Pumping for a Year of Breastmilk

I have scoured the internet to find a breakdown of how much breastmilk is needed for the first year of a baby’s life.

Nothing.

So I thought I would do some calculations and post for others who are on the search. I do not know the accuracy of this chart as it’s my best summation after the research I’ve done.

From what I understand, babies 0-6 months of age will consume an average of 24 ounces a day. Babies 7-9 months of age will consume an average of 32 ounces a day and babies 9-12 months will consume at most around 30 ounces a day. This all depends on when solid foods are introduced and how much a baby eats of the solids each day.

One can target to give a baby around 10,600 ounces of milk in the first year.

This chart is a sample of the average consumption of milk throughout the first year.

Although this doesn’t total the 10,600 mentioned above, it’s a good guide to work from when you’re wanting to pump/store milk for the future.

Happy expressing all!

 

Redemption of My Body

Over the past several months, I have been walking through a fear of mine that has been running in the back of my head for years. Since I was in middle school, I have dealt with body image issues, lack of confidence, and jealousy of other females and what ‘they had’.

Feeling too fat and not accepting my curves as beautiful, I fought to keep the athletic shape my sporting efforts created. Tirelessly working out well beyond a healthy level, I let fear be my motivation.

Fear of being too fat.Image result for body scale"

Within this struggle was the question as to what my body would look like if I became pregnant and how it would be transformed after I delivered.

One of the reasons I was okay not getting pregnant was because of the way my body would be forced to change, stretch, disfigure.

Fears of the gaining weight and even more so the stretching of the skin and not being in control of how my body would be after I delivered was an ongoing torment in my life.

Through my fertility struggles, one way that I coped with the disappointment after each ‘try’ was saying to myself, “well, at least you have a flat stomach”. My desperate attempt for acceptance.

This pregnancy was a miracle within itself.

I housed this perfect little peanut inside of me and nourished it with good, healthy, nutrient foods to help her grow.

My body grew too.

Grateful to have only gained the appropriate weight for growing a baby, I felt healthy and strong in my skin.


Days leading up to delivery-

“The feet are swollen. The fingers look like mini sausages. The bladder feels constantly full. The weight on the scale is reaching scary numbers*.”

This has been a journey towards redemption for me.

Letting go of what my body needed to do to continue to grow this miracle, trusting that my body was responding the way it was supposed to.

I released my fears and let God control my weight, my aches, my sore muscles, and my mind.

*Scary numbers to me were back to the highest numbers I have ever seen on the scale.


Days after delivery-

“The feet are still swollen. My body hurt, my back aches and it’s hard for me to stand up straight. It hurts to sit and lay on my side feels weird as I still have a weird drooping sensation of my stomach that pulls my skin down to the mattress.”

The days following my delivery, I was amazed at how much weight I had lost in such a short amount of time. My body felt so worn down and used and my limbs flopped like a rag doll. The core center of my body (stomach and back) was depleted of strength from the delivery and I could not imagine doing much more with myself than sitting, sleeping, and minimal walking to the kitchen. My stomach was still round (although it had gone down a lot), and I wondered what my body was going to look like.


Weeks after delivery-

“The feet are no longer swollen. My body isn’t hurting, thank you, God! I still have a pouch in my stomach area, when is this going to go away?”

My midwife confirms that although I do not have diastasis recti above my belly button, I certainly have it below. My stomach muscles are about 2.5 inches apart and when I push down my stomach is all squishy.

She gives the okay to start mild exercises to help bring the muscles back together.

My weight is closer to my normal range, but I still feel ‘blah’.


Two months after delivery-

My body has returned to the weight it was before becoming pregnant. How in the world is this possible? I attribute it to healthy eating and a balanced approach to pregnancy and after delivery.

Nope, no exercise either! What a gift to not be chained to that insanity of trying to make my body respond a certain way. Instead, I have just let my body heal and with it is a healthier lifestyle.

I feel gratitude for the support I receive from people around me who have been through pregnancy in a healthy way.

While there is still a bulge in my midsection, like a little squishy pouch, I am fitting into my regular skinny jeans and will trust that my body will look exactly as it’s supposed to.

It probably won’t look like it had before, but I did carry a human in there for 10 months.

Acceptance around what is, exactly as it is today.

I am healthy. My baby is healthy. My body is meant to bear children. I am perfectly created by God and so is my body.

Redemption of my body… and my mind around my image.

Essentials for Mama After Birth

Labor and Delivery Recovery Must Haves

I read many articles about what to pack for the hospital and honestly, I did not use the majority of things I took. They pretty much had me covered there and then some!

One piece of advice I took from a friend was to take an extra bag to bring home the things they give you for free at the hospital.

What I now know is more important are the things I needed at home to heal.

NEWGO Ice packs– I used these around the clock for the first week to help the swelling and ease the aching.

Tucks Medicated Hemorrhoidal Pads– I got the ones with witch hazel and loved them! Replacing these every time I went to the bathroom to help the healing process for both the stitch’s and hemorrhoids

Herbal Perineal Spray– Using this each time I went to the restroom to help with the healing process for both the stitches and hemorrhoids

Peri bottle– In place of using toilet paper, this was a gentler way of cleaning. The hospital gave me one to use.

