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In Their Own Words: Courtney

Posted on August 26, 2016 at 7:08 AM Comments comments (22)
"In Their Own Words" is a blog series we share to bring you "real life" experiences from other mothers and their families.  Would you like to share your story? Please email me at krystyna{at}sweetpeabirths{dot}com to get started.

Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

Today we are featuring a Q&A we did with one of our pumping and working-out-of-the-home mothers. She shares her insight gained from pumping for both of her sweet peas, for a combined total of 34 months...and counting.

What was your vision of what pumping at work was going to entail?
I thought I knew what pumping at work was going to be like. I thought it would be a nice break in my day to sit and think about my baby. It was inconvenient and awkward to constantly explain myself. I had read all these books about breastfeeding, gone to support groups, talked to a Lactation consultant, talked to friends, and when it came down to it, I still had to find my own way. 

All the knowledge helped, but each relationship and situation is unique. I knew it was going to be work, and I knew that I could do it. I didn't realize how long I would be doing it. 2 years. I pumped at work for nearly 2 years.

I think that the most important step of the journey was making the commitment and educating myself. The most important part of making that successful was being surrounded by people that supported that commitment, and talking about it.

What was the reality?
At first, I was lucky. I worked with a group of women who were extremely supportive, including my best friend, who was still pumping for her son, 7 months older than my daughter. We brought in a couch, and ate lunch one handed, pumping side by side, while chatting with our colleagues, who breastfed their children. This gave me confidence that I didn't realize I would need later. Everything was normal.

What I didn't count on was leaving that job and starting over at a new school. I knew that I would pump when I went back to work, but I never really thought about how long I would do it. My daughter was 9 months old when I started at my new school. Though still supportive, there was no couch and no camaraderie. I was isolated and lonely. At about 12 months, I was starting to hate it. I would pump in my car, but hooking up with the stupid hands-free bra in a car that had been sitting in the sun all day while trying not to expose myself to passers-by. What a sweaty, frustrating ordeal. But! I kept doing it until she was nearly 2, sometimes cursing about it, but I did it.

Who did you have to talk to to make it happen?
Empowered by the ease of my first experience with pumping at work, in my new school, I knew what I was entitled too, but most of all, I was open about talking to people about pumping and breastfeeding, especially  the”extended” relationship. I wrote a very professional, informed, and informative email that sent to the entire Administrative team at the high school where I teach. My principal thanked me for the information that I provided and we even chatted for awhile about the inequity of motherhood in the workplace and how we both hope to see it change in our lifetime. As a single guy, he had never thought about it. I developed a view of myself as an advocate and found ways to normalize and  remove the stigma of  breastfeeding and pumping at work for an extended time. The more I talked about it frankly with those around me, the less I got a reaction; which I think is awesome! That's normalizing, right? Now that I am pumping for my 2nd child, my co-workers don’t bat an eyelash when I say, “I'll be back in 20. Going to make lunch for my son.”

What kind of provision did your employer make; and was it easy, or did you have to push hard?
I took the lead on advocating for myself in the workplace. I took the attitude of, “If I walk in like I own the place, no one will question me.” When I wrote my email to my administrators and had follow up conversations, I made sure to be informed and provide links to state and federal information, guidelines, and statutes that supported me. I informed my administrators of what was legally expected of them and what I was entitled to. I also provided them with my pumping schedule, and the location that I planned to pump. It was more like, “this is what I’m doing, and this is why you have to let me.” It wasn’t that I expected backlash. I wanted to be clear and straightforward.
My department head was very accommodating in scheduling my prep period for a time that was best for me to space out my pumping. I believe that all of this seemed “easy” because I was well informed and took the role of educating and informing my workplace, advocating for myself, and for other mothers in the future. I didn’t expect them to know what to do, and I didn’t expect anyone to change they way they went about their day to accommodate my needs. My commitment to my child would come first if there were any issues, but there were not.

What kind of support did your partner provide that was helpful?
My partner is extremely supportive, but didn’t quite get why I feel dejected when he would tell me “just pump” when I was trying to schedule my life around feeding my baby. We talked about it, and I explained rather than getting frustrated and shutting down. I would describe how frustrating it was to try to hook up to my pump in the car, in the heat, with a hands-free bra, and a nursing cover, or how I couldn’t do “x” because it was too close to feeding time, or wouldn’t allow me time to feed... and then I ran across an ad for the Freemie on Facebook! He bought me a set. I loved it. Then I complained that I had to wash them every day, and he bought me a second set, so I didn’t have to wash them every day. Best. Husband. Ever.

How much time should a mom plan for each pumping session? Any tips for better/easier letdown?
I usually pump for about 15 minutes. If I reflect on how I got to that, I started by pumping until I wasn’t ejecting any more milk. That would usually take about 20-25 minutes, which was about the length of my commute to work. I discovered that I was pumping more than the baby was eating, I would end up engorged on the weekends. I cut down to 15 minutes and now I end up about even with what baby consumes while I am gone.
To trigger letdown, at first I would just talk about my baby with my colleagues. Especially pumping side-by-side with another momma, let down was not difficult to achieve. Now, I start to let down a few minutes before I start pumping. When I changed schools, it was a little more difficult. I didn’t have that camaraderie any more. On more stressful days, it would take a little longer to trigger letdown. On these days, I sit quietly, turn off distractions, and breathe. Looking at pictures hasn’t worked for me in the past, but closing my eyes and visualizing nursing my baby has helped.

How long did you make the pumping commitment work - how did that match your expectations?
When we decided to breastfeed my husband and I talked about it. I wanted to do at least a year, but thought about continuing the more I learned about extended breastfeeding. Hubby was super supportive of extended breastfeeding, so I made the commitment to nurse as long as my daughter wanted to. I ended up weaning her when I became pregnant. She and I made it 22 months. I am now on month 12 of nursing and pumping for my son. I know that I probably sound like an ad for Freemie, but with Freemie, I don’t see myself stopping until he’s not nursing during the day anymore.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is ready to go back to work and wants to pump for their baby?
Be informed. Inform others. Have a plan. Have a backup plan. Keep perspective. This is for your baby, everybody else can take a number. You are legally protected. Get comfortable saying things like “expressing milk” and “breastfeeding” to complete strangers. They don’t understand euphemisms. I’ve pumped in many places that weren’t schools and I’ve never been told that they couldn’t help me. I hope it was because I was confident and informed. If I were being completely truthful, I smiled inside when I saw someone squirm. I thought to myself, “I’m making them change. This is good.” This is your right and my right to provide for our children. The more we make people uncomfortable, the more comfortable they become and the more “normal” feeding babies breastmilk will be for future generations.

As for the bottle, ask friends to borrow different types of bottles before you spend a fortune. Both of our kids like the Dr. Browns bottles, but that isn’t what we had a full set of. . .
I took twelve weeks off with both of my kids. With my daughter (first born) we tried a bottle with her the week before I went back. This was not soon enough because she wouldn’t take a bottle and I went to my first day back thinking, “my baby isn’t going to eat.” She did, and everything was fine, but I was stressed, which made it harder to pump and made it harder for me to do my job. I think even two weeks out would have been good. 

