Pump it up

Lots of athletic events going down over here for a 40-week pregnant chica.

Like a half marathon


(or the one-hour walk that felt like one)

and an intense swim


(aka the act of flipping from side-to-side whilst in the bathtub. The octopus thing is a thermometer so the water doesn’t get over 100*).

You know.

As far as the walking thing goes, it’s an equal mix of ungainly and amazing. It’s challenging, but it’s great way to help the baby ease herself into a proper position for birth, and I enjoy walking while reading the Kindle. The woman who ran the marathon at full term blows my mind. I’ve managed to stay very active throughout the entire pregnancy, with things only coming to a major slowdown in the past couple of weeks, but I couldn’t imagine running 26.2 miles.

Is it possible to have contractions in your hips?

I Googled that this morning after a very long and painful night of contractions, back pain and hip pain. I found a few vague answers but was wondering if anyone else has experienced it. The really interesting tihng is that everyone experiences labor differently- some feel it all in their backs, for others it’s like intense menstrual cramps (which is a lot like what I’ve experienced so far), others hardly feel it at all. Of course, I was really excited to think I might actually be going into labor this morning, but when I slithered into the bathtub and the pain melted away, it proved me wrong. It all makes sense that so many women choose to have water births (our hospital won’t allow it- you can labor in the tub but have to get out before you push).

Trying to be as productive as possible over here so I don’t go crazy waiting, I finally ordered the breast pump. The only reason I’ve been avoiding it: it’s expensive –I always thoroughly research products that cost more than a couple hundred dollars- and the thought of being “milked” is a little strange to me. In the end, I’m sure I’ll be glad I have it. I only leave the house to work 3 days each week, but it will be nice to build up a stash of milk in the freezer.

image Medela

I probably won’t be using the pump for the firs couple of weeks, but please let me know if you have any tips!

Dinner date and movie with Tom, since we never know if it will be our last date night for a little while 😉

Head’s up: The above long-sleeved tee was sent to me from my friends at For Two Fitness, after I bought two tanks earlier in the pregnancy (remember this one?) and raved about them. The long-sleeve tee is a different material, which is a little heavy to me with my extra body furnace, but it’s perfect for lounging or walking in. They have a ton of cute designs and sayings- a perfect gift for an expecting fitness-y friend.

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  1. jessica h on January 3, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Pumping=very awkward but gets easier! What I did was pump one breast and then feed off of the other..then swap a couple of feedings later(the other feedings I used both breasts)..also in the morning your breasts are very full so I would always have my daughter nurse on one and pump the other to release the pressure!

  2. Lyndsay on January 3, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I have this EXACT one. One tip was to put lanolin cream or oil on the funnel thing that “attaches” to you. You get a much better suction in the early weeks of pumping when your breasts aren’t used to being uh….pulled…like that.

  3. Tiffany on January 3, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    It’s good that you spent the money on an electric pump- I started with a manual one and it took forever! I now have the same pump you ordered and I love it. I’m working now so I pump twice a day, feel free to ask if you have any questions. The hands free bra is amazing because it actually takes a while to pump and it gets kind of tiring holding it in the right position! I got one of these and I love it- http://www.snugabell.com/. I’m so happy for you- you’ll be meeting your baby so soon!

  4. Ashley @ For Two Fitness on January 3, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks for the adorable, amazing photo of you in our “body by baby” tee! You look fantastic! By the way, I have the same pump, and I’m telling you – get the ridiculous looking bra that makes it “hands free”. 🙂 Not like you’ll be vacuuming and cooking at the same time or anything, but it helps a LOT. Ooohh, so excited – cannot wait for the big day! We are glued to your blog and look forward to the happy news.

  5. Karen on January 3, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Hi Gina, I’m a fairly new reader of your blog. You look amazing and seem to have an excellent approach and attitude going into your delivery! My kids are a little older, so it’s been some time since I was pregnant, etc., but my advice to you…and I know it’s so hard…is to just savor these last days and rest, rest, rest too! I know it’s nearly impossible to get real sleep right now. You are about to have a whirlwind of an amazing experience, which won’t include lots of sleep or relaxation, and so many changes are coming your way! Both of my babies went past my due dates by 7 & 10 days(not to scare you), and those are some long days, as you know. Be flexible when it comes to labor, breastfeeding and pumping! Sometimes nature has it’s own ideas about what’s right for both mom and baby! It sounds so basic, but I would have loved to have a veteran mom tell me it’s all going to be just fine back when I was just starting out! All the best to you as you enter this most amazing time of your life! There’s truly nothing like being a mom!!!!

