Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Medela Launches New Breastfeeding University

Medela recently launched an exciting new program to help new breastfeeding moms succeed in developing a positive breastfeeding relationship. Medela Breastfeeding University  is a new online tool that provides tips and several courses that address the basics and challenges moms embark through their breastfeeding journey.

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to check out the program and while I am no longer breastfeeding either of my kids, I gained a wealth of knowledge by going through the courses.

Medela Breastfeeding Univeristy consists of 10 lessons from making the decision to breastfeed all the way to breastfeeding while working or in school. Each lessons delivers different objectives on the topic along with a quiz at the end to test your knowledge. The classes are made up of different slides so it gives you the opportunity to go through at your own pace.

I took my time going through each course so I could really get a feel for how well I found all of the tips to help. As a mom who struggled breastfeeding and had to lug my newborn in and out of the lactation consultants office on several occcassions, I can absolutely appreciate what Medela has to offer.

The program altogehter lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes and the course information covers a variety of topics :

  • Get your breastfeeding experience off to the best possible start!
  • You will learn why breastfeeding is recommended by healthcare experts as the best way to feed, protect and grow healthy babies.
  • This course is self-paced and contains ten separate lessons. Eight of the lessons are required, and two are optional.
  • Each lesson should take 10-15 minutes to complete.
  • There is a short quiz at the end of each lesson, but don’t worry!
  • There is no grading, and the correct answer will be highlighted with an explanation after you submit your answers.

Overall, Medlea makes hte program very user friendly and beneficial to give moms support and answers to questions while they can be in their own home, on their own time. But, that’s not all…. Once the program is completed, participants will receive a $25 coupon for a free breastfeeding Accessory Starter Set which includes Quick Clean™ Micro Steam™ Bags, a breastfeeding resource guide, Quick Clean WipesPump and Save™ BagsDisposable Bra Pads, and a breastmilk storage guide fridge magnet.

I have always found Medela products to be good quality and helpful in my breastfeeding journey and I hope new moms will take advantage of this awesome service!

Head over to Medela Breastfeeding University & get started now!

 

 

Forever’s Like a Dream Sample Disclosure: The opinions expressed above are honest, accurate, and not encouraged anyway by monetary donations. Product free of charge were received from said company, as stated within the editorial.

Feeling Nostalgic {Breastfeeding}

I don’t think I ever posted an official “End to Breastfeeding” post. We made it 13 months and at that point, Lavery was using sippy cups more and even though she still wanted to nurse, my milk supply was dwindling and I didn’t want her to get too attached to the idea of NEEDING to nurse. I was sad, but it was the right thing to do. As she was getting older, she wanted to be more of a big girl and like her big brother anyway.

This morning… at almost 15 months, Lavery sat in my lap drinking her milk in her sippy cup and I felt so nostalgic wishing I was still breastfeeding. I miss those quiet moments with her. Now that she’s walking, she’s constantly on the go and I loved those few times a day where we got some quiet mama and baby time while she nursed.

I would say it gave me baby fever, but two nights ago both kids tag teamed us and were up every 15 minutes each… so baby fever? Not so much? Nostalgic.. maybe a little.

Luckily, I can look back on these sweet moments and remember those sweet moments when it was actually quiet… HA!

Breastfeeding Through Surgery (& Recovery Too!)

Well my lack of posting should tell you my life has been consumed that has kept me away. Those of who know me personally, know I had to have a hernia repair. A few weeks ago (Valentine’s Day to be exact,) I had surgery and recovery has been slow moving. I was nervous to go through surgery and recovery while breastfeeding an infant and I wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to go. I have been so determine to continue to breastfeed this time around. I made it through dairy and soy allergies and weight loss, and there was no way surgery was going to change that determination.

I know many moms who have struggled with breastfeeding and I know there are many more out there, which is why I really want to continue to share my breastfeeding journey with you. I want to share with you my experience in how I have continued to breastfeeding through surgery, an overnight stay in the hospital, and a rough recovery.

First, I had to be sure my milk supply was established. You might remember my post a while back, How I Increased My Milk Supply. After doing all of those things (which all worked) Lavery was still losing weight, so I tried Domperidone, which so many mom’s have sworn by in working to increase milk supply. It has worked wonders for me, so I was sure to take the full dosage of that for weeks leading up to surgery and pumped a whole lot to get a freezer stash for when I couldn’t nurse her myself.

