Community Supporting Moms Pumping/Breast Feeding

I had the opportunity to meet the creator of the Pumpspotting App this last weekend - Amy Vanharen. This app is such a neat program that works to create a space for pumping/breast feeding mothers to come together. I was able to meet up with the Pumpspotting bus that is touring around the United States. It had come to Carmel, IN at Urban Chalkboard and it was so neat to get see what this company was working towards. Their mission is to make breast feeding and postpartum less isolating and more supportive at every stage of the journey.

Pumpspotting Tour Schedule - CLICK HERE

I honestly wasn’t super familiar with the Pumpspotting App, but I love the idea of having a space for women to support each other and help one another find good places to pump/breast feed their child(ren). If you haven’t seen the app before, definitely check it out.

This also made me think about the whole idea of “mom guilt” that can surround feeding your baby. So many mothers feel like there is a certain standard for the best way to feed your baby and have such emotional feelings about this topic. If you think about it, feeding your baby is one of the most basic and motherly instincts that you experience. Feeding your baby is challenging and whether you are formula feeding or using breast milk it is challenging to feed your baby around the clock. As a Registered Dietitian, I appreciate seeing the evidence and knowing what is scientifically proven when it comes to making nutrition choices a child. Using breast milk for babies is the most natural and the most ideal option for a term, healthy newborn. Formula is an amazing tool that has helped to provide well-rounded nutrition to those infants who need an alternative to breast milk. Working in a NICU, we use formula and additives all the time to help these small, preterm infants grow appropriately because they have increased energy needs. When it comes to feeding your baby, there are so many factors at play and each mom/baby are different and each pregnancy is different. Making that choice that is best for you and your baby is important.

Having a community to help support you as a mother is key. Whether is an app like Pumpspotting, a group like the CityMoms or close friends you trust. Parenting is hard and as a mother feeding your baby is tough. If you choose to breast feed, that can be extra challenging at times as well. I am so happy to see that there are moms out there working to build one another up and support each other! Here’s to you mama and all that hard work you put into caring for your child(ren).

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Breast Feeding Baby #2

I started back to work this week and it has been crazy. It has been a good crazy. My little guy is 7 weeks old and I am back in the working routine. Well, attempting to get back in the swing of things. My wonderful mother is watching the baby at our house this week so that is easing the transition. Being a working mom and organizing the life of two children, one dog and a husband is quite the undertaking. When I head out in the morning I have so many bags … my work bag, my lunch bag, my pumping bag, William’s bag, William’s lunch bag and then starting next week Samuel’s food/bottle bag. I swear I move in and out of the house each morning and evening.

I thought it would be great to touch on breast feeding again. It has been a little while since I talked about breast feeding. I have decided to breast feed my second child. I breast feed my first through 18 months. It was at that point that I ended up being pregnant again and then my milk supply decreased and he wasn’t that interested in breast feeding any more. It was a smooth transition to stopping breast feeding and it was nice to not juggle breast feeding and being pregnant. I made the choice to breast feed my second child, because I feel like that is the best thing that I can do for my baby and I wanted to do that again. If you haven’t already, you should take a moment and read this first breast feeding blog post I did when I started breast feeding William - CLICK HERE.

With my first child, he was born at 40 weeks and 1 day and he immediately did great breast feeding. In fact he sucked so hard that I had to wonder if that super suck was even normal. I put him to breast every 2-3 hours and then when working I was pumping every 3 hours. I ended up with tons of breast milk and was able to donate a bunch of it - CLICK HERE for that story. So with my second child, I assumed it would be a similar experience. Well Samuel was born at 37 weeks exactly (that is 3 weeks and one day earlier than William). 37 weeks is technically term, but that makes a huge difference in terms of size of the baby and then the develop of the suck, swallow breath skill. Babies are able to start coordinating that skill of sucking, swallowing and breathing starting around 34 weeks gestation. I was able to put Samuel to breast within that first hour of life and he nursed and did a good job. Over the next few days we continued to work on breast feeding and he did well, but the force that he sucked was far less than with William. So I started pumping while in the hospital to help ensure that milk supply would become well established since Samuel’s suck was more immature compared with William’s. I immediately had lots of breast milk and I have continued to pump 1-2 times a day throughout my maternity leave. Again, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of breast milk to be able to feed him as he got stronger and was able to take more volume.

As many of your know, I work in a NICU and work with Moms who are exclusively pumping or starting to breast feed their preterm baby. I know have a much better understanding how important and challenging it is to balance pumping and then working on breast feeding. It takes time and patience, because obviously you want your baby to latch on and be able to feed perfectly, but lots of time it takes a lot of effort on the part of the mother to help get baby in the right position and then monitoring your let down to make sure that baby doesn’t cough/choke. That was another challenge with Samuel was he struggled for several weeks to learn how to mange my let down. It was forceful and being able to watch for that, unlatch him and then re-latch him after the let down dwindled down.

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Baby Busenburg #2 Birth Story

Our second child has a mind of his own and made his arrival 3 weeks before his due date. It was quite the eventful few days leading up to his birth, but in the end both of us ended up being doing well and not having major complications. We are so thankful that things were smoothly for his delivery and we all got to go home a day after his birth.

This second pregnancy for me was fairly straight forward. I have been thankful to have boring pregnancies. The most excitement that this little guy gave us was some premature atrial contractions (PACs) during the second trimester, but thankfully he seemed to grow out of those. His due date was 2/16/19, but he decided that 1/26/19 was a better day to arrive. In the two days leading up to that Saturday, I had contractions throughout both days. The night before he arrived I spent the whole night awake with contractions, but they didn’t increase in intensity, they just persisted throughout the night and then finally spaced out some during the next day. I had experienced this with my first pregnancy, but they stopped, these contractions continued and I figured at this rate, we were going to have this baby sooner rather than later. I went to the OB on Friday morning (1/25/19) and I was 3cm diluted and 80% effaced. I went to work on that day and spent the day, slowly walking around and then managing contractions throughout the entire day.

I had gotten our bags packed the night before, because I was awake, contracting and unable to sleep. That Friday night, I hung out with a friend, tried to relax and take it easy and then went to bed. I woke up around 1:50am with contractions that were stronger than the night before and they were consistently 5 minutes apart. After tracking them for 30 minutes, I woke up Chas, we grabbed our stuff, put William in the car and headed to the hospital. Thankfully Chas' parents had their phone nearby and we got in touch with them and they came over at 330am to stay with William. Chas dropped me off at the hospital, took William home and then came back to the hospital to be with me and help as we went through this labor process.

 Chas was amazing through the whole process! I have such an amazing partner and I am so thankful to have him by my side. He did a great job at organizing plans for William while we were in the hospital. William got to hang out with both set of grandparents and that was amazing.

After arriving at the hospital around 245am, I was taken up to a Labor and Delivery room and then continued with contractions. We had an amazing L&D nurse, Stephanie who was so helpful when the contractions got stronger. She helped to press on my back and provided counter pressure, which helped make the contractions more bearable. I got up to try to use the bathroom some time around 630am and that is when my bag of waters bulged and then things started to progress quickly. Our little one arrived after several good pushes at 650am. There was a little excitement just before he made his appearance … he had gotten stuck and they realized that he had a nuchal cord x2 (the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck twice). They were able to reposition him slightly to get that cord from around his neck and then he came right out! The NICU team was called, because they weren’t quite sure why he was stuck and they came right away to check out the baby. His initial apgar measurement was 1, which is quite low and he was floppy, but thankfully he perked right up and then had apgar’s > 7 after that. He didn’t need any oxygen support and was doing well and I got to nurse him and hold him within that first hour.

