A Lovely Family Weekend

Julia and I got back last night from a very lovely family weekend in Baltimore!  Traveling with her was much easier than I had anticipated, thanks in large part to the Ergo Baby Carrier.  I was able to wear her in the Ergo, which left my hands free to fold up the car seat and stroller, and gave me a place to put the diaper bag.  On the flight to Baltimore, the flight was only about 1/3 full so I was able to bring the carseat on the plane with us and Julia took a nice nap in the carseat.  On the flight back, the plane was completely full but there was a big group of 8th graders sitting near us and they kept Julia entertained for much of the flight.  She also took a nice long nap in my arms!

Here she was having tummy time at the airport in New Orleans before we boarded our plane!photo

Julia got some good bonding time with her Grandma and Grandpa, and she got to meet a bunch of new family members she hadn’t met before, including my Uncle Neil & Aunt Karen and cousins Rachel and David.  She already met Aunt Lynda (over New Years) but got to see her again, as well.  As you can see, we got some great photos of everyone hanging out with the Baby!  We had a couple of nice meals all together, and it was nice to have some time with just my parents. image_1

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We also got a chance to check out a baby store in Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood called Soft & Cozy Baby.  One thing I’m looking forward to is being in a city that’s a little more politically liberal and that’s hopefully a bit more embracing of breastfeeding!  We did take this funny picture while we were eating lunch at Faidley’s: image_2

Faidley’s is a great (I don’t really want to call it a restaurant) food stand (?) at Lexington Market, where you can find the best crab cakes in Baltimore.  They are literally the size of softballs.  And for Ken (since he keeps kosher), he’s able to get their coddies, which are like crab cakes only they’re made out of Cod.  I hear they’re delicious!

I was a little nervous to see how Julia would sleep last night in her crib after sleeping in bed with me at the hotel for the previous three nights but she didn’t do too badly… I’m sure that within a couple of days she’ll be back into the swing of things with her sleeping schedule.  We’ve just got to be consistent.

Luckily this week Ken is on clinics, so hopefully we’ll have some time to spend together as a family this week before he goes and works in the ICU for a month.  It’s hard to believe that our time in New Orleans is coming to an end in just a few more weeks!  But before then there is much to be done and much fun to be had!

6-Month Checkup

After spending the morning with her daddy (who has the day off today!), Julia had her 6-month checkup!  She downed the oral rota virus vaccine like a champ, and didn’t even make a peep when she got her Pentacel vaccine!  (Maybe she’ll be a doctor, like her daddy, if she’s so unfazed by having to get shots?)

Here they were waiting to go in to see the doctor: 4.11.2013

The doctor commented that we clearly have a baby with a very happy disposition, and she said everything sounded good, as far as Julia’s eating, sleeping, and physical/emotional development is concerned.

Julia now weighs 14 lbs. 12.2 ounces (which is just above the 25th percentile) and she is 25 1/4 inches long (between the 25th and 50th percentiles), and her head circumference is still in the 50th percentile.  It’s amazing to me that she’s done all her growing (as Ken pointed out the other day) entirely thanks to me (and some rice cereal, one sweet potato, 3 bananas and half an avocado)!  After the appointment, I dropped Julia off at daycare for the afternoon (so Ken can get some work done and relax a little), and now I am back at work for a few more hours.

Sleep Training Update: The New Normal?

Now that we have been sleep training, we have a new schedule that we are getting used to… we’ll call it the “new normal.”  A few weeks ago I shared what our schedule was like during the week. The problem with it was that it was very unpredictable–we never really knew when Julia would wake up, when she would want to nurse, when she would go to sleep, etc.  Part of sleep training involves keeping babies on a predictable schedule so they know what to expect and approximately when they should expect it to happen, and so you, as parents, have a better idea of what to expect as well.  It give you some grown-up time in the evenings, to eat dinner together, watch a movie, just spend time together as a couple.  It’s also really nice for us since we can start making plans in the evening–say we want to meet some friends for dinner, we know approximately what time Julia will go to sleep and approximately how long she will sleep for and we can start to have babysitters come over after she’s gone to sleep.  This will give us some much-needed occasional time to ourselves.