While in the hospital, I pumped when Lavery would be nursing. Well, sort of. I’ll be honest, I didn’t do so well keeping up with the whole pumping and dumping thing while in the hospital. I was so out of it, it was hard and luckily for me, my husband was great and even helped me with the pump (because, I was literally falling asleep pumping.) I remember waking up a few times in the middle of the night in so much pain, because I clearly wasn’t pumping enough during the day. Once I got home, this got much easier.

Three days of dumping “liquid gold” down the drain! I call breastmilk “liquid gold.” Liquid gold, because it’s so valuable and it’s hard work to produce! It was so hard for me to dump so much breastmilk down the drain, but with all of the anesthesia and pain meds in my system, I wanted to be safe. Surgery was on a Tuesday and by Saturday, I was back to nursing part time.

For a few days I nursed part time and pumped the others and for a little over a week now I’ve been back into breastfeeding full time. My husband is still doing the night time feeding (last night was my first night back into that,) but I have been sure to pump before bed. My freezer stash is gone, so I have to get that built back up, but I feel so accomplished that I made it this far and even through all of the obstacles I have faced!

What has been your biggest breastfeeding struggle?

 

Medela Announces it’s newest product, Calma {Review}

Medela has recently launched its brand new product, Calma; a unique baby bottle designed to mimic breastfeeding for your nursing baby. I know what you’re thinking, almost every bottle out there claims to be made to be just like the breast, right? I know that’s exactly what I thought when I first heard about this product. I remember when I was nursing my son, I searched online for days looking for the best bottle that would be a good fit for us when we decided to start giving him a bottle here and there. When I was pregnant with my daughter, it felt like almost every other bottle out there claimed to be the best bottle for breastfeeding infants.

Calma instantly put my skepticism at ease. It’s already different, because this bottle is designed specifically for a breastfeeding baby. It really seems like these days companies will put almost anything on the label to suck mom’s into buying their product, but Calma was completely different and Medela once again proved to me they are a trustworthy company in tune with mom’s and what’s best for our babies. Calma features an innovative and unique design is like no other bottle on the market.

The top of the bottle is made up of three parts. The base, which the middle section snaps into and then the nipple goes over that. You can screw this into any Medela bottle and I’ve found this to be easy to use, because I can screw the top right onto breastmilk I pumped and it’s ready to go!

Why Calma?

You’re probably wondering why Calma is different from the other bottles out there on the market and why you should try this one over the others. Calma is not like any other bottle out there. I have tried several different bottles between when my son was a baby and with my daughter now and I haven’t had a feeding experience quite like this.

Calma is designed to allow for the baby to control the milk flow, just like when breastfeeding. Anytime we’ve given my daughter a bottle, you can tell it’s coming out much faster than she’s used to and although sometimes she sucks it right down, other times, she pulls off frequently, because she isn’t used to that fast of a milk flow. Calma allows her to take a bottle just like she would be breastfeeding and that is a feeding experience you can’t get with any other product. If you’re a breastfeeding mother, why would you want your baby to get the same, calming experience when she gets a bottle too? Now, thanks to Medela, that is possible!

Calma gets an A+ in my eyes and if you’re a breastfeeding mama needing the right bottle, I urge you to give this new, innovative, and completely different design a shot! Medela absolutely does not disappoint!

Check out this video on Medela’s website to learn more.

 

 

The Nursing Challenge: Mission Accomplished!

I am happy to announce, Lavery is DAIRY ALLERGY FREE!!! The last few months have been rough in the breastfeeding department. She was losing weight, I started supplementing and took our dairy and soy, she STILL lost weight. I started taking domperidone (which is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING) and increased my milk supply so much, she hardly ever had to have formula. She was getting an extra bottle after every breastfeeding session and at 5 months, we started rice cereal.

Weight gain… YES! We went for a weight check right before Christmas and she gained weight, and today at her 6 month checkup, we found out she is up to 13lb 10 oz. I know that still sounds small and is in the 10th percentile on the growth chart, but now she’s 10th percentile all the way around and she gained a full 7 oz since her weight check 2 1/2 weeks ago!

We also discovered, she has grown out of her dairy allergy! YESS! This means I can now have pizza with cheese, please! Over the holiday’s, I’ll admit, I cheated a little and it didn’t bother her at all. When we first found out she had the dairy allergy and I took it out of my diet, MAJOR improvements in her eating and mood. If I slipped on accident, I noticed it that day when I was feeding her and in her stools. Well I tried it over the holiday’s and still HAPPY BABY! The pediatrician said it’s normal to grow out of it starting around 6 months and she did!

