The Right Breast Pump for You!

pump_03Deciding on a breast pump is tough. I felt overwhelmed while researching breast pumps when I was new mommy-to-be. I was geared toward prices and wasn’t sure if that was due to quality or production. Once I discovered that my insurance will cover a hospital grade breast pump, I was able to pick the right breast pump for me. With my first son I choose the Ameda “Purely Yours,” which was a double electric pump. The pump included an electric adapter with battery option (for on the go) base, tubing, bottles, and suction accessories. It didn’t come with a carrying bag but was given the option to upgrade. The size of the pump was good for any small over the shoulder bag pump_02so that was a plus. Even though I could have used my Ameda again, the time in-between my first and second son was long enough to change pumps especially  with constant technology growth. So I decided to try the Medela  “Pump in Style” double electric pump. I really enjoyed using this pump and felt it had more options for stronger suction. The pump included only an electric adapter on the base, tubing, suction cups, bottles, and a carrying bag. I did have the option with my insurance to pump_01upgrade to a backback for a little more but was happy to use the bag. When I was out of town while breastfeeding and had forgotten my pump, I made a quick purchase that made me the owner of a Medela “Harmony.” The pump was a single manuel breast pump and while it was a little work out, it did the job! I’d advise to keep one of these handy. Some hosptials do give you a manual hand pump when you deliver your baby. Ask your doctor if that is something yours will do.

I wish I never stressed the first time around but that was because I didn’t know my pump could be covered by health insurance. Once I knew I could pick out a hospital grade quality pump with no or little cost was such a relief! A company that I always go to and fully recommend is the “Breastfeeding Store.” They are a family owned business which specializes in working with Military Moms and Tricare Insurance. Even if you’re not a military family, you are welcome to fill out their form and they will work with your insurance company. Their process is so simple and they make sure that Moms are able to get the right breast pump so that breastfeeding is simplified and enjoyable.

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Lake Hodges 50k – 2017

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This past July I decided I was going to run my first ultra marathon. This decision came to
me in my journey to eventually qualify for Boston. I’ve noticed when I run longer distances not only do I become stronger but mentally my mileage becomes less. I’ve learned it allows me to run faster and longer. Adding miles to my runs, especially trail

drop bags!

drop bags!

runs gives me the strength I need to become faster. I could just get into interval training on a high school track but I find trails a little more exciting and my style!

I decided to run Lake Hodges 50k because the course looked challenging, the race director was organized, and the October date was appealing for nice weather…. It also gave me 12 weeks to train. Training was smooth, fueling for longer distances is fun for me. I like the science behind it and how nutrition plays a role in the way I preform. Since 31 miles isn’t a whole lot more than a marathon. I altered some of

first mile in and looking perfectly spooky for a Halloween race!

first mile in and looking perfectly spooky for a Halloween race!

my gels and actually added food (yes, food) to my training. It’s so hard for me to eat anything while running. The night before a run I can’t eat past midnight, I can stomach one Health Warrior Bar or gel and that’s it! It really sucks but that’s my body. So taking on an Ultra was exciting, it let me challenge myself and play nutritionist at the same time ;p

On October 28th, I woke up around 3:45 to make a 7 am start time. The race was held at Lake Hodges hence Lake Hodges 50k which is in Escondido. About 45-55

The long stretch before hills, this is where the sun started to poke out!

The long stretch before hills, this is where the sun started to poke out!

miles from my home. Since I had schedule two races this weekend, the 28th and 29th I wasn’t able to make packet pick up in between work and managing a LA packet pick up. So I got to the race by 6 to pick up my bib and shirt. The packet pick up line while long was fast, as it was organized well. I was able to pick my bib up, check in, and collect my crazy thoughts, lol. I originally put together two drop bags that I 86’d that morning and

decided to go “All IN” on the aid stations and my Orange Mud HydraQuiver Pack.

Before the race, I did some final stretching and prayed. I prayed for strength, I prayed for the other runners, I prayed for whatever God had planned for us; we would accept and try to understand his plan, whether we DNF or finished. Before I knew it I was toeing’ the start line and off into low

Photo by Scott Crellin

Photo by Scott Crellin

laying fog amongst the brush. The first 5k was easy and relaxing, from tips of previous ultra runners, I knew to start slow. I got into “my” comfortable pace. My pace was strong and my mind was open. I kept telling myself that finishing was more important than time, with the exception of course cut off times ;p My

Past the hills and getting closer to finishing, 24.5 miles and 6.5 to go!

Past the hills and getting closer to finishing, 24.5 miles and 6.5 to go!

goal for my first 50k was a sub 6:30, I wasn’t sure 5k or even 10k into the race if I’d hit my goal.

