Lactation Education And Development Program

Lactation Education and Development (LEAD) Program

Human milk is a vital part of health for babies, and lactation plays a vital role in health for their parents. Breastfeeding rates in the US are low, especially in nondominant communities, and we have a long way to go to reach the 2020 goals set forth by the World Health Organization. Women of Color have the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration, disproportionately low compared to other ethnicities. This is due to myriad factors, such as a lack of representation in the lactation support field, lack of access to qualified lactation support, cultural barriers and a lack of generational experience. Lower income families also lack access to many avenues of lactation support, and low income families of color are at the greatest risk for disparities in health outcomes, compounded by a lack of equitable and accessible lactation support.

Other campaigns focus on telling families that they should breastfeed and why breastfeeding is important. Yet, these efforts are largely ineffective. This is because breastfeeding can be very difficult without evidence-based information and early and appropriate support. Most parents do want to breastfeed, we know this because most women initiate breastfeeding in the hospital. Unfortunately, Women of Color are more than twice as likely to receive NO lactation support immediately postpartum and to be offered formula in the first two days postpartum. Low breastfeeding rates in the Black community for multiple generations has led to a lack of generational support, meaning most new mothers don’t know anyone in their family who breastfed to reach out to for support. When a new parent is trying to nurse their baby, they need the tools and resources to make breastfeeding work.

Parents need lactation support in their neighborhoods and at their fingertips. Making quality peer-to-peer lactation support available, accessible, and equitable can vastly improve outcomes. Often this is all the support a parent needs to understand how lactation works, what to expect, and how to navigate common challenges. In order to make lactation support more equitable, increased representation is needed. In order to make lactation support more accessible, cultivating digital spaces which meet parents’ immediate needs is vital, and equipping passionate individuals with the support to reach their professional goals and in turn build up their local communities with new tools and resources is what makes this change sustainable. That is our mission at Milky Mommas.

Our strategy for this vision is the Lactation Education and Development (LEAD) Program, a community outreach program that focuses on providing training as a lactation peer counselor, scholarships for lactation education and certification, and a year-long professional skills development commitment within the Milky Mommas team to members of nondominant culture groups such as people of color, who may also be low income, resulting in the development of a cohort of lactation counselor-educators equipped to bring these skills back into their own neighborhoods.

LEAD Scholars 2019

Lactation Education and Development Program 2019 Scholars

This January, Milky Mommas launched the LEAD Pilot Program with funding provided by FCLP, Facebook Community Leadership Program which is “an initiative designed to support the leaders who are innovating ways to better support their communities through Facebook.” Throughout 2019, Milky Mommas worked with trainees in two sessions which was delivered through a 12 week Peer Counseling Training Matrix. After completion of the Training Matrix, PC Trainees / LEAD Candidates are working through a 90 day skill building period matched with a Mentor. In September, 11 LEAD candidates were selected to begin professional lactation training through CAPPA to become Certified Lactation Educators and LER to become Certified Breastfeeding Specialists. Milky Mommas will continue to offer wraparound support throughout their educational endeavors to optimize their success towards professional lactation training. We look forward to updating everyone as the LEAD Scholars progress as lactation peer counselors and lactation professionals within their own local communities and in the Milky Mommas virtual community. 

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Karissa Guillory Memorial Scholarship

Karissa Guillory Memorial Scholarship

Karissa Guillory Memorial Scholarship

Milky Mommas is proud to announce this Black Breastfeeding Week the founding of the Karissa Guillory Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship is for up to $1,000 per calendar year for one individual towards the costs associated with a professional lactation accreditation of their choosing.

Karissa was a Milky Mommas team member, a breastfeeding mother, a peer lactation counselor, a mentor, a lactation scholarship recipient, a Woman of Color, and a beloved friend. She left this world unexpectedly in February 2019 at the age of 26. She left behind a husband and three young daughters. Her love of breastfeeding and helping others are two things she is most remembered for.

