Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Got Milk?

"Got Breast milk?" asks Baby Em.

There was no doubt in my mind that when I was pregnant with Baby Em I would breastfeed after she was born. The first few weeks were a struggle because of sore nipples, latching issues, and other things. There were times when I wanted to give up but thanks to the support of my husband and others I continued, knowing that it was the best thing for her.

One thing that was never a problem was supply. There was plenty of milk--sometimes even too much milk. I had a freezer full of breast milk that I had pumped before going back to work. Because of this abundant supply I thought that the decision to pump while at work would be super easy. Of course I would be able to produce enough milk for Baby Em to have for the following day. Of course I would never run out or have to formula feed because there was a huge stockpile of breast milk in the freezer for emergencies. Of course I was wrong.

In the first week I learned that even if I have a super awesome pumping machine it will still not be able to get as much milk as my baby. I learned that even with a schedule it's hard to always follow and sometimes a pumping session gets pushed back or even missed. I learned that smelling a baby blanket or looking at pictures will help me produce more milk--not a lot more but more and every drop helps. The list goes on and on and on. It's safe to say that I learned A LOT about pumping in the first week back at work.

Baby Em has been fed formula and survived. It's not what I wanted to do but I couldn't let her starve. I did have extreme guilt for awhile for not being able to supply all of my baby's food but we've made do and I've learned not to be so hard on myself (at least for this issue). When I'm with her I try to feed her myself as much as I can. I feel it helps to strengthen our bond and it helps with supply.

I hope to continue breastfeeding Baby Em as long as it feels right/works for both of us. So until that endtime occurs it's Moo Time for Mommy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dr. Jeckyll and Baby Hyde

Baby Em has a great ability to be all cute and cuddly one minute and the next to turn into a total terror. This weekend was no exception except that the time between the mood changes was about a day.

On Saturday, my little family and I decided to venture out and attend Artscape. We weren't sure how long we would last because of the ridiculously hot day but we thought it would still be nice to get out of the house for a bit. Because we were taking the bus I decided that I would wrap Baby Em up in the Moby. I wrapped her in the cradle hold because I was hoping that she would nap. Other than both us getting a little sweaty, the Moby experience went great. I was surprised at how little Baby Em fussed when she was put in it and how long she slept while wrapped up. For the first few minutes she just kind of sat there like she was trying to figure out was going on. Pretty soon she was lulled to sleep either by my walking or maybe the motion of the bus. I felt really comfortable carrying Baby Em in the Moby. I would guess that she is close 14lbs now and she did not feel too heavy and my back didn't hurt.

We ended up being out for about 4 hours--door to door--and Baby Em did not fuss at all. When she woke up from her first nap she was happy and all smiles. We put her in her stroller for awhile so she could look around and I could cool off. One thing about the Moby is that you do get hot and having my little furnace so close to me doesn't help either. We saw some cool things and had a great time out of the house. When it was time to get back on the bus Baby Em went right back in the Moby and was content. I don't remember too much about the rest of the day which probably means the rest of the day went pretty well too.

Sunday was a totally different Baby Em. We had some friends in town who spent Saturday night at our place. After we were all awake we decided to play a game. It was going well until it was time to get Baby Em to nap. Baby Em does not like to nap. She fights her tiredness and wants to stay awake which then makes her super fussy. Because the Moby worked so well on Saturday I thought I would try it again. She did not like it. So I held her and walked around with her. This whole episode certainly slowed the game down but we were able to get through it. I was finally able to calm her down enough to get her in the Moby and go to lunch with our friends. We made it through lunch but had a small fussy moment when it was time for Baby Em's lunch. Though, I can't complain about that one because I get fussy when I'm hungry too.

That night my husband and I took Baby Em to a baby wearing class. As I have mentioned before I hate the Bjorn and want to get something new but there are a million different types of carriers out there. I this class would help narrow the list down and we might find a type better suited for us (at least me). I learned a bunch about different types of carriers and was looking forward to trying them on but Baby Em was not having it. She just cried and cried. She didn't want to be fed, she didn't want to be rocked, she didn't want to be up--I don't know what she wanted. Thank goodness the women giving the lectures were Moms too or else I totally would have been more embarrassed than I was. But because Baby Em was in a terrible fit I didn't get to try any of the carriers on. By the time we got home I was ready to give her away and trade in for a new model. But somehow we both survived.

As my Mom always says, Baby Em is going to teach me patience. She certainly tried it this weekend. And that little stinker must know when she has gone too far because on Sunday night when I was getting her ready for bed she gave me the biggest smile and her first big giggle. It was the cutest thing. It was that giggle that made me decide to keep least for a few more days.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Business as usual...

Baby Em has a very particular day schedule. It's not one that this Mommy likes very much but I'm working through it (and so is her Nanny). I feel like it's worse on the weekends but maybe the Nanny can tolerate it more than I can and so she doesn't think Baby Em is that fussy.