I continued to run and at 4.6 I came across my first aid station, it was after a hilly .5 of up and down. I stopped and refilled my bottles. I kept my nuun Performance in the pockets of my HydraQuiver. That helped me maintain my electrolytes and carb balance. My goal was to
intake between 100-250 calories per hour, as well as stay hydrated and energized.

Back at Lake Hodges and close to finishing!

Back at Lake Hodges and close to finishing!

Once I trailed off the aid station, I told myself to make those stations “markers” and utilize them as much as possible. The aid stations for this Ultra were

awesome and included anything you could think of. They really spoiled my first Ultra experience. The next aid station was 8.5 and the course during the

photo by Scott Crellin

photo by Scott Crellin

last 4 miles was back tracking the hilly .5 to an overpass that lead to open area and yay, hills! Between 8.5 and the aid station at mile 13. I started talking to a woman who was an ER nurse. This part of the course had long stretches of miles and farmland. She told me she ran this race before and remembers this part being boring as she ran it alone. Running through it, I felt free. I enjoyed the stretches and was happy for no incline, yet. Mile 13 we hit another aid station, I took my time

Back at Lake Hodges and with about a mile to go!! Smiles for days!

Back at Lake Hodges and with about a mile to go!! Smiles for days!

and my new running friend did too. We were there about 30 seconds, a refill and few pretzel sticks did the trick. This section is where the hills kicked in and I slowed down a bit. Only 13 miles in and I didn’t want to exert myself just yet. I still felt strong and I had my new running friend by my side. We were each other’s cheerleaders and it helped. The next aid station approached at mile 18, at this point I just refueled my OM bottles and snacked on some almonds I had packed myself. I took a Honey Stinger gel, and started back on my way. The way back to the next aid station just backtracked from mile 13 to 18.75, then 18.75 became 24.5. Getting through 18.75 and 24.5 was the toughest. My legs were on fire, hills for days and I also let my running buddy go so she could crush a PR! During this time I chatted with many runners, we both kept each other’s spirits up and managed to get through to the next station. 24.5 aid station until 28.9 I was running solo, trying to feel comfortable and stay headstrong. The ground at that point was flat but sandy. I started chatting with a young man who runs marathons every week. Some twice in a weekend. He was truly inspiring, I let him go at mile 30…so he could crush his PR. Between the last mile, I came across men and women who we

I finished!! Officially an Ultra Marathoner!

I finished!! Officially an Ultra Marathoner!

cheered each other on; keep it going; stay strong; see you at the finish! Coming along the lake once again, that familiar single track path that you started with was rewarding and so exciting. I saw the finish line in the distance and started my sprint. You can’t help but speed up and finish strong! Crossing the finish line was amazing, my sister surprised me with my boys and flowers. People were cheering and ALL the food was ready to eat!

I had finished my first 50k in 06:42:42, 12 mins longer than hoped but I finished and couldn’t be upset over a time. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or laugh. The experience was amazing!!! I knew I had picked the perfect race for my first. I recommend Lake Hodges 50k to anyone whether you are running your first or 10th ultra marathon. The race actually has different distances, so you can start at a mile kids run, 15k, and then work your way into the 50k! This race spoiled me during my first ultra marathon experience. I’m now planning my next challenge, a 50 miler and hopes of the change to run MiWok 100k next May. I know this challenging and rewarding experience will lead me to Boston in the years to come. For now, I’ll enjoy new friends, miles on trails, and adventures with my boys!

10 Hobbies That Make Your KIDS SMARTER!

10 Hobbies that Make your Kids Smarter!

The 5 Benefits of Breastfeeding

img_5444Breastfeeding has so many benefits that is great for Mom and Baby! I breastfed both my boys and I’m so glad I was able to. I nursed both of them for over a year. Breastfeeding while tough sometimes, was easier to adjust to when I saw the benefits. I made a list of 5 benefits, which I compiled from different medical sources as well as from my doctor.

  1. Body Changes: If you decide to breastfeed as soon as your Baby arrives, the body changing benefits are unbelievable. As soon as your little one starts nursing, your body begins to shrink your uterus back to it’s state before Baby. You will physically feel your uterus shrinking in the form of craps. To me this was an amazing feeling and I watched my body shrink over the weeks after Baby.
  2. Antibodies: Your breastmilk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off bacteria and viruses. Which lowers your Baby’s risk of allergies or asthma.
  3. Breastfeed Longer: Studies have showed, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months have fewer infections, respiratory illness, or diarrhea.
  4. Bonding: The experience of bonding between Mommy and their Baby during breastfeeding is a surreal feeling. You also, get extra snuggles and hugs!
  5. Routine: Mommy and Baby have a better adjustment to setting a better routine while breastfeeding. This allows Baby to understand schedules such as sleep and eating, which helps early development into their toddler years.