So here’s our “new normal”:

Between 6 & 7: Julia wakes up (or if necessary we wake her up) and nurses

7:30: drop her off at daycare

At daycare, she has a 4-oz. bottle of milk at 8:30, 10:30, 12:30 and 2:30 (approx.) and she also has rice cereal after her 1st bottle and some vegetable or fruit puree after her 3rd bottle.  Depending on the day she usually has 2 or 3 naps during the day.

3:30: pick her up from daycare and head home

4 PM: generally when I get home with her, we go on a walk around the neighborhood to get some exercise and get some fresh air

5 PM: Play Time & Dinner (vegetable or fruit puree)

5:30 PM: Bath Time (when needed)

6 PM: Nurse until Julia is drowsy but not sleepy

6:30-7: Put her in her crib awake and make sure she has her loveys with her.  Last night it took her 12 minutes of crying to fall asleep.  She’s getting better at it every night.

Then after we put her to bed, we can make dinner and eat dinner together, watch a movie, read, get stuff done around the house, etc.

Nights are still not 100% predictable but they are becoming more so as we continue to do this sleep training.  Last night was pretty rough though…  I’ll say again though, that my goal in sleep training, was not to get Julia to stop nursing at night.  If she’s hungry at night, I’m happy to feed her.  Eventually she won’t need to nurse at night, but from everything I’ve read about breastfed babies, it’s totally normal for them to wake up at least once to nurse at night up until the age of 1 or even 18 months, sometimes!  If she’s getting 10-12 hours of sleep total, each night, I’d still call that “sleeping through the night” even if she does need to wake up to nurse.  Last night she had about 7 and a half hours of sleep, woke up to nurse, and then another 2 and a half hours, so a total of about 10 hours of sleep.  Not bad, if you ask me!  She’s also been a much happier baby during the day now that she’s getting some much-needed rest!

And now… some photos!

First, from Tuesday night at dinner–we went out for sushi with our friends Evan & Jade to celebrate the end of Passover, and Julia decided that there must be milk in my hand and she was determined to get it out by nursing on my hand.  She never did find the secret milk in there, but she’s pretty determined to get to it! 4.4.2013

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And last night… Julia was sitting up for the first time!  We had to keep our hands close by to make sure she didn’t just tip over, but she was sitting by herself for a good 10-15 seconds!  Yay, Julia!  4.4.2013.4

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Now that Easter is over, bring on the Seersucker!

I have a confession to make… I have a fantasy of being one of those families that is all matchy-matchy in family portraits every year.  I want to be that family that wears plaid pajamas in the same color.  It goes along with my fantasy to have a house with a white picket fence.  And that’s why I got Julia this dress… 4.2.2013.2

And now that Easter is over, she can finally wear it!  I already have grand plans to get myself either a white linen dress or a seersucker dress and to have our whole family dressed in seersucker for Mother’s Day when we go to brunch at Commander’s Palace!  (Ken already has a seersucker suit, in which he looks quite dapper!)

I just did a Google Image search for “family in matching clothes” and I promise you I do NOT want us to look like this: striped family

or like this: hawaiian family

but maybe a little bit more like this: nice matching family

And now more about sleep…

Last night, for the second night in a row, Julia slept for 11 hours!!! Ken was on call so I took care of bedtime all by myself but I wasn’t nearly as anxious about it as I was the other day.  She started showing signs that she was sleepy around 6 PM or so, so we went upstairs, put on pajamas, read two stories, then nursed until she was drowsy and then I put her down.  She cried for about 20 minutes, fussed and stirred for about 5 minutes and then fell asleep and she slept for a total of 11 hours!  She woke up about half way through the night and cried/fussed for about 15 minutes but then put herself right back to sleep.

This morning when she woke up, she wanted to nurse for 45 minutes (understandably since she hadn’t eaten for about 12 hours!) but then she went right back to being a happy and smiley baby!  4.2.2013

 

Not-so-Wordless Wednesday

Hello and a Happy Wednesday to you!

If ever I am having a bad day or am feeling down, all I have to do is look at pictures or videos of my baby girl and immediately my heart feels warmed!

