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Book Review: Nursing Mother, Working Mother

One of the breastfeeding topics that is important to me is how to handle the delicate balancing act that is breastfeeding while working full time. This is something I struggled with last time and am determined to tackle this time around.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosThis book is fantastic! Nursing Mother, Working Mother by Gale Pryor covers just the niche of this topic that I wanted to learn more about: overcoming the struggle of breastfeeding and working.

The first couple chapters are focused on what it means to be a working mom. Let’s face it, most of our offices are still dominated by men. A woman is rewarded at work by being as man-like as possible: there is an underlying “societal pressure to surrender or minimize motherhood.” Women in the office are taken (or perceived to be taken?) more seriously when we discount our roles as mothers, accept the long hours and over-commitments to our outside-the-home work and generally live two completely separate lives. Why? Is it not possible to succeed in the corporate world as both a woman and a mother? Is it not possible to schedule your pumping time and your going-home time as you would schedule a project review or staff meeting? I could go on about this for awhile, but the book does move on and so shall I.

What I appreciated about this book is not only the commentary about working mothers but also some breastfeeding science that can help with pumping success. For example, milk is most plentiful in the mornings. Being the analytical and scheduled person that I am, without this knowledge I would pump every 2.5 hours exactly. Now I know that maybe I should pump once at 9, at 11 and then at 2 before leaving at 4 to breastfeed at home.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosMs. Pryor gives this schedule to follow, which of course is a bit different for everyone. I will leave my baby at home with Mr. Handsome and drive 45 minutes to work, so I’ll probably pump three times at work rather than two. But I appreciate a broken-down baseline from which I can build my own plan.

There are lots of basic how-tos in the book as well. How to get started breastfeeding just after birth, troubleshoot problems like blocked ducts or mastitis, how to form a plan for returning to work (find a daycare, a place to pump at work, legal rights to pump at work, etc), the best breast pump features, storing milk and combating fatigue (relax while you’re feeding, skip unnecessary housework, trade something like cable tv for an occasional “maid cleaning).

The only thing I didn’t really like about this book is that not enough credit is given to the dads/partners. I realize that I am extremely, extremely, spoiled in that I have a husband that probably does three times the housework I do, stays home with the kids (two kids!) AND works a few nights a week at the restaurant. Not everyone has a partner who not only chips in but basically handles everything. Ms. Pryor seems to lump all partners into the typical “man role” of being the guy who needs to be constantly nagged in order to get him to simply put the seat down or pick up his underwear. Since she focuses so much on how working women are stereotyped, I find it odd that she turns around and does the same thing to working men.

All in all, though, this is a great book. If I had to pick just one book about breastfeeding, this would be it. Of course that’s because I need the emphasis on returning to work, but all the basic stuff is covered too. The parts about mothering in the workplace really sparked my inner feminist and made me think. I’m sure I’ll be picking this one up again as my maternity leave draws to a close.

Next Review: On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo, MA and Robert Bucknam, MD

To Do List: End of Third Tri Update

Might as well do a final check of the to-do list (even though I did just check it a couple weeks ago). I feel pretty well accomplished and ready for this little girl to make her appearance, but let’s see how my December self feels (because I made the list that long ago!).

A recap of the First Trimester list, all complete:
  • Research hospitals and choose a midwife, with birth plan in mind COMPLETE, and I’ll post about it in a couple weeks once my regular appointments begin (I finally posted about group appointments just a few weeks ago.)
  • Start a pregnancy journal STARTED, and this Sunday I’ll post about the journal I selected
  • Start a photo journal STARTED
  • Find a social pregnancy group FORMED MY OWN
  • Download pregnancy apps for iphone DOWNLOADED (three!)
  • Schedule first appointment/ultrasound FINISHED
  • Write down questions for midwife QUESTIONS ASKED AND ANSWERED
  • Get on a kegel schedule SQUEEZING CONTINUES FROM TTC
  • Get on an exercise schedule (cardio) COMPLETE (although I’m struggling to stick to it, but I cardio it up when I can)
  • Plan meals/eat well A WORK IN PROGRESS (but I’ve made vast improvements over my pre-pregnancy habits)
  • Start a blog COMPLETE!
  • Decide whether or not to do the NT scan COMPLETE (and we declined)
  • Find some books about the next few months/year COMPLETE (and book reviews will begin on Sunday)
  • Start a name list BEGUN

