Everything You've Ever Needed To Know About Pumping

If you are on this page, you:

a.) Are pregnant and getting prepared

b.) Have just had a baby who is having latching problems

c.) Have just had a baby who has sucked your nipples raw and are dying from excruciating pain

d.) Are about to go back to work and need to figure out how to supplement

e.) Want to pump as well as breast feed so that you can keep up your supply

f.) Want to boost your current supply

g.) Want to lose some extra weight

or 

h.)  are really bored and reading this blog post for fun

I have been a, b, c, f, and g

Probably h too...

I first learned all about pumping when my son was born. He would not latch. I tried the nipple shield. I tried different positions. I tried using a little catheter like tube attached to my boob. I tried everything, but after a c-section and about a week of crying, I decided to pump. I felt like a horrible mom. I wanted to breast feed so badly, but my husband reminded me that Jackson would get the milk, and that was what was important. From that day forward I decided to embrace pumping.

I quickly realized that pumping sucked. It sucked, because I knew nothing about it. Thank goodness for my sister in law's best friend Heather, she had recently pumped for her son, and brought over a basket of goodies for me that saved my life when it came to pumping. The main thing that she brought me was a pumping bra. Game changer. From that time forward, pumping was a piece of cake. I lost 40 lbs of baby weight and another 20 lbs in 6 months. I quit pumping at 6 months and had an entire freezer and deep freezer full of breast milk. 

I look back on that time and realize how little I knew back then compared to how much I know now. I am a little more than four months into pumping for Taylor. They called her the "Piranha Baby" at the hospital due to her vigorous biting and sucking. After many shed tears and the desire to be as far away from her as possible because of the pain I knew was coming, I decided to pump again.  

It, once again, has been the best decision for me and my family. 

So, the first thing I want to tell you is this; DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. If you are here and are looking for information on pumping, then you are a good parent. Breastfeeding is not best for everyone. (It sure as heck isn't easy for everyone either!) Your child will still get the nourishment that he/she needs, and you will not be in constant pain or constant distress. 

I've broken this post into 15 different categories so that you can jump ahead to what you are looking for or feel free to read through the entire post. As I type this first part of my post (who knows how long it will take me to write the entire thing..) I am currently at less than 6 months of pumping with my daughter and have already stored almost 4,500 ounces of breast milk in my deep freezer. I more than double how much my daughter eats every day. I'm here to help you do the same thing.

(Hear me when I say this: pumping isn't always the best thing for everyone. Your sanity and your desire to be with your child is the most important thing. Your child will be just fine if you end up giving him or her formula. Do not doubt yourself as a parent. Do what you think is best and love your child the best way you can.)

Let's Get Started.

Which Breast Pump Should I Choose?

This is a big one, and this can make all of the difference in the world in your supply. No pressure:).

I am biased. I have used the hospital grade pump as my main pump for both of my kiddos. It is efficient and because I rent it, I can always return it if something goes wrong. The one complaint I have read about EVERY SINGLE BREAST PUMP is that eventually the motor dies. With a hospital grade pump, you don't have to worry about this.

I would highly recommend skipping the single pump. You will never want to pump on one side and then switch to the other. It will be a giant pain in your a$$. The double pump will still allow you to pump on only one side, but always give you the option of pumping both at the same time. TIME SAVER.

Here is what you need to know about pump brands. You have about 6 good quality brands to chose from. 

Medela

The Medela Symphony is the hospital grade pump that most hospitals use. You can rent them from the hospital or even a store like BuyBuyBaby. I have always used this pump and kind of love it. If anything ever goes wrong, I can just take it back to the hospital and get a new one. It is efficient and powerful, but it doesn't hurt. You can buy this pump, which I would recommend if you are going to have lots of children, or you can rent it. I am planning on pumping for around 6 months. I can rent it from my hospital for $150 every 3 months. For $300 this is totally worth it to me. It is an amazing pump. This is the strongest and most efficient pump on the market. 