Don’t be the one to give baby the bottle. Have a partner, friend, or family member do it so the baby will actually try. I had to leave the house to get my daughter to even attempt a bottle. From our experience, don’t wait until they are starving. Giving a crying baby a bottle for the first time didn’t work out for us.

Bottom line? Be confident. Be informed. Inform others. Find your path. Ask for help. Be an advocate.


Thank you to Courtney for sharing her breastfeeding journey today <3 I hope it has touched you and inspired you in some way, and that you will take heart and courage in your own breastfeeding journey.

UPCOMING EVENTS:
Phoenix La Leche League: Live, Latch, Love
As part of the LLL area conference
August 26th, 5-7 PM
Embassy Suites Biltmore
 
La Leche League Conference
August 26-28, 2016
Embassy Suites Biltmore

Birthing From Within and Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: convenient to Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
Disclaimer: 
The material included in this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog and related videos contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of Birthing From Within or The Bradley Method®. The views contained in this video and on our blog do not necessarily reflect those of Birthing From Within, The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Tuesday Tip: Engorgement

Posted on November 10, 2015 at 8:54 AM Comments comments (0)


Puma and I had the pleasure of attending the Club MomMe Family Fest in LA on Sunday.  What an amazing day connecting with people who serve families in the childbearing year! It was a full day, and we are sorry we didn't get to meet everyone on our list.

One of the people I did get to visit with was Dymphna Gruijters, IBCLC and exhibitor for Lansinoh. Every time I see her, I learn something new!  

This time,  she shared a simple tip that can help moms decide when/how to use their Thera-Pearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy treatment packs.

COLD: Apply cold therapy packs when you are engorged. When a mama is engorged, there is so much water in the breast tissue that the milk ducts are constricted. Applying a cold therapy pack helps move the water and make space for the milk ducts so that the milk can flow.

HOT: The heat helps to relieve mastitis and plugged ducts, and my favorite part as a former pumping mom? It can help you pump more efficiently!! Apply the hot packs on the outside of the flange of your breast pump so the heat can encourage your milk flow.  Brilliant!

Just another reason to love Lansinoh. Thank you, Dymphna+Lansinoh, for coming out to support moms on Sunday, and for all that you have done to help promote breastfeeding.

Do you have a favorite Lansinoh product? Tell us about it!

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

The Right to Breastfeed

Posted on August 30, 2015 at 6:03 PM Comments comments (59)
Britta is wearing a nightgown by Belabumbum; bra by La Mystère

As more and more women gain knowledge about the benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby, more women are understanding that when the baby wants/needs to eat, the baby needs to be fed, no matter where the MotherBaby happens to be at the time.  The Pope has famously implored mothers to feed their babies (link HERE)...it's time for the rest of the world to catch up.
 
In part due to the hypersexualization of the female body, breastfeeding in public became taboo.  Women of the 21st century are reclaiming the right to feed their Sweet Peas according to nature’s design.  Nursing in Public (“NIP”) is becoming more and more common as more women refuse to succumb to the pressure that breastfeeding is a home activity. We are gradually normalizing NIP when we respond to our children's hunger cues or emotional cues that breastfeeding can fix, even if we happen to be out of the house or car at the time we are reading these cues.  (Yes, I'm guilty of sitting in a hot car to feed my Sweet Pea so I don't offend someone else's sensitivities.  By Sweet Pea#2, that little concern went away as I gained more confidence to feed wherever we happened to be at the time).
 
It’s not about flaunting our breasts, or being disrespectful to religious beliefs.  It is all about basic mammal biology: after pregnancy, birth mothers lactate; after birth, babies are fed from mammary glands.  The MotherBaby dyad remains intact when they are responding to each other, and one of those signals is the hunger cue.
 
I have written several posts about breastfeeding in public – here are some links for you to explore if you want to read more:
 
Keep Calm and Feed Your Baby – tips to gain confidence nursing in public (NIP)
 
5 Confidence Building Tips for NIP
 
My First Time NIP
 
Nursing in Public – My Personal Evolution
 
Breastfeeding: A Father’s Perspective
 
Are you a lactivist?
 
Breastfeeding and the Law - UPDATE: Since this was written, IDAHO remains the lone state that lacks a provision for the protection of breastfeeding/exemption from indecency laws.
 
Break Time for Nursing Mothers - preserving your breastfeeding relationship when you return to work

I hope that one of these posts speaks to you and lends you the confidence to respond to your Sweet Pea the next time they need to breastfeed and you are out of your comfort zone.  Your Sweet Pea will thank you :)

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.


In Their Own Words: Rachel

Posted on August 21, 2015 at 7:09 AM Comments comments (0)

I didn't nurse very long - 8 months with my daughter, 12 months with my son (although still using breast milk in a bottle from 12 months until the freezer stash runs out because he started taking a bottle at 12 months due to medical reasons).

The biggest help was seeing a lactation consultant. I think everyone should see one, starting in the hospital! I usually ask for one right away, but for my second, following up months later was the best thing I ever could have done. 

At 9 months, my doctor felt I should supplement my son. When I went to the lactation consultant, she spent extra time with me and determined my son WAS gaining weight after eating, and he was just a slow eater. She encouraged me to just let him graze instead of force ounces on him. 

I think having a lactation consultant and having friends who also breastfeed or pump helps keep you going and helps you to not give up. With my firstborn, my friend and I had "pumping parties" in my cubicle and she kept me going because it was just what we did. Although I quit far earlier than I wanted due to stress, she was able to feed her son until he was 2, and supplement breast milk for my daughter. Having help is key!!

Tips for Work and Breastfeeding: Making it work!
20 Pumping Tips from SPB Moms

A Closer Look at Break Time for Nursing Mothers

Breastfeeding Support Groups
Local, national (USA) and international groups

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only. 
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.


A Closer Look at "Break Time for Nursing Mothers"

Posted on August 6, 2015 at 9:49 AM Comments comments (0)
Francis, one of our SPB working-out-of-the-home mamas, pictured here with her breastfed children <3
Reconnecting skin-to-skin after a workday 
is one of the great joys of breastfeeding
PJs by Belabumbum

A discussion question on our student group led me to do some more digging.  Hence today’s blog post on who exactly is covered under the amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to pump at work with mandatory break time.
 
If you are planning to pump when after your maternity leave, see the list of 20 Tips for Workplace Pumping compiled from the brain trust of our SPB students who work in a variety of careers (travel tips included!).  It helps to have some insight so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel!!
 
I was originally ecstatic about the provisions for breastfeeding in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”), which took effect when the PPACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010.  There was a part of the law that was going to be implemented immediately that had the potential to positively impact our students!! YEAH!!
 
Here is an excerpt from the Break Time Fact Sheet: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.htm

General Requirements
Employers are required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” Employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”

The FLSA requirement of break time for nursing mothers to express breast milk does not preempt State laws that provide greater protections to employees (for example, providing compensated break time, providing break time for exempt employees, or providing break time beyond 1 year after the child’s birth).

