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Category Archives: 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!

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The Day My Breast Pump Died

Slightly amusing if you sing this post’s title to the American Pie tune… But otherwise this situation is not amusing at all.

Yesterday I hurried into what I call “my office” for my second of three daily pumping sessions. I got all set up and comfy, flipped the power switch on Matilda (yes I named my pump – we spend a lot of time together!), pushed the power lever and… heard the saddest screeching sound coming from the heart of the motor. Matilda was stuck – no suction, nothing but a high-pitch, very loud, constant noise.

Fuuuuuuck.

I desperately needed to pump but I couldn’t. I’m the kind who just looking at my pump triggers let down. I felt like a high school boy in the backseat on a third date with a freshman who won’t put out. You know what I mean…

So after gathering my thoughts for a moment, putting my big girl brain to work, if you will, I figured I had two options (sort of): leave work and drive the 15 miles home to my baby (the best pump in the whole world) OR find a suitable replacement STAT.

Leaving work wasn’t an option. It takes almost 45 minutes to drive home and I would HAVE to come back because I had deadlines yesterday (four projects due 11/1, no getting out of it because, “Um, yeah, boss man, my boobie juicer is stuck so I’m taking off for the day.” Right…).

On to finding a replacement. Luckily there’s a dive-sort of K-Mart around the corner (with a dive bar attached to it!) so during my lunch break I 1) stopped at the Halloween store to take advantage of the 50% deals, 2) got myself some grub and 3) picked up a $30 manual breast pump.

Side note – I tried to call K-Mart ahead to see if they had my pump in stock. I held on the phone for over five minutes, twice, and no one in the Infants department picked up. Very poor customer service. Although if I were to judge this K-Mart by looks alone, the level of service I received (or didn’t receive) is not too surprising. But, they did have one single Avent manual pump in stock (might as well get one that matches all the parts I already have, right?). Victory!

Anyway, I had to dump everything I pumped yesterday because the new pump wasn’t washed or sterilized, but I made it through the day. I got home, washed and boiled all my pieces and I am set for today. But I’m stuck with one-sided, manual pumping. On a positive note, it reminds me of when I pumped milk nine years ago for Kiddo1 and used a manual pump at work because we were too poor to buy an electric one. Ah, memories.

On a positive customer service note, I have called Avent and they were fantastic. Very apologetic about the malfunction and a brand-new pump is being sent to me as we speak. As long as I get it by Tuesday (they promised Monday) I will be a happy camper.

Another positive is that I had planned on buying a manual pump for our holiday travels anyway, so I’m not really bitter about needing to buy one already. I wish I could have planned the purchase to find a discount instead of paying the full $30, but in the emergency that was yesterday I probably would have paid twice that to avoid missing all my work deadlines.

Such is the give-and-take of working outside the home I suppose! But now the big question – what do I name my new pump?!

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PhotobucketOften it feels like I hold a ticking alarm that, if not addressed every 108 minutes by plugging a code into a computer, will result in a build-up of a magnetic force so strong my whole world will implode. Except in my case the alarm is my breasts, the magnetic force field is breast milk and the code is either Baby2 or my pump (which has now been affectionately named Matilda). Oh and I have more like 180 minutes rather than 108. But the situations are fundamentally the same: address the alarm or face imminent doom!

Sometimes this is what breastfeeding feels like: a never-ending cycle, a job that will never be complete, a computer that will never stop asking for a code. Whether I’m in the midst of my commute, in back-to-back meetings or trying to sleep, breastfeeding never takes a day off.

Don’t get me wrong – there are things about breastfeeding that I absolutely love. I love that it’s best for my baby, easy for me to do, ready when Baby2 needs it and, the best part, FREE. And I’m not going to let a little thing like a three-hour countdown stop me. But after a day in which I woke up engorged (ugh!), missed a pumping session due to back-to-back meetings and then straight-up forgot about it (distracted by a pot luck!) so I ended up engorged again, I need to complain a little.

Rant over, troubles forgotten, back to breastfeeding goodness!

Has it really been a month?

