Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh, the lengths I will go to for a smile.

So I've been MIA for a bit because I felt sleep was more important for me then getting on the computer.  My mom feels neglected because she loves to video chat with Little Man.  So after getting to bed myself last night at 9 pm which by they way I haven't done since before high school I feel rested enough to blog about my progress so far.  As far as production I've been doing pretty well.  I am able to get up around 3 am and get a pump in.  Then I get up at 6 for the start of my day and have time for another pump which gives my hubby the two bottles he needs while I'm at practice plus a little extra for those just in case moments.  If he doesn't use it I can put it in the freezer for my "peace-of-mind" stash which, is what I have been calling it these days.
Little Man has been oh, how should I put this?  A little wild to put it gently.  He has decided that Daddy does not or should not be feeding him baby food and will spit the food at him and push back in the high chair and growl, for lack of a better word until he turns red in the face and Daddy gives up.  He does not do this to me except if Daddy is in the same room.  I think it's my husband's apprehension in the food department that my dear sweet little boy is picking up on.
However I think the next interesting behavior I have myself to blame.  He has spent the better part of the past two days wanting no part of any activity we try to involve him in.  We put him on his play-mat to practice crawling he flattens out and screams until we get him.  Our arms need a break so we attempt to put him in the jumper, "nothing doing Mama and Daddy get me outta here," cries the Little Man.  I try the swing the little legs start kicking and the arms push the tray away.
Nursing has turned into a three ring circus.  My 6 month old is no longer happy to just rest and relax in my arms while nursing.  No, this little acrobat wants to kneel and stand while nursing.  It wasn't actually all that difficult but I did have to get creative with how I was going to defy gravity and save myself a sore nipple in the process.  I wish my hubby had been there to see it.  My mom got to see him try to do it again this evening while we finally video chatted.  It's more she chats with Little Man and I'm there to make sure the screen doesn't go dark and he doesn't fall off my lap trying to get to her through the screen.  My poor dad has to check if he can come in because he doesn't mind if I'm nursing and he's here in person but he doesn't feel comfortable staring at me nursing over the computer.
So how am I coping with this change in attitude from my usually calm, content baby?  I am making up ridiculous songs and dances in an effort to entertain and stall the meltdown until I can figure out what my next move is before he explodes.  The latest was the "Bad Daddy" song which was started in my effort to find a cold teething ring because his top front teeth and giving him a real hard time as they work their way into his mouth.  Everything is shoved into the mouth and then he screams even louder.  So this silly song about how Daddy forgot to put a teething ring in the fridge for us was a hit for the 30 seconds it took me to grab a facecloth and an ice cube to try to help with those teeth.  My husband not as big a fan of the song though and has threatened to make a companion song called "Bad Mommy"  But hey whatever works right?
Almost forgot I do have one go to savior of the day in this new I'm not happy with anything stage, Ollie. Ollie is our little orange kitten who is Little Man's favorite friend.  He loves to pet Ollie or grab Ollie's fur, ears, tail etc. and try to put him in his mouth.  Tonight was so cute, Ollie brought Little Man a mouse and they played together.  What I was even more impressed with was that the cat didn't one use his claws while they played and I got to eat my dinner.  I have it on video because I know hubby won't believe it unless he sees it sorry I can't share it on here for some reason it won't let me load it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just Because I'm Staring at the Screen

I want to pump but, I don't want to pump.  Do you know what I mean?  I won't be away from Little Man tomorrow because I'm taking him with me to my short practice and then we have the whole day together so I don't need to pump but, I should.  I know if I don't pump I will regret it later so I will even though I totally don't feel like it and I just want to crawl into bed or stay here and stare at the screen until hubby comes home.  But I will be kicking myself when I'm back at work struggling with the pump or freaking over my supply.  I have been dragging my freestyle pump back and forth to practice this week just in case I decided to pump on my way home (haven't yet, to weird to set up in the parking lot of a high school).  Today I thought I would have to stay late with the other coach to go through our equipment closet so I packed the bag but forgot the pump. (smack) The sound of my hand hitting my forehead for my egregious mistake and wondering how many times I might do this in the future when I really need it.  How embarrassing will that be standing in front of a classroom full of teenagers with leaky spots on my shirt!?  Oh well, I'll leave the weird going back to school nightmares for my actual dreams and get to pumping so I can sleep physically comfortable if not mentally comfortable.