  6. lisa on January 4, 2012 at 12:01 am

    My best pumping advice is yes, start early. Pump in the storage bags and freeze them flat then you can stack them in date order (oldest first) in an empty baby wipes container in the freezer. I did this before I started going back to work and was so thankful to have a good supply and not have to stress. The flat bags are so simple to thaw too, just set the bag in a cup of warm water for a couple minutes. Congratulations on your baby!

  7. Ali on January 4, 2012 at 2:09 am

    I bet Tom will love to be able to feed the little one too! Good idea to get the pump girl. <3

  8. Michelle on January 4, 2012 at 2:44 am

    I personally preferred the manual pump. Nursing was really painful for me in the beginning and with the manual one, you control the speed/strength easier. It does take a little longer but I didn’t mind. Plus it fits right in my diaper bag which is perfect for trips. I can pump in the car (<- with nursing cover!) right into her bottle. You'll figure out what works for you.

    I didn't start building up my freezer stash until Avery slept through the night which was 2 months. I'd have to wake up half way through the night and pump and that would always just go in the freezer since by morning I'd have enough for another full feeding. So it might be a little longer before you start pumping for excess milk.

  9. La. on January 4, 2012 at 2:53 am

    I had TERRIBLE cramping in my hips and my midwife told me to up my magnesium. Worked like a charm and I haven’t had a cramp there since! I’m in week 36 and keep checking your blog for the excitement!

  10. Hannah on January 4, 2012 at 3:32 am

    Hi there. I experinced posterier labours for 2 out of 3 babies. I also had extreme hip pain. It was hard to explain and at times drove me crazy. Every women is different in labour, I totally get that, but for me, as much as I LOVED being in the water as it helps with pain, it helped a bit too much. As in, stopped my contractions. Causes them to ease. In the case of my 3rd baby, my midwife (who I had had for previous births) actually had to say to me, “I’m really sorry Hannah, I don’t want you to hop into the bath” because I tended to have long labours… (possibly slowed by the relaxation of the bath). My last baby, I did not hop in the water at all, and he was my fastest. I LOVE the water tho and love the idea of it, but if I had to pick in my case a 6hr labour, or the 30 hr labour, I’d go for the faster one lol. I wonder how water will be for you! As it’s your first baby, I’d say, go for it! Labour as long as you can in the bath. If things are taking their time and you are not dilating and you are beginning to feel tired, then perpaps hop out. OR next time you feel contractiosn and think ‘this could be it’… DON’T hop in the bath to relax. Instead, see if the contractions come thicker?! Either way, it’s an exciting time! Truly amazing. x

  11. Sarah on January 4, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I am a new mom and I have that same pump. Best money I spent on anything! My only advice is to start pumping early. The lactation nurse started me pumping in the hospital because I had a super sleepy baby that wouldn’t latch for long enough to eat very much. I really believe that it helped my milk to come in stronger and faster. I also decided not to give her a bottle until after she was two weeks old. I just put any extra milk I pumped into the freezer. Three of my friends had babies within the same month, didn’t pump in the hospital, started their babies on bottles early, and seem to be having a lot of milk supply issues. I cannot promise that is the reason… but it’s the only thing I did differently than they did! Now she is 5 weeks old and a great eater from bottle or breast.