We named him Samuel John Busenburg. He ended up weighing 5lbs and 13oz and was a small little guy compared with William, but that is what happens when you arrive 3 weeks early. The healthcare team at Women’s was amazing! From the security guy who took me up to triage, the OB resident who actually delivered Samuel, our L&D RN and Postpartum RNs (both named Stephanie) and all the staff were fantastic. Samuel gave us a little cause for concern prior to discharge, because he wasn’t pooping. After some rectal stimulation and a glycerin chip, he ended up passing meconium, which was slightly plugged. He has stopped pooping since!

I truly believe that God knew that Samuel needed to come early, because of his nuchal cord. If he had waited and grown more, he would have had a tougher time coming vaginally and who knows, I might have needed an emergency C-section. Thankfully everything worked out and we are so thankful for a healthy, strong baby boy who joined our family a few weeks early!


Wrapping Up 2nd Trimester of Pregnancy #2

It is hard to believe that I am almost to the end of the 2nd trimester with Baby Busenburg #2. Time has just flown by and I am pretty sure that is due to being busy and chasing an almost 2 year old around. I have been so thankful to feel good and be healthy during this second pregnancy so that is a huge blessing.

I am currently 28 weeks along with Baby Busenburg #2. So that means we have another 12 weeks to go before getting to meet this little guy. That is just crazy, because I am not sure I am ready to embrace the life of motherhood with two children.

This little one has a had a little bit of a hiccup when it comes to causing us to worry. At my 26 week appointment we heard some PACs (premature atrial contractions) when the OB was listening to the heart rate. This means the heart beat was off and there were some irregular beats happening. This is typically due to the heart being premature and that electric pulse running though the heart, not being fully developed. We are now going in weekly for heart rate checks and had another ultrasound. The ultrasound showed everything was anatomically fine so that is good news. This is an issue that normally resolves naturally and isn’t a huge cause for alarm. At my 28 week check, the PACs were less frequent, so that is a blessing. We just continue to pray that this little’s one heart continues to mature and his heart beats normally.

Thankfully the lab work and glucose tolerance test were all good and those values were within normal limits. That was great news and that has been a huge blessing.

Last 12 Weeks of Pregnancy

  • I want to savor and enjoy all the moments with my boys (my husband, William and our dog, Einstein). I know when this second kiddo arrives, life is going to get crazy and I want to enjoy and appreciate our routine right now.

  • I am going to work to figure out where we want to store this little’s clothes and diapers. He is going to share a room with William so I need to think through how I want to store his stuff so they can share that space. We are also going to try to figure out what type of toddler bed we want for William and what space will allow for in their room. We plan to keep him in his crib for awhile longer, but needed to kind of figure out what might work best for that space in the months to come.

  • I will need to wash and pull out the newborn clothes and get those ready for this little guy.

  • I need to read through the Bradley Method workbook from when I was pregnant with William I want to remind myself about the stages of labor and work to get ready for hopefully an uneventful, unmedicated 2nd birth process.

  • We have a bassinet for this little guy, which is exciting, and I will just need to figure out where to put it in our room and where to set up a diaper changing station in there as well.

  • Wrapping up projects at work. I will plan to work up until the day I have this baby, but I still want to work to get things organized and ready for my maternity leave.

  • I plan to cook several dishes and get them in the freezer so that we can use them during my maternity leave and I don’t have to cook every day.

  • Organize the two closets. I know that seems like a strange thing, but I find organizing things quite relaxing. I want to organize the hallway closet and William’s closet in his room before the baby comes. I would also like to do the same thing with the office closet. This is totally part of my nesting phase here at the end.

  • I am planning on continuing to run/going to the gym these last weeks of pregnancy. That is something I did with William. I was running/doing yoga and using the elliptical more days a week with William, but I am just so much busier with having one child already I am doing good to get to the gym twice a week and then doing yoga at home weekly.

I am so thankful for coming to the end of another trimester, only one left to go through and then we will have two little boys in our life to take care of. It is crazy and exciting. I know these last couple of months will continue to fly by.


The 2nd Pregnancy

I feel like with this blog I haven’t written as much as I did the first time I was pregnant. I think I was so focused on learning about the process and how things change. Writing about that process was helpful for me personally. All those posts are totally still up on the blog and you are welcome to read back through them. This post was focused on the 2nd trimester and that is where I find myself once again. 

I wanted to talk about how things are different this second time around. I feel like I have less time to just think about being pregnant, because I am just trying to keep up with the rest of life.

Differences the Second Time Around

  • I had tracked all the calories that I ate the first time I was pregnant. I used My Fitness Pal and I love that app. It worked great for me. I found that tracking calories was super helpful. This pregnancy, I haven’t tracked anything. I have been trying to monitor weight gain, but I don’t feel like I am overeating. I think because I am busier than I was the first time around, I have less time to eat and even at meals I don’t feel like I eat as much as maybe I use to. I need to replace the batteries in my scale and continue to track weights to help ensure that I don’t over indulge too often.

  • I did prenatal yoga weekly with my first pregnancy. I had that as major priority and it was easy to get to classes. I happily spent the money and I loved it. This time around it is harder with a little one at home to take care of him and then also fit in classes. Plus they are an added expense and we are trying really hard to save money to help support having a second kid. That has made me not really want to spend that money. I do want to get back in the habit of trying to go maybe once every 3 weeks.

  • I exercised almost daily with my first pregnancy. Again I wasn’t having to look after anyone else and so that was easier. I am still working out about 3 times a week, but then I do walk the dog and try to get in a long walk daily. That has been tough though because by the end of the day my energy levels are wipe. Between the job, cooking, cleaning, trying to exercise and then getting ready for the next day it is a lot to manage. So I am doing really well if I can get in an aerobic work out 3 times a week. 

  • I use to have more relaxation time. I actually had time at the end of the day to sit, watch TV and just relax. That doesn’t happen any more. From the cleaning after dinner, packing lunches, laundry, dog walking, etc there is no time to sit down between 8-10pm. It is go, go and go. When I do sit down, I fall asleep and just put myself in bed. So I kind of miss some of that self-care. I know that when this second child arrives, I have will to set aside some specific time for self care, because otherwise it will not happen.

  • I am not as stressed throughout this pregnancy about being pregnant and the time is just flying by. I can’t believe that I am already at 21 weeks and we are over half way there. We have seen the baby on ultrasound and the baby is doing great. I feel like in the craziness of life … this pregnancy is going by quickly, which is nice, but also surprising to me.

  • I love not having to worry about purchasing lots of pregnancy clothes. I had a bunch of friends let me borrow clothes when I was pregnant last time. That was awesome. I bought some other clothes, but it was really nice, not to have to worry about what to wear. I have all the things I like and that is a nice feeling.

  • We took the Bradley Method classes during my first pregnancy. This time we aren’t planning on taking any formal classes, but I do want to pull out my Bradley Method book and work on some of the exercises and read through the notes from the class. I also have our birth plan and then packing list for the hospital all saved and I will need to pull that up and have that on hand.

  • The main thing that I am worried about it just financial concerns with two children. Cost of two children with “daycare” and just the stress of caring for two children. That is the overwhelming part, but it is manageable and I am working on keeping a level head about those things.

This pregnancy is definitely different than my first one, but I think that has to do with our different my life is now. We live in a different place, we have another child, my husband has a different job and we are a few years older (maybe wiser). It is a blessing to be able to be in this position again and we are praying for a healthy and happy baby!

We had our Gender Reveal party this past week and were excited to learn Baby Busenburg #2 is a going to be a boy!

We had our Gender Reveal party this past week and were excited to learn Baby Busenburg #2 is a going to be a boy!

