Returning to Work with the help of Lansinoh. 

Last Saturday was my first KIT (keeping in touch) day. The purpose of a KIT day is to slowly reintegrate you back into work, especially if you’ve had a lot of time off, and get you updated on what’s been going on. I was reluctant to book any KIT days at first as I was/am in complete denial about returning to work (I then realised you got paid for the hours worked during your KIT day, so I quickly changed my mind). I was also concerned about how I was going to cover childcare for the day, not to mention feeds, however I decided to book my KIT day on a Saturday when S would be off. Perfect.

The feeds themselves then weren’t a worry as T takes a bottle quite happily, I was more concerned about my poor boobs! How was I going to deal with them? If I even miss one feed in a day my boobs tell me about it.

Working in the public sector means I often don’t get a chance to sit down at a set time, nor in a set room like a cafeteria, therefore I often eat outside and/or at sporadic times, meaning I’m likely going to have issues when it comes to my boobs as I won’t be able to express at exact times.

Thankfully, I was going to be indoors for this KIT day so I could catch up on emails, this therefore gave me the perfect opportunity to test out my new manual breast pump by Lansinoh!

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The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Fuel for Thought. 

You can get so hungry whilst feeding, not to mention thirsty, so it’s important that you keep well fuelled; not only for energy but for your supply. To help with this, I’ve found the simplest foods to get are the ones with pure oats in the ingredients. Not wheats or grains. Oats.

Every morning, usually whilst S is changing T, I chomp down on an oaty snack and glug a ton of water before his morning feed. Depending on how good the snack is, I can guarantee that in an hours time, the opposite boob is then quite full. I’m then able to express. This is a great routine as I’m creating a nice stash in the freezer. If the snack is shoddy then my boob isn’t as full.

Over the past 4 months I’ve tried my fair share of snacks to keep my supply up, and probably spent a small fortune on gimmicks and promises that a particular snack will boost supply, so here are my Top 5 favourite snacks to help with supply.

5) McVities Hob Nobs. Simple and cheap, although not great for the waistline. I find the supermarket’s own brand contain less oats so it’s good to stick to the brand.

4) Belvita Breakfast Biscuits (in particular the milk and cereals). With 8 in a box and then 4 in a packet, you can’t complain. I find these hold me really nicely until breakfast, especially if the feed is at 5am!

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3) Nairns Museli Break Oatcakes. These are quite expensive but I’ve found they’re really effective, although somewhat dry. If you have the time, spreading some jam or marmalade on top helps.

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2) Freidas Pantry Nursing Bars. I really love these bars as they especially tailored for nursing. They’re tasty and so moist that you don’t realise you’re eating oats and seeds. I tend to save these for before I go out or when I’ve just got home.

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1) McVities Oatie Bars. I got these when they were two for £1 but since they rocketed up to £2.50, McVities can kiss it if they think I’m paying out £2.50. Annoyingly, they’re really effective and like eating a good crumble topping. Yum.

I hope to try and make some of my own snacks over the next few weeks, especially as Scottish Oats are so cheap. I’ll share if they go ok!

In the meantime, what snacks help you? Have you got any receipes?

K

We were given zero compensation for the purpose of this post, we just think these products are great!


The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Things I Didn’t Know About Breastfeeding Before Breastfeeding. 

“I didn’t know it/they could do that!” is a phrase we hear quite often in our house. I’m also forever hearing alternative ways to use breastmilk; whether it’s in the freezer for ice lollies, or in the bath for soft skin. It really is magic stuff.

Here’s a few of the things I didn’t know about breastfeeding/breastmilk before I started breastfeeding.

It’s hard work. I thought that once a baby latched on it’ll just be a case of feeding them whenever. No. The first few weeks are a constant battle what with sore nipples, mastitis, and engorgement. You also have cluster feeds to contend with (no one told me about cluster feeds!) and the night feeds. Baby also has to learn, and each feed can be different. Baby will often time feeds just when the food shop arrives or when the postman knocks on the door

Milk doesn’t just come out of your nipple area. The areolas join in as well. I genuinely thought T had cut holes into my nipples when he once accidentally bit down. I also thought that those holes would eventually join up and my nipple would fall off (I may have also been sleep deprived). Either way, I didn’t know milk came out of other holes.

