Tag Archives: breastfeeding

She Says… Pumptastic

We’re approaching the end of my 2nd week back at work. It feels like it’s been at least 2 months already. I’ve been going a million miles a minute at work and at home. I know the pace will even out eventually, but for now, it’s all systems go all the time. Exhausting, but also a little exhilarating.


During these 2 weeks I’ve been pumping 4 times a day at work (and nursing Emmett in the morning, at bedtime, and once at night). Every 2-2.5 hours I am filling up my water cup, running to my pumping spot (at the kitchen counter at home, in a storage closet at work), hooking myself up, pumping for 15 minutes or so while I scroll through instagram or catch up on personal emails (usually while listening to One Bad Mother, a HILARIOUS podcast I’ve discovered to keep me entertained), and then running back to my computer to resume work. It’s inconvenient. And breaks up my work day in often frustrating ways. I’m trying to see these times as respites from a busy day, but right now it just feels like they are making me busier. Still, I’m giving it my very best shot.

Some people would probably argue that I don’t need to be pumping as often as I am. And they might be right. But as someone with consistently low milk supply, I just don’t think I could keep up if I dropped a pumping session. I’m currently averaging 3oz at every pumping session (double electric pumping, using a hands free bra, doing everything I can to eek out every drop) and Emmett is drinking 4oz at that same feeding time. Miraculously, I can use my bedtime pumping sessions to just about make up the difference, so he is getting almost all breastmilk at this point (except at HIS bedtime when I have to supplement with 2oz or formula to tank him up before bed, or by Thursday or Friday when I’m an ounce or two short for a daytime bottle). Over the weekend I’m exclusively nursing, so I save up my Friday pumped milk and the milk I pump at my bedtimes to give him the following Tuesday at daycare. So I’m not feeding the freezer, but I’m feeding my baby. And that’s what matters.

This milk reallocation system is working for us. Right now. I’m not convinced my supply is going to increase as his appetite does, but I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and see how long we can make this work.

Your tips about pumping at work were all super helpful. I’m still figuring out little tricks here and there, but I’ve mostly found a system that works for me. Since I know many, many other mamas are in the same position of having to pump and not necessarily knowing where to go for good info, I wanted to share another resource that I have found INVALUABLE the past few weeks.

Isis Parenting’s Online Pump Talk class. Back when I had Owen I attended a live Pump Talk class at my local Isis store (which was actually taught by my favorite lactation consultant and now real life friend, Nancy Holtzman). It was my first foray into the wonderful world of pumping, and I learned a TON about milk production and storage, how to get the most from my pump, etc. Even though I exclusively pumped for Owen for several months before deciding it was not the best option for us, and should be a pumping pro, I still felt like a refresher course was a good idea for me this time around. It WAS 3 years ago, after all, and as I’ve mentioned before I had a bit of PTSD when thinking about pumping again. The Pump Talk class helped me start fresh, with good habits, and even made pumping feel doable again.

The online class breaks up everything you need to know about pumping into small, bite-sized chunks (7-10 minute segments) so you can hear just what you need to hear when you need to hear it.

My #1 Pumping Aha Moment: You do not need to clean those darn pump parts after every pumping session in a day. Because at least for me, cleaning those stupid things was the worst part of it all. If you have access to a refrigerator you can store the assembled pump parts in there with plastic bags over the tops (I store mine in coffee mugs so they don’t tip over) for 24 hours. The cold temp inhibits bacterial growth. So I pump all day long and stick everything back in the ‘fridge. After my bedtime pumping session I wash (ok, to be honest, Benjamin washes everything) and steam clean them in a microwaveable bag so they are ready for the next day. At work when I don’t have convenient access to a refrigerator, I wipe the parts with pump wipes after each use and keep the milk in a cooler bag with freezer packs, then wash/steam clean at night.

Pump Talk also covers getting different flange sizes (turns out my fire hose and drippy faucet are dramatically different sizes, so I pump with one tiny and one large flange — I don’t even use the “standard” sized ones that came with my pump), using olive oil to lubricate your nipple (super helpful for those of us who are pumping every 2 hours!), and how to freeze milk to maximize freezer space (and what to do if your power goes out).

Awesome. Info.

You’re going to have to check it out yourself for the other gems. Any other pumping tips that I’ve missed?

A huge thank you to Isis Parenting for letting me take the online Pump Talk class for free! I am SO glad they did, because between you and me, I probably wouldn’t have bothered taking it myself (no time, blah blah). But you know what? It’s probably the main reason I’m still pumping right now. Worth every penny. And minute.

She Says… Work It, Girl

The last week has been a rocky one. Both kids have been battling nose/chest/ear congestion and a hacky cough. No fevers to speak of and really nothing to do but wait it out, really (while of course hydrating, humidifying and treating the asthma kid). But it has meant extra night time wakeups and extra fussiness and whining during the day. We’re all a bit worn down.

Ahem. Especially me.