Week in Review

I know I've been neglectful and missed a posting day or two but I've had my hands full. Getting up at the crack of dawn and actually having to stay awake isn't so easy anymore. Not that anything is easy after you have a baby but at least when you are home all day you can catch a little bit of sleep when your little one is napping. So pumping was much more successful for today. I had two full bottles and 3 oz extra, hubby had to use the 3 oz but at least they were there for him. Stupid gas tank needed filling so I didn't make it on time for the beginning of his third feeding so he ate that small bottle and then finished up with the real stuff.
I can't really say this is getting easier but it isn't getting harder either (knock on wood) I still miss him as soon as I get in the car, probably doesn't help that he is sleeping when I leave so I don't get an extra cuddle to tide me over until I come home. I am still checking my cell every other minute to see if they need me or if hubby has sent a picture which, he did today! But we are managing and it hasn't been a complete and total meltdown on my part or his. So far my supply is intact but I haven't been gone very long during the day either. But only positive thoughts, I CAN DO THIS!
I know there must be other breastfeeding/working moms out there. I mean it must work for some women. I just wonder how long they are successful and if they do stop is it because they wanted to, their little one was ready or they had to because something got in the way? If something did get in the way was it supply issues, time constraints, not enough support in the workplace or something else I haven't thought of yet? I've always been the type of person who can't say no and will spread myself really thin. Am I going to have the wisdom to know when enough is enough and speak up for myself and our needs? I say our because I really don't ever think about myself as an individual now. I think of Little Man and myself as a unit, more so then when I got married because it was important to each of us to have separate interests. But, at the moment I can't think of ever having a separate interest from Little Man. I'm not unhealthy about it, I don't overly obsess about my child, I can be without him for a little while. I just feel protective and that we are connected right now as I provide him nurishment and that is the most important job/activity I can think of to give him the best start in life. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The worst day and best day so far

So yesterday I had practice in the morning and I thought I was going to a movie at night but I ended up having to attend a meeting for the field hockey coaches in my section. So I rescheduled the sitter for the evening and left 2 bottles for hubby in the morning that I pumped the night before and morning of.
Little man slept in so hubby was just finishing the second bottle when I came home so I got another chance to pump (score!) Later while he napped I pumped a little more so I had enough for 2 bottles for the sitter which I felt she shouldn't need because my meeting won't take to long and I gave him a full feed before I left. Hah! 1 hour drive, 2 hour meeting, 1 hour drive home. But I got the chance to pump while I drove. Good experience even if I only had one side on properly.
Asked the sitter to stay for a bit so I could walk the pugs. Panda was good, Dory not so much. Back inside, pay sitter,ask her to call when she got home and finally had Mama and Little Man time. He went to bed easily probably because he was tired from all the playing so Mama went to bed too because she was tired and already had milk enough for the morning if she decided not to pump again tonight. Which I didn't.
I did however get two pump sessions in the morning so I had enough for 2 bottles and a little extra so I could save the two bottles from the day before and put them in my freezer downstairs. A little more weight off my shoulders for when I ho back to work.
Speaking if work my co-worker already emailed asking me to go in early. I don't think so, my time is to precious with my boy right now. So at least I'm learning not to put to many things on my plate and start adding side dishes as well. Right now mom, milk factory and coach is all I have room for as I readjust back into the workforce. Now if I can only verbalize this. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Monday, August 23, 2010

