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Category Archives: Working Mama

Breastfeeding Goal Met!

Well here we are, the big ONE. Baby2’s first birthday! This is the first of a couple posts I plan to write about the occasion because, quite frankly, ALL THIS AWESOMENESS just can’t be contained by one post alone.

For this first post, I’m actually going to talk about bit more about myself than Baby2 – but no worries, everything else I’ll write about tomorrow is all about her. Speaking of tomorrow, that’s a big day for ME. As of tomorrow, I will have met my goal of breastfeeding for Baby2’s entire first year! I’m going to take a moment to let that sink in. I feel really awesome about this goal. It just feels awesome to meet a goal at all, doesn’t it?!

I tried very hard to successfully breastfeed both of my babies. The biggest difference was that with Kiddo1 I didn’t set any goals for myself, therefore I didn’t really have anything to work toward (other than keeping my happy baby healthy, of course!). This time with Baby2 I set one large, overall goal (to make it to a year) and several smaller goals as well (to make it to six and nine months, to donate excess, etc).

There are more differences between the two breastfeeding jobs I’ve had, and while I try not to get into comparing my children, I think this an interesting contrast:

  • With my first nursling, I didn’t want to educate myself at all because I figured this “skill” would come naturally to me. Come the second time around, I realized that even nature needs some nurture.
  • With my first, I thought a cheap, manual breastpump would do the job (I was so uninformed/naive/young/stupid). With my second, I knew the extra cost of a double electric pump would be worth it (and after a couple months with my Avent, I realized one of those hospital-strength Medelas would be even better, but I stuck it out with Avent).
  • With my first, I didn’t take care of myself first – I didn’t eat well or hydrate enough. With my second, I carry water with me everywhere and I eat SO MUCH better than I did 9 years ago (although these last couple months I have slacked off a lot).
  • With my first, I focused very much on getting Kiddo1 on a schedule (which Kiddo1 took to very well and really was more of a “scheduled” baby than Baby2 is). With my second, I fed “on demand” and didn’t let those evening block feedings phase me at all. Baby2 is SO not a schedule baby, but she does like her routines.
  • With my first, I also focused very much on getting Kiddo1 to sleep through the night (which he did at 5 weeks and never really had much of a regression). With my second, I co-slept and let Baby2 eat at night whenever she needed (more on that later…).
  • With my first, I didn’t seek out any sort of support system (other than Mr. Handsome who has always been amazing). Withmy second, I have a lot more support, mostly in the form of online communities (just reading other women’s struggles and successes is supportive!), but I also sought help from a lactation consultant when I felt like I needed it.
  • With my first, I did a lot of supplementing, mostly so I could go out and be a “normal” 22-year-old, you know? But with my second, I don’t supplement at all unless it is both with milk I pumped and it is because I am literally not physically there with my baby. If I was there with her I insisted on feeding her (except for a couple special occasions that I wanted just one more beer!).

Such a change in 9 years, eh?

In this year with Baby2 we never used a drop of formula, but it was never about an “anti-formula” agenda or anything like that for me. Kiddo1 was formula-fed, so I’m not against it. My motivator started with money, to be honest. Actually I wrote down all my motivators awhile back; I think money was on the list twice. In fact, we’ve done a few things to save money this year (I used Babycenter’s cost calculator and their default settings to calculate the following):

  • Exclusively breastfeeding $1000
  • Cloth diapering $1100 (BabyCenter says my savings here is actually $800 and we should spend $19/month on cloth diapers – without a service – but I think that’s total crap for us because we literally only have laundry expenses for our diapers and those amount to a percentage of the laundry detergent we already use and water, which we pay the same for whether we use none or a shit-ton, no pun intended)
  • Stay-at-home parent $4600

But I hugely digress (money makes me do crazy things). Here are some fun facts to get me back on track:

  • I used my company’s lactation room for 10 months exactly (9/17/12 to 7/17/12).
  • I used exactly 21 milk storage bags and countless number of glass mason jars to store milk (the bags were just used on vacation and once at work when I forgot my bottles).
  • I filled my deep freezer to the top once and I sabotaged my whole freezer stash once. photo 5097A4E7-AAD8-466B-8A41-1E955181E951-1922-000001662E0BA961.jpg
  • I donated over 1000 ounces of breastmilk (which I started doing after I filled my freezer to the top that one time – there was no room for adult food!).
  • I donated my milk to four babies.
  • I could probably count on one hand the number of ounces of milk that I have spilled this year – I have been extremely careful! I only had one little spill at home, never at work.

The only non-breastmilk she’s drank this year is the goat’s milk she’s had this last week as we transition. We selected goat’s milk over cow’s milk because it has more fat, and fat is something this little lady needs. I’m still doing research about fortified and pasteurized versus raw goat’s milk (and kind of leaning toward raw) but for now she’s on milk from the grocery store so it is fortified and pasteurized. More to come on that.

Getting her on goat’s milk has been easy – our first step was to have her take her morning session in a bottle from Daddy now, even if I’m at home. Last week he started mixing one part goat’s milk to two parts breastmilk; this week he’s even flipped that ratio (2 parts goat’s, 1 part mine). Baby2 is taking to it really well. We’re sticking with the 2:1 ratio for another week or so, to make sure she doesn’t react in any way AND to talk with the pediatrician at the end of the week to make sure we’re doing everything right (of course we are! Hahah). She’s still taking her milk warm but after we switch to 100% goats then we’ll probably start trying to give her cooler milk too. So, yes, a very easy switch to new milk.

The hard part we have not yet faced – weaning. More specifically, nighttime weaning. Bleh, I don’t even want to think about it. On the one hand I would really like to have a baby-free bed and a full night’s sleep. On the other, Baby2 is SO EASY to get back to sleep when she wakes up – just feed her! A handful of times that wouldn’t work because she’s just been pissed in the middle of the night, but I blame teething because believe me we tried everything to soothe her those times!

Part of me wants to be really strict and just eliminate nighttime nursing cold-turkey. Just let her cry it out. She’ll totally adjust what she eats during the day so she doesn’t go hungry. No biggie, right?

Then the other part of me, the voice that I hear more loudly, says no, just chill out! (Tanget – have you seen CTFD-style parenting? I love this.) Just keep doing what I’m doing. Why change if things are working well?

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There are just so many variables.

  • Now we have the crib in our room but we’re moving next month (yes we’re actually moving finally!!) and when she has her own room it won’t be as easy to sleepily steal her from her crib so I should transition her away from co-sleeping now.
  • I work full time so I don’t get a lot of time with Baby2 during the week; sometimes nighttime snuggles are the only time I get with her. So I should continue co-sleeping now.
  • I haven’t had a full night sleep since the second trimester of my pregnancy so I should transition her to sleeping through the night now.
  • She’s little and she doesn’t eat much as it is so I should continue feeding her whenever she’ll take sustenance.

I don’t know what we’ll do. Some days I’m totally gung-ho one way and then I flip to the other way. There is no “middle way,” though: we either night wean AND discontinue co-sleeping or we don’t. I’m not walking to her room in the middle of the night and hanging out in there until she’s ready to go back to sleep. What the hell is the point of that? Oh so I can lose MORE sleep at night? No thanks. If I continue feeding her through the night I must do it while half asleep. There just is no other way. More to come on my progress on this end.

I DO know that I’m done pumping at work! Woot! I’ve removed all blocked-off pumping time from my Outlook calendar. I’ve taken my pump home for the last time. I’ve cleaned and boiled my pump parts and tucked everything away in its black bag. This weekend I will pack it in a moving box along with a bunch of other random moving crap (even though we’re not moving for another month). The pump bag will likely sit in my daughter’s closet at the new house, waiting for me to decide what to do with it.

