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    11 Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy: The First Trimester

    Posted by Pyrrh on May 22nd, 2012

    A great post over on The Genius Baby Project on what to do when you find out you are pregnant!

    Congratulations! Your brain will now be running nonstop thinking of all the things that you need to accomplish before the baby is born. You’ll also be bombarded with advice, both reasonable and absurd. Fielding the comments can be stressful, too, especially since it seems the general population lose their manners when discussing your pregnancy! There are many things to do once you find out you are pregnant, and we’ve compiled a list of the most important things to know, buy, and do right away, and a list of things to discuss with your doctor.

    –> Click here now to read the entire article. < --

    Posted in Pregnancy and Parenting | 2 Comments »

    Medela Tubing

    Posted by Pyrrh on October 1st, 2011


    There are four current types of Medela tubing that are used for their breast pumps, and an additional style for some older model breast pumps. They are available in both PVC and silicone. The pumps function exactly the same regardless of whether PVC or silicone is used. All of their tubing is BPA-free.

    It is always suggested to have certain Medela breast pump replacement parts on hand, and certainly the tubing is an important one, if not often needed.

    Medela Tubing types available at this time:

    • 42″ PVC Tubing made for the Classic, Lactina, and Symphony. Not reccomended for the Pump in Style Advanced, because the PVC tubes can be hard to remove.
    • 42″ Silicone Tubing made for the Classic, Lactina, Symphony, and any Pump in Style Advanced sold prior to August 2006.
    • 42″ PVC Tubing made for all PNSO, and any PNSA made after July 2006.
    • 24″ Silicone Tubing made for the DoubleSelect
    • 30″ Silicone Tubing made for the Swing

    Ordinarily, you shouldn’t have to sanitize your Medela breast pump tubing. It is strictly for air flow, although you may see water droplets from condensation. Just let the pump run a little longer until most of the water has expelled then shake them out and hang to dry. If breastmilk does happen to back up into the tubes, you may sanitize them. Boiling or sterilizing these tubes may cause them to become cloudy or white, which is a natural occurence and a property of the plastics used. If, however, you see mold inside the tubes, it is suggested that you replace them as soon as possible. You may sterilize them in order to use them until replacements arrive, since they are only used for air flow and do not come in contact with breast milk.

    In order to prevent the tubes from melting when sanitizing them in the microwave, be sure that they lay flat, are completely covered in water, and do not tip over. You should only use this method if your microwave has a turntable. Be sure not to microwave beyond the suggested time.

    Be sure there are no obstuctions or kinks in the tubing or it could cause the cover of the Symphony breast pump to pop off. You can blow into the tubing to remove any blockages.


    Medela’s Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) also uses tubing. The sizes are as follows:

    • Small tubing 0.65mm in diameter and has a red top
    • Medium tubing 0.75mm in diameter (1.66mm outer diameter) and has a white top.

      This is the size included with the Starter SNS.

    • Large tubing 0.85mm in diameter and has a clear top.

    There isn’t a suggested life span of these tubes; it all depends on the frequency and duration of use, as well as individual circumstances.

    To clean the SNS tubing, run warm, soapy water completely through the system. Then repeat using clean water until the entire system is rinsed out. Sterilizing these tubes is not effective, even though the rest of the system can be sterilized.

    Posted in Pregnancy and Parenting | No Comments »

    Medela Breast Shield

    Posted by Pyrrh on October 1st, 2011


    Medela breast shield size can be very important in determining the comfort and effectiveness of your breast pump. Medela breast shields come in four sizes:

    • Small (21mm)
    • Medium (24mm – the size that comes in all of Medela’s breast pump kits)
    • Large (27mm)
    • Extra Large (30mm)
    • XX Large (36mm)

    Medela’s Personalfit breastshields are all interchangeable and fit Medela’s breast pumps without any extra connectors or attachments. This is a great feature; many other breast pumps do not offer different sized breast shields, or can be very hard to obtain.

    When the breasts aren’t emptied entirely when pumping or feeding, they will gradually start to produce less milk. This is why it is very important to be certain that your breast shields fit properly.

    If you have soreness around the sides of the nipples or problems with the pump completely emptying your breasts, you should get a larger sized breastshield set as soon as possible before any of these factors cause a reduction in your milk supply.

    You may need a larger sized breast shield set if you are having discomfort while pumping. If the nipple touches the sides of the tunnel while pumping, it can cause soreness. You may notice a ring of dead skin cells inside the tunnel after pumping. This is also an indication that the tunnel is too small. Conversely, if the tunnel is too wide, the nipple will not take up the tunnel space and the vaccuum will not be formed correctly, in which case you would need a smaller sized breast shield.

    The breastshield is designed to fit over the aereola and pull the entire nipple into the tunnel. You should also see some of the aereola being moved into the shield. This enables a massaging motion to help express the milk. If this is not happening, then a larger sized breastshield would be recommended, and likely more comfortable as well. However, the aereola should not be pulled into the tunnel. This is an indication that the breast shield is too large, and that you should move up to a smaller size.

    If the breastshield is too tight, it can affect your milk supply by not expressing all of the milk. During letdown, the milk ducts will expand to allow the milk to flow though. It cannot do so effectively if the breastshield is too tight and compressing the ducts. You may notice hard areas of your breast, which is milk left behind in the ducts. When milk is left inside the breast, it can cause painful engorgement, clogged ducts, and even mastitis.

    Any Medela product that comes into contact with breastmilk is BPA-free. This includes their breast shields. Most of their products are made of polypropylene, which is also phthalate-free.