How my first mini day went

Today was the first day of preseason for my team so I needed to go in for 3 hours of try-outs.  I scheduled my time slot to match up with the time that I would have to leave for work when we return so I could use these two weeks as practice to get my routine in order.  I made it out of the house today but I wouldn't say anything was routine or in order either.
Yesterday I realized that my procrastination had left me in a bind because my plans to have help yesterday fell through so I was with Little Man on my own.  No real time for pumping.  When my husband did get home my emotions just boiled over.  I was ANGRY.  Not at my husband but because I was having to return to work.  I can't really decide what it is though, real anger or just plan old fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of leaving my boy, fear I'll be unable to handle my workload, being a mom and my pumping schedule?  So what did I do?  Got more angry.
I yelled at my mom, threw the phone across the room, yelled at Ollie for playing with my pump tubes, filled out because my pug Dory stole the connection adaptor to my hands free straps.  Angry because when I try out my new pump there is no suction because I don't know how to use it and had only skimmed the directions. Upset because another feeding came around before I had a chance to pump so I had to stop again.  Finally fixed that pump and was only able to get 3oz which is less then I get normally with my old, beat up pump.  Finished that and set to complete bedtime on my own because it was the fantasy football draft, ugh!
I get the bath ready, undress my son and discover awful diaper rash which I am under the impression is from bananas because he pooped way more then usual yesterday and the only thing we different was have bananas.  Draft ends just in time for diapering and putting on PJs so hubby helps and then I get all settled for our nursing before bed.  We nurse and I have to put him down drowsy because he has two teeth and the pedi reminded me that I need to be wiping his teeth off with a washcloth or gauze before bed so he doesn't get cavities. Oh he is so unhappy because I put him down he cries out, finds his fingers, settles down and here comes Mama with the washcloth to remove his fingers and rub his poor little teeth.  He finally settles and I am so overwhelmed by how I am feeling about pumping, leaving, working and having to change how I put him to sleep that now I need to go lay in bed before I have a meltdown.
But I cannot sleep through the night because I have now told my hubby he isn't to touch my meager supply of 6 frozen bags downstairs so I need to pump at 3am.  I wake, meet hubby in the hallway on his way to bed and ask him ever so nicely to spend 15 minutes with me while I pump.  He does and poor guy falls asleep on the couch.  So I finish and usher him and myself off to bed with at least one 6oz bottle prepared for tomorrow for that last session and the 3 oz from before waiting just in case.
6am rolls around and I roll out of bed after 3 rounds of the snooze button.  I shower, dress, and pump 8oz this time so one more bottle and 2oz left over that can be combined in an emergency with the first 3 oz.  Off I go at 7am without seeing my boy because amazingly he isn't awake.
Oh well maybe tomorrow will be more organized and easier.  Here's hoping.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Accidentally Cloth

In my bio and the description of this blog I stated I am a mother that uses cloth diapers. I have been for around 3 months now. I didn't intend to be cloth either, I mean what new parent actually says yes I'm going to cloth diaper when their mother nor anyone else they know hasn't cloth diapered? I just fell into it and then I proceeded to fall in love with what it did for my son and for our wallet.
When Patrick was born he screamed every time he wet his diaper. I mean every time full pee or not. In my new parenting skills I thought, "wow, he's going to love potty-training!" Well this continued until he had reached size 2 and it was becoming difficult to find sensitive diapers which I had chosen to use because myself and Hubby have very sensitive skin so we thought it best to baby our baby. When I couldn't find a diaper in his size at the store that was sensitive and didn't have the dreaded "dry-max" on it I grabbed a package of 7th gen natural chlorine free diapers. Ran to the car and changed my boy on the back seat because he was screaming yet again. Now typically he would have been complaining yet again by the time we finished the 30 minute car ride home but he wasn't so I thought he hadn't gone. Well after he had been in the diaper for 2 hours my Mama gut said change the boy already. I did, he was soaked, he wasn't screaming. Okay I like these new diapers. What I didn't like was the price tag though $11 for around 30 diapers was going to he a lot of money. So next time Hubby got the diapers he found our old brand in sensitive and we put them on. 15 minutes later screaming so it's the diaper we need to switch it must he the chlorine because he didn't freak in the other non-chlorine.
Well this is my boy that I just went through 2 months of he'll for and we've got the breastfeeding down pat now so what are our alternatives? We can buy the bank-braking natural diapers or we can look into cloth. So look I did, I mean I've done crazy stuff for this little guy why not do cloth. Word on the online street is they aren't what they were when my mom said no way I'm not doing that. So I research find two options I like and buy a few. Well they work out so I buy my stash which was expensive to start but saves a whole chunk of change in the long run. (enough for two medical textbooks for my fingers crossed pre-med darling) As time goes by I figure this isn't so bad let's try cloth wipes. I do they aren't hard I feel even better about my investments. Well, real food poop comes along and makes cloth wipes less practical in those situations so we compromise and use disposables and paper liners to clean that.
So here is where my story for today comes to an interesting turn of events. I drink a lot of water which makes for many trips to the bathroom which are usually snuck in between entertaining and comforting. More so today as it was our 6 month shots and he was more active then usual and wanted Mama all he time. So I ran to the bathroom used the last of the roll, which was okay because in the 2+ years we've been married my husband never forgets to put another roll under the sink if we have to change it. Well since I've been using the hall bath instead of our bath he hasn't used that one and wouldn't you know I used the last roll and forgot to replace the back-up? I find this out when I race back in there to relieve my bladder yet again. Oh crap well at least not literally. Maybe tissues? Nope didn't replace those either. Air dry? Not happening today I can already hear him. Ah-ha, a wash cloth from bath time the night before is hang drying in the shower. Ok initial ick but do you know how far I'd have to walk with my pants down to get toilet paper? Not happening so I grab the washcloth, use it, shimmy up my pants one handed, toss the wash cloth in the diaper Paul and vow never to do that again. Because it's one thing to use cloth with Patrick or in a pinch but if I can avoid it I will. Only so far will I venture down the Green-living path and I'm drawing the line at adult cloth.