The Medela Pump In Style is another great one. I bought this one when I had my second kiddo. I bought it for the times I wanted to go somewhere for longer than three hours without having to lug around my hospital pump. This works really well. I still like the hospital one better, but I have been really happy with this one when I am in a crunch. I have driven and pumped at the same time while using the car adapter, and I have pumped in parking lots. Talk about being nervous. Having a giant truck drive by as you sit there pumping. I eventually got to the point where I didn't even cover up. I just wanted to pump and be done. Classy.

The Medela Harmony Manual pump is one that I had with Jackson. It is nice if you want to pump somewhere like the bathroom without having to plug in somewhere, although with the battery adapter, you can do that with the above pump in style. This is a cheap option and it might work for you, but do not buy this as your main breast pump. This would be a second or third breast pump. 

Lansinoh

The Lansinoh Double Electric Breast Pump gets 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. It is a quiet breast pump. You can feed your baby on one side and pump on the other without waking him/her. It is also, apparently, the exact same pump as the Ameda Purely Yours breast pump, but a little bit cheaper. 

Avent

The Avent Comfort Double Electric Breast Pump was ranked very high on good breast pumps. It's got a comfortable pumping position due to its unique design. You can choose from 3 different settings and it is BPA Free. (most are these days)It is around $200

Freemie

The Freemie is a very talked about pump. It is relatively new on the market and people are starting to love it. People say it is one of the quietest on the market. You could pump right next to someone and they wouldn't even hear it. The part that I love about this pump are the cups. You can stick them in your bra (which means you don't need pumping bras) and be very discrete when pumping. I purchased just the cups (you can order them with attachments for your other pumps) and I loved them, but I had one problem: the nipple shield wasn't big enough for me. I talk about nipple shield sizing HERE.

Spectra

The Spectra is super quiet and has a letdown mode and fully adjustable program to best suit your body. One really cool thing about the Spectra is that it is a closed system - hygienic for you and baby. This one is kind of cool because it has a night light and timer. It has a powerful, adjustable suction yet so comfortable you won't realize how powerful it is. It's a great price for only about $125 and it has 4 1/2 stars on Amazon. 

Ameda

The Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump has fully independent controls for suction and speed maximize milk flow and comfort, however when reading reviews, some complained that suction was lost over time.  Supposedly it helps protect breast milk from bacteria, mold and viruses with Proven Airlock Protection while pumping. It Includes dual Hygienikit milk collection system and is lightweight and portable.

Now, these are just some suggestions. I know that there are other pumps out there that might be awesome, but these are some of the most popular. Remember that when you first begin pumping, it will hurt a little bit, just like breastfeeding does. When I first switched from breastfeeding to pumping, I had it on the lowest level possible on the pump. I now have it on the highest. Your nips  get used to it. Sometimes I even look down because I can't remember if I'm pumping or not. 

Will Insurance Pay For My Pump?

Yes. Insurance will cover your pump. All you need to do is contact your insurance company and find out what they will cover. They will let you know exactly what you need to do. I didn't want to deal with the hassle of it all, so I just rented mine and bought mine. To me it was worth not dealing with.  

What Are The Best Pump Accessories?

Pump accessories. Man, the rabbit trail we could get on with this topic. There are a bazillion pump accessories out there, and I think thats a good thing. You want options when it comes to something this important. Today, I'm going to tell you about my favorites and the ones that got me through the last 6 months. (Clearly I haven't written this post for about two months, since when I first started writing it, I was a little over 4 months into pumping...)

If You are going to go with the Medela Breast Pump, you have a ton of options when it comes to the accessories section. 

Medela Breast Pump Accessory Set 

This set contains the essentials needed, including extra breast pump parts, 4 breast milk bottles, cleaning accessories, and It comes with two steaming bags that allow you to sanitize your parts.

You can purchase nipple tops for these bottles to turn straight into a bottle, but I am not a fan of the way the air doesn't flow out well. (I'll talk more about this HERE)
These parts are not compatible with Freestyle or Harmony breast pumps.

Medela Tubing

This is a great kit to have on hand. Your pump will come with all of this stuff, but you will need to replace some of these items as they tear or break. It is also really nice to have duplicates so that you don't have to worry about taking the time to deep clean the others. 