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I have a couple different things to talk about today…

#1) Seders.  The past two nights, we have attended Seders, and though they were very different, we had a great time at both of them.  Monday night we went to our friends Holly & Isaac.  The timing worked out perfectly–I got to their house around 7 PM, nursed Julia until she fell asleep and then put her in the pack n’ play that Holly set up in their guest room for us, and Julia slept from about 7:45 until about midnight, at which point the Seder was ending and it was time for us to go home anyway!  The Seder itself was lovely, and we had a great time with their family.  Holly’s parents were there, and a few of Isaac’s coworkers were there as well.  We had some great discussion, delicious food and some good laughs!  Holly & Isaac’s daughter is 3-and-a-half, and watching her really made me so excited for the future with our daughter!  She is so full of life and energy and curiosity about the world.

Tuesday night we went to the home of some new friends–the Rabbi at Anshe Sfard, his wife and their baby girl–Julia didn’t do quite as well, but once I got her to sleep, she slept for about 3 hours at their house in the pack n’ play that they had set up for her to use.  It was a very different crowd–the Rabbi’s parents and an older man who’s a member of their Shul–but we had a second great evening!  The food was especially delicious (don’t read this, Mom: their brisket was better than my mom’s brisket!)

#2) Breastfeeding.  This is a topic that’s pretty much constantly on my mind, and today the Breastfeeding Forum on the Bump is getting blown up with drama, so I’ve been thinking about a couple different things related to breastfeeding today!

First: Julia is almost 6 months old and so far she has only ever had breast milk and rice cereal (which we started at about 5 months and 1 week because she seemed ready for it).  Of that, I am very proud!  I’ve put in a lot of work to be successful at breastfeeding and it has not always been easy but I am so happy that I put in the effort and stuck with it.  Especially at the beginning, when Julia was nursing for hours at a time and it felt like I was a human pacifier, it would have been so easy to say to Ken, “Just make her a bottle of formula and feed that to her so she’ll stop nursing and I can sleep!”  But I knew that any drop of formula she got would potentially hurt my milk supply since the best way to tell your breasts to make more milk is to keep nursing.  I am really proud of myself and Julia for sticking with it and we’ve gotten to a point now where it’s really enjoyable.  Once she’s a year old and I don’t have to pump anymore, I think it will be even more enjoyable since I’ll be able to nurse her whenever she wants to nurse but I won’t have to make sure that she gets a certain number of ounces of breast milk.  I’m sure there will be more bumps along the way, as she hits growth spurts, or when she gets teeth, or when we’re ready to wean, etc. but I’m just feeling really proud of myself this week!

Second: I have a confession to make.  Before Julia was born I definitely judged women who didn’t breastfeed.  My thinking went like this: “If you’re going to have a baby and put your body through 9 months of pregnancy to bring a child into this world, you should do what’s best for your child and that is so clearly breastfeeding.  Sure, you say you don’t want to use your body in that way, but that’s what  your body was designed to do.  Sure, you say formula will be easier, but it’s not the best thing for your baby…” you get the idea.  Basically I judged hardcore.  I judged people who didn’t want to try breastfeeding and I judged people who gave up too easily.  I judged everyone!

But now that I have a baby, I don’t judge any of those people anymore.  My feelings now?  As long as you’re feeding your baby, I don’t really care how you feed them!  Breastfeeding is hard work, it consumes you, it becomes an obsession, and it takes a lot of time and dedication.  It’s not for everyone, and I definitely see the appeal of giving formula, so I don’t judge anymore.  If you don’t feel like breastfeeding is for you then don’t do it, but don’t judge me for pulling out my boob in public when my baby wants to eat!  Thanks! 🙂

5 Months!

Today my baby girl is 5 months old!  It’s truly amazing what a difference 5 months makes when you’re that young!  She’s like a totally different baby now than she was 5 months ago.  She’s changed in so many ways.  The most obvious, of course, are physical.

Birth: 6 lbs. 9 oz, 19 inches long.  Wearing newborn sized clothes.

