Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pumping at Work

This is only my own reflection on breastfeeding and going back to work, everyone's choice is different.

One of my biggest struggles when going back to work with Jack was expressing breast milk for him to drink while I was at work.  I lived and learned from the experience with him and so far, I am feeling a bit more accomplished while trying to maintain breastfeeding with Christopher.  With Jack I was already supplementing with formula during the work week, but so far I am still "staying ahead" with the milk available for Christopher.  I still have things that I wish I would've done differently this time around, but baby steps right?  Here are the things that have helped me maintain my breast feeding relationship while at work:

1.  Get the hang of breastfeeding the baby first.
Make sure that the baby has a good latch and your supply is pretty well established before you pump.  (This of course goes out the window if you have a situation where your baby isn't able to nurse, i.e. he/she is in the NICU.)  I would also recommend seeing/talking to a lactation consultant when you start pumping before going back to work.  I think it would've saved me a lot of headaches when trying to figure things out with Jack.  I'm never eager to start pumping.  Pumping isn't exactly sunshine and cuddly puppies.  I willingly do it for my baby but I'm pretty indifferent to the actual process.  (By the way, when I've used my pump, it has never caused pain.)

2.  Having a good double electric pump... like every other online resource says.
Personally, I love my Ameda Purely Yours pump.  It has a closed system pump that prevents any milk from going into tubes and possibly into the motor of the pump.  I don't know how big of an issue it is for those who might use a Medela pump, but personally it was a big enough complaint that showed up in my research for me to go with the Ameda.  Plus, the most expensive Ameda breast pump package (including a bag, etc.) is the same price as the least expensive option from Medela on Babies R Us' website.  I bought my pump in 2009 (before Jack was born) and it still works just fine.  The bag is in great shape, granted I really don't use/abuse it too much.  The markings on the outside of the bottles are a little worn, but that isn't a big deal.

3.  Start pumping before your return to work.
Now this all depends on how much time you are able to take off work for maternity leave.  With Jack I took 8 1/2 weeks out of medical necessity, with Christopher I was able to take 11 weeks off.  Do I think that extra time did much for my supply or nursing relationship with Christopher?  Not really, I think it helped me more by having extra time to build my freezer stash.  With Jack, I didn't do that great about pumping routinely before going back to work and I was convinced to do better with Christopher.  Do you know how hard it is to pump with a 2 year old and a newborn when you're home by yourself?  Yeah, during the day didn't work for me.  I had to pump when Matt was home and the most convenient time ended up being around 10 p.m..  I thought I'd pump every night and build my freezer stash, it ended up being more like 4-5 nights a week because I was tired!  I started when Christopher was about 3 weeks old adding a pumping session (not replacing a nursing session).  That was still much better than what I did with Jack.

4.  Having a [nice] place to pump at work.
I know this isn't easy for everyone, but hopefully companies are becoming more breast pump friendly.  I am very lucky that my employer has a lactation room in the 2 main buildings on our "campus".  There might even be more of which I am unaware.  I mention that I have this wonderful lactation room (complete with a sink, fridge, mini-lockers, and even a microwave to heat up lunch or a snack), but honestly I usually end up pumping in the bathroom in my building.  Now before you get all grossed out, let me explain that it is a "single-seater" with a lock on the door, a huge counter, and a sink.  And there are only 3 other women in the building.  I'm busy at work and while I absolutely don't feel guilty taking the time to pump, honestly it is sometimes hard to stop & start in the middle of a task at work.

5.  Add a pumping session in the evening or on the weekend.
Some days pumping results in more milk to store than others.  If I haven't pumped the same amount that Christopher normally eats (note: normally not on a day that he might eat more than average), I will try to pump again that night, or once or twice over the next weekend.  This has helped me stay ahead of the curve for the supply he needs each day.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Our Song

Katie at NFP and Me is hosting a linky on telling the details on your wedding song!  So here it goes... and I'm going to deviate a bit and add a few more of my favorite songs from our wedding!

What's your song?

"The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson
You can listen to it and view the "official music video" here because it wouldn't let me embed it.

Our entire wedding party entered into the reception to the song "Hey Girl" by O.A.R. because O.A.R. was a big part of our college lives.

The wedding party song was "Road Outside Columbus" by O.A.R. because I love this part because it pretty much explains why I love that I have ended up here:
Surprise, Surprise, I traveled here.
Four hundred miles from where I'm known.
My friends are here.
A couple years I've spent, I found I have a second home. 
Did you always have a song or did you have to find one?