Birthing and lactating Black parents face unique challenges, suffer from significant disparities in health care, and have the lowest breastfeeding / chestfeeding rates, as well as the least representation in professional lactation support. This requires creative solutions in the drive for systemic change and additional support and resources for these parents and their community. In service of our mission to impact these disparities as Karissa was working so diligently to do, the recipient of this Memorial Scholarship will be a Person of Color. We honor Karissa’s legacy of dedication, passion, and love through this memorial scholarship.

Application will be open from 8/25–9/15 and the honoree chosen will be announced by 10/1. To apply, please follow this link: http://bit.ly/MM_KarissaGuilloryMemScholarship

Jennifer C.- Exclusively Pumping

Jennifer is one of our Milky Mommas team members and we’re happy to bring her amazing story to the blog in honor of World Pumping Day. Read more about her Exclusive Pumping journey below!

 

What were some of your goals when you first started your breastfeeding journey?

My first goal was to EBF until I went back to work at 12 weeks. I had to supplement due to some medical issues but decided I still wanted to continue even though I didn’t exclusively breast feed. My next goal was to breastfeed until my daughter decided to self wean.

 

Did you plan to be an exclusive pumper? If so can you tell us what lead to that decision? If not, will you share what lead you to become an exclusive pumper?

Most definitely not! I wanted to only have to pump while at work. I fully planned to nurse her otherwise. I was successful with breastfeeding, but it wasn’t exactly how I imagined. I had to supplement with pumped milk and formula due to medical issues she was having. At 12 months, we found a sliding hiatal hernia and found out she’d have to have surgery to correct it. She would also be getting a g-tube to help her eat and gain weight. Through everything I still wanted to give her breastmilk because I wanted her to have all the nutrients she could. Being failure to thrive, I wanted to make sure she had all the extra she could! At 13 months, when she had the surgery, she wasn’t allowed to nurse for 6 days. We tried to re-latch and we were unsuccessful. I have been pumping ever since that day to ensure she still gets breastmilk.

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If you could give advice to someone planning to be an exclusive pumper what would you tell them?

Never give up on a bad day! Don’t constantly stress over the amount of ounces because once you start counting the numbers you’ll make yourself crazy!!

 

What do you wish everyone knew about being an Exclusive Pumper? 

That pumping is still considered breastfeeding! I have been told many times (even with nursing for a year) that I no longer can say she’s breastfed because she doesn’t get the milk from my nipple but rather a bottle and a g-tube.

 

What do you think has been the easiest and hardest part of your exclusively pumping journey? 

The easiest was knowing I’m giving breastmilk still for my 25 month old. I have the support of my husband to continue for as long as I want to. The hardest is finding
the time and energy to pump. It’s a full time job!

 

Have you discovered any pumping hacks you’re willing to share?

Have extra parts! I have 2 sets of flanges, I have extra duckbill valves and back flow protectors. When I was freezing milk I would also only freeze enough for 1 feed, freeze flat and then store them in a container.

 

How has Milky Mommas helped you?

MM has given me the encouragement to continue! The community has given me great resources to look at when I started EPing and has allowed me to connect with other EPs and has also given me the chance to tell our story about breastfeeding and g-tube feeding.

 

We are grateful and honored to have you on our team Jennifer! Your little one is gorgeous and thriving, all because of your enormous love and commitment! Congratulations! ❤

Akira – Exclusively Pumping

Parents who exclusively pump are powerful, amazing, and inspiring. Honestly, they’re just plain bad@$$. Akira is no exception. Check out her empowering story below!

 

What were some of your goals when you first started your breastfeeding journey? Did you plan to be an exclusive pumper?  

