Break Yo Chip Taco Dip

It's bad enough that we, as humans, don't drink enough water.  We also don't get enough protein, calcium and fiber.  This dip is packed with that along with many other vitamins and nutrients including: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Iron and Folate.  In addition to the vitamins and nutrients also comes...sodium and saturated fat..but hey, that's what makes this dish taste good!
What you will need:
  • 1 can of refried beans (14oz)
  • 1 package of room temperature cream cheese (8oz)
  • 1 jar of salsa (12oz)
  • 1 package of shredded iceberg lettuce (2 cups)
  • 1 package of shredded Mexican cheese blend (2 cups)
  • 1 can of sliced black olives
  • 3 scallions
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
Taco Dip...ASSEMBLE!

Spread the refried beans onto the bottom of the dish:

Next, open the room temperature cream cheese and cut it in half

Now, spread the cream cheese over the refried beans

Spread the salsa over the cream cheese

Sprinkle the cheese blend over the salsa

Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the cheese

Sprinkle the lettuce over the taco seasoning

More sprinkling! Get those scallions on there!

 Black olives next!

 More cheese!


Strawberry Banana Smoothie

This is a nice, healthy treat to have during and even after pregnancy with about 264 calories per serving.  Let's break it down by looking at the main ingredients:

Strawberries: 1 cup of strawberries contain Folate and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C and Manganese.

Bananas: About 1 medium sized banana  is a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin B6.

2% Milk: 1 cup of milk contains Protein, Vitamin B12 and Phosphorus, and is a very good source of Vitamin D, Riboflavin and Calcium.
The calories that come from this smoothie are largely from the sugars that each ingredient has, but when you are pregnant or nursing you may find yourself longing for something else to drink besides water and juice.  Ok, let's get to the good part!  The below recipe makes about 2 and a half servings.  This is the serving size I use, because dear husband needs a treat now and then too!
You are going to need:
(thank you to dear husband for the use of your whiskey glasses!)
  •  2 cups fresh strawberries (100 calories)
  • 2 ripe bananas (400 calories)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (40 calories)
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup 2% milk (any type of milk will do, as long as it is pasteurized) (122 calories)
  • 1 Cuisinart blender (or any type of blender...I happen to LOOOVE Cuisinart)
 Start by peeling both bananas and breaking off chunks and putting them into the blender.  If you banana wont peel from the stem, dig your thumb nail into the bottom of the banana and peel it from that end first.  See...
Put in the strawberries (whole, with the stems cut off), sugar, vanilla extract, ice and milk.
Blend to your liking!
Always taste it first, in case you need to add more sugar.  I typically do not add anymore than 2 tablespoons of sugar, since the majority of this smoothie consists of....sugar.



Pregnancy Apps and Resources


The best resource for pregnancy that I found was the documentary called "Inside the Womb" by National Geographic.  This documentary goes through the entire fetal development from conception to birth.  I literally watched this documentary every night on my iPad before I went to bed.  I found it on YouTube broken up into 10 parts.  This makes it a little easier to watch it based on how far along you are.  It is a really cool documentary.  If you are into science as much as I am, then you will love this documentary.
You can watch the documentary in its entirety on this website as well:
Or you can order it guess it...AMAZON!


There are many websites out there that have information regarding pregnancy.  Below are some sites that I found very helpful and full of information.  I stayed clear of the forums.  There are a lot of women who have difficulty during their pregnancy and after reading some of the stories I decided that it would be best to NOT read anymore:

Free iPhone Apps

iPre Free: I really enjoyed this app and there was no need for me to upgrade to the paid version.  The free version gives you a calendar, a place to upload photos, a user forum, an organizer for appointment questions, reminders and a to do list, weekly information including baby's size, synopsis, baby's development, how am I feeling and suggestions.

Pregnancy : This app has a lot going on with it.  I found that if I used all the features to it, I would be on it all day.  I believe the developers of this app are from the UK, because the spelling throughout the app is different than it would be in the US. Here are all the features it has to offer:
  My Baby: Weekly, Daily, Star Signs, Belly, Size Guide and Timeline
  Me: Food, Labour, Exercise, Birth Plan, Medical, Weight
  Organizer: Doc Visits, Shopping, Hospital Bag, To Do, Names, Phone
  Tools: Kick Counter Contractions, Due Date
Again, I really only used the app for the weekly information.  It has great images!! 
Sprout:  This is my favorite one! The graphics within this app are amazing.  The information that it provides is very accurate and it has a very simple, user-friendly interface.  I almost bought the full version, but again, I didn't see a need to do so.
What to Expect Pregnancy: I wasn't a big fan of the What to Expect book series.  I mean, I read them, but I didn't love them.  I decided to give their free app a try.  I basically used it for the front page.  Upon opening the app, it would tell you how big the baby was compared to a piece of fruit.
It has other things to offer, such as weekly and daily information along with a place to upload photos and a user forum.
BabyBump:  This app is a lot like the Pregnancy app.  There are a lot of tools that you can use, such as, Pregnancy Info, Forums, a place to upload photos, messages, friends, Journal, Baby Names, Kick Counter, Contraction Tracker and Birth Planning.  It was really only worth the daily information to me.
My Pregnancy by BabyCenter:  This app is nice and simple.  It gives you daily information, even sometimes videos!  There is a checklist and a few other tools.  Check this one out fo sho!

