The Difference a Week Makes

Last week, I wrote here about my struggle with wanting to be done nursing, but feeling like Jude still wanted/needed to keep going, and I made the decision to keep plowing ahead, but to take one day at a time and not making a wide-sweeping goals of how long I wanted to continue.  What a difference this last week has made.

On Thursday I went back to work, and we were back to needing to get up and out the door by a certain time (7:10 to be exact).  Jude had been waking up pretty consistently by 6:15-6:30, so the timing wasn’t a problem, but as any mom knows, the logistics can be tricky.  To make a 7:10 departure work, I have to be completely ready to go before Jude gets up.  I wasn’t really thinking about how my wardrobe might effect our nursing rituals, but I spent most of the summer in loose fitting t-shirts and after some self-esteem/weight/needing to feel good about myself moments I bought some new clothes for the new school year and they are decidedly not nursing friendly.  Thursday morning was okay, but Friday morning Jude was a very unhappy camper when he was desperately trying to nurse and I couldn’t quite get my clothing to cooperate.  In addition to my clothing changes, he immediately eliminated his morning nap when he went back to daycare.  I guess he didn’t want to be the only one napping and not playing =)  This led to something I hadn’t seen since he was born-sleeping in!  After 2 days with no morning nap, he slept from 8 PM Friday night until 8 AM Saturday morning, and when he did wake up, he was happy, didn’t seem to be starving, and happily talked to me while I changed him, clothed him, and took him out to the living room where he had a sippy cup of milk with his dad.  People, these are developments I could get used to!  I kept him up Saturday morning as well, and Saturday night/Sunday morning looked just like the previous day, and we had our first 2 day stretch without nursing-without any tears, bad behavior, asking to nurse or any other clues that Jude was struggling with this turn of events.

But I have to say that the greatest difference is probably in me.  I think part of my struggle last week was because I felt like I wasn’t ready for Jude not to be a baby anymore.  Not that there aren’t any great benefits to nurse after a child’s first birthday, but I think for me because this was the goal I had set for myself I just maybe wasn’t ready to admit that we had reached the goal and were moving on?  Maybe I didn’t want to admit that Jude didn’t need me in that way anymore?  At any rate, I spent a lot of time thinking this week about all the things I love about this stage we are in.  I love love love that we can sorta communicate now (nothing cracks me up more than when I tell him it is time for bed and I get a chorus of “oh no…oh no…oh no…”).  Dinner time is a lot more fun now that he is eating what we are eating.  I can get a few things done while he is awake, which is a far cry to when I pretty much held him whether he was awake or napping and I got nothing done all day.  He gets excited to see us, and he just cracks me up with the things he things are fun or funny like stashing his toys on shelves or becoming obsessed with anything that has a handle on it.  He is taking tiny steps and I’m sure he will be running around before I know it.  He recognizes other kids and has a few dear little friends =)

On top of all that, dare I say it, the beginning of the school year was a lot more stressful than I was anticipating.  Not unbearable, but definitely stressful.  Lots and lots of changes.  I’m hoping it will get better, especially once my students arrive and the music begins, but in a way, I think being done with nursing will be one less thing for me to worry about as the tempo of my life has shifted into high gear.  If I didn’t need to work, I’m sure my nursing journey would be a lot different.  And really, I do feel good about all the pumping I did last school year and for nursing a year.  I just think it is time for me to have different priorities for my time with Jude.

All that to say, I think we are done nursing, and I think we are okay with it.  It’s hard to believe we have reached that point, but I’m kinda into it.  Bring on toddler hood (says the mom who has never lived with a toddler!)

Have a great week everyone!

True Confessions

Confession: Part of me is ready to be done nursing.  It kind of hit me suddenly-there haven’t been any problems, and we are only nursing once a day but I hit a wall of feeling like I was tired of leaking, nursing bras, and being the only one that can get him out of bed in the morning, all of which made me feel selfish, but the feelings were there none the less.  I was digging through some boxes 2 days ago and came across my copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and thought I would read what they had to say about weaning.  It became clear that this was not the book to read if I was looking for permission to stop nursing =)  In the end I was just left with a lot of conflicting feelings.  My goal had always been to nurse until Jude was one and I never really thought much beyond that.  I really didn’t have a desire to nurse a toddler, or to tandem nurse once we have another child.  However, Jude has not stopped nursing on his own and I really didn’t know if he happily nursed in the mornings because he was just hungry and that was the first food source offered to him, or if there was more to it.  I talked to Dustin about it and he really felt that Jude will be fine no matter what I decided.  So Sunday morning Dustin got Jude out of bed, gave him a sippy cup of milk, and for the first time since Jude was born I went all day without nursing him, and I was kind of miserable…I’m not really sure why, but I was.  I think it was a combination of feeling guilty for not nursing him and being sad that this time might really be ending.  This morning I knew that I would be the one getting him up in the morning, and I just didn’t know what to do-continue to give him a sippy cup, or offer him the chance to nurse?  As I was praying about the whole thing I decided that I would take a sippy cup of milk with me, offer it to Jude, and if he drank it happily without requesting to nurse, that would be my signal that it was okay not to nurse.  If he really wanted to nurse, that would be my signal to hang in there.  So I offered him the cup which he drank two sips of and then threw it on the floor and “asked” in no uncertain terms to be nursed…so we nursed.  And honestly, I felt better.  I don’t really know why, but I did.

