Friday, April 30, 2010

Hard Days

We had a really hard day today. Meg was whiny and cranky and so was I. All week at work, I look forward to my time at home with Meg. I really hate it when “our day” finally comes and suddenly all I want is for it to be over.

As I said in the disclaimer, every situation has its challenges, from stay-at-home to full-time-working and everything in between. My problem is when I work Monday-Thursday, I’m exhausted by Friday and my husband isn’t home to help, like on Saturday. This week was particularly busy and tiring, so I couldn’t face doing anything on Friday. The thought of getting us both dressed, fed, packed, and out the door was completely overwhelming. I thought Meg and I could just do nothing. Turns out that doesn’t work. I was exhausted, but Meg was not and she wanted me to entertain her. It was actually harder on me to keep her occupied at home all day than it would have been to run errands. She loves going to the store and she usually falls asleep on the way home, so I have some time to get things done. And, to a lesser extent, getting things done at home also entertains her. Its more interesting to watch her mommy clean the kitchen than it is to watch her lay on the couch. I’ll try to remember this for the future, but, as I said, some weeks its just so hard to get out of the house…

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Disclaimer

I have a post thats been brewing for a couple weeks and hopefully I'll get it written out later this week. Its not anything that interesting, so don't get your hopes up:) In anticipation of the post, I'm going to put this disclaimer out there so I don't have to constantly say it: I am a part-time working mom. I will write about my "problems" as a part-time working mom. I do NOT think these problems are worse that the problems of stay-at-home moms. Or full-time working moms. Or anybody else out there. I am not trying to say "my life is so hard, pity me." I'm just writing about my life. I'll write about tough days and I'll write about good days (I hope). Please don't comment to tell me that I don't KNOW what its like to have a rough life, so I shouldn't complain. Its my website and I'll complain if I want to!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More traveling

I'm going out of town again. This time for two nights. I'll leave Monday, May 3rd and get back late Wednesday, May 5th. My one night out of town a couple weeks ago went well, so I'm not as worried this time. The logistics are overwhelming, though. I have to have enough breastmilk in the fridge to last 3 days. (I can't use frozen milk, because my husband can't bring himself to even smell thawed milk to make sure it didn't go bad) I have to make sure Meg will have enough solid food to eat. I have to do all the laundry so the 3 of us have clean clothes. I have to pack for two nights, including enough bottles to pump. And most of all, I have to prepare to leave my family for two days!

P.S. I do have to say, I'm a little excited. I get to sleep all night! Have a king size bed all to myself! Go out to eat every meal! It'll be a nice little getaway - too bad I have to work.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Everyone's breastfeeding experience is different

I was reading a blog post about breastfeeding/bottlefeeding today and really enjoyed reading all the comments. For the most part, people were very civil and non-judgmental about others choices, while sharing their situations and the choices they made. It was fascinating to read about other people’s breastfeeding/formula situations.

When my daughter was little, I felt sorry for people who didn’t/couldn’t breastfeed. Breastfeeding was (and is) such an amazing experience for me, it made me sad these people missed out. I thought if they had just tried, or medically able to, they would have the same amazing experience. That was na├»ve. Do you ever suddenly realize how stupid you were and feel embarrassed about it? Not everyone has a great experience.

Breastfeeding was not easy for me, but I’ve come to realize it was WAAAAY easier for me than it is for many others. I was definitely sore in the beginning. Really sore. But I never bled. And I never had mastitis. Never had thrush. Never had latching issues after the first 2-3 days.

I did have to nurse/pump round the clock for 2 days to get my milk to finally come in when she was 6 days old. That was a horrible 2 days. I would nurse for 20 min, bottlefeed her colostrum from the previous pumping session, pump for 30 minutes, clean the pump parts, then start the whole process over again about 45 minutes to an hour after finishing. For those two days, I didn’t sleep for more than 1 hour at a time. BUT, after my milk came in, we had no major problems until she was 9.5 months old and I wasn’t getting enough milk while pumping at work. NINE WHOLE MONTHS of problem-free, blissful breastfeeding.

Not that it wasn’t work – at the beginning, it was so difficult to get up for EVERY feeding all night long without any help from my husband. He couldn’t feed her, so he got to sleep all night long. When she was about a month old, I actually thought I might not survive until she started sleeping through the night. She started sleeping 5 hour stretches at 7 weeks and that’s when I finally started feeling human again. But even though getting up every 2-3 hours to feed her was difficult, the actual breastfeeding was easy. And I loved it. And SHE loved, loved, loved it, too.