Pads with wings– for the first weeks leaving the hospital, using this protection allowed me frequent changes. The hospital gave me some giant pads and I brought some of those home too.

Depend Silhouette– as bleeding slowed down, wearing these underwear made life more manageable with regards to my protection. This style was a better fit for me too.

Sitz bath salts & toilet seat–  The sitz bath ingredients were mixed up by my doula but I have seen many good ones on Amazon. The bath itself is a container that sits in the toilet basin and I got this from the hospital before I left.

Soft robe- a life savor! I got a soft robe from Costco that I can wear without a shirt and it is not harsh on my nipples. I found that cotton can be too rough and irritating.

Clip Down Nursing Cami, Black

Breastfeeding tank top– When I do leave the house or have company over, it’s nice to have a top that is easily used to feed. This provides me the ability for comfort and modesty.

Nipple cream– after every feed or pump, I’ll put some cream on to help protect from cracking and bleeding while also soothing the hardworking area.

Happy prepping!

Little Princess Arrives!

She’s here! Our Little Princess arrived on August 25th and we are overjoyed to have her in our arms.

The story of how she came into this world is not what we thought it would be and we are so very grateful that all are now healthy and healing.

Here’s a general outline:

  • Developed late-pregnancy preeclampsia which put me into the hospital at 39 weeks 2 days.
  • Induced that night
  • Put on a magnesium citrate IV (because of high blood pressure/preeclampsia)
  • Dr broke my water
  • Began Pitocin
  • Labored 15 hours- no epidural
  • Pushed for just over an hour- recalling 3 big pushes that popped her out.
  • Tore my cervix
  • Tore down the birth canal
  • Tore my perineal (2nd degree)
  • Tore my labia
  • Uterus wouldn’t contract to stop bleeding
  • Lost 3 liters of blood
  • Placenta didn’t deliver- Dr had to use her hand to scrape it out
  • The placenta was not completely removed
  • Went to OR for a DNC to get the remainder of the placenta out
  • Discovered I had Placenta Accreta– which can be more common for pregnancies resulting from IVF. It is sometimes caused when the lining is too thin upon conception. Although it’s not said to happen with every pregnancy I have, it is a possibility of recurring in the future and therefore my pregnancies moving forward with be considered higher risk.
  • Dr inserted a water-filled balloon into uterus plus 5 feet of gauze to help with bleeding
  • Received 4 bags of blood (transfusions)
  • Spent 36 hours in ICU
  • Reunited with family and began producing milk! A shock to all since I lost so much blood
  • Little Princess latched wonderfully and feeds well
  • Released from hospital after 48 hours in regular postpartum care

What I can say is WOW! What an incredible experience.

Aside from the scare of the after birth- laboring without an epidural was such a cool experience (that I may never do again) and am grateful to have been able to live through.

Feeling her move through my body with every contraction.

Praying for God to help me through the pain and beliving this is what my body has been created to do.

Being fully present with my thoughts and my feelings as I was experiencing this transition from pregnancy to birth.

Although it did not go according to my “Birth Wishes”, I can see God’s hand in every step of the way.

Hubby was an incredible support and stayed with me through every contraction.

What I thought would be a sweaty, exhausting experience was more of an endurance race for my body… no sweat at all! Not like how they show it in the movies 🙂

My lower back muscles fired with every contraction.

My arms clenched to the side of the bed with each bracing of pain.

My abs and whatever other muscles are down in that area moved naturally to push this baby down into position for birthing.

When the pushing began, I had no control over my body.

It took over and it was my sole job to focus my energy from the loud cry to a deep groan and then into a holding of energy to push fully downward.

A capturing of energy from outward to inward and downward.

Such a beautiful science.

What people didn’t tell me:

  • My expectations (even unconscious ones) held me back from seeing the good in the journey and led me to more discouragement.
  • “She is coming ‘soon’”, does not mean in the next 10 minutes or the next hour, it may mean in the next 4-6 hours. I grew to not like the word ‘soon’ as it was too misleading and discouraging.
  • Having a meal during heavy contractions may not be the best idea. I threw it up within the next hour.
  • Ice chips were a lifesaver in the heavy contraction stage!
  • Dilation takes a longer time than I expected. I was hoping to be in active labor when I was still 4 cm dilated.
  • The pain of childbirth is unlike any other pain I have experienced. It’s ongoing, tiring, repetitive, painful.
  • Hours seem long and patience goes out the window when you don’t know how long you’ll be in that state of pain.

The joys certainly outweigh all the hardship– this is a true statement.

Little Princess was and is worth it!

She is perfect.

Arriving into this world weighing 7lbs 6oz, 20 inches long, full head of brown hair and a perfectly round head. I think I pushed so quickly that it didn’t give her head time to reform as it was moving through the birth canal. Her eyes are grey/blue and I’m hoping they stay on the blue side (Hubby has blue eyes) but am ok if she is a brown-eyed girl (like her mama).