My goals for breastfeeding were just like any milky mom dreams, a great latch, a lot of milk, tons of bonding, all the things. I wanted to feed from the breast as much as I could then introduce the pump in between. I didn’t plan to exclusively pump. When my son was born, he latched perfectly, my milk was not coming as fast as he would have liked it to. So, a day later, the doctors brought in the pump and instead of feeling defeated, I looked at the pump as a vessel to get milk to my baby. I tried again to get my son to latch but after two weeks he was like “no mom, the bottle is fine” lol. So, I became the super pumping mommy.

 

If you could give advice to someone planning to be an exclusive pumper what would you tell them? 

The advice I have for anyone looking to exclusively pump would be that you are just like the other breastfeeding moms out there. Do not think any less of yourself because your child isn’t on your breast. The fact that you made the decision to get onto a machine and get any milk that you can for your child is such a selfless act and you should be rewarded. It is hard at first and you find yourself upset that you miss out on the “bond”, but at the end of the day, you know that your child is taken care of in the best way possible.

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What do you wish everyone knew about being an exclusive pumper?

I wish that everyone knew that we don’t have the option to not pump. When we talk about how our nipples are cracked or splitting, telling me “you’re pumping too much” is not the answer. I HAVE to pump. It isn’t an option to miss a session. One session for an EP is like two or 3 for a nursing mom.

 

What do you think has been the easiest and hardest part of your exclusively pumping journey? 

The easiest part of my journey was not taking no for an answer. When my son didn’t want to come to the breast, I just KNEW that pumping was the next option. The hardest thing has been the thought of “what next?” Mental health has been such a big struggle from the start of motherhood, so just feeling like “will I have more to give after pumping?” has been so scary.

 

Have you discovered any pumping hacks you’re willing to share?

I’m not taking credit for coming up with this hack, but I turned my nursing bras into pumping bras so that I can pump hands free.

 

How has Milky Mommas helped you? 

Milky Mommas has taught me so much for my next child (hoping that will be soon). The group has also been a place that I looked for comfort when I was sad and needing some encouragement.

 

We’re so glad that Milky Mommas has been comfort for you! Its truly a community of education AND support. Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us Akira!

Raysheea – Pumping at Work

Pumping at work is hard. Parents often encounter tricky schedules, unsupportive work environments, and other barriers that come with working and breastfeeding. Raysheea has pushed through it all! Check out her story below.

 

Can you tell us a little about your breastfeeding journey? What are your goals for pumping? 

I have always dreamed of breastfeeding my children from a young age. It just always made sense to me. Pumping was another story. It’s not glamorous at all it’s a task, another job. My goal was to at least pump until 1 and then reevaluate.

 

What difficulties have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

My biggest difficulty with pumping was focusing. If I was stressed, no milk. If I was mad, no milk. I literally had to clear my mind everyday and focus on the task at hand. My baby needed mommy’s milk so I would think about him and positive things and the milk would flow.

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What do you wish others knew about pumping? 

I wish others knew pumping takes patience. A lot of people just quit and say they didn’t respond to the pump. They are ways to get your body to respond. There are manual pumps and they can hand express- its work but it’s worth it.

 

How has Milky Mommas helped you?

Milky Mommas is a central location for all things breastfeeding. I love the support and advice you can give and receive. I have added tons of new moms to this group.

 

Thank you for sharing Milky Mommas with your friends, Raysheea! And thank you for letting Milky Mommas share your journey with you! Congratulations on all your hard work!

Tiffany – Exclusively Pumping

Exclusively pumping is an incredible commitment. We are thrilled to feature this inspiring interview with Tiffany, explaining the ups and downs of her Exclusively Pumping journey.

 

What were some of your goals when you first started your breastfeeding journey? Did you plan to be an exclusive pumper? If so can you tell us what lead to that decision? If not, will you share what lead you to become an exclusive pumper? 

