Worth Every Minute

Guest Blog Post from Randi Henderson, First Time Mama who has spent more than 12,000 minutes pumping over the first year of her baby’s life.

 

One year postpartum and still a nursing, working, pumping mom. I went through a lot of highs and lows and was worried about maintaining a supply and keeping my daughter fed. To do that I did five things that I feel highly contributed to my success.

1. Drink lots of water, and then drink even more water. I purchased a 48oz bubba keg cup for while I worked. I drink 3-4 of those just while I’m at work alone (8 hour day). I also drink an 8oz bottle on the way to work (30 minute commute) and you guessed it, a bottle on the way home.

2. Eat! Worrying about losing weight can’t happen while nursing. The weight may or may not naturally fall off and that is something you MUST be okay with. I eat over 2,000 calories a day. Breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. Eating 2,000 calories a day is tough when you’re trying to also do it healthy-ish. I didn’t hangout at the fast food joints. Instead I ate pastas and double servings of dinner. For snacks I ate avocados, chicken salad sandwich, cliff bars and protein shakes. A yummy breakfast was a quiche with eggs, turkey sausage and hashbrowns.

3. Maintain a good pumping routine. I know this one can be tough. I’m a project manager and there were times I felt I couldn’t step away from my desk for 30 minutes to go pump once a day . Let alone twice. So, I would put it on my calendar to make sure I had no meetings scheduled when I normally pumped. If a meeting ran over, I made sure I went to go pump.

4. Start pumping early. I began pumping with my daughter when she was 5 weeks old. People thought I was crazy, but I wanted to be prepared. I only pumped once a day, but it helped my body adjust to the pump while allowing me to build a small supply before I went back to work. 162 oz to be exact.

5. This is the hardest, but probably the most important. STOP STESSSING. I’ve already mentioned by the time I went to work I had 162 oz frozen, and even then I still stressed that I didn’t have enough. Or worried that I would dry out soon. I can tell you that each time I worried I noticed a slight dip in my supply. So I stopped comparing my supply to others and just took care of my body the best I knew how. Once I did that my supply regulated and things were much less stressful.

As my daughter begins eating more solids and nursing less I am extremely grateful for this journey.

What happens during a Lactation Consulting visit?

I love helping moms and babies work through issues in their breastfeeding relationship! A consult happens in a lovely, peaceful environment where we can spend time answering all your questions as well as caring for YOU, the new mom, as a person, and loving on your sweet baby.

I schedule consults for 75 minutes. Sometimes we don’t need all that time. Sometimes we run over. It is all about taking the time to care for you. The consult will be scheduled at a time that works for you, and when your baby is expected to need a feeding.

During this time we fill out paperwork (consent, privacy policy), then you tell me about your health, your birth, and your baby’s health. Next, we discuss what you are currently doing for feedings. Then, before the baby feeds, I assess the baby’s mouth and suck, weight, and assess the breasts. During the feeding, we will address problems and work together to find solutions to meet your breastfeeding goals. My goal is that you will leave with a workable plan and confidence to move forward! We will schedule follow up visits or phone calls as you need them.

What is an IBCLC?

What is an IBCLC? How are IBCLCs different from other Lactation Consultants?

IBCLC stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. This is the gold standard for lactation consultants. To acquire this certification, I spent a lot of time (1000 hours) working under experienced IBCLCs, took 75 hours of courses in human lactation, and then studied for and passed the IBCLC exam. I initially took and passed the exam in 2011. Every five years, an IBCLC has to recertify; I recertified in 2016 with 75 hours of continuing lactation education.

What makes an IBCLC different from other lactation consultants? A Certified Lactation Counselor, or CLC, has taken a short (usually 40 hours) class and passed a written test; there is no required hands on component. Don’t misunderstand: there are many experienced Lactation Counselors out there who can offer valuable assistance! But do ask what kind of experience the person you are seeing has. You want someone helping you who has both book knowledge and supervised hands on experience.

I was a CLC on my journey to becoming an IBCLC. I currently have more than 16 years of experience caring for breastfeeding mothers, along with my certifications. I would love to work with you and your baby to help you reach your breastfeeding goals.

 

Find out more about how to become an IBCLC from IBLCE.