I’m not going to say I won’t birth another child. Maybe next time I’ll go the route of the epidural. Part of the reason I wanted to go without was to be able to A) fully experience the feeling of her moving through my body (which I did and it was amazing!) and B) so I could be fully alert with her afterward.

Given that I didn’t get to live out the second half of that desire and still be okay with my bonding and connection shows that in the future, it might be okay to have the pain relief.

Swedish Hospital was an incredible place to have this traumatic delivery. I was amazed at the care and attention of each of the nurses and staff to me, Hubby and Little Princess. I felt completely taken care of and seen as a person, not just another patient.

Huge shout outs to the following nurses: Mackenzie, Becky, Allison, Mel, Callie, (there were 2 in the ICU that I had that I was too foggy to remember), Kelly, Terri, Mandy, Dani, and the lactation consultant Dotti.


Our journey is not over, as it’s simply just beginning.

I am amazed at how in love with this little peanut I am.

Years of wanting her. Desiring a little one and scared of letting go of my independent, self-centered lifestyle.

One thing I know for sure- the writing of my fertility journey may be over for the time being, but my thoughts and struggles, experiences and trials of being a selfless, caring, discerning, trusting mom are just beginning.

For those of you who have read this blog looking for connection in the fertility journey, I do hope you have felt understood. I certainly have not been alone as I have walked this road and found the more open I have been about my own struggles and emotions, the more connection I have felt.

To those still on the journey- know that it is worth it. Each poke of the needle, pop of a pill, inconvenient Dr. appointment, etc… it’s all worth it to have a little tiny human in your arms, loving and needing you.

We are not sure what our future holds with more children. We would like to have another or more but know that it might look more in the form of adoption than another IVF journey. Hey, we are even open to conceiving all-natural! 🙂 We will see what God has in store for us. For now, we are grateful to have this little one.

Decisions Meant for an Adult

I know I’m going to mess her up.

It’s not my intention to and it really is the very last thing I want is to mess this little perfect thing up in her first minutes, days, weeks of being on this earth.

The responsibility seems daunting and I am trying not to be paralyzed with fear of what could happen to her if I make the wrong decision. When did I become old enough to make decisions for another human life? When did I become an adult?

I am scared that I won’t be a good mom and that the decisions I make for her will impact her for the rest of her life.

I have already decided that I’d like to breastfeed as long as my body will allow within the first year. I am going to need to pump and bottle feed after 6 weeks because I am returning to work (I know, I know we can talk offline about that topic). I will continue to breastfeed when I’m home though to keep that bonding going.

We aren’t going to co-sleep per se, but I am open to having her in her bassinet next to me for the first weeks that we are getting up together, or maybe we will co-sleep. I’m learning that I don’t really know what I’ll do until I’m in the situation.

Still not sure how the sleeping routine will go between Hubby and me, but since I am committed to breastfeeding, it’s on me to be up and ready to feed (especially those first few weeks before a bottle is even recommended to be introduced).

How do I feel about that?

A bit nervous. I find it to be an honor and privilege to be the source of nutrition for Maxee but I also find I can teeter on resentment that Hubby is off the hook from this imperative need she will have for me every 2-3 hours for how long???

God, help me to continue to see the good and stay in gratitude that I GET to provide this for her. I do pray that my milk will come in easily and breastfeeding will be easy, so when I stay in the gratitude, my mind stays even and I am able to see what a gift God has given to us.

The decisions that need to be made continue to come through. I can’t put some of these off because they either need to happen now or in the near future. Some recent discussions have been:

  • Vitamin K shotImage result for infant shots
  • Eye ointment
  • Hepatitis B shot
  • Let her stay in the nursery at the hospital vs. next to me
  • TDAP booster shot for mamma
  • Delayed vs regular shot schedule

 

I know the decisions we will need to make will only continue. I’m grateful to be married to someone who is so keen on research and making decisions based on the facts that are gathered.

I will admit though, I’m lazy!

I want someone to tell me the magic formula for raising Maxee.

It doesn’t exist.

Instead, this is my mind shift that will help- this is my new project- Raising Maxee.

Turning the “I” to “we” is going to be important. Raising Maxee is a shared responsibility between Hubby, me and God. Hubby wants to be just as involved in Maxee’s life as I do and that is another gift. Learning how we can come together in a partnership of parenting will be an aspect of Raising Maxee that I know I will have a lot of growth around.

Not being a bulldozer and telling Hubby how it’s going to be and also not being a pushover and doing whatever he wants. Instead, it’s going to be consistently finding the balance between the two.

For me, it’s going to be learning how to know my truth and communicate effectively with Hubby so that we can come to a decision that fits us both well.

This is not something that comes naturally to me and I pray that God will help me to engage in this approach to relationships and communication that I have pushed away up until now.

With a child in the mix, pushing away healthy communication is going to mess her up more than some of the other decisions listed above.

God, please help me change my ways so that I can approach partner parenting and my marriage in a healthier, more effective way.