I read a quote that someone posted yesterday that said something along the lines of motherhood is not a battle against others mothers-it’s Your walk through life with Your child, which I needed to hear, because I think it is really easy for me to focus on what other moms have done with their kiddos instead of just figuring out what is really best for us.  I still do not know how long we will keep nursing, and we obviously won’t nurse forever, but I think that for right now this is what I need to keep doing for him and we will see what happens.

Blessings!

Our first zoo

Last week Jude and I traveled with my parents to visit my sister and bro-in-law in the great state of Indiana.  The 10 hour drive was difficult for Jude, but I’m really glad that we went because we had a great time!  One of my favorite things that we did was visit the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, which was the first zoo that we have visited with Jude.  I could not believe how visible the animals were, and the zoo had a lot of attractions to keep the kiddos entertained.  If you find yourself near Ft. Wayne, Indiana, it is a must see for your children!

The entrance to the zoo-we arrived a little after 9:00 AM to try and beat the heat.

My teacher-self loved that the animals were grouped by the geographic regions where they would be found in the wild. Our first stop was the African Journey.

oooo….ahhhhh…ambiance

Jude and I climbed in a Land Rover.

One of our favorite attractions was a Giraffe feeding platform. It was crazy to be so close to such a huge animal!

Pappy and Jude took a turn feeding the giraffe a piece of lettuce.

Getting our drum on in an African village.

Next we took a train ride!

Beside the real train that had a train for the kids to play in.

Next we went on an Australian Adventure.

Jude is a Joey!!

I have to admit that I didn’t think he would like being a joey, but I was wrong!

Auntie Trista took a turn as well =)

The Australian area featured a flume ride through the kangaroo habitat. I’m not sure why the ride attendant allowed all 6 of us in the same flume…it was a slooooow ride =) Unfortunately Jude thought all that water meant it was bath time, and he was quite indignant that he couldn’t get in the water.

The Kangaroos! If you look really closely, the kangaroo that is standing up in the middle has a joey in her pouch!

Jude couldn’t take it any more and had to grab a quick nap in the stroller.

Yikes

Last but not least, we visited the Indonesian Rain Forest.

It isn’t a trip to the zoo without a picture with a statue.

The Orangutan was huge!

We had such a good time, and I look forward to taking Jude back when he is a little older.  I hope you enjoyed the photos from our trip =)

My Chicken Salad

This is my new house:

It is wonderful in so many ways, but one of the things I love about it is that I have a dishwasher! I know it probably doesn’t sound like the biggest deal, but prior to our move I was really beginning to dread cooking because I just didn’t want to deal with doing the dishes after a day at work and a little guy to take care of.  Now that I have a dishwasher, I’m really falling in love with cooking again.  I am not a cook that creates many of my own recipes, but I have created a chicken salad recipe that I love which was based on a chicken salad that is served at Cafe d’Italia on the square of Chambersburg.  I have made this a few times recently and I have had some requests for the recipe so I hope you enjoy!  I haven’t spent a lot of time testing this, so my measurements are approximate-feel free to add or take away what you don’t want.

Golden Chicken Salad-serves 3 or 4
1 cup diced cooked chicken breast (you can roast it, grill it, poach it…I have even used the Perdue Shortcut precooked chicken when I have been in a hurry)
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

Dressing:
1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
juice of 1/2 lemon
big pinch of salt

Combine the chicken, celery, raisins and almonds in a big bowl.  Stir the dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Add about 3/4 of the dressing to the other ingredients and stir to combine-add more dressing if it seems dry.  Enjoy!

I’m sure you could easily substitute low-fat mayo and sour cream if you desire.  The recipe is super easy to double (or triple) and it’s great to serve at a baby shower or for an expectant mama that is avoiding deli meat.  Even my son likes the chicken mixed with the dressing.

This is terrible, but if you put mayo on meat, he is much more likely to eat it (bad mommy!)

Have a great Tuesday!

 

 

Pump it Up!

I realized over the weekend that my school year actually begins next Thursday-it was not a sad or stressful realization, but it definitely snuck up on me!  Since I missed the beginning of the school year due to my maternity leave last year, I’m really looking forward to being in my domain from the get-go.  I’m also more than a little excited that I won’t be pumping breast milk this year.  As I’ve said many times, I’m glad pumps exist because it is the only way working mamas can keep nursing, but it is neither easy or convenient, so I will relish a little time off so I can be ready to pump again whenever it’s time for Baby #2.

In honor of the school year starting again, I thought I would share my tips for pumping at work just in case there are any mamas out there going back to work that could use some encouragement for their pumping careers.  I certainly am not an expert, but I was successful in pumping enough milk for all of Jude’s day-care bottles AND to mix in all of his cereal from October through June, so I figure there might be something I learned that is worth sharing.  Feel free to share with me any tips you have!

