Thank you Jamie, for sharing part 2 of your journey!
I want to tell you all about my breastfeeding journey. My daughter turns 1 in approximately 24 days (but who’s counting!?). Before even becoming pregnant I always knew I wanted to breastfeed and pump. Just hearing stories from my mom and other women in my life, it seemed like such a special bonding time and how cool to be able to provide something for your baby that quite literally keeps them alive! As my due date approached, I began to give this more thought and was preparing myself for the possibility of it not working out. I tried to go in with little expectations.
My baby girl was born July 8, 2017, and it was truly love at first latch. Those first few weeks were definitely challenging in the nursing department though. For one, you’re feeding around the clock and each nursing session was taking a long time. We were both getting used to this new concept. By the time she finished nursing, it was almost time to do it all over again. I finally understood what cows being milked feel like! And I don’t care what anyone says, it hurts! I was fortunate, however, to have had the amazing guidance from Metropolitan Breastfeeding from week 1. Although things were going well, I had wanted a professional to literally just watch me nurse and make sure we were set up for success.
The real fun began when I started pumping. My only prior experience with this was when I had seen my best friend pump when she had her first baby a couple years prior. I couldn’t get that image out of my head – her on the bed, hooked up to wires, bottles and a machine, nipples protruding 3 inches out, and a loud pumping noise, with milk filling the bottles 2 drops at a time. Every ounce deserved applause. I knew that would come with nursing because I was headed back to work at 4 months and would need to keep my supply up for my baby while she was with her various caretakers.
At the advice of doctors and friends, I started my pumping journey at about 2-3 weeks postpartum. I had a lot of anxiety about pumping. The idea of it overwhelmed me. How to use the pump, how long to do it for, was I getting enough, the storage of the milk, thawing it, heating, etc. Little did I know, I would become the pumping pro. I was doing it around the clock to store enough for the future and so my husband could have his bonding time with our daughter to give her a bottle when he got home from work (and so I could have a break – only to clean bottles). My IBCLC always reminded me to “feed the baby, not the freezer,” but I couldn’t help myself. I was obsessed with having a solid freezer supply.
There were also several times where I quite literally cried over spilled milk. You may have heard the term “liquid gold.” It’s a real thing. Breastmilk IS liquid gold and if even a drop spills out during the dreaded transfer, it’s very upsetting. It is OK to cry and get frustrated. Let out a big scream and then let it go. You will make more. That also leads me to pumping and dumping. I luckily only had to do it a few times, but it was a few too many – it killed me to watch it swirl down the drain into the abyss. But again, it’s probably for good reason. You needed a drink, and you deserve it.
Going back to work was stressful for so many reasons, but one of them was figuring out my new nursing/pumping schedule. I am an event planner, so I knew I would have to use my professional logistic expertise to make this nursing/pumping thing work, for a year, which was my goal. I am almost there (pumping as we speak)!
Throughout the past 11+ months, I have said numerous times to my husband that I feel like I should write a book about all the places I’ve pumped. When mentioning this to my IBCLC, she encouraged me to blog about it. So here we are, but maybe one day you will find my book in Urban Outfitters or something ????
So, here’s to us women. We are incredibly strong, powerful, resilient, and will do whatever it takes to keep our children happy and healthy. I feel so honored to be part of such a remarkable tribe, that of Motherhood. It’s only been 11 months so far, and counting, but I am looking so forward to many more chapters to this crazy novel and to continuing this amazing journey.
Thanks for reading!
P.S.I couldn’t end this post without attaching a few photos of my breastfeeding and pumping journey. I have had the support and encouragement from friends and family and the constant reminder that no one is looking or watching me, which I still don’t necessarily believe, but if a child needs to eat, you gotta do what you gotta do! Oh, and a huge shout-out to my Udder Cover®, which has helped protect me from all those wandering eyes, and now causes my daughter to pant whenever I break it out!
Pumping on a boat on a bachelorette party! (left) Pumping in a public restroom. (middle) Pumping in another public restroom! (Right)
We’re excited to share the first of two blog posts by Jamie Kramer, mom of Molly! Thank you Jamie!