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Pumping at work has been fine. It seems very normal, really, which is fantastic. I am extremely grateful to have the lactation room at work. I’m glad to know that so many other ladies are using the facility as well – I had to take this picture of the most bags I had ever seen in the room at once. So many pumping mamas! When I returned from maternity leave there was only one other woman using the room, and she was on her last couple weeks before her son turned one. For a couple weeks I was the only woman using the room until a couple more co-workers returned from their maternity leaves. Then the room got pretty busy – this picture of all the pump bags happened a few times this year (we always have people coming in the office from off-site, so the number of lactation room users can vary a lot). I didn’t really make any lasting friendships or anything, but knowing other people were in the same place as me was a kind of support in and of itself.

As far as daytime weaning, I’m not there yet. When I’m at home I’m still nursing my nursling, but I don’t know how long my supply will keep up. I don’t really have a plan – we replaced the morning feeding with the “milk hybrid” bottle and we’ll probably replace another at-home feeding with a bottle over the weekend. Maybe. I’m not sure yet. I’m not sure what I want to give up yet. I think most people start dropping their nighttime feedings first, but not us. My weaning plan is a “play-it-by-ear” or a “do-what-feels-‘right’-whatever-the-hell-that-is” kind of plan. A CTFD-type of plan, if you will! We’ll see how it goes.

Finally, everyone’s favorite way to end a post, the fun paragraph in which I tell about my postpartum body (yes I’m still calling it postpartum). I still haven’t had a period!!! (I’m done trying to call that by other names as well.) No, I am not pregnant (I took a test on Friday, just in case). I hope that now that I’m not pumping things will get back to normal. I’m not complaining, but it’s weird. Part of me almost thinks I have some lack of control right now. Not that I can control when it shows up each month… maybe it is the predictability that I miss. Maybe I should just shut the hell up and enjoy it while it lasts. CTFD! Linea negra is still around too.

Next post: cute baby pictures and lots of videos in the 12 month update!

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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.

Lactation Room Etiquette

Some “Do”s and “Don’t”s when in the office lactation space. At my office there are two cubes in our room, so that set-up does influence some of these tips. Some of these things may or may not have happened to me or fellow co-workers of mine.

“DO” say hello to your fellow lactating mama when you enter the room and one of the cubes is already occupied. Signs of occupation include: the light in the room is already on, the sound of a pump is present, the “occupied” sign is flipped on a cube, etc. Saying hello lets your fellow pumper know that you are female and you respect the other female in the room.

“DON’T” wonder in to a cube to make sure it is unoccupied. “DO” vocalize your question instead: “Hi. Is this cube occupied?” or “Which cube are you in?” Walking in on a co-worker pumping could be awkward.

“DO” feel free to engage in cordial conversation with your fellow pumper. “DON’T” continue to attempt engagement if the other person in the room clearly doesn’t want to communicate which is generally demonstrated by either their one-word answers to your questions or not answering your inquiries at all (maybe she has her headphones on or something). Pumping is an intimate act and not everyone wants to talk while hooked up to the machine. (I actually like a little conversation as I find pumping a bit boring, but it seems that most of my lactating co-workers are a bit more introverted.)

“DON’T” use the lactation space if you aren’t pumping, such as escaping your desk to take a nap, call your sister, cry about your last meeting/meager pay/insensitive office mates/etc. “DON’T” use the pumping space if you’re not a lactating mama.

“DO” feel free to multi-task while pumping, including eating lunch, reading blogs, checking email, etc.

“DON’T” make phone calls from the lactation room. It is perceived as an invasion of privacy by your fellow pumper. And it’s generally weird. Do you make calls from the bathroom? Well, you shouldn’t. Gross. (And I’m not AT ALL saying the bathroom and the lactation room are the same because they ARE NOT but the privacy etiquette required is similar for both places.)

