Three 31


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Kamden’s First Trip to Kentucky

Preparing for our trip to Kentucky, I admit to being nervous about traveling with a seven month old. I wasn’t as worried about going to Kentucky with Kamden because my Mom was with us, but I would be alone with Kamden on the return flight back to Texas. How would I get through security? Would TSA pour out my breast milk? Where would I pump? How would I maneuver Kamden in the car seat in his stroller with a duffel bag and carry-on luggage? Would Kamden cry, fuss, scream, or be an angel and sleep on the flight? Would his ears pop due to cabin pressure? How many ‘mean looks’ would I get from fellow passengers because I’m traveling with an infant? All of these questions, plus a million more, clouded my mind. But, Husband and I are blessed beyond measure with the most awesome of awesome child who is happy, content, and social and now we can add PERFECT TRAVELER to his resume because Kamden was a rock star on the airplane! In all seriousness, and bias aside, Kamden really is an amazing traveler. Going to Kentucky, with my mom on board, he slept from Dallas to New Orleans, fussed about three minutes while we were at the gate loading and unloading new passengers, and played or chewed on Sophie the Giraffe from New Orleans to Nashville. On the return flights, when I was by myself, he was sound asleep from Nashville to Houston, woke up during the crew change in Houston, and snoozed another half-hour from Houston to Dallas. Once we landed in Dallas, we had to wait 15 minutes for a gate to open but Kamden was content looking out the window. He began to fuss when everyone around us stood up to retrieve their luggage and exit the plane. Overall, I could not have had a more wonderful first experience traveling with an infant … I don’t know what everyone else is complaining about, this was easy-peasy!

I tried to pack anything and everything Kamden and I would need for a week in as little space as possible. We could have done the trip with one bag if I had not packed as many toys or two blankets for Kamden and my breast pump.

ky.luggage.small1. Diaper bag
2. Cooler bag with bottles of breast milk
3. Duffel bag with toys, clothes, blankets and misc. items (CHECKED)
4. Small suitcase with breast pump, camera, a change of clothes (CARRY ON)

Initially, I chose Southwest Airlines because it was the cheapest, but I now realize they are the best in customer service and convenience for families traveling with children. In addition to free checked bags, passengers with small children can “gate check” their stroller, car seat, and car seat base. In other words, I pushed the stroller (with Kamden in the car seat and the base on the bottom) right to the door of the airplane where it was waiting for me at our destination. The convenience and ease of this worth driving 13 more miles to Dallas Love Field and flying Southwest than any other airline at DFW International. Take note, other airlines, you could treat your customers so much better!

Mom, Kamden, and I sat in the back of the plane and were the last three passengers to exit in Nashville. The pilot was waiting for us with a set of wings for Kamden. Because I’m a blogger, of course we took a picture!

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Whomever thought to install FAMILY RESTROOMS is my hero. They are especially convenient for this exclusive pumping mama collecting breast milk while traveling! Once we got through security in Dallas, but before boarding, I pumped while Mom pushed Kamden and the stroller through the terminal. The only hiccup of the entire trip was my lack of putting the lid on tight and 15 ounces of milk leaking in my bag. Thanks to free wi-fi available in both airports, I surfed the Inter-webs while pumping!

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Speaking of pumping and collecting breast milk, I am officially a milk sharing mama! This is Morgan (four months) and she is pictured with six bags (36 ounces) of my milk, she and I are third cousins and we’re both allergic to cow’s milk. Weeks before this trip, I had several families contact me about my excess milk. I didn’t want to hassle with shipping 100 ounces or less back to the milk bank in Fort Worth, so I gave the bags away to babies dear to my heart.

morgan with milk bags

While visiting with friends in my hometown, I got to meet two of the most adorable baby girls in the whole wide world. I’m convinced one of them will be my future daughter-in-law! Raney is four weeks and a coal miner’s daughter. Hanna is two weeks and a farmer’s daughter. Kamden has been approved as date-worthy by their dads, so it’s just a matter of time before bells start ringing for a Kentucky wedding. I should probably tell Husband to start saving for the rehearsal dinner.