Time and Location of Breaks
Employers are required to provide a reasonable amount of break time to express milk as frequently as needed by the nursing mother. The frequency of breaks needed to express milk as well as the duration of each break will likely vary.

A bathroom, even if private, is not a permissible location under the Act. The location provided must be functional as a space for expressing breast milk. If the space is not dedicated to the nursing mother’s use, it must be available when needed in order to meet the statutory requirement. A space temporarily created or converted into a space for expressing milk or made available when needed by the nursing mother is sufficient provided that the space is shielded from view, and free from any intrusion from co-workers and the public.
 
Sounds great, right?? Then the little chink started to show through.  This “Break Time” provision is only for hourly employees that are not exempt.  Although it would stand to reason that an employee who is salaried should be able to take breaks since there is a tacit understanding that work can be done throughout the work day, however it gets done, there is no guarantee that an employer will feel compelled to honor these same requirements for salaried employees, or those on the exempt list.
 
What about those employees who are exempt?  Check out the complete list HERE.  So that means that airline pilots (we have one lactating pilot amongst our alumni), teachers (almost one in every series since 2010!), employees of motion picture theaters (one used to work for a local theater!)…All of these mothers are at the whim of their employer/supervisors to either accommodate them…or not.

Surprisingly, our students that seem to have faced the most discrimination have worked for hospitals, the places where one would imagine they understood and valued the importance of providing breastmilk for an infant.  Not so much.  All three have been employed by the Banner Hospital System (different hospitals – seems to be an endemic value problem).
 
So what can you do if you want/need to go back to work, and you are not covered by the PPACA?  Thankfully, there are other provisions in the law and otherwise, that might help you make your case.


  1. Find out what laws are in place in your state.
  2. Educate yourself so you can have a persuasive conversation with your employer.
  3. Talk to your insurance company about your pumping equipment.
  4. Know your legal recourse if you need it.
  5. Set yourself up for success by building your own support network.


1. Find out which laws are in place in your state. 
Check out THIS interactive map that outlines the provisions under the law state by state.  You can find out the protections for workers who are pregnant or nursing, protections against pregnancy discrimination, provisions for pregnancy accommodations, and workplace breastfeeding rights.  HERE is another resource provided by the National Conference of State Legislators that breaks down the laws state-by-state.
 
Side note:  Each state is different.  Since 2016 is an election year, this would be an opportune season to petition your legislators to extend your state’s protections for workplace breastfeeding rights.  States have the opportunity to supersede federal law in this case.  For example, New York law includes ALL employers, and allows for break times to pump for up to three years after a child’s birth, with no exception like, “unless doing so would unduly disrupt the employer's business”.  *thank you* That little, “unless,” could by used by any employer who did not want to accommodate a lactating mother.  Although under the federal law employers have to prove hardship, some mothers may give up at the mere mention of conflict, because as women, many of us are  conditioned to “play nice”.

2. Educate yourself so you can have a persuasive conversation with your employer.
Read up on some talking points so that you can have an informative and persuasive conversation with your employer and/or supervisor.  The Office for Women’s Health has several resources for you, and for you to share with your employer.
 
Information about breastfeeding and going back to work from the Office of Women’s Health – answers questions from preparing during pregnancy, to pumping and storing needs after your return to work.
 
Information to share with your employer/supervisor
"Business Case for Breastfeeding"

Excerpt from the Business Case for Breastfeeding:
Companies successful at retaining valued employees after childbirth find that two components can make the difference: providing dedicated space (as small as 4' x 5') for breastfeeding employees to express milk in privacy, and providing worksite lactation support.

The payoff is significant: more satisfied, loyal employees and cost savings to the business. These savings are seen in such areas as:
- Retention of experienced employees;
- Reduction in sick time taken by both moms and dads for children's illnesses; and
- Lower health care and insurance costs.
 
Find out how several different industries have successfully supported lactating mothers HERE.
 
Find creative space solutions for lactating mothers to pump HERE.
 
Remember that there are options for you as negotiate your return to work.  Maybe you work part-time for a few weeks before you return full-time.  Maybe you do a mix of work-at-home time/days + office time/days for a few weeks.  Maybe someone brings your baby to you at lunchtime, or you negotiate for a longer lunch and a later end time so you can lactate (aka, “go nurse your baby”) during your lunch break.  Maybe you start back to work on a Thursday or Friday, so the time to your first 24-hour reunion with your baby isn’t five days away.  Maybe if you are lucky like me, your boss will say yes, and let you bring your baby to work with you. (I am not alone; a couple of other students have also been able to do this.)    
 
As you may have noticed, I am trying not to use the word “breastfeeding” in this post.  When you are ready, talk to your employer about accommodating your lactation needs after your maternity leave.  Lactation is a condition of pregnancy, and is therefore more likely to be recognized by a court as discrimination, should you need to file a case against your employer.  Mothers who have made the case for “breastfeeding” have not won in court to date.  Read THIS article by an Ohio State law student for more historical background.  She makes a great case for changing our language around the conversation from the first time you mention your desire to pump to your employer.

3.  Talk to your insurance company about your pumping equipment.
Our students have found it is best to talk to your insurance company about providing your breast pump while you are pregnant.  Hopefully this keeps you from scrambling for equipment as your return-to-work date draws nearer.  Your breast pump AND all the parts are also supposed to be covered by your insurer as per the PPACA.  

Excerpt from healthcare.gov:

You may be able to get help with breastfeeding at no cost.

Health insurance plans must provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. These services may be provided before and after you have your baby.

These rules apply to Health Insurance Marketplace plans and all other health insurance plans, except for grandfathered plans.
 
If you have questions about finding the right pump for you, click back to read a guest post written by Debbie Gillespie, IBCLC about finding the right pump for the job you need it to do (more on that HERE).

4. Know your legal recourse just in case you need it.
I hope that it will not come to this, however, in the event that your employer and/or supervisor change the agreement about your break times after you return from your maternity leave, here are some protections in place under the EEOC.
 
Excerpt from Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website

Discrimination Based on Lactation and Breastfeeding
There are various circumstances in which discrimination against a female employee who is lactating or breastfeeding can implicate Title VII. Lactation, the postpartum production of milk, is a physiological process triggered by hormones. Because lactation is a pregnancy-related medical condition, less favorable treatment of a lactating employee may raise an inference of unlawful discrimination. For example, a manager's statement that an employee was demoted because of her breastfeeding schedule would raise an inference that the demotion was unlawfully based on the pregnancy-related medical condition of lactation.

To continue producing an adequate milk supply and to avoid painful complications associated with delays in expressing milk, a nursing mother will typically need to breastfeed or express breast milk using a pump two or three times over the duration of an eight-hour workday. An employee must have the same freedom to address such lactation-related needs that she and her co-workers would have to address other similarly limiting medical conditions. For example, if an employer allows employees to change their schedules or use sick leave for routine doctor appointments and to address non-incapacitating medical conditions, then it must allow female employees to change their schedules or use sick leave for lactation-related needs under similar circumstances.