Honestly, exclusively breastfeed for first 6 months (no bottles at all). I also had a goal of pumping to build a stash for when I went back to work, as well as donating as much as possible. I had no idea of the difficulties I would encounter which prohibited me from reaching all 3 goals. I started off great, researching and going to classes about breastfeeding. I got my pump weeks before by daughter was born. We didn’t buy any bottles because I had 0 plans of using a bottle. My daughter was born with a difficulty to breathe so she was immediately taken away after birth (no skin to skin, no breastfeeding within the first hour, etc.) She also had a severe tongue and lip tie which prevented her from being able to effectively transfer milk. I was nursing and pumping right from the start…..right in the hospital hours after a cesarean.

I had a wonderful IBCLC helping and my milk transitioned on day 2. However, my babe was still unable to transfer effectively. We were pushed to supplement with formula right in the hospital to prevent her bilirubin levels from increasing. So, we started out breaking my very first goal. I was only able to exclusively breastfeed her for 2 weeks. But then found out that she had been losing weight, despite seeming satisfied at the breast. I continued pumping and nursing and supplementing. She went on a strike around 3 months and didn’t nurse again for 2 months! I tried every day, but was rejected time and time again. I continued pumping and pumping even though the most I ever got was 12 oz for the entire day. Whatever I could not pump we gave her in formula.

It wasn’t what I wanted, but I wasn’t emotionally ready to accept donor milk. I wanted so badly to make my body respond to the pump so I could give her what she needed. It never happened. I’ve never pumped more than 12oz a day. However, at 6 months old, I finally accepted the fact that I couldn’t do it alone and started looking for donor milk. So, from 6 months to 12 months she only got breastmilk (and solids) but no more formula. I felt silly for not doing it sooner, however, it was what I could handle at the time. Here we are at 13 months old and my daughter seems to be done or on another strike. So I’m pumping around the clock (min 4 hours a day). But, I’m down to only 4oz a day.

Over time, I have modified my goals.
– after accepting I couldn’t exclusively nurse her until 6 months, I changed my goal to get her breastmilk for 6 months
– then get her breastmilk until 12 months (succeeded – she got at least 1 bottle of my milk every day of her life)
– new goal, get her BM until 24 months

I had no plans of being an exclusive pumper. I wanted to pump for “extra” milk only. Not as a main source for my daughter. However, life has other plans sometimes 😊

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If you could give advice to someone planning to be an exclusive pumper what would you tell them? 

Advice for an EP’er….invest in a good pump, good LC support and be prepared for lots of time at the pump. Also be aware that not everyone responds to the pump. I am one of those lucky people 🙋‍♀️. It is ok to need help, advice and support. It’s not easy!

 

What do you think has been the easiest and hardest part of your exclusively pumping? 

The hardest part of my pumping journey is spending thousands of dollars on pumps, parts, bras, snacks, teas, supplements etc. And none of them helped. Also, the time I spent beating myself up over not being able to pump enough for her….I regret losing that time. It could have been spent enjoying her 😍. The easiest part….I’m not sure. I havent had many “easy parts” in this journey unfortunately. However, I will say I would do it all over again for her in a heartbeat.

 

Have you discovered any pumping hacks you’re willing to share?

No, I wish I knew of a hack that could work for everyone. But the biggest thing I’ve found is make yourself comfortable. The more comfortable and relaxed you are, the better your output will generally be.

My story has a lot of struggle and a lot of heartache, but I don’t want that to discourage anyone. Like I said, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I’ve given my daughter the benefits of breastmilk every day of her life. That’s what I could do, and that’s what I will continue to do until she is truly finished.

 

My heart is so full hearing about Tiffany’s love and commitment to her daughter. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and letting Milky Mommas share your journey! ❤

Jessica – Pumping at Work

Did you know that returning to work is the #1 reason women in the US discontinue breastfeeding? Yet thousands, even millions of parents work through this obstacle to continue breastfeeding for months and years while working. One of these awesome parents is Jessica! Check out her story below in honor of World Pumping Day!

