Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Week 23

As a third time mama doing pregnancy with fibromyalgia I have been sharing my journey in case it helps you.

When I was pregnant for the first time in 2013, I would have loved to hear another mamas experience, read a book or take a course to help me cope.

In the absence of these things, I created my own.

Please note that some of my links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Here’s my week 23 pregnancy with fibromyalgia diary.

A brief overview

At week 23 baby is the size of a large mango. I experienced a bit of a growth spurt over the weekend (I show you the bump)!

Bubby is kicking up a storm which helps me to know he’s all good.

I am off work sick for three weeks as the symphysis pubis disorder has really run me down. Walking, sitting and sleeping are difficult.

I am still super thankful to be sleeping better than before low dose naltrexone.

Pregnancy with fibromyalgia diaries, week twenty three stuff got real!

Talking about pain relief:

9 Inexpensive Items I Use to Fight Fibromyalgia –here is the link to the Deep Heat I mentioned

Essential Oils for Pain Relief and a Pain Cream I am Loving -here I mention the essential oil pain relief cream I’m using

My Favourite Five Pain Management Mechanisms – Pregnant or Not!

I also mentioned my book Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia, available now.

Don’t forget the Facebook group Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia.

Do let me know what pain relief options you are utilising during pregnancy with fibromyalgia!


Want more information about coping with pregnancy and fibromyalgia?

Sign up to my free course

Pumping or Expressing for Your Baby: Parenting (Fibromyalgia or Not)

The one thing I disliked about the antenatal classes that we attended, is that they were not allowed to talk about bottles or expressing at all. I had to learn the hard way that mix feeding is a very good option to help your baby get some of that precious liquid gold.

In my Nursing with Fibromyalgia article, I recount my first two experiences with nursing. After three awful days with my son, during which I had to hand express onto a spoon while he screamed next to me while alone (they refused to let my husband stay and the night midwives didn’t want to help as I wouldn’t have their help at home *sigh*) the midwives showed me to the expressing machine. I didn’t even know that expressing was an option. My mum nursed all of her five children and if babies weren’t nursed they had formula, I hadn’t heard of this middle ground!

Video: Pumping/Expressing for your Baby

I wish I’d known about this middle ground so I didn’t have to take a crash course when so sleep deprived and sore.

Other articles you might like:

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia The First Trimester Diaries

Navigating Pain Relief in Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

Necessary Baby Items for a Fibro Parent

Now I always include expressing/pumping as an option when I discuss nursing with Fibromyalgia because my number one tip with coping postpartum is to express early, go to bed early and then have a support person give the baby the next feed. As someone who cannot nap, I need those precious hours of sleep at night. So, I would express at 9pm, go to bed right after and then my husband would do the next one or two feeds (depending how early on it was and if he was going to work the next day). I would then wake after a few hours sleep in a row to deal with the baby for the rest of the night. We couldn’t do this for our second because his reflux was so bad that we had to keep each other company to get through the scream-filled evenings. And I suffered for it. There were nights when I fell asleep upright while feeding him.

Affiliate notice: Please note that some of my links are affiliate links, if you make a purchase using these links I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The Breast Pump and Supplies

For the first two I used a heavy duty hospital grade electric pump (Unimom, not currently available on Amazon UK or US). This is necessary if you are looking at exclusively expressing or regularly expressing.Avent single eletric

If you are going to express semi-regularly, say a few times a day (at work perhaps) then a double electric breast pump, like this Avent one, is a good idea.

If you are going to express once or twice a day, like I plan to with number three, then a single electric breast pump, like this Avent one, is a good idea. This is actually on my Amazon Baby Registry, and as a third time mama not many things are on my to-buy list.

If you only plan to express occasionally, a manual pump, like this Avent one, may be the way to go. I didn’t like manual pumps, they hurt me to use (I only tried two brands that were given to me by the hospital to use when my son was sick), but the Unimom hand pump was the best for me for a tight spot.

I want to try this Hakaa manual pump this time, this is more for catching let down from the other side while nursing or helping you out between feeds if you find yourself without a baby or a pump.

The reason I am so amped about using Avent this time is because their bottles are our favourite, we have used them for both of our first two and will use them for our third. I believe the shape of the teat helped Wyatt to avoid nipple confusion and enabled mix feeding. The anti colic bottles are what we used. Don’t forget to start off with the newborn teat size! We had no idea there were different flows with our first baby and that was terrible at first (far too fast a flow does not help wind!).

