Rose & Co Blog

Our Breastfeeding Journey-Tips and Tricks!

One of my all time favorite pictures Jake snapped when Sawyer was 8 weeks old.

After sharing all of the medical drama I was faced with last month, I had several readers reach out asking if I would share some of our breastfeeding journey, specifically how it has been since returning to work full time. I thought I would share some of our struggles, tips for pumping mamas, and why I feel so passionate about it in general.

I guess I’ll start by saying breastfeeding kind of freaked me out before I was the one doing it. I don’t know why, I know it’s natural and we’ve all heard “breast is best” but for some reason the whole thing just gave me the shivers. However, as soon as I became pregnant I had no doubts that is what I was going to do for our baby, although I didn’t have any problem considering formula feeding if breastfeeding wasn’t working. Afterall, I am a firm believer that “fed is best.”

That little guy latched right on within 15 minutes of being brought into the world. We did have to use a nipple shield for 3 or 4 days at first, but one day I was just too lazy to get up and wash it out, and he transitioned fine, so we threw that sucker in the trash! My milk didn’t come in until day 5, and when it did, holy cow (literally) it came in with a  vengence. Engorgement is so incredibly painful mixed with raw, bloody nipples and sleep deprivation, it’s no wonder many new mamas go a different route! However, I was determined to make it work. Before giving birth, I researched everything I could get my hands on in regards to breastfeeding. I became a woman obsessed with doing it and come hell or high water, this baby was going to be exclusively breastfed.

I made so much darn milk in the beginning I would have to pump using a hand pump for 2-3 minutes just to relieve some of the pressure so that Sawyer could latch on. When you’re that engorged, it’s like trying to make your baby suck on a wall and then its frustrating for baby and painful for mama and no one is happy. My hand pump was a lifesaver for weeks! That’s my first tip. Invest in a handpump for those early days. If your engorgement feels unbearable or you think your baby is unable to latch, give it a try! I ended up with Mastitis on day 12 of Sawyer’s life, and nursing him on that side was excrutiating, so the hand pump helped during that as well.

To be honest, the first 6 weeks of Sawyer’s life he was just attached to me 20 hours a day. We ended up co-sleeping at least half the night until he was 6 months old because it was just so much easier to nurse and sleep rather than getting up to nurse him in his room 20 times a night. Because of all that sucking, painful nipples are inevitable. Lanolin is your friend. Buy it in bulk. Slather it on after every feeding, every shower, every time you are hurting. Be generous with the lanolin. I stopped using it after 8 weeks because I just didn’t need it anymore, but I probably wouldn’t have made it this far without it!

When I returned to work after 12 weeks of maternity leave, I was nervous about pumping full-time and if I would be able to continue, but luckily I work at an amazing company that is incredibly supportive of breastfeeding mamas, and I would (and still do!) pump 3 times a day. Our schedule is something like: 6 AM-Nurse Sawyer and getting ready for work. 9:00 Pump (he gets a bottle at my moms) 12:00 pump (bottle) 3:00: pump (bottle) and when I pick him up I usually nurse once before dinner and once before bed.

I’ll be honest, when I first started pumping, it was horrible. It’s uncomfortable, you feel like a dairy cow, and I was always worried about making enough. It really faded into some of my favorite time of the day, though! Being a working mom is so hard because you are leaving your heart and soul with someone else for the day, and that makes you feel crummy. I hated not being there for every single feeding, every smile and giggle. Pumping and making Sawyer’s food with my own body gave me a feeling that I was doing what I could to care for him even if I wasn’t around. I also felt comforted that I was doing something for him that literally no one else could. It’s nice to be needed that way. J

I also discovered Perfect Latch Nipple Cushions that you insert into your pump and they make it so much more comfortable. I highly recommend investing in a set if you’re planning on pumping when returning to work! I didn’t start using them until a few months ago and I wish I had them from the beginning. Perfect latch has been so sweet to offer a coupon code for ya’ll so you can use Rose15 for 15% off your first set.   

Until we started on solids, I was pumping 16-20 ounces in those 3 sessions. Around 7 months we hit the triple whammy of supply decrease. We night-weaned Sawyer so he was sleeping through, my period came back, AND he started eating solids. I quickly noticed a stressful supply decrease. I am still following the above schedule, pumping 3 times a day at work and nursing 3 times throughout the day, but I am lucky to get 12 ounces in a day, most days topping out around 6. Although Sawyer eats lunch and dinner now, Breastmilk is still his primary source of nutrition so he gets three 4 ounce bottles a day, and when I can’t make 12 ounces, we have to remove some from the freezer. That stash of “milk for a rainy day” is getting dangerously low, so although I desperately wanted to make it to a year without ever having to formula feed Sawyer, I do think we may have to give one formula bottle a day pretty soon here. A great friend of mine uses Sammy’s Milk organic goats milk formula and that is what I plan to purchase if it gets to that point.