 

Can you tell us a little about your breastfeeding journey? What are your goals for pumping? What difficulties have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

J- My breastfeeding journey started when I first found out I was pregnant, when I was 16. I knew I wanted to breastfeed but wasn’t very educated on it. I had taken child development classes and learned a little. I knew I had to go back to high school when my son was only 3 weeks old. I did the work study program, where I went to school half day and worked the other half. I did both breastmilk and formula. I tried pumping with him but never got much. I didn’t have that great of a pump, didn’t know when or how long to pump, etc. When I pumped I remember only getting an ounce or so and quickly got discouraged.

I did try pumping a couple times at work, fast food, but there was no place to pump besides the bathroom. I didn’t know there were pumping laws that stated they needed to provide a place other than a bathroom with a lock on it and provide breaks to pump. So finding time to pump was hard. I decided to nurse while at home and formula feed when I wasn’t. It worked I had a good balance. I slowly formula fed more til I stopped nursing at about 5 months.

Later, I found out I was pregnant with my second. With him, I was a stay-at-home-mom taking college night classes twice a week. Since doing both nursing and formula feeding worked with my first, I did it again with my second. I just had a goal to breastfeed longer than I did with my first. I tried pumping again with him but ran into the same issues. I did pump more often and remembered having decent output. I returned to work when he was 10/11 months old. By that point, my nursing journey with him came to an end.

Fast forward 9 years, I educated my self more on breastfeeding and researched pumps knowing I wanted to breastfeed even longer. When I got pregnant with my 3rd, WIC asked if I wanted to take a breastfed class I jumped on it. With my third, we came home from the hospital completely breastfeeding. I still had a few things to learn. With him, I knew I had to go back to work at 6 weeks. From my research and the WIC breastfeeding class, I knew I needed to start pumping to build a stash 2-3 weeks before returning to work. I actually had taught myself to hand express. When my milk came in, I started hand expressing a little to save what I could. I rented a Medela Lactina from WIC and pumped a few times before I returned to work. When I returned I had 15 oz of milk stashed. I thought that was enough but after my first shift back and having to work longer than expected, I realized it wasn’t enough.

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I aimed to pump every 2-3 hours while at work. Being a caregiver working in a group home setting proved tough at times to find the time to pump because the clients’ needs came first. If I was pumping and one of them needed assistance or my coworker needed assistance, I had to stop pumping then resume when I could. My goal breastfeeding him was at least a year. It took about a week or 2 to get a good pumping routine down. I worked as much as possible and often got called in. So we used formula here and there to fill the gaps. We stopped formula when my son was about 4 months.

I had gone on a weekend women’s retreat without my son. It was the last time he needed formula and felt so good. I came home with 70oz of breast milk. I also use expressed milk when out and about running errands if I go to places I don’t feel comfortable nursing at. I pumped the full first year and to breastfeed on demand while at home. My son is now 2.5 years old. I have had my 4th son on Dec 27th. We came home I started hand expressing just in case. He lost 7% of his birth weight. So it was recommended that we do some expressed milk bottles in addition to nursing. I have only pumped once since hand expressing yields a good amount quickly. Thankfully, he is 2 weeks old and we are still 100% breast milk feeding. I couldn’t have done it with out the support of the group. I’ll be going back to work again at 6 weeks and have a decent stash of 25 oz already just by hand expressing between some feedings. My pumping goal with him is to pump for a year and then breastfeed as long as we can- past 2 would be wonderful.

How has Milky Mommas helped you?

When I found Milky Mommas, I’m not sure when exactly I did or even how I stubbled upon the group but I’m glad i did. I learned about growth spurts and leaps, how much a breastfeed baby needs to be pace fed from a bottle. And it all made since as to why I struggled to go back and forth between breast and bottle.

 

Have you discovered any pumping tricks you want to share with others?

Hands on pumping, looking at pictures and videos helps as well as reading posts for the group you. What I found helped was setting up my pump and leaving it set up and putting my flanges in the fridge between sessions. Knowing how to hand express helped because even after I pumped for 30 minutes I felt full and hand expressing after I’d get an extra 1-2 ounces.