Book Review - Real Food for Pregnancy

I had the opportunity to write up a book review on Lily Nichols newest book, entitled Real Food for Pregnancy. This is an excellent book! Can I just tell you that I have never read a nutrition pregnancy book like this before. I was so excited to read a book filled with useful information and practical guidelines for practitioners and also for the general public. Lily did an an amazing job talking about nutrition recommendations for this important time in lots of a woman’s life. I also really appreciated the push for real food and using full fat food items made me happy. I love good food and often during pregnancy it is hard to eat and so having something nutritionally rich and delicious is a huge win!

Disclaimer: I was given this book for free in return for writing a review. I was dedicated to writing what my thoughts and professional opinion was as a Registered Dietitian, despite getting this book for free. All the information and feedback provided below are my true feelings and recommendations regarding the information written in this book.

Favorite Highlights from the Book

  • To start off the book, Lily answers the question of why real food? I love that because most women get so many mixed messages about nutrition, I love that she just answers why eating whole food matters.

  • She discusses what real food looks like during pregnancy and the different food groups. She talks about mindful eating and meal timing and how to choose those healthy options. Since that is the title of the book, I love that she covered that in chapter 2.

  • Chapter 3 dives into foods that build a healthy baby. I love these recommendations, because they aren’t ways discussed with your OB or midwife. Foods that she highlights are eggs, liver, meat on the bone, leafy green, seafood, full fat diary and why vegetarianism is very challenging when pregnant. So I have admit that because of this chapter I have been eating 1 egg every morning throughout my entire pregnancy. I recognized that I wasn’t getting enough protein in my diet in the morning and that helped with my nausea, plus eggs are a source of choline. “Egg yolks and liver have, by far, the highest concentrations of choline compared with any other foods.” - p.30. Choline is helping your baby’s brain to develop appropriately and most women do not get near enough choline from their diet.

  • On the flip side there is a whole chapter devoted to foods that don’t build a healthy baby in chapter 4. I thought this was a refreshing way to look at the commonly forbidden food items and consider eating on the “safe side’ versus risking nutrient deficiencies.

  • Who doesn’t love a chapter of meal plans. Chapter 5 goes through meal plan ideas and 7 days worth of real food meal plans for you.

  • There is a whole chapter devoted to supplements. In chapter 6, Lily covers everything from prenatal vitamins to chia seed, probiotics and gelatin. I learned so much from this section and just understanding why my own diet would be insufficient and how my prenatal vitamin might be less than perfect as well.

  • What pregnancy book could be complete without a chapter on common complaints from nausea to heart burn and weight gain. These topics are covered and recommendations given on how to deal with common issues for pregnant women.

  • Another topic near and dear to my heart is exercise. Chapter 8 discusses physical activity and pelvic floor strength. I am so glad that Lily discusses the importance of exercise throughout pregnancy and how that looks as the weeks and months go by.

  • Throughout pregnancy women end up with lots of lab work that is drawn. Lily provides a breakdown on what lab tests are normally run and what speciality labs you might want to ask your health care provider about.

  • Chapter 10 and Lily’s discussion about toxins was very eye opening for me. I ditched my plastic containers in my kitchen and switched to all glassware. After reading this chapter I knew that I had to make some chances and now (being pregnant) was as good a time as any to really clean up our house and change some of our habits.

  • The next chapter was short and focused on stress and mental health. This was a good reminder that this phase can be stressful, before, during and after pregnancy and being mindful of that increased stress is important.

  • The final chapter was about the fourth trimester. I am a strong believer in this last part of pregnancy and it is commonly the area that is overlooked and not focused on. This time after baby arrives is quite the transition period for you physically, emotionally and mentally. Know how to cope during this time and then setting realistic expectations will help to set you up for success.

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Why I love this for ALL women!

I wanted to focus on why this book is a must read for any woman who is thinking about being pregnant or wanting to have children in the future. This is a great and easy read. The information provided by Lily is extremely easy to understand and then if you have follow up questions about the research that she presents, all the citations are at the end of each chapter. There is SO much information in this book and I would say most of it is very eye opening. I love her philosophy to encourage women to eat real foods and not to try to follow some unrealistic “diet.” Her recommended eating habits should be part of normal routines if we are pregnant or not.

Why I love this ALL Registered Dietitians!

Of course I had to share my love for my fellow RDs and encourage you all to read this book as well. If you happen to work with women and/or especially pregnant women then this is a MUST read for you. The research that went into writing this book is amazing and all the references are right there for you. You can easily share this with any OBs that you work with or other primary care physicians to help educate them on why a real food, healthy diet is important for all women, especially those who are pregnant. This is an easy read, even with all the research that is cited, and it touches on all the key nutrients that go into having a healthy pregnancy.

This is a MUST read!

This book is filled with so many amazing recommendations and backed with evidence-based research. It is a resource that should be used throughout healthcare to help provide women with the best tools to have a successful pregnancy. I work in a NICU and I see sick women having sick babies all the time. Healthy women tend to have healthy babies and that is better for all involved. We can’t keep all of these babies out of the NICU, but following the recommendations in this book definitely sets women up to be more successful and help care for their unborn babies to best of their ability.

Purchase this book HERE.

Check out Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE’s webpage HERE.

Baby Announcement!

Well I have an announcement to share with you all ... We are expecting another baby next year in February! You might remember back in 2016 we shared with you some exciting news about our first child. It is kind of crazy to think that next year we will have baby #2 here and we will be parents to two little ones and one dog. It has definitely been an adventure being pregnant again and with one child running around, but it has been good. I am at 16 weeks and really appreciating the 2nd trimester. That surge in energy and lack of nausea has been a relief. Being pregnant for the second time has been smoother than the first go round. Obviously, knowing what to expect makes it easier. It is going quickly and hard to believe that we are already in that 2nd trimester and this little one will be arriving in no time after the craziness of the holidays. 


I am trying to get back into my exercise routine now that I have energy to devote to working out. I am also trying to work in some prenatal yoga classes. I don't have the time or money to go to a class every week, but I am going to try to go two times a month. I really enjoyed and benefited from prenatal yoga when I was pregnant the first time with William. Food is also less repulsive now so I am trying to get back in the habit of making better meals at home.

I am excited to share this journey with you all like I did the last time. It is a little different since this isn't all new to me, but it neat to get to experience this amazing process for a second time. If you have any pregnancy related questions or topics you would like me to address on the blog, let me know! 

Excited to welcome this second little one around February 16th, 2018. 

Excited to welcome this second little one around February 16th, 2018. 

The End of a Pumping Journey

It has been a little while since I have written about my breast feeding experience with William. We have reached the year mark. That had always been my goal to breast feed William through his 1st birthday. That goal has been accomplished! Such a big milestone and I am so excited and proud of both of us. 

Photo credit: Karre Ann Photography from William's 12 month photo session.

Photo credit: Karre Ann Photography from William's 12 month photo session.

I started pumping when my milk came in (so the first week of life with William). I know that my lactation consultant that I met with in the hospital said I didn't need to do that, but I was so uncomfortable. When my milk came it the only thing that helped was pumping. Then I would just pump randomly 1-2 times a day over maternity leave to comfort. I would freeze the milk and plan to use that for when I went back to work. 

I ended up having an over supply of breastmilk, but honestly, I was fine with that. I really wanted William to only have breastmilk so that was a "problem" that I was fine with. If you haven't read through my first breast feeding post - CLICK HERE and check it out. I wrote about breast feeding as being a choice and a gift that I wanted to give my child. I am not here to judge, you as a mother, if you breast feed or not. Each mother and child has to decide what will work for them. For myself and William, I wanted to breast feed and that meant also pumping. 

Lots of mothers that I have spoken with hate pumping. They loathe it and it is something they dislike. I tried really hard to look at it has a choice and again, something that I was doing for my child. I wanted to give my child that gift of my breastmilk and when going back to work I knew that meant having to pump. 