Breastfeeding has been the hands down most rewarding and wonderful journey. We have no plans of stopping any time soon, however, I do believe once Sawyer reaches that 1 year mark, we’ll go ahead and wean him so I can have my body back for awhile before we start trying for baby #2. Breastfeeding is ya’ll. It is giving so much of yourself all of the time, but if you stick with it and really put your mind to it, you most certainly can be successful.

Like I said before, I wholeheartedly believe a fed baby is a happy baby, and if breastfeeding wasn’t for you or for some reason didn’t work out, that is okay too. I’d also like to remind you that it isn’t all or nothing! Breastfeeding even once or twice a day still gives amazing benefits to your babe, and even if you only breastfed for one day, you did something amazing for your little one.

Sawyer is eating lunch and dinner at this point, and nursing/drinking my pumped milk throughout the day. I will be happy to share our experience if we do end up supplementing with formula in the future. Would ya’ll be interested in hearing more about what Sawyer eats during the day? I’ve had a hard time finding meal plans for babies, and would be glad to share if you’d be interested! Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading beautiful friends!

Summer Lovin' (deals & steals)

Hey ya'll!

I have to start by thanking you from the bottom of my heart for all of your sweet words on this post. Your well wishes and love literally made my entire week! I can't tell you how many times I was almost in tears reading your snaps and comments and messages. You're all like my best girlfriends and it means the world to me that you would reach out like that! So thank you :)

Onto some summer favorites right now....

1) Colleen Rothschild Beauty- cleansing balm // sheer renewal cream c/o

I am OBSESSED with this moisturizer. As ya'll know, I have horribly dry skin so I usually need a pretty intense moisturizer, and since this has more of a "light" summer feel to it, I find it is absolutely perfect for layering and using as a primer. It has a "powdery" finish to it and keeps my makeup from melting off in the summer heat! Speaking of melting off...when I am ready to melt off my makeup at the end of the day this cleansing balm is...well...the bomb! You rub in into your dry face (it smells incredible) and use the included muslin cloth to wipe away the day. I like to hold the wet cloth over my face for a minute before wiping away and it's like a mini-facial! I love that the balm removes all my makeup but doesn't leave my skin feeling tight like normal face wash. Definitely a winner! I couldn't express my love of these products enough so I asked my friends over at Colleen Rothschild Beauty if they'd hook us up with a coupon code, and for the next 7 days you can take 20% off your order with code rose20. Happy Shopping!

2) Cheap Beach Towels...ya'll these are $5.77 each. There is a HUGE selection at my local Walmart and I can't help but stock up every time i'm there! Since moving to the lake we're always at a shortage of lake towels and these are absolutely perfect and come in the cutest prints. I am loving these pineapples!

3) Tiki Beach Candles- CANT GET ENOUGH! This is summer in a scent. We have one burning in almost every room in the house! They smell incredible and right now Bath & Body has them on sale for $10 bucks and a $20 dollar off $50 coupon! Normally these candles are $22.00 each so getting FIVE for $30.00 is a crazy deal. Hop on over NOW!

4)  Plastic Wine Glasses - Okay these aren't on sale, but they are 4 for $10.00 and SO damn cute. These are perfect for out by the pool or hanging by the lake and you don't have to worry about glass breaking. I can't help but pick up a new set every time i'm at homegoods!

5) Perfect Tank Dress...I'm all about a dress in the summertime but I have some trouble finding good ones lately because I need something with easy access to nurse the little guy. These dresses from Old Navy are my FAVORITE! With an almost-maxi hemline I don't have to worry about bending over to pick him up, and the v-neck is perfect for access to the goods ;) Old Navy is all 60% off right now so head over for some shoppin'!

Those are my favorites right now, I tried to snag all the ones on sale for ya'll so you can do some independence day shopping :) I hope you have a WONDERFUL weekend celebrating our freedom with your loved ones. My grandma is in town AND my best friend Shelb is coming for the weekend so you know we're sure to get into cahoots ;) Follow along on Snapchat for all the fun! @absolutelykylie

Thanks for stopping by. xoxo!

Until Next Time,

Your Boobs Matter

First of all, I had no idea what type of picture I should include with a post titled “your boobs matter” and I also don’t really know how to dive in to this post so I’ll just hop to it!

If you follow me on Snapchat (@absolutelykylie) you may have heard my rant about the major bit of medical complications I’ve faced over the last few weeks. I had my fair share of snaps asking if I was pregnant and I am absofreakinglutely not, but boy have the last few weeks been rough!

Let me start all of this by saying I am fine, and cancer free.

Now into how we found that out-About 3 weeks ago, I had my first yearly OBGYN appointment since Sawyer was born, and my doctor found a lump in my breast.  A pretty big one, actually, but I’m still breastfeeding Sawyer so honestly, neither one of us were really concerned. Things like that happen when you’re breastfeeding and it’s hardly a reason to worry. Out of an abundance of caution, my doctor sent me to our local Breast Center, a clinic specializing in all things tatas and superb in the craft of breast radiology.