 

Thank you for sharing your story Jessica! You are one of the most engaged members of our group and it has been so fun getting to hear more of your journey! ❤

Jennifer – Pumping to Donate

In honor of World Pumping Day on January 27th, we are recognizing some of the incredible parents who pump or express milk. Here is our first interview, between team member Georgette and interviewee Jennifer V., who pumps to donate her milk. Check out her story below!

 

G- What were some of your goals when you first started your breastfeeding journey? Did you plan to be an exclusive pumper? If so can you tell us what lead to that decision? If not, will you share what lead you to become an exclusive pumper? 
J- My journey started off really hard to be honest. I had to start off as being an exclusive Pumper since both baby and I had major complications right after birth. She was rushed to the NICU and I was unconscious for hours due to Chorioamniosis (infection in the amniotic fluid, Pre-Eclampsia and bleeding out too fast for doctors to stitch me back up). Macy had severe trouble breathing and was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension. She was sent to level 3 NICU immediately where she was put on a CPAP machine to help her breathe and given TPN via IV. After 2 blood transfusions I was allowed to go visit her but wasn’t allowed to pick her up because she was connected to so many wires and machines. The hospital I delivered at was very Pro Breastfeeding so they sent in a Lactation Consultant every day to work with me and help get me on a schedule. Every room had a Medela Symphony!
My goals are to hopefully reach 2 years since that’s what is recommended by WHO and the AAP. I’ll be happy if we make it to 18 months though.

 

G- What difficulties have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

J- When we got home I was still having lots of pain nursing her even though she had been checked for a tongue and lip tie so I figured it was just going to take time getting use to her latching on. After 3 weeks and multiple visits with the LC, we were nursing like champs. But sadly I just wasn’t making enough milk for her. I was still having to supplement at least 2-4 feedings with formula and she wasn’t liking that at all. I felt terrible, so I started looking into ways on how to increase my milk supply. I tried the lactation cookies and power pumping which worked a little but it wasn’t enough so my friend whose also an LC recommended me to try these particular supplements. Let me tell you those supplements work! They turned me into a cow within a few days lol. I now had a huge over supply! I could nurse my baby on demand and still pump an extra 20-40oz/day for my freezer stash! I knew I wanted to donate so I started looking into Human Milk 4 Human babies in my state. A friend from college had recently had a baby as well and introduced me to a mom who had recently adopted a baby and was looking for milk through Human Milk 4 Human Babies. I looked her up on Facebook and started a conversation. She was perfect in every way I could’ve imagined! The sweetest lady ever and was willing to drive to me to pick up milk for her son Rowan. Her goal was to have him on donor milk for the first month then she would switch to formula but I was looking into long term donation and since I had quite a bit of milk to give it was a match made in heaven.

I had major anxiety about giving away my daughter’s milk but I had to remind myself that she was always fed first no matter what. You don’t think you would be so attached to milk, but pumping is hard work and can be painful at times. After about 5 weeks my anxiety calmed down and we are the best of friends. Our babies have play dates and we get lunch when our schedules match. Rowan’s birth mom was very excited to hear that he’s still on donor milk. His adoptive mom is so thankful that I put in so much time for pumping extra milk for him. She didn’t have that special “connection” bringing him home from the hospital like she did with her 3 other kids and not being able to breastfeed made it harder to bond with Rowan. Having donor milk has allowed her to have peace of mind that her baby is getting the very best nutrition that he can have and not have to have something off the shelf ( not that there’s anything wrong with formula). Her original goal was 1 month but we are going 6 months strong now on all donated milk.

