Jenni: Off Camera Adventures in Nursing

Jenni: Off Camera Adventures in Nursing

Jenni Hogan, a proud new mother to daughter Siena, is the morning traffic anchor on KIRO-TV in Seattle, Washington. She's passionate about telling it how it is, so mothers-to-be can set their expectations right and know that breastfeeding isn't easy, most importantly they're not alone or a failure if they find they struggle.

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From Boobie Jail to "I Can Do It!"

Jenni Hogan's daughter SienaWe're seven months into our breastfeeding journey and I've been blogging about my experience as the "Milk Lady" for baby Siena since the day she popped out. All of my past blogs have been pretty much telling you how much harder breastfeeding and pumping is than people will tell you. This time I'm excited to give you tips that helped me get to "that point" that all your friends tell you about where it finally gets easier. It really does!

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12:00pm on Monday February 28

Jenni's Pumping Tips

Here is what my day used to look like: Work, pump, wash bottles, nurse, pump, wash bottles, nurse, pump, sleep back to work AND repeat! Welcome to the life of the working milk lady.

This schedule was really wearing me down. My frozen milk supply was almost out, I felt like a cow at a dairy farm and doing the dishes all the time was driving me crazy (and all you do when you're pumping is washing parts and bottles). This process that's so great for my baby was taking me away from her when all I wanted to do was come home from work and hug her (not pump or wash). I hear a lot of women go through this point after they start working and I now fully understand why they stop pumping and eventually, breastfeeding. But changing a few things in my routine to make it more efficient has lifted a huge burden from my shoulders.

Here are some tips that helped turn things around for me:

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1:54pm on Friday October 8

Jenni's Tools of the (Pumping) Trade

jenni hogan holds up a pumping braNew mother and great friend Ani and I couldn’t help but take this picture of us and our pumping bras. These unusual looking bras with two big holes at the front are one of the many things people just don’t tell you about before you pop out your little hungry angel.

You see, I’m getting ready to head back to work as a new breastfeeding mother. This raises a little challenge... how to feed Siena when she’s at home and her milk lady is 12 miles away at work?

It turns out I’m not the first or the last that will be experiencing this problem and thanks to many wonderful mommies before me there are some wonderful devices to help keep baby milk drunk. It’s time to share those devices with other mommies to be, because really they not only serve a great function of helping get milk to baby but they are pretty dang funny too, and you can never have too many smiles when you’re forced to look like a cow in a milk farm.

For all of you that are breastfeeding newbies, the reason you need to pump at work is because you keep producing milk even when you’re away from baby. If you don’t empty your breasts, then we’re in for a Traffic Anchor who is leaking milk all over your morning commute. (Also if you don’t get that milk out, you’re essentially telling your body that you don’t need to keep making milk.)

There are plenty of pumps out on the market from manual ones to hospital-grade ones and lots of choices in between. I tried a single electric pump and it was a little too slow for me, so I upgraded to a mega pump. It’s theMedela Freestyle, a double electric pump that does both sides at once and seemed a little more forceful than the single pump. It is the most expensive one out there at around $370 but speed is important to me. It also costs more because it's hands-free -- you can clip it onto almost any nursing bra (and I checked, it works with my Bravado bras!) -- and it has a rechargeable battery which means you can clip it to your clothes and walk around while pumping (an essential for mommy on-the-go). (Tip: if you have a flexible spending account you may be able to use that for your pump so ask your HR person).

With my job on TV it’s critical that I can pump quickly and on-the-go. You see I may need to pump in between my traffic reports and if you’ve ever watch our morning show I’m sure you’ve heard that “Weather and Traffic is every 10 minutes” so if I have an emergency and need to pump, I’m going to need to do it quickly.  I refer to my breastfeeding blogs as “Baring My Breasts” but I’d really prefer not to bare my breasts at work (sorry male viewers) so the next thing on my list of essential items for going back to work is the pumping bra.

Yes, I’d never heard of one too before popping out my little princess. It’s a bra with two holes at the front to insert your breast pump into. Without the pump it just looks like a scary mask that someone could wear to rob your house; with the pump it looks like something they’d use on a cow at a dairy farm. When I use it, I don’t have to try holding onto two bottles at once, while holding onto the pump. I can even get things done around the house. The bra holds everything up for you. (Another bra I’m trying has a flap that you open that you can insert the pump flange into.)