Finally, because only women lactate, a practice that singles out lactation or breastfeeding for less favorable treatment affects only women and therefore is facially sex-based. For example, it would violate Title VII for an employer to freely permit employees to use break time for personal reasons except to express breast milk.

Aside from protections under Title VII, female employees who are breastfeeding also have rights under other laws, including a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a private place for hourly employees who are breastfeeding to express milk. For more information, see Section III C., infra.
 
If you are in CA, THIS resource is available from the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center.
 
Should you find yourself in the unhappy situation of facing hardship and/or discrimination because of your choice to breastfeed, there are two resources I can offer.
 
In Arizona contact:
Michelle Hottya
480-442-8491
www.azbreastfeeds.com
 
United States:
Best for Babes~ Their breastfeeding discrimination hotline helps moms wth their legal rights & assists with filing a complaint to the Department of Labor
NIP Hotline
1-855-NIP-FREE
http://www.bestforbabes.org/
Read more HERE 

5. Set yourself up for success, and build your own support network.
As our students pointed out, rally your support team before you go back to work.  Get your partner on board – pumping is a team effort.  Their help packing the bag in the morning, and helping clean the parts when you get home from work helps ease the burden of this amazing commitment you are making to your Sweet Pea.  Find other mothers like you on a social media forum, or amongst your co-workers.  It helps to know you are not alone in this choice.
 
Also take the time to educate your peers if your employer does not take up the opportunity to do so.  Pumping could take as much as 30 minutes between set up, let-down, collection time, and clean up (and that’s on a good day!).  Let your peers know what the time commitment is, and also how you plan to keep up your workload, or trade-offs or concessions you are willing to make.  This will help pave the way for an easier transition back to the workplace.
 
Reality check: Be prepared for the backlash that might come from mothers who feel judged by your choice.  Remember, it is not about you.  They did what was right for their family; this happens to something you want to commit to for yours.  The "Mommy Wars" set mothers up for the potential to feel like they failed their child if they gave them formula, and here you are pumping to give your baby breastmilk.  They may register, “MOMMY FAIL”.  It simply is not true.  Each family makes the choice that they made with the information that was available, and made sense for their situation.  End of story.

CLOSING THOUGHTS: 
However long you or however much you are able to pump, remind yourself that every ounce is good for your baby.  Give yourself the grace to do your best and keep your sanity.  Know that generally, whenever you take milk out, it places the order for the next day.  Even if you can’t keep up your supply at work and you supplement with formula, every time you breastfeed your Sweet Pea during your contact hours with them tells your body to keep making milk. 

HERE again is the list of 20 Tips for Workplace Pumping compiled from the brain trust of our SPB students who work in a variety of careers.  Many of these moms have been able to lactate past the first birthday – they know what they are talking about.  And, should you need them, HERE are some ideas to boost milk supply.  

I wish you all the best as you navigate returning to work and keeping up your breastfeeding relationship with your Sweet Pea. 

What was your experience with returning to work and lactation? Any tips to share?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.


Breastfeeding + Work: Making it work!

Posted on August 3, 2015 at 10:32 AM Comments comments (89)
Laura is wearing a Belabumbum pajama set, and a teething necklace by Chewbeads
Diaper bag by JuJuBe

The theme for this year’s World Breastfeeding Awareness Week is “Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s make it work!”

While it certainly can be more convenient to formula feed while at work, that is not the choice that all families want to make.  (Side note: As long as the baby is put to the breast during contact hours, and barring other complications, the body will make the supply according to demand. It is possible to do a mix of formula feeding and breastfeeding as long as the baby is consistently put to the breast.  Putting the baby to the breast places "the order" for it to be available again at the same time tomorrow.)

Since putting the baby to the breast places "the order" for breastmilk to be available again at the same time tomorrow, some mother's are choosing to use a breast pump at work to make sure their supply stays strong and consistent for their Sweet Peas.  This allows for an exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) situation during the first six months as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Thanks to breast pumps, families can EBF even when the mother returns to a workplace or work arrangement in the home.  This is not necessarily or convenient, hence today's choice of quote in our image.
 
I asked our former students for some input on this topic, and two things became clear:
 

  1. The decision to pump at work to provide breastmilk for baby and keep up the mother’s milk supply can be very isolating. 
  2. We still have a long way to go in educating peers, managers, administrators, etc., on the time, energy, and commitment it takes to pump. 

 
A note about the time if you haven't pumped at work or while traveling:  
It’s not just the 10-15 minutes spent with the machine.  It takes time to settle into the space so that one is mentally ready to pump, the actual pumping time, and then the time afterwards to store properly and clean parts so that they are sanitized and ready to go for the next pumping session.  All told, a pumping session could take at least 30 minutes; maybe a little less on a day when mama isn’t stressed and the milk flows freely.
 
"Letting down" to a breast pump takes acclimation.  We were not designed to feed to a machine.  If you have questions about finding the right pump for you, click back to read a guest post written by Debbie Gillespie, IBCLC about finding the right pump for the job you need it to do (more on that HERE).

One way I "trained" my body to pump was to nurse my Sweet Pea on one side, while I pumped on the other.  By getting used to pumping with our baby, it made it easier to connect the machine to making milk for our child when I had to do pump without them.
 
HERE are resources for you to share with your workplace, and some for you to help you finesse your talking points with your co-workers, managers, etc.
 
I also want to share some collected tips from our students, and some from me from my pumping days:

  • Play music that reminds you of your Sweet Pea.
  • Carry something that reminds you of your baby or smells like them.
  • Look at their picture while you pump.
  • Your pump mechanism is going to sound in cadence – make up a mantra that you can chant along with it.  Mine was, “This is milk for my baby.”
  • Think about using the word, ‘lactation” instead of, “breastfeeding,” to ease into conversations about your needs with your boss. (LLL)
  • Try not to skip pumping sessions. (Amy Y)
  • Have a schedule and stick to it! (Francis H)
  • I bought multiple pump parts so during the day at work I actually didn't wash them I just used a clean set (I pumped 3 times). It saved me lots of time and just washed everything once I got home. (Francis H)
    (NOTE: Breastfeeding supplies are covered under the ACA - should be provided at no cost to you by your insurer - read more about that HERE)
  • Medala wipes were a lifesaver for me. The nearest sink was too far away. So I would wipe everything clean after each pumping using those wipes. (April M)
  • Pump and freeze a nice freezer stash while you’re on leave if you can.  Costco has excellent deals on deep freezers if you run out of space. (Laura A)
  • Set a goal you can achieve – even if it’s short term. (Laura A)
  • Be organized with your pump, cleaning parts, storage containers, and cooler. (Laura A)
  • Don't worry about labeling until you get home if you’re short on time. (Laura A)
  • Consider a hand pump for times when you can’t do a long pump – it will protect your supply if you pump even a little bit. (Laura A) 
  • If possible, choose a job that is flexible or has a good schedule and budget for less income if you can. (Laura A)
  • Dress for easy access. Wear nursing bras that unclip and a shirt that does not need to be taken all the way off, just pulled down unbuttoned partially. This helps with time management. (Laura A)
  • Seek out other co-workers who are pumping at work – it helps to know you are not alone. (Courtney D)
  • When a workplace has a place to pump, it's a good start, but the true contributor to success is the emotional, and scheduling support, that a workplace can provide that will make the biggest difference. (Courtney D)
  • One thing that has made a big difference in several airports is Mamava. Mamava are little pods set up in airports, stores, etc throughout the country and are made just for nursing/ pumping moms! They are private, comfortable and have a place to sit, a table, and an electrical outlet. The Mamava app is free and will tell you exactly where they are located. (Meghan C)
  • When you book a hotel, be sure to request a fridge and let them know it's for medical reasons so they don't charge you extra for it. (Meghan C)

