Browsing Tag

pumping

motherhood, working mom

guilty as charged – no more milk here

June 23, 2016

It’s officially over.

I’m not breastfeeding. I’m not pumping. My boobs are mine again. I should be rejoicing but instead I’m mourning the last drops of breast milk that went into New Baby’s bottles just the other day. Thinking about it still makes me feel a twinge of sadness.

It’s a bittersweet feeling. I am one of the few and lucky ones that didn’t have problems breastfeeding. Meaning that I had supply, I didn’t get mastitis, my baby latched and all was good. (As an aside, for anyone who has issues I applaud your efforts I’m not quite sure if I could have shown the same dedication in the face of challenges on this front.)

My approach to breastfeeding was simple – if it works for us great but if it didn’t then no worries the kid will still eat. I was given formula and turned out to be a healthy happy human so will New Baby.

Before you think I’m effortlessly chill let me just tell you I HAD to take that stance for my own sanity. I’m actually a crazy perfectionist at heart and if I didn’t tell myself that it’s totally cool to do or not do this and deliberately NOT have plans about it I would have driven myself into depression.

And now that the well has literally dried up I feel… a little… well… guilty.

  • Guilty for not breastfeeding longer
    • And extra guilty because it was relatively easy for me, I didn’t even have to work that hard for it and I’m not doing it anymore
  • Guilty for not trying hard to keep up my supply
    • I could have tried ‘power hour’ pumping sessions or all of the lactation inducing food items on repeat, but I didn’t
  • Guilty for being excited to have my body back
    • No one is relying on my body for anything and it’s kinda great

This is where it’s awesome to have a cheerleader in your life. As I confessed these things in our kitchen to my husband who was busy washing New Baby’s bottles from daycare he said:

I’m not going to pretend to understand how you’re feeling but what I will tell you is this…

  • You made it longer with New Baby than you did with V

  • He’s got over 9 months of breast milk under his belt and soon he’ll be One and onto real human food so it’s about to end anyway

  • You did awesome, it’s over… and time for you to get over it

 

He’s right. All of that is true. Especially the last point – it’s over and time for me to get over it. Stop dwelling and MOVE ON!

There really are so many things to look forward to…

  • My pump doesn’t need to ride shotgun on the commute to work anymore
  • My schedule just opened up, no need to block chunks of time and lock my office door to pump over emails
  • No more thawing bags of milk and stressing about losing a drop of liquid gold to a leaky bag
  • I get my boobs back

Oh.. and above all my little dude will be totally and completely FINE without it.

Cheers to that!

-JLVR

working mom

5 simple ways to support your pumping partner

June 9, 2016

Recently in my facebook feed the article on Romper by Jamie Kenney “12 Things Grown-Ass Men Do For Their Partners Who Are Breastfeeding” popped up in my feed. Since I was, at the time, still breastfeeding (which can been an all-consuming activity) I was intrigued. I agree with some of her points wholeheartedly such as ‘don’t be weird about boobs’ and ‘don’t complain about having to “share the boobs”’ (and for the record they are MY BOOBS THANK YOU!). I have been thinking of my own journey with breastfeeding and more importantly as a full-time working mom PUMPING. Here are my ‘5 simple ways to support your pumping partner’.

5 simple ways to support your pumping partner

5 simple ways to support your pumping partner

Clean It Up

I can definitively say that my husband washed my pump parts far more times than I did. He’s most excited now that I’m done pumping that he doesn’t have to wash the parts ever again! Be a good partner – know what the parts are, how they come apart and how they’re cleaned.

Leak Guard

One of the most devastating things for a mother who’s pumping is to see any precious milk go to waste. One of the sneakiest culprits of this is a leaky milk storage bag. It can literally bring a mom to tears. Keep an eye on the bags while they’re thawing and when necessary save any of that ‘liquid gold’ from going literally down the drain.

Take the Wheel… or the Baby… or the Baby and the Toddler…    

For me there was a clear tipping point where breastfeeding was no longer an option but pumping was. Not only was pumping an option, it was a very necessary one. Drive the car so she can get a pump session in on a road trip. Take the baby, or in my case the baby and the toddler, so that she can get a quick session in.