At the beginning, I went back to work when William was just turning 8 weeks old. I pumped 3 times during the work day. I also had a 45 minute drive to/from work. Then I would breast feed him throughout the night, in the morning before going to daycare, he would go with 3 bottles and then I would breast feeding twice before bed. William also would get up to eat throughout the night until 6-7 months of age. I was pumping/breastfeeding 8 times a day for about 6 months. Then I started pumping only 2 times at work and continued to do that until William was 12 months old. I wanted to make sure to keep up my supply. Again, I probably didn't have to do that, but I had more than enough milk and it was something I was happy to do. 

Well now I have reached the end of my pumping at work journey. This week I stopped pumping at work. I had decreased pumping at work to only once a day after William turned one. Then after talking with one of our MD/Lactation Consultants I understood that I needed to let that go. There was no NEED to keep pumping at work. I am still breast feeding William in the morning and at night before bed. He enjoys that and it works for us. 

This week I stopped carrying my pump to work. I have a beautiful Sarah Wells Pumping bag that I love and served me well for the last year. It is hard to believe that this part is finally over. I never loved pumping, but I didn't hate it. It was something that I knew I had to do and I made the best of it. Now that it is done, it is bittersweet. I love being able to wear clothes to where I don't have to think about being able to get to my boobs. Today I wore a cute dress and it was awesome. I haven't been able to do that in a year. But at the same time, this change means my baby is no longer a baby, but a toddler. 

I know that I will be able to continue to breast feed for as long as William is interested. That is a blessing and I am fine with that. I just wanted to share about my pumping/breast feeding journey. I know that lots of times you just hear the terrifying stories or people complaining. I wanted to share with you a positive story that came to a happy end. 

If you want any more information about breast feeding and why breastmilk is the best thing for your baby, check out this blog post on The Powers of Breastmilk that I put together earlier in 2017. If you have any other questions, feel free to message me and I would love to help you out or put you in touch with someone who can answer your question.

Update on Donating Breastmilk and Breast Pumps

I wanted to do a quick write up about donating breastmilk to the Indiana Milk Bank. I was able to drop off some of my extra milk to the Milk Bank and I was very excited and wanted to share about that experience. I was able to go through the approval process to become a donor. Then I went ahead and donated 687oz of frozen breastmilk. My mother had this milk in her deep freezer and she helped me drop it off at Columbus Regional Hospital. I was so excited to be able to give some of my milk to the Milk Bank to sell to hospital to use for preterm babies. 

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If you are a breastfeeding mother and have extra breastmilk, you should consider becoming a breastmilk donor. Check out my first post about this - CLICK HERE

I also donated some breastmilk to a random stranger on Facebook .... gasp! I know right? I was torn about it. But here is why I did it ... I had some breastmilk that had been in a refrigerator/freezer for > 6months and I wasn't able to donate it to the Milk Bank. There standards can < 6months in a refrigerator/freezer. This was milk that I didn't need and I wanted it to go to someone that could use it. There was a lady on a Swap Group I belong to on Facebook who was needing donor breastmilk for her little one and she hadn't been able to find anyone with extra milk. I really felt like I could and should help her. I felt like I wanted her to get good, safe milk and I let her know that I was an approved donor through the Milk Bank. I was able to give her over 200 oz of breastmilk. Normally I am not a fan of just giving away your breastmilk to a stranger, but I felt like if you think about it and do what you feel comfortable with that can be the write call. 

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I also wanted to touch on breast pumps. I have had several people ask me about my breast pump. I went ahead and purchased a Medela Symphony. This pump is a hospital grade pump and it is what you would use while in the hospital or if your baby was in the NICU. This is a great pump, but is very expensive to purchase on your own. Insurance won't purchase it for you. I was very torn about what type of pump to purchase. I really liked Medela, but there are so many different options and I kept hearing such mixed messages about all of them. I was really stressing about it and that is when my husband suggested we look online for a used Symphony. We found one on Ebay that was ~$600 and it has ~75 hours on the machine. This was a great deal when retail value is ~$1000. I knew that this pump would work well and I wouldn't stress about it. If I had rented the same pump through the hospital it is $60 a month and over the course of 12 months that costs $720. So I knew that I would get my money worth out of that pump if I purchased it on my own. I just wanted to share that story with you, because I don't think people realize that you can purchase a used Symphony pump. Now, please be smart about it when you shop on Ebay. But if you really want that hospital grade pump there are ways to obtain one for less than the retail price of $1000. 

If you are looking at getting a breastmilk pump through your insurance .... do your research, look online and talk to your friends. Try to figure out what pumps have good reviews and evaluate what would work for you. This is a big decision and you need to make sure that you are making the best choice for you and your little one. 

Donating Breastmilk

I wanted to write up a blog post on a topic that is near and dear to my heart .... breastmilk donation. As many of you probably know I work in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) here in Indianapolis. We purchase and use a lot of donor breastmilk for our premature babies. There are lots of studies that show that using donor breastmilk in a preterm infant can be a good alternative when there isn't enough maternal breastmilk available. We specifically use this donor breastmilk for infants who are less than 34 weeks gestation and less an 1500g (3lbs 5oz). 

Breastmilk is an amazing food. It contains protein, carbohydrates, fat, fat soluble vitamins and has immune boosting properties. This makes it the perfectly designed food for babies. Donor breastmilk can be a good substitute for small, infants who don't have enough of their own mother's milk to eat. There are two negatives of donor breastmilk, that I commonly see in the NICU. First, it is a pasteurized product and during that process you end up killing off some of those immune boosting properties and denaturing some proteins. Secondly, you are giving term breastmilk (the typical milk donor is has a term infant and is donating mature milk) to a preterm baby. It is not the perfect make up of fat, protein and carbohydrate for that gestational age. It has been found to be helpful in this preterm population. Mother's own milk is best, but if needed donor breastmilk comes in as a great second option.

So how does the process work? I have had parents in the NICU be grossed out by the thought of using someone else's breastmilk for their baby. There is a huge system in place to help ensure that breastmilk being donated is safe to use for your child.  

Step #1 - The donor speaks with someone at the Milk Bank and they are screened to see if they could potentially donate. There is a whole list of questions - CLICK HERE for Indiana's Screening Criteria.  The Milk Bank wants their donors to be in good health (you have to get signed off on by your OB and pediatrician), taking no medications, be willing to get your blood drawn and commit to donating 100 ounces of breastmilk. 

Step #2 - After speaking with someone at the Milk Bank you will fill out an application that will get turned back into the Milk Bank. You will also get your blood drawn. They want to make sure that you don't have any blood borne illnesses that could be transmitted in your breastmilk. 

Step #3 - Take your breastmilk to donate to your nearest Milk Depot. There is a list of Milk Depots available online. 

Step #4 - Once you donate your breastmilk, it is pooled together and then pasteurized. That milk is then combined in bottles that are frozen to be distributed to the buyers. The bottles are bottled with lot numbers and the have bar code that is attached to them. This would allow for tracking of milk if there ever was a problem.


There are a few things that you have to do to be a donor, but honestly that time that it takes is minimal and you are doing so much good for lots of babies out there. The NICU at St Vincent Women's and at Riley get their donor breastmilk from the Indiana Milk Bank. They are also the two largest purchasers in the state. There are lots of other NICU units that are purchasing that donor breastmilk as well. If you are interested in becoming a donor check out the Indiana Milk Bank website and give them a call. If you want to donate money to help support this non-profit check out their About Us section to learn more. 

National Breast Feeding Month

In case you didn't know, August is National Breast Feeding Month. Many of you probably already know that I am breast feeding my first child. We have been going strong for the last 7 1/2 months. It is a big commitment. I haven't really talked about breast feeding here on the blog since William was first born. That first post was entitled The Gift of Breast Feeding. I think that is such a good way to look at breast feeding. It is A LOT of hard work and it is truly a gift that you are giving to your child. I made that choice for William and I try not to complaining about breast feeding/pumping, but instead look at it as a wonderful opportunity that I GET to do and I am giving to him. 