The Second Trimester list:

  • Budget evaluation (let’s make adjustments now where needed) COMPLETE, plus we figured out how much money we need to save between now and July so we can pay hospital bills and make up for my company’s disappointing maternity policy (see below) so that I can take at least 10 weeks off work.
  • More diverse exercises (yoga, swimming) STARTED, I love prenatal yoga and I love water aerobics!
  • Research childbirth class and sign up – We’re being major rebels here and opting out of a class entirely. We’re reading so many dang books and we’ve been through this before. I understand that a class would help, but I see it more as icing on the cake than a fundamental piece of the puzzle. Controversial!
  • Evaluate maternity wardrobe COMPLETE and I think I’m set for a least another couple months. I’m only nervous about the last month or so because I know I’ll be absolutely huge then.
  • Prevent stretch marks PREVENTING AS BEST I CAN
  • Check out classes such as bf, baby wearing, cloth diapering, etc. – Cloth diapering COMPLETE, breastfeeding and baby wearing classes are coming up in late May (we’ll miss the April classes, sad face). Update: we had to miss the May classes too, so I’m hoping the June classes will fit our schedules!
  • Brush up my knit and crochet skills and start some projects STARTED some ideas. Projects pending. Currently they’ve been tabled due to all the nursery prep I’ve been doing; I didn’t anticipate getting into it so much!
  • Research maternity leave policy COMPLETE but the policy is pretty disappointing. I get six weeks paid 100%. I could get up to 13 weeks paid but I’d have to have a medical excuse. Lame! I’m going to take 10 weeks regardless, though.
  • Dog training (stop jumping, door management) STARTED, Max is getting used to going to his crate when the doorbell rings (his crate is right by the door) but we do need to work on his responsiveness to “come.” It’s a safety thing at this point.
  • Learn the sex of our baby! GIRL!
  • Doula? COMPLETE; we had a lot of good conversations about this and how we both felt about what we need and want. Ultimately we’ve decided not to use a doula. Mr. Handsome is an amazing coach and I am a very independent personality. I know we’ll have to be our own advocates in the hospital this way, but we know what we want and don’t want and aren’t afraid to ask for it.
  • Register COMPLETE! We’re on Target and Amazon to appease our families, which are all out-of-state.
  • Nursery Ideas COMPLETE, projects started and quickly snowballing out of control.
  • Living Will IN PROGRESS! I’m so glad we got started. We outlined our final wills, we just have to fill in Baby2’s name and birthdate, once we have those, finalize who our executors will be if we’re both deceased (is it okay to use the guardian we’ve selected as executor, too?) and get a witness, sign and notarize. Then we need to start the living wills, too. Progress!
On to the Third Trimester list:
  • Finalize birth plan COMPLETE! Our plan is to have a waterbirth. My positive Group B Strep result shouldn’t interfere… too much.
  • Hospital tour, preregister COMPLETE! We took the tour in mid-June and completed our waterbirth class the week before. We’ll fill out preregistration paperwork at our next group appointment on Tuesday.
  • Plan for when labor starts How much can you plan for this, really? Hopefully I’m out of work by then, but if I’m not I need to just get out of there as soon as I can as I’ll likely be driving myself 15 miles back home.
  • Plan for Kiddo1 and Max while we’re at the hospital COMPLETE! We have four families lined up to watch our son (plus two more whose kids actually won’t be in town at the time but they’ve still volunteered to take them – awesome!).
  • Find out what the grandparents’ travel plans are COMPLETE! My parents arrive July 18th and it looks like Mr. Handsome’s have delayed until the 23rd (the day my parents leave) because his two older brothers will be coming then as well. I’m looking at, like, three solid weeks of family time.
