Merry Meet, lovelies! It has been a little while since I posted, so while I’m working on new and exciting content for you all, I thought I would share a blog post from June 2014 since I have a lot of new (and repeat!) mommies in my life at the moment. Enjoy!

***ORIGINALLY POSTED 6/10/14***

I can’t believe it’s been 4 weeks since giving birth (as a gestational surrogate). Time certainly flies! I’m so sorry I haven’t posted, especially since I haven’t been working the last 4 weeks so I really have no excuse. But I have been a busy bee and wanted to share with you some great information regarding lactation and pumping/nursing in general.

As you all know from my previous posts, I have two little ones of my own: my eldest, Riley, and my youngest, Connor. I was only able to breast feed my daughter for 4 months, as my milk dried up about a month after my mother passed away from cancer. My doctor said this was completely normal as stress and hormones play a huge role in milk production. I tried so hard, pumping constantly, to try and boost milk production and felt like an utter failure. This of course, created a bad cycle as the more I pumped, the less I produced because I was stressing out more and more. Of course, now that I’m pumping for a third child I realize I should be proud of the 4 months I was able to give her and am very grateful for the experience.

I do have to say that pumping for a baby on the other side of the state is a whole different animal though. I’m exclusively pumping and, if you’ve ever pumped before, you would probably agree with me that pumping just really isn’t the same as nursing a baby. Plus, I don’t even have the benefit of having the baby in the house with me, so I don’t have any crying cues to stimulate hormones. It’s definitely been an interesting month! However, I do feel proud of myself to have made it this far and am happy to share with you the tips I’ve picked up along the way, should you be in the same boat as I am!

Now I HAVE to say, I am in no way, shape, or form, discounting formula. In fact, formula was my best friend with my son. I was a little spoiled with my daughter as she took to breast feeding as easily as she breathed air. But my son had a poor latch and was a lazy eater. No two babies are the same, but boy are these two different! I realized too late that pumping would be the best course of action for us, but unfortunately my milk dried up with him even sooner than it did with Riley (Ugh!). Anyway, long story short, we had to supplement a LOT with formula, and by the time he was 3 months old, he was on it exclusively. And really, I felt less stressed and ended up being a better mommy for it! 🙂 Okay, on with the tips!

The Pump

So far, pumping every 3-4 hours has been working beautifully for me. I’m sticking with that schedule as closely as I can. When I can’t, I still try and get in at least 6 sessions a day, although 8 is ideal. I pump for at least 20 minutes each time, or until I’ve emptied each breast (whichever takes longest).

The pump I’ve been using (and I’ve used it for all three babies, is the Medela “Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump” with Backpack (found here, at Target.com, for $242.99). You can also find the pump on Amazon or Diapers.com. I’m a huge fan of Medela, but there are also other brands out there that are wonderful as well. Your best bet is to research as much as you can online and ask friends if they have any pumps to recommend.

This pump is great for daily use, especially if you’re working. If you’re a stay-at-home mom though, and are pumping exclusively, I would recommend renting a pump. The best one I’ve used is the Medela Symphony. I’ve used this pump after each of my deliveries and it most closely resembles baby’s sucking pattern, which is fantastic! Again, though, research everything you can about the products before making a selection – this really is an investment!

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Herbal Supplements

If you’re a big tea drinker, like me, I definitely recommend drinking an herbal tea if you would like help with boosting your milk production. Here are some teas below that I’ve tried and have had great results with. Keep in mind that everyone is different so don’t be discouraged if the teas just aren’t working for you. There are also some great herbal supplements in pill form that do the trick as well (or if you just aren’t that into brewing tea).

Yogi Women’s Nursing Support
Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk

I haven’t tried the below teas, but have heard great things:

Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Milkmaid Tea
Gaia Herbs Lactation Support Herbal Tea
Nursing Time Tea

You can get many of these teas on Amazon or at your local grocery store (each of these brands also have their own websites as well for direct sales). For herbal supplements, the best one I’ve tried is Motherlove More Milk Plus. It’s on the pricey side, but It has a great herbal combination (Fenugreek, Fennel Seed, Blessed Thistle, and Nettle – all of which promote lactation) and because it’s a pill it is incredibly more convenient than brewing tea four times a day. Also made by Motherlove is a liquid supplement to boost lactation for nursing moms: Motherlove More Milk Two Alcohol Free.

Motherlove More Milk Plus Capsules
More Milk Two Alcohol Free Drops

Other herbal supplements are great too, especially if you’re on a budget. You can pick up capsule supplements of one or more of the following at any drugstore or market (make sure you consult a lactation advisor or your doctor before starting any supplemental regimen!):

  • Fenugreek
  • Fennel Seed
  • Goat’s Rue
  • Nettle Herb
  • Blessed Thistle Herb

Miscellaneous Tidbits

I’m all for getting any and all help I can get! So, I wanted to post below some crystals and deities associated with lactation. Please note, these are not comprehensive lists. I’m sure there are crystals/goddesses I’m missing here, but these are lists compiled from my experience and research. 🙂

Crystals (I find it best to carry these in tumbled form):

  • Chalcedony
  • Serpentine
  • Moonstone

Lactation Goddesses:

  • Amalthea – Greek – Nurse to Zeus
  • Anat – Cannanite – Nurse of the Kings
  • Astarte – Cannanite – Another Nurse of the Kings
  • Audhumla – Teutonic – Goddess depicted as a cow with a river of milk flowing from her breasts
  • Brighid – Celtic – Goddess of Midwifery and Childbirth, associated with the holiday Imbolc, in which the first milk from Ewes (female sheep) comes in
  • Demeter – Greek – Fertility Goddess and nurse to Demophoon
  • Frigg – Norse – Goddess of Fertility/Childbirth/Nursing
  • Hathor – Egyptian – Nurse to Horus the Younger
  • Hariti – Indian – Fertility Goddess often depicted nursing a child
  • Kishibojin – Japanese – Eastern counterpart to Hariti
  • Themis – Greek – Nurse to Apollo

Well, that’s it – phew! I apologize for the incredibly long post! However, I hope you find the information contained in it useful; I know it’s helped me! Please comment below if you have any other suggestions/tips you’d like to share. I know I’m dating myself by quoting School House Rock, but as they say, “Knowledge is power!”. 😀

Brightest Blessings, -Cory, CCH

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: None of the health topics presented here have been evaluated or approved by the FDA and should NOT be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your licensed physician regarding medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Use your best judgment, lovelies! ❤