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We’ll find out later today how big she is now but the last time we had her weighed/measured: 12 lbs. 12 oz., 23 inches long.  Now she’s wearing 3-6 month and 6 month sizes.  She’s growing out of a lot of her 3-month sized clothing and she’s completely out of anything that’s sized 0-3 months.

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There are also obvious differences in terms of strength–at birth we had to support her head because she couldn’t lift it on her own.  Now, she can hold it up consistently and just this morning she was trying to sit up!  She rolled over 5 times in one day 2 weeks ago (hasn’t since then) but during tummy time she loves to wave her arms and legs around as though she is trying to start crawling.  She doesn’t really reach out for toys yet but if we give her a toy she’ll grip onto it, wave it around, stick it in her mouth, etc.

Sleep: Julia’s sleep is still pretty inconsistent.  Most nights (I’d say 4/5 nights a week) she sleeps anywhere from 5-7 hours as her long stretch (usually from about 8-2) and then she’ll wake up to eat and go back to sleep until about 5:30 or 6.  Some nights though, her long stretch of sleep is only about 3 or 4 hours long and then she goes back to waking up every 2 hours to eat.  At daycare she takes 3 naps a day, usually lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.  I’m hoping that when she starts solids and is eating more during the day, that she’ll sleep a little better at night time since she won’t be so hungry.  We’ll see though…

Eating: During the day when she’s with me she nurses every 2.5-3 hours.  When she’s at daycare she takes 4-ounce bottles pretty much every 2 hours.  I’m proud to say that up until now she’s had nothing but breast milk!  We’ll be talking to the pediatrician today about starting solids a month from now.

Diapers: She’s still wearing size 1 diapers but that’s mostly because we haven’t run out of them yet.  As soon as we run out of size 1’s, she’ll be moving up to size 2 diapers.

Nothing and Everything

Today is one of those days that feels like it’s lasting FOREVER and is dragging on and on and on!  I’m just really looking forward to getting home this afternoon–snuggling with my baby, giving Ken a big hug and a kiss!  I’m also looking forward to tonight because, while Ken goes out to dinner with our friend Shaun, I’m having a Mommy & Baby Dinner Date with my friend Ani-Jane and her baby, Cynthia, who was born on October 26th.  Then after dinner we’re going to the La Leche League Meeting at Zuka Baby!

I love the La Leche League meetings but the timing of them is really horrible.  They start at 7, and usually we don’t get home from them until 8:30 or 9 because people end up sticking around afterward to chat and share stories.  With Daylight Savings coming up–SPRING FORWARD!–this weekend, we’re trying to move the baby’s bedtime earlier this week but I know that won’t happen tonight.  Last night she was asleep by 7:30 but at this time next week, 7:30 will be 8:30, so we have to get her used to going to sleep at 6:30 so that 6:30 will be 7:30.  (Sorry that sentence was so confusing, but you get the idea…)

Well that’s all I’ve got for you today… nothing exciting, but here are a few photos from last night.  We don’t frequently put the baby in front of the TV but whenever she has watched with us, she has been absolutely mesmerized by it!3.5.2013.2

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It’s tempting sometimes when it keeps her so calm and occupied, but we really don’t want to be those parents who just stick their baby in front of the TV and use the TV as a babysitter.  Maybe when she’s a little older we’ll start letting her watch Sesame Street and other kids shows but for now it’s just funny to see her reaction to the TV being on!

Breastfeeding in Public

I stumbled across this blog post, entitled “Addressing the Most Common Misconceptions About Nursing in Public”  on a blog entitled Nursing in Public and I really enjoyed reading it!

Luckily I have had almost no problems with nursing in public in my nearly 5 months of doing so.  Personally, I’m not afraid to nurse in public and I’ve done it in many places.  Sometimes I use my nursing cover, sometimes I don’t… it sort of depends on where we are, who we’re with, how I’m feeling at the moment, and how hungry Julia is/how relaxed or distracted she is.  But I thought I’d add my own $0.02 to each of the Misconceptions that are pointed out in the blog post.

1) Breastfeeding is a Private Act

Most of the eating that we do is in a social setting, done with other people.  Why should breastfeeding be any different?