“DON’T” leave your lunch/breakfast/snack leftovers in the lactation room fridge (prompting a “Why does my breast milk smell like onions?” at the end of the day) and “DO” clean up your crumbs.

“DO” clean up in general after you are done pumping. Breast milk is awesome but no one wants someone else’s milk (or my own milk, really) all over the table they are about to use. It can get sticky. And just generally gross. Clean up includes any spots impacted by milk spills, should they occur, including the floor base boards (ours are speckled with milk, ew), chair, cube walls, etc.

“DO” say “Bye!” or “Have a nice day!” to anyone else left in the room when you leave. This lets the other person know for sure that they are by themselves again.

“DON’T” turn off the lights in the room when you leave if someone is still in there. “DO” turn off the lights to save energy if you know the room is empty. “DO” double-check the occupancy status of the room with a quick, “Hello?” or “Is anyone still here?”

“DON’T” assume others in neighboring offices can’t hear you singing at the top of your lungs while you pump. This is distracting to co-workers.

“DON’T” talk about fellow pumpers habits in the room with anyone else, be they a lactater or not. That’s just rude.

“DO” respect others, protect privacy and positively support your fellow lactaters.

Breastfeeding Milestone 1

In my mind, I have set three big goals for breastfeeding at six, nine and 12 months. At each goal point I am to re-evaluate how breastfeeding is going and decide for myself if I want to continue. So here we go… Time to work this one out!

How is it going? Well, as I see it and in my situation there are three main facets to this. First, there’s actually breastfeeding. This constitutes the time that I’m with Baby2, baby to breast, the good old fashioned natural stuff. Second, there’s actually pumping which is the time spent with my trusty pumping machine. Third is breast pump maintenance: time spent on cleaning, boiling, transporting and whatever else involves my pump except for the act of and time spent pumping. Let’s look at each category…

Actually breastfeeding: OMG I love you. Convenience, bonding, no cost, limited clean-up (just bottles for when I’m at work), etc. Breastfeeding is the most wonderful of wonderfuls.

Physically pumping: I can stand you. We’re okay. Cordial but not over-friendly (seems odd to be saying that about something as intimate as a breast pump though). Getting some engorgement relief is great; if I go past like 10 am without pumping (even on the weekends when I’m home) I’m a-hurtin’ so thank you Veronica for some sweet relief. (Hmm, that’s an odd sentence fragment.) Also, knowing that not only my baby but other babies out there benefit from my pumping makes pumping with it. AND it doesn’t hurt at all for me. So score there.

Pump maintenance: I FUCKING HATE YOU PUMP MAINTENANCE!!!!! Lugging that god damn pump bag back and forth through the work parking lot and through the building every day is inconvenient at best. Washing and boiling the pump parts every damn day is time-consuming (and I have already reduced my boiling times to once a week AND I don’t even wash my pump at work I just store it in the lactation room fridge between my two pumping sessions). Also, worrying that the god damn thing is going to break on me again is giving me grey hairs.

So to recap, I love breastfeeding and pumping is worth it but I hate pump maintenance. Therefore, it’s worth at least another three months of FUCKING PUMP MAINTENANCE.

But I’m having trouble staying motivated. Pump maintenance is really dragging me down you guys. So here’s a list of the 10 things I love most about everything breastfeeding. I shall refer to the list when I am cursing while cleaning my pump for the fifth time this week.

