Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloweeeeeeen!

Here are a few pictures from our neighborhood parade last weekend. On a side note, Ben has had some very spooky poops lately. I just noticed it this morning. I had to quickly clip Ben's nails while Dan was changing his diaper, and I noticed the color was off (light gray and runny, sorry to be gross). I commented on it, and Dan said - um, it's been like this for a couple of days, how did you not know? Because I haven't changed a poopy diaper since Sunday, that's how! Ugh. Dan changes him and gets him ready in the morning after I nurse him while I get all of his stuff ready. And then, daycare changes all of his diapers during the day obviously. Then, he doesn't really poop normally after I pick him up in the evening (when I change him, etc.). I did know that he had been pooping a lot and having a blow out  each day from the report card and the fact that his clothes were changed, but that happens now and then, so I wasn't concerned. But today was the first time I saw the color.

So basically, a change in Ben's poop has gone unaddressed because his mother hasn't been changing his diapers. All aboard the guilt train! But hurry, you're late as usual!!! I called the doctor this morning and left a message with the advice nurse. I can take him in if I need to tomorrow. Hopefully, it's not a big deal, he is acting like his normal self and does not seem to care that his poops are more disgusting than normal.

On that note, have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Treading Water and Coping Mechanisms

On Monday, I completely forgot to pump in the afternoon and left all of my milk and pumping paraphernalia at work. While it is not the first time I have forgotten to pump at work, it was the first time I forgot to take all of the stuff home.  I have been going through a majorly busy period at work. I have actually taken on more responsibilities (because that seemed like a good idea?). This has overlapped with a busy period at home, where I haven't had much free time to catch up on the regular stuff. I'm treading water.

There are a million things that need to be done, and I feel like I am only doing the ones that HAVE to be done that second. I don't mean to be whiny, and if you could hear me talking about this, I would not have a whiny tone, I swear. I just feel a bit overwhelmed, and it was the only thing I could really write about today.

Coping Mechanism 1: Making lists helps me a ton. Part of my panicky feeling is losing track of the things I need to do. Once I make a list of it all, it becomes more manageable. Plus, is there any better feeling than checking something off of a list? It's so satisfying. That is one of the reasons that I don't actually like the "To Do" app on the iPhone. Because when you "check" something off, it goes away. What is the fun in that? I want to see all of the checked off stuff in its glorious glory! Take that, Lowering the Crib! Watch your back, Buy Pants that Fit for Ben! Didn't see that coming, Pay Bills, did you???

Right now, I am in that panicky stage when I haven't made any lists yet, and I am just floundering around nervous about all the stuff I need to do. When I am in that stage, I tend to get more emotional (surprise?). On the way home from daycare yesterday, I reached back and was letting Ben grab my fingers. He thought this was hilarious, and for some reason, this made me sad. I had had an extremely busy day at work with back to back meetings all day, peppered with "emergency" situations in between. And as Ben was grabbing my fingers and laughing, I thought, man, I really would have rather just done this all day. Wouldn't any sane person? And he was just so delighted with the tiny bit of attention I was giving him in the car. It made me feel like I should be giving him much more.

I quickly just worked my way out of that dangerous rabbit hole and manged to get my shit together by the time I got home. Coping Mechanism 2: Then, as is my regular habit, I just played with Ben until he went to bed. This helps, just spending this time with him and not doing anything else. I save all of the washing (bottle* or laundry) or other nightly errands until after. It is 50/50 on whether I eat dinner before or after his bedtime. The only things that really have to be done are bathing him (if it is a bath night) and changing him. Spending this time with him helps be regain my equilibrium.

Coping Mechanism 3: Hot bath. Baths have always been my thing. I just love them. I know this is not the same for a lot of people. If I don't have a least one hot bath a week (don't worry folks, I shower on the days I don't have baths), then I turn into a mean person. Ask Dan.

Those are my main three daily coping mechanisms of dealing with feeling underwater. Others include, a glass of wine, talking with Dan, and of course, our fifth family member, TeeVee. Oh, and actually accomplishing the things I need to do.

*Lately, Dan has been doing all of the bottle washing while I am nursing Ben and putting him to bed (because he is not running in the evenings). It is the best thing since the DVR was invented.

