Guest Posts

Help! She’s Got a Baby Bump….But What About a Baby Budget?

 | August 17, 2017 | Posted by:

Congratulations, you’re pregnant!

As a father of two girls (both of which started as cute little baby bumps, by the way) I remember each time when my blushing wife told me, “We’re pregnant!” I experienced wave upon wave of emotion. I fumbled both times with the typical male response, “WE’RE WHAT??” (I was trying my usual stall tactic, which is to answer a statement with a question to buy more time to process information)

However, my wife was quite familiar with this so she quickly responded at a higher decibel level of sound, “We Are Pregnant!!”

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Birth Boot Camp Early Pregnancy Class

 | November 19, 2016 | Posted by:


When I first got pregnant, I was SO excited.

Like, find out all the information, download all the apps, find out what exactly baby was doing on this day of gestation excited. As a gal with a teacher personality and a love for knowledge, I come by it honestly and that’s how I am with most of my life. I was impatient to wait until 8-10 weeks pregnant before I could have my first prenatal appointment to get started on asking all my questions. The countdown of days to our birth class in the third trimester seemed eternal.

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Guest Post: Working & Breastfeeding – On the Go

 | May 4, 2016 | Posted by:
I’ve been the primary (and often sole) earner in my family for the last 5 years, so when I found out I was pregnant, I knew I would join the ranks of so many mothers who try to juggle breastfeeding while working outside the home. I was committed to breastfeeding my son exclusively for 6 months, and at least until he was 1 year old. One REALLY big challenge for me that most working mother’s don’t face – I work for a consulting company and frequent travel is customary.


I had hoped that my employer would find a Dallas based project for me when I returned to work full time, but unfortunately, that didn’t work out. About 7 months after my son was born, I was asked to support a client based out of Los Angeles. 1 week later, I started traveling 4 days a week, EVERY week.


While I was pregnant, I had purchased a Medela Pump in Style Advanced, before I knew that health insurance would cover a breastpump. I reached out to a few other mothers in my local office to see if anyone had any tips or tricks on how to travel and pump. Breastmilk was still the primary source of nutrition for my son, so I had to figure out quickly how I was going to make this work! Thankfully, some of my colleagues had traveled while breastfeeding and had many great suggestions. I talked to lactation consultants. I called friends. I read every website out there on exclusive pumping.


I won’t lie, the first few weeks were REALLY difficult. Since my son was so young, and my flight was over 3 hours, plus the commute time to the airport from my house and from the airport to my client site, I often had to pump in the airport and on the plane while in the air. Pumping on the plane was miserable. I generally just pumped about 10 minutes on each side to keep my milk production up. I pumped in my seat because I decided that was less gross than pumping in the airplane bathroom. I was lucky that I’d built up a bit of a freezer stash anticipating my eventual return to work, but I still wanted to keep every ounce of that liquid gold!


It was REALLY frustrating to me that neither DFW nor LAX airports had mothers rooms for pumping. DFW has since opened ONE mother’s room in the A terminal, and California passed a law requiring nursing rooms in all airport terminals before January 2016. Worse than the lack of pumping space in the airport was the inconsistent way TSA dealt with me and my breastmilk. Each week would be a different agent with a different idea of what the appropriate screening protocols would be. LAX was the worst. The very first week, I had over 120oz of breastmilk (packaged in 2-3oz bags) and they pulled every single one out of my cooler bag to inspect it. It took FOREVER and it was so awkward.


The first 2 months I pumped every 2-3 hours religiously, even waking up in the middle of the night to pump. I pumped in cars in parking lots, while stuck in traffic on LA freeways, in corners of the airport, in empty offices, in empty conference rooms. I was lucky that my client in Los Angeles, and my subsequent client here in Seattle both were companies that supported breastfeeding mothers. Both client sites had relatively comfortable mother’s rooms with fridges, etc. The only challenge was sometimes there was a line to pump LOL.


Thankfully, after 9 weeks I was transferred to another client in Seattle and the airport there has a lovely nursing room and TSA was a lot less of a challenge. This reduced my stress quite a bit. By then, my son was 9 months old and eating a lot more solids. I was able to scale back a bit on how often I needed to pump.