    Here is a quick review of the guidelines in determining a properly fitted breast shield.

    • Is your nipple free of pain?
    • Is your nipple moving freely in the tunnel?
    • Is the areola tissue only slightly being pulled into the tunnel (or not at all)?
    • Do you feel the breast emptying all over?
    • Do you feel gentle, rhythmic movements in the breast?

    Answering no to any of these questions means that you are currently using the incorrect size.

    Posted in Pregnancy and Parenting | No Comments »

    Weigh Your Way to Losing Weight

    Posted by Pyrrh on January 11th, 2011

    Here are some very important things to know about how your weight changes, especially when you are just starting a diet and exercise plan.

    You could GAIN WEIGHT in the first few weeks.  Does this mean you are a failure?  NO WAY!  The main culprit is when you start exercising when you have been sedentary in the past.  The reason:  MUSCLE.  You are building your muscle back up to a normal level during this time, and muscle weighs more than fat!  This is very important to remember.  You see, you WANT more muscle, because the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns all day long, even when you aren’t doing anything!  Consider this your secret lose-while-you-sleep weapon.  This also means your body will need more calories to maintain its weight, which means you can eat more, and really should, to maintain the extra energy your new muscle needs.  This is why Weight Watchers advocates adding points to your daily intake according to the amount of exercise you have done that day, but only up to a certain amount.  For example, you shouldn’t add more than 200 calories if you’ve burned 200 or more while exercising.  Your goal at this point is to keep losing, after all!

    You could lose weight very rapidly the first week or two, then slow down to a more reasonable amount.  Don’t be disappointed, nor expect that rapid weight loss to continue.  This is ENTIRELY NORMAL.  Especially if you are drinking the proper amount of water, and getting a decent amount of fiber in your new diet plan.  Some may experience it because they have reduced the amount of salt intake; today’s fast food diet is shockingly high in salt content.  Your body is losing its “water weight” as your system flushes out.  As you drink enough water for your body to stay hydrated, you will retain less water in your tissues.  This is also a good thing; consider it a bonus if you lose those fast pounds at first!

    You COULD stay the same.  Despite following your new diet and exercise plan to a T, you are not losing!  Easily explained:  See both reasons for gaining and losing above.  What has happened, is that both of these processes are happening at the same time.  Fear not; stick it out for at least a month before determining any changes that need to be made.  The weight WILL start to drop at a reasonable amount after the first few weeks, if you are on an appropriate plan for your weight, age, and lifestyle.

    What is reasonable?  Anywhere from one to three pounds per week lost.  Losing any more than five pounds a week is not healthy; it is likely you are losing muscle as well, and it will be way too easy to gain it back.  If you are losing too much, you aren’t eating enough to keep your body supplied with the nutrients it needs.  The old saying is true:  You didn’t gain it in a day, and you won’t lose it that fast, either.  Slow and steady wins the race to keep your body healthy for a lifetime!

    I used to refuse to weigh myself except once every week or two. I can understand why this is important for some people, to keep from feeling bad about the numbers, and to be really happy with being able to see the progress.  I know many diet gurus advise this, since most people are so hooked on the scale.

    But it just didn’t work for me. I know that my weight fluctuates based on how much I’m working out, how much water I’m drinking, even if I had a really salty snack the day before. I could show a two pound increase over the last week, yet still be losing overall, based on what time of the day it was!

    So I started to weigh myself every morning. Of course, I still saw fluctuating, but it kept me motivated to keep that early morning weight down. If I was a bit up that day, I would watch what I ate more, and maybe exercise a little extra.  I’m never concerned unless I see an increase of two pounds over my best weight the week before.

    Then, for about two months, I started weighing myself every time I entered my bathroom. It was really interesting to figure out how your weight changes throughout the day, anywhere from three to four pounds!  It varies before and after meals, workouts, and showers.  It was  kind of fun, and educational, too.

    I don’t really need to do this, so I returned to weighing myself each morning. It seems my weight is lowest after waking up and moving around for about half an hour. And it is so much fun on days when I see new low numbers, when I dance around the room and announce to everyone what I weighed!

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    Posted in Health and Fitness | 5 Comments »

    Aerogarden Progress Week 4

    Posted by Pyrrh on May 14th, 2010

    (Check out Week 0 for tips on planting and a list of suggested supplies and suppliers.)

    The vegetable garden is definitely low on nutrients, hence the yellow leaves. I think my nutrients are too old – they’ve gotten a bit sticky and wet in the humidity. I’ve kept them in an airtight container for the past few months but apparently it was too late. Hopefully they will grow okay – if not I will replant them; not a big deal. Things grow so fast in the Aerogarden!

    The herb garden looks better. The cilantro will hopefully germinate this week. The new dill has come up, the basil has definitely sprouted, but still no sign of the mitsuba. If they don’t come up in a few days I will order more seeds. Everything else is coming along nicely.

    The garden starter tray is definitely doing well. One or two plants have been strangled because of all of the growth (lol) but I can’t plant them outside until next week. The new lemon cucumbers are definitely doing fine, and the cantaloupe is still going slow. I think most of them will be okay, though. I will plant some new seeds along with the seedlings anyway and that should prolong the harvest.

    My vegetable garden, with baby cucumbers (back left), eggplant (back right), and marble peppers (center):

    My herb garden, with cilantro, dill, sweet basil, par-cel, chrysanthemum, mitsuba, and Italian parsley:

    My garden starter tray, two columns each cantaloupe, butternut, pumpkin, spaghetti squash, zucchini, lemon cucumber:

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    Posted in Home Management | No Comments »