  • Baby Gear, clothes COMPLETE! We’re covered for cloth diapers, that’s for sure! I’m not too worried about newborn-sized clothes because it’ll be hot so she’ll probably hang in diapers, light t-shirts and swaddle blankets for awhile. We’ve got our essential gear covered, too – car seat, crib, changing table (dresser), etc. I think we’re ready in this department!
  • Baby book COMPLETE! I settled on the Humble Bumbles journal. Review to come!
  • Decide if we want pregnancy photos We’re not taking any official photos for a couple reasons, mostly because we didn’t take any with my first pregnancy and I don’t want Kiddo1 to think that pregnancy was any less important. Also, we’ve been taking a lot of just regular pictures now that we’re out and about in the fabulous weather. I don’t think we’re really missing out on anything. I do want to take a bunch of nice family pictures once Baby2 arrives though!
  • Fill out cord blood donation paperwork/register COMPLETE! The paperwork came in the mail the other day and we turned it in at the hospital when we went on the tour.
  • Install car seat COMPLETE! Although getting to one of those car seat safety checks is a pain in the A for sure. The lines are ridiculously long (I have a friend who waited for four hours!) and the “private appointments” are difficult to schedule. Grrrr.
  • Pediatrician COMPLETE! We have a pediatrician for Kiddo1, of course, but I haven’t been all that impressed lately. I found a new one who has great reviews and is pretty close to us. I’m excited to meet her!
  • Make some frozen dinners Eh, whatever.
  • Wash baby clothes, blankets/sheets, prep diapers COMPLETE! My prefolds (cloth diapers) have been washed and dried six times per the manufacturer’s directions. All blankets, sheets, pillows and newborn- or 0-3 month sized-clothes have been washed, the other sizes have been folded and stored for the future.
  • Set up nursery/baby spaces COMPLETE!
  • Prep Kiddo1 for “culture shift” We’ve been talking him up about all the changes and I think he’s ready. We won’t know for sure until it happens but I’m confident. We ran into his second grade teacher last week and she just gushed about how great of a big brother he’s going to be. I agree – he’s going to be awesome. UDPATE: We got a present for him, too, that he can get at the hospital. We’re going to make it “from Baby2, to Kiddo1.” I’m excited for this moment!
  • Plan baby welcoming party for mid-August Looks like this is still the plan. We have to decide it we want it at our house/backyard or out in a nearby park. I can see the benefits of both and I’m having a very difficult time making decisions lately. Luckily this one doesn’t have to get done until after Baby2’s arrival.
  • Research c-sections and inductions, just in case COMPLETE and I’m ready to deviate from my birth plan if needed (but I don’t want to!)
  • Birth announcement (email, mail?) COMPLETE! We’ll send formal announcements to family while friends will get the typical Facebook update. I’ve already got the design queued up I just need a picture and some stats for our little girl!
  • Familiarize myself with contraction-timing apps Sure, I totally got this.
  • Pack hospital bag COMPLETE! Holy crap there’s a lot of stuff to bring. I consider myself moderately minimalist and I’ve still got three reusable grocery bags filled with stuff (although, in my defense, one entire bag is diapering supplies!).
  • Trial run to hospital COMPLETE! Mr. Handsome has got it down – stay left, follow the hospital signs and turn left at the gas station!
  • Clean house/have cleaned SCHEDULED! I found a couple Groupon-type deals so we’ll have the house cleaned and carpets shampooed in early July and then a cleaning again the day before our families arrive. They’re going to do our windows too! I’m so excited!

