Tag Archive | "eats on feets"

Pumping at BlogHer ’11 Part 2: Group Breast Milk Donation to EoF

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Wasting breast milk should be a crime punishable by the Iron Maiden.  Breast Milk is the most amazing liquid on the planet.  It hydrates, it nourishes, it heals, it comforts, it is pure awesomesauce.

So when I decided to leave my son with his father while I attended BlogHer ’11 in San Diego I was immediately hit with the prospect of pumping milk for 4 days.  My first thought would be to bring it home with me because simply dumping it was out of the question!  Then I realized what an ordeal that would be.  Even if I somehow procured Dry Ice to pack it into a cooler for the 8+ hour trip home I would face the TSA.  Would I get an educated agent who understood how to handle breastmilk?  Or an agent who demanded I taste my milk or scan it in an X Ray machine?

Then it hit me: Donate it!  Yes! I would find a mother local to San Diego who had a baby in need of breast milk.  Even if I only had 50 ounces isn’t that something?  Of course it is!  And lightning struck again when I decided to blog about my donation plans to enlist other lactating mothers!  It was brilliant (in my humble opinion.)

For any of you unaware, there are various ways a person can donate breast milk.

One would be donating to a Milk Bank. A Milk Bank would screen the donor through blood tests and the milk is then pasterurized or otherwise turned into other forms of milk for babies.  Even though donors are not getting paid for the milk the banks do charge a (hefty) price for human milk.  A great read regarding Milk Banks and the human milk business is on JWOC {Swindled: The Ugly Side of Milk Donation} I would recommend reading this if you are considering donating to a Milk Bank in order to be informed about what happens to your milk in many cases.

Peer Milk Sharing involves direct person to person donations.  Utilizing online or in person connections women can donate milk to one another for various reasons.  It is really up to the donor and recipient to be honest and up front regarding health concerns or medications being taken. Reasons for peer milk donations range from intolerance to formula, adoptive parents, and help for cancer patients.



BlogHer Milk Recipient. CUTE!

I knew a Peer to Peer Milk Share would be the best in my situation. I was staying at a hotel so I would need to the recipient to pick up the milk.  I chose Eats on Feets and after a quick search, found their Facebook Page for Southern California.  After posting my plans on the page I quickly got an email from a mother who needed the milk.  Her son had been tongue tied and he was clipped but she pumped and was having supply issues.  The baby wasn’t doing well on formula and tolerated breast milk much better.

I responded that I would at least have my own milk but potentially the milk from a few other moms.

Word spread through the internet about my plan. I had comments on my blog post, tweets from other attendees, and emails asking to be involved.  Another mom created a Facebook Group for moms pumping at BlogHer (regardless of donating) and we kept in touch in this way.

At BlogHer I found even more moms!  Purely by coincidence I chatted with a mother at a party who was pumping and boy am I glad I did!  Molly of Milwaukee Mamas.com turned out to be our biggest “producer” and needs an award for her amazing supply!  Her milk was a large percentage of the total we donated!  Other attendees also spread the word in person.

I want to send a HUGE THANK YOU to all of the moms who donated. We had 1 time pumpers who were away from older nurslings and others like myself who had babies under a year old and lots of milk was still flowing!  1 oz or 100 ounces, these women took time to save their milk instead of the easy path of dumping it down the drain.  They have my gratitude!

In no particular order here are the moms I know who donated:

Dagmar of DagmarBleasedale.com

Emily of BabyDickey.com

Kylee of TwoPretzels.com

Molly of MilwaukeeMamas.com

Laura of GreekMomma.com

Jen of LifewithLevi.com

Kristen of CoolMomPicks.com

Jill of BabyRabies.com

Suzanne of Bebehblog.com

Elizabeth of MeasaMommy.com

Christa of LittleBCBG.com

Molly of MilwaukeeMamas.com

Jessica of MomEinstein.com

And One Employee of the Convention Center handed me a bag too (and was asked of any meds/etc first of course)

That is a grand total of 14 (including myself)

All I can say is Wow. I have tears in my eyes just typing out the list of Moms involved.  I am so amazed at the hugeness of this donation, the willingness of so many women to donate, and the overall positive outcome.  Most people don’t even know that breast milk donation is an option, so to have so many involved is truly amazing and such a testament to the caliber of women who attend BlogHer!