It comes out blue when expressed! (S) The amount of times K expressed and the first few ounces were as blue as the ocean (okay, I’m exaggerating – but it was blue!).

You will burn calories. I knew breastfeeding worked your body, but I didn’t think it would physically burn calories, which explained why I woke up ravenous and often very thirsty during feeds. Apparently you can burn a good 500 calories per feed! Pass the cake!

It has healing properties (S) Whenever T cut his head or face with his nails, K would squirt or wipe a bit of breastmilk onto the affected area. Within a few hours it would be fully scabbed over if not barely visible. It’s magic!

Despite your boobs doubling in size during pregnancy, they will continue to grow whilst breastfeeding. It wasn’t long into my pregnancy that I had to up by bra size, so I bought 2 nursing bras to kill two birds with one stone, thinking that my new bra size would be the one I nurse with. Little did I know that once I started breastfeeding that I would have to up my bra size AGAIN. Epic fail.

 

Credit: Wikimedia

Credit: Wikimedia

Your boobs know when a feed is due before your baby does, and will continue to tell you until your baby is fed. I was out at dinner with my mum friends, a few miles away, when my boobs started tingling. I knew T was due a feed. I amusingly text S to see if he was feeding at the time and like magic, he was.

You can literally feel your milk coming in. When I’m feeding T I’ll often feel my other boob “filling up”. It’s not like the feeling of when you fill a bucket – it’s like a warm tingling sensation. But very quickly my boob is then a different size and shape.

I didn’t know milk came from the blood (S). I thought milk just happened. Never in my right mind did I think that K’s blood created it. This explains why you have to be careful when drinking, but things like food poisoning won’t effect T because the food bug sits in the digestive system. Very clever!

Not everyone wants to do it. I (nievely) thought that once you have a baby you would naturally want to breastfeed your baby if you were able to, but from speaking to other mums I very quickly realised that some mums actually don’t want to. Whether it’s because they wish to share the feeds with their partner early on or because they don’t want to lose their bodies to the baby, it’s interesting to know that not everyone wants to breastfeed.

What new things did you learn after they occurred?

K & S

The Breastfeeding Chronicles – A Night With Dr. Browns (Review) [AD]

For the first time in 3 months, K was leaving me to go out. Not just “popping” out, but out out. Proper out.  She was going out for a meal with her mum friends, this meant she was going to be out for a few hours.

As the lovely wife that I am, I left work a little earlier so that K could get spruced up, and I could get myself acquainted with our new Dr. Browns bottle warmer.

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We’d previously been using the old method of submerging a bottle of milk into a jug of boiling water, but this was taking far too long, and it’s rare for a baby to sit patiently for their dinner.

I had the evening planned. Lovingly wave goodbye to K at the door, order a takeaway, give T his bottle, and then bed (for both of us). K had fed him before she left so everything was sorted. He shouldn’t need any more than one bottle, although K still left two bags of expressed milk out – just incase!

As soon as K left, T had other ideas. No more than 5 minutes into K leaving, he kicked off – it was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. If I left his sight he just got worse. I hadn’t even ordered my takeaway! It was at this point I thought it would be a clever idea to unbox the bottle warmer – and quickly. What was I thinking.

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As with most new gadgets, it took a bit of getting used to. At first it kept switching itself off after a minute, which confused me to no end, however I quickly realised that the water hadn’t quite filled the chamber and switched itself off. This is a really good safety feature as any spillage would likely lead to a nasty burn.

Even with the pressure I was under, I still managed to set the bottle warmer up with ease, and within minutes I had it up and running, warming his bottle.

Despite T polishing off the first bottle, it still took less time to actually warm the bottle. It was super quick and using the conversion chart at the back of the warmer it was the perfect temperature (something we still couldn’t master using the jug method).

My first attempt heated it for too long as I didn’t take into account I had only put 180ml in a 240ml bottle. Totally my fault. However my second attempt later that evening for T’s second and unexpected feed was spot on and I could get down to the business of feeding him before another meltdown.