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint

First off, congrats to Dan for a great job at the Marine Corps Marathon yesterday! Sometimes it is still strange to me that I married someone who is a dedicated runner. The only marathons I participate in are of the reality TV watching variety. I could do that ALL DAY, SON! ALL DAY! I am really proud of Dan, and watching marathons is actually pretty fun. It's weird how watching other people run so hard that they want to vomit and pass out is exciting.
So there are pretty much a million better pictures of Dan running that he dad took on our computer at home,
but this is the only one I have on my phone that I could use here.
Second, sorry that I have been MIA! Life and work has just been busy the past week. It actually still is, so this is going to be a very short post, with a promise to do a regular post on Wednesday. I felt the need to do this for my one faithful reader, Aunt Lorna. Thanks Lorna!

This weekend involved: a visit from Dan's parents, a neighborhood Halloween parade (with all grandparents as spectators), Dan's marathon, an emergency trip to the vet in the middle of the night (Shelby is doing fine), and a whole lot of projectile spit-up from Ben this morning. Poor Dan. Nothing like running a marathon, not going to bed until 2am because of going to the vet, then getting up at 5:45am to start your workday.

The marathon of life never ends! (Or I guess, until you die :) ) So stay hydrated people! If only there were random "spectators" who stood around you during the day and shouted encouraging words. "Attagirl!" (as I get into my car to commute to work). "You got this!" (as I turn in some memos for review). "Finish strong!" (as I wash the last bottle). And then of course, a ton of congratulatory hugs and back pats before going to sleep. Maybe that is why the "You're doing a good job, mom" Johnson's commerical makes me cry (just a little tiny bit).

So to everyone out there today - You're doing a great job! Keep it up!!! Whooo Hoooo!!!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Flex Day Friday (Schedule/Day in the Life)

Good morning and happy Monday! I am really lucky, because at my job I am able to have a "flexible schedule" in that I can arrange my hours so that I have every other Friday off. Having that "flex day" is amazing. I have had my flex day for about 4 years now. My current work schedule is 8am-5pm everyday, with my flex day every other Friday. When I had Ben, I thought about whether it would be better to give up my flex day and have my schedule be 8am-4pm. Basically whether it is better to have an hour more with him every day versus a whole day with him every other week. I opted to keep my flex day for a few reasons. First, even if you leave at 4pm, there are sure to be days where I have to stay a little bit later here and there to tie things up. On my flex day, I am not even in the office, so less of a risk that it will be eaten up with work. Second, it is really convenient to have every other Friday off for traveling for long weekends occasionally. Third, a whole day off is just better. We can sleep in and laze around and get errands done. I try to schedule our doctor's appointments for those days.

Sooooo! My flex day was last Friday, and I thought it would be fun to do a little "day in the life" schedule of how the day went. Hold on to your seats folks. If this is too much "fun" for you, I am truly sorry. ;)