Pregnancy Symptoms

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Pregnancy and the glorious symptoms that go along with it! Now, I cannot stress enough that each and every woman's pregnancy is different.  Even women that have been pregnant a few times will tell you that her first pregnancy was completely different than her next one. I'm going to talk about the most common pregnancy symptoms including the ones that I experienced.  I have to get off topic for a sec.... get a journal or Belly Book to document every step of the way. Once that baby comes some women, including myself miss being pregnant.  I have a Belly Book that I filled out to look back at and remember all the little things.

The Belly Book is meant to document your pregnancy with...yup you guessed it...belly shots! But, if you are like most women in the first trimester and the last trimester, you don't want anyone taking your picture! So, instead of doing weekly belly shots, I only did a couple for each trimester.  For the rest of the book where a belly shot was supposed to be, I used pictures of things dear husband and I did or things that I could look back and say, "Remember when I was pregnant how we went on a little honeymoon?" 

Ok, back to symptoms.  Pregnancy symptoms can start as early as 2 weeks! Early pregnancy symptoms can sometimes be confused with your menstrual cycle beginning, so it can be frustrating when you think you are pregnant and then  Aunt Flow shows up. I had that happen one too many times when trying to get pregnant. Dear husband was always so supportive, "don't cry, we'll get there!". Some common early pregnancy symptoms include:
Cramping and Spotting
Not all women feel Implantation cramps, but if you have been trying to get pregnancy for a while you are probably very in tune with your body and could possibly feel them.  I felt implantations cramps the moment they happened.  The feeling was a more mild menstrual cramp that was constant, rather than coming and going in waves like menstrual cramps.  Some women get spotting which is called implantation bleeding.  The spotting is just that...spotting.  It is not like a regular period flow.

Breast Changes
Tender breasts are a very common early pregnancy symptom.  My breasts started to hurt 12 DPO (Days Past Ovulation) and on the 13th day I got my first positive pregnancy test.  They were sore and tender up until the first part of the second trimester.

Feeling extremely exhausted even a week after conception is normal.  I was 4 weeks pregnant and got winded walking up 7 stairs.  Your body is very busy right now dividing cells and creating your little bundle of joy. 

The most famous pregnancy symptom of all!  So, you're gonna laugh.  I documented everything in my Belly Book and in week 5 I wrote, "No belly yet, but next week the placenta takes over the yolk sac, so morning sickness should begin".  Then in week 6 I wrote, "Night sickness has begun!" I was excited or something!  I was so nauseous starting at 3pm until I went to sleep everyday that I couldn't take it anymore.  I called my OB and she prescribed Zofran.  Zofran is a drug that cancer patients take who are going through radiation and it is supposed to help with the nausea.  Well, it helped with the nausea, but I also got a shit-ton of other side effects with extreme thirst.  One morning, I drank a half of a container of that simply Orange juice!  I received really bad headaches and constipation.  4 days later I stopped taking the Zofran, because I would have rather felt nauseous than have those other side effects.  By week 10 the nausea went away completely out of the blue.  Here is my entry for week 10, "I don't want to jinx it, but it's mid-week and I haven't felt sick at all!  Saltines and animal crackers are always on me.  As long as I eat those constantly and have lighter meals I think the nausea will go away."

Food Aversions:
Food aversions can start a few weeks after conception, due to the hormones raging throughout your body.  I was turned away from veggies, chicken, fish and my prenatal vitamins.  The prenatals had DHA in them, which made the vitamin a soft-gel type pill, but it had a vanilla scent to it.  I gagged just opening the bottle of pills.  It wasn't until the beginning of the second trimester that I got my taste back for veggies.

Missed Period
Ah yes, the missed period.  A sure sign that you are pregnant.

Pregnancy brings on massive amounts of hormones that can give you various other symptoms such as:
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Mood Swings
  • Headaches and Back Pain
  • Dizziness and Fainting
A pregnant woman could have all of these symptoms or only just one. But it's best to make an appointment with your OB/GYN after you get a positive pregnancy test.

Eating Healthy During Pregnancy

Just because you are taking a boat load of vitamins does not mean you can eat like crap. Prenatal vitamins are to be taken in ADDITION to eating healthy foods during pregnancy. Fresh foods are best. I stayed away from highly processed foods; they weighed me down throughout the day and I was tired enough as it was in the first and last month of pregnancy. I was instructed by my OB to increase my caloric intake by 300 calories a day. Now, don't take that as a free ticket to gobble up 2 snickers bars or eat that extra piece of cake. Those extra 300 calories are to nourish your body and your growing baby's body! If you breastfeed you get to increase your daily caloric intake by 500, because you burn a lot of calories breastfeeding. I would say it's ok to eat a piece of cake then...once in a while. But anyway....Listen to your body and what it wants to eat. Sometimes a certain craving you might have could be your body telling you that you are lacking a vitamin or mineral and the food you are craving has that. Below are some power foods to eat during pregnancy:


Monounsaturated fats: Avocados, nuts, olive oil and almond butter are good examples of good fats

Polyunsaturated fats: Some cold-water fish, flax seeds, canola oil. If you are questioning how much fat you should eat each day during pregnancy, then check out this article. It lists various foods that contain good fats and how much you can eat.