 

I knew breastfeeding was good for my boys but didn’t realize how rewarding it was until I experience all the benefits!!! One of the things that helped me understand the benefits was obtaining a breast pump through my insurance. I recommend, “The Breastfeeding Shop.” They are a family owned business which specializes with TriCare Insurance and Military Moms. To see if you qualify for a free breast pump, click on this form and fill in your information. Once submitted, The Breastfeeding Shop will check into your insurance and let you know which pump you are able to select! It’s that simple, and now knowing the amazing benefits it’s worth getting pump and increasing your supply.

TheBreastFeedingShop

“Freedom to Run” Podcast

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Earlier this month I was given the opportunity to chat with Jeremy Hoefs, Founder of USA.ENDURANCE and Podcast, “Freedom to Run.” We spoke about my ultra training, training with my boys, and our adventures! The podcast episode is now live and I’m excited to share it with my readers.

You can listen to Episode 25 at:

usa.edurance.com

 

This entry was posted in Stories.

Why Should I Own a Breast Pump?

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If you decide that you will be breastfeeding your newborn, even if it’s exclusively breastfeeding. I believe you should still get a breast pump. You will learn that being able to breastfeed is an amazing feeling but over time, being able to pump your milk will not only increase your supply but give you a break at times too. When you have a breast pump you also allow for your partner and family to feed your brand new bundle of joy! You also have to think of when you want a date night, and baby will be at home with a babysitter. The luxury of a breast pump is truly amazing. You may not want to think of getting sick while your baby is nursing but it could happen and breastfeeding is limited with some medications. Once again, this is where owning a breast pump is golden. You can start pumping a back up supply and storing it safely in your freezer, this way you have milk ready for your baby. While you are sick, you can continue to pump so your supply doesn’t decrease and dump it. There’s so many reasons to invest in a breast pump!!

TheBreastFeedingShop

The Breastfeeding Shop is a family owned business that will help you get a breast pump and most importantly, they may be able to get you a top of the line pump for free through your health insurance!!! All you have to do is fill out this form and hit submit! They will review your information along with your health insurance. For Military families, The Breastfeeding Shop works with Tri-Care to insure you get a pump! Owning a breast pump has wonderful benefits as I mentioned before, it doesn’t hurt to apply for one just so have it ready for when baby arrives!

This entry was posted in Stories.

5 Tips that Make Breastfeeding in Public Easier

When I had my first son, a concern of mine was breastfeeding in public. In the beginning, I would pump and prepare a bottle. This took a lot of prepping, especially before I could produce enough to create a stock pile. While I didn’t care what others thought, it was me who felt the need to be covered and in a quiet spot to feed my child. Over time breastfeeding in public became second nature. I wish I would have had a list of tips that helped me from the beginning. I’ve put together 5 tips that make breastfeeding in public easier.

  1. Wearing a Sling or Carrier: There’s nothing more comfortable and natural then to have your child skin to skin with you, while wearing your baby it’s easy to adjust your bra so that you can feed your baby. This simple adjustable makes for easy feeding and most the time nobody around you will notice!
  2. Utilizing Nursing Rooms or Waiting Areas: A great resource you may find at your local mall or even amusement park is “nursing rooms” and “motherhood waiting areas.” These rooms are usually near restrooms, they are made for comfort and relaxing. One of my favorites is the “Baby Care Center” at Disneyland, their nursing area even includes rocking chairs!
  3. Using a Cover Up: Cover Ups are fun and come in so many different patterns. The best are made from a light thin
    Simplifying Breastfeeding in Public!

    Simplifying Breastfeeding in Public!

    material so that your baby doesn’t feel smothered and you’re not burning up! One of my favorite brands is Cover Me Ponchos. Their cover ups are super soft and light! The best part is their patterns don’t make you look like you’re wearing a cover up at all!

  4. Wearing a Nursing or Easy Access Bra: This may be a no brainer but not all bras are comfortable while nursing, especially when the let down hits….lol. I found sports bras were better for me, rather than nursing bras. I usually wore oversized shirts I could lift up, so a sports bra made for easy access. While, my good friend couldn’t go without a nursing bra. However, she usually wore shirts that buttoned up or tight tank tops. Buy a few different bras and see what works for you!
  5. Wear Clothes that are Comfortable: Just like the bra, find a wardrobe that you feel comfortable in. For me, oversized shirts and leggings worked the first six months. To be comfortable and stylish, I would wear a stretchy tank top, shorts, and a loose cardigan. If you wear clothes that are loose on top, it’s easy to adjust by pulling your top up or down. This makes for easy breastfeeding and no awkward moments, lol!