I have been volunteering with the Breast Feeding Support Group at St Vincent Women's Hospital for the last several weeks. I am working towards getting experience and hours for my IBCLC certification. This credential stands for an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. This credential is a great way to get continued education about maternal and infant health/development and how to help mothers trouble shoot breast feeding. I have really enjoyed being able to work with some Moms on Fridays in an outpatient setting. It is so neat to see these mothers band together, lift one another up and support each other in this journey of motherhood and breast feeding. I was talking with one mom who said that the support of the lactation consultants and this group has helped her so much that without that support she wasn't sure she would still be breast feeding. That is a huge testament to supporting and educating mothers on how to trust their bodies to provide milk for their babies. I think lots of times we have the false idea that we, as the mothers, are in control of the feedings for the baby. In all actuality, the baby determines how much they want to eat and how they are going to do it. Trusting your baby and body is a tough thing to learn. Getting to work with some of these moms and encourage them has definitely been the highlight of my Fridays. 

Breast Feeding Facts 

  • Breast feeding helps you save money $$$ 
    • Feeding your baby formula can cost you ~$1,500 a year or an average of $30 a week. 
    • Because breast fed babies are less sick, you will miss fewer days at work to stay home and take care of your baby.
  • Breast feedings helps keep your baby healthy.
    • Your child is less likely to get sick when they are breast fed. Your breast milk can help prevent ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, childhood obesity and childhood leukemia. 
    • Breast milk and breast feeding your baby helps to decrease the risk of SIDS by > 70%. 
    • Breast feeding if good for your health (as the mother), because your risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer also decreases. 
  • Commit from the beginning. 
    • Mothers who have a plan from the time before their child is born are more likely to stick with it. Breast feeding is tough and can be challenging, but those mothers who are determined are more likely to stick with it. 
    • Getting your support system on board with your plans to breast feed will help you be successful as well. 
  • Breast milk nature's perfect food. 
    • Your breast milk is designed for your baby. It is easier for your baby to digest than formula and you pass along your immune fighting agents to your child. You are the mother, have the power to give this unique and perfectly designed food to your baby. 

The Powers of Breastmilk

I had the opportunity for the past week to attend an amazing 5 day long conference about breast feeding. I know for some people that might not be an exciting topic, but I thought it was fascinating. St Vincent hosted the event and brought in two wonderful speakers to teach us for the 5 day course. The name of the course was Foundations for Best Practice for Lactation Care and the instructors were from Evergreen Hospital in Seattle, WA. Molly Pessl was one of the instructors and she has been a nurse for over 50 years. She has been working with lactating mothers for the majority of that time and is such a wealth of knowledge on the topic. 

I hope that over the next year or so I can work towards completing the course work to become a IBCLC or an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I first was exposure to working with women and breast feeding at WIC during my dietetic internship. I really enjoyed that part of the rotation, but didn't think much more about it, until now. I work in a NICU and we are always wanting and needing maternal breastmilk for our little babies. I thought that this would be a great time to start working towards that credential. Then this 5 day course was offered by St Vincent and I had to do it. 

I just thought I would share with you some of the amazing things that I learn during this coursework. I have never attended a lactation conference before so everything that was shared was new to me. We talked about the changes/development that happens for Mom and the baby during pregnancy, delivery and into the 4th trimester. It is amazing how the woman's body is designed to sustain life in the womb and afterwards. We talked about how the mammary glands work and how the hormone changes creates breastmilk for the infant. We talked about child development from in utero through 12 months of life. It was neat to discuss case studies as a group and have this chance to learn from the experience of people in the class. Of course at the end of the 5 days, I was so excited about everything that I have learned. I obviously think breast feeding is an amazing thing and something that every woman should be encouraged to do. It is worth all the hard work and effort to provide this unique food to your baby for a few days to a few years. 

I hope this post helps to normalize breastfeeding. This has been the way babies have been fed for thousands of years. I know that baby formula can help and save lives for lots of children, especially those who are premature, but their own mother's breastmilk helps even those tiny babies. I hope you are encouraged by this post and have a desire to show support and love to those mothers who are out there breastfeeding their babies and giving that gift to their children.

The Gift of Breastfeeding

So I am officially a breastfeeding mama. It has been quite the adventure let me tell you. I have worked with Moms and breastfeeding with my job a Registered Dietitian and on a feeding team, but this is my first time actually doing this myself. I wanted to make sure that I talk about on this blog the reality of breastfeeding. Sometimes I think Moms aren't exactly sure what they are in for and sometimes it can be very overwhelming. 

Here are some statistics for you about breastfeeding that came from an article that was released just a few days ago: 

  • In 2012, estimated 80% of mothers started breastfeeding their infants. By 6 months of age, an estimated 51.4% continued to breastfeed and by 12 months of age that number fell to 29.2% of mothers still breastfeeding. 
  • Goals for Healthy People 2020 are for these rates at birth to be at 81.9%, by 6 months keeping 66.6% of mother breastfeeding and by 12 months of age having 34.1% of mothers continuing to breastfeed.
  • Breastfeeding support programs are effective in helping to encourage and support mothers of all ages to continue to breastfeed.
  • Breastfeeding has several maternal benefits including - lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers, less visceral adiposity, reduced rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the mothers.

I wanted to make sure that I shared with you some of my experiences with breastfeeding. I have only been doing this a few weeks, but I think it is an important thing to talk about and prompt discussion.

The initial latch - Can we talk about how when your baby latches for the first time it hurts? It is very uncomfortable. I was really concerned at the beginning that William wasn't latching correctly and that was causing some pain, but after speaking with a lactation consultant in the hospital, he was doing a great job and had a great suck. It took about 2-3 days for the initial "pain" with the sucking to go away. Lanonlin was my best friend. That helped so much to help relieve some of that pain and keep my nipples from cracking and bleeding. I would apply it after each time breast feeding. 

Milk coming in - Oh my goodness this was a surprise. My milk came in on day #3 after having William and WOW! I was so overwhelmed. It was painful to have super huge boobs and have them filled with milk. I didn't know this was going to happen so quickly. I had a ton of milk immediately and I didn't know what to do with it all. Originally, I was not going to pump for the first month, but when my milk came in I had to pump. I had to relieve that pressure. So I started pumping twice a day and I have been sticking with that regime since that first day home. 

Engorgement - I didn't know how to handle this side effect of breastfeeding either. I wasn't prepared for the engorgement feeling and again because my milk came in so quick I was so overwhelmed. It was such a crazy experience to be solely responsible for feeding your child. I have been thankful that I have a good milk supply. I know that lots of women struggle to increase their supply. Breastfeeding is tough and takes lots of time. 

It is a gift - In the midst of feeling overwhelmed and learning how to breastfeed I had a wonderful chat with my husband, Chas. He was so encouraging and helped to remind me that I didn't have to breastfeed. If there was any point that I felt like I didn't want to breastfeed, I didn't have to. There are other ways that we could feed William. He reminded me that he would support me in whatever I decided to do. He also said that if I continue to breastfeed that is a special gift that I am able to give William. It is something that I can choose to give him. Taking that perspective has been so helpful for me. Viewing breastfeeding and pumping as a gift for my son really hit home for me. I thought this perspective was worth sharing. If you are a breastfeeding Mom and feeling discouraged, remember what you are doing 6-12 times per day is a gift. All of the hard work is something special that you can give your child. 