 
Anecdotal reflections from our students 
I am sharing these because if you are feeling isolated in your choice, I want to validate you - YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  YOU ARE NOT CRAZY FOR WANTING THIS.  IT IS WORTH IT.

Amy Y:
We pumped for 8 months while I was working. It was challenging because my supply didn't hold up. He stopped breastfeeding at 6 months and so we pumped and bottle-fed exclusively. I would wake up at 2am to pump even though baby slept through the night. If I had to do that again I would use supplements sooner and never skip pumps. Stress also made it a lot harder. With baby #2 I actually changed jobs to work at a school where she is on-site and I don't have to pump. That was totally worth the pay cut.
 
I think a lot of the challenges are just people generally not being supportive. I was much more confident with my second and I told the people in my life that I wanted their support and that it hurt to not have it. It made a big difference and I'm glad I stood up for myself.
 
 
Laura A:
We’re still pumping and breastfeeding today at +1:) 
I went back to work as an airline pilot at 6 months postpartum

Tips:
-Pump and freeze a nice freezer stash while your on leave if you can.  Costco has excellent deals on deep freezers if you run out of space.
- My job is exempt of nursing/pumping laws, so it helped me to have good educational discussions with co-workers about the health benefits of breastmilk and why I personally have chosen to extend pumping and made sure to discuss with them how often and long I will need to pump on breaks at the airport. At times, this puts more workload on my captain on a "quick turn" of the aircraft so I make sure to always ensure they also receive breaks through our day by always helping with additional workload on the other quick turns. This has helped me to get a lot of support from my fellow crews. 
- Every personality is different on how to achieve goals, but for me with pumping at work, it was better that I was very relaxed with my goal. Since it wasn't supported by our industry, I decided to do a no pressure goal. I just decided to take each week as it comes and evaluate how baby and I are doing. If pumping ever got to be too stressful then I would stop. We're going over a year now and it is still working great for both of us :) 
- Be organized with your pump, cleaning parts, storage containers, and cooler. Don't worry about labeling until you get home if you’re short on time. I use a hand pump at work because it is easiest for me to quickly assemble and keep in a cooler. The times that I can't do a long pump I can at least relieve and keep my supply strong. 
- If you can, choose a job that is flexible or has a good schedule and budget for less income if you can. I have chosen to stay a senior first officer to ensure I can hand pick my schedule. This is a pay cut and a hold on career advancement, but it has been priceless for this time in our life. I can pick day trips and schedules that work for my son well and also allow for breaks to pump fairly easily.
- Dress for easy access. Wear nursing bras that unclip and a shirt that does not need to be taken all the way off, just pulled down unbuttoned partially. This helps with time management.
 
 
Courtney D:
I took 10 weeks of maternity leave. When I returned to work, I pumped 3-4 times a day. I am a high school teacher. Each day, I would pump at least once, in my car, driving to, or from work. At first, it was a way to reconnect and think of my little one while I was working. I had a coworker that was pumping for her son as well, and I worked in a department, with all women, that were tremendously supportive. My friend and I would pump side by side and eat lunch and chat with our coworkers. It was a time to be together and I felt supported. That feeling lasted about a year. I had to change jobs and while my new school and department were supportive of my breastfeeding goals, I was not able to have that same social connection. I was lonely, and when asked to go to a meeting or do something during a time that I needed to pump, I was constantly making others feel awkward when I told them why I couldn't make it. 

I continued to pump until she was 22 months, when she was down to only nursing in the morning and at bedtime. It was at around 18 months that I started to hate pumping. It was now a tedious thing that isolated me from others, but I kept at it. Occasionally, I would have to ask for donor milk, but never had to use it. I always seemed to be able to provide just enough for her while I was gone. She continued to nurse until she was 26 months. My goal was always for her to breastfeed as long as she wanted to. She self-weaned; stopping on her own when I became pregnant again. 

I think that the #1 contributor to my pumping success was the support I received from those around me. When a workplace has a place to pump, it's a good start, but the true contributor to success is the emotional, and scheduling support that a workplace can provide that will make the biggest difference. 

I am not looking forward to pumping again, but I plan to make it work.
 
 
Francis H:
I was lucky with J. to have a very supportive principal (I'm a kinder teacher) that adjusted my schedule so I had the appropriate breaks to pump; but with C. and my new principal I did not. I had to be assertive with her and demand my time to pump. It was hard at first, but I knew I was the only advocate for my daughter. I was committed to continuing our breastfeeding relationship and for us that meant pumping at work. I also starting working on my stash 2 months before returning. On days I pumped less (stress, or unexpected school situations or illness) I was comforted in knowing I had back up milk for them.
 
 
Nisa C:
I returned to work as a Research Assistant and PhD grad student at ASU when my first was 6 weeks old. Thankfully, I was in a very supportive environment. As long as I got my work done on time, when and how didn't matter. And Z was welcome in our lab! Z became an honorary grad student as I brought him to work. I was given a private room to nurse in. I stored my Boppy™ and burp cloths in that room. I did have to pump when I had class. At most I was away for 3-4 hours including commute time. I would pump in the morning, and nursed him before and after class. Our breastfeeding relationship lasted over 2 years.
 
April M:
Our daughter is now almost 17 months old and still nursing about 3-4 times a day. As we gear up for the start of a new semester of college teaching, I'm trying to figure out how much I'll need to pump to keep me comfortable and keep up the supply. We are weaning her, but in a very gentle way, just slowing cutting back the number of sessions. However, we will likely to continue to allow her to nurse before bed and upon waking as long as that seems to be working for both her and me.
 
Because I never did respond terribly well to the pump, I had to pump quite a bit to get those few ounces we needed (4-5 oz), but it was enough to get us through. Like a few other posters, I found the process rather lonely. I could no longer socialize at all on campus and basically came to work, shut my office door, pumped and then headed off to class. The same thing happened at lunch. So no lunches with colleagues, or chats before or after class. On numerous occasions I would have colleagues question me about leaving a meeting early, even when I had repeatedly explained that I needed to have at least 15 minutes before my afternoon classes to pump.
 