…since I’ve written a post? Over the past whole three months, I’ve wanted to write so much more than I actually have. But, at the end of the day, it is hard to pull myself away to write. Baby2 is growing so fast I’ll miss something if I blink and Kiddo1 is just blowing me away with his awesomeness lately. But, before I completely forget everything I had better take some time to get my thoughts down, so here’s a huge wrap up of things from the last month or so…

First, Baby2 is so freaking amazing. She will be three months old this Thursday. She holds her head up on her own all the time now. She barely lays her head on my shoulder anymore! Only when she’s super duper tired will she give in to a little head support assistance. She’d much rather be looking around and taking in all her surroundings than laying down like a little newborn. Sheesh, we’ve totally outgrown that phase. She likes to “sit” or “stand” while we hold her sides. No more craddle baby hold for her, much to Mr. Handsome’s dismay.

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For awhile there she was not having much of tummy time – it is still hit and miss but I see more hits than misses. She’ll lift her neck and legs until she looks like a little airplane about to take off! It looks like she’s gearing up to roll over soon, although I’m sure it will be several more weeks until that milestone. At least I hope so! Don’t grow too fast baby!

She smiles and it is so freaking cute. When I come home from work and met her eyes for the first time she gives me a little grin and it just melts my heart every time! Of course the second I pull out a camera the smile fades so it has been difficult to get many of them captured! Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppAlthough, the other day I put her down in her crib for just a moment while I put some laundry away in the bedroom. I caught her smiling and looking up at her mobile. That made me pretty happy since I spent so much time on making that dang mobile with its huge balls! Baby2 was just looking at them and waving her arms and smiling. Super cute!

This week I’ve been trying so hard to get her to laugh. I really don’t want to miss that first laugh but I know that I will miss some firsts while I’m at work. Knowing that Mr. Handsome will witness what I don’t does soften the blow a little bit, but it still stings. Most of the time going to work isn’t too hard, but I’ve had a couple days in the last month that I really haven’t wanted to leave. Last Monday was one of those days. When I got home I learned that Baby2 didn’t have too easy of a day herself. We commiserated a bit and felt better.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppWork is great; really, I have it pretty easy. I have a nice room to pump in and I’m down to using it just a couple times a day. Pumping is usually pretty fast for me. It probably takes longer to walk to and from the room than it takes to actually pump! I keep my pump parts in the fridge all day so I only wash once when I get home. It saves so much time that way! I’ve been meaning to write a whole post dedicated to pumping but I’m not sure if I really have enough content for a whole post. I just pump and that’s it I suppose. I wish I had some pumping buddies, though. For a few weeks there was one other woman who used the lactation room but her son just turned one so I think she graduated. Good for her, though; knowing another person made it a whole year of pumping is really good motivation for me! I’m surprised more women aren’t using the lactation room. There are several new moms (or second- to fourth-time moms) in the building but I’m the only one still breastfeeding. I’m sure they have their reasons for not pumping, and I’m not judging them at all! But it’d be nice to have some company sometimes. Not to pump-in-tandem, that’s kind of weird, but to relate to and what-not.

Breastfeeding itself is still going really well. Baby2 doesn’t seem to have any confusion between the breast and bottle. I know I could use the bottle more on weekends but I like keeping the bottle use to times that I’m literally not around and can’t feed her. I like feeding her myself. I don’t want Baby2 to get too comfortable with the bottle so that she starts to prefer the immediate let-down and faster flow. Although, I shouldn’t be too worried. She doesn’t seem to really dig the bottle too much. She’s still eating a little less than I’d like her to during the day. I’m certainly not worried about our frozen stash, though, since I’m probably adding more to it than taking away. We use frozen milk on Mondays and freshly pumped milk Tuesday through Friday. Then on Friday afternoon I freeze the leftovers. I’m usually freezing between 20 and 50 ounces per week. Doesn’t look like I’ll be finishing off the frozen stash any time soon!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppBaby2 is still eating plenty overall, though. She certainly goes through enough diapers to convince us that her eating habits are quite healthy! Thank goodness for cloth diapers. I figure we’ve saved at least $200 so far, if you don’t count the cash I spent on building our cloth diaper stash, of course. I suppose if you count that then we’ve almost broke even. I don’t count the laundry spending because we don’t pay for water and the detergent is only half used and it cost like $10 or something.