6:45am - 7:00am - I hear Ben stirring and "talking" to himself. I also hear him playing the piano thing in his crib for a bit. This is new, and I am wondering if he pressed it by accident. He seems happy enough, so I close my eyes for 15 more minutes.
7:00am - 7:20am - Go get Ben, cuddle and nurse him, change his diaper. Open the curtains and tell him it is a bright, sunshiney day!
7:20am - 7:40am - Take Ben downstairs, let Shelby out, and feed Ben his breakfast of oat cereal. Flip on the TV to the Today show to have on in the background. Give him a sippy cup of water afterwards to play with while I get my breakfast together and make my coffee. 
7:40am - 8:45am - Hang out with Ben on the floor. He plays with his toys, and I take a couple of pics and post one on facebook. We sing songs and just generally lay about.
8:45am - He is getting a little cranky at this point, and it's time for his morning nap. I change his diaper and put him in his crib with a paci. He falls asleep by 9am.
9:00am-11:00am - Ben is napping. The kitchen is a mess. I empty the dishwasher, and wash all of the bottles and pump parts from yesterday (I didn't wash them last night because I knew I would be home today). Put away all of the dirty dishes. Take my coffee remnants and chill on the couch with Kelly and Michael for a bit. I love those two kooky kids! Arnold Schwarzenegger is on, and I can finally understand how he could be governor and have a mistress type situation and get away with it. He is charismatic. ANYHOW, I putz around straightening up. I think that I should do some laundry, but it is a BEAUTIFUL day outside, so I throw on a fleece, grab my phone, and head to the backyard to sit on the deck with Shelby. I call my sister, she answers but can't talk for long because she is in Colorado on a trip. Whoops! I forgot! I call my in-laws and talk for about a half hour. I drag myself inside, because I should really get dressed and put on my make-up before Ben gets up. I do that.
11:00am - Ben wakes up. He usually takes wonderful two hour morning naps at home, and I am happy that he is well-rested. I nurse him, but he isn't usually up for a big session at this time, and it's short. I change his dipe, and finally get him dressed for the day (yes, he is still in his PJs).
11:15am - Take Ben downstairs and feed him some lunch. I think I have him a yogurt. He LOVES yogurt. I can tell when he is hungry for whatever I am going to give him, because he gets excited/concerned. He just has a serious look on his face and starts to shake his hands a little bit. He also makes nom nom noises when he eats. He doesn't laugh or smile about it though. It's serious business.
11:30am - 11:45am - Quickly make myself some lunch (chicken sandwich and some chips), and eat it. Get everything together and head out the door to Ben's pediatrician's office. Do a smell check of Ben's diaper before we leave, all clear.
11:45am-12:15pm - Drive to the pediatrician's office, sign in right at his appointment time (12:15pm). As I am holding him, I realize he has a doozy of a twosey. Tell the receptionist that I am heading to the bathroom to change him. When we are done, the nurse is waiting for us and leads us to a room. He is checked out and weighed (17.7 lbs). We are there for an ear check (follow up from a visit a few weeks ago) and to get a couple of shots (Prevnar and the first flu shot). His doctor said he ears looked great (hooray!). He gets his shots (sob!), and we are out the door.
1:00pm - 1:30pm - Call my grandmother who lives nearby and tell her we are on our way (I called earlier in the day to see if she would be available for a visit). Stop by Starbucks first to get myself a nonfat caramel frappacino with whip (I usually do this after his doc appointments now for some reason, Treat Yo'self!) and a pumpkin spice latte for Grandmother.
My Frap. Yum. Don't look at me weird because I get non-fat with whip.
It makes sense in my head.

Ben is still pretty po-ed about his shots. Why Mommy, why?
1:30-2:45 - Visit with Grandmother. She says she doesn't know what it is (the latte), but she loves it. We snack on some brownies she made and chat. Ben crawls around a bit, but eventually gets hungry/tired. I nurse him, and then he falls asleep in my arms. I am hoping I can transfer him into his car seat to continue his afternoon nap. No dice.  
2:45-3:15 - What is the deal with this traffic on the way home???? Oh yeah, school is letting out. I decide to stop by TJ Maxx on the way home. I want to pick up a small gift for a friend. I am hoping that Ben will fall back asleep in his car seat.
3:15-3:45 - Shop at TJ Maxx. Ben did not fall back asleep. I know that a nap is off the table at this point.
My loot from TJ Maxx. The candle is for my friend. The journal is for me. I am always needing to write something down, so I want to keep it in my handbag for that. The mug is a mini-gift to Dan from Shelby. We have been drinking a lot of tea with honey lately, so we could use another big mug.The bib and PJs are for Ben. All for about $35.
3:45-4:30 - Decide to go for a walk to the park instead when we get home. Get Shelby harnessed up, put Ben in the stroller, and we are off. Park the stroller at the park, and put Ben in the baby swing for the first time. He likes it, but is still kind of tired, so he isn't squealing with delight or anything.
4:30pm-5:00pm - Have discussions with Dan about dinner. There is nothing really to cook in the house, plus I don't feel like it. We decide to order something, and Dan will pick it up on the way home. I play with Ben for a bit and feed him dinner, but he is cranky since he basically missed his afternoon nap. I nurse him, and he falls asleep. I put him in his crib. Then I call and order the food.
5:00-5:30pm - Quickly put some clothes in the wash and straighten up so that I have accomplished something. Set the table. 
5:45pm - Dinner arrives. I mean, Dan gets home :). Ben is still napping, so we have a quiet dinner together and talk about the weekend.
6:15pm - 7:30pm - Ben wakes up. We all chill out together. Yay! It's Friday night!
7:30pm - I start putting Ben to bed a little later than normal since he had a late nap. I nurse him and he is asleep in bed by 8pm.
8:00pm - 11:00pm - Take a luxurious bath, hang out, catch up on TV. Friday night, baby.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pumping at Conferences

Sorry I have been MIA! I have had a combination of busy days, holidays, flex days, or at a conference, which is what this post is about.