I will keep you posted on how breastfeeding is going. We are now 3 weeks into this adventure and it is going well. William loves to eat and is growing quickly. Our next big challenge will be next month when William goes to daycare and I head back to work. Until then, we will continue to breastfeed, practice with a bottle 1-2 times a day and pumping ~3 times a day. Keep up the hard work if you are currently breastfeeding and if you know someone who is breastfeeding give them a pat on the back. 


The Birth Story

If you have been following my blog, you would know that I have been pregnant and writing up some blog posts about my experience. Trying to debunk some pregnancy nutrition/health myths along the way. A lot of people aren't familiar with what happens during pregnancy and so I was eager to share what I was learning with you all. Well my pregnancy finally came to an end on December 23rd. You may have seen on Instagram, we welcomed our first little baby into the world and his name is William. His birth story is rather boring, which is fantastic, because that is exactly what we wanted. 

If you want all the details on William's arrival into this world, let me know (some people might want to know more and I don't want to bore you) ... I will share the highlights with you here. Labor started around 6am in the morning. I was having some pre-labor contractions (they ramped up to 3 minutes apart and 1 minute in length) immediately. They lasted until about 730am and started to die down in intensity and lengthened out. But then by about 8am or 830am the contractions had increased again in intensity and were getting slightly stronger. I was scheduled to have an appointment with my OB that morning at 11am, but Chas called the office for me and they had me come in early. Chas was awesome at working to keep me calm. I sat in our bed this whole time, just trying to relax and ride the wave of each contraction. The more relaxed I was the less painful the contractions were. Chas finally got me in the car and we had all of stuff loaded in the car already. We then started the trek to the OB office and arrived there around 930am. My OB took a quick look and confirmed that I was dilated to 6cm and 60% effaced. She sent us directly over the hospital were I was a direct admit to the Labor and Delivery Unit.

It was a wonderful experience being at St. Vincent Women's Hospital. Our birth plan was very simple ... a very hands off approach with minimal interventions as possible. I wanted to go through labor without any medicine (no epidural or other pain medication). I felt like this was something that I could do and would give my baby the best chance at a healthy delivery. I didn't want any IV fluids either. I worked out throughout labor to continue to drink water so that I wouldn't be dehydrated. I had an IV placed (per hospital protocol), but thankfully it never had to be used. I also wanted to make sure that at the end, once William arrived, if possible I wouldn't need any picotin. Thankfully, it all went well and I didn't need any IV pitocin administered. I also wanted the wireless fetal monitor, but unfortunately it broke the day before we arrived. I was able to go on intermittent monitoring - meaning I was on the monitor for 20 minutes of every hour. The nurses were great about only coming into the room to hook up and take off the monitor and check my vital signs. 

Labor was long. I knew it was going on for awhile, but thankfully I didn't have a good concept of time. Chas did a great job at protecting me from that. The total length of time that I was laboring was 20 hours. I have been told that is fairly common for your first child, but it was quite the marathon. Thankfully that was the biggest challenge. Towards the end of labor, we learned that there was meconium staining, which means the bag of water had meconium in it. If William would have aspirated any of this then that could have caused an infection and required intervention (respiratory or medication). Thankfully he came out crying, the NICU team was there was quickly assessed him and he didn't need any type of intervention. He did great and maintained a perfect heart rate throughout the 20 hour labor process. He welcomed a healthy, strong boy into the world at 1020pm that night on 12/23. It was wonderful to see him finally come out and that long, marathon of labor start to come to an end. 

We can't thank everyone who helped us throughout this pregnancy and during the labor/delivery enough. We had a wonderful experience at St Vincent Women's Hospital and were so impressed with the amazing care and support we received. We were so thankful for going through the Bradley Childbirth Classes to help feel more prepared for the long labor process. I am also thankful for keeping fit throughout the 9 months of carrying William so I was able to go through labor, exactly how I wanted. It was great to have done prenatal yoga through the entire pregnancy and I felt physically as prepared as I could be to bring a baby into the world. If you have any questions or want more details ... feel free to get in touch with me. I wanted to just provide a nice close to my pregnancy journey. Now I have embarked on my next adventure ... being a breastfeeding Mom. Don't worry there will be a few blog posts about that as well! 

Entering the Home Stretch

  • It is almost time for our little guy to arrive. It is hard to believe as I am writing this that we are quickly coming to the end of this pregnancy. It feels like not that long ago, I was putting an announcement up on this blog. For all of you who have followed me on social media - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you have most likely seen a variety of things about my pregnancy over the last 9 months. 

I wanted to take the time and just write up a little summary of my experience being pregnant and looking back over the last 9 months. 

First Trimester 

  • Issues with Nausea - This was huge initial struggle for me. I am never sick and I really had issues with a lack of appetite, increased ability to smell things and some issues then with vomiting a few times. I tried a variety of things to help diminish these symptoms. I used Sea bands and they helped a little. I also made sure that I was eating something small every 3 hours (even over night). I would wake up and eat applesauce or crackers overnight. I found that I liked cold food items better than hot items. I also really struggled to eat vegetables so I didn't push myself to eat them. I also took a combination of Vitamin B6 and Unisom to help take the edge off of the nausea. This helped the most and really helped me be able to start eating again and be around food. 
  • Extreme Tiredness  - I was amazed at how tired I was during these first weeks of being pregnant. I was wiped at the end of every day and I would get home and just sit or sleep. I was thoughtful for the chance to take it easy and just rest when I needed to, which helped a lot.  
  • Sacroiliac Pain - This started for me right away. I noticed pain in my hip/back when I would stand on one leg in the shower or when I was putting on pants. I started doing some research online and found a variety of exercises that would help. I also made sure that I had good posture to help prevent the pain from getting worse. I think getting on this problem before it got worse really helped me throughout the past 9 months.
  • Started Prenatal Yoga - This was one of the best things I did throughout my pregnancy - every Tuesday night I did prenatal yoga. I absolutely loved it! In fact, I am going to really miss it when I am no longer pregnant. It helped my sacroiliac pain and helped just to move/stretch. I think it also helped maintain some strength, balance and flexibility which is important in labor. 
  • Totally Overwhelmed - This was a very overwhelming time and I am so thankful for a supportive and encouraging husband. Without him, I am not sure I would have had such a positive pregnancy overall and for that I have to make sure he receives all the credit that he is due! 

Second Trimester 

  • Return of Energy and Normal Activities - Getting into this second trimester was wonderful. I felt "normal" and like my regular self again. I had my energy back and I could do all the things that I would normally do - work, exercise, fit in errands after work, cook dinner and clean the house. I am the type of person that is always moving and doing something. I didn't exercise as much during the first trimester, because I was so tired, but I got back into my normal routine of exercising for about 30-45 minutes every day. 
  • Have the Chance to Travel - Since I was feeling better, it was great to take the time and travel some during this time frame. We went to Fort Wayne over the summer for a baseball game, got to travel to Ransburg for a couple of weekends and made a big trip out to the East Coast for a wedding. We enjoyed being able to see some family and friends. 
  • Labor and Baby Preparation - We took this time to make sure that we got as much done as we could prior to our little guy arriving. We put together our baby registry, re-organized our house to accommodate baby things, took our Bradley Method child birthing classes, and started to purchase some items for the baby/his space. We also took time for the two of us, myself and my husband. We wanted to appreciate and cherish all of this time that we had left with just the two of us.
  • Monitoring Weight Gain/Counting Calories - This was very important to me to make sure that I was eating enough, but not over doing it. During the first trimester, I didn't gain or lose weight. I just maintained my normal and that was perfect. During this second trimester, I wanted to make sure that I didn't gain too much weight too quickly. To help provide myself with reassurance, I started counting my calories. This has been such a helpful tool to keep my weight gain appropriate. 