The things that happen when we nurse.

So I'm pretty relaxed about our nursing sessions and have some usual and not so usual things that happen when we do our thing.  Typically he falls asleep or gets so distracted we have to redirect his attention back to the task at hand.  However, I have experienced many of his firsts from the vantage point of my nursing chair.  I actually have 15 snapshots and 6 videos of him asleep or hanging out on the Boppy after or mid feeding on my iPhone.  I see how this is a little weird now but at the time that was where I saw him the most because he ate, slept and played in my lap at mission control.  Here are a few that I really like.
That's the look he gives me when I interrupt him
Completely satisfied and passed out
The first time he sat up (my brother took this for me)
I have videos of the first time he smiled, laughed and a few of the stories he tells me during the day that I send to his Dad at work.  All of these are exciting things that happened as we were nursing because I took a moment to sit with my child and let his life unfold right before me.  However, there are some not so usual things that have happened as well.  For instance we have visitors.  Two of my cats and one dog have taken it upon themselves to visit during nursing.
That's Dory having a sniff. First time I had let her get that close to him.
That's Ollie the first day we brought him home.
He has on more then one occasion joined us for our bedtime nursing on my shoulder
While Little Man is not in this image that is the second cat that joined us the other evening, Daphne
She actually spent my entire two months of bed rest curled around my pregnant belly keeping Little Man inside
You can also see how much bigger Ollie has gotten and he isn't done yet.
I'm not sure what any of these animals get out of joining us but I know what my son does.  He has learned to be careful with the animals the way they are careful with him.  Dory, I actually thought I was going to have to give away before the baby arrived because we adopted her after her second family threw her out for pawing their 18 month old baby. She had never given me a single worry when it comes to her being around my child.  She is very careful and very protective of him since day one.  Ollie is Little Man's cat.  He began to pet him during one of Ollie's first visits during nursing and now they lay with each other on the floor and sit on the couch together.  You see Ollie is getting a bit big to be visiting.  Daphne who I adopted 12 years ago and had no use for any other human except myself and then Hubby actually seeks out Little Man.  She let's him pet her and doesn't run when he squeals with delight over whatever activity he is currently involved.  Panda and Ginny really don't have use for visiting during nursing.  Panda much prefers the floor and Ginny well she still isn't sure about any of us yet.
So these images crowd my phone, draining my battery but they are there so I can look or watch them while I pump away from my son to get those juices flowing.

So...The procrastination begins or continues however you look at it.

I had made up my mind that I needed a more powerful and efficient pump for my return to work so I purchased the Medela Freestyle. I was so excited to get it off eBay brand bew, sealed in the box. I checked my eBay account daily so see when it would arrive and to see if the seller had maybe sent me a tracking code because let's face it that is an expensive purchase. Well on Tuesday my pump arrived!!! Hooray! It did come during nap time and the Fed-Ex guy did ring the door bell which set the dogs off, I ran as fast as I could to the door and tried to shush them on the way, didn't work. Sent my poor guy into a crying fit so I grabbed the package, ran up the stairs, got through the gate, set the package down and ran the rest of the way to his crib and tried to settle him and get him back to sleep. Not happening Mama. So the package that I was so excited to receive sat in the hall until later. Later turned into Wednesday, actually Thursday early 2am when I brought the pump into our sunroom which is the location of mission control and stared at it. Again I did not open the box and went to bed.

My little guy is going through a rough patch between teething and I think the beginning of the 6 month growth spurt he does not want to follow his usual sleep pattern, or return to sleep after he gets up for the third time at 6 am, so Mama sneaks him into bed with her and reminds Hubby not to roll over on us. 7:15 my alarm goes off, today is the day I'm bringing one of those noisy but beloved dogs to the vet for a lumpectomy to remove the sneaky cancerous tumor on her belly. (By the way surgery went well and she is home recovering with us, results to follow.) I ask Hubby nicely to return our son to bed since I can't reach my alarm from bed with the baby laying next to me. He does and I turn off the alarm and promptly fall back to sleep and over sleep waking with only 9 minutes to get to the vet! Ahh panic sets in. Luckily I fell asleep in sweats so I can grab the dog and run like heck to the vet. What's that I hear? My son, oh boy, "Daddy you are going to have to use some pumped milk to feed him I've got to run."