Just 1 of 2 Bags

In order to collect every possible drop of breastmilk I was able to wrangle Jill (Baby Rabies) to meet up with our milk recipient on Sunday morning.  I had to leave our hotel at 4:15 am so having anyone meet that early would have been crazy.  Instead, I collected as much milk as possible the night before (and ran back and forth from the North and South Towers of the hotel about 5 times!) then dropped it off to Jill at 12:30 am (after I pumped for the last time) where her fridge was already stocked with milk.  I have a feeling our baby recipient is going to gain a few pounds- let’s just say that Jill and Suzanne both make milk with extra cream!  It resembled yogurt- no lie!  And in case you are curious, we all wrote our names on our own bags of milk.  If Sam shows any sort of negative reaction to the milk hopefully it will be possible to trace to one mother and they can discontinue using those bags.

Jill met with Jen (Life with Levi) in the morning for her milk and the milk we pumped at the party.  They delivered the milk to our mom (I hate that I couldn’t be there myself but getting more milk was more important!) on Sunday morning and it all went smoothly.  I am so relieved!

In total we had 70 bags of milk.  Most had 4 ounces (or more) in each bag.  My guess is we had 350 ounces at least but to be safe let’s say 300 ounces were donated.

300 Ounces.

Suddenly, the inconvenience of pumping was replaced with a warm fuzzy feeling.  Sam, our little donor baby, has been drinking the breastmilk and Mom says his tummy is already acting better compared to the formula.  Luckily they had lots of room in the freezer!

Blissed out and in a Breastmilk Coma.

So next year, New York City, if you are going to be pumping at BlogHer ’12, just let me know!  We’ll be doing the same through Eats on Feets in August 2012.  I may not be breastfeeding by then (who knows) but I will be happy to coordinate another BlogHer Breast Milk Donation.

Anyone can donate breastmilk at any time!  If you have a freezer overflowing with milk, or have an oversupply, or just want to donate, locate an Eats on Feets or Human Milk for Human Babies Chapter in your area!

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Pumping at BlogHer ’11 Part 1: Logistics and Reflections

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I returned home Sunday evening from attending BlogHer ’11, the largest female blogging conference around.  My goal was to learn new things at the numerous sessions that were held by leading bloggers and to network with/ get fan-girly over the many bloggers I follow or converse with.

I was able to do all of those things (and more) but this post has nothing to do with that and everything to do with the thing that hung over my trip like a {leaking} black cloud: My Lactating Boobs.

I chose to leave both of my children, including the nursing one, at home with their dad.  I pumped every day for a month and saved 140 ounces of breastmilk for him (my original goal was 100).  Then I had to leave him.  Unfortunately there is no such thing as a temporary “Shut Off”  valve for boobs.  They are on until the baby is finished.

I have said it before: I despise pumping. There is never a convenient time to pump.  At home it required the attendance of my husband to watch the kids so they didn’t get into trouble or the voo-doo magic of television.  Without kids, pumping is quite a bit easier in many ways but at a hectic and overbooked conference who wants to run to a hotel room and sit stationary while being milked?

I didn’t want to but that is what I did.

The journey began on Thursday.  I left for the airport at 3:30 am for a 5:40 am flight.  I made sure to nurse my son on both sides when he woke up at about 2:40 am.  I packed my Hygeia Enjoye in a purse along with clear plastic bags for parts, bags for milk, and the bottles and flanges in another bag.

Luckily the Hygeia Enjoye, when charged, can be used without being plugged in!

My first flight was only 45 minutes and by the time it was over I was so ready to pump!  The problem was that I only had half an hour between flights.  My next flight was in another terminal and required being shuttled over.  I rushed to the gate and it had just started boarding.  I had an important decision to make: Skip pumping and risk exploding all over the plane and/or trying to either hand express or pump in an airplane bathroom, or, pump in a small window of 20 minutes and risk missing my flight!

