Mom to Mom
Returning to Work? Create a milk stockpile before you do!
By Deatta Harris
Returning to work after having a baby is always stressful, but even more so if you are breastfeeding. When will you pump? Will you have enough milk? I nursed all four of my kids, and after # 1, I developed a method to create a milk reserve prior to returning to work to help relieve some of that stress.
Breastfeeding is all about supply and demand-so to create more milk, you need more demand. So a few weeks before returning to work (with #2, 3, and 4) I added a pump session to my daily routine- after nursing baby first thing in the morning, I would pump. Don’t worry if you don’t get a lot, this will increase over time- as it becomes a regular “feeding.” I would freeze this milk, exclusively for use when I returned to work. I froze the milk one or two ounces to a breast milk freezer bag. Once you determine how much baby needs, do the math and prepare/thaw accordingly. (NOTE: as baby grows increase the amount of milk per bag.) There’s nothing worse than wasted milk- once thawed it has be consumed within 24 hours. I encourage you to send a few extra small bags with baby- I’ve had bags break, or baby was extra hungry-it doesn’t take long to thaw an extra or two ounce if baby is still hungry!
By starting a few weeks before, I was able to create a healthy stockpile each time- this also helped for last minute outings, when I didn’t have time to pump before leaving. Since I have a full-time job outside the home and other kids, I continued this extra pump for quite a while. Not to mention each of my kids would only nurse on one side, so by pumping the other side before leaving home (unfortunately this added about 15 extra minutes to my morning routine), I was able to go longer before I needed that first pump session at work. I hope this helps!
Breastfeeding and Sex!
By Joi Barnett
Are you concerned about what your sex life will look like while breastfeeding? It won't be the same, but it can still be something you and your spouse are pleased with. Thinking about this before baby comes and opening the door to talk about it can bust up the anxiety and or expectations around your new sex life.
Sex won't always be "sexy". For most couples sex happens spontaneously. Although there is usually a build up to get there; it generally doesn't happen on a specific schedule. That may need to change with a new baby and breastfeeding. Once we have children we schedule everything. Except sex. It ends up happening if we have the energy. How many times of week do you and your spouse want to be sure you're sexually intimate? Pick those days and put them on your schedule. Don't allow them to be scheduled out.
I believe that all Moms get to the point in the day that they become "touched out". Children are grabby and, if we're honest, husbands can be too. Partners, be sure your touch comes with a little more care, thought, and intentionality. Ladies, even on those days that you think you just can't stand one more touch try to be welcoming of your partner's. Partners, don't take it personal if she doesn't want to be touched. Give her a few minutes to breathe and regroup. She'll be more receptive if you recognize that she's been wrestling a baby who's suddenly become an acrobat or spending all of her breaks at work pumping milk for your precious babe. Let her have a little quiet time at the end of the day. Bond with the baby while she takes a bubble bath. It may pay- off for you later.
The Importance of Intimacy and Friendship
The truth is that no matter how much we plan there will be times when it just won't work out. Kids get sick, you will get sick, and you will just be too tired. A mom's hormones may even being say NOPE, not yet. That's when your friendship and intimacy become really important. During those dry spells you will need to lean on your friendship and other forms of intimacy to keep you all close. Make sure that you are both open to talking about what you're feeling and just talking in general. It is so easy to become disconnected in relationships when our physical relationship isn't as vibrant or we have small children. Hold hands, make eye contact, and HUG! Those things make such a difference. Understanding your partnered love language and making an effort to be sure their needs are met in the area will help him or her feel more connected to you. Also, mutual masturbation may need to be put on the table for exploration. Maybe full intercourse won't work, but there are other options the two of you can explore in the interim.
Be Aware of Your Partner's Needs And Desire to be Sexually Intimate With You.
It can be really easygoing look at your partner like the are insane when they bring up sex when you're taking care of a little human, but your big human has needs too. Be kind. I have been guilty of responding to my husband with an eye roll when he's brought up I sex. I have learned though that a simple acknowledgement that he misses me goes a loving way. Respond with a little compassion and maybe a deep kiss to hold him over a bit longer.
Lubrication May be Needed
When we are breastfeeding it isn't uncommon for our vaginas to be a bit drier. You and your partner may need to add lubricant to your routine. Be kind to your lady parts and get a good water based lubricant without fragrance or use organic virgin coconut oil. A little extra foreplay won't hurt either if time allows.
If you find that you are just not at all interested in sex a after baby and it is concerning you, reach out to your doctor. I know that many of us can be embarrassed to approach the subject, but there really is no need. If you aren't comfortable talking about sex with your doctor, try a trusted friend or look for a sex therapist. Moms and Dads deserve a great sex life if they so desire.