Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Exclusive breast pumping.

Today I was in the shower and Noah was in his cot, when suddenly I heard a door open and close (Noah and I were in the house alone) and then Noah started screaming at the top of his lungs, so within 5 seconds I jumped out of the shower, chucked on a towel and ran into his room. Noah was fine, and we were still alone in the house so I think I was just a bit paranoid (which is a bit embarrassing now). After I settled him back down I headed back to the shower to wash my hair, when I had the shampoo in I heard him start crying again but I finished washing my hair before I went to soothe him. When I walked into his room he looked so heartbroken that I took so long to attend to him, so I took him into my room for a comfort feed, and as he was feeding he was giving me the loving 'thank you!' look, which I think is one of the most magical things about feeding, needless to say he seemed to have forgiven me after.

Today the subject is exclusive breast pumping. I did say I was going to come back to this subject a few posts ago, so now I am! When I got my electric pump I considered exclusive breast pumping, but it didn't end up happening although I did try it for a day. I realised that exclusive beast pumping would take a lot more time and patience than breastfeeding because you would have to pump every three hours, you would have to feed the baby, then do the dishes. It is a lot more work than formula feeding or breastfeeding and I have a lot of respect for women who will go that far to provide their little ones with breast milk (although obviously I respect any mother who feeds their children, whether it be breast milk or formula!). I do still pump, but only if someone else is going to look after Noah for a little bit or if I'm preparing his Farex. I do think it would be pretty cool to have a massive supply of breast milk in the freezer!

I would say that one of the main people that exclusively breast pump are working mothers. Some mothers who return to work still want to provide their babies with the goodness of breast milk, so they express milk for their partner or whoever is looking after baby so that they can feed them. Most work places allow women to pump at work, which is great!
Also mothers with twins or more. I couldn't imagine having multiple babies to feed at once, so pumping so that they can all be fed at the same time seems like a pretty good idea to me!
And mothers with a premature baby. Majority of premature babies can't breastfeed for multiple reasons, so being able to provide them with those nutrients that they need with a pump seems like the way to go!
If you do decide to exclusively breastfeed you will want to make sure you invest in a good quality, comfortable breast pump. This will make things a lot easier and will provide you with a more pleasant experience. Then you will have to learn about what you can and cannot eat/drink (or maybe you can in moderation) while doing this, which I personally don't know but I am sure google will. 
I could write a lot more but I am going to stop there because Noahbear is proving to be extremely distracting! Bye for now :)

handy pumping bra!

Friday, August 31, 2012


First of all I would just like to say that even though he has no teeth, my little Noahbear has learned how to bite. Ouch! Also he is rolling around now... everywhere! It is absolutely adorable to watch, but it's also a little scary that he is now (kind of) on the move.

Noah at a dog walking fundraiser (SA dog rescue)

Today's topic is Mastitis! A nasty topic indeed. For those of you who have had it before, the title probably made you shudder, and for those of you who haven't well lets just say it sucks! (if that's not an understatement). Mastitis is when a milk duct becomes blocked, which then builds up milk which makes your breasts sore, it can make it harder to feed, and it makes your whole body feel terrible. It may cause baby to become a bit fussy when feeding off of the affected breast which can also make the whole healing process a lot harder. To avoid mastitis make sure baby feeds off of BOTH breasts regularly, not just one.

Some of the warning signs that you have mastitis are
  • Lump/s in your breast (mostly near the surface)
  • Sore breasts (not just the nipple)
  •  Having a temperature
  • Having flu like symptoms
  • A red rash on the breast
So in other words, you feel terrible!

If you feel a blockage in your breast, the best way to get rid of it is take a nice hot shower and massage! Massage the lump until it goes away, then make sure to feed baby off of that breast next. If you believe you have mastitis then go to the doctors and get medication. Did you know that women used to actually die from mastitis, and that cows still do?! I'm not trying to scare you, I am just letting you know that mastitis can be very serious, but we have the right treatment for it now so go to the doctors and get that medication into your body! 