I made a rash decision and bumped my way to the gate attendants.

“Hi….. umm…..  I am on this flight.”


So I need to pump.” I whispered to both attendants but made eye contact with the female.

“Ma’am I can’t hear you, speak louder.” Of course.


The male gate attendant was the one who spoke up.

“Alright.  You better do it now.  I’m not kidding.  I’ll hold the flight for you but you HAVE to do it RIGHT NOW.  Go.”

“Thank you Thank You THANK YOU!” I said and ran away after he got my name and seat number.

A quick glance of the airport let me know that it was too busy to attempt pumping in a secluded corner so I went to the bathroom.  I have only nursed in a bathroom once in my life but pumping is not as discreet.

I packed myself, a rolling suitcase, and a giant purse into the stall and set about trying to screw in bottles, insert tubing, put on my Hands Free Nursing Bra from Pumpease, and keep the pump balanced on my suitcase.  I turned the dial to ON and relied on the quiet pump coupled with the busting bathroom to disguise what was going on.

That experience turned me into a permanent believer in, and cheerleader of, the Pumpease.  I actually stood there and was pumped while Tweeting and taking photos of myself since I wanted to share the hilarity.

Right as I began squeezing Lefty to get the rest out since he is a bad pumper I heard the intercom announce that everyone on flight blah blah needed to be on board bound for San Diego.  Shit.

I put my parts back in the bags, threw myself back together, washed my hands and ran!  The male attendant and I smiled at one another and the next leg of travel began.

I strongly considered trying to pump on the plane since my seatmate was snoozing and I had a pleasant position in the bulkhead but I held off until landing.

Once on the ground I booked it to the nearest bathroom to relieve myself.  This time I saved my milk since freshly expressed breastmilk can stay out before being refrigerated/frozen for 4 hours.

The rest of the weekend and conference I had the luxury of pumping in my hotel room.  I even took my pump to another attendee’s room (Jenn of Life With Levi) who held a Pumping Party in her room.  many of the participants also donated their breast milk along with me (more on this tomorrow, but read more about my initial plans here).  I will admit to missing out on quite a few things due to the pumping.  I don’t regret it but it is part of the package.

Admittedly, I was a bad pumper.  On my busiest days I only pumped 4 times when I should have gotten to it at least 5 times.  The first full day and night in San Diego I woke at 5 am totally engorged since my son nurses at night.  I hand expressed in the bathroom enough to let me go back to sleep until a more reasonable hour to pump!

The biggest lessons I learned from being an EP (Exclusively Pumping) Mom for 4 days:

  • Breastfeeding is Way Easier.
  • Pumping takes more Prep Time and Clean-up time.
  • Working Moms who Pump have a ton of logistical challenges, especially when faced with nowhere to pump.
  • Traveling and Flying Moms who pump have it even harder.  There is no telling where your layover will be and what facilities you will have to pump in.
  • To avoid washing parts all of the time store them in a freezer bag in your fridge between sessions (reader tip)
  • Hand compressing your breast while pumping is helpful if you have a stubborn boob that doesn’t want to drain.
  • A great Double Electric Pump is needed and a battery powered one is worth every penny.
  • A hands free nursing bra will save your life.
  • Keep a dribble cloth handy.

Pumping is HARD work when you consider the alternative of either breastfeeding a baby directly, or bottle feeding a baby formula.  In the earliest days of my first son’s life a pediatrician told me that it was OK to give up, some babies just don’t ever latch properly.  I could do as his wife did and just pump and bottle feed.  (Yes, a Pediatrician actually told me this!)

I thought hard about his statement.  My baby would still be geting breastmilk afterall, and I could skip the torturous nursing sessions that were leaving me shaking and crying from the pain.  Instead, I decided I would work with the Lactation Consultant and use a Nipple Shield until we had this thing figured out.