Medela Breast Milk Feeding Kit

You are going to need to put your milk somewhere. This Medela kit is a great starting point. In the beginning, you will not pump very much as there is a good chance your milk will not have come in yet. The little containers are great for that. The bottles are perfect for pumping into and then throwing in the fridge, and the bags are great for storing in the freezer. Like I said, its a good starting point.

Medela Pump Wipes

These things are great for a quick wipe up of your pump. If you are in a hurry or out and about and need to clean your pump quickly, these are what you want to have on hand.

Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags

The Lansinoh bags were my go to bags. These are my bffs. They are big enough that you can fill them up and then lay them flat for freezing. Once they have frozen flat, you can store them better. When its time to use your frozen milk, just place them in the fridge overnight or thaw it out in warm, not hot, water. Hot water will cause a leak in the bag. 

Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bottles

These Lansinoh bottles are another great option for pumping and putting it straight into the fridge. I had a system where I had about 10 bottles in the fridge at a time. It stays good for 3-5 days, so having a bottle ready that I can easily dump into the Dr. Browns, was very convenient. You can also just use Dr Browns bottles for this and use the lids that come with the kit.

Lansinoh Nursing Pads

The Lansinoh nursing pads are a necessary evil. You will leak. It sucks. These are disposable and pretty cheap. Just have a few boxes on hand to use whenever you need to. I found that with pumping, I didnt leak all that much, but I'm not sure how common that is. 

Ameda Spare Parts Kit

The Ameda spare parts kit is great if you get the Ameda pump. You always need to have spare parts on hand. You don't want to get caught one day with a broken piece and not be able to pump. 

What Size Breastshield Should I Get?

This is a bit weird, but so is pumping. When you pump, your nipples can swell and change size. Fun, right? Typically when you get a pump, it will come with the standard size breast shield which is 24 mm. Try that out. If it hurts in any way, or if your areola is being pulled into it too far, it is not the right size and you need to go bigger or smaller. When I pumped, even though Medela does not suggest it, it felt better for the Areola to go into the shield a little bit, so I ended up getting a little bit bigger size than the 24mm shield. 

This image is from Medela's page and will give you an idea of what you are looking for. I say try different ones out. This is something you will be doing for a while, so make sure you get the right fit.

 

Medela offers 5 different size breast shields and you can find them all right here. 

Here are different size shields for Ameda's pump

Best Bottles To Use When Pumping

Dr. Browns bottles are my go to bottles. I have a love/hate relationship with them. There are sooo many parts to wash and take apart, but I think they are the best. None of my kids have had gas with them. We have had two of our our own and four foster babies. I have used Dr. Browns for all of them. They are worth the hassle.

The Thinkbaby bottles seem lovely to me. I have not used them before, but from what I can tell, they have minimal parts, but also help prevent gas bubbles. They are very chemical free. This is from their page:

  • Thinkbaby's starter set is free of: bisphenol A, phthalates, nitrosamines, lead, pvc, tritan, melamine, and biologically harmful chemicals

 

We used the Joovy Boob bottles with our third foster baby. I like them because there were not as many parts as the Dr. Browns bottles, but they are a little bit more pricy. There is also this ring that goes around the top, to help prevent gas bubbles, which made me want to scream at times when I didnt put it on right. All in all, the Joovy Boob is supposed to be great if you are breast feeding and bottle feeding. 

People love the Munchkin Latch. It is BPA free (as most bottle are these days), it is supposed to help the flow of the liquid so that gas is prevented. It is easy to clean and most moms like it. It is also similar to the Joovy Boob because it resembles the breast. 

Setting Up A Pumping Station

I think that setting up a station is key to staying sane. It's not always possible. We live in a very small house, and there just isn't a ton of space, but I still figured out a way to have almost everything in one spot. I got wise from my first baby though, and I put this spot on a rolling cart. That way, wherever I needed to go, I could just roll the cart right along with me. The cart below is the exact one I used, and now it makes a perfect place to store my son's books and before that, my daughters hair bows, socks, and baby toys. Your pump will fit perfectly on the top shelf.

In your command center, I recommend snacks and water. There is no time like pumping time to eat and drink. Lactation cookies are freaking amazing and you will always get thirsty while pumping. Its weird. Also, I recommend that with your snacks you choose something with protein. Lightly salted almonds are delicious and my go to!