You can buy the Avent steam steriliser, which would make things easier, but we were on a budget with our first and found that a basic tub that we filled with water and put sterilising tablets in did the job. You should sterilise all bottles, teats and dummies for at least the first six months.

There are special bottle warmers that some people swear by, but we found a jug of hot water to be sufficient. Please don’t microwave your milk to reheat it, it may heat unevenly and burn baby.

The process

  • If you are exclusively expressing then you need to express as often as the baby would feed, approximately three hourly. You will need to do this until your supply is established at around six weeks. After this you can try reducing the frequency (say once overnight) or four hourly or both. The trick with expressing exclusively seems to be keeping up with what baby consumes, you may need to express more often than they feed to keep up with the growing amounts they consume.alarm-alarm-clock-analog-1162967 attribution fre
  • If you are mix feeding, then you choose which feeds you are replacing to express (say 9pm). If baby is due for a feed near the same time, then you can choose to pump before or after according to your comfort level or routine. This is best while you’re establishing your supply.
  • You may be able to just always use formula at the late feed and your supply adjusts, just don’t do that with more than one feed at a time or you may find your supply reduced.
  • Sit as comfortably as possible, if you have a good pump then you just sit upright and time yourself for the 10-15 minutes.
  • To get started it helps to massage your breast and it can help to look at baby or a picture of them to encourage letdown. Start on a lower suction level and gently work your way up (without getting too strong).
  • I was advised to pump for no more than 15 minutes at a time with my hospital grade electric double pump, check what the recommendation for yours is.
  • If you’re feeling a bit lumpy or sore (like a clogged duct) a hot flannel on the breast can help as does massaging down toward the pump to help clear it out. I also gave myself a good massage in a hot shower when I had that blocked/lumpy feeling.
  • It’s also good to treat expressing like nursing directly and have a big glass of water and a snack. Hydration is important as is adequate nourishment.
  • When you are finished you can store the milk in a milk storage bag, like this, label it and put it in the freezer. They are useful with the zip close top for reopening if you are putting in multiple expressions before freezing.

A few tips

  • If you are expressing exclusively, or regularly that day, you can place all of the pump parts in a snap lock bag in the fridge between expressing sessions (so you don’t have to wash them all every time).
  • You can keep one milk storage bag in the fridge and put it into the freezer when full (or at the end of the day).
  • Generally you can keep milk in the fridge for three days and in the freezer for up to six months. This was great for me as I made an abundance of milk for my first baby very early on and was able to keep him exclusively breast milk fed for another four weeks after I stopped expressing. For more information about storage, see this article.
  • breast milk storage.PNGIf you want to use previously frozen breast milk, put the milk storage bag in the fridge overnight. Use the thawed milk within 24 hours.
  • It takes several weeks for breast feeding to be established, but once this point has been reached you can generally reduce the expressing frequency. With my second I expressed four hourly during the day and once overnight to mimic how baby fed – but I did stop making the total amount he fed and that was OK because he had to have thickened formula for the bulk of his milk anyway.

Further information

For two great sites (I don’t want to overwhelm you with heaps of extra reading, but you can definitely Google “exclusive pumping” or “expressing breast milk”), see Kelly Mom and Exclusive Pumping.

pumping or expressing for your baby

Final notes about pumping or expressing for your baby

I feel like my whole life was taken up by milk for my second baby’s first 12 weeks, between the expressing, the thickened formula (for the reflux) and the direct feeding. When I read the research that suggests even 12 weeks of partial feeding breast milk is protective against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, I felt very proud. So please don’t think it’s all or nothing. If you can give 20ml a bottle like I did (it made the milk too thin if I put more than that in the bottle) – that’s amazing. If you manage to give baby only breast milk for six months, that’s amazing too. If you can’t manage to nurse and you give your baby formula – you’re still amazing.

I found it ridiculous when people tried to say that giving the bottle was more impersonal, I didn’t feed with the baby an arm’s length away – I cradled him as if I were nursing directly and I looked into his eyes, spoke to him and stroked his skin in the same way, however I fed. And as a bonus, my husband was able to feed him about as often as I was and they bonded beautifully too (not that they can’t bond without that!) just a silver lining. The biggest silver lining was that I was better able to bond with my first baby this way, nursing directly was so painful for me and it was such a strain on me physically and emotionally – I was so relieved when parenting no longer included my breasts. Your physical and mental health is vital, your baby needs you more than your breasts.

