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Category Archives: Travel with Kids

A Sad Story and Breastfeeding Update/Postpartum Check-In

Big pats on the back for myself right now, as I’ve successful breastfed Baby2 for twice as long as I was able to last with Kiddo1. This time I was more prepared, I was better motivated, and I have been using a better pump. I’m happy with myself, but that doesn’t mean I’m done yet.

I promised myself I’d evaluate my breastfeeding goals at 6, 9, and 12 months, and since Baby2 turns 11 months next week, I’m way behind for check-in number 2. Oops!

But, first, a sad story. Over the last few months, I suppose I have been “winding down” with breastfeeding: I pump a whole lot less, usually just while I’m at work. I don’t even bring my pump home from work anymore. I stopped donating (because I’m just not taking out as much milk anymore) and my freezer stash was down to about 10 6-ounce jars. That isn’t the sad part – that part is actually kind of happy (bittersweet, I suppose) because I’m getting toward the end of being chained to a pump, having to think about getting enough to eat, staying hydrated, etc (things I should probably focus on regardless of breastfeeding, but whatever).

Okay NOW for the sad part. At the end of the week, I take the fresh leftover milk down to the freezer. On Mondays I grab a couple jars from it so Baby2 can have milk while I’m at work. Only this Monday, there was water in the freezer. No. Noooooooo. See, when I made a freezer deposit, I knocked over a fan which was plugged in to the same surge protector as the freezer. Well the fan cord must have pulled the serge protector out of the wall socket, because the whole surge protector came unplugged. Everything in the freezer had thawed over the weekend. All the breastmilk was ruined and we had NO milk in the house for Baby2 that day.

Luckily my job is great so I worked from home on Monday and pumped a bit. But, the story gets more sad! I’ve been pumping just about my usual amount (as far as number of pumping sessions), maybe a little more often, but I’m not getting as much as I usually do. Normally I take home 9-12 ounces each day. Tuesday, when I went back to the office, I brought home less than 6 ounces. Same volume on Wednesday. Now it’s Thursday and I’m working at home again, but I barely pumped half an ounce this morning which is SUPER unusual – first pump of the morning will typically yield 3 ounces at least.

So now I’m sad – even though I know I planned to wean (or at least stop pumping completely) at a year, I suddenly feel unprepared and totally NOT ready to wean. Certainly not ready to see such a drastic drop in supply.

Today I’m drinking a ton of Mother’s Milk Tea, which has all kinds of herbs to stimulate production. I drank TWO beers last night because of the Old Wives’ Tale that beer supposedly stimulates production. We’ll see how that works. Perhaps it is a wasted effort? Maybe this is the universe’s way of saying it is time to stop. I don’t know yet. 

Before this week, though, things were still going really well. I had cut back on pumping so pump maintenance wasn’t super annoying any more. Breastfeeding itself is still awesome and super convinient. I went on a trip with friends last month and I could travel so light – just a bag of cloth diapers and my boobies! That and an Ergo and we were set. Traveling with Baby2 has been so easy. We are super lucky with her.

In other news… is it still considered the “post partum” time when it has been almost a year since the delivery? I’m sure it is in some way. I still have a shade of linea negra, which is weird. Maybe it is the breastfeeding hormones that keep it around. What’s more awesome is that I STILL haven’t gotten a “monthly gift” and I thank breastfeeding for that. Shoot, just that one benefit makes part of me want to never stop breastfeeding!

Otherwise in our lives, Kiddo1 is about done with fourth grade and has had an amazing year. He was voted to student council and at least one special committee; he was the first in his class to log 10,000 pages of independent reading, scoring a pizza party for the whole class; he volunteered a ton of days as Safety Patrol (helping kids cross the street) and Junior Coach (recess help and conflict resolution); he’s been a reading buddy to some kindergarteners; earned a few awards and there’s probably countless other accomplishments. We could NOT be more proud.

Mr. Handsome and I are finally house hunting for a bigger place, and even though we’ve only officially been looking for a month it feels like an ETERNITY. Our market does not havea lot of inventory right now so when something is listed (and it is a decent place) it is gone before you can even get an appointment to see it. We are trying to be patient, but interest rates are slowing rising, our special first-time buyer loan program is quickly running out of funds and our stress levels are not improving.

BUT, we are working to keep things in perspective, on all fronts. There are plenty of people in the world who have things worse than we do, who have to struggle more than we do. No matter how frustrating or unfortunate things get, it isn’t the end of the world, by far.