There were many weeks I was so frustrated with the added stress of worrying about keeping my milk supply up, healing raw nipples, keeping the milk cold, getting through airport security, leaving the office early to pump, etc that I would want to throw in the towel. I am so grateful that my husband supported me wholeheartedly through this process. He would take the bag of breastmilk when I walked in the door, and pack it in containers to put in the freezer. He would put the baby in our bed for me to nurse or bring him out into the living room if he knew my breasts were full, so I wouldn’t have to pump one more time that week. He washed and sanitized my breastpump parts.


It seemed like every week I would tell myself that this was the last week. It was too much. My husband told me that if I wanted to stop, he fully supported that decision. He listened while I cried on the phone. And then each Monday I would pack my breastpump tote bag with all my supplies and talk myself into pumping for “just one more week”.


Finally, when my son was 2 weeks shy of 1 year old, we ran out of breastmilk before I got home. I freaked out and hopped on the first flight home. In the meantime… my husband calmly went to the grocery store and bought a gallon of whole milk… and my kid drank it without complaint. After that, I decided that I wouldn’t kill myself pumping. I also started trying to think about pumping sessions as being “breaks” from work. I wouldn’t try to multitask any more – I started catching up on TV shows on Hulu or Netflix on my phone! That helped me relax a lot which of course, helps the milk flow. (One time, I laughed out loud watching Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt and there were 2 other moms pumping in the room. They probably thought I was crazy).


My son finished weaning about 2 weeks ago at 19 months. So I pumped exclusively 4 days a week while living out of a suitcase 1600 miles from home and hauled that breastmilk back to TX for a YEAR! That was a MAJOR accomplishment!


Of course, just 2 weeks after I stopped pumping, my company rolled out some new benefits for breastfeeding moms – they now offer hospital grade rental pumps and will ship your breastmilk for you when you are required to travel. HA.


In all honesty, there is no way I would have succeeded at my breastfeeding goals without having an amazing support network of other moms, lactation consultants, my spouse, and an employer that supported working moms.


If you need someone to cheer you through breastfeeding and working outside the home, I’d be honored to be that person for you. It can’t get much harder than what I went through! Feel free to email me. We belong to each other, mamas!

Guest Post by Nichole Heilbron

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Allergy Prevention Starts Early: Breastfeeding

Although there are many benefits to breastfeeding, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the breastfeeding’s role in allergy prevention.

At birth, the cells lining the newborn’s small intestines are porous.  This is often referred to as “leaky gut”.  This does not usually pose a problem in the breast feeding infant, however; in infants receiving cow’s milk – based formulas, this can often lead to the development of food allergies. Because the lining of the small intestine is porous, undigested food particles and proteins (which are larger) may pass through this lining into the blood stream.

Photo credit: OhKyleL via / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: OhKyleL via / CC BY-NC-ND

Because of their size, these proteins are easily seen and targeted by the body’s immune system as foreign invaders. A “war” breaks out and antibodies are produced against the food protein to destroy it.  Inflammation results from this confrontation, which can further damage healthy tissue.  Each time the cow’s milk based formula is introduced, the milk proteins have an opportunity to slip through the porous lining and initiate an immune response producing more antibodies and inflammation.  According to La Leche League, there are more than 20 substances in cow’s milk that have been shown to be human allergens. They also state that the following symptoms can alert parents that their baby may be suffering from  milk –based allergies …spitting up, diarrhea, cramping, constipation, gas,  colitis and respiratory problems.. Mom may eventually say, “I think my baby is allergic to this formula”.

Breastmilk has the advantage of containing components that help prevent an allergic response from occurring.  Human milk contains Epidermal Growth Factor which strengthens, protects, and repairs the mucosal lining of the small intestine. There is a lack of EGF in cow’s milk based infant formula.  Human milk also contains secretory IgA.  This is an antibody that “paints” the lining of the porous gastro-intestional tract and prevents proteins (either food based or microbial) from entering the blood stream and stimulating an allergic response from the immune system.  According to Jan Riordan, EdD, RN, IBCLC, FAAN, colostrum, the first milk, is especially rich in antibodies, including sigA. She states, “Because the infants own IgA is deficient and slowly increases during the first several months, sigA in human milk provides important protection to the entire digestive tract of the newborn. Mature milk continues to provide this protection, from the inside, to help the baby remain healthy and allergy –free.”

Babies may exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, and according to Jan Riordan, EdD, RN, IBCLC, FAAN, after 6 months, babies can eat whatever they like and in any order they want.

Rosemarie Anthony RN, IBCLC is passionate about assisting mothers in attaining their goal to breastfeed and empowering families to adopt healthier lifestyle choices that can promote healthy living and aid in the prevention of disease.