Eeek, that’s it! Are we really done? Well, I guess there is one more thing left to do – have this baby already!

Book Review: The Maternity Leave Breastfeeding Plan

PhotobucketTo be honest, I didn’t really pay much attention to the title of this book before I started reading it. I kind of thought it had more to do with transitioning from maternity leave back to work and continuing to breastfeed, but supposedly the point of this book is exactly the opposite: enjoy three blissful months of breastfeeding then wean when you return to work.

That isn’t my plan but for some reason I stuck with the book anyway. The thesis of the book pretty much seems to be: give breastfeeding your all while you’re on leave, then don’t feel so bad about yourself if you have to stop when you go back to work. Dr. Wilkoff reminds the reader over and over again that weaning at three months is in no way failing. He believes that taking the pressure off to breastfeed for the recommended year will result in a more relaxed and productive career of breastfeeding during leave.

I’m torn between appreciating his desire to make the reader feel successful, no matter how long her breastfeeding career lasts, and feeling really talked down to and patronized. Like I’m not strong enough to come to grips with my situation of not being able to breastfeed past a certain point. With Kiddo1 I only made it five months but I, like the vast majority of mothers who have to stop short of their goal, realized that my situation couldn’t be changed and my breastfeeding termination was inevitable. Maybe I’m just too/more stubborn than some women and refuse to feel bad about myself.

Needless to say, there are some things I didn’t pay much attention to, like the whole stopping after three months thing. Luckily, Dr. Wilkoff does give a short chapter about continuing to breastfeed after returning to work (he is quick to point out that pumping and working and the energy drain that ensues is a challenge). It’s funny that he’s so intent on not making the reader feel like a failure if she decides to wean upon her return to work, yet he isn’t so encouraging if the reader decides she’d like to continue.

An additional tid-bit I didn’t really like is that Dr. Wilkoff doesn’t give much credit to collostrum (the pre-milk of the first few postpartum days). The Everything Breastfeeding Book and the book I just started, Nursing Mother, Working Mother, seem to think more highly of this substance.

These dislikes aside, the middle of this book contains fantastic tips on getting started and confronting challenges with breastfeeding from the start. Dr. Wilkoff walks through the first few hours, days and weeks of breastfeeding with so much detail that I’ve never received before! Even when I was breastfeeding the last time!

I wanted to jot down a few of my favorite tips. These are more notes for myself to look back on and remember because I’m sure I will forget most of the valuable information from this book over the next few weeks!

  • Accept the uncertainty of nursing.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Try a variety of positions (this not only enables you to find a few that work but helps empty your breasts and increase production from all ducts).
  • It’s okay if baby wants to sleep a bit more than eat for those first few days (but make sure it isn’t a sign of infection). Wake baby up every few hours to attempt a feeding.
  • If you have to supplement with sugar water until your milk comes in, always offer it after a feeding and offer with a syringe/tube combo rather than an artificial nipple.
  • Nurse on demand for the first couple weeks, don’t worry about any sort of schedule (I was totally obsessed with establishing a schedule ASAP with Kiddo1). The more often you nurse, the sooner your milk will come in and your baby will start gaining weight.
  • Don’t become a pacifier. In other words, don’t let baby associate nursing with sleeping time, otherwise she’ll believe that the only way to fall asleep is to nurse. Allow baby to learn to fall asleep on her own. (This is one of my main baby strategies. I used it with Kiddo1 and he learned to fall asleep on his own very quickly and slept “through the night” ie skipped one night feeding by five weeks old. He’s always been an awesome sleeper.)
  • Growth spurts will shake up the feeding schedule. Go with it.
  • Introduce the bottle at around one month, after breastfeeding has been firmly establish but before baby is so used to the breast that she may stubbornly refuse to take the bottle. Introduce it gradually; eventually she will take it.

Some good stuff in there – so much to remember! Who’d have thought such a natural act could be so complicated?!

Bottom line, the middle of this book is great! But the other parts, eh, I could do without someone telling me how I should feel about myself.

Next review: Nursing Mother, Working Mother: The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding Your Baby Before and After You Return to Work by Gale Pryor and Kathleen Huggins

Book Review: The Everything Breastfeeding Book

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosSince it has been nine years since my last breastfeeding experience AND I like to be fully prepared for these kinds of things, I’ve started reading books on breastfeeding. The Everything Breastfeeding Book by Suzanne and Ray Fredregill seemed like a good primer to get me reintroduced to this world.

I was correct that this book would be a good reintroduction as it is basically a survey course of all things breastfeeding. The book’s chapters cover topics from supplies needed to common concerns and, of course, diet and exercise. It seems like every facet is addressed, although without too much of the specific details. For some things that I’m really interested in reading more about, such as overcoming challenges related to returning to work, this book barely scratches the surface.

