Bereavement Pumping: Our Senior IBCLC’s Journey

Bereavement Pumping: Our Senior IBCLC’s Journey
Jenn M. Foster, MA, CD, IBCLC, RLC

It’s been 4 months, nearly 5 months, since we lost our little “dove baby”, Nolan. His birth date was November 2, 2018. Yes, I say “birth date” because he was born. We held him in our arms, loved him and kissed him. My husband, Chris, even wrote him a poem which was read to him with such endearment.

Since his passing, his milk has helped so many babies. His story has touched so many lives, even reaching mothers in the UK!

I have pumped over 450 hours since November 4, 2018. Last week, I shipped 100oz to Mother’s Milk Bank of Florida and donated 400oz to local babies in need.

Yes, I do formal and informal milk donations. Formal milk donations through a milk bank and are provided to fragile babies in the NICU. Other babies in need receive human milk through milk banks that qualify.

For informal milk sharing, I seek to find local mothers in need. I find these mothers in need through Facebook groups, such as Human Milk 4 Human Babies. There is a lot of controversy over informal milk sharing. The controversy lies in the fact that such milk could be donated to milk banks across the country. However, there are babies who aren’t eligible for human milk from milk banks, such as our third (Emery) and fourth (Lincoln) babies.

I used 20% donor milk at breast with an SNS to make up for the supply that I wasn’t able to produce. They were our first little ones after having breast cancer and subsequent surgeries. Despite nursing on demand and pumping after every feeding, I was still only able to produce 80% of their daily intake.

For mothers who choose to obtain milk through informal milk sharing, there needs to be diligence on the mother’s part to ensure that the donor is free of harmful conditions, such as HIV and other illnesses. It’s important for the mothers who donate to follow the HMBANA guidelines to ensure they are healthy to donate the milk that is being shared is safe for ingestion.

Mothers can donate their milk through the Human Milk Bank of North America, by finding a milk bank in need that is within their region of the United States. There is always a need for human milk. In fact, there are measures being taken to ensure that insurance companies, including Medicaid, cover milk from a milk bank in order for NICU babies to have its’ life saving properties.

Now, back to my journey…

Every day, I pump my heart out to store Nolan’s milk. I use a hospital strength breast pump and express every 2 hours. I use a pumping app to track the time I’m pumping and quantity I pump each time. I even have alarms set on my phone to let me know when I need to pump.

I have a special pumping station set up that houses my milk storage bags, extra pump parts, breast pads and breast milk sanitary wipes. I keep my “Nolan Bear” (bear that was next to Nolan after birth at the hospital) next to me for every pumping session. Knowing that he is with me helps when it gets hard, and it is hard!

No one talks about bereavement pumping. It’s something that often isn’t even supported or offered at birth. When in the hospital, not one nurse or IBCLC talked to me about pumping his milk or even what I would do when my milk “came in”. Honestly, I hate when people say “when the milk comes in” because mothers at birth already have the perfect milk: colostrum. So, let’s say “when the milk increases in volume”.

I requested a pump to use at the hospital on November 4, 2019 (two days after his birth due to the trauma I was dealing with from his death). That started my journey of wanting to pump for one year.

Though I know that pumping is healing, it is hard to not have him at breast. Seeing all the posts on Facebook and Instagram of these amazing nursing photos and milestones that friends are experiencing with their newborns is heart wrenching. I want more than anything to have him here with us.

Every pumping allows me to still connect with Nolan. It’s so healing. I’m now looking into providing a webinar on “Bereavement Pumping”! I started a Bereavement Pumping group to find other moms that are on the same journey.

Support Resources:


10 Breastfeeding Friendly Foods

By Melissa Portunato, MPH IBCLC

Alright, let’s be real. As a new mom, the only thing that gets you excited for dinner is pizza with a side of ice cream. And besides, with all the nursing and pumping you have been doing, who has time for self care anyway?? Though it’s totally fine to indulge every once in a while, maintaining a balanced diet will give you energy, keep you satisfied longer, and can help your breast milk flow easier. Try working the following 10 items into your diet rather than going for a full blow diet change off the bat.

Making milk for a tiny human is no joke so we created this list for you to take it along the next time you make a grocery run! Let’s go!

High quality protein

Scrambled, sunny side up, or a’la flambe! Pasture-raised eggs are a high quality source of protein and aren’t very expensive which makes them an easy go-to meal. Eggs have a long list of health benefits but the top of the list includes improving eye health, aiding in weight loss, and preventing disease.