  12. Ashley on January 4, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Make sure you label your breast milk morning or evening, if you pump at night your milk has melatonin to help the baby sleep… when you’re feeding you’ll want to make sure you’re not giving her morning milk at night… for obvious reasons 🙂

  13. Marianna on January 4, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I have the same breast pump, and I love it. I have tried others, but Medela has my heart. As a full time working mom with a baby who is exclusively on breast milk, my best advice is this: in the beginning breast feed only, do not pump. I only say this because we battled improper latch on my right side, which led to cracks and bleeding (not fun), and I had the bright idea of trying to pump that side instead of letting my baby nurse…WORST.IDEA.EVER. Let your breasts and nipples get used to being pulled on like that and toughen up so to speak, before you go and try to pump milk for storage. In my experience your body will produce PLENTY of milk early on, especially with your little one nursing every 2 hours or so, so there is no need to worry about storage in the early phases. Now that I am back at work Monday through Friday 7 am – 5 pm, I pump several times a day to maintain my milk supply. I double pump, and am able to multi-task without using a special pump bra. I tuck the breast shield into my nursing bra, and the suction pressure of the pump keeps it in place – it takes some practicing, but it’s a talent worth mastering 🙂 Also, on the Medela pump in style, you can use pretty much any bottle base you want, as long as it is a standard bottle and not a wide mouth, instead of buying only Medela storage bottles or bags. I know for a fact Lansinoh and Dr. Brown’s bottles work for breast milk collection, since I use them for milk storage in the fridge. My last bit of (probably useless) information is that with all three of my labors, my contractions were in the front, like mestrual cramps, and no back labor at all. I found that being in a hot shower helped immensly. There was something about the hot water spraying on my back while I leaned against the wall and focused on my breathing that just helped me to relax and enabled my labor to progress very quickly. I was also very very lucky that all of my labors were short, my longest labor was my middle child which was just shy of 9 hours from start to finish. Well, it’s time to pump, so I better get to it. Good luck 🙂

  14. Marianna on January 4, 2012 at 9:19 am

    One other thing I forgot to mention, I also did not give my daughter any bottles or pacifiers in the first 6 weeks, I only offered the breast. If you offer a bottle instead of the breast, my lactation consultant told me I would need to pump to simulate that feeding and not casue issues with my milk supply. I know some women who feel they are the human pacifier during that time, and offer the pacifier or bottle instead of nursing because they want a break, but I personally don’t reccommend that. I have had no issues with milk supply, and I work 50 hours a week and commute 1.5 hours per day. I credit my good milk production to my beginning routines of breast only, and drinking at least 3 liters of water per day. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask, I have learned so much through trial and error, and I would hate for a woman not to experience the joy of breastfeeding becasue they hit a snag and gave up, when it is something that can be worked through if only they had someone to ask 🙂

  15. R @ Learning As I Chop on January 4, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I’ve had pains in my hips too. I don’t know if they’re contractions or just more loosening going on. You’ve inspired me! It’s 15 degrees in NYC but I’m gonna go for a nice walk on the treadmill later today.

  16. Nicole on January 4, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I love my Medela pump! Make sure you establish an effective latch prior to giving a bottle or pacifer, but do not wait to long to introduce a bottle. I waited one month and my little one would not take one at all. Can’t wait to read the news about the arrival of your newest addition!

  17. Michelle on January 4, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Well, as you can see, everyone has had different experiences with everything from pregnancy, to labor, to breastfeeding. Everyone has different advice and opinions. You’re really doing a great job. I understand that you’re probably,..well, every emotion in the book right now. Excited, terrified, nervous, impatient, etc. Just do what works for you and Tom. He will be a great coach whether it’s during labor/delivery or supporting you through breastfeeding. A lot of the beginning is trial and error and simply finding what works for you and your baby. You’ll get there and you’ll be a FANTASTIC mom to a beautiful baby!

  18. Kara on January 4, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I exclusively pumped for 3 months, so I’m well acquainted with that thing. 🙂 My tip is to take an old sports bra and cut slits in it and then PRESTO, you have a hands free pump and you can read blogs while you pump.

    Also, if you switch back to the “stimulation” phase halfway through a pumping session, you might be able to get a second let down.

  19. Noelle on January 4, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I had the same one and it was great. Yea I agree with Kara, make a hands free ‘device’ or buy a hands free bra, I always thought the pump would stay put but you have to hold it in place which is kind of complicated and awkward to get into position, but the bra has to be REALLY tight or else you’ll spill milk all over yourself. I did a terrible job. I gave up exclusively breastfeeding after like 2 days and started pumping because it hurt, so milk was pretty low, if I had to do it all over again, I would tough it out and breast feed the baby exclusively and pump after each session to up my supply. Good luck!