Anyways, Baby Em usually starts her day around 9am (I'm not counting the other couple of times she wakes up for feeding in the wee hours of the morning). At this time she feeds, usually for about 15 minutes. Then it's play time which lasts between 30 to 45 minutes. Then it's nap time but nap time is never easy. As soon as she has been awake for 45 minutes to an hour she gets really fussy, will fight with you and eventually falls asleep--in your arms. Once I have her to sleep she must stay there because as soon as I try to put her down to go to sleep she immediately wakes up. Now a lot of people will tell me that I must have coddled her from birth and that is why she can't get to sleep anywhere but in someones arms. However, this is not the case, I was very good about getting her to sleep in her bassinet, in her swing and her bouncy seat. This is just something that has started in the last month--somewhere around 11 weeks. So once she is asleep she stays asleep for 40 to 50 minutes and the whole thing starts all over again and repeats itself until bedtime which is around 8:30.

I recently posted my story on a baby blog site and got some great advice which I hope to try next week. The first thing I'll be trying is upping Baby Em's breast milk intake. Currently she is eating 4 oz every two hours or so. I'm going to try to up her feedings to 5 oz. We'll see how it goes. It could just mean a lot more spit up but if she does take it maybe she'll feel more satisfied and go longer between feedings. I can't start earlier because I don't have a great breast milk supply and so I'm hoping this weekend to add in a couple of extra pumping sessions to help increase that. Hopefully this will work.

Otherwise the second thing I'll try is putting Baby Em to bed sooner. Unfortunately for my husband and I this will mean less time with Baby Em when we come home from work but if it means a happier baby I'm willing to try it. We will just have to make up for it on the weekends.

I'm also looking into different carriers that I could use. This way if I do have to have her close in order for her to fall asleep maybe this will work and I'll still have my hands free. We've been experimenting with different Moby holds. I also like the Kozy carrier, a type of Mei Tai baby carrier. This weekend the little family is going to a baby wearing workshop to try different things out.

Funny thing about Baby Em and her schedule, this past weekend we had some friends over on Sunday to watch the World Cup match. I figured I would probably being spending most of my time in Baby Em's room trying to calm her down. However, it ended up being a very good day for Baby Em and she only fussed once but was easy to get calm again. I guess Baby Em understands the meaning of guests and was on her best behavior. If only she understood the meaning of "driving me crazy" and she would be on her best behavior for Mommy.

I love my little girl.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Breastfeeding FTW

Another reason why you should can defer Jury Duty until your baby is 12 months old (at least in the State of MD). I received my summons yesterday, called the Disability number--no I don't think breastfeeding is a disability, but it told people who are disabled to call if they would need reasonable accommodations. I thought I should receive similar accommodations such as a private room, time to pump, etc. When I mentioned my needs and why I needed them, I was told no need to appear on my summons day. I just need to fax in the birth certificate and I can't be summoned until sometime next April.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mommy and Daddy are always learning...

This past weekend my husband and I each had Monday off to celebrate the 4th of July. We decided to drive up to Providence, RI from Baltimore, MD to visit some friends. We brought Baby Em along with us. She had been on road trips before; a driving one to OH and a flying to one MA. Both were taken when she was just over a month old and she proved to be a good traveler--she mostly just slept during both of those trips. Now that she was a little older we were worried that this drive would be a LONG one. We were gladly proven wrong. Even though there were a few fussy moments it was nothing that a quick climb over the center console to the back seat couldn't fix.

It was a great weekend up North and we had fun visiting our friends but our big take away from this weekend is all the lessons learned.

1st Lesson: Even your baby will hate driving through Connecticut

Surprisingly the driving on I95 was not too bad for most of the trip. Maybe it's because we got an early start (left the house at 6:30 am) or because everyone decided to drive on Friday instead of Saturday. Whatever the reason it didn't matter once we entered CT. This state is the worst. It doesn't matter what day it is or what time it is there will always be traffic in CT. Baby Em has learned that being stuck in traffic is no fun and she wanted Mom & Dad to know this too. She spent most of the ride through CT just crying. I tried feeding her a bottle, I sang songs to her, I tried telling her stories, I tried everything. All I wanted to do was take her out of her car seat and rock her back to sleep. The next drive through that state I might just have to do that.

2nd Lesson: Even minor league games sell out (especially when there are fireworks)

One of the friends we were visiting bought a bunch of Pawtucket Red Sox tickets. Prior to buying them he asked if Baby Em would be okay at a game. She had already attended her first baseball game (an O's game) weeks ago and did fine so we thought it wouldn't be a problem. Well, if you factor in 90+ degree heat, the fact that we needed our seats to in the shade, the sold out game, and the fact that our seats were first come first serve it turned out to be a big problem.

