I’m back!


So, I feel an apology is warranted to my beloved followers. At the start of this year, my life seemed to be overtaken by one big, emotional event after another. I will not burden you all with the ins and outs of these events… but I will share with you the one that has flipped my world upside-down… in the most wonderful and exciting way.

My amazing hubby and I are expecting… TWINS!

It took us some time to adjust to the news (a LOT changes when you have to accommodate for two babies instead of one.) But… I am happy to say, that we are slowly getting ready to bring Jimmy’s two new siblings into this world (and slightly relieved that we still have at least 22 more weeks to figure it all out!)

And guess what? I plan on pumping, at least part of the time with these babies. So, I’ll have so much more to write about here :-)

But for now, I am letting you all know that I’m back. Life is slowly settling down again, and I still have lots more to share (even before these babies get here). So, stay tuned…

Oh, and until I post my next entry… take a moment to enjoy the adorableness of my sweet baby boy in my pregnancy announcement.

And, don’t forget to keep pumping strong!

Medela Pump in Style Advanced – Caring for, and using your pump


(My apologies to those that do not use the Pump in Style Advanced.)

  1. Speed/vacuum adjustment - This is not meant to be turned up to the highest speed. When selecting a speed, turn the knob up slowly until just past your most comfortable setting. Then, turn the knob down slightly. Remember, you want to simulate what babies do when breastfeeding, and a baby’s suck is slow and low, not fast and high. Pumping at the max speed can not only damage your nipples, but it can also affect your supply.
  2. Let-down button – This button can be used to stimulate a let down. When used, more milk can be produced in less time when pumping at maximum comfort.
  3. Tubing – Condensation may build up in your tubing as you pump. Be sure to keep your tubing dry in between pumps to prevent mold from growing inside. To dry out your tubing, swing them around quickly (like a lasso). Then, let the pump run for a few minutes until all the condensation has evaporated out completely. Do this after every pump.
  4. Valves and membranes – If the valves and membranes are not completely dry when you pump, the valves may not work properly. This can affect the efficiency of your pump, possibly lowering your output. Be sure to properly clean and air dry these parts in between pumps. NOTE: If you remove the membranes from the valves, be SURE to replace them when setting up for your next pump. If you accidentally replace the valves without the membranes, you may think that your pump has stopped working and put yourself through unnecessary stress.
  5. Membranes – Keep an eye out for damaged membranes. Sometimes membranes may be damaged, but not visibly so. Be sure to replace your membranes approximately every 3 months.
  6. Breast Shields – Be sure you are using the correct size breast shields. To determine if you are using the correct size shields, look at your nipples as they are drawn into the tunnel of the shields during pumping.  They should move freely and easily, and should not rub against the sides of the tunnels.

References:

Pump In Style Advance Features (Medela Website)
Troubleshooting – Tubing (Medela Website)
Choosing a Correctly Fitted Breastshield (Medela Website)

How to get a free pump through your insurance


Honestly, I didn’t even try. Why? Because I heard so many stories about insurance companies giving frustrated new mommies the runaround. I simply didn’t have the patience for an insurance company runaround when I was trying to take care of my crying newborn and pumping 6 times a day!

A good friend of mine (Kelly Smith) posted a link to a website that takes all the frustration out of getting your free (well deserved) pump. Even if you’ve been pumping for 10 months like Kelly, getting another pump might help. (The anxiety of not having a backup pump was there throughout my entire pumping experience.) Follow these simple steps, and hopefully getting your free pump will be as easy for you as it was for Kelly!

(Note: Only the following insurance providers are listed on the website. If your insurance is not listed, you should contact your insurance company directly. Aetna, BCBS Michigan, BCBS North Dakota, Blue Shield of California, Cigna (New York State), EmblemHealth GHI, EmblemHealth HIP, Empire Blue Cross – NY, Humana, Lifewise, Magnacare, POMCO Group, Premera Blue Cross, Wellmark BCBS of Iowa, Aetna Affiliates: Allied Benefit System, Christian Brothers, Coresource, Meritain Health, Nippon Life Benefits, Preferred Health Professionals.)

  1. Visit https://yummymummystore.com/insurance.html
  2. Select your insurance provider from the drop-down menu
  3. Add the pump and accessories you want to your cart
  4. Click Proceed to Checkout
  5. Register for an account
  6. Enter your billing information
  7. Enter your shipping information (if different from billing info)
  8. Enter your insurance information (here is what the page looks like and the information you will be asked to provide)
  9. Complete the Acknowledgement and Consent section (check the boxes and sign in the signature box)
  10. No need to enter shipping method
  11. No payment information is required
  12. Review, and place your order! (here is what the review screen will look like)

I may have missed the boat when pumping for Jimmy, but I sure as heck won’t be missing out when I have my next child!

Upper Lip-Ties and Pumping


Ok, so I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while, but somehow never got around to it.

There’s something called an Upper Lip Tie (or ULT) that is often overlooked when newborns are being checked for the first time. A ULT can range in levels of severity. A severe ULT is basically when that piece of skin that attaches the lip to the gums (also called a frenulum) connects really low on the gum line and/or is really tight. This causes a restriction in upper lip movement.

What does that mean? Well, it can lead to several things.

  • Poor or painful latch when breastfeeding
  • Large gaps between front teeth (and potential relapse after orthodontic care)
  • Dental decay on upper front teeth
  • Speech problems

What does this have to do with pumping? Well, as you just read, a ULT can lead to problems latching while breastfeeding. What that means is, if you are pumping because breastfeeding was painful or ineffective, your child may have a ULT.

Does it matter if I’m not going to try latching again? If you think your LO might have a ULT, consider the implications mentioned above. If you are concerned, consider seeking advice from a specialist.

Now, I’ve noticed a number of women asking questions about this over the past year, so I thought I’d briefly share my experience with Jimmy’s lip tie and his revision.

I started exclusively pumping at around 3 weeks pp because breastfeeding was incredibly painful. I didn’t realize what was causing the pain until several months later. We discovered Jimmy’s lip-tie at around 5 months. His lip-tie was extremely severe and we were most concerned with the possibility that he would develop speech problems. After researching as much as we could, we discovered that a revision using a laser (instead of clipping it) was recommended. We visited an oral surgeon that specialized in treating lip-ties. We also talked to an Orofacial Myologist about the implications of the procedure (how to make sure it healed properly).

The procedure itself lasted about 5 minutes. We were in and out in 20 minutes (including signing a few consent forms). The oral surgeon swaddled Jimmy in a blanket, and laid him down on me so I could hold him tight and comfort him during the procedure. He used Novocaine to numb Jimmy’s gums. Jimmy cried a lot during the procedure, which broke my heart, but I kissed and hugged him throughout. There was no bleeding and he was able to take a bottle almost immediately after the procedure. He was completely healed in about a week.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all ULTs need to be revised. I am just hoping to spread some information about ULTs to the pumping community.

If you’re looking for support (and you know I’m all for support!) there is a facebook group full of helpful ladies… https://www.facebook.com/groups/tonguetiebabies/

And don’t forget Pump Strong America if you’re looking for pumping support :-)

References for this entry:
http://www.kiddsteeth.com/articles/ttfactssheet.pdf
http://www.mommypotamus.com/how-to-diagnose-tongue-and-lip-ties/