I’m so thrilled I stuck with breastfeeding, no matter how much of a challenge it was, I stuck with it and it was so worth it!

Now onto 2012… with two healthy and happy babies, who could ask for anything more!?

My 6 month old little lady… total SWEETNESS!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

{Dairy and Soy Free} Green Bean Casserole

So I planned to put up a whole Thanksgiving series of dairy and soy free recipes. However, my little lady and growing little man have kept me from updating as often as I sometimes wish I could. So, I decided to leave my favorite Thanksgiving recipe to date!

My all time favorite Thanksgiving dish (that I love to eat year round) is green bean casserole. I normally make it with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, but due to this whole no dairy and no soy thing (although, I’ll admit, I have slowly started to add soy back in with succcess!) I wanted to make a green bean casserole dish I could actually enjoy. The good news? I was able to browse online and find some homemade dishes and come up with own. The bad news? It wasn’t as easy as adding in a can of soup mix to green beans. Here’s the recipe (missing a photo, sorry!)

What You Need:

  • Olive Oil
  • Dairy and Soy Free Butter (My favorite is this from Earth Balance, you can buy it at Harris Teeter and Earth Fare locally here in Charlotte and some other places I’m sure, but check online before you go.)
  • Mushrooms
  • Red Onion
  • Flour
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Chicken Broth
  • Fozen Green Beans
  • French Fried Onions

Putting It All Together:

Chop up the onion and mushrooms into small pieces while heating up some of the butter and olive oil. Add them to the oil and butter and sautee until browned. Take off the heat and mix in about 2-3 tablespoons of flour (I think I ended up mixing in a little more to give a thicker texture.)

Add in around 1-1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth (be sure to read the instructions on the broth. Some have soy in them.) Then mix together, put back on heat and add more flour to thicken. I can’t remember exactly how much flour I put in, but I remember adding more a few times to give it the consistensy the Campbell’s soup has. Mix in some salt, pepper, and I usually add a little bit garlic powder too!

I mix in some French Fried Onions into that mixture, pour it over the frozen green beans in a dish and bake for about 30 minutes on 350. Add more French Friend Onions to the top and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Voila! Green Bean Casserolefrom scratch! DELISH!

Medela Freestyle Hands-Free Breastpump {Review}

Lavery is four and a half months old, and it has been a bumpy breastfeeding ride. However, my determination to nurse her much longer than I was able to her brother has brought me to a routine that wouldn’t be made possible without Medela’s Freestyle Brestpump. When I was nursing LC, my least favorite thing ever was to pump. I dreaded it and never pumped that often, because I hated it so much. The second time around, I’ve been so determined to nurse Lavery through her first year, I’ve been trying to pump more often to not only keep up my milk supply, but ensure I have a stash “just incase.”

When we ended up finding out about Lavery’s dairy and soy allergy and her slow weight gain, I knew I had to start pumping more often. Aside from being able to pump to feed her an extra bottle a day to give her more calories, I wanted to pump often to stimulate my milk supply as well. Medela was generous enough to send me their new hands-free breastpump; the Freestyle and from my very first pumping session, it has been love at first sight!

What I Love

  • Easy to use. This pump is so easy to use and especially for someone like me who despises reading directions, I was able to figure out how to use it from the very beginning.
  • Mobility. In addition to the fact that the pump is already hands free in itself, Medela sent me their hands-free bustier. I am able to walk around, do the dishes, laundry, and tend to LC all while I’m pumping! How awesome is that!?
  • The settings. The settings mimic your baby’s feeding technique. There is an awesome let down phase and then a setting to speed up the pumping which times itself to them slow down again.
  • Quality. The pieces that go with the pump from the membranes to the tubing and the motor are all quality products. The membranes I feel are much “stronger” than the membranes used in the In Style pump and I found them much easier to clean than breastpump parts I have used in the past.
  • Style. Yes, I said this breastpump has style. The black tote it comes in you can carry all of your breastfeeding needs for easy access and not cart around some heavy bag. This bag can even be used as a diaper bag and it doesn’t look like you’re carrying around a breastpump.

