Louisiana Bride: April 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

So Long Maternity Leave

This week marks the end of maternity leave for me.

I don't hate my job, but I'd much prefer to stay home if I'm being honest.

That being said, I learned a few things over the course of maternity leave, and a few while being pregnant in regards to maternity leave.

1. You can take FMLA (family medical leave act) for 12 weeks and not a day extra. 12 weeks and one day in this country means you could lose your job. Unless you work for a company that is more progressive and realizing that women can't get back to work at 6 weeks. Yes, some beg to go back at 4 and I really hope those few don't slow the progress of some companies having a standard paid 12 weeks for women. Of course, if you job doesn't have that... the 12 weeks is unpaid. Unless you have saved vacation days.

I managed to have 30ish sick days saved up so only one week of my maternity leave is unpaid. I ended up only taking 8 because I couldn't afford the pay cut to take the full 12.

2. I will never take less than 8 weeks for maternity leave, next baby will be at least 8 unless I can stock up more sick days. Which leaves Jeremy to taking the baby to all of his well visits during the school year.

Physically speaking, my body wasn't ready at 6 weeks, and here at 8 I still don't feel back to my old self. I had a pretty nasty tear and if I'm totally transparent about recovery the scar tissue is so bad that it feels like the muscles in my pelvis floor are being ripped apart when I stand or walk too much during the day. My OB told me to wait until 9-10 weeks postpartum to resume "activity" and that I would need to come in to remove some of the scar tissue if it didn't get better. I'm not exaggerating either when I say that I was nearly in tears while she was "breaking up the scar tissue" during my 6 week check up.

Since I don't personally know anyone who tore this badly I was slightly shocked at the recovery process of it.

Now I know.

3. I didn't know that over supply was a breastfeeding issue. I've only heard people lament over not making enough milk. So when we hit week 7 and little dude went on a nursing strike and did a complete 180 with how he nursed I was a basket case.

After finally getting to talk to a lactation consultant 5 days into the insanity I got answers. Over supply, if only the lab tech the doctors office saw fit to hand the phone to had known that. The lab tech I talked to acted like what I was describing was something she'd never heard of and I was nuts. Hence the complete sobbing emotional breakdown I had during Jeremy's lunch break that day.

We literally had every single symptom that KellyMom mentions for over supply.

Every last one.

Once I had an answer I could emotionally deal with the issue, and after a few days of pumping first thing in the morning (I was getting 7 ounces) to relieve pressure and then blocking feeding the rest of the day the problem resolved itself in a few days.

And here I'd been taking Fenugreek because I thought I had an under supply, but in my attempts to stockpile the freezer with milk and taking that supplement when I didn't need it caused all my problems.

If you breastfeed, and I so hope you do, find a lactation consultant you can ask questions to, read up on the KellyMom website, and download The Boob Tube podcasts. Those resources were God sent for helping me correct this issue.

4. Learn the breastfeeding laws for your state if you are returning to work or just caught in a situation where you have to feed in public.

Louisiana allows breastfeeding in public (uncovered if you want to) but doesn't have any laws on pumping when you return to work. However Federal Law states that an employer who has more than 50 employees has to allow you "reasonable" time to pump.

It's good that we have it, but there are two issues with that. If you work for someone employing less than 50 people they can deny you the ability to pump. That's a jerk move. It's not an issue at my job, but let's say it was. I would be forced to give my child formula if I didn't want to. No bueno. The other issue falls under the "reasonable time" stated in the law, with no specific amount of time allotted this could cause and issue if you don't have an understanding boss... the law also states they they can dock your pay for the time used in pumping.

5. The biggest thing I learned though, it goes by fast and babies don't keep.

So here's my question for y'all --- Did you return to work pumping, how long was your maternity leave, and what was something you learned in those first few wees? 


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cream Sherbet

It appears I'm on a bit of an ice cream kick.

If you were currently at my house you'd be able to tell by the fact that I've had a gallon pitcher of ice cream base in the fridge for weeks and am constantly churning it out.

Jeremy don't mind one bit. I think he actually prefers it.

Heck it's cheaper than buying it, especially with my beloved Blue Bell on recall.

Cream Sherbet via @labride

I got this particular idea from the Ziploc bag ice cream I've made with my class in the past using orange soda and condensed milk. 

It tastes amazing, and trust me it's been on the rotation here, but I wanted to branch out of the orange. 

Now I'm not a carbonated drink person at all, you'll maybe see me drink it once a year and I never get it in restaurants, but cream soda is heavenly. 

Hence the goodness that is this recipe, and let me tell you it tastes somewhere between homemade vanilla ice cream and a snow cone. 

Which is exactly how everything should taste in my opinion. 

Cream Sherbet via @labride

Cream Sherbet


Ingredients:
14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
2 liter bottle of cream soda

Directions:
Place ingredients in a large bowl, or pitcher, stir to combine. Freeze in an ice cream maker. If using a 1.5 quart this will make 2 batches.