I've had mastitis two times (which is two times too many). The first time I got it was when Noah was about 4-5 weeks old, I was already struggling with breastfeeding at the time so having mastitis made it even harder. It started off with my breast feeling a bit saw, and I had a headache which I just thought was the 'getting used to breastfeeding' process. I then started to feel really cold and had blankets piled on top of me, and a red rash had formed on my breast. By this stage I had realised it was more than a head cold so I tried to massage out the lump, but the mastitis had progressed too far for a simple massage to get rid of it. My temperature had raised to forty degrees Celsius, feeding became harder, and I felt miserable! The next day I went to my doctor who gave me a shot of penicillin, and prescribed me antibiotics. It didn't take too long to heal and once it had I felt so much better! I then decided it was probably a good idea to regularly feed Noah off of both breasts instead of favouritising the one that hurt less.

The second time I got mastitis I began to feel a bit off, but with my previous experience I was able to recognise what was happening before it got too bad. So I hopped into the shower and massaged the lump, and I also had some medication left over from last time. It healed up within two days, and definitely didn't get as bad as the first time. Although I made the second time sound pretty simple, it still hurt... a lot. This also caused Noah to become a bit funny with his feeding which then caused my nipples to become really sore again, causing another struggle.

So remember if you think/know you have mastitis, get it checked out!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Healing cracked and sore nipples.

First of all I would just like to tell you all that the other day I was at the hospital with my mum (she was getting x-rays), and I started to get a little thirsty so I went to find a vending machine. When I found one I decided to get a 600ml coca cola which cost three dollars, so I put three dollars into the vending machine and pressed the code to get the coke but it said that it was sold out (which there were still a few left!), so then I pressed the button which gives you back your money so that I could go to a different vending machine. When I pressed the button it gave me back five dollars! I was pretty happy. I know it's only another two dollars from what  put in the machine (and completely irrelevant from my blog) but it's actually one of the luckiest things that have ever happened to me! So I was a little excited :)

Today's blog is about healing cracked and sore nipples. Anyone who has ever breastfed knows what this is like! It's sore, uncomfortable, and for some it can be hard to cope with. When I started breastfeeding it was only a bit tender for the first week and a half, but then it really began to hurt! They started to crack and even bleed a bit, which once caused poor Noah to begin vomiting up a bit of blood. At these times I was doing everything I could to encourage them to heal, which it what I want to talk about today! As mentioned in a previous post, I indeed did used to apply Lansinoh lanolin cream on them (pictured above) but this is not the only way to encourage your nipples to heal. Before you give up feeding because it hurts too much you should really try these, but please note that it will not happen over-night, it may take up to one week or two weeks. Just hang in there and it will get better.

As you may have noticed, I always recommend Lansinoh lanolin cream. Lansinoh is not the only brand of lanolin cream there is but it is the one that I really recommend! I'm sure that there are a lot of lanolin creams on the market but what I like about Lansinoh is that you don't have to wash it off before feeding your little one which you have to with a lot of other lanolin creams, there are probably other ones that you don't have to wash off either but this is by far my favourite. In fact my doctor told me about his Chinese burn theory, if someone were to give you a Chinese burn... it would hurt. But if you had a lotion on your arm the person Chinese burning you wouldn't be able to twist your skin and hurt it, so before feeds you could try dab a little bit of Lansinoh on and (hopefully) it wont hurt as much! It still hurts, but it did help a little bit when I tried it (but please remember that you cannot do this if you use a lanolin cream that you have to wash off before feeding your baby!). Another plus this product has is that it is additive free, which you may be able to see on the packaging in the picture above. Also lanolin does wonders for cracked lips, so if you have cracked, dry, or sore lips... you're welcome :)

Another useful tip is to air them out. When a lot of women are done feeding, they do their bra back up. Sometimes it is a better idea to just to keep them out for a bit so that they can air out, which is an easy, natural, and very beneficial way to encourage your nipples to heal. When your baby is done feeding there would still be saliva on your nipples, so when you coop them back up in your bra there would still be moisture on them which may delay the healing process. You don't have to do this every feed, but it would help to do it every couple of feeds.