Beans: black beans, garbanzos, soy, kidney and northern beans are a great source of protein and fiber. Throw some on a salad, make some soup or even bake garbanzos! Toss them in olive oil and kosher salt and spread them out on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes at 350. You will have a crunchy, protein-fiber packed treat!

Chicken, Pork, Beef: I didn't eat a lot of meat when I was pregnant. I'm not really a big meat eater, but when I did I made sure that it was cooked to temperature...and then some!

Eggs: I ate a lot of eggs too when I was pregnant. Boiled, scrammbled and fried. If you like eggs, try hard boiling them and throwing some on a salad. Eggs are loaded with protein and good fats. If you prefer to eat them fried, make sure they are cooked all the way through to avoid any bacteria.

Fish: Salmon is the only fish I would eat during pregnancy. It contains Omega-3 fatty acids (or DHA) to help with eye and brain development for your baby. If I ate 2 servings of fish a week I didn't have to take the DHA vitamin. You can safely eat up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish a week during pregnancy.


Whole grain and whole wheat bread and cereal: I ate a lot of cereal when I was pregnant. Whole grains have folic acid, iron and fiber that is much needed throughout pregnancy. Stay away from white bread and other highly processed carbohydrates. Those types of carbs are harder for the body to breakdown.


Fruit: Blackberries, bananas, mandarins and raisins. These all have much needed vitamins and minerals that you are your baby need, such as potassium, vitamin C and fiber.

Refined Sugars: Don't go overboard with the sweets. You want to maintain your blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Remember, everything you eat during pregnancy, your baby eats.


Yuck. During my first 3 months of pregnancy I could not eat any type of vegetable without gagging. This was terrible, because I love big leafy greens and veggies from the cabbage family. It wasn't until month 4 that I was able to eat them again.

Spinach and Kale are both loaded with vitamin A, D and calcium. Kale has just recently been named a power food so eat up! Toss some purple, or other types of kale with olive oil, kosher salt, garlic powder and spread on a baking sheet. Place in the oven at 350 for 12 minutes and you have crunchy kale chips!

I recently invented a new snack! Carrot crispies! It can be made sweet and savory or just sweet and sweet. To make the sweet and savory kind, peel 2 entire good sized carrots all the way down to the core onto a baking sheet. Then, toss with olive oil and kosher salt. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350. Let cool 5 minutes to crunch up. 

For the sweet and sweet, toss with olive oil and brown sugar onto a non-stick or greased up baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Let stand 5 minutes for the carrot shreds to caramelize, then enjoy!  Check out the recipes section for more!

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

We all hear stories from our older generation of women, "I ate whatever I wanted when I was pregnant and all my kids turned out just fine!", and we just smile and nod.  Times have changed and science is always evolving; therefore certain foods are NOT ok to eat during pregnancy for those exact reasons. So, why is everyone making a big stink about not being able to eat lunch meat and sushi?  Because when you are pregnant, your immune system is down from where it is when you are not pregnant.  Your immunity lowers the moment that fertilized egg burrows itself into the uterus lining.  Therefore, you are at greater risk for foodborne illnesses or bacterial food poisoning than you would be if you weren't pregnant.  It is now your full time job to protect you and your baby and it starts with food. I followed all the rules during pregnancy, instructed by my OB.  If there was anything that I could do right in my life, it was growing a perfectly healthy baby boy while managing my health.  And to do that, I had to start from the very beginning with what kinds of foods I put in my mouth.  Below are some food guidelines to help clear up what you should avoid during pregnancy.
Raw Meat and Uncooked Seafood:  Rare or undercooked beef, chicken and eggs could be contaminated with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis and salmonella.  These types of bacteria cause food poisoning.  Uncooked seafood should be avoided at all costs, because of the chance of those bacterias being on them.  Uncooked seafood includes sushi, raw clams, raw oysters and lox.  It's ok to eat smoked seafood as long as it's cooked with another food item, in let's say...a casserole or another type of hot dish.  So, cook your meat and seafood to temperature!