A lack of iron can suck the energy out of you, consuming iron packed grass-fed beef can help increase your iron and Vitamin B-12 levels. Both are helpful in sustaining your energy and will aid in keeping up with your busy schedule.

Wild caught salmon

Salmon is a powerhouse loaded with DHA which is exactly what newborns need for healthy, neurological growth. All breast milk contains DHA, but pretty cool evidence tells us, moms, who intake DHA regularly have higher levels! Ah-ma-zing!

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, Legumes are loaded with iron and protein too! Especially the dark ones!

Leafy greens

Leafy greens are nutrient dense, low in calories and carbs, and packed with vitamins and minerals like Calcium, Vitamin K, Folic Acid, and Iron. Spinach is a heavy hitter when it comes to leafy greens! It can be cooked with pretty much any meal, raw in salads, and blended in smoothies. It can be pureed and added to sauces too!

Fresh fruit

Fresh fruit can be added to yogurt, oatmeal and is a simple, nutritious snack!

Blueberries are one of the most nutritious fruits in the world providing Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Antioxidants. Eating 2 servings a day of fresh fruit like berries can help amp up weight loss, decrease inflammation, and promote digestion which is beneficial to breastfeeding moms recovering from childbirth.

Nuts and seeds

Flaxseed is one of the world’s first superfoods. Its benefits include improving skin and hair, balancing hormones, and even helps to bust sugar cravings. Adding flaxseed to your diet is a quick and easy way to consume fiber and essential fatty acids. Flaxseed will ensure your body performs at optimal health to make your breastmilk and give you more energy to care for your newborn baby. Make sure you are grounding your flaxseed for best results. Ground flaxseed can be sprinkled on toast, yogurts, blended in smoothies, and even sprinkled on salads.

Packed with protein, calcium, magnesium, and iron, raw almond butter makes for a simple snack for busy breastfeeding moms. Spread almond butter on bananas, apples, or eat it straight from the jar! I mean why not, right? Read labels, sugar can be sneaky! Raw almond butter is best.

Healthy fats

Avocadoes make a great food for breastfeeding moms because of the variety of minerals, especially the high levels of Vitamin K. This vitamin can help with blood clotting and help postpartum moms recover faster from labor and delivery. The healthy fat found in avocados helps to keep you fuller longer. Load up avocados in salads, add to smoothies, or pour olive oil over it and eat it straight from the skin!

Complex carbs

Complex carbohydrates include many plant-based foods that are nutrient dense and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals needed for overall health and to support breastfeeding. Complex carbs like sweet potatoes are excellent in providing energy for busy moms on the go and they can help fulfill those carb cravings! Complex carbs from starchy veggies can help satisfy a sweet tooth without adding sugar or inflammatory grains.

Rather than spending your precious time preparing complicated meals, make it easy by preparing smoothies, soups and crockpot meals! Planning ahead will definitely make it easier to eat healthy. Overall, you will be burning 300-500 extra calories by breastfeeding. You want these extra calories to be full of nutrition to boost your energy. Though there is no particular breastfeeding diet, it’s important to eat balanced to maintain a healthy body for yourself and to care for your baby. Avoid empty calories and choose real fresh foods instead. Keep taking your prenatals or choose a non – gmo multivitamin.

And don’t forget to hydrate! An easy tip to remember – drink ½ your weight in ounces every day to stay hydrated! Carrying around a refillable water will help get those ounces in. Add some fresh lemon, berries, or cucumber for a hint of flavor.

Has breastfeeding made you feel hungry? Any cravings? Share with us! We would love to hear more!








To Preemie Nipple or Not to Preemie Nipple?

by Lindsey S. #RealMomStory

It never ceases to amaze me how much conflicting information is “out there” about how much breastmilk a baby needs when away from their mama – and the ways to provide it.

Actually, you can look at it in so many different ways:

  • How much breastmilk a baby NEEDS.
  • How much breastmilk a baby COULD HAVE.
  • How much breastmilk a baby SHOULD HAVE.
  • And let’s be honest, there’s also – How much breastmilk the mama is comfortable/able to provide for baby.

It has to be said. Every baby is different. Needs are personal and situational. This is MY experience with MY children and breastmilk. If you have any questions about your child’s needs and your specific situation, reach out to an IBCLC on staff with Spectra Baby USA.