Then there was the pumping. At this point, I’ve been pumping at work for 8.5 months, and I’m SICK OF IT. I want to QUIT. But when I first went back to work, pumping actually helped. Pumping milk for her made me feel better about being away. I felt more connected to her. I felt like I was taking care of her, even though she wasn’t with me. That said, I’m over it. I only pump once a day now, and THAT feels like a giant chore to me. The only reason I still do it is because she won’t drink straight formula. There has to be breastmilk mixed in. (I also nurse her twice a day, so overall, she gets about 50% breastmilk, 50% formula).

There’s another woman where I work who had a baby 4 ½ months after me. She really wanted to breastfeed. She was impressed by those of us at work who pumped for months and months and was ready to do that. When she first came back to work and wasn’t pumping, I’ll admit I judged her. I though she couldn’t hack it. I thought I was superior. I was wrong. She tried and tried and tried. She worked WAY harder than me at breastfeeding and it didn’t work - she had an inadequate supply (really inadequate - she produced almost no milk). She nursed constantly, went to several lactation consultants, tried everything they suggested. It just never worked. When her son was a few months old, she gave up. She still wishes she had been able to breastfeed, but is happy she stopped trying, because it was driving her and her son crazy.

Another woman at work had her baby two weeks before me. When she came back to work, she also wasn’t breastfeeding. It turns out her son is allergic to almost everything. For the first month or so, he cried all. the. time. because he was allergic to milk, soy, nuts, and wheat, I think. He was exclusively breastfed, but those allergens were in her milk. The pediatrician finally decided it wasn’t colic and they went to allergists to find out what her son is allergic to. She had to cut entire food groups (like dairy) out of her diet. It got to be ridiculous and the best choice for her baby was some super-expensive dairy, wheat, and soy-free formula. She definitely wishes should could just breastfeed him (like she did her other child) instead of shelling out big bucks for this formula, but it doesn’t work that way.

One of her friends has a child with similar allergies and her friend continued to breastfeed. To do so, she could eat nothing but baked potatoes. Morning, noon, and night. With nothing on them. He was allergic to pretty much everything else – wheat, soy, dairy, even additives in wheat-free pasta. Its possible my colleague was exaggerating, but I’m sure the diet was very restrictive. Even with vitamin supplements, I don’t think that sounds like the healthiest solution for the mom or the baby. I’m amazed the other mom made it work (that’s dedication!) and don’t blame my colleague for not doing the same.

So, while breastfeeding was/is hard work, it went really well for me. And, while hearing and reading about other women’s multiple infections, latching problems, and other bad experiences, I realized I got off easy. I shouldn’t feel sorry for people who couldn’t breastfeed for medical reasons or had major problems breastfeeding and decided to stop. I should be happy they had the courage to make the right decision for them and their babies. And try to remember that my decision to breastfeed was right for me and my daughter, but that doesn’t mean its right for other people. I still hope people give breastfeeding a try. A serious, hard-work try. (I’m so glad I didn’t quit when my milk didn’t come in.) But if after trying it isn’t working, people should make whatever choice is best for them.

P.S. One comment broke my heart – a mother said she went to lactation consultants, tried everything, and still couldn’t make enough milk for her baby. She said “I look at my son and feel like he is happy and healthy due to formula. not because of me. I failed...” No one should EVER feel this way. You are not a failure – your child is happy and healthy. I’ve always thought breastfeeding extremists go too far. I agree with their points – breast IS best, if its possible – but I really disagree with their tactics. And when their extremism makes a mother feel like she is a failure, when she tried everything she could, that is terrible.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spending the day with my beautiful baby

Today I had one of those perfect baby-days. Not that Meg was an angel. She got into plenty of thing she isn’t supposed to and I had to chase her around pretty much all day. But that was my plan for the day. To spend time with her. I guess it was kind of a reward for both of us for surviving the strange week. All day long, I kept thinking, I can’t believe I get to spend my day with this beautiful, amazing baby. This is like, the best baby in the WHOLE WORLD, and I get to play with her all day! I’m so lucky! I wish I had that attitude more days. I think part of the wonderfulness of the day is that I didn’t once think about the internet. I spent part of the day reading a book while Meg played nearby and the rest of the day playing with her.

