Pumping, Dumping, Freezing Breast Milk, & Bottle Feeding

Disclosure: The Workout Mama is a Joovy Moms ambassador and as such is provided with product for reviews. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Over the last 2 months I have been going to weekly doctor appointments to see my vein specialist for endovenous laser treatment and sclerotherapy. For this reason I have been pumping, dumping, freezing my breast milk, and bottle feeding my baby for 24 hours at a time.

When I became pregnant with Maisie I wore my compression socks everyday but by the end of my pregnancy my legs were bruised, discolored, and painful. We now had a healthy baby but my legs were a mess and I needed more treatments.

I went in for an ultrasound several weeks after Maisie was born to get the treatment approved by insurance and the morning pumping sessions began. Maisie hadn’t been waking up for an early morning feeding for several weeks when I started pumping. Every morning for the past 3 months I have set my alarm to ring at 5am.

Pumping is a commitment. Props to all you moms who do it full time.

Each morning I pump 8 ounces of milk, I use the Medela Pump In Style Advanced breast pump, and proceed to carefully pour it into ice cube trays for freezing. The No Spill Ice Cube Trays I purchased have a silicone covering that acts as a protective barrier to prevent spills and freezer burn. Love these trays!

Breast Milk Ice Cube Tray

Freezing Breast Milk Ice Cube Tray

If you decide to use this method each breast milk cube = 0.5 ounces.

Once the milk is frozen I have been placing the breast milk cubes into glass storage wear in my freezer. I bought a set of various sized Pyrex Storage Containers.

Freezing Breast Milk

On days that I have been getting treatment I fill up mason jars with the appropriate amount of ice cubes for Maisie. Because I had been only nursing Maisie up until this point I didn’t have a great idea on how many ounces she was actually consuming.

Based off the recommendation of her pediatrician I offered 2.5 ounces of breast milk per pound of body weight each day. For example, Maisie weighs 12 pounds, I gave her about 30 ounces of breast milk in a 24-hour period. She is eating 6 times a day so I put 5 ounces of milk in each bottle. Some feedings she would drink less but for the most part 5 ounces each feeding worked out perfectly.

Freezing Breast Milk Mason Jars

When it is time to feed Maisie I remove a mason jar for the fridge and set it out on the counter 30 minutes before her feeding. After letting it sit for 15 minutes I make a hot bath for the mason jar by placing it inside a Pyrex Prepware 1-Quart Measuring Cup.

While the cubes are melting and heating up I occasionally swirl the milk around inside the mason jar. It is important to swirl and not shake the breast milk. Shaking causes the nutritional content of the milk to break down faster.

Heating Frozen Breast Milk

Once the milk is ready I pour it into my favorite bottles EVER. When Caden was an infant we bottle fed him occasionally but he hated it. Thankfully I was able to work my personal training clients and group fitness schedule around his feedings so he rarely needed a bottle. I was a little worried and apprehensive at how Maisie would be especially knowing that a bottle would be her only to way to nourished for multiple 24 hour periods.

Shortly before my first treatment we tested out the Joovy Boob Baby Bottle and all my worries soon faded. She devoured the bottle without any discomfort or hesitation. This bottle is amazing! No leaks, easy to clean, and they come in a variety of materials ranging from high quality and medical grade polypropylene to glass.

Joovy Boob Baby Bottle

Joovy Boob Baby Bottle Glass

If you are on the fence about purchasing glass bottles I highly recommend these! We haven’t had any break and the protective silicone sleeve works great in case the bottle gets knocked around. The glass bottle when clean looks brand new even after multiple uses, no streaks or discoloration.

Like I mentioned earlier these bottles come in a variety of material and we also own the durable polypropylene plastic boobs. Each bottle is individually shrink-wrapped to deliver the highest level of cleanliness and is free from BPA, phthalate, and lead. Joovy has put together a Boob PP Baby Bottle Set that would be perfect for the mom who plans to bottle feed their little one, it has everything you need from 5 and 8 ounce bottles, brushes to clean, lids, pump adaptor so you can pump directly into the bottle, and extra nipples.