Please remember that all of my learning shared above is just that, personal learning through a lot of reading and personal experience with two children. Always seek support from a lactation consultant or midwife if you need help, particularly with latching. However, if you feel that those who are supposed to be supporting you are just forcing you to do something you can’t or don’t want to do, I hope the things I share help.


Do come and join the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group, we are happy to chat through nursing, expressing, whatever with you.

For more information about Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia you can read my book! pregnancy and fibromyalgia def ed angle

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia The First Trimester Diaries

During my second pregnancy I wrote diaries here on the blog to share what my experience was like in case other people with fibromyalgia were curious. I would have loved to know I wasn’t alone with my symptoms during my first pregnancy – and that is why I started this blog, wrote my book, created the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group and now am videoing my diaries.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Weeks 7-13As I’ve frequently mentioned in posts and videos the this pregnancy, despite the symphysis pubis disorder, it’s been a far better experience than my first two. It’s all thanks to low dose naltrexone improving my sleep, pain and fatigue levels. I started in a better condition and am continuing better.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Week Seven

 

 

 

 

I experienced a few weeks of rather bad nausea and fatigue which is all very normal.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Weeks 8-9

 

 

 

 

 

I went from very nauseas to very hungry (it was no joke, no food in tummy meant nausea big time!)

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Weeks 10-11

 

I started to get more tired, the 17 month old has been growing his double teeth and so has woken every night from week eight ongoing (still at week 16!). The symphysis pubis disorder (SPD) turned up *sigh*.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Week 12

 

 

 

We had the nuchal scan (screening for genetic disorders) and I outline some ways I am managing the SPD.

Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Diaries Week 13

 

 

I discuss the confusing matter of simultaneously being thankful that this pregnancy is not as miserable as the last two and upset because my much adored gains from LDN have started to recede (less sleep, more pain, more fatigue).

If you want to learn more information about pain relief during pregnancy, then check out my 15-page printable PDF Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Micro Course Workbook. It goes through the existing information about pain relief during pregnancy, my experiences, a list of natural pain relief options, a list of further reading, a template to make your own pain relief plan (pregnancy edition) with space for notes and the brand new Advanced Pain Relief sheet with links to research about medicine use in pregnancy. I have gathered the information and created these printables to make it easier for you to make the best decisions for yourself- it took me years to get it all together.

So that’s all the videos from the first trimester. Week 14 will go up next week (I’m posting approximately weekly) so do subscribe to to my YouTube channel to be alerted about those.

Feel free to come and join the Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia Facebook group where we chat trying to conceive  pregnancy and nursing with Fibromyalgia.

Don’t forget to check out my video about coping with early pregnancy symptoms and fibromyalgia.

Find my book Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia here for everything I have researched and learnt about pregnancy with fibromyalgia. pregnancy and fibromyalgia def ed angle

Check out my course Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia – it’s a full five module course for planning the best pregnancy possible despite Fibromyalgia including a module on pain management. I am experimenting with offering the course for free with the option to purchase my book (technically the textbook) and/or the workbook which is available in my Etsy store. Find more information about the course here.

My Six Tips for Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia

I have been researching pregnancy with Fibromyalgia for the past four years and have written about my own experiences here on the blog.

Based on my research and exprience I have compiled six tips for pregnancy and Fibromyalgia. I talk about them in the video below.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm1xAgNaVrA&w=560&h=315]

The six tips are:

1. Arm yourself with knowledge
2. Get your body into the best place possible before conceiving
3. Prioritise rest and sleep
4. Nourish your body with good food and supplements
5. Get a pain management plan in place- discuss with your doctor what medicines you cannot come off, what you can and get your natural pain management mechanisms in place.
6. Make a plan for the final trimester, delivery and first six weeks that involves a good support system.
If you want to learn more information about pain relief during pregnancy, then check out my 15-page printable PDF Pregnancy with Fibromyalgia Micro Course Workbook. It goes through the existing information about pain relief during pregnancy, my experiences, a list of natural pain relief options, a list of further reading, a template to make your own pain relief plan (pregnancy edition) with space for notes and the brand new Advanced Pain Relief sheet with links to research about medicine use in pregnancy. I have gathered the information and created these printables to make it easier for you to make the best decisions for yourself- it took me years to get it all together.

For more information about pregnancy and Fibromyalgia:

Pregnancy andFibromyalgia_resources
definitive edition pregnancy and fibro
My book is available now

Pregnancy and fibromyalgia self paced course

facebook group

Some of my links are affiliate links, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you if you purchase using these links. I never promote anything I don’t 100% support myself.