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Going to Kentucky in August means Dad’s garden is in full swing and sweet corn is readily available. This trip, though, I escaped hard labor by using Kamden as a pawn. We start’em young and raise’em right in Kentucky, I wonder what Kamden thinks of Grandaddy’s garden and sweet corn patch?! I’m hear to tell you this year’s corn is the best my Dad has raised in a LONG time. Let’s not talk about the number of BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) sandwiches or ears of corn dripping with butter I ate. I am NOT looking forward to returning to the gym and stepping on that scale.

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Kamden.Corn.SMALL-3

Every day of this trip was a highlight and special moment, for sure, but it was incredible to watch Kamden interact with people he had never met but warmed up to immediately. He has so many people who love him and couldn’t wait to see him in person. His second cousins, Brian (24) and Noah (13) were especially smitten with the Chunky Monkey. I was glad to see both of them too, especially since Brian returned home in April from a deployment with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan!

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Brian.Noah.Kamden.2XSMALL

Brian.Noah.Kamden.3XSMALL

The main reason Kamden and I traveled to Kentucky was to attend the Thompson Family Reunion. My maternal grandmother, Nana (Rose), is one of 13 and we’ve had reunions for as long as I can remember. There are eight surviving siblings, five of them attended this year’s event, and a host of cousins. Over the years, it’s amazing to watch my extended family grow and the generations expand. There were very few children at the last two reunions but this year there were several, including Kamden! To me, one of the funniest things about our reunion is family pictures. When I sat down for our family’s photo, I counted 11 cameras staring back at us. But we’re not looking at the same one! It’s a shame, with all of the photography talent in our family, that someone doesn’t bring their tripod and become the OFFICIAL photographer!

Thompson Family Reunion 2014 SMALL-4Back Row: Eddie (uncle), Noah (cousin), Belinda (aunt), Brian (cousin), Kathy (aunt), Cris (uncle) and Georgia (aunt). Front Row: Me holding Kamden, Charlotte (mom), Nana/Rose (grandmother)
Whomever took this picture cut out Grandma and Grandpa Thompson in the framed portrait!!!!

I feel like a mom-daughter-granddaughter FAILURE because I realized about three minutes after landing back in Dallas that I forgot to take a picture with my dad, his mother (Neenie), and Kamden to show the four generations on the Edwards side of the family. We took a four-generation picture at the family reunion in Louisville though.

Thompson Family Reunion 2014 SMALL-5

Another great thing about family reunions is reconnecting with this cutie-patootie, Chloe, my third cousin. She was a tiny little thing at my baby shower in Louisville last September and next week she turns one. She’s got the prettiest smile and loves to show off her two teeth. Miss Chloe is going to be a big sister soon too, the Thompson family tree keeps growing!

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Kamden and I had such a wonderful trip to Kentucky, but it sure was nice to get home and sleep in our own beds. We both need a vacation to rest! Thank you, Grandaddy and Nana C, for letting us crash your house with all of our stuff … and the BLTs and corn on the cob!

Kamden.Grandaddy.NanaC.XSMALL


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Finish This #31

WELCOME TO WEEK 31 OF FINISH THIS!!!!!

I’ve missed you all but I’m still “technically” off the grid as Kamden and I are flying back to Texas today. We’ve had a great week visiting friends and family in Kentucky. It’ll take me forever to go through the million photos I took this week, but I promise to share them soon. In the meantime, join me in the Finish This link up!

Your co-hosts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31). The link up instructions are simple: answer the prompts on your blog. Then, add the post to the collection list using the link below. Next week’s prompts are located at the bottom of this post.

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1. If I went back to school, I would study

2. My favorite subject in school

3. I wish I had paid more attention

4. The dumbest thing I did in high school was

5. In high school, I thought I knew

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog and join the link up! Come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompt for WEEK 32 (August 13) is:
13 Things To Know About Me


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Finish This #30

WELCOME TO WEEK 30 OF FINISH THIS!!!!!

