Sunday, September 27, 2015

Christmas in July!

It was a too hot day in July and a mom asked the kids what they wanted to do that day. Their response- "Let's make gingerbread houses!"

Yes, we wear winter pjs year round in our house. With the tri-level house, the air condition sits in their bedroom at night while Jason and I sweat upstairs!

Who needs a pre-made kit? Hand measured stencils. Did you forget I'm half Martha?

They cooked a little bit too long..oops. #threekidproblems

Yes, I just have piping bags. Don't you?

Left over 4th of July parade candy, perfect!


For being first timers and not running to the store, we did pretty great. Lessons learned for next time. Christmas, here we come!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Working, Pumping Momma (Working Mom Shortcuts)

I'm a third time pumping, working momma. It sucks, pun intended! Yep, with Cecelia I nursed for 20 months and pumped at work until she was a year. With Coletyn, he nursed until he was 2 1/2 and I pumped at work until he was a year. Charlotte is currently almost 8 months. I went back to work at the end of August and will continue to pump at work until she turns one. 
Since little Charlotte is the third kiddo, I've refined my routine quite well! Many lessons have been learned while pumping for three kids for a year at work, believe me. Many mistakes have also been made, believe me. Including but not limited to crying over spilt milk and forgetting lids, oy!

So, in case you were looking for some short cuts or ideas, here's my pumping routine.

Step One- Stock the freezer. One of the biggest struggles with working is not being able to keep up with the kids. To help with this, I spend maternity leaves stocking the freezer. This can produce an oversupply that is a blessing and a curse but don't worry, after a month back to work and pumping, that oversupply is old news. With Charlotte, I am going back to work with about 400-500 ounces frozen in the freezer in 2 ounce quantities.

Step Two- Use a good pump. This is key. I like Medela. In addition to a good pump, make sure you have enough storage space in the pump bag (the backpack style was always too small for me) and make sure you are properly fitting into your pump phalanges. With Charlotte I realized I had been using ones that were too small with Cecelia and Coletyn. Third time is the charm I guess!

Step Three- Be prepared. With this I mean, what are you packing with you? You want to be efficient and fast so it doesn't feel like tooooooo much trouble to do a few times at work. 

This is what the inside of my pump bag looks like. Ziplock freezer bags? YEP!

The ziplock on the right is for the clean, dry pump parts in the morning. I pump twice so I pack three bottles with lids and two phalanges. In ziplock on the left is a paper towel roll cut into half. What you don't do that? Here's why we have them around! In another ziplock under contains 4 backup reusable fleece boob pads and 4 freezer milk storage bags (remember that time I forgot lids.. ugh) incase I need another way to get milk home or for some reason over flow my bottles. Lastly, is a back up steam bag for the parts incase I find myself without one. Everything stays in the bag except the ziplock with the new, clean parts. That will come and go to fill up.
Something I didn't mention are ziplock perfect portions freezer bags. These are those ones without any zippers on them. I bring dirty parts home in these as they are less waste, 75 fit in a box and in the bag at a time and they perfectly fit two phalanges and one bottle! I use a steamer bag at work to clean parts before I pump the second time and just bring home the parts to wash after the second pump.

Step Four- Schedule and plan- At work I pump twice. Charlotte has only ever done 4 ounce feeds. On a good day I come home with two full feeds and then pull one from the freezer to send three full feeds with her the next day. On a bad day, I have to take whatever I pump at night and combine with the day's pumpings and grab the third feed from the freezer to make three full feeds.

So, starting around 6 months, I pump twice at work and usually once before bed. Charlotte's last feed is around 6:30 so there's plenty of time to fit one in. What screws me some nights is she may wake up between 9 and 10 so then I can't pump. Or she wakes up seconds after I am done pumping so I just give her what I pumped. She's up once or twice more during the night to nurse.

On maternity leave for about the first three months, the morning feed I would pump one side and feed her on the other. Then once she started going to bed earlier, I could store another feed before I went to bed to start building up my stash. Slowly but surely it adds up. Now, whatever extra I have over two full feeds, goes into the freezer as I need to be rotating milk frozen during maternity leave as it is close to six months old and I've read ideally babe shouldn't have too many frozen feeds in a day.

Step Five- Organized Freezing Routine- How do you keep that milk organized to keep it rotating? Don't worry, I'll share! It starts with the milk storage bags. Lessons learned- buy the good bags. I've never had a Lansinoh bag break on me. I can't say that for other brands! I only freeze in 2 ounce portions. This makes thawing easy for the person feeding her and gives me options. At first I didn't know if she'd be closer to 4 oz or 6 oz bottles. The worst case scenario is you have to thaw more milk than you need. Guidelines for freezing milk recommend no more than 24 hours after milk is thawed to use. Two ounce quantities never put me in a predicament to thaw more than I need. Some may say that's expensive to only put 2 oz in a bag... it's the ONLY cost to feed my child for a year. We can swing it!

I usually freeze every 5 days or so. Above is a few days of milk before I went back to work in their 2 ounce portions with all air removed. Below is them laying flat on a small tin casserole pan in the freezer. Laying them flat to freeze allows for easier storage when frozen.

They sit on top of a tupperware container. When they are frozen I take them out of the casserole container and put them into the tupperware.
Once the tupperware is full, the whole thing fits into a FREEZER ziplock bag.

That ziplock bags gets the month labeled on it and what number bag for the month. Then I add to my freezer lists. This one was the second bag stored in June. Doing it this way, I know which bag I am looking for in the deep freezer. The oldest gets used first. That's usually Jason's job. He loves having to dig to the bottom for them.

After reading this you may understand why power outages freak the crap out of me... no darling. We still don't need that generator!

So, is it possible to work and continue to use solely breast milk? YEP. With time, patience and dedication anything is possible. And there's nothing I wouldn't do for this little squish!