This past weekend we went up to Benjamin’s parents’ house in New Hampshire with some friends who have a son in Owen’s class. Perhaps not the best timing to let the boys try their first sleepover, which of course resulted in NO SLEEP for most of us, but it was a really fun time nonetheless. Another post to come with the whole story on that.

Now I have a new deadline looming. No, not Halloween (though I do still need to finish up Owen’s costume — eek!).

My return to work.

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN. (Do you hear the ominous music playing?)

I go back next Tuesday.

I know, I know. How did that come so fast?

I am feeling surprisingly ok about going back. After Owen was born I took some unpaid time off and didn’t go back to work until he was 5 1/2 months old (in January). And I was still kind of a wreck. My brain was still very much in motherhood lala land and the transition back was hard. In planning my maternity leave this time around I yearned for that extra time, but ultimately we decided that paying for Owen’s daycare meant that we couldn’t swing more unpaid time. And since I got a promotion right before I left back in July, I have a LOT of work to do when I get back. However, now that I’m here, only a week from going back, I feel so differently than I thought I would.

My brain is back. My body is back (of course I wish I had more time to exercise and most of my pants are still a little tight around the waist, but for the most part I’m back to my normal size and feel relatively fit). While of course I’ll miss Emmett’s sweet little face during the day, I absolutely adore our daycare and know he will be in great hands while I’m working.

We’re all going to be ok.

So this week is my “practice week” sending both kids to daycare all four days, all day long. Benjamin is traveling again (yes! again!) and I couldn’t totally get everything organized this morning to do a double drop-off, so I opted to take Owen at his normal time (7:15am) and bring Emmett back to have a nice, long morning nap in his crib with his humidifier on. Poor guy is still snorting and shnuffling quite a bit. I’ll pack him up and take him to school when he wakes up. But for the rest of the week, it’s double everything, and Emmett’s longest days at school yet.

Oh, and time for me to practice pumping. As I mentioned, I’ve been pumping at my bedtime since Emmett started going to bed early. I’ve been using those extra ounces to help me tank him up at the following night’s bedtime as needed (I seem to run out of milk and he seems to want to eat, eat, eat) and then I’ve started a small (very small) freezer stash with the extras. But this week I’m going to be pumping all day long Tuesday through Friday! Here’s hoping I can pretty much keep up with what he’s drinking at school.

Aside from pumping, I’m trying to figure out how to best use these 4 days of freedom. I’d love to fill them with manicures and shopping (ha!), but in reality there are so many little projects at home that I’d really like to wrap up before I go back to work. Papers to file. Baby clothes to sort and put in the attic. Deep cleaning in all of the nooks and crannies to do that I’m sure I won’t be doing once the work schedule picks up.

Lame. I know.

I’m going to do another post all about pumping (apparently I have lots of posts that I’m planning on writing “soon”…), but leave me your best pumping at work tip to get me pumped (get it? pumped?) for work next week!

She Says… Textbook

I realize that I haven’t written much about Emmett’s daily schedule or how much he sleeps or eats. You already know why (no, not just that he’s the 2nd child) — my new philosophy no longer hinges on schedules or counting hours or minutes or trying to “work on” changing the way things are. So I haven’t kept sleep logs or written down how many minutes he’s nursing on which sides when. And thank goodness for that.

Though I haven’t cracked open a single parenting or sleep book or website this time around, I think Emmett is pretty textbook for 3 months old.*

He goes to bed around 7pm and wakes up between 6am and 7am. During that time he usually gets up once around 1am or 2am to eat. If I’m lucky (ha!), he gets up twice, usually around 1am and 5am. Aside from those times, he’s totally silent (he never wakes and cries for no reason). There is a small (and getting larger) part of me that really, really wants to “work on” things so that he sticks to getting up once or even eliminates all night feedings altogether. But I’m resisting the urge. It doesn’t really work anyway; he’s on his own schedule.

Last night was one of those lucky nights when he got up twice and I was so physically exhausted by the 2nd time I heard him that I seriously contemplated letting him cry. Don’t judge me. We’ve all been there. But then I realized he’s still only 13 weeks old and some people’s babies wake up many, many more times throughout the night at this age (and older). And he was probably legitimately hungry. So I kicked myself in the butt, shuffled into his room and stuck my boob in his mouth. He was, in fact, hungry. Note to self: Don’t starve your child.

During the day I can see tiny glimmers of a real “schedule” falling into place without my intervention, but we’re still very loose. Emmett can be awake happily for about 1.5 hours before needing to sleep again. So usually I wake him up, change his diaper, feed him, “play” for the next 45-60 minutes, and then put him back down. And repeat. Naps are almost always 1 sleep cycle (45 minutes) but we’ve had the occasional 1.5 hour stretch as well. The old me would have been all, “I’m really working on extending his naps and helping him learn how to consolidate sleep blah blah blah”, but the new me is fine to squeeze my To Do’s into those 45 minute windows since they are pretty much guaranteed. Anything above that is icing on the cake.