Jake came with me to my appointment because I was a nervous nelly once it came down to it, but we both just knew it was going to be breastfeeding related, we’d be in and out and back at work within the hour. Except that didn’t happen.

 They started with a breast ultrasound, which showed a large 7 cm mass that was not fluid filled (ie wasn’t a milk cyst like we had suspected) and seemed to have blood running through it. They wanted a clearer picture so they sent me to the mammogram room to get my ladies pancaked for some further imaging.

Once my mammogram was complete, the doctor’s exact words were “this doesn’t look so great.” Thanks, Doc! Just what I wanted to hear. J I had tears streaming down my face at this point scared out of my wits. I’m 24 years old, with a strong family history of breast cancer, and a newborn baby who I am still breastfeeding. The words “breast cancer”  are something I have heard plenty of times in reference to other people, but when it’s you, and you’re faced with something like that, it’s an entirely different meaning. Jake couldn’t even look at me without tears streaming down his face. It was rough.

The doctor decided to admit me for a biopsy and they cut me open and took a large piece of the tumor out for biopsy. I was actually told I could continue breastfeeding as soon as I felt fine, and they stitched me up, we went home and tried to wait out the next 24 hours on results. I was pretty darn sore and too emotionally drained to really focus on work, so they next day was spent at home with Jake trying to keep our minds busy waiting for “the call.” Around 4 PM my phone began ringing and I was too terrified to even answer! Thankfully, when I did, her first words were “it’s benign!” And we breathed this huge giant sigh of “thank you Jesus.” We thought all was good at that point, so I made a watermelon cocktail and squeezed the crap out of my baby and Jake gave me one uncomfortably long smooch ;)

About 5 days later, I was at work and started feeling just plain icky. I was tired, hot, cold, tired, and my incision site felt AWFUL. It was bright red, hard as a rock, and super hot to the touch. It didn’t seem right so I called the breast center and they told me I needed to come in right away. By the time I got there, I nearly passed out on the table. I had developed an awful infection, that caused the inflamed tissue to swell to the size of an apple, and I was experiencing flu-like systems as well as a fever of 104 while my body did what it could to combat the damage.

You see, breastmilk is a funny thing in that it can cure most anything, but boy is it a breeding ground for infection if it get inside an open wound. I was given a line of antibiotics in the office, and I spent the next 48 hours sleeping  and pumping (excruciatingly painful!)  until the fog lifted. I had mastitis on day 12 of Sawyer’s life, and this was similar to that, but even worse.

Side note, when I went in for my infection, the doctor gave me this big giant hug and said “I’m so grateful you’re okay” I was like…ugh, thanks? But I actually feel like shit…soo… and that’s when she said in 20 years of practice she would have put money on the mass in my breast being cancerous. It has it’s own blood supply and all of the little “fingers” ingrained in the tissue as a cancerous tumor would, and there was a gloom over the office when I left that day, everyone thinking I had a not happy outcome on it’s way. I’m real glad she told us this after the fact, because this information would have sent me into a tailspin before we knew it was benign!

You’d think the drama was over, right? Wrong. As I was season 4 deep in Orange is the New Black, I felt my arm was wet, and I pulled up my shirt to (TMI gross warning. Stop here if you’re eating lunch) see that so much fluid had built up from the infection that my incision literally ripped open, and every disgusting bodily fluid you can imagine was pouring out. I wanted to vomit! Back to the doctor I went (for the 3rd time now. I’m on a first name basis in that place!)  They placed a drain to rid some of the fluid, and gave me another ultrasound which showed the infection was in fact healing well, so that was our first bit of good news in awhile!

I started feeling much better, until 4 AM Saturday morning when I got up to nurse Sawyer, and my shirt was soaked. I had developed a milk fistula, which is where your milk starts leaking out of your incision. I was told by my doctor that the only way to fix this was via surgery, but at this point, we’re doing everything we can to heal it naturally before getting to that point.

Are you still there? Geeze…talk about drama! If you’re still with me, I’m happy to report, 4 days of pressure bandages and very limited nursing on that side seems to have started to heal the fistula! I’m hoping it is almost completely there before my next follow up appointment. I didn’t know through all of this if I’d be able to continue breastfeeding Sawyer, but we’re going strong, I’m feeling SO much better, and a little bit like a badass to have conquered all of this and not given up.

All of this is to say, be aware of what is happening in your breasts. Don’t wait for your yearly exam and if you find a lump, small as it might be, talk to your doctor. There is a much greater chance that lump is nothing to worry about, than the latter. Early detection is KEY! 93% of stage 1 and 2 breast cancer can be healed if treated early. Although this was all very dramatic for us, I’m grateful for a vigilant doctor who insisted we get it checked out, because you never know. I think everyone assumes “it will never be me” and I am abundantly thankful  it wasn’t me this time, but it has heightened my awareness of what is happening in my body, and I’ve decided because of my strong family history to get a mammogram every year (despite my young age) to be safe.

Love yourself, love your boobs, and send a shoutout to the man upstairs, because every healthy day is a good day, amiright?

Lots of love to you all!