I don’t think this book was a waste of a read at all – like I had hoped, it was a good primer to get me thinking about breastfeeding again – but it did have some pitfalls. For example:

  • There are several different breastfeeding positions covered, each complete with a pretty good illustration except what I would think are the most difficult positions (but extremely useful if needed), the over-the-shoulder and Australian/prone (laying on your back) holds.
  • One thing that I thought was just weird… when choosing which parent will get out of bed to get the baby for a nighttime feeding, the authors actually suggest a game called “I’m sleeping it’s your turn” in which you just lie there and wait for the other person to move. I’m not going to lie, sometimes this is my strategy with our dog (okay it’s always my strategy because I know I can make it way longer than Mr. Handsome) but I don’t think it’s a great idea for a crying, hungry baby. Doesn’t it seem like this would only make the baby more upset and therefore take more time for the baby to latch on and get calmed down? (Of course, I say this now but when it’s the middle of the night and I’m dead tired after a couple weeks of nighttime feedings, we’ll see what happens.) I just don’t think it’s a great suggestion to help ease any tensions about nighttime feedings between two exhausted parents.

These things wouldn’t necessarily keep me from reading this book, in hindsight.

It’s a positive that everything is covered because now I know what kind of information I’m really seeking and can search those books out. I need to know more about fostering positive sleep behavior and successful breastfeeding after returning to work. I didn’t realize those were the things I’d be looking for until I started reading the book and wondering why more detail about them was missing.

Overall a good read but if you’re looking for information on a specific topic or if you only want to read one book on breastfeeding, this book won’t work for you.

Next review: The Maternity Leave Breastfeeding Plan by William Wilkoff

To Do List: Mid-Third Trimester Update

We passed the “mid-third tri” mark two weeks ago, but better late than never, right? Obviously I’ve been procrastinating as I knock out some of the more fun tasks of nursery decoration. But normal things must get done nonetheless!
 
As I look at this list now, which I created way back in December, I remind myself that sometimes I add things to lists just for the sake of adding things to a list. Some of these tasks aren’t really do-or-die, you know?
 
Anyway, let’s review what’s been done and what I have four (or less?!) short weeks to accomplish…
 
A recap of the First Trimester list, all complete:
  • Research hospitals and choose a midwife, with birth plan in mind COMPLETE, and I’ll post about it in a couple weeks once my regular appointments begin (I finally posted about group appointments just a few weeks ago.)
  • Start a pregnancy journal STARTED, and this Sunday I’ll post about the journal I selected
  • Start a photo journal STARTED
  • Find a social pregnancy group FORMED MY OWN
  • Download pregnancy apps for iphone DOWNLOADED (three!)
  • Schedule first appointment/ultrasound FINISHED
  • Write down questions for midwife QUESTIONS ASKED AND ANSWERED
  • Get on a kegel schedule SQUEEZING CONTINUES FROM TTC
  • Get on an exercise schedule (cardio) COMPLETE (although I’m struggling to stick to it, but I cardio it up when I can)
  • Plan meals/eat well A WORK IN PROGRESS (but I’ve made vast improvements over my pre-pregnancy habits)
  • Start a blog COMPLETE!
  • Decide whether or not to do the NT scan COMPLETE (and we declined)
  • Find some books about the next few months/year COMPLETE (and book reviews will begin on Sunday)
  • Start a name list BEGUN

The Second Trimester list:

  • Budget evaluation (let’s make adjustments now where needed) COMPLETE, plus we figured out how much money we need to save between now and July so we can pay hospital bills and make up for my company’s disappointing maternity policy (see below) so that I can take at least 10 weeks off work.
  • More diverse exercises (yoga, swimming) STARTED, I love prenatal yoga and I love water aerobics!
  • Research childbirth class and sign up – We’re being major rebels here and opting out of a class entirely. We’re reading so many dang books and we’ve been through this before. I understand that a class would help, but I see it more as icing on the cake than a fundamental piece of the puzzle. Controversial!
  • Evaluate maternity wardrobe COMPLETE and I think I’m set for a least another couple months. I’m only nervous about the last month or so because I know I’ll be absolutely huge then.
  • Prevent stretch marks PREVENTING AS BEST I CAN
  • Check out classes such as bf, baby wearing, cloth diapering, etc. – Cloth diapering COMPLETE, breastfeeding and baby wearing classes are coming up in late May (we’ll miss the April classes, sad face). Update: we had to miss the May classes too, so I’m hoping the June classes will fit our schedules!
  • Brush up my knit and crochet skills and start some projects STARTED some ideas. Projects pending. Currently they’ve been tabled due to all the nursery prep I’ve been doing; I didn’t anticipate getting into it so much!
  • Research maternity leave policy COMPLETE but the policy is pretty disappointing. I get six weeks paid 100%. I could get up to 13 weeks paid but I’d have to have a medical excuse. Lame! I’m going to take 10 weeks regardless, though.
  • Dog training (stop jumping, door management) STARTED, Max is getting used to going to his crate when the doorbell rings (his crate is right by the door) but we do need to work on his responsiveness to “come.” It’s a safety thing at this point.
  • Learn the sex of our baby! GIRL!
  • Doula? COMPLETE; we had a lot of good conversations about this and how we both felt about what we need and want. Ultimately we’ve decided not to use a doula. Mr. Handsome is an amazing coach and I am a very independent personality. I know we’ll have to be our own advocates in the hospital this way, but we know what we want and don’t want and aren’t afraid to ask for it.
  • Register COMPLETE! We’re on Target and Amazon to appease our families, which are all out-of-state.
  • Nursery Ideas COMPLETE, projects started and quickly snowballing out of control.
  • Living Will IN PROGRESS! I’m so glad we got started. We outlined our final wills, we just have to fill in Baby2’s name and birthdate, once we have those, finalize who our executors will be if we’re both deceased (is it okay to use the guardian we’ve selected as executor, too?) and get a witness, sign and notarize. Then we need to start the living wills, too. Progress!
On to the Third Trimester list:
  • Finalize birth plan
  • Hospital tour, preregister COMPLETE! We took the tour on Tuesday and completed our waterbirth class the week before. We’ll fill out preregistration paperwork at our next group appointment on Tuesday.
  • Plan for when labor starts How much can you plan for this, really? Hopefully I’m out of work by then, but if I’m not I need to just get out of there as soon as I can as I’ll likely be driving myself 15 miles back home.
  • Plan for Kiddo1 and Max while we’re at the hospital
  • Find out what the grandparents’ travel plans are COMPLETE! My parents arrive July 18th and it looks like Mr. Handsome’s have delayed until the 23rd (the day my parents leave) because his two older brothers will be coming then as well. I’m looking at, like, three solid weeks of family time.
  • Baby Gear, clothes COMPLETE! We’re covered for cloth diapers, that’s for sure! I’m not too worried about newborn-sized clothes because it’ll be hot so she’ll probably hang in diapers, light t-shirts and swaddle blankets for awhile. We’ve got our essential gear covered, too – car seat, crib, changing table (dresser), etc. I think we’re ready in this department!
  • Baby book I’m struggling finding one – I have too many requirements! When I find it I’ll review it. You can be sure about that!
  • Decide if we want pregnancy photos We’re not taking any official photos for a couple reasons, mostly because we didn’t take any with my first pregnancy and I don’t want Kiddo1 to think that pregnancy was any less important. Also, we’ve been taking a lot of just regular pictures now that we’re out and about in the fabulous weather. I don’t think we’re really missing out on anything. I do want to take a bunch of nice family pictures once Baby2 arrives though!
  • Fill out cord blood donation paperwork/register COMPLETE! The paperwork came in the mail the other day and we turned it in at the hospital when we went on the tour.
  • Install car seat We need to do this this weekend I think.
  • Pediatrician COMPLETE! We have a pediatrician for Kiddo1, of course, but I haven’t been all that impressed lately. I found a new one who has great reviews and is pretty close to us. I’m excited to meet her!
  • Make some frozen dinners Eh, whatever.
  • Wash baby clothes, blankets/sheets, prep diapers IN PROGRESS; I have put my cotton prefolds through a couple loads already (they say you should wash your natural fibers five or more times, with drying each time, before you use them for maximum fluffiness and absorbency). I’ll do a couple more loads today and a load of newborn clothes too. The blankets that we have are washed and ready.
  • Set up nursery/baby spaces COMPLETE!
  • Prep Kiddo1 for “culture shift” We’ve been talking him up about all the changes and I think he’s ready. We won’t know for sure until it happens but I’m confident. We ran into his second grade teacher last week and she just gushed about how great of a big brother he’s going to be. I agree – he’s going to be awesome.
  • Plan baby welcoming party for mid-August Looks like this is still the plan. We have to decide it we want it at our house/backyard or out in a nearby park. I can see the benefits of both and I’m having a very difficult time making solid decisions lately. Luckily this one doesn’t have to get done until after Baby2’s arrival.
  • Research c-sections and inductions, just in case COMPLETE and I’m ready to deviate from my birth plan if needed (but I don’t want to!)
  • Birth announcement (email, mail?) COMPLETE! We’ll send formal announcements to family while friends will get the typical Facebook update. I’ve already got the design queued up I just need a picture and some stats for our little girl!
  • Familiarize myself with contraction-timing apps
  • Pack hospital bag
  • Trial run to hospital COMPLETE! Mr. Handsome has got it down – stay left, follow the hospital signs and turn left at the gas station!
  • Clean house/have cleaned SCHEDULED! I found a couple Groupon-type deals so we’ll have the house cleaned and carpets shampooed in early July and then a cleaning again the day before our families arrive. They’re going to do our windows too! I’m so excited!