Joovy Boob PP Baby Bottle Set

Each of 5 ounce bottle comes with a stage 1 nipple. Maisie is 5 months and I still prefer this slow flow nipple to the medium flow nipple (sold separately). I felt that the stage 2 nipple, which is recommended for 3M+, was a little fast for her and still is. There is also a CleanFlow Vent Ring that is placed on the bottle before the nipple and collar are tightened. This is what ensures there is no leaks and also that the baby does not inhale additional air.

Cleaning these bottles is very easy. I rinse them out with a quick hot soapy scrub and place them into a Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag. Super fast and kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria.

Quick Clean Micro Steam Bag

Heating up frozen breast milk, bottle feeding a baby, pumping, dumping, and cleaning the bottles takes me about 45-60 minutes total. It is time consuming but worth it. Since starting treatment on my legs they are already feeling so much better.

I only have a few more weeks of sclerotherapy left and then I will be able to put my pump away for awhile. I really love this bottle and it is great to know that we can leave Maisie for a few hours with family if we need or want to in the future. As far as transitioning from breast to bottle and bottle back to breast I could not be happier with my experience. Thank you Joovy for making a great product!

ABOUT JOOVY

Joovy is an american based company that is a family-run business that considers their employees, customers and factory partners as members of the family. Their goal is to design and manufacture family gear products that are extremely useful, practical, good-looking and FUN. You will not be disappointed if you decide to purchase this stroller or any other product from Joovy.

WHERE TO FIND AND BUY

Joovy Website, Amazon, Joovy Facebook, Joovy Twitter, Joovy Instagram

I would love to know what has worked for you! Any neat tricks or tips you have when it comes to pumping, freezing breast milk, or cleaning bottles?

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Body After Baby: 4 Months Postpartum

Wow, I have so much to share. I am anxious and slightly nervous to write how I have been recovering during these last several months. But before I continue please read the following disclaimer…

I don’t use extreme measures, deprive myself, or sacrifice my sleep in order to obtain results. I was active during both of my pregnancies and I fully believe that staying active has helped my body recover. I have found that being patient, consistent, and determined are the greatest ways to regain strength and stability in my body. I am a mama to two, and a wife to a firefighter. I don’t have a chef, housekeeper, or nanny. I am real person and I am inviting you to come on my postpartum journey with me. If you are recovering from childbirth please listen to your own body and know that each woman’s pregnancy, labor, and delivery is unique. 

To read Maisie’s birth story click HERE. You may also be interested in reading Body After Baby: 1 Month Postpartum Update.

PRE-PREGNANCY STATS

Waist 27″ | Hips 37″ | Weight 130 lb.

39 WEEK PREGNANCY STATS

Waist 38″ | Hips 39″ | Weight 154 lb.

4 MONTH POST BABY STATS

Waist 31.5″ | Hips 37″ | Weight 133 lb.

Body After Baby 4 Months Postpartum

I am really not even sure where to start. I was feeling really great up until around 6 weeks after giving birth. Both Caden and Maisie were healthy and Josh was back on his regular 24 hour shifts. I felt like supermom. Sure I was exhausted at the end of the day but all things considered I thought I was managing fairly well.

Around 8 weeks postpartum I started to feel very run down. I remember the newborn phase with Caden and being tired but this time around I just seemed to become more fatigued as time went on, experienced frequent heart palpitations, and felt a looming sense of dread hanging over my head.

Thinking that I might have a nutritional deficiency I set up an appointment with my naturopath and she recommended that I see a cardiologist.  One doctors appointment turned into another and has since spiraled out of control. I really can’t tell you how many times in the last 3 months I have been to a doctor. These appointments have included the dermatologist for skin biopsies and exzema, dentist for a root canal, cardiologist, naturopath, vein specialist for varicose vein treatments, and lastly to my primary care doctor.

I don’t even want to think about how much money I have spent on co-pays. Thank the Lord for insurance!

Multiple doctors visits, waiting for various test results, and trying to manage squeezing all these appointments in while nursing Maisie has been stressful to say the least. The “what if’s” started to pile up and before I knew it I was spending the majority of my time worrying about what could happen to myself and my family.

Crying seemed to become a normal part of my routine and I seriously felt like my bubbly personality was never going to make a reappearance.

I never thought I would battle with postpartum depression or anxiety. Like never ever.