Those are the best 5 tips I wish I would have had before I started breastfeeding, I learned through trial and error! I’m glad I kept at it though, because the benefits outweighed the tough moments. If it’s still hard to feel comfortable to breastfeed in public, I recommend getting a breast-pump. Having a breast pump can alleviate stress and allow you to pump milk before an outing. My favorite company to obtain a breast pump from is The Breastfeeding Shop. This company is amazing and better yet, they will work with your insurance to help you get your breast pump for free! They make the process simple, all you have to do is fill out their form and they do the rest. Breastfeeding should be a cherished and bonding moment between you and your child, don’t let anything change that.

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Amazon Fire 7 (7th generation) Kids Edition Review

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This Amazon Fire 7 (7th generation) Kids Edition review is coming from an exclusive Apple product user. My first thought when purchasing a tablet wasn’t going with a platform that was based off an Android. I’ve had my fair share of experiences with PC’s in the past, even building some from just an empty tower. However, from 2009 to present time I transition as most of the world did to Mac. From an iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air…I have them all. So when I was offered the opportunity to review the Fire 7, I thought it was a great chance to see what another product was all about. My oldest son was given my old iPad Mini two years ago and we were in the market to upgrade his tablet. It was great to see that the fire was offered in a kid’s edition that came with a lot of perks. When my son was using the iPad, we had to purchase a strong and sturdy case which cost us an additional $60. We also have purchased kid friendly apps that cost us an additional $100+ over the course of the two years. Fire_04

When the fire arrived, it was already set up from the time we opened the box. We were sent two, which was perfect so both my kid’s will have their own. To set the two fire’s apart we choose a blue and yellow case. The case is foamy and keeps the fire safe from being dropped. The 2-year worry free guarantee puts any parent at ease. My iPad mini included a 1-year warranty with the ability to purchase an additional 2-year warranty that even if my iPad would break would cost $99 to replace under limited circumstances. So seeing that Amazon will back their product and replace it “no questions asked” is awesome.

Fire_03I found that the differences between the Fire and an iPad Mini was adjusting to the Apps and location of them. The Fire has room for additional storage, which the iPad doesn’t unless you upgrade to iCloud storage at a monthly cost. The front and rear camera is so clear on the Fire that I almost want to borrow it from my son for my pictures, lol. The fire kid’s edition also includes a year of “FreeTime Unlimited,” which gives you access to 15,000 popular apps and games, videos, books, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney. This is amazing, as you can download so many apps for free! This within itself is worth purchasing a fire. Another plus that you are limited to do with an iPad is the parental controls. The ability to limit what my sons watch and play is important. I’m able to adjust just about every app including youTube, so that my kids are restricted from accessing specific material.

All and all, I was surprised how much I favored the fire to the iPad mini. This may be the start back to a PC family ;p

You can purchase the Amazon fire kid’s edition here!

SAVE $50 today when you purchase two Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet by using promo code: KIDS2PACK

Pros:

  • easy to set parental controls
  • Kid-Proof Spongy Case
  • 2-year no questions asked worry free guarantee!
  • HD display
  • Micro SD Slot up to 256 GB
  • Quad Core
  • Dual-Band Wifi
  • Front & Rear Camera

Cons:

  • Learning a new platform
  • Organizing Apps

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Running while Breastfeeding

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Pumping at 3 AM before heading to the start corrals!

My second son was born during a year I had signed up for a lot of races. Giving up running when he was born wasn’t going to be an option unless my doctor told me otherwise. So, I had to revise my training schedule around feedings and nap times. I knew I wanted to breastfeed him, just as I did my first son for a year at the minimum. When I was cleared to run at my 6 week postpartum appointment, the planning begun. My shorter runs included me feeding baby before I would head out the door. This was easy, it was going to be my longer runs I would struggle with. What helped me the most was obtaining a breast pump through my insurance. Being able to feed my son before a long run, then pump 6-8 more ounces after relieved tension and weight.

I ran my first marathon when my son was 4 1/2 months old. I had to average out being away for 5 hours, when I normally would feed every four. My plan involved me feeding and pumping before I headed to the start line, which stretched my time out to 7 hours without feeding. My son would have milk to drink but this didn’t help me from leaking or feeling super uncomfortable. So by planning to have Mav meet up with me around mile 15-16 I was able to pump enough to get me to the finish and back to the hotel. Strategic planning, feeding schedules, and a pump helped me run while breastfeeding. Pumping after feedings and while my son would sleep through the night, allowed me to create a stock pile of milk. So even on some longer uncomfortable runs I was able to feel as ease knowing my son wasn’t going hungry.

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Breastfeeding at the finish line of RNR Las Vegas!

The Breastfeeding Shop is a perfect go to solution to obtain your breast pump. They work exclusively with your insurance company so you don’t have to pay for your pump out of pocket. If you plan on running while breastfeeding and don’t want to have to worry about being uncomfortable or baby going hungry while you are out; you are going to need a breast pump! Please check out the breastfeeding shop and fill out their form to get your pump today!