  20. ErikaMC on January 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    That’s the same pump I have and I like it – it is a little heavy to carry around but you can also staff extra stuff in there and eliminate one bag. Pumping was very intimidating to me at first – how long, how often, etc.??? What I would recommend is to start right away. Also, pump about an hour / hour and a half after your first feeding in the morning (that is when you’ll probably get the most milk out). I pump for 10-15 minutes at a time so it’s about the same amount of time as a feeding. Gradually increase the strength of the pump. Also, you will have milk in you if you pump and than your little one decides right then that he/she is hungry – that was a huge worry for me, but you will have milk!

  21. Jessica@Fruit and Veggie Tales on January 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    With my second baby, I only had contractions in my hips. I told my midwife that when I called her and it’s a good thing she came over even though I told her I would be fine for a while because she barely made it to my son’s waterbirth! 😉 I’m sure anything is normal with pregnancy and birth, there is such a wide range of things. It could just be your hips widening and loosening to prepare for labor. As far as the pump goes, just be sure to keep your tubing dry. Sometimes water can get in the tubing from washing the pump accesories and that creates sloppy suction which will hurt you. If you notice water in your tubes, just pour some rubbing alcohol in them and swish it out. Everything else is pretty standard but you may not get as much with the pump especially at first so try to keep your mind off of how much you are getting and don’t look down much. I always got more milk when I wasn’t stressed about it.

  22. Bree on January 4, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I don’t have any advice on pumping, but thanks for asking the question. The comments were very helpful for me to read. I have the same pump on my Amazon wish list. Good to see it’s worked so well for others.

    You look great! I hope to still be walking at the end, but I feel so huge already with two. I made it to 20 weeks (so far) running, but I think my time is drawing to a close.

  23. Rachel on January 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    The pump is great for storing milk, but I’m convinced that it’s true purpose is relief for the mom… when your breasts are so full they ache like crazy, but the baby isn’t ready to nurse yet, that pump will become your best friend. It will feel so good (in a strange, kinda gross and totally non-sexual way). You’ll understand when you get there 🙂

    But be warned… you will be made fun of. It looks ridiculous, but you won’t care!

  24. Christina on January 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I exclusively pumped while I was still able, so I am pro-pump, and honestly pro-feed-your-baby-even-if-formula. My only advice is to not open and wash any of the pump parts just yet. I say this because of my own experience.
    I was super pumped to breastfeed. I delivered at a hospital and knew I could rent a hospital grade pump, which work better than any market pumps, for at least a few months to establish a supply if necessary. Due to birthing complications, my son couldn’t latch for a few days. Then, when he did latch, my colostrum apparently did not do it’s job, even though he nursed like a champ for 20 minutes at a time. He had a blood sugar crash which scared me into exclusivley pumping in order to monitor his intake. I pumped like a mad woman, but pumping never stimulated my milk enough to produce a full day’s meals for him. I seriously pumped hours and hours a day, and after 6 weeks, even with herbs and lactation consulting, I only got 2 ounces. I also found out my son has MSPI and to continue to eat breastmilk I would have to eliminate most of my diet, which would further tank my supply.
    I am not the rule by any means. I just wanted to share with you because if it is possible for you to rent a pump for the first month, I would do so before using your own. That way, you get the benefit of the hospital grade pump to help with supply while you make certain that breastfeeding is something that can be accomplished. I waited to open my pump and luckily was able to return it. Pumps are super expensive, so I just wanted to pass that along to maybe help.
    I do truly hope that BFing goes very smoothly for you. It is a wonderful bonding experience as well as a perfect lifesource. But you already know that!

  25. Christina on January 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Also, hands free pumping is a must. especially when you need to pump between feeds and you are exhausted. I bought a pumpease bra and it was amazing. Lifesaver for the 6 weeks I used it.
    Also, A tip a lactation consultant shared with me: When you are done with the pump, store the horns in the fridge for up to 12 hours off and on. The milk inside will not go bad this way and it saves a ton of washing. I would take the horns and leave them attached to bottles and store in the fridge for 3 pumping sessions before washing.
    Also, medela quick steam bags are a lifesaver.