2) Women want privacy when breastfeeding

Given that at the beginning, Julia was breastfeeding for what felt like 10-12 hours a day, it would have been very lonely and isolating to breastfeed in private all the time.  I surely would have developed Post-Partum Depression if I had been breastfeeding in private all the time because it would mean spending the majority of my day without other adults to talk to, without much human interaction other than between my breast and Julia’s mouth!

3) Women who nurse in public are exhibitionists

This is just stupid.  Exhibitionists are people who expose themselves to get a rise out of people, or who get off on exposing themselves in public.  If I expose my breast or my nipple in public while I’m breastfeeding my baby, it’s not to get a rise out of anyone, it’s not because I find it thrilling… it’s because my nipple is a tool that I use to feed my baby!  It’s no different than showing off a bottle in public, or holding up a Coke can.

4) Women who breastfeed in public have no class

I don’t get this one… what does breastfeeding have to do with class?

5) You should just use a bottle when feeding your baby in public

One of the things I love most about breastfeeding is that there is no equipment needed: we don’t need bottles, formula, brushes, ice packs, clean water, a bottle warmer, etc. When we’re out and about and the baby needs to be fed, all we need are my breast and her mouth.  It’s great!

Also, I pump just enough milk to send with Julia to daycare each day (and sometimes a little extra that we can freeze for our “freezer stash” so we can eventually leave her with a babysitter), so why would I waste any of my pumped milk to feed her a bottle when I’m with her and can just feed her myself.

Finally, babies are more efficient at getting milk out of the breast than a pump is, so even if I were to pump and feed her what I pump, she would probably still be hungry for more milk and there would be plenty left in my breasts for her to have!

6) Breastfeeding attracts predators

I’ve never felt threatened by anyone while breastfeeding Julia in public.  There was one time when I was feeding her (with my nursing cover on) and a man walked by several times and flashed me a big smile… it was a little creepy but I didn’t feel like he was a predator by any means.  I think he either just liked seeing a mother nursing her baby, or maybe he had some weird idea that he’d get to see some booby, but he didn’t get a peep show. Other than that I’ve never noticed that we attract predators!

7) Women should breastfeed their babies before they leave home

Often, I try to do this–I feed her right before we leave to go somewhere, in the hopes that while we’re gone, she won’t need to eat so I can get done the things I need to get done while we’re out.  This is especially true when we’re trying to get errands done–I can’t feed her in the car while we’re driving somewhere, it’s hard to breastfeed while doing grocery shopping, etc. but unless I limited myself to 1-hour outings (which would be impossible given the time it takes to get somewhere, do what I want to do and get back home), it would be really hard to only feed her before leaving home.

And sometimes she just wants a little snack or dessert, or maybe some seconds!  So even if I do feed her before we leave, she might want a little more when we get where we’re going.

8) Women shouldn’t breastfeed their babies where children can see.

This is stupid.  Breastfeeding is natural and it is great for children to see women breastfeeding their babies.  I breastfed Julia in front of our niece and nephew and they didn’t ask any questions or say anything.  I agree that it’s important to normalize breastfeeding and the best way for this to happen is for people (children included) to get used to seeing it happening everywhere.

9) There is a time and a place for breastfeeding.

Agreed.  That time is whenever my baby is hungry, and the place is wherever she and I happen to be.

10) Mothers who nurse in public don’t have any respect for themselves, or anyone else.

I would say the opposite is true.  By nursing in public, I’m respecting my body’s natural abilities and I’m respecting my baby’s need for nourishment.  It has nothing to do with anyone else.

11) Women should breastfeed in the bathroom. 

First of all, it’s kind of gross and unsanitary to eat and shit in the same place.  There’s a reason people have always kept their bathroom separate from their kitchen.  Secondly, if grownups don’t eat in the bathroom, why should babies need to?  Finally, if I were giving my baby a bottle nobody would ask me to do that in the bathroom, so why can’t I breastfeed her where I would give her a bottle.

12) If we don’t shit, pee or masturbate in public, women shouldn’t be allowed to breastfeed in public.

One of these things involves eating, the others do not.  We eat in public so we should be able to feed our babies in public.