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On all of my bags, I write a special note of encouragement or something quirky to get a smile on her face and mine. I label each bag if I have ever taken a medication so that we know if baby is having a reaction such as Tylenol or antibiotics even Tums! I consider him my own baby as well. I check to see how he is doing and love to hear that he is doing well when he goes to the doctor for check ups. Another difficulty I have is recurring clogged milk ducts. I get them weekly even though I nurse and pump every 3 hours like clock work. My baby has been sleeping through the night since she was 5 weeks old so I set alarms in the middle of the night to pump. But having such an oversupply has given me lots of clogged ducts, so I take a vitamin supplement to help bust those clogs. I also had a pretty bad case of Mastitis around 5 months. Antibiotics and lots of rest helped me recover.

 

G- What do you wish others knew about pumping?

J- Pumping is Breastfeeding too! There’s nothing wrong with giving a bottle of pumped milk so you can have some “me time”. Self love is needed and you can’t be a good mom without taking care of yourself first. Exclusively Breastfeeding means a baby’s diet is solely breastmilk and no formula. Doesn’t matter if its straight from mom, pumped or donor milk.
Being a NICU mom is hard but pumping is not impossible. Take the baby’s blanket with you so you can have their scent. A picture or video of baby crying will help you pump more milk. It may take a few days for your milk to come in. Lastly, Breastfeeding doesn’t always come natural to baby and mom and that’s ok! It may take time and that’s perfectly okay.

 

G- How has Milky Mommas helped you?

J- I have loved learning so many tips and tricks when it came to breast feeding. You don’t always have to pump and dump either! Infant Risk, Mommymeds and LactMed have been a life saver for me. Having a community that has the same goals as you is amazing. We live in a world where moms are told to feed the baby in the bathroom or to stop after just a few weeks and that’s not what Milky Mommas is about. They’re all about empowering women and bringing us closer together. There’s always another mom who has gone through what you’re going through and it brings great relief to be able to get the support and help you need when you need it.

 

G- Have you discovered any pumping tricks you want to share with others?

J- No matter what you do, water is the best thing for your supply. Even if you’re not thirsty, force yourself to drink water to keep up your supply. No supplements, cookies or brownies are ever going to help if you don’t drink enough water! Lube your flanges when pumping with a little bit of coconut oil. Pump at night since your body makes more milk at that time. Definitely invest in a good hands free pumping bra and make sure your flanges are properly sized for you. If you have to exclusively pump for your baby while in the hospital, ask your nurse to bring you syringes for you to send your milk to baby. Even if it’s a few drops. That’s drops of precious liquid gold that your baby needs.

 

Thank you for sharing your story with us Jennifer, and congratulations on your amazing gift and hard work! You are amazing! ❤

 

Fall Exclusive Shirt Designs!

Our design team has been hard at work and we’re excited to be launching this custom shirt design for the first time ever! Check out these gorgeous styles ❤

(click to order)

Fresh Milk BOOSTER

This brand new design is *ONLY* available from Milky Mommas- our Lead Brand Designer made these JUST for you! Nowhere else on Etsy or online will you find this cute design. It also comes in unisex short- and long-sleeve tees, in a bunch of colors! Check it out and order yours now! ORDER HERE

I ordered the long sleeve in gray to go with leggings and a messy bun- hello new fall uniform!

Theres just a WEEK left to order these before this design is gone so don’t miss it. Order yours here for you, your support people, and your favorite Fresh Milk makers ❤

Click here to order before its too late!

Breastfeeding a One Pound Micro-Preemie – Sarah’s Story

Milky Mommas interviews member Sarah E. 

 

Milky Mommas, Inc.
Hello Sarah! As we saw you share in Milky Mommas private Facebook community, you have an amazing story to share with us this World Breastfeeding Week about your little boy!

Sarah E.
I am so proud of my son. He was born at 23 weeks, the doctors told me he probably would never breastfeed. I have been breastfeeding him 16 out of the 20 months he’s been alive. I pumped the whole time he was in the NICU. Now, I don’t think he is ever going to stop. He will be 2 in November and I don’t see him stopping anytime soon. He was 1 lb 13.5 oz and 11.5 inches long at birth and he’s about 30 inches and almost 20 lbs [now]. Micro preemie strong 💙 💙💙💙

sarahe1

Skin to skin “kangaroo care” between Sarah and her micro-preemie son, Dane

Milky Mommas, Inc.
Is he your first breastfed child? How did you find yourself breastfeeding a micro-preemie?