It's very frustrating when people who are truly trying to be supportive, many of whom breastfed and pumped themselves, still forget about the complex logistics needed to keep breastfeeding while working full time. I don't know what the solution is, but I hated that the onus was always on me to remind everyone about my need to be accommodated.
 
In spite of it all, I'm very proud of the fact that I've continued to provide her with breast milk for this long. It's been worth it, but far more challenging than I expected.

Do you have any "back to work" breastfeeding+pumping tips to share?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.


 

Upcoming Events: Bump to Breast Fest

Posted on March 27, 2015 at 4:41 PM Comments comments (0)

We are so pleased to congratulate the Arizona Breastfeeding Center on their one-year anniversary!! We are so grateful to have them as a resource for birthing families in the Phoenix area.

As they celebrate their first year in operation, they are hosting a fun family event tomorrow.  Read more about The Bump to Breast Fest in our virtual interview with the two founders of the Arizona Breastfeeding Center, Desiree Allison, IBCLC and Jennie Bever, IBCLC.

What is the inspiration behind the first Bump to Breast Fest?
The short answer is the wonderful community and families that have made The Arizona Breastfeeding Center possible.  
The Arizona Breastfeeding Center is a unique place, there are only a handful of similar centers across the United States, owned by IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants) and are contracted with a few insurance companies.  When we came up with the idea for the Bump to Breast Fest, we truly wanted a way to give a heartfelt thanks for the many families that have come through our doors since we opened.  We believe it is critical to always give back to the community.  

What kind of information will be available to families?
We will have a mix of fun and educational classes. Car seat technicians will be onsite to check car seat installations.  Tours of the breastfeeding center will be available and you can meet our providers.  We will also have photographers on site to take free bump, family, or breastfeeding portraits.  
 
(Find the schedule of events at the end of today’s post)

Who will be joining you at the event?
 
Our vendors include:  
My Root Elements (website HERE)
Bubbles of Joy (website HERE
Nikki Brewer Ha Yoga Tempe (website HERE
Doula Table Meet & Greet
Babywearing International (website HERE
Arizona Breastfeeding Bag Project with Massage Envy offering chair massages (websites HERE and HERE
Car Seat Safety Technicians from Southwest Collision (website HERE)
 
There will be snacks and drinks for sale at the event, but no food truck. There are several restaurants nearby for families needing something heartier:  Smash Burger, Chipotle, Qdoba,  Whole Foods, Little India, and Pita Shack.  

Who is the event tailored for?
This event is tailored for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms, as well as those who support them and want to learn more about local resources and general information.   

Is there a "prime time" to visit?
I think it depends on what a person is interested in!  It is an open house style event, come and go as you please.  You do not need to be present to win the raffle items, but you do need to pick up within a week of the event at our office.  Our raffle items will be drawn at 12:45pm.

Is there any cost associated with the event?
The event is free to attend!  This includes entry, one free raffle ticket, classes, vendor courtyard, and photography sessions with Danielle Jensen and Beverly Houpt.  We have some lovely items for our raffles and additional tickets will be for sale ($1.00/ticket).  Items included in the drawings are:  2 Limerick PJ's Comfort hospital grade breast pumps, Brestfriend Twin Pillow, Breastfeeding Classes, Custom mother/baby hand and footprint cast, Membership to Babywearing International of Phoenix, Cloth diapers, Gift basket from Bubbles of Joy, Gift from My Root Elements, Prize package from Brilliant Breastfeeding including a pumping bra, nursing shirt and bamboobies nursing pads and last but not least a lovely Tula baby Carrier!

Krystyna's note - we also dropped off an SPB prize package to the ladies this morning...this is our contribution to the raffle:
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson
  
Some vendors may also have items for sale or raffle tickets for fundraisers.

What do you hope families will gain from attending your event?
We hope families feel thoroughly spoiled by coming to the event, enjoying the classes, having their picture taken, and mingling in the courtyard!  We hope they feel a sense of community and the gratitude we have for them supporting the Arizona Breastfeeding Center.  If they have a little fun and learn something new along the way, all the better.  
 
Here are the details:
WHAT: Bump to Breast Fest hosted by the Arizona Breastfeeding Center
 
WHEN: Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
 
WHERE: 4703 S. Lakeshore Dr. Suite 2, Tempe AZ 85282
 
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
9:30 AM 
Bump and Babywearing Yoga by Dara DaCuhna, DC and Babywearing International, Phoenix.  
 
10:00 AM 
Milk Circle:  Share your Breastfeeding Journey, hosted by Michelle Hottya, IBCLC, Arizona Breastfeeding Center
 
10:30 AM 
Learn Infant Massage, with Gilad Shoham of Southwest Institute of the Healing Arts.  (Space is limited and there is a wait list)
 
11:00 AM  
How to Have a Hospital Birth Your Way, with Belinda Hodder of Valley Women For Women Midwives
 
11:30 AM  
Learn to Wear your Baby (and your twins!) with Laketa Kemp
 
12:00:  
Create a Back to Work Breastfeeding Game Plan, with Jennie Bever, PhD, IBCLC, Arizona Breastfeeding Center
 
12:30 PM  
Shake your hips in a Postpartum Bellydance Class with Leslie Bradford, Arizona Breastfeeding Center.  

Disclaimer:  
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson The material included on this site is for informational purposes only. 
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.


In Their Own Words: Jennifer

Posted on August 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (3)
This is part of an "In Their Own Words" series in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month 2013.  Here at Sweet Pea Births we celebrate and honor all breastfeeding relationships, and want to share these stories with you to empower and inspire you.  No matter how the journey starts, with help, support, and persistence, most mothers can achieve the breastfeeding relationship they want with their nurslings.  If you would like to submit your story, please email me at krystyna{at}sweetpeabirths{dot}com.  Sweet Pea Births understands that not all mothers can or want to breastfeed.  These stories are shared for learning purposes, not to judge the choices we make when we feed our children.

JENNIFER:
Our pregnancy story included: high risk from the start, hyperemesis gravidarum before Kate Middleton made it “cool”, severe pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), breech presentation, significant scar tissue which made turning the baby impossible in the doctor’s opinion, and placenta accreta which led to a multi-liter hemorrhage during my c-section.

 “What’s more important, feeding your baby or breastfeeding?” This was the question posed by my fourth lactation consultant (“LC”) prior to announcing that I was never going to breastfeed my baby and I should just give her formula. At the time, I had already followed the number one rule of “feed the baby” and she was already receiving formula so I’m not quite sure what I paid my $65 for.  

Then came the tearful voicemail (and follow-up, less crazy email) to my fifth LC.   Debbie called back and told me that giving my baby a bottle would not be the demise of our (non-existent) breastfeeding relationship as long as I did it in a manner that would not cause nipple preference.  She walked me through that process, and then explained how to increase my milk supply in the following days prior to our appointment.

I took copious notes.  I emailed for clarification.   I gave a bottle. My poor little girl gobbled down formula for 24 straight hours and finally stopped crying!  Apparently, the finger-feeding, syringe -feeding, spoon-feeding, cup-feeding and simulated nursing system-feeding (SNS) we had been doing at the suggestion of the first three LCs weren’t actually feeding the baby.  Ooops.