Lunch Meat: Let's face it...lunch meat sits all the time. Lunch meat is just waiting to obtain a foodborne illness just sitting in the deli case at the grocery store.  The more I think about it, the more I am ok with not ever eating salami and ham every again.  Listeria is a type of bacteria that can be found on lunch meat that contains 10 types of species. That's gross.  Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to become infected with listeria than non-pregnant women.  Miscarriage, premature delivery and infection to the newborn.  22% of cases of prenatal listerosis results in stillbirth. (American Pregnancy Association, 2013).  If you absolutely cannot live without a ham and cheese, make sure you put the ham in the microwave until it is sizzling.  Heat kills the listeria bacteria.  Hot ham and cheese sounds better, anyway :)
Unpasteurized Dairy:  Any product that contains unpasteurized milk should be avoided during pregnancy.  Why?  You guessed it, bacteria and foodborne illness.  Some products that contain unpasteurized milk include: Feta cheese, brie, blue cheese and Mexican style cheese (queso blanco, queso fresco and panela).  The difference between unpasteurized and pasteurized is that pasteurized foods are cooked at a higher temperature that kills off bacteria.  If you eat out and are not sure if the cheese on your dish is unpasteurized or not, then ask your waiter.  Dear husband and I were at a Mexican restaurant and I got authentic tacos and forgot to tell the waiter no cheese.  Well, the damn things came with cheese on them.  Without being rude, I asked the waiter to bring me the package that the cheese came in so I could look at the ingredients instead of sending the dish back for them to just pick the cheese off.  Turns out, the cheese was pasteurized.  I found that a lot of restaurants, including Panera Bread, had pasteurized cheese.   Which was nice, because I basically lived off the Mediterranean Veggie sammaches at Panera.  But, I'm a freak and still got no feta on it.  Milk: I would only get the Ultra-Pasteurized milk throughout my pregnancy.  Regular pasteurized milk is completely fine to drink during pregnancy, but I just wanted to be extra careful.  If you are a big fan of fruit juice, take a gander on the back of the bottle to make sure that the juice is pasteurized.  If it is not, then you will need to avoid that juice during pregnancy.
Unwashed Fruits and Veggies: See above reasons...yup...bacteria.  You should also avoid any kind of raw sprout (alfalfa, clover, mung beans and radish). Sprouts are dirty to begin with.  If you eat them, make sure they are cleaned well and then cooked!
Caffeine: Excess amounts of caffeine should be avoided.  I was told by my OB that 1-2 cups of a caffeinated beverage a day during pregnancy was ok.  To make it easier, there are 8oz in a cup and 12oz in a can of pop.  So, I would have a can of pop and a half a cup of coffee and that was my caffeine intake.  Avoid caffeine altogether during the first trimester.  If you make it through the first trimester without caffeine, then you can make it the rest of the way!
Alcohol: No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy.  If you are drinking alcohol during pregnancy...check out this link and then venture on over to this one.
Herbal Tea and Artificial Sugars: There is little data that herbal teas and artificial sweeteners have effects on the fetus, but just to be sure, don't drink them unless your OB says it's ok.  This table below lists the different artificial sugars, sugar alcohols and novel sweeteners that should be avoided during pregnancy.  The last column is a list of sugars that are good to eat, in moderation, during pregnancy:
Artificial sweetenersSugar alcoholsNovel sweetenersNatural sweeteners
Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One) Erythritol Stevia extracts (Pure Via, Truvia) Agave nectar
Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) Hydrogenated starch hydrolysate Tagatose (Naturlose) Date sugar
Neotame Isomalt Trehalose Fruit juice concentrate
Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet'N Low) Lactitol Honey
Sucralose (Splenda) Maltitol Maple syrup
Mannitol Molasses

Beauty Products During and After Pregnancy

Let's talk beauty products and hygiene during pregnancy. I had a hard time with smell diversion. During the first couple of weeks of pregnancy, smells can be over powering! Both the good and bad smells. I love my Bath&Bodyworks soaps, lotions and body sprays, but for the first few weeks or so, I would gag at the smell of them. Therefore, I had to stop using them. On top of the smell bothering me, my skin was even more sensitive than it was before pregnancy. Time to go the hypoallergenic route. I researched different kind of hypoallergenic soaps and other beauty products and found the below ones worked swell during and even after pregnancy:

All the products in the picture are hypoallergenic, except for the toothpaste and deodorant.

1. The shampoo and conditioner by Suave have a very light fragrance to it and really cleans the hair. It happens to be one of the most inexpensive shampoos and conditioners out there! It was on sale at my local grocery store for .88 last week! One of the nice things during pregnancy for me, is that my hair wouldn't get oily for days! I could go without washing it for a few days.

2. Next is the Aveeno Daily MoisturizingBody Wash. This stuff is amazing and gets rid of dry skin within a week. However, it does have a faint fragrance to it that could be bothersome during pregnancy.

3. The Aveeno Positively Radiant DailyScrub is a gentle scrubbing cleanser for sensitive skin. I used it every day with that Oil of Olay spinny brush thing on the lowest spinny cycle.

4. This Degree MotionSense deodorant is amazing and it's going to be your best friend throughout pregnancy! Because you are pregnant, your body temperature is slightly higher than normal, to incubate your growing baby. I was hot ALL the time and I needed a deodorant that I could count on, since I was continuously on the move. This MotionSense is awesome!

5. The Ponds face lotion I was using before pregnancy and it just so happens to be hypoallergenic and has a slight scent to it. The moisture level lasts all day! It isn't greasy and doesn't clog your pores. I still wore it during the summer to keep moisture in, even though I probably didn't need it.

6. Don't shy away from The Dove Sensitiveskin bar right away thinking that it will dry out your skin, because it won't. My skin literally feels velvety after using it and the feeling lasts all day. It is fragrance free, hypoallergenic. I use it now after pregnancy and just love it. Plus it's only a few bucks for 2 bars!

7. Last but not least, toothpaste. Because of the hormones, pregnant women are more susceptible to developing gingivitis. During my pregnancy, I actually used the Crest ProHealth Clinical Gum Protection to help protect my teeth and gums, but now I am back to the regular ProHealth.

Last but not least: Almond Oil

I want to recommend almond oil over any other type of oil used to soothe stretch marks after pregnancy or to provide moisture to the belly during pregnancy.  I never once got stretch marks when I was pregnant.  However, 2 hours after the C-section they appeared.  I guess when you remove an almost 9 pound baby from a 4 inch incision the skin is going to stretch a little.  I researched different types of moisturizers to soothe the stretch marks (because they won't ever go away.  In time they will fade to a silvery white color).  The almond oil is natural, smooth and does not have a scent to it.  I use this oil after each shower on the stretch marks and then I use some at night when I massage the c-section incision and areas around it. 