Camaraderie

After our kids were put to bed for the night I’d pump one more time before I retired for the evening… (and by ‘retired for the evening’ I mean promptly passed out until a screaming infant woke me in the middle of the night). My husband would sit up with me and watch TV while I pumped. It was a small gesture but so appreciated. He made me feel like I wasn’t in this alone.

Celebrate

One day this breastfeeding ride will come to an end, for some that may be sooner than others. If you’re like me, and likely most women everywhere, you’ll feel a mixture of excitement (yay my body is MINE again!) and guilt (should I try to keep going?!). You reach a point where it’s like squeezing water from a stone – it just ain’t gonna happen. And that’s OK! You want your body to be your own again? That’s OK too! Support your partner, celebrate the triumph of a freezer full of milk. Assure her that everything will alright and  that she did a great job. More importantly pop some bottles because the days of abstaining from alcohol are over!

As an aside…

You know something funny? Inevitably as a working mom in an office setting your co-workers will get a glimpse of something related to pumping at some point. Most notably me sterilizing my parts in a Medela Steam Bag* in the kitchen microwave. More often than not the women in my office knew NOTHING about what I was doing but there were a handful of fathers around my age that did. They knew the terminology, the gear, the struggle, everything. They were a source of support that I didn’t expect to find at work.

Happy Pumping!

-JLVR

*By the way the ONLY brand to buy is Medela in regard to a steam bag, they’re super sturdy! Trust me do not waste your money on generic.

working mom

3 reasons NOT to join a lactation support group

March 29, 2016

FACT: breastfeeding working moms think about lactation pretty much all of the time.

How much milk am I producing? Is it enough? Can I do anything to boost it? How many times and for how long should I be pumping? How can I keep my supply up?

It’s maddening sometimes how all consuming it can be. You know what sucks? When you actually reach out and join a support group that you think will provide actual support just to end up quitting in a fit of rage-tears because it hurt more than it helped.

3 Reasons NOT to join a lactation support group

  1. Extremes
    1. You want to breastfeed your baby until they are a toddler, can walk around, form sentences and ASK FOR YOUR BOOB? Cool, you do you. As soon as my kid cut teeth and bit me a few times we were done. And guess what, that’s cool too. You don’t have to join a demonstration to be committed to breastfeeding.
  2. Shaming
    1. You know who joins a lactation support group? People committed enough to breastfeeding to want the support of a community. Know what you probably shouldn’t do to those people? Shame them in any way for being ‘less-than’. There is no less-than! A group by definition is ‘a collection of persons considered together as being related in some way’. The best way to sabotage your own group is to shame people out of it. It’s counter-intuitive. You’re all there for the same reason. Be inclusive – that’s the point!
  3. Agenda Pushing ‘Advice’
    1. Guess what’s not helpful or supportive? Suggesting I change my work schedule to accommodate my baby’s eating schedule. If that was an option, I’d probably already be exercising it. So no, I cannot shift my work schedule to breastfeed on demand. Maybe try offering up actual advice rather than trying to push your agenda.

You know what’s not good for lactation? Stress and anxiety. So when your “support group” totally sucks at being supportive – ditch it.

-JLVR

 

newbie mom, working mom

my worst pumping experience at work

March 27, 2015

To this day, almost 16 months later, I am still bothered by this incident. I was newly back to the office and just felt so incredibly out of my element.

I was in one of our dressing rooms at work pumping prior to our Halloween party. I knew we’d be enjoying a few libations for the party and I wanted to partake. It was my first all agency social activity back from maternity leave and I was excited to catch-up with everyone.

If you’ve not had the pleasure of experiencing it, the act of pumping leaves you exposed no matter which way you slice it. I mean how can it not? You’re milking your damn self! So I was hanging in the dressing room, with my top pulled up, milking myself when there was a knock at the door…

The room was needed for a psychic/fortune teller for the party. I knew this and I knew when the party started. I purposely timed this activity. (I mean c’mon I’m a super organized planner by nature and trade… I knew what was up.)

The knock came again accompanied by the request to vacate for the not-yet-in-the-building psychic.

I said through the door ‘No problem, almost done. I will be out in a few minutes.’ A brief minute flew by and again… a knock…

Urgently was not a request but a voice telling me they need the room… NOW!

I literally finished-up in a rush (logistically, not easy) and hurried out the door flustered and fighting tears. I mean a psychic was going to use the room right? Couldn’t she see I needed more time? Not to mention that the psychic hadn’t even shown up yet!