And so began our journey to breastfeeding…

It started with pumping. ALL. THE. TIME. No, really. I “emptied” both breasts a minimum of eight times a day.  Most women would get to that point by the 15 minute mark. Lucky me.  I took between 23 and 25 minutes. My days consisted of bottle feeding my baby (first formula and then slowly some actual breastmilk,) then pumping, then cleaning my pump parts, then restroom break and then starting the cycle over again. I would take small naps in the evening when my husband got home from work around six.  Before he went to bed about ten when he could help feed the baby and could wash the pump parts.

When my daughter started sleeping through the night at three weeks, I continued to get up. Twice. Every night. Around 1:30 am and again around 4:30 am. My milk supply was significantly greater between 1 am and 6 am so I took advantage and pumped.  I took herbal remedies (anyone else familiar with the maple syrup smell of their urine thanks to fenugreek and blessed thistle?) I had lovely friends who baked me milk-making cookies since I couldn’t find the time (thank you sweet baby Jesus for such amazing friends!) I rented a hospital grade pump from Modern Mommy Boutique and set up my “nest” on the couch for pumping. Plus, I found new and amazing mommy friends who understood how important it was to me to breastfeed my baby and didn’t judge or make me feel self-conscious when I showed up at their houses or a meeting with my breast pump.

During this time my baby and I spent as much time as possible skin to skin. She lived in her diaper and I lived in a nursing bra and we bundled up together in my Moby™ wrap and cuddled. But still she wouldn’t latch.

I cried. A lot. My husband and my mom thought it may be post-partum depression but I knew that wasn’t the case. I needed to feed my baby the way I knew I could. I just couldn’t manage.  I knew that four months was the magic time that babies either start breastfeeding or they don’t but I had only heard of two women in similar situations. One had a baby that started latching at six weeks, the other 12 weeks. As the weeks progressed my heart grew heavier and heavier. Weeks were turning into months and still we were no closer.  

I just kept thinking over and over this was entirely my fault. If only I had insisted on a natural birth with no interventions. Or if only I hadn’t listened to the first three well-meaning but not very good LC’s who tried to get me to force my baby to breastfeed. And I prayed. I just knew in my heart that God hadn’t intended for my healthy baby and me to bottle-feed. Bottles are a wonderful tool for mamas and babies that need them but we weren’t in that category, we had just gone a little sideways but we would make it back.

Every day, I gently tried to latch her and every day she would cry. Finally at eight weeks I decided I could do this no longer.  I was not going to try attempt to breastfeed. Emotionally I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I would continue with our skin to skin time and I would continue to pump for as long as I could manage but I simply could not handle being emotionally drained every day when she cried at my breast. My husband came home from work that night and I explained my decision. He supported it and said he would continue to do what he could to make pumping easier.

At eight weeks and one day, my baby was doing some napping  in my arms shortly before her daddy got home from work.  She woke up and attempted to latch all on her own! I pulled off my shirt, yanked my bra out of the way and she started breastfeeding! My husband walked in and as I sat there crying, I asked him to take a picture. I was so very worried this would be the only time I would manage to feed her at the breast. And it was. For a few days. But then she latched again and slowly we started breastfeeding almost every morning but only on the left breast.  

Eventually she latched on the right breast and I felt as if she was stabbing me with a red-hot poker. I thought at first it would get better when she got used to latching on that side but it didn’t.  I contacted our LC.  She had explained she had seen a slight tongue tie when we met with her and that could be causing the issues.

She sent me a list of signs to look for in tongue tie, told me to look them over and then we would chat to see if we needed to get help for tongue tie.  I looked at the list and immediately contacted a local pediatrician who was knowledgeable about tongue and lip ties and is our local go-to guy for these issues. It explained so much.

To shorten a long story just a little, it turns out my baby had a slight tongue tie, a severe lip tie and a cathedral palate. The pediatrician left it up to us but recommended the procedure for the tongue tie followed by the procedure for the lip tie. After discussing it with my husband, a few trusted friends and a couple LCs, we decided to proceed with the tongue tie procedure and then determine if we needed to go forward with the lip tie.

The tongue tie procedure went well and had an immediate impact on my comfort level. After a few days getting used to her “new” tongue, my baby was able to effectively eat and didn’t need to get a bottled milk supplement. We started the transition to (almost) exclusively breastfeeding.

We found that while she was effectively sucking, she wasn’t getting a good latch due to the lip tie, so she was still getting frustrated while eating and was taking in an awful lot of air which upset her belly.   We went forward with the lip tie procedure.  Again, it was a success and we noticed an immediate difference – she would stay latched through an entire feeding and she spit up significantly less. And? My baby actually does have an upper lip! I had never seen it before as it was always curled under. 

The transition to breastfeeding continued.

At 16 weeks and one day, we had our very first exclusively breastfeeding day! As the time neared midnight, I started crying. My husband got concerned and asked what was wrong and all I could do was thank him for all his love and support through all my crazy bouts of crying and eventually I managed to explain that I hadn’t been forced to give my baby a single bottle that day.

Since that time, she’s had quite a few bottles. I went back to school and work when she was four weeks old.  Other than a required pump and dump due to a breast ultrasound and a stomach bug that led to dehydration, I haven’t given her a bottle since she was sixteen weeks old.  She happily breastfeeds every time we are together.

***

Since then, I’ve talked to many women who have struggled to breastfeed. A common thing among all of us is our fear of solids. I knew my baby was ready to start solids. She was telling as well as she could without words but I fought it. I was petrified that she may end up rejecting the breast again. But have no fears mamas! She finally started solids and while she has tons of fun eating (and playing with her food) after she’s cleaned up, she’s always ready to breastfeed.

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted.  

Disclaimer:  
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.


Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonWe are now enrolling for our Fall 2013 Series
The Bradley Method® for people new to TBM:
September 6, 2013 through November 22, 2013
Classes meet at 6:30 pm

Bradley™ “Next” – full series plus focus on sibling preparation
September 7, 2013 through November 23, 2013
Classes meet at 2:00 pm

For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected]













Tidbits from Peas & Pods

Posted on September 29, 2012 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (0)
We had the great pleasure of hosting some of our alumni mamas and their babies at our home for a "Peas & Pods" playdate today.  Although we have invited current students to join us since we started these gatherings last spring, we had our first student mama come to our group today.
 
She asked a great question and I wanted to share the answer with you.  It piggybacks on a recent post about The Baby Stuff, and I was quite surprised by the answer the mamas gave her since I had not really thought about it before.
 
Q: Tell me about breast pumps, bottles, pacifiers – what do I need to get?
 