Sarah E.
I have an 8 year old and my son who’s 20 months. When I was pregnant with him I found out I had a bicornuate uterus, so I carried my daughter on my right and my son on my left. I ended up losing my mucus plug when I was 23 weeks and 2 days [and] my doctor had me go to the hospital. I got an infection in my fluid, so I went into labor and had a vaginal birth, [where] I had a C-section with my daughter.
sarahe6
They told me when I was still pregnant I had a 30% change he would make it with in the first 3 days. They gave us the choice to if they wanted us to save him or let him die. He was born with R.O.P. (retina of prematurity) with his eyes, he was born with 2 brain bleeds. And then just the risk with him being so little. He was intubated for 3.5 months out of his NICU stay, they would not let me try to breastfeed him till he was only on the wall air.

Milky Mommas, Inc.
You really had your work cut out for you with breastfeeding. How did you manage that?

Sarah E.
I pumped the whole time he was in there. I had clogged ducts, at least 2 a week. I got mastitis, I ended up getting yeast on my nipple which gave him thrush. Then [when] he was finally big enough for him to try to [breastfeed] and he did awesome, they gave him bottles when I wasn’t there.

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First latch

 

But he did not like the bottles, I tried 8 different kinds. The doctors said he probably won’t breastfeed… Well, I stayed every weekend and we did weighted feeds, and he did so good the doctors could not believe how well he was doing. So, he was on the just normal wall air and I asked if they can take it off just to see how he does, and he did amazing with that too. They never had to have him back on it. 

I continued to breastfeed him. I would go to the hospital in the morning after my daughter went to school, then come home when she got off the bus, then [go] back the the hospital when she went to bed and stay the night at the hospital, then back to get my daughter ready for school. It was hard but I would do it all over again.

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Baby Dane’s footprint at 2 weeks old

I was at home one day setting up a trampoline for my daughter and I got a phone call from the hospital, they had to move him back to where the sicker babies were. He ended up getting RSV so we had to stop breastfeeding, and put the tube back in his throat, and pretty much just took a huge setback with everything.

He was in isolation for probably 2 weeks, then I was still trying to breastfeed. When the RSV was gone I was doing weighed feeds again. I did it for 3 days, and if he gained weight every day he was able to come home. They did the car seat test. We were all ready to come home. Everybody was so excited, and then they did his weight at midnight and he didn’t gain any weight. He lost weight. I was devastated.

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It was the worst feeling in the world. But, the next day when they came in to do rounds, the doctor said he could come home anyways. She said there was nothing that they could do for him that I can’t do, so they let him come home. I was so happy, after 131 days my baby got to come home. Our family was finally going to be together. My best friend knew he was coming home she went and put balloons all over my house outside.

When we got home I was still pumping when EBF (exclusively breastfeeding). I had a huge oversupply, I was pumping 23 oz or more every pump session. [It] was horrible, I had 2 deep freezers full of breastmilk, since he never took a bottle. So I was able to help 5 families out [with] my breastmilk.

Milky Mommas, Inc.
That is amazing, Sarah! What brought you to Milky Mommas?

Sarah E.
When he was born, even though he was early, I wanted to breastfeed. I actually posted about my oversupply and got help with evening it out.

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Milky Mommas, Inc.
So you’ve been a member for quite a while! What’s your favorite part about the Milky Mommas community?

Sarah E.
Yes, over a year.
And I just love how you can be yourself, people don’t judge and you can ask any question, and see [others] going through the same thing as you.

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, Sarah! We are so happy to have inspiring and engaged members like you in our community!