He is super easy to put to sleep. Unlike his brother, who needed 30 minutes of rocking and a delicate transfer to the crib, Emmett is happy to pretty much happy to be plopped in the crib and to put himself to sleep. Sometimes I steal a few minutes of rocking him in his swaddle because he’s just too sweet to put down.

And then, of course, there are the random nights when he’s screaming bloody murder despite being fed and tired. But we won’t talk about those nights. They don’t happen very often, and for that I am extremely grateful.

As a result of his sleep schedule, that means he’s eating every 2-3 hours. Sometimes 2 on the dot if he got tired early, and sometimes 3 or even a little longer if he sleeps longer. On average, his nursing sessions take 20 minutes (15 on the fast/big side and 5 on the slow/small side). Sometimes gas gets the best of him and he barely eats anything, twisting and turning away. Other times he’s happy to suck and suck and suck for 45 minutes and it still seems as though he’s getting milk. At night he seems to like 30 minutes. It varies.

Thanks to an awesome supplement (GoLacta), my milk supply has increased and I think I’m making exactly the right amount of milk (as opposed to a few weeks ago when I was regularly supplementing with formula as needed). At night I still opt for a couple ounces of formula or milk I pumped the previous night at my bedtime so I can guarantee I won’t run dry before he’s finished (as I hate to disrupt bedtime with having to take him into the bathroom to make a surprise bottle, and often he really likes to tank up at bedtime). But in general I feel like we’ve hit a really good stride with supply and demand and understanding each other in the nursing department.

Emmett’s not a huge fan of tummy time, but he’s very strong. He loves to be held upright and we’ve just started using the Bumbo seat for short periods of time. He also loves his play mat with toys dangling down and has a mean right hook to knock them back and forth. He can hold your finger tighter than a boa constrictor squeezing its prey. He especially likes beating me up while we’re nursing.

All in all, he’s doing awesome. For a 3 month old.


* To everyone who I meet on the street and in the grocery line and at the doctor’s office who asks me if he’s sleeping through the night (and balks when I say he is not), SHUT YOUR TRAPS. It is totally, totally fine and normal that my 3 month old is not sleeping through the night yet. So please stop giving me that pitying look. I realize it is a common thing to ask a new parent, but really. Just don’t.

She Says… Nursing Style

Since breastfeeding Emmett is actually working, I find myself nursing him anywhere and everywhere. So every outfit I put on has to have easy access to the milkmakers without exposing too much skin otherwise. In addition, when I go back to work and pump, I’m guessing I’m going to need to reevaluate my wardrobe so I can access the udders without getting totally undressed.

I have a nursing cover and use it sometimes, but to be honest I find it sort of cumbersome and Emmett doesn’t love having the fabric draped over his head. And it gets really hot under there really quickly. Not to mention the fact that it’s hard to gaze adoringly at my babe when he’s wrapped in a cape. I’m also somewhat anti-cover on principle… I shouldn’t have to hide my baby’s face just so he can eat! I try my best to keep covered for the sake of those around me (my personal rule is to avoid showing nipple as much as humanly possible) but I don’t stress about showing a little extra skin in order to feed my kid.

Side note: Have you seen this list of 5 times when breastfeeding is inappropriate? I couldn’t agree more.

Right after I had Emmett I headed over to Motherhood Maternity and got a few nursing tank tops. Mostly camis that I can wear under other things, but also a few tanks with super stretchy elastic tops so I can just pull them down without messing with clips/clasps. I liked those the best. As the weather is getting cooler I’m learning the art of wearing whatever shirt I want on top with a nursing cami underneath. Top shirt goes up and breast flap comes down; I’m totally covered in all directions. One thing I can’t figure out with this setup, though, is wearing a bra. I find that my nursing bra gets tangled in the nursing tank, and bringing down both flaps gets a little complicated. Since I have such small boobs, I end up wearing just the tank with nursing pads and not worrying about a bra. What do other people do? Wear both a bra and a nursing tank under another shirt/sweater? That’s getting to be a lot of layers…

I haven’t had too many “events” to go to when I knew I would have to nurse so I haven’t needed more than my casual tops. Except my sister’s wedding. Shopping for her wedding was a doubly whammy because I was a weird postpartum size/shape AND I knew I needed to nurse in all of the clothes I was taking with me, since the wedding was during the day and the kids were coming.


While nursing Emmett on the couch one day, though, I caught a headline about Kate Middleton and affordable nursing fashion. Two of my favorite things! I’m half-embarrassed and half-proud to admit that as soon as I found out the designer (Seraphine) and the cost (actually affordable) of the dress she made infamous in her first official family photo, I ordered one lickety split. The company makes beautiful maternity and nursing clothes. I wish I had the budget to buy them all!


Thankfully the dress was perfect (thankfully because I definitely didn’t have time to go shopping for another one!), and really flattering, even to my postpartum belly. The fabric was lovely and it was super easy to nurse in. It is slightly longer in the front as it doubles as a maternity dress. It was a smidge long for my short frame but I didn’t have time to get it altered, and wearing heels did the trick.