Breastfeeding moms still need to maintain their professional education dammit! I have been to two local conferences since I went back to work. The first was a two day conference, and the second one (yesterday) was one day long. Because they were both local, I was not staying at the hotels where the conferences took place.

The conferences were from 8am to 4pm, so I needed to be able to pump during. I think I may have already talked in a post about how I handled the first conference. This was pretty soon after I returned to work, and it completely slipped my mind that I would need to pump while there. I called the day before and made arrangements. This time, I remembered much earlier, but I still called the day before. I think it is better to do that, because if you call too early, people will forget. Here are my recommendations for preparing to attend a conference where you will need to pump (and don't have a hotel room):

1. Call the hotel where the conference is being held the day before. Explain to whoever answers the phone that you are attending a conference there the next day and that you need a private area to express/pump breast milk. When I have called, I have needed to give a little explanation about pumping. As in, it is because I breast feed my baby, but no, I will not have the baby with me, and it will take about 15-20 mins. If you need an outlet and a refrigerator, let them know this as well.

2. Each time, the first person I talked to, while very nice and helpful, had no clue what to do with me. They asked each time if they could call me back. I received a return call each time within a couple of hours. By that time, they had made arrangements for me.

3. Here are the type of accommodations you can expect: The accommodations I received for each conference were different. For the first conference, they gave me a key to a hotel room that I needed to turn in at the end of the day. There was already a refrigerator and an outlet in the hotel room, of course. I was able to just scoot up to the room when I needed to pump. For the second conference, they put me in the coat closet. The closet had a door that could be closed and locked. They put a mini-fridge and a chair for me in the little room. They also put a note on the door that said, "Please don't open this door." They also put the same note on the fridge, which I thought was funny. The coat closet was really close to the room where my conference was being held.

4. Be nice to the hotel staff. Of course I don't assume that whoever reading this is an asshole or anything. I am just added this because I had to remind myself to be nice. Pumping is second nature to me now, but if a person has no experience with it, they truly don't know anything about it. So I tried to explain patiently without being indignant or demanding. For the first conference, they talked about how if they didn't have any available rooms, that I could pump in the bathroom. I think they were referring to the accessible (handicapped) stall, but I forget. I didn't want to do that, but I decided to just cross that bridge if/when I got to it. Luckily, I didn't have to deal with it. If they had not been able to provide a room, I might have just tried to brainstorm with them more to ask if there was *any* room in the hotel that wasn't a bathroom stall that was private that I could use. After all, the second hotel was able to set up a coat closet. If they still said that nothing was available, I probably would have contacted the organization that was holding the conference to see if they could help me.

5. Be clear about your needs and don't be embarrassed. You would think that I wouldn't be embarrassed at all to talk about pumping, seeing as though I shout it to the world (or approximately 15 people) on this website. But there is something awkward about talking to a complete stranger about your pumping needs. Just push through it. Like I said above, get the organization who is holding the conference involved if you need to. After all, you (or your employer) is paying them to attend the conference. They can help if needed.

That is about it! Each time, I scurried away three times throughout the day to pump. I stored my expressed milk and pump parts in the fridges and kept my pump in each room so I didn't have to lug it around. Having the actual hotel room was nicer, of course, because I could switch on the TV for the time I was pumping, and it was just better ambiance. BUT, the coat closet was perfectly fine, and it was really convenient to the room where my conference was being held, so I was away less.

As a closing note, I feel like I should divulge that both of my conferences were at Ritz-Carlton's. Any conferences I go to are always at much nicer hotels that I could ever afford! So, I am not sure if other hotels would be less accomodating. But I wouldn't think that the circumstances should be that much different.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Workplace Etiquette: Going to Work Sick

Listen Mom, it's Sophie the Giraffe's fault. She had the cold first, I swear.
Ah-choo! I'm sick of being sick. Yet again, the whole family is coming down with a cold. I am still on antibiotics from my sinus infection from my previous cold, and I think I was feeling 100% for maybe a day. Not exaggerating. Poor Dan is three weeks away from his marathon. And Ben. Poor Ben. He was actually chugging along in a pretty good mood this morning, so I am not sure if it has hit him too badly yet. Or maybe he is blissfully ignorant, because he is just a baby and doesn't know what he is in for yet. Fingers crossed for a short, light cold this time around.