Third Trimester 

  • Continue to do most normal activities - As I moved into the third trimester, not much changed. I noticed that starting around 30 weeks gestation, I started to show a lot more and started to feel more pregnant. I have been able to still do most of all the things that I want to do. I still run, but the time has slowed and it has gotten harder. I ran two 5Ks during this trimester and I was so excited to be able to do that. I didn't win my age group, by any means, but I didn't come in last! To balance out my slower running pace and the increased toll on my body, I made a normal routine out of going to the gym and using the elliptical. This has been easier on my joints and still allowed me to be active. 
  • Started to slow down a little bit - In these last final weeks before Baby Busenburg's arrival, I have started to notice myself slowing down. I am bigger and he is growing well and I just take a little longer to move around. I notice that I get more winded when I go up the stairs and if I sit in one position too long, it is uncomfortable. These have really been the worst of my complaints. I have been so thankful for an uncomplicated and boring pregnancy. 
  • Eager Anticipation - I think both Chas and myself are getting more and more ready for Baby Busenburg to make his arrival. We are both as ready as we will be to start this parenthood journey and I know that I will be happy to have my body back. It will be lovely to finally see our baby's face, not be kicked randomly throughout the day and be able to sleep on my belly again. I know we will have lots of other new challenges to face, but I have an amazing husband who is going to be right there by myself the whole way! 

The Bradley Method

In lieu of Baby Busenburg's anticipated arrival at the end of December, my husband and I decided we needed to take some birthing classes. We are first time parents and obviously have never done this whole baby, birthing thing before. We wanted to find some birthing classes that were in depth and really outlined what we needed know and how the whole labor process works. 

St. Vincent Hospital offers birthing/baby classes, but unfortunately, that wasn't quite what we were looking for in terms of in depth knowledge. I have heard great things about the classes, but we really wanted to know all the details. This lead us to the Bradley Method. I had a co-worker that went through this class series back > 20 years ago and she found it extremely beneficial. I was able to locate an instructor on the northside of Indianapolis. This class series is normally 12 weeks long and it teaches you in depth information about pregnancy, the birthing process and even after delivery. The main goal of the Bradley Method is to deliver a baby naturally, without the aide of medications. This is a little different class compared with Lamaze classes (which focuses on just breathing techniques), because the Bradley Method emphasizes physical fitness and healthy diet to help support a healthy pregnancy and natural birth. This was in line with our goals with this pregnancy and hopes for delivery. The other main emphasis of the Bradley Method, is the husband assisted coaching. Both the Mom and Dad are involved in the classes and have roles. The Mom is obviously going to labor and birth the baby, but that whole time the Dad serves as the coach and provide encouragement for the mother. This was another key thing, we wanted from our birthing classes, support/encouragement for the Dad and not have the classes be only about the Mom.

I just wanted to discuss this birthing method, because I think it is great and has been such a positive experience for us and lots of women out there are unaware of this birthing technique. I went ahead and compiled some information from The Bradley Method website summing up the process and how this technique is helpful to woman preparing for birth.

  • This birthing method, teaches woman and their partners how to stay a low risk pregnancy. Obviously, there are things outside of our control, but there are a variety of techniques that can help set your pregnancy for success and to keep you as a low risk pregnant woman. 
  • Relaxation is a key component in this birthing method. Staying relaxed helps your labor to progress naturally and helps you, as the laboring mother, feel more confident in knowing what to expect and anticipate. 
  • This method also utilizes a birthing coach as well. This is a very important role and is normally filled by the husband or partner. This coach is there is to help support the mother and help protect her during this labor process.  We liked this aspect of the classes, because we wanted both of us to be involved and it be a team effort. This birthing method encourages that idea of teamwork. 

I wanted to just share our birthing classes with you, because I think more people need to be aware of the different ways to give birth. It does not have to be a painful experience or something that you don't feel/remember. If you are a low risk pregnancy and want to have your baby naturally there are great resources out there to help you accomplish that goal. I believe that this is the best way to have a baby for the mom and for the baby. I really appreciated finding a birthing method that encouraged woman to be strong and encouraged their husbands to have a key role in the birthing process. If you have any other specific questions about the classes, feel free to let me know. We are wrapping up our class series next month and are so thankful for the time we took to attend the classes, do the homework and hope that come December, all the prep will pay off when Baby Busenburg arrives. 

Pregnancy Glucose Test ... What this means?!

So if you have ever had a baby or know someone who has had a baby, you have probably heard about the pregnancy glucose tolerance test. This is a test that is done between 24-28 weeks gestation to determine if you body is properly utilizing glucose. If your pancreas is struggling to produce enough insulin to uptake the glucose in your blood stream from the food you have eaten, then you would be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes prior to pregnancy, then you will not have to complete this test. 

What exactly in the glucose tolerance test? The test begins with you consuming a sugary, liquid solution that contains 50 grams of glucose. You have to consume all of this liquid within 5 minutes. Then you wait for 1 hour and you have your blood drawn to test your blood sugar (or the amount of glucose circulating in your blood stream). If this number comes back elevated, then you will have to repeat the study with a 3 hour tests, where you take the solution and have your blood drawn at the 3 hour mark to see what your blood sugar is and if it is elevated then you have gestational diabetes. 

Your fasting blood sugar should be < 95mg/dL 

Your blood sugar 1 hour after taking the solution should be < 180mg/dL 

Your blood sugar 2 hours after taking the solution should be < 155mg/dL 

Your blood sugar 3 hours after taking the solution should be < 140mg/dL 

So now that I have established what the glucose tolerance test is, I wanted to discuss briefly about what this test shows. As a dietitian at a Women's Hospital, we see a lot of women with gestational diabetes and some women that just missed the mark for being diagnosed, but they failed the 1 or 2 hour blood sugar checks. As a Registered Dietitian, who works with these babies in the NICU, I think that we need to do a better job at educating our mothers about a healthy diet/lifestyle even if they just barely passed their glucose tolerance test. Often, if you pass it, then you physician doesn't really focus on diet or exercise and lots of Moms just assume they can continuing eating whatever and it won't have an affect on their baby. There was an article that I came across from Health Day talking about how diabetes during pregnancy can produce negative outcomes for your baby. This research was released at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Germany this week, I thought this was a well timed article and good for mothers to be informed. Your health, as the mother, has a huge impact on your child's birth and health outcomes. This is important for us to remind pregnant woman, that your health matters and making the effort to watch what you eat not only is helpful to you, but also your unborn baby. 

Hopefully some of this information is helpful and you can share it with a pregnant friend or family member. I am had the chance to participate in my very own glucose tolerance test this past week and thankfully I passed with flying colors. All my blood work came back great and that was a huge relief. It is nice to be reassured that things are going well! 

Pregnancy Weight Gain

If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you can tell that I have started to post more about pregnancy nutrition/wellness since I, myself, have become pregnant. I know that is kind of self-serving, but I do think it is great information and I am just excited to share with you all credible information. I have been trying to space out the pregnancy information, with posts about cooking, running and general wellness topics. If there is a certain topic you want me to research further/more in depth, let me know! 

Ok ... so pregnancy weight gain. I have talked about this before in previous posts, but I wanted to talk specifically about it now in regards to how you gain weight. This was a topic that I was very curious about and wanted to dig deeper. 

In between 22-25 weeks I started to notice that my weight really started to jump up, from ~142lbs up to 147lbs in just a matter of weeks. I have been eating well, counting calories, exercising 3-4 times per week and walking throughout the work day to help my back and stretch my legs. I feel great otherwise, but the scale numbers were really jumping up. I was given a heads up that this might happen from a co-worker. She had mentioned that she noticed this fluid shift around 25 weeks gestation. I started to do some more research and I found a great write up on Expecting Science that explained how this weight gain occurs in the 2nd trimester. We know current pregnancy weight gain guidelines (2009) are as follows: 25-35lbs for a normal weight woman, 28-40lbs for underweight woman and 15-25lbs for an overweight woman. This sounds simple, but ends up being more complicated in terms of how this weight is gained. 