I’m still steamed about the whole thing.

I just felt so exposed and like I had no place to go. It was truly the only time I felt this upon returning to work. It was likely compounded by my newness back to the office, to motherhood, to pumping and how quickly I’d returned to work from maternity leave. That said, it still felt awful. It’s one of those things that likely the person asking for the room, who no longer works at our agency, doesn’t realize how profoundly it affected me.

It may feel awkward to let people know you’ll be occupying a room for a period of time to pump, however I promise it’s far less awkward than negotiating through a door while you’re hooked up to a breast pump!

working mom

pumping and pitching

February 19, 2015

Shortly after I started back to work after maternity leave my team had an opportunity to pitch for a large piece of business. For the next phase of the pitch, we were going to travel out of town to the client’s office where I’d be presenting with three partners from our agency. We decided to carpool to the pitch, about an hour and a half from Cleveland. We met on the outskirts of the city at a Cracker Barrel that morning. I was sure to get there early and pump in the car. I figured when we broke for lunch, according to our agenda, I’d take the opportunity to pump and then rejoin the meeting when it resumed. Easy peasy! Yeah…. not so much. We decided that the meeting was on such a roll – yay! – we’d work through lunch – yikes! And we did.

After we wrapped we promptly piled into our shared vehicle and drove home. As soon as we got back to town, the partners wanted to grab a drink to debrief. At this point, I was ready to burst. I had no choice but to excuse myself. So I let them know I’d meet them at the top of the hill for a drink in about 10 min.

I quickly pumped in the back of my car and popped up to the bar to meet them for a vodka rocks with blue cheese olives. NOTE: Yet another reason to ALWAYS have batteries and the battery pack in your pump bag – and a double electric pump.

Coordinating pumping can sometimes be logistically challenging, especially if you’re trying to seamlessly fit it into your schedule. Lucky for me at this point I wasn’t in dire need to pump, so it worked out. I was able to fudge a little because I knew I wouldn’t leak through my outfit. Had it been earlier in my return to work I probably would have had to insist on a break for lunch so that I could take care of business.

Moral of the story… Plan for it, be organized, know your limits and ask for what you need.

 

newbie mom

pumping fail

December 4, 2014

Dan V was a little over one month when my sister-in-law got married.

I thought I was so prepared. I had tried to pump while I was home to get some milk for him that day knowing I’d be involved in wedding activities as a bridesmaid. I even had my dress altered so that I could pull the straps down from the top to hook-up Dan V or my pump – whichever! I was prepared.

That day began with hair appointments and promptly went downhill from there. Next thing you know I was shuttling my brother-in-law and husband over to my soon to be brother-in-law’s house to prepare for the festivities of the day, then I needed to hand-off the baby to my parents, from there it was off to get ready and hang in the bridal suite with the rest of the maids and the bride-to-be…. etc.

In all of the craziness my breast pump was left at my in-laws house, a 30 minute round-trip from where the reception and hotel was located. We were still getting acquainted and all, not attached at the hip yet – me and the breast pump that is. I hadn’t really begun to rely on it yet since I was still on maternity leave and breastfeeding V. So it just kind of got lost in the shuffle.

I thought “It’s OK, no big deal. I’ll be able to get together with the baby and breastfeed quickly, WE GOT THIS.” Get together with the baby? Breastfeed quickly? Ha! I mean I haven’t had a baby before but I had been to and in a wedding before, I should have known better! Not surprisingly a session with little Dan V did not happen.

I’m so organized, how had I omitted this very crucial piece of equipment?!

I’m not even sure the last time I pumped or breastfed that day, it all became a blur. After the ceremony we took pictures in the church and rushed into the limo for photo sessions around town. During pictures and on the limo thereafter I realized that I was in big trouble, really BIG trouble. I was literally bursting out of my dress. I was almost in tears, I had no idea what to do! My chest was hot to the touch and rock hard. I kept picturing myself standing in a hot shower and hand expressing with literally no time to do it. Either that or I was going to begin leaking through my bridesmaid dress as we were being announced into the reception. Either way = wedding ruined. (I clearly overestimate the impact my presence makes for emphasis really).