As I was sitting in my office sneezing this morning and sipping on tea, I began to wonder if my coworkers hated me. I am the only one in the office with a germy baby, and people besides me have been getting colds. In all fairness to myself, it is that time of year. BUT, (in my best Carrie voice) I couldn't help but wonder, are my coworkers blaming me for their colds?

Promptly, I called one of my co-workers (even though she is in the office next to me), and asked, "Do ya'll hate me? Should I be at home?" She reassured me that no, it's fine. People know how to wash their hands and use hand sani. Of course, I specifically called that co-worker, because she is nice and has two teen boys of her own. But that is besides the point.

I googled that the most contagious time of a cold is the first 2 or 3 days. I started feeling the twinges yesterday, and began full-fledged in the night. So, I am just going to count today as Day 1. Imagine the monkey in Outbreak biting me today or me (as Gweneth) shaking hands with the chef with poor hygiene in Contagion. Patient Zero. Day One.

So I am probably pretty contagious today, but don't feel quite bad enough to stay home. Plus, it *could* be a not-so-bad cold. Who knows. If I stayed home for a few days every time I had a cold lately, I would probably be out of work 50% of the time. I need to be in the office doing stuff. Especially, since I just had a baby. Gotta be showing the world I can handle my shiz.

That being said, I don't want to be a discourteous pain in the butt. I am thinking if I am still feeling cold-y, I may stay home with Ben tomorrow or ask to work from home. That will at least be one "contagious" day where I am not spreading my germs. For the record, I did stay home two days the week before last.

And then there is the whole daycare aspect as well. If I am contagious, then Ben probably is, too. And that is the whole problem, right? Contagious babies - putting everything in their mouths and giving each other high fives. By the time he actually seems sick enough to stay home, he has probably already spread his germs.

I love the age Ben is at now. It is so fun. I don't want to wish to fast-forward, but I REALLY want his immunity to bulk up already. Or for him to be coordinated enough to wash his hands. Until then, I may just have to start buying donuts for the office every week to smooth things over....

Monday, October 7, 2013

Firsts: Missing Out?

We had a fun weekend. We went up to NJ to see Dan's parents, and I was able to meet a mom that I had befriended via email. She is a friend of Dan's aunt, and we had been chatting occasionally, because her son and Ben were born on the same day. Good times!

Ben and I with his birthday buddy, Joseph! And his mom, Kristy.
Now to the matter at hand. One of the things I was worried about before I had Ben was missing out on all of his important milestones, because I would be at work. First steps, first words, etc. I picked up from somewhere the knowledge that if your caretaker witnesses a "first," that they wouldn't say anything so that you wouldn't feel sad about it. I am not sure if this is true or not. Obviously, his first steps and words have not taken place yet, but I am not as worried about this anymore.

Why, you ask? Well, a few reasons I think. First, I realize now that there is usually a lot of lead up to a "first." You can see it coming, you nurture it, and you are looking out for it. I think I am more likely to notice it than his daycare caretaker. Is that terrible to say?

For instance, Ben is on the brink of crawling now. There has been a lot of lead up to it. He gets up on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth like he is going to shoot forward. He can also go backwards, but he hasn't quite mastered actually crawling forward. I can tell that he is going to get it any moment. Lately, I always put him on the ground on his belly during our free time, and watch him like a hawk. There is a possibility that the first time he crawls (forward) may be at daycare, BUT I think it is more likely that it will be *noticed* as the first time at home. Let's face it, daycare workers are looking after 3-4 babies each. Not that they aren't watching Ben closely, I am confident they are, or I wouldn't leave him there. But, they take care of lots of babies - they might not realize that Ben hasn't started crawling already when he does it. It is more like - oh, he's moving and is about to knock into something, gotta get him. Then I see him crawl later. The same may be true at home. You put the baby down, and run to the kitchen to grab something, you come back and they are in a different spot because they crawled there. You then see it happen. I would still call that seeing him crawl for the first time.

I guess it is the whole if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound??? That might sound sort of terrible and cold towards Ben - OMG, he would be crawling for the first time and no one would give a damn. I guess I don't feel badly about it, because I know that he is fawned over and loved a ton. Don't worry about it folks.