While you’re reading this, Kamden and I are on an airplane with my mom (Nana C) to Kentucky. We’ll be back next week but I’ll miss you all while I am off the grid. Ahhhh, I’m enjoying the good life already!

Your co-hosts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31). The link up instructions are simple: answer the prompts on your blog. Then, add the post to the collection list using the link below. Next week’s prompts are located at the bottom of this post.

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1. I like wearing
maternity tank tops from Old Navy. I own at least six and wear one every single day. They layer perfectly and fall to mid-hip, which provides nice coverage over shorts or pants.

2. My most memorable style was
yellow on the golf course. While playing on the Pepsi Junior Golf Tour and other junior tournaments, I wore black shorts, a yellow polo, a yellow cap or visor, and yellow golf shoes. I carried a bright yellow bag and used yellow tees too. Most folks recognized me (on and off the golf course) by my Oakley sunglasses. During high school tournaments, however, I wore the team’s (boring) uniform. Here I am in 2002:

nicole-golfer-2002

3. I dress to impress by
brushing my teeth, applying deodorant, and wearing clean clothes in public. If I apply BB cream and mascara, it’s a special occasion.

4. The best style tip I ever received
gingham, pearls, and monogrammed anything go with everything. Amen.

5. Three wardrobe staples in my closet
maternity tank tops from Old Navy, nursing bras from Bravado, and washable bra pads from Bamboobies. I wear these three items every single day. No ifs, ands, or buts.

6. Three words that describe my style
comfortable, washable, and boob-friendly.

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog and join the link up! Come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK 31 (August 6) are:
If I went back to school, I would study
My favorite subject in school
I wish I had paid more attention
The dumbest thing I did in high school was
In high school, I thought I knew


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Finish This #29

WELCOME TO WEEK 29 OF FINISH THIS!!!!!

Your co-hosts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31). The link up instructions are simple: answer the prompts on your blog. Then, add the post to the collection list using the link below. Next week’s prompts are located at the bottom of this post.

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1. I add spice to my life by
using Sriracha sauce. Sparingly. Or adding jalapenos to cornbread or homemade guacamole. I also add wasabi paste to soy sauce when I eat sushi. I don’t like foods really spicy, but a little to enhance flavors is okay.

2. Bacon is
proof God loves us and it’s best cooked low and slow in a cast iron skillet. Sure, baking it in the oven is less mess, but there’s nothing like that sizzlin’ sound on the stovetop!

3. The perfect meal
is shared with friends and/or family and always includes homemade dishes made with love and fresh ingredients! Speaking of which, who wants to come over for a meal? I’m in the mood to cook and socialize.

4. My favorite food to grill is
pork tenderloin, burgers, chicken, and shrimp. Basically, I like to grill just about anything!

5. I beat the heat by
staying indoors as much as possible. If that’s not an option, I find a shady spot and drink LOTS of water. Or go to my friends’ house and use their swimming pool as if it’s my own – it’s really great having friends with benefits!

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog and join the link up! Come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK 30 (July 30) are:
I like wearing
My most memorable style was
I dress to impress when
The best style tip I ever received
Three wardrobe staples in my closet
Three words that describe my style


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Seven. { Kamden’s SEVENTH MONTH update }

We are closer to Kamden’s first birthday than the day he was born. I’m not sure how I feel about this realization. What happened to my itsy-bitsy teeny-tiny baby?