We are still using prefolds and covers and I really love this method. We have about ten pocket diapers that are just starting to fit Baby2’s little frame. I have used the pockets a few times and they almost always leak for me. Maybe I leave her in them too long, I’m not sure. But I can never tell because the pocket material wicks the pee into the soaker so fast that most of the time I can’t tell if she’s wet. But when I use the prefolds they aren’t usually too soaked she’s not siting in wetness a lot. Who knows, but I’m thinking I’d like to sit with what works and keep the pockets in “reserve” status for when I’ve forgotten to finish up my cloth laundry. We wash just about every day, sometimes every other day. Most of the time that frequency isn’t too annoying. Sometimes it’s just like, ugh, laundry, you know? No one likes doing laundry all the time. You just tolerate it I think.

Overall Baby2 is a pretty good sleeper. She started sleeping in six to seven hour chunks several weeks ago, which was an awesome pre-return-to-work present. Since she hasn’t been eating as much during the day now though, I think she’s eating a bit more at night so she’s up more. I say I think because once she gets up the first time I keep her in bed with me so she could be eating every hour and I won’t really realize it because I hardly wake up anymore. I just pull out a boob and she does the rest, for the most part. Mr. Handsome kind of laughs at us (and spends a lot of time on the sofa with the dog!) but this is the method that nets me the most shut-eye so it is what it is. And I’m sure Baby2 is enjoying the snuggling. I might be enjoying it as well!

Finally, I know I don’t spend too much time on this blog talking about Kiddo1. I think that’s just the nature of starting as a pregnancy blog – I’m used to dishing baby stuff all the time. But this blog is really about having two kids with a crazy age gap, so I’d better get some more Kiddo1 memories down here!

So far there isn’t too much age gap drama or fun to report. Kiddo1 doesn’t do too much with Baby2 yet. She really isn’t all that interesting to him. He likes when she smiles so I think once she starts really laughing he’s going to have a good time trying to get her to do that.

4A2B0FC6-85B6-4642-BDD9-9ACFC880214C-1729-000001CE3E669687Right now he seems to be having a really good time getting involved at school. When he started kindergarten he said he really wanted to be a playground helper and safety helper once he got to fourth grade (which is when kids can start doing that at his school). Now that he’s in fourth grade he is doing both jobs and seems to be having a great time at it. He is so good with helping the younger kids at recess. Sometimes there’s a disagreement or something and he tells me how he helped. He’s such a good kid – he is going to be so awesome with Baby2 when she’s a little older and needs his help.

Finally, Kiddo1 went and got himself elected to Student Council this year! I believe fourth grade is when they can start doing that job, too. Mr. Handsome and I were so excited for him. We’re interested to see what is going to be his “thing” in school. For us it was always music (and also sports for Mr. Handsome, for me my second love was dating sports boys, haha). Kiddo1 is a little into music, not so much into sports, so we’re wondering if maybe school politics would be his thing. He now has this whole handout/book about public speaking, crafting an argument, etc. We got so excited when we saw it!

Overall things are quite awesome. We are loving our new life as four. Mr. Handsome and I love having a baby around (maybe too much!). Everything she does makes us appreciate life, appreciate Kiddo1, appreciate what we have that much more. Of course some days are a challenge but they are far between the good, amazing regular days. I can’t ask for much more!

Two, Two, Two Months of Fun

So what’s new with Baby2? Seems to me like she is loving life. She is smiling, she makes sweet baby noises, she is getting so strong. She’s holding her head up most of the time now, although sometimes she’ll cheat a little and touch her head to my chin while she looks over my shoulder.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosMr. Handsome says her favorite place to be is right there on my shoulder. Putting her up there does seem to quiet her down almost every time she’s fussy. It’s a good place for me to hold her since it gives me a free hand to grab things, pat her back, type, or what have you.

Her fussy times are pretty much restricted to sleepy times, at the moment. She still loathes naps, but we’re working on it by at least attempting naps often. Sometimes she’ll just scream in utter terror, though, and neither Mr. Handsome or I can take too much of that (or Kiddo1, come to think of it!). I get concerned that she isn’t getting enough sleep, even though she gets about 12 hours at night. She wakes once or twice in that time but overall she’s a great night sleeper. Thank goodness because I can not imagine doing this whole work-full-time thing while getting only small stretches of sleep.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosAnytime that she is fussy, there are two things that almost always soothe her: nursing is of course one of them (and I’m trying to wean myself from relying on that all the time) and getting outside is another. Baby2 loves to be outside – walking or not. Inside she has to be up and moving around but outside she is happy doing whatever. Her preference is still to be moving, of course, but sitting on a blanket in the shade is just fine too. She looks at the clouds and trees and makes her little baby coos. It’s the cutest thing ever. Ever!