We didn’t have internet at the client’s this week and the last time I checked my email was Monday night in the hotel. As each day passes, the unread messages count in my inbox increases and my desire to read them decreases. I’m not even going on the internet to post this. I’ll post (and backdate) it Monday when I get back into work mode. Which means I’ll go a whole week without getting on the internet. Wow.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Traveling for work: not as bad as I thought

The trip is going great! I was a little sad last night when I put Meg to bed, knowing the next night I wouldn’t be there to put her to bed. I was a little sad this morning when I had to say good-bye. But, overall, it feels like no big deal. I usually get home from work between 6 and 6:30 and Meg is usually in bed by 7:30. We’re busy busy busy that whole time. Feed her dinner, eat our dinner, get her ready for bed, make bottle, feed her, nurse her, lay her down. Then, wash the dishes, wash the bottles, make lunches for the next day, pack the diaper bag. Its usually hectic and goes by fast. To be honest, I’m not all that sad about missing one night of running around like crazy! Yes, I miss Meg. But I know I’ll see her tomorrow. I’ve had a nice relaxing evening. After work we went to Red Lobster, then back to the hotel, where I immediately at my leftovers and watched TV while checking my email. Then I took a bath and climbed into bed to watch Law and Order. I think a night away is just what I needed!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Traveling for work: preparing

Plans are coming together for next week. At my request, we’ve booked rooms at a hotel with fridges in the rooms, so I can store breastmilk. I’m bringing a cooler to keep it in during the day. Over the weekend, I’m going to thaw frozen milk for Meg’s bottles, so all the fresh milk can be saved for Monday and Tuesday. My husband is grossed out by the thought of smelling thawed milk to tell if it went bad or not, so he’s not really up for using frozen milk.

I’m not nearly as upset about this night away as I was when I found out on Tuesday. In fact, I’m kind of looking forward to it. I haven’t spent a night in a hotel since I traveled for work when 5 months pregnant. Before having Meg, I usually enjoyed going out of town for work. After work, you go out for dinner, then back to the hotel where there are no dishes to wash, no laundry to do, nothing to ‘get done’. You just watch TV, surf the internet, or read (or work out if you’re really motivated). An evening like that sounds pretty good to me. Its only one night away from Meg. I’ll get to sleep all night long! I’ll get to watch TV, take a bath, go to bed early… Sounds pretty good! Right now, the only thing I’m dreading is the logistics of getting myself packed and out the door by 6 A.M. I’m curious to find out whether I’ll freak out when its time to leave. Or when I don’t get to go home after work. We’ll see. For now, I’m excited!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Traveling for work: the plan

Ok, so the plan for next week is: I go out of town Monday, stay overnight, and come back Tuesday. I have Wednesday off, then go back for the day on Thursday.

My first night away from Meg. I have some planning (and pumping) to do…

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Traveling for work

When I got to work this morning, there was an email from one of the managers at work telling me I have to go out of town next week. Overnight. My first night(s) away from Meg. And with little notice. I’m freaking out. She asked if we had any plans they needed to work around. I said I needed more than a week’s notice to build up enough breastmilk for Meg to drink while I’m gone. We’ll see what her answer is. Did I mention I’m freaking out?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter recap

This weekend was…exhausting. Meg refused to sleep in the pack and play. She sort-of slept between us in bed, but nobody got much sleep. There was a lot of kicking, poking, and crying from everyone. Each morning she got up at 6 and refused to sleep any more. Thankfully, my mother-in-law took her for an hour or two at 7 each morning, so I could go back to sleep and husband could go for his run. Other than the sleeping, we had fun, but we’re really really tired. I’m glad I have a furlough day today!

Friday, April 2, 2010

We're off!

We’re headed to my mother-in-law’s house for Easter today. We spent the entire morning packing. We barely fit everything into the car. And we’ll only be gone for two nights! I don’t know how people travel with two kids. They must spend an entire week packing and repacking to try to reduce the amount they’re bringing and fit it all in. That, or buy a minivan. We did bring the stroller and the pack and play, which take up a lot of space. And a cooler for breastmilk. We have an entire bag for baby food, bottles, formula, and baby snacks. I packed way more food than we need, because I don't know what she'll eat. If she refuses bottles, we need backup food on hand. I also brought a bunch of bottles, because I don't know how much I'll have to pump. I usually don't pump in the morning, but have to if she refuses to nurse. I feel like I'm bringing my whole house and I KNOW I'll only use half of it, but I don't know which half! I’m already dreading UNpacking everything Sunday night. Thankfully I have a furlough day Monday so I’ll have a day to recover, wash the bottles, and do the laundry.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Update

Well, I think things are improving. Yesterday at daycare, Meg refused her first bottle, but drank most of the second. Today she took her morning bottle. I’m mixing them all half breastmilk, half formula, but this can’t continue forever. I’m using 8 ounces of breastmilk a day (she has two 6 oz bottles and one 4 oz bottle) and I only get 4-5 from pumping. The freezer stash is getting pretty low. I think there’s only 20 ounces left. I’m hoping she starts doing well with the bottles again and I’ll can gradually reduce the percentage of breastmilk in them. If we use up the frozen milk, she’s out of luck!