I cannot tell you how much more of a positive pumping experience I have had since using the Freestyle Breastpump. Lavery started out nursing so well and despite her dairy and soy allergy and the little rough patch we had, my milk supply is now great, I’m pumping frequently and actually getting milk, and she’s nursing so much better. Had I not had the opportunity to try this breastpump, I don’t think I would have been able to increase my milk supply so quickly and I know I wouldn’t be pumping nearly as often or getting even close to the same amount of milk.

If any mom’s or mom’s to be out there are on the market for a new breastpump, I promise, THIS is the pump for you! Oh and the pump came with one breastmilk labeling lid, and these are awesome too! You can turn the dial to what day and time you pumped the milk, so easy storage and labeling! I must get more!

All in all, Medela never disappoints with it’s products. The several that have come with the Freestyle pump and I have tried aside from this review have all been quality products I have found to better my breastfeeding experience.

 

This is a sponsored post from Medela. I received products in order to review these products. However, all of the thoughts and opinions in this post  are my own.

{Dairy and Soy Free} Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Due to eating more oatmeal to keep my milk supply up, I’ve been thinking of different things to make with oatmeal. I love oatmeal cookies (oatmeal chocolate chip is my favorite) and I really wanted to try a recipe without dairy or soy. My friend Jamie of Mama.Mommy.Mom told me about a chocolate chip brand I could eat without dairy or soy, so I decided to try those in some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

However, I came across another recipe on Go Dairy Free and changed it up a little bit. Instead of making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, I made a no bake chocolate oatmeal cookie! D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S!! This whole no dairy or soy thing isn’t all that bad! Check these out!

For starters, I used Smucker’s All Natural Peanut Butter. I’m sure the recipe I found intended on smooth peanut butter, but I love chunky peanut butter and figured having peanuts in the cookies wouldn’t be bad. The chocolate chips are called, Enjoy Life, and they seriously taste JUST like regular chocolate chips!

So to start, you take 2/3c of maple syrup, 1/4c vegetable oil, and 5tbs of cocoa powder. (The original recipe I found called for cinnamon, but I didn’t use that and I actually put a little less maple syrup and just “eye balled” it.)

Stir the ingredients in a pot over heat until boiled. Make sure you stir frequently. I didn’t at first and could smell it starting to cook too much. It gets really dark and gets sort of thick.

Next mix in 1c of oats, 1/2c peanut butter, and vanilla extract. I just added a small amount of vanilla, enough to “loosen” the mixture a little bit to stir. I decided to add a few of the chocolate chips since I had them to try them out, but I didn’t wait for the mixture to cool enough and they ended up just melting into the cookies. (Not complaining here!) You should have a really thick mixture like this you can now form into balls.

Then you just shape them into balls (whatever size you want the cookies to be,) and put them on wax paper and refigerate.

Once hardened, they will look something like this! Here are my Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Oatmeal Cookies! Yummy! If I try these again, I think I will make them into mini sized chocolates instead. They were so rich, I think they would make better chocolate candy type snacks in bite size form and I already have a million other ideas to incorporate different things and use this as a base recipe!

If you decide to make them, let me know how you liked them!

 

How I Increased My Milk Supply

So I’ve been dairy and soy free (with the exception of a few products that I never even thought would have soy in them that I have recently taken completely out) for three weeks now tomorrow. Three weeks without cheese!? Really though, it hasn’t been all that bad. Aside from the whole soy in chicken broth thing… who would have thought!?

Anyway, Lavery had her four month checkup last week. Where has the time gone? Four months? Really!? I feel like I was just feeling her kick in my belly yesterday! And at her four month checkup, we heard something I never would have expected. 8th percentile for height and weight and 7th for head circumference. WHAT!? My 8 1/2lb baby at birth is now in the 8th percentile!? How did that happen? Milk happened.

The pediatrician thinks it’s all from the milk allergy and now that it’s out of my diet things should start looking up. Her brother was always in around the 90th percentile for head circumference. Talk about from one extreme to the other. In addition to her normal feedings nursing her throughout the day and at night, I have to pump to give her a 3oz bottle a day extra mixed with a little bit of milk free formula. I was having some serious issues pumping, so I was a little afraid of this task, but so determined to continue nursing that I was able to boost my supply in just a few days!

I can’t take Fenugreek, which is very common to use to boost milk supply due to my asthma. I always had bad asthma growing up and although it doesn’t bother me much anymore unless it’s allergy season, I tried drinking the Mother’s Milk Tea a few months ago with Fenugreek in it, and it really acted up my asthma, so I had to seek out other remedies.