Don't worry about the soda going flat in the fridge if you are making multiple batches, my old ice cream maker would have made this in one batch, it won't change the taste or texture. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nursing Pads >>> an honest review

When I was pregnant I was dead set on using Johnson's Nursing Pads, my mother insisted I try other brands. Two months into the nursing game (as I type this attached to a pump) I have to say I'm glad she made me try other brands.

Turns out all nursing pads aren't all equal.

Here's a run down of my favorites, the brands I tried, and why I ended up landing on the brand I wanted to stick with.


Let me start off by saying that all of the brands mentioned were great at absorbing.

That was by no means the issue.

Lansinoh

 Of the disposable brands I tried this one has to be my favorite. It was thin enough that it didn' show through my shirts, I never leaked at night wearing them, and Lansinoh tended to not move around my nursing bra/tank without using the adhesive backing.

The problem, like I said I didn't leak though but I did fill them up quite a bit. While nursing one day Harrison dribbled milk down my tank, next thing I knew the pinkish color of the pad has bleed onto my shirt. Luckily it came out in the wash, but still... no bueno.

Of the disposable pads this one was pretty soft, especially considering it was the first brand I tested out when I was only a week into nursing.

Oh and I can't forget to mention this - Lansinoh has pretty good coverage if you're busty, or baby induced busty.

Nuk


This wasn't my favorite nursing pad, however it wasn't my least favorite. They were soft, but not as soft as the Lansinoh. The shape was a little weird and showed through my shirt, and they were weirdly thick.

Nuk has good coverage, they didn't move around, and they are solid white so there was no weird shirt staining.

Medela


I was the most disappointed with the Medela disposable nursing pads, not because they were my least favorite, but because I had such high hopes for the brand.

I didn't have any leaking issues while wearing them, they didn't move around, and coverage was good (I went from a small B to a D with pregnancy/nursing so coverage is important right now).

The issue, they feel like coffee filter paper and show through shirts. Bulky is not my friend, we've long passed the junior high days of stuffing bras. If you get a few samples for free at your breastfeeding class put them in your diaper bag or pump bag as backup, but I don't suggest buying stock in them.

Johnson and Johnson


I was the most disappointed here, mainly because I had friends that speak so highly of the brand. I wasn't sold. In fact I didn't even run out of them before driving 30 minutes away (with a plugged duct and fever) to get another brand.

They are soft, not too too bulky, and do the job fine during the day. But don't make any sudden moves! Every single night for a week I leaked through my shirt becaue I would roll over and the milk makers would abandon ship.

As far as softness and everything else I've mentioned before I prefer them over all the other disposable brands, however they just don't have wide enough coverage. I need coverage these days, almost to the point of sleeping with a burp cloth in my shirt. Johnson's a small and cover just the nipple. 

So they go nixed, even below the Medela. I just can't spend the entire night making sure they are in place or waking up soaked with wet bed sheets.

No bueno.

This might just be my opinion, but they have an odd shape that makes it look like your nipples are showing through anything you wear.

Bamboobies


After figuring up that I'd spend roughly $250 this year on nursing pads alone, and that's being conservative, I had to find another alternative.

My mother used washable pads, and I've had readers comment saying that they use the washable pads. So in my ever loving frugal-ness I just had to get something more cost effective. Which I happened to get an even better deal on and Babies R Us had them BOGO so I only spent $25 on two packs of the overnight Bamboobies.

These are soft, like wearing a baby blanket in your bra soft, and don't show through nearly as bad as many of the disposable brands.

I also didn't leak through during the night which is a big A++ in my book.

So what brought me to this brand, cost effectiveness and comfort.

I would have continued to buy Lansinoh but considering I can spend $25 now and use them all year verses 20 bucks a month to keep myself stocked in them I had to take the cheaper option.

If I were to rank the brands I tried here's how they'd fall -

Bamboobies - best overall and cheaper long term
Lansinoh - best overall disposable
Nuk - good absorption and coverage, but uncomfortable shape
Medela - I'll only use as back up pads, they aren't comfortable against your skin
Johnson's - nope, looks like your nipples are showing and aren't wide enough coverage

So yeah, ultimately I landed on reusable nursing pads. It just made more sense in the long run and they are more comfortable.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

PR 4: Castillo San Cristobal

Before I'm 100 I better push out the rest of these Puerto Rico posts, but I think we learned pretty well that I am bad about this if we were to remember back to the Italy posts. 

San Cristobal speaks for itself, so just browse through. The part of town you're seeing in the background most of the time is Old San Juan. 







































Perfect example of why I need to invest in a photographer to follow me on trips... I was complaining that I am in zero pics. This is what I get.








I don't know if you noticed, but I like texture.





At least I made it all the way to the end of the week before running into a giant lizard. Pop just had to point out that the tree he was sitting under had iguanas constantly crawling out of it and onto the wall of the fort. Ick.


After we left here we ventured into Old San Juan a little deeper.

But I'll save that for another post. 
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