Run to the vet make it there with only minutes, two in fact, to spare. Make my excuses, sign the papers, say goodbye to my poor Panda (that's her name) and run like heck back home. I make it there just in time to feed me little one who has been changed and was about to get a bottle from my stash but instead can have the real thing. Another 4 hours go by with two more nursings and I have still to open that box!

Okay, I've already seen this episode of Vegas and Daddy is playing with our little man so now I'll open the box. Oh, the directions say I need to charge it for 24 hours, darn! I had all intentions of using it today. Who am I kidding? No I didn't. I'm having company today and I have a dog to pick up and a house and diapers to clean.

So here I am still in the middle of more then usual feedings and wakings, haven taken the 'semi-professional' photographs my sister-in-law needed me to take, my dog home resting in quarantine from her best friend, Dory and our three cats, who sometimes use her as a chew toy, isn't that backwards? Shouldn't the dogs chew the cat not the other way around? Oh well it apparently works for them.

But again, don't I have a deadline? Wouldn't it be smart for me to have a stash of more then 6 bottles for my son for when I return to work? I only get three times to pump during work. I think I am going to try to pump on the way to and from work, though that may not work out. Isn't it strange that I have no problem nursing in public but I feel an overwhelming tug of modesty about pumping? Is it that if I'm nursing I feel more normal, like I can still participate in human interaction but when I have a machine attached to my breasts I feel I should run and hide in a closet? So I better get off my butt tomorrow during his nap and try out this new pump and get a few more ounces squirreled away in our freezer. Not sure how many bottles would make me feel comfortable though? A weeks? Well I better get moving if I want to get anywhere near that number.

That's our Panda on her way home.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Life getting in the way, what's a nursing mom to do?

So yesterday I got a call from my assistant principal about a situation that needed my attention before we returned to school.  I was more then enthusiastic to assist in this matter as it was reaffirming my belief that no one can teach my class better then I can.  So he asked if I could get him the information by that evening. "Sure," I said, "I will send you the email right away." Fast forward 31 hours into the future and as I am dutifully practicing real food with my son and telling my hubby on the phone how I am unable to both go for the long walk with our son and two pugs and get this much needed developmental milestone dinner completed on the same days, when it hits me.  Oh crap I forgot about that email! Well nothing to do now except finish our routine and send an apologetic if not late email and explain why there was a delay.  I mean really he is a family man himself so I'm sure he will understand.  He is actually quite progressive and understanding of what it means to be a working mother.  The only thing is I am now questioning whether I understand what it means for me to be a working mother.
I am thinking about my situation a lot as the first day draws closer.  I know I'm probably sounding like one of "those people" you know the one's that say you couldn't possibly understand my situation because no one else is in my situation.  Well while they are dramatic sometimes they are right to think that way because they don't have anyone in their immediate circle of trust who is in their situation.  Same here.  So who are the groups that I can relate to in my one-of-a-kind nobody knows what I'm going through situation?
I am beginning to see a pattern here in my life.  I'm a married to a wonderful father and husband but I live the life of a single mother because of his work obligations.  I have wonderful friends but no common ground to share with them because they are either have no children or we communicate in a virtual world.  I am a stay at home mom at heart who is becoming a working mother.  There is nothing more important to me then family but have no family to share my son's day to day with.  I think this why breastfeeding is so important to me.  It has created a bond between myself and my son and has offered me new opportunities to share my experiences with others.
Watching him while nursing and having him watch me has been a surreal experience.  It was something I thought I was going to miss out on because of our rocky start and it's something I'm not willing to give up on when I return to work.  I love it how he gets so excited when we nurse that he rubs his feet together and tickles my side.  I even love when he screams when I switch sides because the breast is empty but he isn't ready to stop nursing.  Or how he just can't wait anymore and starts helping me by pulling my shirt or pinching my breast to make the milk come out faster.  How at night he closes his eyes and as I stroke his hair he strokes my skin.
It makes me feel so important when nothing else but Mama can calm him when he is upset or sick.  How I will occasionally lay down and nurse with him during his afternoon nap instead of putting him in the crib.  I mean why not?  I only get this one moment with him and then it changes and I can never have that back.  Or when he is with the sitter or an aunt and he misses me and cries until I walk through the door and the pitch of the crying changes over to say why did you leave me and then he talks to my breast for five minutes while nursing and then sighs and snuggles in because Mama is here and she has me in her arms.
So what is my point? I guess this is my rally before the battle.  I am going to fight for my son to continue nursing.  I am not giving up, he needs me and I need him.  For now this is how we communicate and show each other we love each other, I will protect him and he can count on me.  Because isn't nursing about more then just feeding your baby?  Isn't a calming and nurturing experience for the mother and child?  I know it has been for us and I am hoping to continue until we are ready to stop because it's right for us not because my other life got in the way.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Nursing Indulgences: What I couldn't/can't live without while nursing