What I also like about the warmer is the adjustable basket that you place the bottle in.

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By removing a small cup-like feature from the basket and changing the way it sits in the basket it can make most bottles fit whether they’re tall or short.  Very impressive. Although the warmer can work with most bottles, we’ve always used Dr. Browns own bottles from the very start when feeding T expressed milk. The bottles we have are the anti-colic bottles, and are very good. T has only had one case of colic and it was when he had his tongue tie, but even then he was still on the boob. As a breast boy he took to the bottles with no issue and has never had any further issues with colic.

Although the evening could have gone a bit better, feeding T was a breeze and it was certainly made easier with our bottle warmer. No dangerously pouring boiling water into a jug whilst holding a baby, and no waiting around until you think the bottle is warm enough, and no further waiting because the bottle is too damn hot. With one hand I could pop the bottle in, set the timer, close the lid, and press start. All whilst holding T. Perfect.

Since using this, K has also used it to heat T’s milk after a few sherries and found how simple it was to use without instructions. We love it and seeing as it’s so easy to use, we will likely be handing it over to K’s mum when it comes to babysitting!

S

We were very kindly given the Dr. Browns bottle warmer for the purpose of this review (the bottles are our own), however our opinions and views are our own. 

The Breastfeeding Chronicles – Expressing

Now that T is over 6 weeks, I’ve started to express properly now. There’s no particular reason why as I still intend on breastfeeding, I just feel it would be benefical to have a stash in the freezer in case all of a sudden I can’t feed. There’s also the occasions where S and I fancy may fancy getting my mum in to babysit, or when I may want S to feed T.

We already know, and are incredibly lucky, that T can bounce between bottle and breast, so on the occasions when he is bottle fed, I’m pleased knowing I can still breastfeed him after.

Timing 

I’m trying to express either after a feed around the 2am/3am mark because I find I’m quite engorged by then, or at 6am before T’s 7am feed. Apparently your milk supply is at its peak between 3am and 5am. I’ve tried to express in the evening after his last feed but I find I’m not getting as much out – probably because my body now knows no milk is required after 9pm.

Generally, it’s really hard to decide when to express. Pumping before a feed means that T will then feed on hind milk straight away if I feed him straight after, however it means the expressed milk will be mostly foremilk. Expressing after a feed, however, means that I may not get as much out, but the bottle itself will be hind milk.

At the moment I’m often getting 3-6oz a session which I think is pretty good. Hopefully as time passes, I’ll get more.

Equipment

I’m currently using an electric dual pump by Lactaline. I wasn’t too sure about spending the extra cash on a dual pump at first, but during the early days when I suddenly forgot to clean the first pump and bottle it was useful having a second on standby. I’ve used the two pumps at the same time once or twice but I often can’t concentrate on the two, and I end up looking like this:

I actually enjoy expressing, mainly because there’s something about getting something for free! But joking aside, I’m always worried about my supply, especially on days when T cluster feeds and just doesn’t seem satisfied. The thought of suddenly drying up scares me so I definitely want to make sure I’ve taken and stashed away as much as possible.

Here are a few tips if you’re thinking about expressing:-

Learn how your baby feeds.

Before you start expressing it’s good to know how your baby feeds so you can mimmick the action to get the milk flowing freely.

Know when to stop.

Your baby will come off the breast when they’re finished (hopefully) so learn to do the same, or risk a sore nipple.

Get comfy. 

Although you have the luxury of stopping if you need a wee or a drink, it’s still worth getting yourself comfy as it may have taken you a while to get the flow going.

Storage. 

Most expressing kits come with lids for the bottles, but I recommend getting breastmilk freezer bags. They’re easier to store than the bottles, whether you stand them up or lay them down, and it means you can empty the bottle into the bag and continue expressing.

Time your sessions

If you know your baby feeds at 8am don’t start expressing at 7.30am, unless you know you can express enough and be ready for baby in that space of time. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a sneaky session and your baby suddenly wants a feed. You have to quickly pack everything up,

From timing your feeds to storing the milk, BE CAREFUL. Expressing is one of the only activities where you run the risk of ACTUALLY crying over spilt milk.

K