Guest Post: A change of plans – our breastfeeding journey

 | April 12, 2016 | Posted by:

I had it all planned out. Natural, slow, beautiful Birth Center birth. God had other plans. Around 27 weeks gestation, I found out I had preeclampsia and it progressed into HELLP (H-hemolysis, EL-elevated liver enzymes, LP-low platelet count) Syndrome. We were sent to Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth for an emergency C-section to meet my 1 pound 5.9 ounce baby girl.

Thankfully, they have a phenomenal NICU unit and are strong advocates of breastfeeding/breastmilk. They made sure I started pumping very early. My husband loves to tell about the first time I pumped. Due to being “put under” for the C-section, I was not even conscious. My husband walked in my recovery room after surgery and he saw a nurse holding the flanges on my breasts while it was pumping.

After that, every two/three hours a nurse would come to help or remind me to pump. My girl was getting my breast milk that I pumped through an NG tube in tiny amounts (like 10 mls) every 3 hours. I remember getting up at night, and sometimes falling asleep while pumping! A lactation specialist came by to teach me about pumping, hand expressing, and how important it is to keep a schedule of pumping for my supply. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to breastfeed my child and this was the way I could do that until she was big enough to try breastfeeding.

At first, the tiny amount of Colostrum that I would get after pumping seemed insignificant and discouraging. I would hand it to the nurse at the NICU and she would praise me on how good I did and how every little bit counts. Receiving encouragement from the nurses and my husband and seeing the other NICU moms going into pumping rooms was reassuring. Eventually, my milk came in and I was seeing results from the hard work that I had put in pumping. I had a very large supply. I had built up enough milk stored that NICU asked me to start taking the milk home. This was such a wonderful feeling! I can actually do this! I had enough to feed my child. Extra even! It was then that I started to share my large supply with other moms in the area that needed breastmilk donations.

This was about the time that I started back to work. I would work part time/half days then head to the hospital. I am truly blessed to have the job I do. I work with all men. They are very supportive. They understand, gave me time and never missed a beat when I was away from my desk and pumping every three hours. I did make every effort schedule my pump times directly before and after work and at lunch so that I only had to miss a minimal amount of work time. Most importantly, they didn’t mention the breastmilk I kept in the fridge until the end of the day. And let me tell you, it was embarrassing the first couple of times coming out of the room with a bag that held milk storage bags to be put in the fridge. They didn’t say a word; some even smiled.  Being supported at work made it easy to continue pumping. My bag that I carry the breast pump, supplies and other things I need to pump have become part of me! I can’t go anywhere without it!

When my girl was around two months old/32 weeks gestation we tried non-nutritive breast feeding. While she was getting fed through the NG tube, I would hold her up to my recently pumped breast that had a drop of milk on it. She slowly began to get curious and nose around. This associates being fed with my breast. Next was nutritive breastfeeding! I was so excited and nervous. She was still so tiny. Again, the encouragement from the staff and husband got me through the nerves. Since we could only try to breastfeed once a day, it was a rollercoaster of some days latching and sucking well while other days she wouldn’t. I felt on top of the world when she would latch and so discouraged on the days she wouldn’t. We were able to get her to latch consistency with a nipple shield that an LC suggested. While I worked the nurses introduced my baby girl to bottles with my breastmilk in it; she had to be able to prove she could eat all her food without the NG tube before she could be released from the hospital.


Dealing with severe reflux and being put on thickened formula for a short time were the more difficult things to deal with. I knew the formula was helping her reflux but I was still disappointed that she wasn’t receiving my breastmilk. We just kept doing what we had been, kept pumping and breastfeeding the allowed twice a day and praying. Thankfully after 85 days in the NICU, she was released to go home still breastfeeding twice and bottle feedings of formula the rest of the time.

We have an amazing pediatrician who is also pro-breastfeeding. After a month of us being home and having small and infrequent spit ups, he told us we could transition to all breast milk. This was a light at the end of a tunnel. Prayer works!

Taking one day at a time, staying positive, surrounding ourselves with encouraging people and prayer helped us. My girl is a healthy 6 month old with a great latch (without a nipple shield, YEY!), both breastfeeds and takes breast milk in a bottle. She sleeps through the night. I have now stopped pumping in the middle of the night so I get a full night’s and I am still pumping at work! Many times I have thought about quitting, but I know this is what I want for my child. We have come this far and plan to continue for as long as we can!

-Guest post by Charli Vance

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