13) People shouldn’t be forced to see breasts in public

But we are forced to see breasts in public all the time… on TV, in magazines, on billboards, in movies, etc.  If you don’t want to see my breasts don’t look at them.  The way I dress means that you’d have to look really hard or you’d have to stare at me in order to see any more breast than you would see when someone’s wearing a bathing suit.

14) People shouldn’t walk and breastfeed

I have not yet mastered the art of walking and breastfeeding but if I could, I would.  I’ve heard it’s possible to put the baby in the Baby K’Tan or the Moby Wrap and breastfeed her while wearing her (which would make multi-tasking much easier!) but I have yet to figure this out.

15) You should nurse with a cover

Sometimes I do–when I feel that a cover is needed or when I feel uncomfortable breastfeeding without it.  But chances are, if I put on my nursing cover while I’m feeding her it’s because I’m with people who make me feel uncomfortable.  When I’m with people around whom I feel comfortable and at ease, I don’t feel the need to use my cover.

A Recipe: Chocolate Chip Banana Lactation Muffins

So remember how I told you a few weeks ago about how I was going to put forth 100% effort to increase my milk supply?  (It’s worked by the way… I used to only be able to pump 9 oz. at work each day and lately I’ve been pumping 11-12 ounces at work!)  Well one of the ways in which I’ve been doing that has been by baking various “Lactation” Baked Goods… I’ve made 2 batches of “Lactation Cookies,” using these two recipes:

I was not really a fan of that first recipe… I think the peanut butter made them very crumbly and dry.  It also didn’t help that when I made them, I didn’t have enough eggs so I had to make some substitutions.  The second recipe was much better, so much so that Ken even ate a few of the cookies!  (No, he did not start lactating!)

Well last night, I had to do something about our almost rotten bananas so I decided to make some tweaks to my usual chocolate chip banana muffin recipe in order to make them into Chocolate Chip Banana Lactation Muffins!  They actually turned out surprisingly delicious, so much so that I might even consider making them even when I’m done breastfeeding!

So here you go… We can call them Anna’s Banana Chocolate Chip Lactation Muffins

Ingredients: (makes 12-15 muffins)

  • 3-4 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup of butter, very soft or melted
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp. Brewer’s Yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. Flax Seed
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts of your choice (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Put muffin wrappers in a muffin pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mash up your very ripe bananas.  Add the soft or melted butter and mix until blended.  Add vanilla and egg and mix until blended, then add sugar and mix until blended.

In a separate large mixing bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, Brewer’s Yeast and Flax Seed until blended.

Add the banana mixture into the dry ingredients.  Once well blended, mix in the rolled oats.  Then add chocolate chips and nuts (if you are using them) and mix well.

Once all ingredients have been well mixed, fill each muffin wrapper about 3/4 of the way with batter.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out dry.

Let cool on a cooling rack, then eat and enjoy!

Some people have asked where you can find some of these more specialized ingredients–well I found the Flax Seed at my regular grocery store, and I got the Brewer’s Yeast at a GNC down the street from our house.  Here’s what they look like:

Brewers Yeast: brewers yeast

Flax Seed:Hodgson-Mill-Milled-Flax-Seed-Gluten-Free-071518010157Also, I can share a tip I learned… normally when I bake with nuts or chocolate chips, they all seem to sink to the bottom of what I’m baking, so all the chocolate chips end up at the bottom of the muffin rather than evenly sprinkled throughout the muffin.  Well one trick I learned to prevent that from happening is to lightly coat the chocolate chips or nuts in flour before mixing them into your batter.  So just put like a teaspoon or two of flour into a bowl, and stir  your chocolate chips and nuts around in the flour first, then put them into your batter.  This will help keep them evenly distributed throughout your batter rather than letting them fall to the bottom of your muffins!

Please let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it, or if you make any tweaks to it to make it even more delicious!