With Josh’s encouragement and support I made an appointment with my primary care doctor and told him with tears in my eyes what I had been experiencing. That was the turning point. It was scary but empowering at the same time. I knew from that instant going forward I would be in a much better place. Maybe not right away but I was at least taking steps in a more positive direction.

Sharing all of this is not easy, and I debated over and over if I even wanted to share. In the end it feels better to be open and honest. I am not perfect and don’t have it all together and would never want anyone to get that impression from my blog.

I am so thankful I went to see my doctor when I did. Waiting would have only allowed me to sink deeper and deeper into a dark and bottomless pit.

This past week I learned the results from the testing that was done at the cardiologist. I have to say that it was a relief in a way to find out that the heart palpitations I have been experiencing were not a result of an over active imagination. The pulmonic valve in my heart is leaky. It is mild leak that could have been a result from pregnancy or I could have had it my entire life there is really no way to know. It is not life threatening but later on down the road if it should worsen I may need heart surgery.

My heart is also misfiring electric signals causing it to contract in an abnormal rhythm, this is why I have been feeling the palpitations. I had to wear a heart monitor with electrodes and wires for two weeks which was slightly annoying but worth it because I now have the answer I need. Again this is not life threatening and should it get worse I might need to go on medication but the cardiologist thought it could be related to postpartum hormones so I just have to wait and see.

All of this to say I am doing better. I can still exercise and I now have a plan to get back on track mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Without God at the front of all this I would be even more of a mess.

Enough of all that. Hopefully that gives you an idea of what has been going on. This next part seems slightly less important to me now in comparison to what has been happening with my overall health but I know I said I would share my before and after pictures from using the MuTu System 12 Week Program.

Body After Baby 1 Month & 4 Months Postpartum

1 MONTH POST BABY STATS

Waist 33″ | Hips 39″ | Weight 139 lb.

4 MONTH POST BABY STATS

Waist 31.5″ | Hips 37″ | Weight 133 lb.

Ladies, if you have had a baby recently or even if it has been several or more years I highly recommend the MuTu System. You can read my MuTu System 12 Week Online Program Review for more details. Since my last update I have lost 6 pounds and 3.5 inches. I can’t sing it’s praises enough! If you feel like you are looking pregnant months or years after having your baby do yourself a favor and click HERE to watch a quick video explaining the program and how it works. I’ve also been using my Fitbit to track my steps each day which has helped me see how much (or how little) I have been moving.

I am averaging around 7 hours of sleep each night and Maisie is nursing every 3 hours during the day and sleeping 12 hours at night. It is great! Over the last 6 weeks I have been waking up at 5am to pump breastmilk to stash in the freezer. The treatment I am having done on my varicose veins requires me to pump and dump for 24 hours after my appointments. All you moms who exclusively pump you are rockstars! I am planning to write a separate post on this in the next few weeks. So far my treatment has been going well and my legs are already feeling better. Yay!

I think that I need to hit publish on this post before I decide to delete it. To see cute pictures of my kiddos follow me on Instagram. I would love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below.

Moms how have you dealt with your postpartum recovery?

This post may contain affiliate links of items that I have used and loved. Thank you for supporting this blog and our family by purchasing through my links.

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Varicose Veins & Pregnancy

When I was pregnant with Caden my legs started to begin bothering me around 22 weeks. I first noticed something was different when I went for a run and had to stop and walk because my legs felt so heavy and were causing me pain each time I took a stride. At my next OB appointment I was referred to a vein specialist and learned that I had varicose veins.

Varicose veins are diseased blood vessels that have become permanently dilated (enlarged) and can no longer carry blood back to the heart efficiently. As the dilated veins begin to leak, oxygen-poor blood pools in the varicose veins and waste products accumulate in the legs. Untreated varicose veins can cause aching, heaviness and swelling, and can lead to blood clots and leg ulcers if left untreated.

Vein Anatomy

It was certainly not what I expected to hear. I was healthy, active, under the age of 30, and sitting only 10 pounds above my pre-pregancy weight. Instead what I had was a family history of bad veins. No amount of healthy living could out run bad genetics. I left that appointment with two pairs of compression socks, knee and thigh high, which I was not super thrilled to be wearing especially because the desert temps were beginning to rise.