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GROWING // That itsy-bitsy baby boy is now my Mini Man Child! Kamden’s routine well-visit and third round of vaccinations were yesterday – somehow our scheduling got off because he’s seven months old at his six-month appointment, not sure how that happened – and he weighs 20 pounds and 9 ounces and is 27.5 inches long. Goodness, he’s a big boy! He is currently in the 90th percentile for height. Yay for my tall son! As usual, Husband and I made our weight and height predictions before the appointment and let’s just say it’s my turn to buy fro-yo. :)

EATING // Eating is Kamden’s most favorite thing to do, second only to sleep. He still gets my pumped breast milk via bottles, six ounces every 3-4 hours. Ten days ago, he woke up at 2:30am for a super early morning feeding and every day since he has gotten up around this time to eat. He’s frustrated because he wants to sleep, but his belly is empty. As soon as he finishes the bottle, he’s asleep for another 5-6 hours. We’re still introducing homemade purees but the kid just wants breast milk. If I’m able to get a teaspoon of puree in him, it’s a major success. I’ve tried giving him milk then a bite of puree, but he gets fussy and shuts his mouth tighter than Fort Knox until I offer the bottle again. He’s just not that interested … yet. When he is ready for purees, he’s got an entire produce section waiting in the freezer:

  • apple
  • avocado + banana
  • avocado + spinach + kale
  • peach + banana
  • blueberry + peach
  • sweet potatoes
  • green peas
  • carrots
  • oatmeal

I made my own version of oatmeal cereal but, like the rest of the purees, Kamden’s not interested in it either. I could have easily purchased ready-made cereal, but the stuff is too processed and making it is simple. I ground organic whole oats and organic steel-cut oats into a fine powder using the food processor. I added one cup of the powder mixture to three cups of boiling water and cooked for 15-20 minutes, whisking constantly. After the oatmeal cooled a bit, I poured the mixture into ice cube trays, the same method I’ve used for all of the homemade baby food I’ve made thus far. About four hours later, I emptied the cubes of oatmeal into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. I’ve introduced oatmeal to Kamden three times — plain, with peaches, and with sweet potatoes — and he is not interested in any of it. We’ll try again later. My next adventures for Kamden will be homemade popsicles made with breast milk and a mesh baby food feeder that he can hold and feed himself. In other exciting, food-related news: Kamden is sitting in a high-chair. This thing has been in its original shipping box, propped against the dining room wall, almost a year and we’re just now getting putting it to use. Kamden looks so big and grown up in his new digs, don’t you think?!

kamden.highchair.small

WEARING // Kamden is still wearing size 24 month onesies and 2T tops and bottoms. We’ve been putting him in pajama bottom pants and a short-sleeve T-shirt at night because we keep the house fairly cool and his legs were getting cold. He’s wearing size 2 diapers but size 3 are in the closet ready to go as soon as we finish the last box of twos. His swim diapers are size 3-4. My friend and fellow blogger, Sarah, sent Kamden the most adorable and funny T-shirt. Its message sums him up perfectly:

I didn’t choose the CHUB life; the CHUB life chose me.

Chub Collage 4

DOING //  Classes at The Little Gym are going great. Kamden is always smiling and “talking” to the other students and parents. He loves to socialize like his Momma! The weather finally got warm enough to enjoy the swimming pool. The first time we went the water was too cool and Kamden was not impressed, but now he’s a big fan! I bought this pool float and he loves it. Plus, it provides a bit of shade and even has toys attached. I’ve even caught him snoozing a couple of times … this kid LOVES being in the water!

kamden.pool.XSM

THE CHEEKS // THE DIMPLED KNUCKLES // THE BIG LITTLE HANDS
For all I know, he is sound asleep in this photo too!

Kamden attended a few nights of Vacation Bible School (VBS) at church and got a T-shirt, even though it’s way too big! As usual, everybody was glad to see him as we visited the different stations and activities. Kamden will be an “official” participant when he’s two but will be a mini-participant until then!

VBS collage small

While he is not completely mobile, Kamden is exploring and adventurous in his Joovy Spoon walker. We chose this particular walker because it has a really wide base and a large tray area. I’m not concerned about Kamden tipping over or pinching his fingers either. Right now, he can maneuver on the tile in the kitchen and hardwood floors in the living room and entry with ease. He has even discovered drawers next to the dishwasher, decorative towels hanging on the double-oven door handles, and windows next to the front door. He doesn’t realize he is mobile, but he’s sure on the go all the time!