With my first two, I always followed the “rule” that 4ish ounces of breastmilk per bottle every three hours away from me was sufficient. But my middle guy’s daycare felt he needed more milk and so that meant buying the bigger bottles and giving him 5 ounces per feeding. 5 ounces of breastmilk in a bottle that can hold 8-9 ounces of breastmilk looks fairly ridiculous. Like something is missing. But hey, you have to think of it as “half full” not “half empty,” am I right?

With my newest little guy, I bought all new bottles, tried a few and ended up back with the same ones I used for the other guys. And bought all preemie nipples for the bottles, because that’s what I always knew to be true. Give 4 ounces of breastmilk every three hours and use the slowest flow nipple. His daycare thinks that because each bottle is taking around 45 minutes for him to finish and he is “looking for more milk” once the bottle is done that he a. needs a faster flow nipple and b. needs more milk per feeding. So what’s a girl to do?

Everyone always says that people who give breastfed babies bottles should pace feed. And so I always give that direction. But the truth is, I’m no bottle expert. All I do is fill them up in my nightly chemistry-like situation of pouring and preparing. And of course, I’m pretty awesome at pumping with my S1 at work all day.

The Senior IBCLC with Spectra Baby USA, Jenn Foster, shared an interesting article with me that questions whether babies should continue use of a preemie nipple and it was pretty eye-opening. From the article, it definitely sounds to me like Charlie is ready for a faster flow nipple. Oops.

So that leads to the next question – does he need more milk per feeding? Who knows? It’s all trial and error, just like so much of motherhood.

The positive in all of this is that there are so many options. And lots of days to try. And lots of variables – like teething, illness, fussiness, daycare vs. home, bottles vs. nursing, etc. I’m willing to try it and figure it out.

In this case, the conflicting information isn’t overwhelming me. It’s an awesome reminder that there isn’t always one answer when it comes to feeding our babies.

What’s your opinion? Are you slowest flow nipple until baby is done with bottles? Faster flow? More milk? I’d love to hear what you think.

About the author

Lindsey Schedler lives in New Jersey with her frat house of three boys (4 if you count her husband). By day, she’s a social and digital media strategist. For fun, and to connect with others, she shares about life as a working mama /fitness enthusiast and yummy food via @thindsey on InstagramLindsey is passionate about breastfeeding and pumps with her S1 or S2 when she’s away from her baby.


Pumping — The Good, The Bad, and The Rewards

Real Mom Story, by Mary Atkins

Pumping — The good, the bad and the rewards

I started my pumping journey 18 months ago and  I have been Exclusively Breastfeeding, EBF, and pumping since. I’m sure many of you can relate that, the pumping journey is not so simple. Luckily for me,  the breastfeeding part came easily to me. Not so much the pumping part though. I have suffered from multiple spouts of mastitis, which in itself is a horrible experience. But I never called it quits even with bleeding nipples, painful pumping and wanting to just throw in the towel.

Thanks to my Spectra S2 and S9, I  have a deep freezer full of over 200 oz of breastmilk. I learned that once baby turned one, about 170 oz would expire, frozen breast milk only stays fresh in a deep freezer for a year. I was crushed. I felt defeated. All of those sleepless nights of hard work and dedication I felt were a waste. My husband held me tight and reminded me of what an amazing mom I am being able to provide breastmilk for our child and that no matter what my efforts have never gone unnoticed. This gave me the confidence to continue to build my “stockpile” of breast milk.

Women are such amazing human beings. Our bodies provide life, sustenance, and comfort. I am a proud part of the Spectra Baby USA family. The resources they have are incredible! There’s nothing fun about sitting there feeling like a cow getting milked, but my Spectra pumps are amazing and make the job easier..  Not all pumping sessions have been successful. In fact, there have been many times where I can only pump a couple of ounces. But those massive cluster pumping sessions where I produce enough to almost overflow the bottle have helped get me through the tough times and I thank my Spectra pumps for that!

Everyone struggles with their breastfeeding and pumping journey differently, but one thing I know is to use the resources that are available with the Spectra family. Life isn’t easy, and adding a child can always heighten that stress, but look into those sweet eyes of your child and remind yourself that life is good no matter what. YOU’RE good. You’re a superwoman who is privileged enough to provide the best source of nutrition for your child. The journey may not always be the easiest, but you can do this Momma! We are all proud of you, so be proud of yourself and never give up.