I started eating Milkin’ Cookies (you can read my review on The Charlotte Moms here,) but once I found out I couldn’t eat dairy and soy, I had to cut those out of my diet. Luckily, they’re working up a dairy free batch which should be ready soon!

So what was left? I took to the internet to read about what people have tried and came up with mixing some things people said to try to make my own routine to help boost my milk supply. Here’s what I did,

  1. Drink water. A lot. Like all the time. I stopped drinking much of anything, but water and I even put in little flavored packets in bottles of water to be sure I was drinking extra amounts throughout the day.
  2. Nurse often. I started nursing her more often than normally, just over the weekend, I didn’t leave my house and I stayed home, relaxed, and nursed. This way she was getting more food and even if she was just suckling for comfort, it was still stimulating my milk supply. I didn’t overfeed her or take it away if she was still eating, but I just offered my milk more often.
  3. Pumping. After every. single. feeding. Literally, after every feeding I pumped for at least 15 minutes at a time. Even if nothing was coming out, I pumped anyway. I was excited when I would get even small amounts each time, because it meant it was working!
  4. Blessed Thistle. Blessed Thistle is a plant, a herbal supplement you can take that is known to increase milk supply. I picked these up at a local vitamin store and take three capsules twice a day.
  5. Oatmeal. Oatmeal has been known to increase milk supply, and I’ve been eating plain oats mixed with a little bit of brown sugar every morning for breakfast (and a small bowl for an afternoon snack most days too!)

After taking the Blessed Thistle, I noticed a difference in a few days and one I started doing everything else, I really could tell my milk was flowing much faster and had increased by a lot. Just doing this through the weekend, I now am pumping enough to get Lavery her 3oz bottle a day to have an extra feeding and I could probably be pumping a little more, but I don’t want to overdo it. I’m happy with what I’m producing now, and I can tell Lavery is so much more satisfied and eating so much better now that I have established a stronger milk supply… dairy free!

If you have any techniques on increasing milk supply, please share! I’d love to hear what works for you! Everyone is different, so just like what has worked for others didn’t work for me, this won’t necessarily work for you, but I can tell you… it’s so worth working for!

Medela’s Virtual Breast Milk Collection Campaign in Honor of Prematurity Awareness Month

As each year passes, many months represent something or a cause that many people can find a personal relation to in one way or another. This month, November, marks Prematurity Awareness Month which is something I can personally relate to as well as many mother’s I know.

My brother (now a 23 year old healthy man) was born very premature and I remember as a young child visiting him in the hospital and watching my baby brother through the glass wall hooked up to countless monitor’s and cords. As a mother, I thank God everyday I have been blessed with two healthy babies born at 37 and 38 weeks and I pray for the mother’s who are facing their weak and tiny premature babies as they fight to get stronger and survive.

Medela has announced a Virtual Breastmilk Collection Campaign to honor Prematurity Awareness Month and to help raise awareness to the benefits breastmilk can have on your baby. The Campaign states:

In honor of National Prematurity Awareness Month and Neonatal healthcare professionals nationwide, Medela will host a virtual Human Milk (breastmilk) Collection Campaign. As part of this initiative, Medela will donate $30,000 worth of breastfeeding support products to neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) across the country – helping moms provide their premature babies with all the benefits of breastmilk. Throughout the month of November, you can vote for your preferred NICU at www.medelapreemieawareness.com. Six NICUs will receive at least $5,000 worth of Medela products or education services for their facilities to help enable moms to provide the life-saving benefits of breastmilk to their babies.

If you want to be a part of this virtual movement to help raise money for the NICO at six different hospitals, even just for registering, you can add 1mL to the Virtual Human Milk Collection Campaign!

Throughout November, you can register on Medela’s website and vote for a NICU to win. One Nicu from six regions will receive $5,000 worht of Medela products or education services for their facility.

The Benefits of Breastmilk

Breastmilk gives many benefits to your baby, including helping them build a stronger immune system, which is why breastmilk is so important for premature babies. You can read more about the importance of breastmilk and why it can be so beneficial to premautre babies here.

How You Can Be a Part of the Campaign

It’s simple! All you have to do is register and vote! I voted for Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (cHaD) in Lebanon, NH to win, because several members of my family have been cared for here. My brother was born at the old location of this hospital and he has grown into such a healthy adult, I would love to see this hospital from my hometown win this campaign!

Leave me a comment, I would love to hear you voted for!