Walker Collage small

 

LOVING // Swimming, jumping in the Exer-Saucer, sitting in his new high-chair, exploring in the Joovy walker; sitting up unassisted, watching Daddy build block towers and knocking them down (over and over and over again); being outside; sleeping and eating; naps on the couch with Mommy; having a soft blanket against his face; and yelling real loud, especially during church!

Husband and I are trying to keep the toys to a minimum and Kamden doesn’t seem to mind. He loves his bucket of blocks, a set of cars that make noise, singing train, and an activity board that detaches from a walker he’ll use later on. He’s easily entertained in the Joovy walker or Exer-Saucer and he’s just as happy and content sitting on the floor too. When he showed lots of interest and enjoyed holding the groovy balls at The Little Gym, I purchased a set for home. He can easily grab and hold on to them and he’s able to chew on them as well. We try to practice rolling the balls back and forth, but once he has them he doesn’t like to share! Kamden is also a fan of empty water bottles.

water bottle small

LOATHING // Immunization shots (who likes to get shots anyway?!)  and baths

Since getting his six-month vaccinations yesterday, Kamden has not been his usual happy-baby self. He’s sore near the injection sites on both legs and sleeping more, even by his standards. He does not have a fever, but it’s obvious his body is working overtime to ‘digest’ these vaccinations. I think the weekend will be filled with extra naptime, Mommy’s Milk, and cuddles.

Bath time, unfortunately,  has gone from a fun, playful, relaxing, enjoyable experience to get in, wash the important parts, and get out as quickly as possible. Kamden wants to stand up, which makes it difficult to keep him stabilized and safe from banging his head off the tub wall (which he has done twice, oops!), and when we make him sit down, he shows some serious attitude. Even though the Duck Tub is ridiculously adorable, it’s not functioning as well as we had hoped. We’re going to try another tub and see if it works any better, because bath time should not be this stressful! By 8:15-8:30 each evening, Kamden is extremely tired and ready for his bottle and bed. While Husband is getting his bottle warmed, turning on the video monitor, and finding a pacifier, I am feverishly applying lotion and dressing a squirming, fussy, hungry, and tired Little Dude. Our nighttime routine used to last about an hour, now it’s less than 30 minutes!

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RED, BLOTCHY SPOTS // Kamden has irritation around his neck (most likely from excessive drool and breast milk) but a red, blotchy rash recently appeared behind his knees. We keep the areas clean and dry as best we can but Doctor J (his pediatrician) wants to try a couple of things: 1) hydrocortisone cream on the neck and behind his knees and, 2) eliminate all SOY from my diet. According to new research, eczema (skin rash) can appear on young children due to a food sensitivity. The most common food sensitivity in babies is cow’s milk, but I have a severe allergy and know – without a doubt – that my breast milk does not contain dairy. The second most common food sensitivity in babies is soy. Due to my dairy allergy, my diet is heavily laden with soy products, especially soy milk, edamame, and soy yogurt. Asian cuisine is one of my favorites and it contains the most soy – go figure! All of this makes perfect sense because I was diagnosed with eczema after Kamden’s birth. I’ll share more about my soy elimination diet and Kamden’s reaction/progress in another post, stay tuned!

SUMMER BUCKET LIST // We made a summer bucket list last month and we’ve been busy trying to get as many items crossed off our list as possible!

  • Go swimming
  • Attend Vacation Bible School
  • Watch fireworks on July 4 (from afar, of course) SEMI-SUCCESS! Our neighbors had fireworks and it sounded like they were recreating the Battle of Gettysburg most of the night, but thankfully Kamden was sound asleep and not bothered by the loud booms.
  • Travel to Kentucky via airplane for family reunion
  • Taste a juicy watermelon
  • Blow bubbles This happens every week at The Little Gym and Kamden LOVES watching bubbles dance around him! We also blow bubbles in the evening while walking around the house or sitting on the front porch.
  • Go to the public library for story time
  • Cool off at the local Splash Pad
  • Ride a train
  • Have lunch with Daddy
  • Grapevine Aquarium
  • Perot Museum in Dallas
  • Make bath paint with shaving cream and food coloring
  • Enjoy a popsicle

Cheers to Month #7, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us!