So there you go, the downlow on pumping at work. I can’t wait to have my baby girl watch me on TV for the first time, all the while knowing she is getting fed even though I’m not there with her. Cheers to technology!

If you have any tips for heading back to work after maternity leave, I’d love to hear from you.

11:00am on Friday September 24

Breastfeeding Adventures at the Gym

I'd like to call myself a professional breastfeeder now. Why professional? Well, feeding this little love bug that is growing at 98% is pretty much a full-time day job (and night job). When I was at 8 weeks postpartum, I was feeling pretty good about baby and my relationship with the boob. That was until I hit the gym for Mission Hot Mama, a workout program I created with my trainer to help new mothers say bye bye baby belly.

More than ten mothers showed up to our first workout with their little cutie patooties. The whole idea is we can come together in a crying- and feeding-friendly environment. So when Siena was doing her hungry "I want my milk, lady" face way before any baby, I was ready to set the breastfeeding friendly mission off with a bang. I just didn't realize that would be setting an example of what NOT to do when breastfeeding at the gym.

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11:00am on Friday September 17

5 Tips for Winning the Battle of the Boob

Welcome to my first blog on my boobs. Yes, I’m now baring my breasts and it’s all for this little angel (demonstrating her “milk drunk” face).

A good friend suggested I write a blog about my experience breastfeeding. This was before Siena was born and I immediately said no. There was no way I was going to talk about my boobs in public. Guess who changed her mind?

So here I am, baring my breasts to the internet world with my top tips to successful breastfeeding:

1) Expect the worst, hope for the best

My sister-in-law was unable to breastfeed and was devastated. She told me it’d be hard but I had to try. This was a challenge, but looking back it was the best advice I had gotten because from that conversation on, I was determined I would be victorious. That attitude helped me get through the first five days, which to me was the hardest. If I had expected it to be easy I wouldn’t have kept going because it’s not.

2) Educate yourself
YouTube videos were my education. It is weird to watch another woman pulling out her breast but it helps so much to have this image in your head of how to do it. I know it should be easy, boob to baby = suck. Nope, it’s not that easy. I went to YouTube and searched for “breastfeeding.”

3) Tell your nurses that you want to breastfeed your baby with confidence before you leave hospital!
I told my nurses that I wanted to try breastfeeding but had heard that it’d be hard. They took control after that, but if your nurses don’t take control, keep telling them you need help. What do I mean by control? Well, the top tip the nurse told me was that you can request to stay in hospital until you have breastfeeding down. I did that and stayed an extra night. It was well worth it. I believe I would not be breastfeeding now without the nurses’ help.

4) Get a boobie coach.
This is my favorite tip. They’re called lactation consultant (but boobie coach is so cute). I had heard you could get someone to come to your house after you’ve had a baby and teach you the ropes but I never really knew how it all works. Well, it’s easy and I suggest every new mother trying to breastfeed do it. Ask your doctor for a recommendation, that’s how I found Tracy. It was $175 for a 2 hour initial visit (typically you have to submit the bill to your insurance and wait for reimbursement). The best part is you get to have your coach’s phone number and call her from that point on whenever you have a question. I had so many questions for Tracy that she ended up coming out to my house two more times. Another tip, if you buy your breastfeeding supplies through your lactation nurse, this also goes through your insurance and you can use your flexible spending account for the purchases.  This is really good if you’re thinking of investing in a breast pump as they can be quite expensive.

5) Buy some nursing bras: make sure they’re sexy AND solid!
You’ll need a nursing bra from day one, actually you’ll need 3-5 at the least. You live in these things so you better like them. I’ve bought and tried quite a few types but the best brand I’ve found are from Bravado. They have the two qualities which I need. They look sexy but have no lumps and are solid so they hide my nursing pads (things you put in your bra incase you leak a little). My favorite of all time is a nursing tank, it’s a must-have. It covers your stomach if you want to lift up your top to feed your baby rather than pulling down your top and you can wear it around the house without feeling naked. I wore it at the hospital and didn’t need to cover up when visitors came.

There you go my top 5 tips revealed. Just know we’re all here for you to help you try and win the battle of the boob! I’d love to hear what you think of my tips and any tips you have too. Go team boobies!!!
2:56pm on Thursday September 9
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