Even though I was about to breastfeed successfully there are certainly warranted cases of mothers who need to pump full time, and those who pump while working or away.  I already knew how admirable that was (seriously, pumpin’ mamas get my respect) but after experiencing EP first hand for 4 days I admire them even more!  Pumping gives the baby the benefit of breastmilk but requires so much more work.  It also made me understand a little more why some mothers end up switching to formula after they return to work.  I am so lucky to get to stay home with my boys and that makes breastfeeding so easy.  I honestly don’t know what would happen if I had to work for it.

Tomorrow’s Post will be about the 300+ Ounces of Breastmilk collected from over 10 moms at BlogHer to be donated.  Rock on.

Even though I’m being sponsored by these companies in some way I am telling the truth when I say that I love them!  Thanks again to Swaddlebees and Boba for their generous sponsorship that got me to BlogHer and to the other companies that made my boobies weigh lesslook perkier, and be more productive!

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Pumping at BlogHer ’11? Consider Donating Breastmilk!

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One of the hardest things about planning to go to my first blogging conference- BlogHer ’11 in San Diego this August- was deciding to leave my nursling at home with his father. My son will be 10 months old when I go.  Many people think 10 months is almost time to wean but not me.  I’ll be nursing my son until he is ready to wean, whenever that is.

Other than physically leaving my two boys and husband, the next cause for concern came when I realized I needed to pump enough milk to last for the 4 days I would be gone. Yikes!  That is a tall order, especially since I only have a single pump.  And pumping while gone with a single?  That would be a nightmare!  It would take twice the time to relieve my breasts.  Instead, I’ll be pumping with a Hygeia Double Electric. {Full Disclosure- they are sending the pump free of charge as my Pump Sponsor for BlogHer}

And what about while I’m away? Traveling with breast milk is something I am very afraid of.

I’ve read the stories of women who have had to fight with the TSA about their breast milk and in many cases they either missed their flight or had their milk X-Rayed.

Like this one.

Or this one.

Or this one.

All because of breast milk.  You know, that amazing fluid designed for babies that meets all of their nutritional needs and is formulated to suit them at every age and stage? Yeah.  It just so happens to be dispensed through a nipple on those jiggly things men like to look at called Boobs.

Even though theoretically the law and TSA regulations are on my side I just don’t want to chance it.

That is why I have decided to donate the milk that I pump while in San Diego to a local family through a peer milk sharing program (Most likely Eats on Feets Southern CA).  I will have 3 full days worth of breast milk which will translate to about 80-110 ounces.  I’ve never exclusively pumped but I am just guessing based off of what I get from each breast when I do a single pump, and have multiplied that by how many times I will likely pump while away each day.    I realize this isn’t a ton but I know it can be of help to someone. I would much rather donate it than risk losing it or contaminating it at the airport. Plus the logistics of a full day of flying with a cooler of breastmilk makes my head hurt.

If you are pumping at BlogHer and want to skip the hassle of traveling home with milk, don’t let it go to waste! We can all donate our milk together to one family or you can find a family to donate to individually. I will create a group either on BlogHer or on Facebook if there is enough interest, just let me know in the comments.

I do not have a recipient lined up yet for my milk in San Diego.  In case others wish to donate with me we could potentially donate all of our milk to one family.  As a reminder, peer to peer milksharing (more on this) is something both parties will willing go into fully aware of the risks involved. There will be no money exchanged and the milk will not be screened.  It is up to me to be forthcoming about what could be in my milk (dairy or other ingested foods that could cause an allergic reaction in some babies, or even alcohol) and the recipient to understand those things.  If I do drink while away chances are I will dump the milk I pump after since I am donating it.  I do feel comfortable breastfeeding my own baby after one or two drinks but others may not.

I am absolutely terrified of coming home to a baby who no longer want to breastfeed but multiple people have reassured me that he will go right back to the breast when I get home.  At least I know that my milk won’t go to waste while I’m away.

Are you a Lactacting Lady going to BlogHer ’11?  Would you consider breast milk donation?  If so leave a comment!  If enough people are interested I’ll create a group to help plan this potential multi-donor transaction with a local San Diego family.

Posted in Blog Life, Personal PostComments (10)