When you rub oil onto your skin, your skin absorbs the oil into your body.  Almond oil and coconut oil are both natural, non-synthetic oils that are safe for your skin.  Here is a great article as to why baby oil or mineral oil is not so safe for your skin (or baby's skin):

I continued to use all of these products after pregnancy, because they really had positive results. I still haven’t used any of my many Bath & Bodyworks products, because I don’t want my baby smelling like them.  He is in my arms a lot and skin to skin with me at least 15 minutes a day. Until we are done with breastfeeding, the smelly stuff is going to stay in the box.

I have complied all the beauty products talked about in this post into my Amazon store

Pumping and Storing

This is the MOTHER of all posts in this blog.  I can't tell you how excited I am to share with you my secrets to pumping and storing breastmilk.  If you are a new mom, a veteran mom or a woman who is about to be a mom and is wondering about pumping and storing breastmilk, then you have come to the right place for answers!  

First thing's first:  Pumps
I only have experience with one kind of pump:

I can tell you that I love this pump and I probably wouldn't go with any other brand.  I don't have anything else to compare it to, but Medela has been around for a very long time and they strive on quality assurance in their factory.  Double Electric Breastpumps are expensive.  This one runs about $300.  I got mine for around $150.  How?  I'll tell ya:
I had a 20% off coupon for buybuybaby and some store credit from stuff I received as gifts on my baby registry that I realized I would never, ever use such as an ass wipe warmer, newborn bibs (my kid has a huge head!) portable diaper changing pad kit (seriously, something else to drag around? no thanks) A&D diaper ointment (pediatrician recommends Vaseline over that stuff) a $50 crib mobile that baby would have never looked at (it really just went with the theme to the nursery...which he is never in, but that's for a different post!) and a few other random things.

How to get a free Double Electric Breastpump:
If you have health insurance you may be eligible for a free or reduced priced double electric breastpump.  No, they aren't used.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 has a section of this law that covers breastfeeding support and supplies.  If you have insurance through your employer, then chances are they have implemented this law as of 2012.  Check with your insurance company to see if you are eligible to receive the benefits of this law.  I checked with my insurance company a few weeks after Baby D was born and unfortunately, I was "grandfathered" into my plan and could not participate in these benefits.  This happened, because the coverage was able to be implemented with insurance companies after August 1, 2012 and my employer renews their policy July 1st; therefore I was grandfathered into it and not eligible for coverage.  Once my employer renews the policy with the insurance company on July 1st, 2013, the ACA coverage will be implemented and I will then be eligible for coverage.  I know, blah blah do we get a free pump?!?!  I have an HMO, so everything goes through my primary physician first.  In this case, it would go through my OB/GYN.  She has a list of approved manufacturers of double electric breastpumps to choose from.  She then writes a referral to the manufacturer and then I get a free pump!  I'm seriously thinking about participating in this benefit, because it's no cost to me.  I can keep one at home and then use the other one at work.

Second Thing: Pump and Store Bottles and Storage Bags

You will need extra bottles to pump in and storage bags to store breastmilk in.  Start out by buying about 75 storage bags (25-count of 3 boxes), four 4-5oz bottles,  four 8oz bottles and Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags .  If you know me, you know that I am a HUGE fan of Amazon Prime.  

Third Thing: Storage Supplies
  • Avery Labels #5267
  • Calendar 
  • Dollar Store Plastic Drawer Organizer
Last Thing: Confidence and Commitment
You are an amazing woman who has come a long way from conception, to the ups and downs of pregnancy all the way to labor and delivery of the birth of your child.  Pumping and storing milk is just another step that you are going to tackle and master, just like you did with every other step leading up to this point!  Ready....Set....PUMP!

Process to Pumping and Storing Breastmilk

Introduction:  After the first month of birth, you should get into a regular routine of pumping and storing breastmilk.  If you are a working or stay-at-home mom, then the first part of this section applies to you.  If you go back to work soon, then the second section will be helpful to you.  If your baby is going through a growth spurt and cluster feeding, there will probably be no time to pump.  Baby D cluster fed during his 3rd week of life...he fed on the hour, every hour for about 10 days.  If that experience wasn't enough to bring me to my knees of formula, nothing will!

Part I: Pumping and Storing Breastmilk at Home
  • Label the date and time onto an Avery label and stick it on the body of the 5oz bottle before you start pumping into it.  If you are just starting to pump and your Medela pump came with the 2oz storage containers, pump into that if you are only producing 1-2oz per feeding:
  • Once baby is full from feeding on one side, pump the other side into a 5oz bottle or a 2oz snappy lid storage container immediately after baby has fed.  If you are just starting to pump, don't get discouraged if you only get 1-2oz of expressed breastmilk.  During the first month baby will only consume 1-3oz of breastmilk.  The 1-2oz of breastmilk that you expressed is a perfect amount!