Remember to change your breast pads regularly! This is important because if you leave them in for a long period of time, this can actually make bacteria grow and can cause your nipples to get worse and maybe even get an infection. As far as I'm concerned, it is not important which brand of breast pads you buy, just as long as you change them regularly.

When you are washing your nipples, use water only. Do NOT use soap, as it has a lot of chemicals which can make your nipples even more sore, and could potentially damage them. So when in the shower/bath, you can wash the rest of your body with soap, but try avoid your nipples.

It is said that cabbage leaves help soothe the nipples. I have actually never tried this because I never thought of it at the time (I wish I did now), but if you want to you could give it a go and maybe even comment if it worked for you.

So there are some helpful tips to encourage the healing of cracked and sore nipples, hope this helped!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Breast pumps and pumping.

I went to the show today, but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to nurse in public. He didn't even have any of his bottle, he was too distracted by everything around him! Oh well I guess there are plenty of more chances to do it :)

Noah at the show :)

Today I am discussing breast pumps and pumping. I have both a manual pump and an electric pump and I love both of them, although I don't always use them I do have them there if I need them. Before buying a pump I strongly recommend that you check out the reviews for them, this can save you a lot of comfort, time, and money.

The first years manual pump.
The first years manual breast pump is the first one that I bought, I bought this one before Noah was born because it was cheap and came with a lot of stuff. I didn't check the reviews for this one before I bought it (it actually has quite a few bad reviews) because it just didn't cross my mind at the time which could have been a big mistake. Luckily for me, I actually love this pump! It does what it's supposed to, it doesn't cause pain, it's comfortable, and it's been through quite a bit and it still hasn't let me down. I even accidentally washed the motor once, but surprisingly it still works. Manual pumps are great for when you are going out somewhere because they are compact, and they don't come with any cords or anything like that. They are also good for if you only pump occasionally, although I guess you could use one if you pump regularly if you wanted to and felt comfortable with it (I did for a while). The main problem people have with manual pumps is that it can take a bit longer. Manual pumps are a lot cheaper than electric pumps, you can control how fast you pump, and it's a great workout for your hand!

Ameda purely yours ultra electric breast pump.

When I decided to get an electric breast pump I really did my homework! (you definitely do NOT want to get the wrong electric breast pump) I read reviews for what seems like every single breast pump available, sorting them into no's, maybe's and eventually a definitely. I was almost sure I was going to buy the Medela pump in style advanced pump, which had almost perfect reviews. But then I saw a comment recommending the Ameda purely yours pump so I checked it out, and to my delight it had even better reviews than the Medela! So my choice was made. I ended up buying the Ameda purely yours ultra, which cam with different sized flanges, a cooler bag, and a tote bag (as seen in the picture above). The Ameda pump was quite expensive but when it comes to electric pumps, quality matters! My pump is amazing, I love it, and it was well worth the price I paid for it.

Everyone knows that hospital grade pumps are the best you can possibly get but those ones can easily cost over $1000, so understandably people opt for cheaper pumps that are still of good quality. Personally I recommend Medela or Ameda, but the best way to choose is to get onto Google (or Yahoo, or whatever search engine you use) and start researching breast pumps yourself. What I did was start with one that you already know of, check out the reviews and no doubt someone will recommend one that they found even better. Once you have found one to your liking you can also check to see if there are any 'packages' that come with them (only if you want to), for example you can get an Ameda purely yours pump by itself or you can get an Ameda purely yours ultra, which just comes with more things.

Another thing I would like to talk about is exclusive breast pumping. But I WILL save that for another post because I have a feeling I will have a lot to say about it and this post is going for long enough as it is :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Public breastfeeding.