As I had mentioned in my first post I had a difficult time when I first started nursing.  I started thinking about that when I was reading some posts on Baby 411 on my iPhone today (Shout out to my Ladies).  It also got me thinking about what are some things I would never do without while nursing and what are good products that I would recommend to first time nursing mothers.  Let's face it the nursing of today isn't what it used to be for our mothers or grandmothers if they did in fact choose or were able to breastfeed in the first place. (Note while I have mentioned specific product names I am not being compensated for my endorsement and OPINION, similar products may work just as well for you)
My MVP of nursing supplies would have to be my Boppy, I own two in fact.  Why is it my "most valuable possession" because I have found more uses for it then even the manufacturer intended.  By the way I love how the photograph they chose for feeding was a father bottle feeding his baby so as not to exclude the market of formula fed or pumped milk babies. The Boppy was my new favorite thing in the hospital.  I actually used it as a pillow because I had grown very uncomfortable laying on my side for 2 months prior to my son's birth and my neck and back killed.  The Boppy made it better plus I knew where that pillow was the minute my little guy was hungry! Since then the pillow was my main assistant during nursing for 5 months.  I needed more then just my own two hands to help hold my son and get everything positioned properly and most of the day I'm on my own.
Which brings me to my second must have "Mission Control" as my husband calls it.  My glider and two tv dinner trays.  When I was pumping exclusively I had my pump on one tray and the other held my water, iPhone, house phone, food of the moment, tissues and remote control. Mission control always spread further and was less neat then my husband likes (he's neat and orderly, I am decidedly less neat at home) and he would patiently tidy up after me when he came home from work each night. I have since learned to keep my much smaller mission control more orderly and require less picking up after.
The next item I plan to use again though I no longer require it for this nursling is my Utterly Yours Breastfeeding Pillow This little item I wish I had known about sooner because it was a life saver and my much needed third hand.  As I said I was alone for much of the day and I have a mom who loves to call and a brother who loves to text and I was totally dependent on the aforementioned Baby 411.  All of which requires you use your hand. Well nursing a baby requires you use your hands as well. For me though it required three: two to hold my son and one to hold me in proper position. So the Boppy held my son high enough, one hand supported him to prevent rolling off and then the Utter Pillow held me in place thus freeing my hand to answer phones, texts and posts.
The next would be my bebe au lait nursing cover.  I own three different covers but this is by far my favorite.  This is the most generous in size and has added features that I love like pockets made of terry cloth that can be used as a burp cloth.  It also felt the nicest out of the three.  The cotton is light, soft and breathable.  The size matters to me because I needed the coverage and my son hates the cover and will pull and kick it off if I don't tuck it under his back and my arm.  I've used this cover everywhere.  I even used it on an airplane while sitting next to a stranger and they could not see anything.  I keep one of the others in my diaper bag as back up just in case but I always reach for this one first.
Gerber prefold cloth diapers. But not as diapers because they are basically useless as that but as burp cloths.  They are excellent burp cloths that are softer and more absorbent then the products sold as burp cloths. I'm glad I let my mom get these because my crazy hormonal pregnant self started to argue with her that I wasn't going to cloth diaper my baby so why was that in the cart.  Haha little did I know then that I would be nuts about cloth diapering and would never put another baby in disposables again.