I'll just give you a list of what you should have in your command center. 

1. A water bottle

2. Snacks/ Lactation Cookies

3. Nursing pads

4. Wipes to clean up any possible spills while pumping

5. Gel Pads (See What Should I Do To Help With Nipple Pain?)

6. A few extra parts for your pump in case anything breaks down

7. Burp Cloths because there is a good chance you will be feeding your baby his/her bottle while you are pumping

8. Nipple Cream/Ointment

9. Hand sanitizer

10. A book to read to yourself or your child and the TV Remote. This is the best time to binge watch some good TV!

11. You definitely want your nipple cream with you. You have got to rub that stuff on right when you finish pumping or right after you let the leftover breastmilk dry on your nipples.

The Perfect Pumping Schedule

Getting on the perfect pumping schedule is key in the beginning. You have to make sure your milk comes in, and if you are exclusively pumping, there is no reason for you to not have it come in as much as possible. 

I know you are so tired. You just had a baby. You are already not getting any sleep at all, but for now, you have to stick to a schedule to get and then maintain flow.

Think about it this way, when you use a double breast pump for 20 minutes, your body basically thinks you have twins. Therefore, your body creates more milk. Get that double pump!

Ok, let me get to a pumping schedule. To make sure that my milk came in good and strong, I pumped every 2 1/2 hours. If I didnt have the time, I would make it three, but I never pumped less than every three hours for the first 3 months. After the first three months, change your schedule to every 4 hours or continue with every three hours during the day and then take a longer stretch at night. You can also eventually go to 15 minutes per pump. Just get through those first 3 months and get your milk established! It's worth it!

How To Increase Your Milk Supply

I don't want to brag, but when I pumped for both my son and my daughter, I filled our deep freezer and freezer completely full of milk both times, while also feeding them each day. With my daughter, I was also able to donate a ton of milk to an adopted baby and to a teenage mom who needed help with her baby. Ok, I'm bragging. Listen, some people just make a lot of milk, and some people have to work at it. I worked at it. Do one or two of these things below and stick to my pumping schedule above, and you will be able to pump that much too!

This picture was 3 months in with my son. Of course, this is the only picture I took of my breast milk. Who knew I'd be writing a blog about it years later.

Cluster and Power Pumping

Another major way to increase your milk supply is by cluster pumping/power pumping. (Same thing, different names) I did not have to do this with my son, but I did the second time around with my daughter. Find a time at night when you have down time and do it for a few nights in a row. It will signal to your body that it needs to make more milk because your baby is still hungry.

Cluster Pumping.jpg

Lactation Cookies and Lactation Shakes

Another great way to increase milk supply is by eating lactation cookies or drinking lactation smoothies. I found the BEST lactation cookies while I was pumping with my daughter. I paid for them. I am no baker. I just bought them. However, I will leave you with some other tried and true recipes that people made for me. 

Mooncookies.net is where I ordered my cookies from. OHMYGOSH. Soooo good. You can order cookies, bars or shakes from them. You get to choose what kind of candy you want put in to go with the ingredients that increase milk supply. If there was ever a time to eat these, guilt free, this is the time!

Here is a little pic from their website. I actually cut the bars in half and they lasted a lot longer. 

Brewers Yeast, Flax Seed and Oats. Thats basically what you need in any cookie recipe or smoothie recipe, but many of them can end up dry. The ones I ordered from MooNCookies were moist and thick, and now my mouth is watering.

Here are two recipes that I would recommend. 

This is a great cookie bar recipe over at Mary Makes Good

And here is a great smoothie recipe at Diary Of A First Time Mom

Supplements

I used Fenugreek and Mother's Milk Tea to increase my milk supply.

I believe 100% that Fenugreek worked very well. You have to take more than 3500mg a day to see a difference so check the dosage that they recommend and then take another if you need to. I remember taking 3 pills each time. The only downside is that you will literally start to smell like maple syrup, but once your milk increases, you can stop taking it. Fennel essential oil is also supposed to help.