I apologise in advance if this turns into a rant, but I will be discussing something that makes me angry. Today I'll be talking about public breastfeeding. Breastfeeding in public is something that i have actually never done but one day I am definitely going to try to! I am slightly self-conscious because I have a son who has a tiny head and I have, well... large assets. I'm possible going to my town show (festival thing) in two days and I plan to express one bottle  for my little boy, if he gets hungry again then I'm going to give public breastfeeding a go. I'll  let you know how it goes. :)

Loving the beanie!
When I go out in public and I see a woman breastfeeding I feel admiration towards them. Not every breastfeeding mother feels comfortable doing that (guilty), and it gives me inspiration to try. Breastfeeding is so beautiful and natural and women shouldn't have to feel embarrassed to feed in public (but you shouldn't do something you're not comfortable with either, that's not what I'm trying to say), and I cannot wait to see how I go when I finally work up the courage try it. Although I do have to mention that once I was at an appointment once when Noah was about 7 weeks old and I was sitting in the waiting room feeding him an expressed bottle of breast milk and this rude lady next to me says to the person next to her "Aww poor little thing, he doesn't even look a month old and she's feeding him bottle already. People are so lazy these days!", Okay... firstly, formula feeding does not make someone lazy, and secondly, I have never even met this lady! Who is she to judge someone she doesn't know. Seems like you can't do ANYTHING without being judged!

Moving on.

Something I cannot stand is when people get disgusted at breastfeeding mothers in public. Hello! It's completely natural and should not be shunned in society! (can you tell I'm getting fired up by how many exclamation marks I'm using? haha) I don't know if it's just me that thinks this but it seems that the people most guilty for giving out the dirty looks are elderly women, one was once talking to me saying "I was at church the other day and the reverends wife was there with her baby, then suddenly she started breastfeeding her baby in front of the whole church, can you believe that!". She fed her hungry baby? how disgraceful! (please note the sarcasm). I knew this would lead to a rant and again I apologise, some people just make me angry. :)

Another thing that really annoys me is that people suggest that you feed your babies in a toilet cubical. No... just no. Would you like to go eat your food on the toilet? Didn't think so. Babies are not any less of a human than anyone else that gets to eat freely in public. Same goes with a blanket over the head to cover up, if the mum wants to do that then she can, and if she doesn't, then she shouldn't have to. And I bet those people wouldn't like it if others gave them disgusted looks and made snide comments while they were trying to eat, though some people do deserve to be treated the way they treat others. As for feeding cubicles designed for mothers to breastfeed in public comfortably, I think they are a good idea for mothers who are more comfortable with the idea of a little privacy. But they shouldn't have to feed there if they don't want to.

So what I'm trying to say is that breastfeeding is something that should be embraced, publicly or privately.

Oh the irony!

My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MommaGotMilk

Monday, August 13, 2012

A few weeks later.

After the first six weeks my feeding was going so well, I felt as if I were on could nine! I was so happy that I continued to breastfeed and I was really starting seeing the results. My baby weight was dropping off, Noah never got sick, and I felt so energetic. I was so happy that the first six weeks were over and that I could now feed with painless ease. 

Happy little man!
But when Noah was nine weeks old something happened that took me back to the first six weeks, I got mastitis again and it was worse then the last time. I was back on antibiotics and Noah started to get a bit funny with the way he latched on, which started to bring back the pain. Each day got worse and worse, and even after the mastitis cleared up I was still raw and sore. I was so upset that all my progress had rewound that I felt like it was all for nothing and I was beyond ready to give up.

My nipples were so raw that they were bleeding quite a bit, it even got to the stage that Noah began to vomit up a bit of blood. I began to supplement some feeds with formula again to give myself a break (which I now wish I didn't as I would have probably healed faster if I didn't), and was on the verge of just switching him to formula. Again my partner was there to support me, going through the pros and cons of changing him to formula which there were a lot more cons than pros. I decided to continue breastfeeding and just used movies as distractions from the pain, which I think really helped the feeds go quicker. 

A few weeks later the pain persisted so my partner and I agreed to get me an electric breast pump to try. We ordered one online (as my town doesn't have much of a variety), which took about a week to arrive. While I was waiting for the pump to arrive I just used movies as distractions and kept a positive mind knowing my breast pump was going to arrive any day. When my pump arrived I got pumping straight away, with the only problem being that I couldn't pump as much as I was hoping I could. I still managed to pump enough to give me a few small breaks. The pump was awesome! But I couldn't exclusively pump which I actually considered doing  for a while. 