Tip #1-Start pumping a few bottles before you go back to work.  Pumping is not hard, but for me, it took a few sessions before I really felt like I knew what I was doing, and since going back to work it stressful enough, having the stress of also figuring out pumping was not what I wanted to do.  I think it is also a good idea to make sure that your baby will drink well from a bottle before you send them to day-care, just for their own happiness.  When I was still on maternity leave I would have Dustin give Jude a bottle while I was cooking dinner-I loved the small break, Dustin had a chance to feed him, and I could feel confident that Jude would eat from his bottles at day-care.  I don’t know when the perfect time to start pumping a bottle or two is, but I started when Jude was about 4-5 weeks old, and I didn’t have any problems.  I assume that you wouldn’t want to start too much before that.

Tip #2-Anytime the Baby Has a Bottle, Mom Pumps.  There were times when Jude would have a bottle of expressed milk that I had pumped the day before, and I was really tempted just to enjoy the break, but I had a hard and fast rule that I would always pump when Jude ate so that my body could get used to his eating schedule for days that I wasn’t pumping. Once I was at work I went by how many bottles he drank at day-care.  He usually drank 3, so I would pump once when I first got to work (later I started pumping at home before we left), once at lunch time, and once at the end of the school day.

Tip #3-Invest in a double, electric Breastpump.  While I’m sure there are many great hand pumps, or single electric breastpumps on the market, a working mama needs the big guns.  At work it took me an average of 15 minutes to pump, and that even seemed at times to take too long, so you really want to have the most efficient machine possible.  I have a Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump w/ Backpack and have been really happy with it.

Tip #4-Find a comfortable place to pump at work.  This is easier said than done, but since you will be pumping at work 2 or 3 times everyday you want to make sure you are comfortable, or it will be easy to give up.  You will need an electrical outlet-the Medela pump that I have does have a battery pack with it, which I only used once, and it does not work as powerfully.  A sink would be nice, but Medela makes Quick Clean Breastpump and Accessory Wipes for the pump parts, which I used with no problems.  I needed a lock on the door so that I felt comfortable, but I know lots of mamas that just positioned their desk and chair so that they faced away from the door and could call out if they heard someone come in.  Whatever makes you comfy.

Tip #5-Use every opportunity to freeze extra milk.  Throughout my pumping career I froze somewhere around 300 ounces of milk, and to make it to the bitter end I used all of it except one 6 ounce bag.  I kept pumping three times a day to the end of the school year, but once I started adding my milk to his cereal, it was a little harder to make sure that I had enough for the next day-some days I would even pump once before bed just to get a few more ounces.  All that to say it was comforting to know that there was milk in the freezer if I just couldn’t pump enough that day.

When I first started pumping Jude would drink maybe 3 ounces at a time, but I would usually pump 6-8 ounces (or sometimes more!) at a time, so I would separate 3 ounces into a bottle for him and keep the rest separate so it wouldn’t be contaminated.  I would usually keep it in the fridge for a day just to see if we needed it, and if not, I would store it in the freezer.  When Jude was about 4 months old I stopped making more than what he ate, so the next time around, I will try to freeze more.

Tip #6-Make sure all your parts and bottles are clean and packed the night before.  Oh did we have issues getting out the door in the morning!  My strategy to keep from forgetting an important pump part at home, which would necessitate a drive home, I cleaned and packed everything the night before so I just had to grab an ice pack and I was good to go in the morning.

Tip #7-Exclusively nurse over the weekend.  I truly believe that for me nursing made my milk supply go up, and pumping tended to make it go down slightly.  I always took advantage of the time I wasn’t at work to nurse nurse nurse.  As much as I enjoyed Dustin giving Jude a suppertime bottle while I was on maternity leave, once I was back at work that stopped-I took every advantage to nurse (if for no other reason that to not need to pump!-see Rule 2)

Tip #8-Try to have a sense of humor about the whole thing.  Yes, you are milking yourself at a professional work place…people will wonder why you are always locked in your storage closet…you may even have a conversation with your school’s 70 year old, male guidance counselor through the door WHILE pumping (true story) because he doesn’t know what you are doing….or you may hear “where does she go-I can never find her!!!” being said by your colleagues as you are pumping. You will probably spill milk on yourself at some point.  At the end of the day you are doing this for that sweet baby at home and it is worth all the hassle.  Hopefully you will have friends at work that will encourage you, support you, and make excuses for you if you are late to a staff meeting so that no one sends out a search party looking for you.  In the grand scheme of things this season of your life will only last for a short while, and you may even miss it once it is over.

So those are my thoughts on pumping and many blessings to all those pumping mamas out there!

For the record, Jude is now 12 1/2 months old, and yes, we are still nursing once a day when he first wakes up.  Because I knew I wasn’t going to pump this school year, I started giving Jude sippy cups of milk during the day and was nursing first thing in the morning, and right before bed, but he started biting me every time I nursed him at night, so we scaled back to just first thing in the morning.  I don’t know how long we will keep going, but we are sticking with it for now.

Happy school year everyone!