I'm not a big tea drinker, and in my opinion it takes too long, but some people swear by this. It has fennel in it and fennel is supposed to increase milk supply. It has Coriander, Fenugreek and Fennel anise in it. If you love drinking tea, you will love this. It has a licorice-like taste to it.

Essential Oils

If you know anything about my blog, it is that I used to be a huge oil person. I still love and use oils every single day, but my blog is not as focussed on them anymore. However, I believe 100% in them. There are some great oils that will increase your milk supply. 

Fennel essential oil is a great one. You swallow two drops of the oil in a teaspoon of honey. Do this every two hours until your milk supply increases. You can also apply to your breasts while you are nursing, but be sure to keep clear of the nipple and areola. 

Two more oils to use are Joy and Stress Away. These are two of my favorite oils, and I can promise you that they would be fantastic during this time in your life. Stress away does just what it says it does. It helps eliminate your stress. This will help with let down. Stress can always hinder your milk supply. Joy is another great one that will help your stress to decrease. Just inhale either of them and/or place a drop over your heart. 

Stay Hydrated

For reals. I know it seems so simple, but drinking tons of water is one of the best ways to insure that your milk supply is on its 'A' game. Make sure you are drinking as many ounces as half your body weight each day...and then drink 10 more. I promise this will help. If you are dehydrated, you will not produce as much milk.

What To Use For Nipple Pain

Nipple pain. No one likes it. No one ever thinks they'll have to worry about it, unless they are a little frisky in the bedroom. But for real, when you have had a child who does not latch well, or if it is your first time pumping, you will have nipple pain.

Motherlove nipple ointment was my go to for both babies. It is all natural so you dont have to worry about cleaning yourself off before you pump.

My other go to were the Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads. These things are amazing. You put them on when you are finished pumping and they bring such relief! The have a cooling sensation and just give your nips a good ol rest. 

Another tried and true fix to nipple pain, is your God given gift of breast milk. Breast milk has sooo many great things in it that will help your nips heal quickly. After you finish pumping, rub some breast milk on the nipple and let it dry. 

What Should I Do To Help With Engorgement?

Engorgement is a horrible feeling also. Different from nipple pain, but still horrible. They feel heavy, warm, and uncomfortable as your milk comes in.

The good news is, your milk is coming in! The bad news is that you are going to feel like you want to pump right away to get rid of that feeling. Don't do that. If you are not near your pumping time on your schedule, you don't want to pump because that will encourage your boobs to continue to create that extra milk. This is the cycle of engorgement. Try the below items to help with engorgement.

I used the Lansinoh Thera Pearls. You can store them in the freezer and then place them inside your bra. This will help the warm feeling and will chill your boobs out. They will stop trying to produce the milk and the engorgement will get better. 

How To Encourage Let Down

Ok, you are ready. It's time to pump, but now you need that milk to start flowing. How do you get that to happen? I'm glad you asked. Let Down is key to pumping a lot of milk. You need to be relaxed. You need to be hydrated. And, your boobies need to be comfortable. I mean, not really comfortable, but..kind of.

Some people suggest looking at a picture of your child while you pump. I think thats a lot of hooey, but maybe it will work for you. Maybe I just didn't like my kids enough. 

Drinking a glass of water right before I pumped, always triggered let down for me. That, and the act of putting the pump on. Right when I would put that pump on both of my boobs, they would start tingling. 

Another key way to trigger let down is to warm up those boobies. That's right. I said it. This was pretty much my favorite part. Now, before your mind goes to the gutter, I didn't ask my husband to warm them up for me. I just used boobie tubes! You heat them in the microwave and then stuff them into your bra. They will warm up your boobs and you will get that tingling feeling that is the sign of let down. Just put them in a few minutes before you plan on pumping. 

How To Lose Weight By Pumping

My most favorite topic when it comes to pumping. CALORIES!!!! WEIGHT LOSS! HOORAY! When I was pregnant with my son, I gained 40 lbs. After I finished pumping (6 months), I was down the 40 lbs of pregnancy weight PLUS another 20 lbs. It was magical. Part of this, of course, was natural water weight loss, but a good majority of it was burning calories by pumping milk. With my daughter, I lost all 40 lbs of baby weight, but then nothing else. It was my own fault. I ate way too many lactation cookies. 