Next is Lanolin cream and Lansinoh nursing pads.  It was a life saver during the beginning of nursing. I would  squeeze huge dollops on the pad and then stick them in my bra, ahh relief.
This next one isn't a product it is a person, a Lactation Consultant.  She was my life saver.  She showed me that my little one was able to pull enough milk from me to sustain himself and I didn't need to worry about pumping to feed him because he got more from me then I ever pumped.  She showed me the correct position and got my doctor to prescribe the correct medicine to clear up my thrush.  She was the first one to finally set my mind at ease and allow me to see that I was being a good mommy which for the three months prior to our appointment I had felt like the worst mom ever and basically cried and could not look at my husband without feeling like a failure because my son looks like a mini version of my husband.  So I would say do not wait to contact an LC if you are having trouble run there because you shouldn't have to do this alone.
Lastly would be my Medela Pump-in-Style double electric pump.  I really don't understand why they make single pumps. It is wasting time and money. The Medela double pumps can be used as single pumps and if you are expression to build up a supply you are going to want to use your precious time to do something else rather then sit for two sessions each time you pump.  Yes it is expensive but it is so worth it for women in my situation. In the beginning when I was pumping to feed him I really only had time to pump, feed, clean my bottle and parts, lay down for 15 minutes and then repeat the process.  I was a walking zombie so the less time I spent pumping, the more time I had to hold my baby and to try to catch a little sleep. Now that I am returning to work I only have a limited amount of time in the day to pump and I need the maximum amount of milk I can get so anything less then a double pump does not make sense to me.  I am splurging and upgrading myself to the Freestyle because my pump is showing its age here and I need a really quick turn over plus it would be nice to have use of my hands to get a little work done or drive to and from work while I pump.  UPDATE: I have since revoked my endorsement of Medela products. See here as to what changed my mind.
I know I said lastly before but just one more thing I should mention because I'm not certain if it was something I couldn't live without or will have to use again but I did use it and it deserves mentioning as it is a product some may benefit from, nipple shields.  I am hesitant with this product because it can be used for the wrong reason and can hurt your supply and your body's natural response to nursing (I am getting that statement from my private lactation consultant) The lactation nurses at the hospital gave me a shield because I had flat nipples. I've always had short nipples that never really cared to do much and to think they were going to do what I wanted them to do after almost 12 hours of labor was more then I could expect so they gave this to me.  As a new mom I thought okay the nurse said this is good then I will use it.  Well in hindsight in my case I shouldn't have.  It is probably why my little guy had his weight gain issues in the beginning and why he screamed bloody murder every time I tried to nurse him. After I had supply issues while expressing I reattempted breastfeeding without the use of the shield and I finally experienced success. If you have flat or inverted nipples which the product is recommended for use with then by all means try it just read the instructions carefully. I was not given instructions on how to properly use it at the hospital and the nurses just gave me the shield without the packaging.  Used properly I think it is a good product.  I do not think however, that it should be used to block some of that early pain that is experienced during establishing a nursing relationship.  Those first few weeks are critical to growing connections between the chemicals and receptors used to produce milk to maintain an adequate supply and being able to nurse a baby successfully to 6 months and beyond if you choose.  If you have pain use lanolin and see a lactation consultant.
So I would like to hear your thoughts on this and to share some of the products you just can't live without as well.