Speaking of compression socks, my favorite brands are Juzo for everyday and CEP for exercising (this post is in no way sponsored by these companies I just love their products). All of my socks were prescribed by my doctor and insurance covered some of the cost of my Juzo socks. My CEP socks were not covered by insurance at all. These are the my go to socks…

Compression Socks

I was told to back off from running, continue to swim laps, and layoff any movement that would cause a direct downward force on my legs. My plan for the remainder of my first pregnancy was to wear my compression socks daily, swim as much as could, continue to practice yoga (check out Yoga for Varicose Veins on my YouTube channel), and avoid running. I still lifted weights and did cardio but used the stair climber and elliptical.

As my pregnancy progressed, the worse my legs became. I had dark bluish purple bruises that were very pronounced below my knees and on my inner calf. My legs became painful to the touch but I knew the more I could keep moving the better off I was.

After Caden was born I did notice a slight improvement in my legs but when my period returned months later the aching, throbbing, and pain returned full force. I made an appointment with my vein specialist to have the consultation for treatment. I knew I wouldn’t start therapy until I was done breastfeeding but I wanted to get everything booked for mid June after Caden’s first birthday.

Due to the severity of the vein reflux in my legs I needed to get treatment from my inner groin down to my ankles on both my right and left sides. I opted to get the treatments done back to back as quickly as our insurance would allow. The entire length of my treatment lasted 2 months, which wasn’t horrible, but I have to say wearing thigh high compression socks the entire summer was not something I enjoyed.

My treatment consisted of endovenous laser treatmentsclerotherapy, and compression socks. With endovenous laser treatment a slender catheter is inserted into the diseased vein through a tiny needle prick in the skin. Then, under ultrasound guidance, a laser fiber is positioned within the diseased vein. The energy of the laser causes the vein to close, rerouting the blood to the many healthy veins. The diseased vein becomes harmless fibrous tissue and is gradually absorbed by the body. Sclerotherapy uses ultrasound to locate the damaged, deeper veins that pressure the varicose veins on the surface. Once the root of the problem is identified, duplex ultrasound is used to accurately guide injections of a special medication into these leaking veins, causing them to safely collapse and close. The diseased veins dry up and are gradually absorbed through the body’s natural healing response.

Following each treatment I drove to the nearby Target to walk for 30 minutes. This was actually my favorite part of the treatment. I also had to wear my compression socks continuously for the first 24 hours after any treatment. Because I opted to get my treatments back to back I lived in my socks for the entire summer and could take them off only for swimming, showering, and sleeping.

Since Josh and I knew we wanted to get pregnant again fairly quickly after I was finished breastfeeding Caden it was important to have this treatment done ASAP. If I had not had treatment before becoming pregnant again I would have increased my risk of developing a blood clot. I want to be clear that I did not have this surgery done for cosmetic reasons. I could have lived with the bruising or discoloration in my skin but the amount of pain I was feeling hinder my ability to go for runs and even do certain exercises and yoga poses. Because the treatment was done for medical reasons it was covered 100% by our insurance. I highly encourage you to seek medical attention if you are dealing with leg pain due to varicose veins.

My treatment was completed by mid August and Josh and I became pregnant in September. Since becoming pregnant again my legs have started to swell, bruise with discoloration and become more painful. I can’t imagine how much more awful they would feel if I had not had treatment for the already diseased veins. This time around I have much more noticeable and pronounced bruising on both legs from the groin down. It looks pretty bad when I take off my compression socks each night.

Once this baby girl is born I will be back in for my last set of laser treatments. Josh told me several times before and after Caden was born that he didn’t want me to be in pain and it was totally fine with him if I didn’t want to be pregnant again. We are praying for a healthy baby and if everything goes smoothly I can safely say that this will be my last pregnancy. For my next set of treatments I will hopefully start within a few months of the baby being born. I am opting to pump and dump for 24 hours after each treatment instead of waiting until I am done breastfeeding.

While varicose veins aren’t the end of the world, they can be painful and hinder your ability to participate in the activities you enjoy. I wanted to share my experience to hopefully encourage and also make you aware that if you have a family history of diseased veins and become pregnant to make sure you have your doctor take a look.  You know your body better than anyone else and if something doesn’t feel right speak up. We all have to be our own health advocates.

I would love to hear from you: 

  • Do you have a family history of varicose veins?
  • Or have you had treatment done on your veins?
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