  • Take out a Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bag and write the same date and time onto the bag along with the amount of oz of breastmilk that is on the bottle you pumped into:  

  • Carefully, pour the newly expressed breastmilk into the storage bag.  Squeeze the air out of the top of it and seal it closed with the two zip top fasteners:
  • Place the bag sitting straight up in the plastic bin labeled 1-2+oz.  If you pumped more than 2.5oz, then place it in the other bin labeled 2-4+oz (I am using 4oz in the example below).  Put the plastic bin in the waaaaaay back part of the refrigerator.  When you store the next bag of expressed breastmilk, place the new bag behind the older bag.  That way if you end up using expressed breastmilk instead of freezing it, you are using the oldest one first.  The reason why  you would use the oldest one first, is because it will expire first.
  • Repeat this process throughout the day.  I started with pumping once a day and then increased it up to four times a day. 
  • At the end of the day, mark off the date on the calendar.  This will help you keep track of the date that is labeled to your expressed milk:
  • Expressed breastmilk can be stored in a standard refrigerator for 3-8 days.  Always go with the minimum instead of the maximum, even if you aren't planning on freezing the milk and instead going to give it to baby.  Remember, FRESH IS BEST!
  • On the fourth day, if you did not use the expressed breastmilk, take it of the refrigerator and massage the contents.  You will notice that the milk has expanded and separated in the bag with the fatty goodness on top.  Never shake breastmilk, as you will break apart the proteins and fats.  After massaging the bag, lay it flat in the freezer.

  • After the contents are frozen (I would wait 24 hours before moving it), place the frozen breastmilk in a storage container within the freezer.  Do NOT waste your money on something like this.  I bought it and the damn bags wouldn't even fit in it.  I had to angle them to fit and I seriously could only fit 5 bags of frozen breasmilk in there.  A shoe box would be a better storage container!  No really, if you have a shoe box, use it as a frozen breastmilk storage container!  I never use my freezer in the garage, so I just stored the milk in the door. It is recommended that you store frozen breastmilk in the back of the freezer.  You want to keep it as cold as possible and if the breastmilk is being exposed to the outside air (which is much warmer than the freezer) then you run the risk of the breastmilk's temperature changing or even thawing.  

(my stock has since grown)
  • Store breastmilk in various amounts.  In my stock I have bags with 1oz, 2oz, 2.5oz, 3oz, 3.5oz and 4oz.  Do not ever put more than 4oz of breastmilk in these bags.  Breastmilk expands when it is frozen and you don't want the bag to burst open in the freezer.

Part II: Pumping at Work

Maternity leave has ended and it's time to go back to work. Congratulations for making the decision to continue to nourish your baby with breastmilk, even when going back to work!  I thought long and hard about the pumping process at work.  I wanted pumping at work to not be something that I worried about, because my job is demanding.  Before having a baby, I rarely took breaks.  I would eat at my desk and sometimes run over to the Walgreens right up the road to just get out of the office for 15 minutes.  Now that I have made the decision to continue to breastfeed my baby, that all has changed.  The labor law in my state says that I am supposed to get two 15 minute paid breaks and an unpaid hour break.  Now I have something worth taking a break!

Scope out a place to pump at work BEFORE you go on maternity leave, because the first day back to work, you will need to pump.  Check out this website to read about your rights to pumping at work in your state.

You will need to pump at least 3 times during the day for about 10 minutes, at work, to keep your milk supply.  I use the Dr. Brown's bottles for Baby D.  This type of bottle mimics the breast, by not letting air in or out of the bottle.  This is especially good to help reduce gas and to keep the nutrients from the breastmilk IN the breastmilk.  Here is a clip on how these bottles work:
Yes, these bottles have extra parts and you will probably spend an extra 15-20 minutes each day washing and sanitizing bottles, but I think it's worth it.  You work so hard to provide milk for your baby, why would you let some of those nutrients just go to waste in a regular bottle?

Supplies Needed to Pump at Work:
  1. Breast Pump: If you are using a Medela pump, bring the pump, 2 shields, 2 valves and 2 connectors.  In addition to this, bring a few spare parts in case one drops on the ground or a membrane rips.  I have a separate little bag in my pump bag with spare parts that are sanitized.

    Pack spare membranes in case one rips
  2. Bottle Storage Bag and Ice Pack: I bought this one on Amazon for about $10 and it is awesome! It stores up to six bottles.  I only use four at a time for pumping at work with the Medela Ice Pack that came with my pump.  The top part of the bag stores 2 Medela shields, 2 valves and 2 connectors perfectly!

    This bag comes in a few different colors: blue, green, and pink. I also bought a blue one to transport the bottles from the day before to Baby D's childcare provider.
  3. Bottles: Bring four bottles in the bottle bag.  If you are just starting to pump, then you will need nine 4-5oz bottles (or three boxes of the 3-pack).  If your baby consumes more than that (around 3 and a half months Baby D started to drink four 4.5-5oz of breastmilk while I was at work), then you will need nine 8oz bottles (or three boxes of the 3-pack).  Why are you getting 18 bottles?  I'll tell ya.  You will need four bottles today to pump in and store the breastmilk in for tomorrow.  Tomorrow, you are going to need four more bottles to pump in and store breastmilk in for the next day.  This process repeats Monday through Friday. You really only need eight, but again if something happens to one of the bottles you want to have a backup.  Unless you have a hungry kid like mine, then the extra one comes in handy.