Now that the wedding is over, though, I don’t have much use for a gorgeous maternity/nursing dress. Does anyone want to buy it from me? Worn once, all drycleaned and ready to send to you. It’s this one in a size 4. Roomy enough to be worn all the way through a pregnancy, and perfect for postpartum as well. Comment here or email me!

Any tricks I’m missing for dressing to nurse? I still feel like my wardrobe is quite limited!

She Says… “Working on it”

When I was in school, I was constantly working. Working on schoolwork, working on my a cappella group, working on some artistic endeavor on the side, working on a relationship. When I graduated I was working on getting fit and going to the gym, working on getting a job, working at that job once I got it, working on our fixer-upper house.

When Owen was born I remember “working on” things with him to. Working on stretching feedings to be further apart, working on getting more hours of sleep, working on eating more ounces, working on pumping, working on tummy time. My brain was constantly working, working, working on figuring out our next step or what we “should” be doing.

I love to work. It’s at the very core of my personality — always striving to be better. And while I get great satisfaction out of growing and changing through the work I’m doing, it also has the potential to leave me feeling dissatisfied or frustrated some of the time, when the work isn’t living up to my high expectations.

Recently I realized one of the biggest ways I have grown as a parent (and as a person) in the last few years. Less “working on” things. More appreciating where we are this very second.

With Emmett, I haven’t really “worked on” anything. He just… is. If he’s hungry, he’s hungry. There is no “well, he shouldn’t eat for another hour…”. If he’s sleepy, he’s sleepy, even if he just woke up 30 minutes ago. This clearly isn’t rocket science, but this mental shift is the impetus behind my new laid-back parenting style and it has had a huge impact on my general stress level. Don’t get me wrong, I still have the can’t-stop-won’t-stop-working-on-something side of my personality, I’ve just channeled it into projects like cleaning my office and creating Halloween costumes and making dinners from scratch. Things that, if they happen to get left off of the To Do list for the day, really have no impact on our lives. So I’m still “working on” things, but I’m not sweating if it doesn’t work out.

Despite this lovely zen-ness and acceptance, I think I may have found the first thing I need to “work on” with Emmett. Since he was born I’ve pretty much fed him every 2 hours during the day. In the beginning this was to pack on the pounds… but now I think it’s just habit. It just kind of works — he sleeps for 45 minutes, when he wakes I change his diaper and feed him, then he plays for 45 minutes. Lather, rinse, repeat. Eat, play, sleep. He’s super regular and yawns right at the right times and eats well at the right times. But as I think about sending him to daycare in a few weeks, I’m realizing that he’s probably (definitely) old enough to go longer in between feedings. And probably having a hungrier/fuller tummy will in turn help him consolidate daytime sleep to get some longer naps, which is obviously the direction we should be heading in, as restful, deep sleep is incredibly important for babies. However, I seem to have completely forgotten how this transition went with Owen. And, given his feeding issues at the time, it likely happened differently than it will with Emmett.

When did your children begin to stretch to 3 or 4 hours between feedings? How does that work with their sleep time? Did you try to help this transition along by holding them off from eating if needed, or does it naturally happen even if you’re feeding on demand/more often?

She Says… 2 Months

Emmett 2 Months-10

My sweet Emmett,

Mr. Smileypants. Bonky Bonks (yup, that nickname has stuck, despite my best efforts to give you a nicer one). You are one happy baby.

Seriously. You are the smiliest.

Every day I fall a little bit more in love with you. Even on the hard days.

Emmett 2 Months-3Emmett 2 Months-5

This past weekend we took a trip to see Aunt Ginger and Uncle Seth get married (your first flight!). You know how people say you learn a lot about a person when you travel with them? Well, I certainly learned more about you. You are a Mama’s boy so far; and I mean that in the sweetest, best sense of the term. You loved being passed around from aunt to uncle to cousins to friends to random strangers who just couldn’t help but pinch your beautiful little cheeks for a little while, and then… BOOM. You wanted Mommy. Just Mommy. It was really the first time I’ve heard you cry for more than a few minutes. You were just… overwhelmed, it seemed.

And, my beautiful boy, I gotta tell you. I get it. I really do. I used to be a full-on, 100% extravert, very much like your brother. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve shifted to be more introverted, and I saw so much of that part of myself in you as you relished your alone time this weekend (even happily chilling out by yourself in your crib).

Emmett 2 Months-4Emmett 2 Months-6

You are easy as pie to put to sleep. Except, however, for your actual “bedtime” at 7:00pm. The rest of the day you are happy to be put down wide awake and talk yourself to sleep. But at bedtime you want to be nursed all the way to sleep and transferred carefully, quietly, gently. And if I dare to leave the room before you are in deep sleep? You’ll cry and fuss and demand that I come back up to your room and rock you some more, starting from scratch. Sometimes I get frustrated because you are so different/difficult at bedtime… and then I realize that you’re only barely 10 weeks old and you are E.A.S.Y. compared to most (ahem, YOUR BROTHER, ahem).

