endorse.

One of the issues I have with the pumps that go under your shirt is that it is not fully expressing a sense of sanctity to the body. There is something to be said for “hiding your pumped milk,” versus allowing it to flow outward into a visible worldly place.

There was something I could not explain. A sense of joy when my milk came in. I remember using the double electric breast pump in the NICU. To this day, I question the definition of double electric pumping. To me, suction was always the most important part of pumping and I had to suction on high yet also recognized the valves and flow of air creating the suction. I looked up the definition of double electric and it endorses a sense of chemical relation or sharing. To me, pumping does not relate to a sense of ions being removed through a membrane and a body. It should be used as the body is intended, where suction of the glands and movement of the nipple are essential to the body. As I continued my pumping journey, I did so and learned that milk supply can be regulated better through a standard breast pump with routine cycles that are consistent and involve listening to your body when it is done. In some cases I think that hospital grade pumps have their place. In that they can be used in emergency situations in NICUs where a baby can not perform this function at all, and a mother’s milk is emergent to the healing process. There is some flexibility in regards to the human body and how it can adapt.

Lately I am learning about the Vagus reflex and how it may relate to the let-down response whether or not it can be felt when milk is exiting the body. I often used pumping as an indicator in my journey to understand my milk supply and when and how to feed my baby. I also noticed the vagus reflex, or a sense of relaxation able to generate more milk in multiple situations. Tandem feeding; Nursing an older baby solo and pumping with a single electric breast pump (PISA) on a higher setting. It is important to have you pump parts and settings correct when pumping because it relates to not harming your physical body while producing breast milk.

The thing I liked about the Willow and other similar breast pumps was that it could be concealed in a fashionable way. It could place milk in a bag in a way that would expose it to less air. However, I do not like the shape of the pump, that I can not see the milk being produced and must rely on an app, that flanges are not compatible with all parts of the pump and also question the way that it could feel. With that in mind, I return to the thought that when making little changes, think about what has worked for you in the past and how you can keep that going for you. My current goal has been to be able to move around while pumping and still relax and initiate the Vagus reflex to continue my pumping. I am not the fittest of the fit. But I choose to embrace my body’s sanctity with a sense of freedom. Pump on mama meg, I say to myself, freely, and embrace sanctity of life for eternity.

Categories
Breastfeeding Basics

Willow vs. Elvie and What to Do?

Credit: willowpump.com

I am one of those rare flowers that actually loves to pump. Heck, I love all things breastfeeding. It’s a time to think, to ponder, to feed and create. I have not tried the Willow or Elvie pumps yet, but I have to admit when I saw them there was something I couldn’t resist. My immediate questions that popped into my mind were, why so expensive? How does the suction work? How do you wash the pieces? Can you pump lying down? And, do people who use these pumps also feel like outcasts or rare flowers in the community? Definitely, laws can bring us together, even pumping laws.

After thinking a little more I decided the best of these pumps for me would be the Willow Pump. It’s about 499 dollars. This is because you can even have the additional feature of being able to lie down. Also when you pump directly into a bag and freeze it immediately, it may have a better effect on the milk. My idea to make this more fun would be to make a mom’s group that focuses on pump sharing. How? Everyone gets a buddy, everyone gets one pump for one side. Buy the maximum bags that you can and everyone gets as many bags as they can or need to use in the moms group. This cuts down on the cost to about 250 dollars. Mom’s groups could happen in nicus. They could happen at work. Or in a church setting. Or even long distance with buddies who live far away. The important thing is to be a source of encouragement and help people work things out. What does this look like?

Source: Willow.com

After thinking a little more I decided the best of these pumps for me would be the willow pump. It’s about 499 dollars. This is because you can even have the additional feature of being able to lie down. Also when you pump directly into a bag and freeze it immediately, it may have a better effect on the milk.

Rituals matter with pumping and motivation matter when pumping. For this reason, I questioned ever using any other pump than the first pump I tried, the medella. There is something about having a ritual that is so helpful in helping things to become streamlined and automatic. You can then trust yourself to start and perform the task when you are feeling down, stressed or out of sorts. For me, even releasing milk into the containers eventually felt like a ritual to me.

Usually you bless the original inventor when someone comes up with a second prototype of the original invention. The second prototype is sort of like a complement to the first. With that in mind, I hope you write the own ending to your pumping story!