Weekend + Adventures in Breastmilk Pumping + Storage

Hey guys! Happy Monday! Matt and I had a fun weekend – it was our first weekend where we got out and about (both on our own together, as well as by ourselves) post-baby! I’m starting to feel a lot more like “myself” emotionally now, which is nice, and we are still tired obviously but feeling like we have a little bit more of a routine/handle on things (at least until everything changes in 5 minutes, right?! Ha). I also started experimenting some with pumping so we have some stored breastmilk on hand… more on that in a minute!

First, let’s rewind to Friday! We continue to be really spoiled with friends coming by to say hello, meet Riese, and gift us some food. On Friday, my friend Karen came over with lunch! It’s our tradition to always eat at Le Pain Quotidien together, so she brought my favorite salad (the lentil and avocado with a side of quinoa tabouleh). So sweet!

Matt had to head out to do some work-related errands so Karen and I caught up and ate while he was gone. Riese was pretty fussy so lunch was broken with various feeding and rocking breaks – when Matt got back over 2 hours later we were still finishing our salads, lol. Oh well! Karen – thank you again, and so good to see you! <3

The rest of Friday was spent chilling at home! We ate some leftovers for dinner before calling it a night (aka going down for our first “nap” of the evening…)

On Saturday, I had not one but two big outings planned! First up was a brunch hosted by one of my running buddies – so sweet of her to have our running gang over! Matt offered to stay home with Riese so I could go and enjoy, so I headed over solo! It’s weird how totally normal and also not normal it feels to be out and about solo.

Mimosas? YES PLEASE!

Brunch was so delicious – especially the sausage and egg casserole. Yum! Thanks again for the yummy feast, Diane and Drew!

I was gone about 2 hours – perfectly timed in that I made it back before Riese got hungry again, whew! I made sure to feed her RIGHT before I left too so she was nice and milk drunk for Matt while I was away. 😉 Exclusive breastfeeding is a wonderful gift and such a sweet bonding experience, and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to do it so far, but it’s also hard obviously because I’m her only food source and therefore have to make sure I’m not gone from her for too long! Hence wanting to have some backup milk on hand so other people can feed her if necessary… again, more on that in a minute!

Saturday night was our first big outing as a couple – my parents babysat while we headed to our friends Heather and Mike’s housewarming/holiday party! Hello again, beer – it had been a very long time! This was a good one. I also enjoyed some cheese and crackers, and some pulled pork BBQ! And when I got home I had part 2 of dinner – some soup and veggies.

It was fun to be out and socializing together – a huge thank you to my parents for babysitting for us! We are SO lucky to have them nearby. Also, my mom is amazing and since Riese was pretty chill while we were gone she also folded our laundry for us. Mom, you are awesome.

Yesterday, I was determined to finally try to do some sort of pumping to get a little bit of milk on hand for later – I want to start storing some in the freezer for when I have longer stretches away for work or social purposes. Thank you for all your pumping/storage tips on Friday’s blog post – SO helpful! A ton of you mentioned the Haakaa, which is a hands-free suction bottle that you basically stick on one breast at the start of a feed while your baby feeds on the other side. It catches letdown, and it’s only one piece so it’s way easier to clean than a pump. Sounded good to me! I literally opened the box for my breast pump and was so overwhelmed with all the pieces I closed it again – I’ll try that another day. 😉 Haakaa it was – seemed like a good place to start!

I actually first tried the Haakaa last week, but I tried it AFTER an afternoon feed and only got a few drops – so after you guys said the key was to put it on at the start of a feed when let down is happening anyway, and also that morning is the best time for pumping, I gave it a shot yesterday morning. And what do you know – in 5 minutes I had 2 ounces! Sweet!

And there was still enough milk left to switch Riese to that breast later for her to finish off the feed. I used the Haakaa again yesterday for her late morning feed and then this morning for the first feed of the day, and now I have 6 ounces of milk on hand. Exciting!

I decided to go ahead and freeze this batch rather than use it now – I bought some breast milk storage bags that are pre-sterilized and good enough for the freezer, so I put one 2 ounce stash and one 4 ounce stash in the freezer. Some of you said it was helpful to have different quantities stored (vs. having all the bags have the same amount), so I’ll play around with that some – any other thoughts there? Does it make sense to store in larger quantities? Or a mix? Or…?

Our next step is going to be introducing a bottle to Riese – I’ve heard it’s best to just give her a tiny bit from the bottle at first (like half an ounce?), then finish her off on the breast – do you guys agree? Any tips for how to introduce the bottle for the first time would be helpful! We want to get her comfortable with it this week so next time we go out on our own (later this week!) she’s able to take a bottle for a feeding from my parents if necessary.

Anyway! Yesterday’s fun was my friend Stephanie came over with some stuffed peppers for us for dinner (seriously, we have been insanely spoiled). Matt was off at his first big solo social outing – watching football with the guys – so Steph kept me and Riese company for a bit. Great to see you, Steph, and thank you for the delicious peppers! I had two for dinner last night… mmmmm. I forgot to get a photo, so here’s a funny one of Riese looking VERY intensely at her source of food instead. 😉

Time to wrap this up and get ready for our big outing of the day – a family walk! It’s warmer today and sunny and I’m excited to get out there. We have been doing one longer walk every day and it’s so fun and feels good to move a bit – I’m so stiff from all the sitting and awkward feeding positions.

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