How Pumping Enhanced My Breastfeeding Journey

By Ericah Miller #RealMomStory

Motherhood is a gift. It is also one of the most important full-time jobs you’ll ever have. You’re responsible for loving, protecting, shaping, and nurturing this adorable little human who was next in line to join this world we live in.  It’s a big deal. It’s a 24/7 job actually. There are no paid breaks for every four hours worked. No paid time off, vacation time, and no paid sick time. You’re paid in sweet little coos, smiles, and giggles which turn into sweet phrases and affectionate little hugs to mommy. As they grow, you feel a moving satisfaction watching them thrive at their own pace. It’s amazing. It’s one of those gifts in life I’ll never understand how I was fortunate enough to experience.

However, for me, it is a job you learn on the fly. I wasn’t warned that motherhood would leave me sleep deprived to the point of tears. Given, I decided to breastfeed without supplementing, that eliminated even more sleep from my regimen. But when one great lactation nurse introduced me to pumping, it totally enhanced my life. Pumping my breast milk allowed me to receive help from my spouse with nightly feedings. Although I was never the mom with an overflow or a freezer supply, pumping even made it possible to occasionally have an outing for myself and the occasional date night with my husband. With the twelve weeks of my maternity leave, cabin fever may eventually set in for moms like myself. You need an outlet—some quality time alone, aka ME TIME. Pumping milk allows you to do this. Also, when that maternity leave ends for us working moms, that milk gives both you and baby that warm, fuzzy feeling while you’re apart. Well, maybe not warm, fuzzy right away for mom, but it definitely gives you the security that your baby has what they need while you’re apart.

I’ve literally tried several different pumps and landed on the Spectra S2Plus.

Occasionally, I was discouraged by the amount of time I spent pumping and my output. Although my supply wasn’t in abundance, I typically had what my baby needed. It just took an eternity to get it out with the other pumps. Spectra was my fifth pump and it helped lessen the time tremendously with an even better output. I often got more ounces out with it. Another plus was that it didn’t leave me feeling like someone had attached a blaring vacuum cleaner to my chest lol. My Spectra was so quiet that I was able to pump in the office quietly without distracting anyone walking past the office like my others. A great pump can change the trajectory of your breastfeeding journey. It’s extremely easy to want to quit if you’re pumping and experiencing difficulty with supply or time allotted at work for pumping. A friendly and efficient pump can enhance the journey so much that you’ll look up like me and realize it’s already been fourteen months! I have no plans of stopping for at least the next ten months. Both of my children are pretty healthy and I honestly believe the use of my Spectra pump is a part of that success. Makes me wish I’d had my Spectra the first time around almost eight years ago!

If you’re thinking about what pump to get, trust the other thousands of us who have tried many others and stick with Spectra.  Check here to see if your insurance covers it.


Spectra vs Medela

Comparing Breast Pumps: Real Mom Review

Comparing Breast Pumps: Medela, Megna & Spectra

Brittany Busbee

First-time Mom, First-time Pumper

I am a first-time mom to my beautiful baby girl and I really had no idea what to expect about breastfeeding.  Honestly, I knew even less about using a breast pump…so, keep that in mind when I was faced with using one! I could truly feel that I needed to pump because I was blessed with a very healthy milk supply! As an exclusively breastfeeding Mommy, I began pumping once per day to start stocking up on pumped milk for my return to work.

Three different breast pumps I used: Medela, Megna, & Spectra

My insurance sent me a Medela Pump In Style and within a week, the pump just decided to completely give out on me. Just great!  Even when it was working, it was loud, uncomfortable and never really felt like it was emptying my breasts. I was frustrated, to say the least, and to be honest, I didn’t know if this was normal. Because I didn’t have a working breastpump my supply really started to take a dive!

Nervous about having enough milk for my little one, and knowing that I wanted to breastfeed and that I was going back to work, pumping was extremely important to me.  I reached out to a family member who was an IBCLC and she recommended that I look into the Spectra S1. I didn’t know anything about this pump. But, within a day of using it ,I could feel my supply coming back…I was so impressed!  Compared to my experience using the Medela, I was shocked by how quiet it was and that I was able to pump so much at once without feeling the pain I did before. I had a new found friend!

My S1 has given me not a single issue and it is honestly a joy to use. My milk output is awesome compared to the other pump used,  I could finally relax because I didn’t feel like a space shuttle was going off and it was finally comfortable to pump. While every woman has a need for a different flange size, the Spectra pump came with  24mm and 28mm flanges which allowed me to find which size worked best for me. In addition, the actual shape of the flange is perfect and totally comfortable. Also, having multiple options on pump settings is AMAZING. I have been able to maximize my output by finding the different settings that work best for me.