Holiday Wrap-Up

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The 9YL family wishes everyone on the internet a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Ours was fun but exhausting…

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Unwrapping at home

We spent Christmas Eve and Day at home just hanging out. Baby2 discovered a love for wrapping paper. As we unwrapped her gifts with her she stared with wonder at the paper. Even after her gift was uncovered she reached for paper first every time.

Kiddo1 got the 3DS XL that he’s been wanting and saving up for. Mr. Handsome wrapped a box in a box in a box so Kiddo1 had to unwrap a few boxes to get to it. Although I don’t agree with the practice it was fun to watch Kiddo1 get a little frustrated and then SO excited when he saw the actual gift.

Kiddo1 had some, what I’ll call, “milestone” interactions with his younger sister as he handed her presents and said things like, “this one’s for you, [Baby2],” and said them while looking her in the face. This is a milestone as he doesn’t tend to acknowledge her much. I really need to write a whole post about this subject because it is interesting how Kiddo1 makes little baby steps toward interaction with his sibling. I have heard that it can take most kids (and I’d think especially older kids) at least six months to start really acknowledging the new family member. I’m trying not to pressure him too much because I don’t want to do any damage but at the same time it’s like, dude, she’s not going away get over it already. But that’s not fair. Ugh, I could really get going but I’m saving it for another time.

Anyway, Mr. Handsome and I spent the rest of Christmas Day preparing for our annual trip to Phoenix to visit family. My parents and his parents live there, as well as my only living grandparent, my only brother and one of Mr. Handsome’s two brothers, although none of us is actually from the area (Kiddo1 was born there though). It’s always good times seeing our family, and this year was especially sweet to re-introduce people to Baby2. Babies change so much in such a short time; she’s so different now than when they saw her as a newborn!

This was Baby2’s first trip away from home and logistically it was great. We traveled with cloth diapers and I gotta tell ya, it was super easy. I don’t know if cloth diapering is so easy for us because I pretty much refuse to acknowledge that disposables exist at this point or if we’re just really lucky. Baby2 still being exclusively breastfed probably helps a little, too. We took about 15 diapers with us and did diaper laundry three times during our five-day stay. My carry on bag (backpack) was about half full of diapers, but honestly there’s not much else I need except for my wallet and water bottle.

Of course breastfeeding simplified things a ton because we never had to worry about when Baby2 was going to eat or how she would get fed. One less thing to plan for us to worry about, thank goodness. I did take my pump with me and I’m glad I took the whole big electric pump instead of just my manual one. I worried about putting it in our checked luggage (what if it got lost?! Or damaged?? The horror!!) but everything turned out fine. I strapped it in our checked car seat for some extra security. I was able to donate all the extra milk that I pumped during our trip so I didn’t have to hassle with bringing it back and I met another very sweet mama of an adopted baby girl who was grateful for a little extra milk.

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She loves the peanut packets!

Baby2 did very well during her first trip. The flights were fine (direct on the way there, one connection on the way back) and the altitude change didn’t seem to bother her sweet baby ears at all, although she was eating during take off for each flight so I hope that helped. She made what she probably considers the greatest discovery of her life so far when she saw the airlines packets of peanuts. I’ve never seen her so excited or grab an object so quickly. We asked for extra on the flight back and we now have a couple sitting around just in case she needs a major distraction. They’re shiny and crinkly! What’s not to like?

Kiddo1 is a seasoned traveler and was not at all phased by the extra family member during this trip. He’s been handling his own bags for years so we were free to manage everything else. There’s one of the major benefits of having kids several years apart – you really only have one “wild card” kid at a time. Baby2 could (potentially) freak out at any moment but Kiddo1’s behavior is fairly constant at this point.

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Baby2 watches Mr. Handsome play in the water from her warm and dry Ergo

Wearing Baby2 through the airport and during all our “site-seeing” worked wonderfully. We had hands free in the airport to mess with bags and check in. You don’t have to take off your baby carrier when you go through x-ray which was great (although they do an alcohol-swab test on your hands for explosives which only takes a second). We could walk through the tiny terminal stores and restaurants without getting stuck – a stroller would never make it through some of those spots. My mom  had bought a stroller for us to use while we were there (even though I asked her not to) and we didn’t use it at all. Anytime we went somewhere we either held Baby2 or used our Ergo. It worked out quite well.

All in all it was a good trip for everyone. We were super grateful to return on New Years Eve at around 11 so we made it home and snuggled in to watch the ball drop just before midnight. We counted down the seconds left of 2012 and cheered in the new year together. Then we finally had a good night’s sleep in our own beds. I’m sure I can speak for everyone in the family when I say it was so very wonderful to sleep in our own beds again.

Happy 2013, internet!