Maybe that’s just what a 2nd kid has to do to get a little rocking time with Mommy. If that’s the case, keep yelling, little one. Remind me to slow down and snuggle you while I can, because the day will come pretty soon when I won’t be able to. And I’ll miss these days, I guarantee it.

Emmett 2 Months-8 Emmett 2 Months-9

I am so thankful for our breastfeeding relationship. Feeding you has become one of my most favorite things to do. Even when I feel like all I do in a day is nurse you, you still melt me every time I look down at your peach fuzz hair and your big, blue eyes. Your sharp little fingernails clench and unclench my chest as you eat and my skin is marred with tiny little cuts and pinch-marks. But I wear those scrapes with honor. I am so proud of us for powering through when it was tough, as now I feel that nursing you is one of my greatest accomplishments and one of my favorite parts of the day. Still, though, I am so relieved that you are flexible enough to take a bottle with formula or breastmilk. That makes life easy for both of us. Keep it up, Hoover. You’re doing a great job.

Oh, my little dimpled wonder, you fit into our family like a perfect little puzzle piece. Everyone adores you, including Owen. He dotes on you in a way I never saw coming. He loves to tiptoe into your room with me to wake you up. He climbs onto the side of your crib and asks me to pull you over to him so he can open your swaddle. You beam at him and he gives me the play-by-play, “He’s smiling at me! He’s saying he loves me!”. He watches your tiny fists open and close and is constantly telling me what you are “learning” (the sign for orange, for instance, when you were putting your clenching fist to your chin, or the number 5 when your fingers splayed out wide). When you are playing on your mat in the living room he always, ALWAYS, runs over from whatever he is doing to lay there with you. I’m constantly refereeing with instructions like, “Give Emmett some space!” and “Don’t touch his face so much”, “Don’t climb on his body”, but Owen’s response is always, “He likes it!”. And you do. You laugh and gaze at him with an expression I’ve never seen you use with anyone else.

Emmett 2 Months-2

I can already see how you will look up to him as you two grow together. I know there will be WWF-worthy wrestling and angry words between you (you are brothers, after all), but I hope what you will remember are the inside jokes and the silliness and the LOVE that you share.

Your brother will be your protector, your confidante, your sidekick and your best friend. Treat him that way.

Emmett 2 Months-1

I love you, Bonky Bonks. And Daddy too. And Owen adores you. And this weekend your cousins (and aunts and uncles and grandparents!) fought over who got to hold you, like the best baby doll they’ve ever seen.

You have stretched ours hearts to make room for you. You’re just so darn easy to fall in love with. Keep up the good work.

All my love,

She Says… The NuRoo Pocket

I didn’t have a birth plan for either of my births. Especially the second time around, after having been through it once, I knew that those best laid plans almost always change in the moment. The baby is calling the shots. Still, though, there were a few things I knew I wanted to happen if at all possible, like skin-to-skin as soon as my baby was born.

I knew skin-to-skin time right after birth was an important way to bond with your baby and I had heard it could help with breastfeeding, but I didn’t know a whole lot more than that. A few weeks before my second baby was born I attended a webinar that Isis Parenting sponsored about “Kangaroo care”, which is a specific type of skin-to-skin where the baby is put chest-to-chest with mom (no bra or clothes between them) and covered with a blanket for an hour at a time. I learned that there are SO MANY more ways that this position can have a positive impact on mom and baby.

Kangaroo care can (among other things):

  • regulate baby’s heart rate and breathing
  • stabilize baby’s temperature and blood sugar
  • help relax a newborn so much they can even fall asleep for a full sleep cycle
  • improve baby’s latch and suck, thus making milk transfer more effective and helping get a strong breastfeeding relationship started
  • stimulate mom’s oxytocin and prolactin levels, helping with milk production as well as postpartum recovery
  • decrease both mom and baby’s stress responses and cortisol levels, and also reduce maternal anxiety
  • help babies gain weight appropriately when practiced regularly over time

When Emmett came shooting out faster than the speed of light I was in complete shock and awe. Just as I had asked, my midwife put him directly on my chest. He cried and I cried and Benjamin cried. I could feel Emmett’s tiny stomach moving and his little hands squeezed my skin and his eyes looked up at me. I remember getting extremely cold almost immediately after delivery and Emmett was looking a little blue himself, so the nurses covered both of us (with him still on my chest) in heated blankets and let our skin-to-skin contact work its magic. I’ll never forget how he felt against my chest right at that moment.

Emmett Birth-4

After that moment, though, I never really gave skin-to-skin another thought. I was holding my newborn most of the day, but we always had clothes on. Laying around for hours on end with my baby doing skin-to-skin once we got home was not exactly possible, especially with an active 3 year old vying for my attention and the endless revolving door of guests who wanted to come by in the early days.

Enter the NuRoo Pocket.


The NuRoo pocket is a shirt/babywearing wrap that allows you to do skin-to-skin while being completely covered (think: when the guests are still popping in). You can even breastfeed in it (though I haven’t tried this yet). It’s pretty genius.