A: (Paraphrasing the collective wisdom) ~ Wait until your baby arrives.  Take advantage of the freebies that come with the breast pump, or from the hospital take-home bag.  Although it is tempting to buy the “bargain” multi-packs, purchase bottles and pacifiers in single packs so that you can try one before you make the commitment to purchase more.  Each baby is unique, and if you have any questions about the right kind of bottle for your baby, you can ask a lactation consultant and they will steer you in the right direction.  We know it's hard to "not plan" as a pregnant mama because you want to have everything in order before your baby arrives...this is just one of those areas where it is best to wait because your baby is going to let you know what they like and need after they get here.
 
Bottles!  Isn’t this a breastfeeding advocate writing this post?!?
 
Yes – these mamas were talking about using bottles for expressed breastmilk.  The other item you can “try before you buy” is a breast pump.  You can rent a pump to try the style before you make the commitment to a brand.  I know the store where we teach (Modern Mommy Boutique) has at least two different brands, and you can rent them on a weekly time-frame.  A lot of mamas want to put that on their registry since a pump is a $$$ item.  Instead of requesting a specific brand that cannot be returned once it is opened, maybe you can request a gift card for the approximate cost of a pump .  This lets you purchase the best one for you after baby arrives and you have had the opportunity to try out some different brands.
 
The other thing that was interesting was that all of us that had used pacifiers or bottles had about the same number of “tries” before we settled on the best product for our baby.  All of us had tried three different products and usually the third one we tried was the one we and/or baby preferred.
 
Another gem that came from one of our mamas that work out of the home concerned making milk for a baby in a daycare situation.  She had heard this gem and wanted to pass it along to the other mamas that are getting ready to go back to outside jobs.  Whether you get a lunchtime break to go nurse, or if it’s at a drop-off or pick-up, linger in your child’s care room.  That way you get to breathe in the air that your child is going to be or has been breathing that day, and your body can get a head start on making anti-bodies for baby’s “formula”.  Isn’t that a neat idea?  I really enjoy learning something new.
 
The other thing we talked about today was all the options in cloth diapers.  Some of us use cloth all the time, other mamas use cloth on the weekends when they are home with baby.  There are so many options in cloth today – they are not your mom’s or your grandma’s cloth diapers that were secured with safety pins and covered with an air-tight and water proof plastic pant.  There are at least four different styles, lots of fun prints and colors to choose from…definitely something to look into and sign up for a class in your area.
 
We will be bringing you a blog post from a cloth diaper expert to answer the basic questions about cloth diapering (and maybe a fun contest) in the near future…stay tuned!
 
Have a great weekend!
 
Disclaimer: 


Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson

The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.


 

Breastfeeding and The Law

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 12:56 PM Comments comments (1)
A look at breastfeeding laws in public and in the workplaceI got an alarming text from a student last week.  I won’t share the details since I haven’t asked permission.  What I can tell you is that it reminded me how little the general public and employers know about our breastfeeding and pumping “rights” as outlined in state and federal law. 
 
Since my passion for breastfeeding is second only to my passion for natural birth, I forget that I live in a vacuum of other BF fanatics.  Just because we know and discuss the laws amongst ourselves does not mean that we are doing a good job at educating the public.  Here is one attempt to rectify that.
 
If you live in Arizona, there are two statutes that protect your right to breastfeed in public.  One states that breastfeeding shall not be considered an indecent exposure.  The other one states that moms can breastfeed in any place that they are lawfully present.
 
Here are the statutes and the exact language:
 
A.R.S. 41-1443
A mother is entitled to breastfeed in any area of a public place or a place of public accommodation where the mother is otherwise lawfully present.
 
A.R.S. 13-1402
Indecent exposure does not include an act of breastfeeding by a mother.
 
While I am grateful for our laws, I found out when I was traveling this summer that our home state looks pretty measly compared to the protections afforded to women in other states.
 
Click here to see state breastfeeding laws across the United States.
 
So that is one area clarified:  If you live in Arizona or one of the other 45 states where nursing in public is protected, you can lawfully breastfeed in public.  If you live in Idaho, Michigan, South Dakota, Virginia or West Virginia you will find that your rights to breastfeed in public are not explicitly protected under your state law.  There are some great laws on the books in other states – you can get involved and make a difference for mamas in your home state.
 
The second area that pertains to breastfeeding and the law is pumping in the workplace.  Yes, you can!  And although we have yet to see what the whole law in action looks like, a golden nugget in the Affordable Care Act (2010) is that moms who want to pump at work now have a Federal Law that backs up and supports their choice.
 
One of the provisions in the ACA addressed the needs of moms who want/need to make a career outside the home and breastfeeding work for them.  Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was amended to include a provision for mothers who want to express milk in the workplace.
 
Here are the highlights:
  • Employers are required to provide reasonable break time
  • Frequency is “as needed” by the nursing mother
  • A private, non-bathroom place for nursing mothers to express breast milk during the workday should be provided
  • The place is to be shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public
  • Nursing mothers are to be accommodated for one year after the child’s birth
 
There are some exemptions for providing a dedicated space if a company is less than 50 employees, however, they must still allow you privacy and the time to express milk for baby.  If your state law is more inclusive and/or provides more protection than the federal law, then the state law prevails.
 
“My” La Leche League leader makes a great suggestion to the working out of the home moms that attend meetings.  She suggests that using a neutral word may make the discussion a little easier to have when you are reminding your boss that they need to follow the law.  Her idea is to  replace the word “breastfeeding” with the word “lactation” when discussing your needs with your supervisors. 
 
For an overview of workplace support under federal law, click here.
 
For a Fact Sheet you can share with your employer, click here.

 
Many moms have been able to resume their career outside of the home and still maintain an exclusive breastmilk relationship with their child.  As I listen to moms who have made the choice to pump after returning to work, I hear that the women who do so successfully have these things in common:
  • Partners support the choice by helping mom in the way that she wants and asks for help, and they appreciate the commitment.
  • They have a clear goal in mind and an intrinsic belief that breastmilk is the choice for their family.
  • They are part of a support system that affirms their choice, whether it’s other moms at work that are making the same choice or a support group, such as La Leche League.
 
Here are some links to help you make the most of your pumping sessions at work:
Milk Calculator – how much does baby need?

Making “the most” out of your pumping sessions

 
I will close by asking pumping moms to look into hand expression.  There are many videos and tutorials up on the internet.  It is a great way to finish the pumping sessions because  the breastmilk only vacuums out what is at the front of the breast.  By becoming proficient at hand expression, a mama can get more milk after the pumping session with the machine is over.

Here is one link - you need to register your email address to access.
 
Do you have any tips to share about pumping during office hours?  Please leave a comment – thank you!
 
Laws in action: A look at state laws along our road trip

Link List:
State Breastfeeding Laws
http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx

FLSA - Section 7 Information
http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/Workplace/WorkplaceSupport/WorkplaceSupportinHealthCareReform/tabid/175/Default.aspx

FLSA - Section 7 Fact Sheet
http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.htm

Kelly Mom Milk Calculator
http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/milkcalc/

Making the Most of Pumping Sessions
http://bfmed.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/nicu-pearl-cover-the-containers-during-pumping-to-make-more-milk/
 
Hand expression video
http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/HandExpression.html

Disclaimer: 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonThe material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.