About a week and a half later (4 weeks since they started hurting again) my nipples began to heal, and it even stopped hurting. I was back to normal with my feeding again, and I was so happy that I didn't give up because it really is worth it in the end! Sticking to it was probably the best decision I have ever made. I have also listed some more reasons to keep breastfeeding below :)
  • It's free! (I know I've already listed this one but it's too awesome not to list again)
  • You don't have to clean any bottles
  • It allows you to be a little bit lazy ;)

    Also I do have a Facebook page which would be greart if you liked. I will take suggestions if there is anything you would like me to write about :)

The first six weeks.

Everyone says that the first six weeks are the hardest, and I couldn't agree more! As a first time mum I had no idea what was about to hit me. My body was recovering from the trauma (good trauma of course), my hormones where out of whack, and my nipples were getting used to being fed off of. The first few weeks are when you really have to stay determined and strong (apparently it's quite easy after your first child but I obviously would have no idea) as these are the weeks where your nipples are getting used to something new, just as your feet have to get used to new shoes (I'm sure everyone knows what that's like) but that's just a mild comparison. You really just have to get as comfortable as possible and fight through the pain.

Feeding for the first time.
The first week of feeding was actually a breeze for me with minimal pain. I remember I was in complete admiration during my first feeding session because this little human being who had spent the first 39 weeks of his existence being fed through an umbilical cord, just knew what to do when he was introduced to his new food source. It was purely amazing. I spent the rest of my time in hospital finding a comfortable position to feed him in and getting used to holding him in the position (I plan to write a blog on feeding positions in the near future :)). "This isn't so bad!" I thought to myself because I thought that was as painful as it got, but come week two it really began to hurt.

 During the second week I pumped a few bottles for him with a manual pump, I thought pumping was great! I could easily get 100 Mls from each breast for him and it gave me a small break from breastfeeding. Of course I only pumped occasionally and breastfed regularly to keep up my supply, and I managed to push through the rest of the week by staying positive. By week thee I had really started to lose faith in myself, I was in a lot of pain and I dreaded feeding time. I also had the 'three day blues' until week four which made me that little more upset. Lansinoh cream became my breast friend (pun intended) as I dabbed my nipples with it before feeds and lathered in on after feeds, and after every few feeds I would allow them to air out for a while, which I highly recommend you do to encourage healing. 

Personally, week four was probably my worst week. By now my nipples were raw and even bleeding a bit, I was nearly always upset and even pumping had become harder and more painful. I started to substitute a few feeds with formula just to give myself a break (which I do not recommend as it can decrease your supply), but it just made the next feed harder. A few times I really considered switching him to formula because at the time it was so much easier as I didn't have to put up with the pain and it meant my partner could help with the feeding, but my partner really encouraged me to keep going and to get me through it I looked up the health benefits of breastfeeding for inspiration (mentioned in previous blog). To make matters worse, during week four I got mastitis. For those of you who have had it, well you know what I'm talking about, and for those of you who haven't... It freaking hurts! It makes your whole body feel horrible and it makes you miserable. I went to the doctors where he gave me a Maxalon injection and some antibiotics which took approximately four days to heal. But during those four miserable days there were times where I told my partner "I can't do this anymore" and "I'm giving up, I'm switching him to formula!" which he strongly encouraged me to stick to breastfeeding which he knew I wanted to do and he even sat with me while I fed and helped distract me from the pain. Though even with all of my partners support I still really considered permanently changing Noah to formula, but every time I went to go do it I would feel guilty and go back to Google and do my regular thing of reminding myself of all the benefits of breastfeeding. Then after my mastitis healed, everything started to get better.

Come along week five, breastfeeding became a lot easier, it only hurt for the first five seconds that Noah latched on and then the rest of the feed was a breeze. I even began to enjoy breastfeeding. I was so proud of myself and how far I had come with my breastfeeding, I was officially an exclusively breastfeeding mother! I started to feel the magnificent bond between my son and I and felt less like a feeding machine. I became more confident when going out in public, and by week six the pain had stopped all together. I felt on top of the world, I was sure for a while there that it was never going to get better! If breastfeeding is something you really want to do then I suggest you stick to it, it really is rewarding once it gets better.

Lansinoh lanolin cream