As I sit here writing this blog post (my first ever!), I reflect on the past 11 months of my life. These have been the craziest, strangest, most exhilarating, joyful, weirdest, most frustrating, happiest months. Now you might be thinking: how can something be the most frustrating but also the happiest time? Readers, I introduce you to parenthood. I wanted to pay my experiences forward to others as I am so appreciative to all of the mothers who blogged, Instagrammed, Facebook posted, called, texted, or emailed me their advice which helped me through my first year as a new mom. So, thank you to Metropolitan Breastfeeding for providing me with this forum to do so.
Things I learned that every expecting parent should know
My biggest advice to all new moms out there is to enjoy the journey. There is no “destination” per se in having children. Your ultimate goal of course is for your kids to be happy and healthy their entire lives. But, in my mind, it’s the journey that counts. It’s those memories that your kids will look back on, we hope, with smiles. And even in those earlier years where they won’t remember much, we will. So, try not to sweat the small stuff. Have fun with it. Having babies is an exciting journey and whether you are doing it as a single parent or with a partner, remember to stop and laugh every once in a while, because dirty diapers, baby giggles, delirium and baby gibberish ARE funny!
Note: Metropolitan Breastfeeding is now a Washington DC metro area depot for the NY Milk Bank. Here is information on four easy steps to becoming a milk donor
Have you ever wondered how and why a mother would choose to feed her baby another woman’s milk? And just who was the milk donor? Olivia and Stacy share their story with me and you, our readers. I hope this inspires other of you to help other women and their children in those early critical months.
Because of breast reduction surgery, I was unsure if I would be able to exclusively breastfeed. My husband and I were hopeful that our son would be able to receive all the benefits of breastmilk even if he couldn’t breastfeed from me. My doula, Ursula suggested I collect frozen breastmilk to have on-hand in case my milk did not come in. And luckily, she had been recently contacted by one of her previous clients who had a surplus amount of breastmilk stored in her deep freezer and wanted to share it with another mom.
About three months after I gave birth to my son Jack, I contacted my doula asking if she knew anyone who may need milk, she reached out to Ursula who subsequently connected Olivia.
As I originally understood the situation, a soon to be new mother who was also a client of hers was going to need milk for her new little baby boy. Despite the difficulties, it was crucially important to her that he have the chance to benefit from breast milk, if not by her, then by any source that would allow him to receive those benefits.
Having developed an understanding of how much of a benefit breast milk truly is for infant health, I wanted to do whatever I could to assist. I didn’t even need to think about whether to say yes. As I was having no problem with my own supply, I had already been planning on donating the steadily building excess to a milk bank. When I had the chance to instead help a little boy whose needs I learned of first hand, there was really no question that it was the right thing to do. The fact that I was able to make a true, meaningful connection to through this process made the decision to donate that much more important to me. I learned that the little boy’s name was Hugo, and I was glad to learn that he took well to the milk I provided to Olivia.
Read the rest of the story at Birth You Desire!
Have you ever donated breast milk? Have you provided your child breast milk from a donor? Share your story with us today! We love spreading awareness of milk banks!
Introducing Newborn to their Siblings
Introducing your newborn to their siblings can be an exciting time, but also ushers in a new family dynamic.
Metropolitan Doulas has some great tips for how to make this transition a smooth one:
A great blog post, shared with permission from Ursula Sukinik of Birth You Desire:
Using your BRAIN
When life comes at you full force and presents you with a change in course, it is important to know what options are available to you. Informed consent is the only way to make an educated decision or choice. Informed decision means you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each option available. This understanding is critical to any decision but especially when considering your health options.
So how do you know what questions to ask? How do you ask them and then understanding the answers is how you get informed. It can appear scary and confusing and even overwhelming especially in times of need, pain or fear.
How do you know what questions to ask in order to move forward? Can you remember them all in a crisis? How can your remember what to ask? In childbirth education there is an acronym to help client’s to better understand their choices. This acronym is highly valuable in all aspects of life and not just birth. It is BRAIN.
BRAIN stands for:
B: What are the benefits of the drug, procedure or option being presented?
R: Are they any risks of the drug, procedure or option?
A: Are there any alternatives?
I: What does my intuition or instinct tell me? Why?
N: What if we do nothing?
Once you have asked your questions and have received the requested information and clarification on subsequent questions, ask for some time alone to review the answers and work through your choices. If you have additional questions ask them from your provider. Again reflect on the answers and choose a course of action that is right for you.
By using your BRAIN you can move forward with knowledge and peace that you are making the right choice for you and your situation. Use your BRAIN early and often in times of need and throughout the rest of your life so that you can advocate for yourself and your family.