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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Milk Matters

A few weeks ago, I started donating my breast milk to a family I met though my local “Human Milk for Human Babies” facebook page. It started because I got frustrated while organizing my stash in my chest freezer: there was so much milk stored in there that we didn’t have any room for actual grown-up food! I had to take out all the frozen meats to make room.

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Milk stash quickly taking over my chest freezer

Plus I still had milk dating all the way back to July so I knew I only had a couple months left to use it or it would expire. So I connected with the facebook group and found a great mom of adopted twins who is driving all over town collecting milk from six different women in order to feed her precious babies the best stuff on Earth.

Think about that for a second: no matter what our struggles with breastfeeding are, I think they pale in comparison to someone not only wants to give her babies breast milk but drives all over town all week long to collect that milk! She and her husband willingly do that work for their babies. How amazing!

The first time she left my house with my milk I felt super weird. I mean, first, that’s MY milk! It came from me! I didn’t realize how attached to it I was until someone came and took it away. Weird. Then I had a mini freak out as I started to think, what if her babies react poorly to my milk?! What if it’s like blood – some types just aren’t compatible with everyone? But my donatee – what a sweetheart – texted me a few hours after she left to say one of the babies just gobbled up a couple ounces of my product and was looking quite content. Ah, sweet relief.

Side note – I almost feel like I’m doing something shady, because every Saturday I text her to tell her how many ounces I have for her and to arrange pick up. “Yo yo yo I gots 50 for ya this week.” If someone was reading our texts they might raise an eyebrow…

So there’s that. And it’s going really well! I give up about 50 ounces a week, which unfortunately only feeds those two babies for about a day. I only wish I could give more, but I know that my 50 ounces are better than zero. I do reserve about a dozen ounces for my freezer to keep just in case (what if I have to go away for a couple days or something? Not that that would happen but I like to be prepared for it).

My donee mama and I are fb friends now which is great because I can follow how the babies are doing. They have such an amazing story. The babies aren’t exactly twins – their mama calls them “twiblings.” One was adopted and the other was born via surrogate after 8 years of trying. Somehow both pieces fell into place at once and the babies were born a week apart. Amazing!

If you’re breastfeeding and you have more milk than you know what to do with, I encourage you to donate! Breast milk is the perfect food for babies. Some babies have allergies to formula and some just need that extra boost the breast milk provides. I’ve found facebook to be a great resource to connect with parents looking for milk. I looked into an “official” milk bank but most of the time you have to give in large amounts (usually 100 oz+) and the milk is pasteurized which does zap some of the sweet enzymes (or so I’ve read). Connecting directly with parents in need provides SO much more flexibility!

Now I love giving up my extra milk each week. It gives me just that much more satisfaction and motivation to keep breastfeeding!

Five Months

Baby2 is SUCH a happy baby. Not only is she an absolute delight when she wakes in the morning, but the evenings after work with her have been nothing short of fantastic. She babbles on and on in Baby Talk and will make her little squeal-type laugh at so many things. She loves playing with toys now and seeing a new one makes her little arms quiver with excitement.

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Mr. Handsome got her the exersaucer-stand-up-toy thing this month. At first I wondered if it would be uncomfortable for her since she doesn’t sit yet (so she doesn’t have the core sense to keep to balanced) but she does pretty well on her own. And by standing supported she’s probably working on strengthening those standing muscles! She loves the toy and we love getting things done in the kitchen.

Sometimes she can sit with support and maybe she will hold the sit for a least a second if she’s on my lap and I let go with my hands (ready to catch her when she starts to lean, of course!). When on the floor, Baby2 can roll both from front to back and back to front; she’ll go back and forth but she’s not rolling through the living room or anything. Occasionally she will roll in her crib and we’ll find her stuck in a corner, just kind of hanging out and talking to the mattress.