Thankfully two twenty-something boys, friends of my brother-in-law, came to the rescue. They stopped by my in-laws on the way to the wedding and dropped off my coveted pump. I have never been happier to see them. They were my heroes!

Not even 5 minutes later… there I was, standing in my hotel bathroom hooked up to a breastpump while carrying on a conversation with my Pinot Grigio sipping Mom.

It. Was. Glorious.

The rest of the evening was a fantastic celebration of a beautiful couple – without the distraction of a bursting bosom. We ate and drank and were very very merry. Later that night as my husband promptly passed out in our king size hotel bed while I spent a few extra minutes in the bathroom pumping directly into the sink.

Some things change, some things stay the same.

LV ♥

– JLVR

working mom

pumping logistics

October 10, 2014

A big stressor of returning to work can be the pumping situation. Here’s the skinny on pumping logistics and the gear to get you ready to tackle your new routine.

  1. Scope the situation
    • If you’re planning to give breastfeeding a go, ask your HR representative where you can pump before you go on maternity leave so you can get the lay of the land. Knowing what to expect will make returning less anxiety inducing. Does it feel awkward? Sure! But you’re going to have to email this person and tell them whether you had a vaginal birth or C-section so you might as well rip the Band-Aid off on this one. Things get weird when you have a baby – all kinds of weird – this is nothing.
  2. Put time on your calendar
    • At least tentatively block off some time on your calendar periodically each day to pump. Setting appointments ensures that you won’t be scheduled for a meeting unless someone checks with you and that will help you plan your sessions accordingly.
  3. Wear easy access clothing
    • You’ll be exposed enough – the last thing you want to have to do is have to pull your dress over your head or unzip it to the waist to gain access. Trust me, plan accordingly!
  4. Invest in a double electric pump
    • A double electric pump is the fastest way to get the job done. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act you are entitled to a breastpump free of charge. Guidelines vary so be sure to call you insurance company to learn how if you’re thinking about breastfeeding – do it while you’re pregnant so that you have your pump on hand when your little one arrives.
    • Also, some pumps come with a cooler bag some will not. You’ll want to ensure you have one on hand when you go back to work. You don’t want to look like you’re transporting organs or a 6-pack for a cook-out but you do want an easy place to stash your supply.

Time Saving Gear that I LV

 

  • Medela Quick Clean Steam Bags
    • These are a quick and easy way to sanitize your pump parts, when you’re pumping multiple times a day you want the cleaning process to be as quick and painless as possible.
  • Storage Bags
    • Go for whatever is most economical, I usually ping-ponged between Target’s Up & Up or Lansinoh. I tried the Medela Pump & Save bags but really disliked them, they were stiff, difficult to close and more expensive.
  • Double Electric Pump
    • There are a lot of options out there and it can feel pretty overwhelming when you begin weighing them. Ask around for recommendations. I personally love my Medela Pump in Style it’s quick and easy. It even comes in a stylish tote! I kid, the tote is not at all stylish, but it is functional and at least it’s discretely black and not screaming “I’M A BREAST PUMP!”
    • Added benefit to the Medela Pump in Style is that you can get pump parts in a hurry if you’re in a pinch and forgot yours – usually in stock at Target.
    • Pro tip – throw in a pack or two of AA batteries just in case you need to pump somewhere without an outlet (like the back of your car in a Metropark parking lot on the way to a client meeting or at a winery – yes both have happened)
  • Hands-Free Pumping Bra
    • Who doesn’t love being hands free? It allows you time to multitask by answering emails, prioritizing your to-do list, doing your make-up in the morning, Pinterest… the possibilities are endless!
  • Nursing Pads
    • You will definitely need these at first. I really liked using the disposable ones in the beginning, they even have tape on them so that you can attach them to your bra – so convenient! I then moved on to reusable washable ones. I personally loved Bamboobies – they’re soft, comfortable and discrete.
  • Nipple Balm
    • This stuff is amazing, it’s soft and easy to spread. You’ll want to have some on hand since your nips take a beating being shoved in a baby’s mouth or pump on the reg. You won’t be disappointed with Bamboobies Nipple Balm.
  • iPhone (or other Smart Phone)
    • Start your pumping session by looking at the latest pictures and videos of your sweet little babe. It will help get the milk flowin! (Plus with the hands-free bra you’ll want something to multitask on).