  • A lot of the weight gained during the 2nd trimester is water weight. There is a large fluid shift that occurs and by the end of the 2nd trimester, mothers have doubled your blood supply. That is a huge fluid shift and that increasing scale number is more likely fluid compared with fat accumulation or even baby's weight.
  • Pregnant women also don't gain weight neatly week to week. All of us gain/lose weight at various rates and often it is not consistent. So a large increase over a couple of weeks isn't surprising, especially if weight gain was low in the weeks prior. 

I thought this graphic was a huge help in better understanding pregnancy weight gain. As you can see about 20 weeks gestation the mother's blood supply really started to increase and the weight of the uterus and breast size also increases. As anticipated, during the 3rd trimester the baby's weight increases and that starts to be the main growth area that occurs prior to delivery.

Making sure that you are aware of your weight gain, and keeping track of it is important. Your weight gain might also not be completely predictable. That is ok! If you are looking for additional information for weight gain recommendations then read this short article from Pregnancy & Newborn. They touch on weight gain during pregnancy and even losing weight afterwards. Your body is an amazing thing and its ability to adapt and grow is really neat, even if it feels slightly unpredictable. 

2nd Trimester ... 2nd Wind

I have decided to work on a couple of pregnancy posts about nutrition, but also just about healthy living in general. I am in my 2nd trimester of my first pregnancy and I do not claim to know much about pregnancy. This is my first time going through this, but I have been learning a lot. Now that I am at 21 weeks I feel so much like my "old self" (pre-pregnancy) again. My 1st trimester was a little rough. I was exhausted, felt nauseous a lot of time and found food NOT appealing. It was challenging to not feel like myself and I have to admit I struggled with having a positive attitude. Since feeling better, I have had a much more positive outlook on life. I thought I would put together a list of things that might be helpful for you if you are pregnant or to share with someone you know who is pregnant. 

Our little kiddo at our 20 week check up/ultrasound

Our little kiddo at our 20 week check up/ultrasound

Tips for Healthy Living while being Pregnant 

  • Keep moving and make time for fitness - I feel so passionate about encouraging pregnant women to stay active! A lot of women that I know, tend to stop exercising and I think that is a terrible idea. You need to keep up your fitness and this 2nd trimester is a great time to focus on that, because you normally feel better, have more energy and are still small enough that you can do various forms of exercise. Find something you enjoy ... walk more, run, work out at the gym, take a yoga class, swim or aerobics classes. Take time each week to staying active and use this time for your own health, but also for your babies health. This can also help to keep your weight gain appropriate. 
  • Track your food and activity - I have been counting calories and tracking my physical activity this pregnancy. It was been great to know that if I am hungry and have calories left, I can eat a snack, but if I am hungry, I don't have calories left, I need to drink water and hold off on the snack (if possible). There is a peace of mind in tracking your calories when you know you are needing to gain weight, but don't want excessive weight gain. I have been using MyFitnessPal, but there are lots of nutrition/activity tracking apps out there. Find something that works for you and use it on a daily basis! 
  • Get that To Do List DONE - I have experienced a surge in energy this 2nd trimester and I am taking advantage of it. I have been working on projects around the house and getting baby planning done so that I don't have to worry about it in the future. It has also been nice being able to work on things this summer and having the help of my husband, who is out of school for the summer. I have made of list of things that need to get done before the baby arrives and I have been going through things and just checking them off. Make out a goal list of things you want to do, set a time table for those projects and then start working on getting those items checked off. 
  • More than just  "pregnant" - I  have never been the type of person to define myself by my circumstances. This whole pregnancy, I have not wanted this experience to "change" me. I am still myself, but I just happen to be pregnant for 9 months.  I have been so blessed to have a supportive husband who has helped to remind me of that and not use this pregnancy as an excuse for anything. This has really helped my attitude and I hope this encouragement is helpful to you as well. 
  • Enjoy this time - I have heard from so many people that this 2nd trimester is one of the best parts of pregnancy. You feel good, you aren't huge yet and you can still so many things. I have taken that advice to heart and I have been working hard to enjoy this time. I have been doing fun things with my husband and trying to be thankful for this time before our little one arrives. I encourage you to take time to be thankful for what you have and enjoy this season.

I have learned so much during these last 21 weeks of being pregnant. It is crazy to think this journey is half over and by the end of the year, we will met our little kiddo. It is exciting and I am thankful for this chance to learn so much about myself and being able to better relate to those pregnant women that I work with at the hospital. 

Side note - After I typed up this post ... we had our Gender Reveal party and we found out that we are having a little baby boy! So that is exciting news and just had to share that with you all! 

Pregnancy Nutrition Misinformation

I have felt this "need" to write up a blog post about pregnancy nutrition. As a now pregnant woman, I have heard so much misinformation about pregnancy nutrition that I kind of want to address a few of these issues. I have always felt as a Registered Dietitian that it is so important to have all the scientifically accurate facts when it comes to your health. So hopefully you find some of this information helpful and insightful for yourself or someone that you know who is pregnant. 

Pregnancy Nutrition Myths Unmasked 

  1. "You are eating for two" This is one of the most common things that I have heard lately. Unfortunately I don't believe that as a pregnant person you should be operating under this assumption. Not until your third trimester should you be increasing your calorie intake significantly. 
    • 1st Trimester - do not consume any extra calories. Continue to eat your normal, healthy diet. Nausea is often challenging at this time so finding foods that sound appetizing is important. Try to balance your fruit/vegetable intake and make sure to aim for small, frequent meals if nausea is an issue for you.
    • 2nd Trimester - it is recommended to consume an additional 340 calories per day. That is not a lot of extra calories. If you enjoy sweet treats, that could easily just be 1 donut or 1 Starbucks drink a day worth of calories. To help keep our calories under control, it might be helpful to count your calories. I have been using MyFitnessPal to help keep tabs on my calorie limits per day. Also continue to be active and make sure that you are exercising on a regular basis. 
    • 3rd Trimester - this is where your baby ends up growing the most. You need an additional 450 calories per day. Make sure that if you are adding calories, you are choosing healthy food items to increase your intake of - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy options. Keep up on activity during this trimester as well. As you increase in size, some activities can be challenging but do what you can and try not to become a couch potato. 
  2. "Pregnancy cravings are a thing" Now this is a comment that causes a lot of contention among people. I think that lots of time, people use this myth as an excuse for their excessive weight gain. We, as people, have cravings and have foods that we really love. For example, I got some Albanese gummie bears and they are weak spot for me. I love them and I could sit and eat the whole package. I know this though and I choose most of the time not to buy these "trigger foods." It is not that I am pregnant that I want them, it is because I find them delicious and I have always had a weak spot for them. I have also had certain foods that during pregnancy sound more appetizing than others. I have really grown to LOVE bacon recently. Again, I don't think that this is a craving or a food item that I eat excessively. I think that mindful eating and maintain moderation is the key to success in life and in pregnancy. 
  3. "Your baby will get whatever nutrients it needs from you, so what you eat doesn't matter" There is a grain of truth to this myth. Your baby needs certain nutrients and if you are not eating a well-balanced diet, the infant will try to obtain these missing nutrients from your body. Calcium is a great example - if you aren't consuming enough dietary calcium, your unborn baby will start to pull calcium from your own bones to meet their growth needs. Now with that said, your diet as the mother, if very important. You need to maintain your own health and meet the needs of your growing child. What you eat has a huge role to play on your child's overall health (in utero and after they are born). 

For more information about maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy, check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. One of the biggest challenges for pregnant women is to maintain a healthy weight. This has a huge impact on their own pregnancy and their infant's health. Take the time to make this a priority and if you have additional questions, let me know!