  4. Burp Cloth: Two reasons to bring the burp cloth: 1-You will need something to place on your lap while you are pumping, because when you are finished there is a chance that a few drops of breastmilk will drip out of the breast pump shield onto your lap!  And if you haven't had experience with breastmilk before, it stains.  The contents of the milk have fat and proteins in it and will therefore leave an oily spot on your clothes.  I have had to throw away a few tops because of the stains. 2-You will want something to remind you of your little one, especially if you are having problems with let-down.  Relax! Take a deep breath and a big gulp of water.  The best pump for your milk supply is your baby, but since baby can't be with your right now you may want to think of him to help with let-down.  I brought a pair of his PJs one day and draped them over my shoulder.  It felt like he was there.
  5. Entertainment: If you have a tablet or smartphone, bring it with you when you pump.  This is the time I catch up on Facebook, personal emails and random baby articles.  I also have tons of photos of Baby D that I look at to help with let-down.
    (Yeah, I had to take a picture of my phone with my iPad, but check out those baby apps...oh yeeeeeaaaah)
  6. Water: You can't produce breastmilk without drinking water, so drink up.  I drink almost two of these bad boys everyday.  That ends up being around 3.78 liters of water (I factor in my 2 cups of a caffeinated beverage and all the running around that I do).  If you drink coffee, pop or any other type of caffeinated beverage, you will need to drink a little bit more water since caffeine is a diuretic (any substance that promotes or increases the production of urine).  A good way of finding out how much water you need is take your weight and divide it by 2.  The result is the amount of water you should consume on a daily basis in ounces.  For example, an average woman weighs 160lbs.  160 divided by 2 is 80; therefore she needs to drink 80oz or a litter over 2 liters of water a day.I got this at Meijer for about $8.  But you can get one guessed it...AMAZON!

  7. Optional Sanitizing Wipes and Steam Cleaning Bags: I bought pacifier wipes to guessed it...pacifiers.  I then read an article from the American Academy of Pediatrics that sanitizing your baby's pacifier by sucking on it could help protect your baby from developing certain allergies. If you don't already, follow them on Facebook.

    Ok, so I wasted $4; this won't be the last time I do that and it's definitely not the first time.  I now use them to wipe off my pump parts that...yep you guessed it...fall on the floor.  I'm such a clutz that it wouldn't surprise me if I spilled an entire bottle of milk on the floor. I would just cry if that happened.  That's where that saying, "Don't cry over spilled milk" came from.  Also, Medela makes these handy Steam Cleaning bags to sanitize pump parts in the microwave.  I have only used the bags a couple of times when I was too lazy or tired to clean just four parts.  You can use the bag up to 10 times, I think.  Needless to say, I also have these in my pump bag, just in case.

    (I was at a red light when I took the picture)

Ready, Set, Pump!

  1. When you get to work, immediately put your bottle storage bag (with ice pack and bottles) into the fridge
  2. Break #1 
  3. Grab your pump, water and your bottle storage bag and bring to the room in which you are pumping in
  4. Lay the burp cloth on your lap
  5. Drink water
  6. Twist on two bottles to the pump connectors and pump for 10 minutes
  7. Disconnect the bottles from the connectors and pour the contents of one bottle into the other.  You never want to mix cold breastmilk with warm breastmilk!
  8. Put the bottle tops on both bottles and put back into the bottle storage bag
  9. Do a quick wipe down of the pump shields and place the pump shields, connectors and valves in the top zipper part of the bottle storage bag
  10. Put the bottle storage bag back in the fridge (there is no need to clean or sanitize the pump shield, valve or connectors.  The milk that is on them will keep in the fridge.)
  11. Break #2
  12. Repeat steps 3-6 (in step 6 this time, grab a bottle that you have not pumped in and the one you pumped into on the first break and connect them to the pump)
  13. Repeat step 7 (You should now have two bottles with breastmilk in them and two without)
  14. Repeat steps 8-10
  15. Break #3
  16. Repeat steps 3-6 (You should now have all four bottles with breastmilk in them)
  17. Repeat step 8-10
  18. Set an alarm on your phone 10 minutes before you go home to remind you to get the bottles out of the fridge.  

Part III: Cleaning and Sanitizing Process

Intro: Take care of baby, your significant other and any other tasks included in your nightly routine.  Don't let cleaning and sanitizing bottles run your night. After Baby D is asleep is when I start the cleaning and sanitizing process.  I want to spend as much time with him during waking hours as possible and by the time I pick him up from our childcare provider, he has about 2 hours (at the most) before he is ready for bed.  The below process is the one I have been using since the very start of pumping at work.

  1. As soon as you get home, put the bottle storage bag with the breastmilk you expressed today, into the fridge and the ice pack into the freezer. (I got into the habit of putting the bottle storage bag on the floor of the car in front of the seat that the car seat is in.  That way,  I see it when I get Baby D out of the car.  I set Baby D, who is in his car seat, down on the  kitchen floor and put the bottle storage bag in the fridge)
  2. See Intro above
  3. Fill the kitchen sink with warm (not hot) soapy water.  There is no need to buy expensive bottle soap.  Soap is soap.  I used to use my regular dish soap until I found a deal on Amazon for the Palmolive Baby soap.  For under $30 you can get three 20oz bottles of this soap, which is hypoallergenic BTW! There is a fragrance to it.  Some people hate it, I happen to enjoy it! It smells like a fresh baby.  Plus, the fragrance will go away after the bottles have been sanitized. Don't waste your money on the Dapple soap.  It's expensive ($13 for a 16.9oz bottle) and does the same exact thing.
The asterisk after Removes milk refers to whole milk and formula, but it takes the film off the bottles from breastmilk as well. 