10. Helping the other babies. Did you know there are babies out there that literally cannot process formula? On our Arizona trip I donated milk to a mama of an adopted baby girl who had seizures, SEIZURES, after eating any kind of formula (she listed off some types that I had never even heard of) but when she started a consistent breastmilk diet all that changed. No seizures, started gaining weight regularly, meeting developmental milestones, etc. AMAZING what some boob juice can do.
9. Baby2’s comfort. I know that sometimes she isn’t hungry she’s just pissed or in pain (teething, shots, that one time that I let he fall on the floor while practicing sitting up) or tired but she stops crying or starts sleeping when put to the breast.
8. Health benefits for Baby2. You know, like she’s less likely of having diabetes and junk. We’ve all heard the enormous benefits before, no need to repeat them here. My fingers are tired from all this typing already.
7. Health benefits for me. Less chance of breast cancer, etc. Plus I’m burning more calories which is awesome.
6. It’s free. Well, I did have to buy the pump and some nursing bras but that’s it. Certainly better than spending hundreds of dollars on formula each month.
5. Breastfed baby poops don’t stink… too bad. They really do smell a little bit sweet. They dissolve nicely in the washing machine. Of course, now that Baby2 has started solids we’re in new poop territory, but we’re still seeing the benefits of breastfed baby poops. (Wow that would sound weird out of context.)
4. I have provided all the nutrients she needs with my boobs ALONE. That’s pretty cool. And empowering. Even now that she’s eating some solids she still gets the vast majority of her nutrients from me. It’s like a pseudo pregnancy and that’s absolutely wonderful. Because I love being pregnant and I love providing for my baby’s needs.
3. There is nothing more convenient! No bottles to fill, warm, wash and store (well, except for the one or two bottles Mr. Handsome uses during the week while I’m at work). No need to remember to bring a bottle when we go out, no need to keep track of it. No warming bottles in the middle of the night. No waste from the formula manufacturing or packaging. Nothing going into my baby that I don’t control. No recalls!
2. Did I mention the cost savings? I like saving money. A lot.
1. Bonding. Even when I’m pumping, I feel connected to my baby. And let me tell you, this week I really need any connection I can get. I’ve been working late a few nights. Sometimes I get home just before or right after Baby2 goes to bed. Some days I only get sleepy feedings in the middle of the night, no good daytime ones. And that sucks. A few times I’ve felt like she’s pushing the breast away, like she’s rather have a bottle. And then just thinking about all the time we’ve spent trying to get her to take the bottle and all and then to think that she might prefer that? Ugh. Luckily I know that’s not the case, but still, the mind wanders.

And everything, EVERYTHING, that I hate about pump maintenance is completely forgotten when I’m nursing Baby2 and she looks up at me with those dark blue eyes and she smiles, then goes right back to nursing. Or when she can tell that the boob is about to come out and her little arms shake with excitement and she opens her mouth and roots into anything – my hand, her hand, my shirt, etc, and makes the cutest rooting noises that I can’t even describe but I hope I remember for all time. How could I possibly give these things up because I have to clean my pump every night and carry it to work and back every day?

Yes, at least three more months of all this is just fine with me.

The Surprises Keep Rolling In

On Monday morning I was walking through the halls at work (on my way to pump, of course) and thinking about my amazing Baby2. I was contemplating when she would roll over because I was thinking its about time for her to do that already. I made a mental commitment to do more tummy time to help her along.

A couple hours later, I left work because of the cold I had woken up with on Sunday morning (Mr. Handsome had it first!). I had lots of soup and fluids but I still feel yucky today and I’m home for the morning at least.

Anyway, I put Baby2 on her belly for a bit yesterday afternoon. She was doing so well at baby push-ups so I pulled out my phone. To my surprise she decided to roll over then and there! And I caught it on video!

I feel super lucky to have been around for this first, but catching it on camera is a sweet bonus! I’m trying not to think that I would have missed the moment if I hadn’t left work to nurse my cold. Sigh.

Here’s the video (hopefully I embedded it correctly; it’s been awhile since I’ve linked a video anywhere! The footage is dark and shaky but it was captured nonetheless!):

 

In other surprises, this weekend we had a surprise birthday party for Mr. Handsome. Kiddo1 helped me organize it and it was very fun. We had a good time planning it together – he helped me pull off the secret for over two weeks!

Mr. Handsome seemed pretty surprised. We had a pretty good turnout, lots of kids playing arcade games and friends sharing beers. I hope Mr. Handsome enjoyed his birthday!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

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?!

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!