First Time Leaving My Boy

So today I had to take a First Aid/CPR refresher course for my coaching certification. The class was being held an hour from my house and was going to last 4 hours. So that was at least 6 hours out of the house. I did not want to be that far for that long but despite my best efforts I could not find a closer class. So I figured this would serve as a good barometer as to how the school year was going to be for myself, little man, my husband and our sitter.

My ever so sweet and patient husband changed his shift at work so that we would not need daycare. He would work nights and I would teach. Turns out this new schedule leaves a gap between his departure and my arrival so we needed someone to step in. Tada babysitter! Well the babysitter I chose and was comfortable with did not get out of school as early as hoped and would also be unavailable for 3 months during the school year because of sports, which I am all for. Get the most out of your high school career, it only happens once. But I am digressing from the topic at hand.

My little guy has been teething and has his two bottom teeth already and the other ones just won't leave him alone so he was up three times more then his usual night's sleeping pattern. But I figured this is a blessing in disguise because I will get more nursing sessions in and he won't be as hungry and cranky for my husband and later the babysitter. His last nursing before I left I kissed my boy and told him I would see him when I got home that afternoon.

I had taken some of my precious supply out of the freezer so that I could be away for 6 hours and he would be well stocked and happy. I had explained to my husband at 1am when he returned for work how to mix his cereal and to combine it with the pureed pears to give him in the morning. (Who knew I needed to be more specific then I thought I had been? This is the man that never forgets to take the dryer bar out of the dryer before drying my cloth diapers.) I packed my trusty pump, a cooler, a 32oz water bottle and off I went. Soon to turn around at the door to run back to get breast pads, something I haven't needed in months because I feed on demand and fortunately do not leak but better to be safe then sorry.

I arrived early so I could discuss with the instructor my need to pump at some point during the day but the instructor was having her own hectic morning and arrived just in the nick of time and did not have a moment to speak to me. I listened, watched the demos, practiced the skills and stared at my phone all the while expecting it to ring with some emergency, which it never did.

The first session ended I caught the instructor explained my situation and asked for a place to pump. She said she would find me a place and asked why didn't I just bring my son with me? This sent a pang through my heart because I would have loved to have my little buddy with me, he is after all my constant companion at home. But I had to snap out of it this was after all a test for us because come September I am going to need to do this all the time. So into the nurse's office we went and I got a small room and sat to pump.

I was so excited because I got 3, count them 1, 2, 3 letdowns!!! I was not completely empty but I thought hey they are waiting for you to start this second half so get in there it's close enough. I packed up my stuff scurried back to the room thinking we'd already be in session but we weren't. Oh well at least I got 2oz one one side and 4 on the other. This is impressive I so thought I would get nothing. So now we sit for the second half and the instructor is able to shorten the class because there are only 3 of us. She signs my certificates and off I go.

I check my phone yet again and I see a text from my dear husband asking when am I leaving? Right now I reply and then call just incase there is something wrong. Everything is fine and he goes over their routine including the improvisation he used taking our two pugs out with the baby because I had the baby bjorn in the car and my husband just scratches his head when he looks at the mobi. So he rattles off we had cereal just the way you said to make it, one big bottle and then a little 3 oz one because he was hungry a short time after the first and then he passed out. Wait, where was the third bottle? The one he should have had when he got up? My husband said you didn't tell me last night he needed a bottle you just said cereal. Oh well. I then explained that a bottle should be first and then cereal and just know for next time. At this point no sense in freaking out over something like that now.

So I ask is the babysitter there to fill in while he drives to work and I arrive home? Yes, she has arrived and is set-up with all she needs. Okay good. So we say our goodbyes and see you tonights etc. etc.

So now I'm excited this worked! I can handle this and so can my husband and my son. The hour drive breezes by and I arrive home. My little guy must have smelled me because he was crying for me as I walked through the door. Oh how he made me feel so good to come home!? He did miss me!!! And all he wanted was to nurse with me so I breathed a sigh of relief and ushered the poor babysitter out of the door so I could pop out my boob and get back to our nursing. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Who I am and why I am doing this.

In a few weeks I am returning to work "full time plus" after being out of work for 7 months and with my son for 5 months.  I was on bed rest for two months before my son was born which is where the extra time came from.  When my little boy arrived I was so excited to nurse him and to provide him with the best nutrition I could.
For the first two months of his life I struggled with breastfeeding and his weight gain so I was expressing and bottle feeding.  Why do you ask was I doing this?  Well when I brought my son in for his first check up after the hospital he had lost nearly a pound.  Our pediatrician wanted me to start him on formula supplementation and if I was going to continue nursing I needed to use a "contraption" to give him extra milk while I was nursing.  So there I was with a 4 day old baby and a nipple shield and a syringe with a tube attached that was stuck in my sons mouth to give him a few extra ounces while he tried to get milk from me.  This was not working because I couldn't hold the baby and depress the syringe and keep the shield in place and the tube in his mouth at the same time without assistance.  So I sent my mom to the store to get a pump and I pumped for every feeding and then gave him his bottle and got absolutely nothing else done except pump, feed, wash, nap repeat.  But that was okay with me because I wasn't giving up on what I wanted to do which was breastfeed my son.  
When my supply started to dwindle around two months I had two choices give up or get back to breastfeeding the old fashioned way.  I am not the giving up type so I chose option two.  That was again a difficult process with painful, bleeding nipples, a bout with thrush and a few more ups and downs with my son's weight but we got there.  
Now at the end of this month as my son turns 6 months old I will be returning to work "full time plus" and have started to worry about how I am going to continue to provide my child with nutrition and keep up our nursing relationship.  Why do I call it "full time plus" because I am a full time teacher and a coach for three months out of the year.  So this blog is going to serve to keep my spirits up and document my efforts to not give up once more on my nursing relationship with my son.
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