It was CLEARLY designed by mothers who have been there, done that, because it is incredibly well thought out. The fabric is super soft and stretchy, but also supportive, so it feels good on your bare skin (and sensitive nipples!). The shirt and support belt come in a variety of cute colors and patterns and are very well-made, so it feels like you’re putting on a cute, fitted top (unlike most of my ill-fitting nursing clothes). When used with the support belt right under the baby’s butt, it is completely hands free. I could prep dinner, wash dishes or play Zingo with Owen no problem. For those using it in the hospital, there is even a little slit in the shirt so that the heel can be exposed for needle pricks (skin-to-skin can reduce the baby’s pain perception during these annoying but necessary procedures).

I find it a teeny bit hard to put on by myself (like many baby carriers), as you have to pull it kind of hard and find the right velcro section. But generally Benjamin can lend me a hand and I’m sure I could manage on my own if I had to.


I didn’t receive mine until 2 weeks after Emmett was born. I thought maybe I had “missed the window” of skin-to-skin since he was getting so much bigger. As it turns out, the NuRoo Pocket can be used when your baby is up to 15 pounds, so we have several more months to go.


I can’t say that I’d wear this out to run errands or anything, but it is an awesome option for those fussy evening times. You know, the witching hours. Thankfully we’re seeing less and less of those times in the last week or so, but I still try to get an hour of skin-to-skin most days when Emmett and I are home.

This would be a great gift for a new mom, or especially a mom who already has a kid or two. Anything hands-free is worth its weight in gold, and the benefits of this gift go way beyond being able to check your email while holding your baby.

Visit the NuRoo Pocket website for more information.

Just so you know, I was not compensated for this review — I actually use and love this product. Hope, one of the creators of the NuRoo, offered to send me one to review, but she did not influence this post in any way.

She Says… The Fire Hose and the Drippy Faucet

Let me tell you a tale. A tale of two boobs.

For those who care, an update on how breastfeeding is going the second time around.

The bottom line: It’s working…
It feels a little silly to still marvel that something so natural is actually working the way it’s supposed to, but after my traumatic experience trying to nurse Owen and a very rocky start nursing Emmett filled with cracks and blisters and pain of all kinds… I still marvel. It’s working. I still use the Brest Friend pillow for comfort whenever I’m at home (I like that I can essentially have my hands free and he stays in the right position), but we’ve got our latch down. I can nurse him wherever, whenever I need to.

… almost.
There are 2 times when nursing just doesn’t work, no matter what I try. One, when he is thrashing and shaking his head and wailing, most likely due to gas/stomach issues. This isn’t very often, thankfully. Rather, at least it’s not anymore. There was a phase when Emmett was around 6 weeks when it happened about once a day. I’m not sure what the phase was, but, like all things baby, it has passed and we are into a new phase now. The other time is when I feel like I am out of milk. More on this later.

I have achieved “Breastfeeding Nirvana”. For me.
For those times when nursing just isn’t cutting it (when it’s making one of us, or both of us, miserable, for whatever reason), Emmett gets formula. I knew from the start that I was NOT going to put the same “all or nothing” pressure on myself to exclusively breastfeed like I had with Owen. I think I created a lot of my own stress by using every fiber of my being to force breastfeeding on both of us, and as a result our health and happiness suffered. So this time around I supplemented with formula from the start. Around 3 weeks when my pediatrician and lactation consultant recommended introducing bottles, we made them bottles of formula.

This was, hands down, the best decision I’ve made for us so far.

Breastfeeding success, for me, this time around, is as follows: I would like Emmett to nurse from my breast whenever possible. Whenever that is not possible, I want him to take formula. So far, this is working beautifully. We are both so, so happy about it. I think allowing myself the “out” of offering him formula sometimes actually made me work harder at breastfeeding. I didn’t feel cornered or desperate. He doesn’t feel like food is scarce. Benjamin can easily take over if things are escalating or I need a break. I’m spending my time when I’m not feeding Emmett enjoying him. Being silly with Owen. Making dinner. Going to the playground. I’m not spending it pumping and washing pump parts and crying. It’s… glorious. And freeing. And awesome.

Supply and Demand
Hi! Nice to meet you. Let me introduce you to my boobs.

Rightie is my super-producer. She is, quite literally, a solid 2 cup sizes bigger than my left. It’s awkward. It’s totally normal for breasts to be different sizes and produce different amounts of milk, but this is pretty astonishing. When I have pumped in the past (like on Monday when I had to “pump and dump” after my surgery), Rightie makes easily 3x as much milk as leftie. Easily. For good reason, this is Emmett’s preferred side to drink on. However, she’s also quite powerful. My little fire hose, if you will. Her letdown is STRONG and often makes Emmett sputter and cough and gulp air as soon as the milk comes out. She’s a sprinter too. She sprays every which way for a few minutes, and then slows waaaaaay down. Emmett will gulp, gulp, gulp for 5-7 minutes, and then, nothing. Then he loses interest. If I keep him on there he can sometimes get a second letdown, but he doesn’t always have the patience for this. It’s efficient (he gets a lot of milk during these 7 minutes), but always leaves me wondering if he’s getting enough.