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Her sleeping patterns haven’t changed too much lately, which for nighttime sleep is kind of a bummer. She was doing these great six or seven hour stretches but those scaled back to three hours at the start of this month. I thought maybe it was the Four Month Regression (a temporary period in which babies regress to earlier sleeping patterns). But three weeks later and she’s still waking about three hours after she goes down. Huh. Well maybe it’s really supposed to be called the Four-to-Five Month Regression but that title was just too long. That’s got to be it…

Honestly, I don’t mind the waking too much, IF she gives me that at least a five hour stretch. ‘Cause that’s mama’s beer time. I’m not drinking a beer every night, but a couple nights a week I would like to have one. And yes, I could just give her a bottle, but I don’t want to. That’s kind of the point of breastfeeding. She gets enough bottles and I pump enough during the day and I don’t want to do that if I’m right there. But I would like one beer, once in awhile. So Baby2, if you’re listening, sleep.

We started a new bedtime routine so she can start associating something other than eating with bedtime, since I’m trying not to nurse her to sleep as often (unfortunately that happens more often than not, but sometimes I can’t help myself. What if she’s hungry? She needs to eat! It almost always quiets her cries, of course). Now every night she gets fed, then changed into PJs, we read a book and I brush her pretty little head which is slowly starting to accumulate more hair. I would love it if she started associating sleep with hair brushing. There are certainly worse things to associate sleep with. After all the brushing I put some coconut oil on her scalp to combat a small case of cradle cap (coconut oil has been working wonders! And she smells like cookies. Our ped says she also “loves coconut oil right now” for dry skin too. She’s a pretty fun doctor.) Then Baby2 goes to bed. Sometimes she goes right down, sometimes not so much. We roll with the punches.

Breastfeeding is still fantastic, even with all the pumping at work. I’m feeling pretty good about my one year goal right now; with Kiddo1 I had stopped by the time he was five months old due to supply issues. I’ve made it longer than last time now and the supply is certainly going strong! So much so that I’ve started donating some of my stash (which I will try to post about this week if I can ever wrap it up!).

A couple interesting post-partum tid-bits at five months (is it still considered “postpartum” at five months?):

I’m five pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, but I don’t feel like I am at all. I stepped on the scale the other day and I was a little shocked that I was lighter. Some of my clothes are more loose. But I haven’t been doing anything. Honestly I have “worked out” maybe once since Baby2 was born. I suppose I’m just okay with having a little extra fluff lately. I don’t think I’ll feel completely normal until I stop breastfeeding anyway, so I’m having a much easier time with feeling “different.” My linea negra is also still not completely gone (I cannot remember when it went away last time) and the “monthly gift” has not yet returned, thankyoubreastfeeding.

With that, I’m off to enjoy Christmas cookies!

I’m Going Out

This weekend the family and I went to our local mall, the Clackamas Town Center. Initially I had planned to go because I needed foundation for my oh so white winter skin. But I came here today for a few other reasons too.

I shopped at this mall to show support for the store employees who lost three day’s pay while the mall was closed. I bent my “shop local” Christmas rule to support the local store franchise owners who lost three days revenue in the last couple weeks of the shopping season.

I went to this mall because I will not allow crazy people with guns to dictate my actions. I will not let them make me afraid to live my life, to buy my foundation, or to send my son to school.

Of course I would never put my family in harms way and I will certainly become more aware of my surroundings so I can attempt to spot troubles before they erupt. But these places – the Clackamas mall, the Connecticut school, the Colorado movie theatre – these are not “rough” places that should have been avoided to begin with. These are our communities. My son’s last birthday was celebrated with friends just yards from where the shooting went down. We walked right through the spot this weekend, not even realizing it until we were there. I don’t go to the mall often, but when I do I go to this one. It is clean, the neighborhood is decent, the people are friendly. Shootings aren’t supposed to happen in places like this.

I don’t know how the events of this week – this year, longer than that – will shape our laws. And I could go on and on about my own feelings, but there are enough people voicing their opinion on that right now.

What I do know and what I will say is that allowing these crazy people to influence my decisions about where to go or what to do will not happen. Yes I did go back to my mall as soon as I could. Yes I will go to a crowded theater. Yes I will send my son to school. I will do these things cautiously, I will do them sensibly. I will do these things because they are my daily life, they are part of living in a community.