A Nursery Is Born!

After a few months of on-and-off labor, a nursery for Baby2 has been born! I’ve worked on little projects for this space when I have time in the evenings and on the weekends (which really isn’t too much free time now that I look back!). There were lots of little projects that led up to the completion, too.

Like I said in my last post about completed nursery projects, I know that Baby2 doesn’t really care what kind of space she sleeps in and gets changed in, as long as it’s safe and warm! But I didn’t get to do much nursery decorating when Kiddo1 was born so I guess I just wanted the experience of making a baby space this time. So I started with a couple simple projects and, knowing me, things quickly ballooned from there! I can say that I’m at a point where I’m comfortable stopping (except for maybe the mobile, below!) so it’s time to show off what I’ve been able to finish!

Our space is small, as the only room we’ve got right now is in Mr. Handsome’s and my room, but Baby2 would likely stay in our room for the first few months anyway. Perhaps this winter or next spring we’ll look at getting ourselves into a bigger place!

Photobucket Anyway, there are two bits of walls that Baby2 gets. On the changing table side, I first framed these two Degas posters back in late March during Spring Break. While that was only three months ago, it seems like ages!

I picked up the small lamp from a thrift store a month (?) or so ago; I cleaned it up and added a shade which I covered with red tissue paper (using Mod Podge, which is probably now my most favorite adhesive) to match the paper lanterns over the crib.

I finished the dresser over Memorial Day weekend, complete with pink drawer insides! The top right drawer is stuffed with cloth diaper prefolds (on their second round of washing prep, out of five rounds! More about that later). I finished the changing pad cover just a couple weeks ago – luckily I made two so Baby2 won’t feel guilty pooping on them (because, you know, I’m sure she’d care about that).

PhotobucketAlso, I hung up a little hook for a hanger so I can hang up her outfit of the day (well, the outfit she’ll be starting in, at least)! One of baby’s very first outfits is all hung up and ready to go! Well, I still have to wash them all, but I’ll get to that…

Speaking of clothes, how cute are all these?! I found tiny little hangers for them and made myself a small rod to fit in our IKEA bookshelves so I can display their cuteness.  Many thanks to the friends who have given us such adorable stuff! Baby girl clothes are so much fun to buy. It’s a good thing I can’t make up my mind about how the weather will be and what sizes to buy her because I would have WAY more clothes at this point than I do.

PhotobucketOn the other side of the room is Baby2’s sleeping space. The IKEA crib was outfitted with a crib skirt back during Spring Break. I got the fabric on Etsy and spent the next several months covering everything with it! Other than the crib skirt and the changing pads, I covered some throw pillows and a Boppy pillow with it too. There’s a small amount left over so we’ll see what gets covered next!

The Picasso poster was the very first nursery project I finished way back in early March (when I also got the inspiration to do a huge mobile!). It was also my first attempt at framing. I framed three more posters after that! I have a couple more I’d like to do someday, but they aren’t getting done anytime soon!

PhotobucketHere’s a baby’s-eye-view of the giant mobile! I’m still not completely finished with it, but I’m allowing myself to call it done for now. It has been way more work than it probably needed to me, mostly because I make things more complicated than they need to be!

These balls started way back during Spring Break, too! I finished the yellow one then. I’d like to make another small yellow one, but we’ll see how much I feel like doing that over the next few weeks… The purple one is small but so are the little bits of crumpled up tissue paper that are covering it. Making the ball covering takes so much time. I’m definitely not making another purple ball!