Leftie is more like a drippy faucet. She’s small and meek. I can barely detect her letdown. Emmett will give a few good sucks right at the beginning, but then quickly loses interest. She’s just too darn slow. It’s frustrating, because I know that Emmett’s short attention span for her speed is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy — he doesn’t keep asking for more milk, so she doesn’t keep making it. I’m really not sure how much of the size difference/milk production is a result of him not drinking, or if him not drinking is a result of the slow drip. Chicken or the egg? One will never know.

Hungry for More
Overall it tends to work out — we nurse about 75% of the time on Rightie and 25% of the time on Leftie. For most of the day I’m making just the right amount of milk. I feel full when it’s nursing time and totally empty when he’s finished. I can barely squeeze out another drop when he pulls off. However, about once a day I find that he’s sucking and sucking and there’s no milk coming out. He’s sucking fast, waiting for a letdown that just doesn’t come. He’s hungry, and he usually grunts and furrows his brow and it seems pretty clear that he wants more than he’s getting. I can’t get anything out by hand expressing and only a few drops with a pump. At that point, I usually make him a bottle and he takes 1-2 ounces. And then in the evening at our bedtime feeding, I’m usually almost entirely out of milk. I’ll make him try and there’s just no letdown. Or if there is, it lasts 2 minutes or so before it slows to a stop. So I give him a bottle. At bedtime he usually takes 2-3 ounces.

So over the course of the day, I’m finding I have to supplement anywhere from 1-4 ounces of formula because I just don’t make enough milk. I know lactation consultants and websites always say, “So many moms worry about their milk production when really their production is just fine”, but I actually think I’m in that minority of women who honestly can’t make enough milk (I recently found some evidence to suggest this is common for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which may be an explanation for me).  I’m pretty much ok with this, but I do wish I could just squeeze out those last ounces so I could feed my kid without having to give him bottles. I’m eating oatmeal, taking a fenugreek blend pill (that seems to help a little) and drinking a ton of water every day. I’m doing everything I can think of to boost my supply, short of pumping. See above for how happy I am NOT pumping.

In the end, Emmett and I have found a system that works really well for us. A few weeks ago, in the throes of blisters and shooting pains, I wouldn’t have thought we’d still be going now. But thanks to a tube of All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO) and resources like my lactation consultant and Isis Parenting (find their breastfeeding articles and videos here), we’re here. Finding our own Breastfeeding Nirvana.

*Please note: Breastfeeding is still a very personal topic for me. If you’re going to leave a comment that is negative about my decision to give my baby formula, or telling me if I “just work harder, breastfeeding will work out”, just don’t. I will delete it. I do not write this to open myself up to criticism; I do it to share my story and possibly validate the others out there who experience a rocky road to feeding their baby.

She Says… Mom Group 2.0

By the time the 2nd kid comes around, you often feel like, “Oh yeah, I remember this. I’ve done this before.”. It doesn’t make everything a cakewalk, especially if your kids are quite different or have different issues, but in general there’s a feeling of been there, done that. Which is why I sort of brushed aside the idea of doing a “mom group” this time around at first. But then I remembered this post about how I thought I was SO not the “mom group type” and then it turned out to be one of the best things I ever did for myself (and Owen).

So far I think one of the hardest things about having 2 kids is giving them both undivided attention. Because if you’re the only parent home, it’s nearly impossible to do so. I am incredibly thankful to have a schedule right now, during my maternity leave, that allows me to be home with just Emmett Tuesday through Friday while Owen is at daycare. And when we’re all home together, Emmett is still sleeping enough during the day that I can find little pockets to spend entirely with Owen. So we’re doing ok so far.

But one of the things I found most valuable about my “mom group” time with Owen when he was tiny was spending some time focusing entirely on him without the distractions of being at home (laundry to fold, emails to return, etc.). We spent 90 minutes talking about our babies, gazing at our babies, massaging our babies, nursing our babies. And, as a bonus, I made some lifelong friends, learned a TON about the newborn phase and got some much-needed adult interaction at a time when I felt I was losing myself into the newborn abyss.

But this time around, on my 2nd baby, I already know the newborn stuff (mostly). What I am missing is a place to vent about the new issues at hand — balancing the needs of two kids at once, figuring out how to get dinner on the table while entertaining a 3 year old and holding a newborn, remembering when some of those newborn milestones happen and what I’m supposed to be doing at what stage in order to support my new baby’s development (because I don’t have the time to read countless website and books like I did the first time around).

Enter: Isis Parenting‘s Second Time Moms class.

I know I have sung the praises of Isis Parenting in the past, but I’m going to do it again. Back when I had Owen they were purely a Boston-area resource, but now they have expanded into the Atlanta and Dallas/Fort Worth areas as well! And for those who aren’t in any of these three places, they have TONS of online resources about parenting, babies, breastfeeding, sleep and much more.