So, how do you lose weight while pumping?

Here is how it works. When you pump 1 ounce of breast milk, you are essentially losing 20 calories. So, if you pump 40 ounces a day, you burn 800 calories. If you pump 50 ounces a day, you will burn off 1,000 calories a day. Seriously. Now, this is the time to make sure that you are eating what you need to. Keep it healthy, but eat lots of that healthy food. If you are not eating enough, you will not pump enough. 

Now, on top of all of this, you have to take into account that your body is actually burning energy to make the milk. I never counted this during the time I was pumping. It was just an added bonus

Calories is the entire reason I wanted to increase my milk supply. Not for my precious children. For the weight loss. Great mom.

How Do I Clean My Pump Parts?

Cleaning your pumps can become a giant pain in your arse. It can be so time consuming, and on top of cleaning your pumps, you are also having to clean your bottles. 

The best trick I learned the second time around was that after you pump, you can put your pump parts in the fridge. This is huge if you are pumping at work and don't have time to clean up. Just bring a bag along and throw them directly into the fridge. You can do this each time for 12-24 hours, and then clean them at night before you go to bed. This decreased my cleaning time by a TON. Why can you do this? You can do this because when the milk residue on your pumps is in the fridge, it is not growing bacteria because it is cold. Now, you cannot leave your pump parts out after pumping and then put them in the fridge 30 minutes later. Put them in the fridge right away. 

Another great way to clean your pumps is with sterilizing bags made specifically for pump parts. Medela are the ones that I always used. I did this once a week, and when I did, I took all of the pump parts apart.

If you are going to use soap and water at the sink, make sure that you use an all natural soap like Honset Company or Young Living's Dish Soap. I also love to use foaming dish soap like below because I feel like it goes a lot further.

If you are going to wash your parts in the dishwasher, which I did each day, make sure you use an all natural dish detergent. 

How Do I Freeze My Extra Breastmilk?

If you are going to pump, you are going to need to store your milk. If you follow my advice above, you will have plenty of extra milk to store, and you will need freezer bags. 

For storing your milk in the bags, I recommend you store how much you have after each pump, but not more than 8 oz per bag. One option you have is to store a few pumps into one bag. So, say you pump and extra two ounces one time and and extra three ounces the next pump, put both of them in the fridge until they are both cold. Once they are both cold, you can combine them into one freezer bag. Do not mix warm milk with cold milk. 

These Lansinoh bags are my favorite. After trying Medela's bags and a few others, I landed on these being the best because of the way you can freeze them. You can put a lot of milk in them and still lay them flat to freeze. This is vital for storing. If you freeze your milk sitting up right, it will take up way too much space in the freezer. Lay it flat, and then, once it is frozen, stack it how you want. 

Some people recommend putting it in soda boxes. Others recommend plastic tubs. And some people put them nicely in gallon sized zip log bags. I didnt have time for that stuff. I tried. But, what I found the second time around was that throwing about 10 bags into a target bag and marking the date and around the amount of milk that was inside, worked best for me. Then, I threw my target bags into the deep freezer. When my daughter started going through the frozen milk, I went in and got the oldest bag of milk and thawed a few of them at a time in the fridge. The rest I kept in my normal freezer.

If you are going to store in a normal freezer, you should not keep it in for longer than 6 months. If you are going to store yourmilk in a deep freezer, it will last for up to 12 months.

How Long Does Breast Milk Stay Fresh?

This graphic from Medela shows us how long we can leave our milk in certain places. You can get a great storage going in the fridge first. Once you get about 2-3 days in your fridge, start storing in the freezer. Once your supply in the fridge starts to dwindle, go back to storing in the fridge. 

The Best Bras For Pumping

There is definitely a difference in a nursing bra and a pumping bra. One of them will not be of any help to you if you have to pump. Knowing that I was in the pumping business for the long haul, I invested in a bunch to try. These are my favorite.

The Rumina's Relaxed Bra below is a great and quick comfort one. It doesnt have a ton of support, but it is nice for wearing around the house.