  26. jennifer on January 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I went back to work 6 weeks post partum & went a little crazy trying to get a freezer stash! I would just start about 2 weeks before going back, ur milk supply is greatest in the am so pumping after a morning feeding will give u plenty in the freezer. Plus, the milk u pump while ur at work will be used the next day so u really dont need a ton stocked up!

  27. katie on January 4, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Just wanted to comment that our little girl came a week early in October (my first) and I didn’t feel a thing leading up to it, no braxton hicks or what would be considered normal contractions. What I did have was weird inner thigh cramps that would stop me from walking at odd times in the day for about 6 weeks leading up to her birth. I thought it was residual effects from coming off one of those knee scooter things (i broke my ankle at 6 months and wasn’t allowed to walk on it for 8 weeks). All that to say after talking with my doctor I think those inner thigh cramps were my braxton hicks—so I definitely think women labor is very different ways! Good luck–its just as special as you think–I might also add her name is Olivia Grace, which I feel like Olivia could be one of the contenders for your name!

  28. jennifer on January 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Ps medela is the best!

  29. Calee (@chimes) on January 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I can’t even imagine walking (or moving) for an hour with that much baby in my belly. You are amazing! Let’s hope the baby makes it out (the right direction) soon!

  30. Jen @familyfoodfitnessandfun on January 4, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    The automatic breast pump was a life saver for me! Actually, I did use it the first few days after giving birth to help bring in my milk faster…the more pumping, the more production 🙂

  31. Julie on January 5, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Yes, pump in the first weeks because your milk is more plentiful. At about 10-12 weeks, your milk supply will match what the baby needs.

  32. Erica on January 5, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Great choice on the pump! It is awkward, but if breastfeeding and pumping work well for you, it can save you money in the long run! You might be surprised during the first few weeks, pumping a little before you feed the baby can help relieve engorgement when your milk is coming in. Good luck with your labor and delivery, and happy pumping mama!

  33. Shannon on January 5, 2012 at 11:45 am

    You seriously bought the BEST pump. I used that pump for almost a year and only had one issue that was addressed by Medela immediately (they overnighted a new pump to me). I have to agree with the other posters on here that you should try breastfeeding only in the first few weeks (sometimes it can be really hard at the beginning to get a proper latch and you and the baby are learning at the beginning). It really is the most amazing experience once you get past the initial hurdles (which you may not have any challenges at all :)). The one tip I have for milk storage is to make sure that you organize the milk using the oldest bags first. I used an old gift bag that I cut a small slot on the narrow side at the bottom (to remove bags). You just add newly pumped bags to the top. You will be a fantastic mama!

  34. Laury on January 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I have the same pump. I love it!!

    I”m sure you learned in your BF class to not even try pumping the first 3 weeks? I waited about 4 weeks and started freezing milk to go back to work.

    I had a really hard time with it in the beginning (pumping enough milk) but got the hang of it after a bit. My favorite tips, that I learned a little later were:

    -pump for 10 minutes after feedings a few feedings, you won’t get anything but it helps build your supply (especially if you plan to pump a lot b/c baby gets waaay more than pump so it’s good to do that)

    -pump after morning feedings. Ella nursed on one side in the beginning then would sleep so I would pump one side and get almost nothing. I found when I did both sides at once (even though she just nursed on the other side) I got WAY more milk. It also helped build my supply

    -freeze 2 ounces at a time <—honestly I never even freeze anymore at this point. It's great in the beginning when you're stocking up but I rarely do it unless I produce a ton and am not going to work for a few days

    -the pumping busier is the best invention ever

    I am sure you have tons of other great tips here..if I think of anything else I will let you know!


  35. Laura on January 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Best pump ever.

  36. Tiffany on January 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I have the same Medela pump and I use love it, I use it daily. I started pumping in addition to nursing the day I got home from the hospital. My milk came in within 36 hours and I had to pump immediately to relieve the intense pressure. I thought it would hurt or be uncomfortable, but it isn’t . My 7 week old actually nurses with more pressure than my pump. I mainly use it now to relieve pressure before some feedings so the baby will get more hindmilk as opposed to just foremilk because I have an overacting flow which sometimes chokes her up if I am too full.

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