The class has a facilitator and 9 other second-time moms, all of whom are dealing with the same issues I am. One mom is on her 3rd child, and another one has newborn twins and a 15 month old at home — listening to them vent makes me feel like my situation is a cinch! Each week we have a discussion topic, but often veer off to discuss our individual issues and get support and suggestions from each other. While this class has a lot less crying and soul-baring (the first-time moms class was much more emotional as we were all kind of a mess in those early weeks with a newborn for the very first time), it has been incredibly helpful to hear that others’ 3 year olds are acting out a little (one woman had to call poison control the day she brought her new baby home because her son ate most of a jar of vaseline for no apparent reason), or they can’t seem to be gentle with the new baby (another has already had to take her newborn to the ER for injuries from big sis). We share what we’re making for dinner that night, or how we load our kids in and out of the car so that no one gets hit by a car or runs away. We swap experiences with which bath seats are best for double bathtime or how to entertain our older kids while we nurse.

In short, it’s awesome.

It’s like having coffee with your best friend who you can share the ups and downs of this roller coaster with… times 9. And we get the benefit of having a child development expert facilitate the discussion to chime in with information about the babies’ development or what is “normal” at this stage (makes me feel better to have someone objective in the room to make sure we’re not swapping bad info).

And the icing on the cake is that Emmett seems to eat like a champ every single time we go. He nurses beautifully; with little to none of the fussiness I sometimes see at home. When he’s finished, he lays calmly on his pillow and stares around the room at all of the faces. Then he nurses some more. We practice infant massage and tummy time and each class I remember something new that I could be doing with him at home. And by the time the class ends, Emmett is usually chilled out in his carseat ready for a nap. Last week I even went out to lunch with a few of the other ladies and we chatted over Indian food while our babies slept nearby. New mom bliss, right?

If you’re in Boston, Atlanta or Dallas, I highly recommend an Isis class at some point during your pregnancy or once your baby is born. If you’re like me, you’ll be totally hooked and will want to take EVERY class they offer. And everyone, no matter where you are, can take a look at the pregnancy, PPD, breastfeeding and sleep resources, as well as the webinars and chats that happen every week online.

It’s good to have support, even if it’s not your first time around the block.



She Says… Kate Middleton’s Nipples

Oh, did that title get your attention?

I, like much of the modern, E! News watching world, find myself glued to the television when a mention of Kate Middleton is made. She’s gorgeous, stylish, seems genuinely nice and like someone we’d all want to be friends with. And, best of all, she’s a regular girl who ended up marrying a prince. It’s all quite dreamy.

When word got out that she was pregnant last fall and due almost exactly the same day as me (even though her baby bump was completely nonexistent when I was already in maternity clothes), I not-so-secretly followed her every mama-to-be move. Right before Emmett was born I had a brief moment of insanity where I worried that she was going to have her baby right before mine and steal our name, and people would think WE copied HER. Thankfully that didn’t happen, and her little heir-to-the-throne George came a week later (George was nowhere on our baby name list). I was freshly home from the hospital cradling my own newborn when I watched Kate and William stand on the steps of the hospital waving to the throngs of admirers and press.

At that moment, mesmerized by watching Kate go through what I had just done myself, I thanked my lucky stars that I did not have any spectators when I left the hospital. My swollen belly wasn’t criticized by the media and no one talked about my hair. I slipped into my minivan, put one hand on my sleeping baby tucked into his carseat (ahem, properly, unlike a certain little prince who was unsafely swaddled for the ride home) and smiled at my husband in the rear-view mirror as we headed for Starbucks on our way home.

Despite the clear differences between Kate Middleton and I, I can’t help but think of her, often, as I go through the motions of caring for a newborn. Late at night when Emmett is fussing and shaking his head back and forth seemingly starving yet unable to find my nipple, I wonder if Kate is in her nursery doing the same thing. When I’m changing a diaper and I get a clean, dry diaper tucked under Emmett’s butt just in time for another poop to come shooting out, requiring me to re-diaper and re-dress him while trying to not smear poop all over his face, I wonder if Kate has the same awkward moments with baby George. When I’m positioned on the couch with my nursing pillow and burp cloths and other props to get myself in the perfect nursing position and I realize I’ve left my water cup across the room, I wonder if the other Kate has ever found herself similarly inconvenienced (though let’s be honest, I’m sure she has someone on her staff who could bring her a glass of water if the latter ever happened).

She may be a royal, but she’s still a new mom.

And sometimes being a new mom is awkward. And messy. And in the dark of the night when no one is watching, you inevitably wonder if you’re doing it right, even if you’ve done this all before. And I can guarantee you that even someone as seemingly perfect as Kate Middleton, like the rest of us, has messed a few things up. And, if she’s nursing, I bet her nipples are just as sore and beaten up as mine right now.

In some weird way, this brings me a lot of comfort. And thinking about Kate Middleton’s nipples makes me laugh a little. And I realize all of us new moms are in this together, whether we live in a castle, a suburb of Boston or somewhere in between.

Now, where is my butler to grab me my glass of water while I nurse?!