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5644

Five. Six. Four. Four.

This number represents a major accomplishment (and blessing) in my breastfeeding and pumping journey. On May 19, I became an official donor at the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas, and, as of July 1, I have donated 1,353 ounces of breast milk. Not too bad for someone who didn’t know milk donation existed until a few months ago!

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I belong to several mom groups on social media and get a lot of questions about breastfeeding, pumping, and donating. My experience with the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas (MMBNT) has been nothing short of spectacular and I am always encouraging lactating women to consider donating if they have an abundance of milk. Women cannot lactate forever but the need is incredibly great, so every precious ounce counts! As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to breastfeed at least six months with a long-term goal of one year. I had no way of knowing in the days following Kamden’s birth just how BLESSED and ABUNDANT my breast milk supply would really be. I can assure you, though, there were many days when I felt like I could not produce enough milk to get through his next feeding so never – EVER – give up hope! Here we are today and Kamden is healthy and my supply is showing no signs of slowing down.

My journey to becoming a breast milk donor actually came to fruition after a conversation with a mother whose daughter was born prematurely and spent several months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU. It’s a miracle the child survived. The mother, who suffered medical complications herself and did not produce sufficient breast milk, credits the incredible medical staff and donated breast milk for her daughter’s turnaround. During this conversation, I mentioned my well-established milk supply and explained how I was producing a lot more milk than Kamden was consuming. I had so many bags of milk stored in the freezer, I was running out of space! She shared her daughter’s birth story and mentioned how grateful she was for the Mother’s Milk Bank and women willing to share their “liquid gold.” At the time, Kamden was three months old and I was very hesitant to donate the only source of my son’s sustenance. Honesty, I was afraid to give my stored milk away worried I might stop producing. More like better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it kind of situation. However, I promised her that I would keep the milk bank in mind. Three weeks later, I met another NICU Mom and director of the NICU Helping Hands organization when I donated my wedding dress for the Angel Gown program. The reality that some babies never leave the hospital is heartbreaking, but by donating my wedding dress, volunteer seamstresses repurpose the materials and create beautiful burial gowns. As soon as I delivered my wedding dress, I visited MMBNT. I collected as much information as I could about the registration and donation process and left with a donor packet and budding friendship with the outreach director, Simone. We talked over an hour during that initial visit and I went home with a sense of purpose and calling to become a donor. This might sound strange to some, but when I learned I was pregnant in May 2013, one of the first things I had to do was cancel my travel reservations to Haiti for a third mission trip. While my heart was full of excitement and anticipation for our baby, a piece of me felt deflated for giving up an opportunity to serve others in need. A year later, almost to the day, I made my first donation to the milk bank. If that’s not God saying “Trust me, I have other plans for you.” I don’t know what is! So, while I am not in the position to serve on international mission trips, I am sharing my abundant breast milk supply right here at home with babies in need.

To become a donor, the process is simple but very thorough — it includes:

  • a brief interview with the donor coordinator
  • a questionnaire about the overall health of the mother and child(ren)
  • health forms signed by mother’s OB and child’s pediatrician — this was the easiest part because I didn’t have to do anything!
  • blood test to screen for diseases — provided at NO COST for milk donors!
  • lab analysis of breast milk to determine calorie and protein values

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Don’t let Kamden fool you, just look at those chubby cheeks!

Once the MMBNT received the results from my blood work, they analyzed a sample of my donated breast milk. Turns out, there is a scientific reason behind Kamden’s chubby cheeks. My breast milk contains:

  • 21 calories per ounce (average is 20)
  • 3.61 grams of fat per ounce (average is 1.3)
  • 0.98 g/dL protein (average is 0.30)

My calorie count is above average and universally accepted at NICU departments across the United States, but take another look at the fat and protein numbers. My milk’s fat content is much higher than average, which is great news for NICU babies with delicate tummies and explains Kamden’s chunkiness! Even more astounding, and also beneficial to the NICU babies, is the high protein content. In addition to my milk being highly coveted for its high fat and protein, it is also completely dairy-free and caffeine-free. Overall, my milk is very desirable and in high demand. In other words, Simone likes to see me come in with my bags of frozen milk and her favorite chunky man!