When we arrived at the game, the majority of our level of seats were already taken. My husband and I needed to sit with each other and we needed the seats to be shady for Baby Em. The only seats available to fit our whole group were the bleachers out in center field under the hot, hot sun. So my husband and I grabbed a couple of the reserved seats and took our chances. We got through one inning before we had to move. We moved across the aisle. At this point it was feeding time. So I said a little prayer to the seat Gods asking them to let us finish the feeding before we had to move again. Luckily we got through the feeding but Baby Em was having a hard time with all the cheering and clapping so we left the game after the 2nd inning. We had hopes of getting through until the 7th but it didn't work out this time.

3rd Lesson: When you say you have to change a diaper, change the diaper

This is probably the biggest lesson we learned over the weekend. Diapers nowadays are so super absorbent that when Baby Em pees she barely notices. She never complains that we don't change a pee filled diaper in a timely matter and so we don't usually notice/remember we have to until it's really full and heavy.

Sunday morning we headed to the beach with some friends. On our drive over to the beach I noticed Baby Em's diaper was full. So I mentioned to my husband that we needed to change it after we park and before we get o the beach. Due to a mix up with directions and some other things, we forgot. We headed to the beach with Baby Em in her stroller. While we were hanging out Baby Em had to poop. When she did there was no where for it all to go so it came out over the top of her diaper staining her onesie and out through the sides getting all over the seat of her stroller. I notice all the wet spots on her onesie and my husband and I try to take hold of the situation. He is cleaning Baby Em while I am trying to clean the seat. Of course this all made worse by the fact that we are at the beach. While changing Baby Em, she is reaching for the sand and wiggling around and getting sand everywhere. We finally get her clean enough to put on a diaper and another onesie and head back to the house.

Time at the beach = one hour.

4th Lesson: Don't change your baby's diaper in the dark
On our last night of the trip, Baby Em wakes up for her usual late night feeding. I know the light in the room is really bright so I don't want to turn it on. I figure the bright light will stimulate Baby Em too much and we'll have a hard time getting her back to sleep. I ask my husband to turn on the bathroom light while he changes her diaper. We lay down the diaper bag mat down on the bed. As he is changing her, we both notice some wet spots on the mat. Baby Em has decided to pee during the diaper change and it is now leaking all over the mat. I don't think any went onto the bed but it was all over her. I take one of my shirts to dry her off and my husband grabs another diaper. She of course just wants to eat and doesn't care what the problem is. And that bright light that I didn't want turned on, ha! so much for that.

It WAS a fun trip and we have tons of great Baby Em stories but is the real lesson in all of this that next time we travel for a long weekend we ask Grandma to babysit?

Friday, July 2, 2010

First week back

5 hours, 15 minutes and 23, 22, 21, seconds remaining until it is the weekend for me. I'm sure lots of people have started similar countdowns today. It's Friday. It's a long weekend. It's the weekend of the 4th of July, so everyone wants to get out of the office, start the grills, grab a cold beer, and relax. Though, for me the weekend isn't just about the holiday or the traveling to visit friends or the fireworks. For me, the weekend means I get to spend lots of time with Baby Em again. You see this is my first week back to work after 12 wonderful weeks of maternity leave with Baby Em.

Yes, I am one of those mothers that made the tough decision to go back to work after having a baby. Reasons for doing so you ask? Well, part of it was for the extra income, part of it was because I needed to be able to do something everyday, part of it was because I wanted to have adult interactions again, and part of it, well, there are a million different parts to my reason for choosing to go back. But on the flip side there were also a million different parts for wanting to stay home with Baby Em all day too. Parts like Baby Em is the most adorable baby there is (not biased or anything), Baby Em is just starting to coo and talk, Baby Em has the cutest smile, who likes work anyways, we can make things work on one salary (maybe) and the list goes on and on. However, in the end, work won out (for now).

So how was the first week? It mostly went as expected. I was a little overwhelmed during the first few days of the week. When you're gone for 12 weeks there is a lot of catching up to do. There are emails and phone calls to return, you need to learn all about the company changes (if there any), you need to answer a million questions about your baby (these are questions I don't mind answering), and in general just get into that work routine again, which is extremely different than the Mommy routine. I also had the added stress of having to reorganize my office. My department moved suites while I was on leave so I returned to find everything of mine packed away in boxes. It's very hard to answer emails when you don't know where files and notes are located anymore.

Do I miss Baby Em? Do I feel guilty for leaving her? The answer to both of those questions is yes, everyday!! But I came armed with framed pictures and I saved videos onto my work computer so I can "see" Baby Em everyday. And I tell myself not too be to hard on myself. I'm back working so that Baby Em and I and Daddy can do lots of fun things when we have long weekends like the one coming up. We know that we will just have to make the most of these weekends that I'm working for.

And look at that, only 4 hours and 45 minutes to go until the weekend.