She’s a champ at nursing. Around six weeks or so she finally starting eating in longer stretches. This seemed to be about the same time she started skipping a nighttime feeding. Since I’ve gone back to work she has eaten less and less during the day and more during the evenings. After work the last couple days she ate so long I think I ran out of milk! I hope she isn’t reverse cycling because I have a whole lot of milk stashed up for her! Then again we’re only two weeks into the bottles-all-day thing so we’ll see how this plays out.

We visited the pediatrician yesterday and learned that Baby2 is growing right on track. She even shot up a whole 3.5 inches from her birth height. She went from the tenth to the fiftieth percentile in height which they say is quite a jump! Doc says this shows that Baby2 is clearly getting enough calories and that makes a mama felt real damn good. Go, boobies, go.

Dear Formula Companies

Dear Similac/Enfamil/Gerber:

Thank you for the ice packs and coolers you have sent me! They keep my work-pumped breastmilk nice and cool until I get home to my baby and freezer.

I could do without the weekly coupons, though. And the breastfeeding “tips.” You can keep those to yourself, thankyouverymuch.

Sincerely,

Mother Mary

Back to Work

Today was my first day back at work. It was okay. I didn’t cry, but I’m not much of a crier. I’m the working-outside-the-home type. It’s good for me – I like the routine, the adult interaction, the use of my brain, and I do think a little separation from the fam is good for me. So returning to work is generally good. I’m a little numb this evening, but I’ll fall back into this just fine. Luckily I hand my baby off to Mr. Handsome, so a whole bunch of worries are alleviated right there. He works a couple nights a week and stays home during the day with the kiddos.

Two kids. It’s still kind of weird to say that I have two kids. Weird but nice.

So this morning I packed up my big-girl purse and my lunch and my pump bag and headed off to the office. Suddenly my “small and discrete” pump bag feels huge and covered in neon signs that read, “This lady uses her boobies to feed a person!” The thing is bigger than my purse (and I carry a big purse). But, I managed to lug it in and around the building.

All my breastfeeding books say you should check out your company’s lactation facilities before going on maternity leave so you know what to plan for and expect upon your return. Yeah… I totally didn’t do that. I work for a big enough company. I should be fine. I figured, even if they didn’t have a room, per se, I would figure something out. There are a couple spare windowless offices. There’s always the bathroom, if nothing else. I could buy one of those electrical outlet adapters for my car if I get really desperate.

Well, lucky for me, my company does have a lactation space and it isn’t too bad! I have to ask for the key from security every time I use it, and let me tell you that was pretty awkward the first time (“Um, hello, breast breast breast, can you help me, breast breast breast”). I’ll be seeing the security guard about three times a day so he and I are going to get to know each other pretty well this year. Score.

Anyway, the space is nice, private, clean, well-lit. The room has two high-walled cubes to pump in, each with a chair and table, there’s a little fridge and microwave (for storing milk and sterilizing pump parts, respectively) and even a private bathroom! The toilet doesn’t work but they only have it to fulfill some “running water” requirement for the space, so the security guard tells me. I had no idea there were requirements!

So I used the space three times and Baby2 has fresh milk for tomorrow. On Mondays we’re using my stash of frozen milk (I counted 350 ounces!) and on Fridays the milk will go in the freezer. I’d still like to donate some of my frozen stash, but for now I’m holding on to it.

All my co-workers were super sweet and accommodating, slowly bringing me up to speed as my brain adjusts to real-time use. Shoot, all I really did today was clear out emails and apply for new positions (within the company, I am overdue for a promotion) and my brain already hurts. Damn.

I’m not sure if Baby2 fared as well as me, though. I’ve talked about how she’s not a napper. Well, she really didn’t nap at all for poor Mr. Handsome. On my way home I started to wonder how he was getting ready for work this evening with a crying baby to deal with. I walk in to him flossing while holding Baby2 (he has one of those flosser tool things). Poor guy. Then I get home and Baby2 passed out at the boob. Go figure!

Anyway, enough of my fragmented, discombobulated ramblings. We survived the first day. We’ll take it day-by-day from here. And the paychecks and health insurance will continue.