The Simple Wishes Bra was the one my friend gifted me when I first started pumping. It is a great bra for pumping and slipping on when you need to pump, but it is not one that you can wear around while not pumping.

Oh The Dairy Fairy Bras. I discovered this brand my second time around. It is a bit pricy, but oh so worth it! They give you a few options and even have pumping tanks! HUGE FAN. I wore these bras everywhere. 

The Rumina's Classic Pumping tank is great. I wore this quite often. It runs small, but it was kind of nice having something tight hold my fat in.

That's it! I'm done. I am sure there are 1oo more things I could tell you, and I will probably continue to add to it as I think about it more, but Taylor is now one year old and this post has taken me forever to write. Not because of all of the details, even though there are a TON, but because I have written it off and on. There is just SO much information to give and this post has overwhelmed me at times.

I really hope it has helped you or will help you. Just remember, you can do this. And if you cant, fine. Your child will survive and all will be well. Be easy on yourself Mama or future Mama. You are doing a great job.

A Thrill Of Hope...

My favorite Christmas Carol of all times is O Holy Night. The lyrics bring me to tears at least once a year around Christmas time. 

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior's birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt it's worth.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees. O hear the angel voices! O night divine! O night when Christ was born

Truly He taught us to love one another. His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in His name, all oppression shall cease.

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we. Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! Oh praise his name forever! HIs power and glory evermore proclaim..

Those are such beautiful lyrics! I think it's my favorite because it is a worship song that is also a Christmas song. 

Anyways, because I love this song, I wanted to make it a picture on my wall. This is what I pictured when singing this song. 

Blueberry Birthday Party!

My darling daughter turned one. 

I wasn't sure what her theme should be. 

There are so many options, but then I remembered what she loves more than anything in the world.

Blueberries.

So, why not make her a blueberry themed party?

I had a lot of fun and it was super easy to find everything I needed. Blue and Purple...easy colors to find. 

I used the Baby Pics app to put her months over each picture. Free!

I used the Baby Pics app to put her months over each picture. Free!

Breathe Oh Breath Of God Now Breathe

I thought I would copy all of my chalkboard verses from someone else. I have always thought copying others art was relatively easy, but I had absolutely no talent for creating my own art. 

I don't know that you would call drawing on a wall with chalk "art," but it's the closest I will ever come to doing my own artwork, and as silly as it might sound, I feel like God put the image in my head.. 

It happened when I was listening to Lauren Daigle's song "Dry Bones-Behind The Story" where she explains why she wrote it...

The song is in reference to Ezekiel 37, where God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to these dry and very dead bones, and that when he does, God will breath life into them. 

She wrote the song about a friend who had walked away from God. He had left, just like the prodigal son.

When she read Ezekiel, she and the person she co-wrote with realized that God was in fact breathing the life into the bones, and making everything happen, but he was allowing Ezekiel to be a part of it by prophesying to the bones. 

Lauren and her co-writer set out to write this song for all of the moms in desperate prayer for their lost children, and for people who's friends have left the Lord and gone to do their own thing.

The prodigal son.

She tells the listener to pray with belief that if God can bring dry bones to life, he can bring your friend or loved one back to Him. He asks us to be a part of it by interceding on their behalf. 

I immediately thought of our friend who has recently turned from God and his family to do his own thing. He is in a dark and lost place, and I had honestly gotten tired of praying for him. I was feeling hopeless, but this song reminded me that hope is not lost. God can save him. God can bring him back to life, and he can be the prodigal son who returns to the Lord.

So as I have these words on my wall for the next few weeks, it will be a reminder that God can breathe life back into my friend's soul and I can be a part of it by interceding on his behalf.

What a mighty and powerful God we serve. 

Ezekiel 37 has been one of my favorite chapters in the Bible for a few years now. It is so poetic and magnificent to read. I feel like it's one of God's many mic drops in the Bible. 

"The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and sour hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’  Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.  And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.  And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”

Gah. How amazing is that?! What an awesome and powerful God we serve. 

If you haven't heard it, take a minute to listen to Dry Bones by Lauren Daigle. Worth your time.