May 2014 // Kamden and Simone, the milk bank's donor coordinator.

On April 30, I made my first contribution to the milk bank by donating 367 ounces (50 bags) of my breast milk. Less than a month later, on May 22, I donated another 367 ounces (50 bags) and also toured the processing facility. When a registered donor brings her breast milk to the bank, it is immediately labeled with their donor ID number, last name, and, if applicable, stickers to identify special needs (i.e. low dairy). Then, it is measured (by weight) and stored in a freezer until the lab technicians are ready to process.

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Milk Bank Tour-4 Milk Bank Tour-3

The processing lab is a cross between a pharmacy, dairy operation, and blood bank. Lab technicians, dressed in aprons, hair nets, mouth covers, and gloves thaw frozen donor milk, perform thorough spectroscopic analyses to determine nutritional values, and pour the milk into specially-designed, tamper-proof bottles before being pasteurized. Each bottle contains 100 milliliters, or approximately 3.3 ounces. Once pasteurized, the small bottles are placed in the freezer and ready for distribution to hospitals and NICU departments. Because my milk is in such high demand, it is usually processed the day I deliver to the milk bank and sent to hospitals within 24 hours.

I know my pumping and lactating journey will eventually end, but I am incredibly proud to be a donor at the MMBNT and part of NICU babies’ success stories. I doubt it will ever happen, but I would LOVE to meet a parent whose baby was nursed back to health because of my donated milk. In the meantime, my Medela pump and I are going to continue doing what we’ve been doing now for six months together and collect as much milk for Kamden and the milk bank!

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For more information about becoming a milk donor or volunteer opportunities, contact Mother’s Milk Bank of Texas online or call 817-810-0071.


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Finish This #28

WELCOME TO WEEK 28 OF FINISH THIS … your co-hosts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31). The link up instructions are simple: answer the prompts in a post on your blog. Then, add the post to the collection list using the link below. Next week’s prompts are located at the bottom of this post.

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1. The only thing standing between me and this pair of shoes is

shoes

NINE pounds. I’ve been exercising almost daily and the soles of my gym shoes are wearing thin. I need a new pair, but I don’t want new kicks until I’ve reached a mini-milestone. My goal for the month of July, or before I leave for a trip home to Kentucky, is to lose 15 pounds. As of today, I have nine pounds to lose before I will “treat” myself to these shoes. I have to admit, stepping on the scale each week is frustrating beyond measure because, though I’m losing inches like crazy, I’m not losing weight. If I am completely honest and transparent here, I am probably NOT going to lose the weight I want while breastfeeding and pumping. Here’s the thing: my milk supply is too good to start jacking with my diet and water intake. I’m going to continue eating good carbs and protein, especially organic whole oats, fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and drink water like a fish. On average, I drink 200 ounces of water a day. That’s more than a gallon and a half. So, not to sound like a broken record or make excuses, but I’m sure some of the “scale number” is water weight.

2. I don’t have to be perfect to be
Husband’s wife or Kamden’s mommy. I’m doing the best I know how and that’s all I can expect of myself. There are days when I feel like I’m going to collapse in exhaustion, but then I look at these two men in my life and thank God for my blessings and renewed strength to keep pressing forward.

3. I would improve self-serve checkout lines by
installing a machine smart enough to know my item is in the bag area even though it weighs less than an ounce. Here are 19 more reasons why self-serve lines cause my blood pressure to rise, yet I still use the damn things!

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog and join the link up! Come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK 29 (July 23) are:
I add spice to my life by
Bacon is
The perfect meal
My favorite food to grill is
I beat the heat by

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