Nope, definitely didn't always have one.  In fact, we definitely struggled to find a wedding song... and by struggled I mean, Matt was no help.  Ha ha!  I love him dearly, but what song we danced to didn't matter much to him... it only mattered that we were dancing as husband and wife.

Why did you pick this song?

A friend (and my maid of honor) played the song for me the first time and I immediately liked it, but didn't really think of it being "our song".  Ultimately, I thought it was fun and quirky, just like us!

What does it mean to you?

It's perfect because it was all about us loving each other just the way we are forever! 

How was the meaning changed since you first chose it?

It means more to me because it has proven to be so very true about how we love each other... ESPECIALLY since we have kids!  We have to be silly and love each other through the not-so-perfect parts of life.
Won't you share a picture of you two dancing? (Doesn't have to be a wedding picture!)

Well it definitely has to be from our wedding because Matt and I rarely dance (I should say Matt rarely dances), so here is a picture courtesy of Cherished Moments Photography. 

Photo provided by Cherished Moments Photography
Hope you've enjoyed!  Be sure to go check out the other posts at Katie at NFP and Me!

Friday, March 9, 2012

PrintRunner Postcard Giveaway!

Let me introduce you to the company PrintRunner with a little bit about them from their marketing department:
PrintRunner.com was established with little more than a small press and a dream. Ten years later our company became one of the foremost quality printers in Southern California. Our commitment to provide the best value and high quality full color printing at affordable price made our company grow.  PrintRunner is a full service high quality printing company located in Chatsworth, California.
When I was recently contacted by PrintRunner with the opportunity to host this giveaway, I was honestly kind of skeptical because I had not heard of them before.  It only took a few minutes of me browsing their website to know I wanted to share this company with you!

They offer a wide variety of printing services for awesome prices!  They have a great selection of items that can be custom made for you.  I just ordered a custom banner for my family's Relay for Life team to decorate our tents/awning with at the event this summer!  One huge benefit that reassures me of ordering from their company is that they will screen the image you want to use and provide a proof within 24 hours of submitting your image.  Within minutes of submitting an image and request for a proof I had an email with an estimated timeline for the proof to be available through my PrintRunner account.  I am very excited to get this banner made and to get to share picture of the final product!

Now on to the details of the giveaway!  The winner of this giveaway will receive 100 5x7 print postcards that with a full 4 color front (no color printing on the back) on paper that has a 14 point UV coating with rounded corners.  They will be ready to ship within 4 business days after the prize is claimed (winner will be awarded via email by PrintRunner).  These would be great for birthday cards, change of address notification/"We've Moved!" cards, or thank you cards!  So many different options!

Please note that there will not be a proof provided for this prize.

The giveaway ends at 12:01 a.m. on March 12th and the winner will have 24 hours to email me at thechemistryofamom[at]gmail(dot)com or another winner will be chosen.  Now it's time to enter using the Rafflecopter widget below!  (Sorry, there was a slight issue with the widget not showing up this morning, but it has been fixed)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 8, 2012

3 Month Update... a month late

So, I've done a terrible job blogging this month and for that I am very sorry!  Here are a few picture of the boys from February!

Jack getting in on the action of 3 month pictures for Christopher.  (Excuse Jack's eye, he had a really nasty stye that came  out of the blue... yuck!)

Big boy!  Love those chunky thighs and pudgy belly!

I love to eat my bear... and anything else I can get in my mouth.

My latest favorite toy.  You'd think his reflection would be pretty interesting but he loves the little bugs on the frame.

Jack refusing to smile for a cute picture on Valentine's Day!  Christopher's look says it all: "what is your deal?"

My funny Valentine!

Cute baby pictures always make up for everything, right?  Sorry, this month has been crazy.  Lots of family things going on, including a hospitalized family member.  Things are going so much better these days and we are so very thankful for the turn of events!  We have also entered peak season for my husband at work and things are pretty busy at work for me too... always trying to remain thankful that we are gainfully employed!

Next blog post is a giveaway... hope you enjoyed this update!  Once we get Christopher's 4 month milestone pictures, I will be sure to post with his stats from his 4 month appointment!  I also hope to post a few examples of our home organization as part of The 52 Weeks to an Organized House Challenge.