Then, I was given the opportunity to try a different breast pump, the Megna M7.  It was pretty exciting to try this pump because it was small, came with some cool extras (like a cooler pack and extra collection bottles) and it had USB capability.  I planned on using the M7for when I went back to work because of its more portable size (it fit in my hand). Unfortunately, when I went back to work I realized it was not as satisfactory as my S1. The first time I went to go to use it, I was at a crunch for time and desperately needed to empty my breasts. I was all set and ready to start pumping, only to realize only one side was allowing the milk to flow into the bottle. The flap that allows the milk to pass through always gets stuck on the pump and causes such a mess and headache. It’s happened every time I use the pump.

Another thing that has frustrated me about using it was that the flange shape is so uncomfortable for me. It causes so much pain while pumping. My output with it is honestly SAD compared to the Spectra. I’m an over-supplier and I’ve never successfully pumped more than 3 ounces from one side even when engorged. With the S1 I usually pump 4-5 ounces from each breast every time I pump!

The winning breast pump: Spectra S1

The fact that I depended on the Megna while at work and couldn’t successfully pump has been so frustrating. I started bringing my S1 to work and pump 5oz from each side in 5 minutes! Wow, just wow!  It’s been a huge relief to know that I can pump quickly, be comfortable when I do and have enough to leave my little one while I work.

Even though it’s not the most portable size, it is so worth having especially when I only have a few minutes to pump.  I am absolutely in love with it and would recommend it to every mom! The fact that I can pump without being plugged into a wall outlet is just another plus in my book.  What a great pump…I’ll be storing the other two pumps for the remainder of my pumping experience. See ya!

Spectra vs Medela

Spectra breast pumps

Which Spectra Breast Pump is Right for Me?

by: Brittney F.

Let’s face it, Moms, there are A LOT of choices out there when it comes to breast pumps. If you’ve chosen Spectra, congratulations!  As a breast pump company, we offer the best options for the busy nursing Mother. Our pumps are versatile, discreet, and most importantly, NATURAL feeling. A lot of Moms find themselves here, asking themselves “which pump do I choose?”  To help you decide, we’ve put a list describing each and what it includes for you.

All of Spectra’s models include the following:

  • Breast Flanges
  • Wide Neck Bottles
  • Discs
  • Locking Rings and Caps
  • Duckbill valves
  • Backflow protectors
  • Tubing
  • Power Cord & Adapter


The S1 Plus

The Spectra S1 Plus offers up at an amazing 3lbs. Compared to lugging around those 12-pound breast pump “purses”, this thing is a dream. This rechargeable model is perfect for Moms on-the-go and working Moms alike. It is quiet, operating at the ‘noise’ level of a library and convenient. The S1 has a massage mode, that imitates your newborn’s sucking rhythm and adjustable suction level with a timer. The S1 model also includes a night light to help you see when you wake up for that inevitable 1 AM session.

The S2 Plus

The S2 Plus is Spectra’s all-electric premier model. It is perfect for Moms who stay at home with their little ones and can have a set place to pump. This model, even lighter than the S1 Plus, comes in at 2.5lbs. While it is lighter and does have all of the same features, this pump is not rechargeable. If you take it with you, you must bring the power cord to plug it in and stay in the same place while you pump.

The 9 Plus

The 9 Plus breast pump is amazing because you can literally stick it in your purse. It comes in at a whopping half a pound. What weighs half a pound? A tomato. A tomato weighs half a pound. This beauty of a pump offers the same features as the two previous models, minus the nightlight. Even more, it does not have to stay plugged in and it offers the most convenience and portability for on-the-go Moms. If you have a place to go, you can take this pump anywhere.

The Dew 350

This pump is a bit different from the other pumps. It’s near and dear to my heart because it is for Moms whose little ones are unable to breastfeed. Whatever your reason to need this pump, you can rest easy knowing that Spectra is there for you and understands what you’re going through. This pump has backflow protection and comfortable suction levels, just like the other pumps, but was designed with Moms who are just having a bit of trouble with breastfeeding. It’s not meant for all Moms, just Moms with little ones like my boy, who have feeding difficulties.


No matter what type of Mom you are, Stay-at-home, Working, On-The Go or Work-From-Home, Spectra has the right pump for you. You and pick up all of these pumps, as well as some super cute accessories like a gorgeous our black tote and blinged-out baby bottles at  Leave us your comments below.


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