  1. Wash the pump parts that you used today to pump: 2 shields, 2 connectors, 2 valves with membranes on them (to reduce the risk of ripping the membranes, just leave them connected to the valves).
  2. Wash the Dr. Brown's bottles and its parts.  I use the munkins bottle brushes for all the stuff that I wash.  The pink one works great for nipples, because it has softer, wider bristles and the green one works great for the Dr. Brown's bottle parts, because it has firm, narrow bristles.  I use the blue brush for everything else. I recently purchased the Dr. Brown's bottle brush for under $6 at BRU and it is much better than the blue munchkin brush! It comes with a suction cup stand that enables the brush to stand up and dry. Also, the blue sponge at the top really cleans off breastmilk residue! This is a must buy!

Check out this one!!  Super Deluxe!
This is the normal Dr. Brown's brush.


I keep the brushes in plastic drawer organizer that I bought from the dollar store by the side of the sink.  Separating the brushes from my other kitchen utensils lessons the chance that other food particles get on them.  Once a week I will throw the brushes in the sanitizer with the bottles and other stuff.

  1. Load all the washed and rinsed bottles and pump parts into your sanitizer.  I HIGHLY recommend the Cuisinart Baby Sanitizer.  You can fit a lot of stuff in there!
  2. After the stuff has been sanitized, put them onto a drying rack or a drying pad.  I have both.  It depends on how much stuff I have to dry which will determine what I use, but typically I use the $10 drying rack from The First Years.  You don't need to spend extra money on name brand drying racks like the Dr. Brown's one or those new ones that look like grass.  You can barley fit anything on those grass drying racks anyway.
    Or both
  3. Wait until morning to pack your bottle storage bag with the ice pack and the newly cleaned bottles and pump parts to make sure they are dry.  If there is a little condensation inside the bottles, no big deal.  Pack 'em up anyway.  A little moisture never hurt anyone.  Plus the bottles are going to be in the fridge all day, besides when you are pumping.
  4. Speaking of moisture.....if you notice that the tubing to your Medela pump has moisture in it, run the pump with only the tubing connected to it for 2 minutes after each time you pump.
     After 2 Minutes
  5. If you can't spare those two minutes at work, then do it at home while you are washing the bottles and pump parts.  2 minutes on a double-electric Medela pump ends when the pump starts the "let-down" cycle.  You will hear the pump's motor rhythm change to a slower paced pump.  If you still see moisture in the tubes, continue to run the pump for a few more minutes.
And those are my secrets to pumping and storing breastmilk!

Q: "I'm ready to start pumping to store breastmilk, but after I feed baby my breasts don't feel full enough to pump.  Am I going to be able to get milk out if I pump?"

A: Yes.  Let's look at the science of the breasts when you pump or feed baby.  When baby latches onto your breast and begins sucking, the stimulation from the nipple tells your brain to produce a chemical called oxytocin.  Oxytocin is the hormone that triggers the "let-down reflex" and expresses milk out of the nipple.  Your body does the same thing when you use a pump to express breastmilk.  Even if your breasts don't feel full, you will be amazed that you are still able to express breastmilk.

Q:"I just started to pump after baby fed on one side and I am only able to get 1 oz!  Is there something wrong?"

A:  No.  If baby is older than a month, but younger than two months and you are only getting 1-2oz of breastmilk after you pump, then chances are that is all that baby is eating per feeding.  You will notice that you will be able to express more breastmilk as baby grows.  For example, when Baby D was 2 months old, I expressed 1 to 1.5oz at the beginning of the month.  Towards the end of 2 months I was able to express 1.5 to 2oz of breastmilk.  By the 3rd month I was able to express 2.5-4oz of breastmilk and now at 4 months I can get anywhere from 4-7oz of expressed breastmilk.  See the pattern?  The older baby is, the more he or she will eat.  Your breasts only produce as much as baby eats.  Even if your baby is going through a feeding frenzy, your breasts will work overtime to make sure that he or she is getting the right amount of milk at each feeding.  Our boobs are smart....haha...that's an boobs...get it? Aaaaanyway.....

Q:"My baby eats every 2-3 hours for 30-40 minutes at each side and is almost 2 months old.  I can't find time to pump! Help!"

A: If your baby's weight gain is on track and he is not going through a growth spurt, then you don't need to keep him at the breast for 40 minutes on each side.  After 20 minutes on one side, if baby is still eating, all he is doing is burning calories.  During the first 10 minutes of let-down is the foremilk.  This is the low calorie milk.  The next 10 minutes is the hindmilk that contains all the good fats and proteins (the stuff that you have to scrub off the bottles).  After that, it's back to the low cal stuff.  I was told by Baby D's pediatrician to only let him at each breast for 20 minutes.  Each pediatrician may have their own expert advice, so if you aren't sure how long to feed baby, check with the doc.

Back to Home Back to Top