Pumping and Working Part 2

Now that I am nearly 2 months into being a Working and Pumping Mom, I definitely feel like I have gotten the hang of things.  I would say I am a success story because, at almost 5 months old (I can’t believe she’ll be 5 months next Friday!), Julia has had nothing but breastmilk.  She has not had any formula supplements, and we are continuing to exclusively breastfeed until we start giving her solids at 6 months.  It’s definitely not easy but I have discovered some things that make it easier.  I thought I would share what my day is like and I’ll throw in some tips I have picked up in the past 2 months that have made things easier.  A lot of the tricks I have picked up are generally useful but it really depends on your individual situation: where do you work?  What are your working hours?  What kind of pumping set-up do you have at work?  What is your personal milk supply like?  etc.

Anyway… here’s my basic schedule (if everything goes as planned):

6 AM: Alarm clock goes off… press snooze and get up at 6:15

6:15 AM: Shower and get dressed

6:30 AM: While I get dressed, Ken gets the baby out of her crib, changes her diaper and gets her dressed

6:35 AM: Nurse Julia

7 AM: Put Julia’s bottles into her daycare bag, put empty bottles and pump parts into pump bag, quickly throw together my breakfast and lunch to bring to work with me, and leave the house with all my bags!

7:20 AM: Drop Julia off at daycare

7:30 AM: get to work, eat my breakfast, fill up my water bottle, grab some Mother’s Milk Tea, say hi to my coworkers, check my email, etc.

8:30 AM: Pump. (I use a Medela Pump in Style Advanced).  At work, I have a conference room booked for me 4 times a day for a half an hour each time.  I go in there and set up my pump.  I’ve gotten the hang of placing the pump bottles between my body and the table and leaning into the table so that I have both hands free to do other things.  I do have one of those hands-free pumping bras but I have actually never used it.  I sort of feel like it would be a lot more work to essentially have to get undressed and re-dressed every time I pump, and the method I’ve been using works just fine.  While I pump, I either play around on my phone–look at photos, watch videos, check things on facebook, read, play games, etc. or I read a book (I’m currently reading the book “Milk Memos” which definitely helps make me feel less alone in my endeavors to be a working and pumping mother).  I set the timer on my phone for 25 minutes and I just keep pumping for the whole time.  I can generally feel when I get a let-down but I also check the bottles every few minutes and when things slow down, I’ll press the “let-down button” on my pump to encourage another let-down.  When I’m done pumping, I use the Medela Quick Clean Wipes to wipe down the pump parts, and then I put any milk I’ve pumped into the cooler bag that came with my pump and I put the milk into the fridge of the break room next door to the room where I pump.

One very challenging thing about pumping at work is quickly changing modes, or changing “hats,” so to speak.  While I’m pumping I have on my “Mommy hat.”  I have to think about the baby while I pump, look at pictures of her, watch videos of her, and generally try to relax.  Then when I get back to my desk I have to quickly change modes and put on my “working Anna hat.”

I pump again at 10:30, 12:30 and 2:30, and in between each of my pumping sessions I have to make sure I drink enough water, eat my lunch, go to the bathroom, and get my work done!

3:30 PM: Leave work to pick up Julia

4 PM: Get home… depending on how Julia did at daycare (i.e. how much she slept, when she last woke up, when she had her last bottle at daycare, etc.) she’s sometimes in a happy and playful mood when we get home and she sometimes needs to nurse and take a nap.  But shortly after I get home I always put the milk I pumped away in the fridge, and wash her bottles and the pump parts I used throughout the day.

The rest of the day’s schedule depends upon when Ken gets home and what plans we have for the evening, but generally we will sort of tag-team making dinner together around 6 PM and we try to get Julia to sleep sometime between 7 and 8 PM.  I then make sure I pump 2 hours after she goes to sleep in order to top off the bottles I pumped during the day.  She usually nurses again around 4:30 and again around 6:30 and then again right before bed time.  If we need to give her a bath, we try to do it right before putting her to bed, so generally around 7 PM.

Lately, if we get her to bed between 7 and 8, she’ll sleep 5-7 hours before waking up to eat.  When she wakes up, I try to feed her and then put her back to sleep.  Depending on whether she ate from both sides or only from one side, I will sometimes try to go pump again to make sure I’m completely empty, before going back to sleep.

Then we start all over again at 6 AM!