The red balls were super easy, just some cheap, white paper lanterns, red tissue paper, Mod Podge and a couple hours of gluing fun. The turquoise balls came as is.

PhotobucketHere were are as a family of three… and a half! Not too much longer and there will be a baby to occupy this little space.

Yesterday was also Kiddo1’s last day of third grade (yikes!). I always take the first and last days of school off from work, which is why I had the extra bit of time to get the final touches finished up. I’m pretty glad it’s at a point where I can call it finished!

The Name Game: Finalists!

It’s a good thing pregnancy is nine months long because it is taking us that long to figure out what to call this little girl! My constricting list of rules plus Mr. Handsome’s notorious indecisiveness makes for a long naming process. But I think we’ve come up with a fine list of finalists!

First off, we decided that Baby2’s middle name will definitely be Mae. This name has a lot of significance for us, but most importantly, May is the month we moved to our current city and found our sweet puppy Max a year later. We’re spelling it “Mae,” though, which is the way my great-grandmother’s name was spelled.

On to the first names!

  • Michelle Mae
    • This is the first name I really fell “in like” with. I like that Michelle is a once-popular name that is seldom used anymore. It’s got this 80’s vintage appeal that, well, appeals to me. Some may not like the alliteration with Mae but I think it’s endearing in a way. I also like that she could go by the distant nickname Ellie (I say distant because I do realize this is a stretch) but Mr. Handsome is not a fan of nicknames.
    • I think this is a great name on paper but something just doesn’t feel “it” about the name. In some dreams I call Baby2 Michelle and I do like it but I don’t LOVE it. This is a difficult feeling to describe. I would be perfectly fine with Michelle but not head-over-heals about it. Does this make any sense?! My mind is mush!
  • Lucy Mae
    • Oddly enough, this name was on my list of hated names, but Lucy is starting to grow on me so much! We’ve seen some strange omens, too: at Mr. Handsome’s restaurant, someone left behind a Lucy.com cloth bag the day I mentioned the name to him as a possibility. That week, I also somehow stumbled upon a Wikipedia article about Lucy Stone, who was an activist in the women’s movement and was “the first recorded American woman to retain her own last name after marriage.” I didn’t change my name either!
    • There are a LOT of words that Lucy rhymes with so Mr. Handsome is concerned about kids and their teasing. However, I think that if kids want to tease you, they’ll come up with something regardless of whether it rhymes or not. There are no teasing-proof names.
  • Lily Mae
    • Kiddo1 is desperate for a Harry Potter name to be used; he first suggested Hermione Granger but then I think he realized Lily is more realistic. This name flows well to me and I like that it is simple (one of my rules). Lillian was my grandmother’s real name (she went by Joy) so that’s cool too.
    • On the cons side, my grandmother went by Joy because she hated the name Lillian. Kind of makes me hesitant to use it to honor someone that hated the name, don’t you think?
  • Grace Mae
    • Grace was one of my grandmother’s favorite names (side note: I know what you’re thinking – just name her Joy already! Well, no. There have been two great-granddaughters born in the last couple years and they both have her namesake as a first or middle name. I think grandma is well-honored already and it’s time to share the love with other members of the family. Tangent over). I do like that it is simple, very classic and vintage-y.
    • Mr. Handsome points out that a girl in Kiddo1’s class is named Grace. She’s a nice enough girl so there’s no bad association with the name. I don’t think this argument holds much weight. I don’t feel like Grace flows as well with Mae as some of the other names, but that’s also a very small con.

PhotobucketI like all these names, I love one or two in particular, but I constantly question whether we’re on the right track or not. Mr. Handsome wonders why I (as opposed to him?) am being so wishy-washy. I described it like this: I like this boy, I love him, and I want to marry him, but am I SURE I’m making the right choice? I think this thought goes through every bride’s mind at some point during her engagement and it’s the same thing for naming a person. If I haven’t mentioned before, I see naming someone as a HUGE responsibility that I do not take lightly in any way. I think it is fair to question the decision a little, though I do not doubt that, in the end, we will make the right decision and not look back. We’ll see where we end up!