Now, let's say that daycare DOES realize - hey! This is the first time he has ever done this! I am actually at peace with that. Like I said above, there is a lot of lead up to a "first." A lot of practice and play time. I have been a part of all of that. I am just happy he is having them! And if his daycare worker is involved to that degree when she is with him, that is only good news.

Finally, I don't want to borrow trouble. There are a bunch of things to be worried about, and this seems like the most self-indulgent. Gotta pick your battles. Firsts are happy things. I don't want to be selfish about them. Let me worry about his cough and runny noses, let me just be happy about his firsts.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Formula: I'm Thankful that It Exists!

The freezer stash is HISTORY. Gone. Nadda. I used the last of it on Tuesday. As I stated here, I was prepared and OK with it. I had a can of formula in the cabinet waiting for when I needed it. I decided on Earth's Best Infant Formula. I chose it because that is the brand of food I normally buy, and I liked that it was organic. Also, it seemed reasonably priced. However, I wasn't too concerned about the price, since I am only supplementing with formula and don't have to buy a ton. I got the powder versus the ready to eat, because the powder can be open for a month. The ready to eat has to be used within a couple of days after being opened.
Currently, Ben is having three 5 oz. bottles each day at daycare. I also send in a fourth 4 oz. bottle "just in case," but that one typically comes home with me. Yesterday, I only had 13.5 oz. of breast milk. So I did two 5 oz. bottles of breastmilk, one 6 oz. bottle of formula, and one 3.5 oz. bottle of breast milk as the "extra." I made the formula bottle 6 oz. because it was just easier measuring that way, since it is one scoop of powder for every 2 oz. I figured if he didn't drink the whole thing and they threw some out, I could care less because it was just formula. How liberating!

I labeled which bottle was formula and chatted with the caretaker about in the morning. I didn't instruct her when to give him the formula bottle. She ended up giving him that one first, which I was fine with because he always has three bottles so I knew he would get the other two breast milk ones. The 4th "extra" bottle, I took home and used today. She reported that he drank the formula with no problems, had all six oz, and took a two hour nap afterwards. I like the sound of that.

This morning I had 12 oz. of breast milk. I knew that I wanted to use all of the breast milk, because he doesn't go back to daycare until Monday (tomorrow is my flex day). So I sent two 5 oz. bottles of breast milk, one 6 oz. bottle of mixed formula and breast milk, and one "extra" 4 oz. bottle of formula. I read that it is fine to mix formula and breast milk in the same bottle. The disadvantage of this is that you have to use formula within an hour of heating it up. So if the baby doesn't drink the whole bottle within an hour, you have to throw it out. If there happens to be breast milk mixed in, you lose the breast milk. However, they have had to throw out breast milk before that he hasn't finished, so I am sort of used to it. Also, lately Ben has been finishing his bottles, so I don't think that it too much of a risk. I guess I will find out!

One issue I am trying to figure out is what to do about that extra "just in case" bottle. For instance, that bottle was just formula today. I see that happening in the future a lot - having enough breast milk or almost enough for the three bottles, but not the extra one. It seems wasteful to make a bottle of formula each day to just throw out. I am not sure what to do about this. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

As an aside, my pumping production has taken a huge nosedive this week. I have only been pumping 9-10 oz. each day. I think this is a combination of several factors: (1) I have been sick and last week I took some decongestants. (2) I spent the night away from Ben for the first time (see here). I pumped, but I think it still cost me. (3) I have stopped pumping at home in the evenings. I just got sick of it and didn't produce much then anyways. (4) Ben has been nursing less when I am with him on the weekends. He still has a strong nursing sesh first thing in the morning, but not much after that until the afternoon. Probably due to his food intake going up. I bought some new membranes for my pumping parts today, so hopefully that helps! I'll keep ya posted!

So Ben is regularly getting formula now. I could see it coming on the horizon for a while. I almost never pumped the amount that he actually drank at daycare, and my freezer stash was bound to run out at some point. He is seven months old now, so I feel pretty good about it. More than anything, I am thankful that formula exists. I think it is safe to say that I have done almost every reasonable thing I could think of to keep up breastfeeding/pumping while working (although something I wouldn't do, here).  If formula didn't exist, I wouldn't be able to work at this point, because Ben would not have enough to eat. I plan on continuing to breastfeed and pump, only supplementing what I am not able to make. I am sure at some point, I will pump less at work, and then not at all, when Ben gets older. I need to research the weaning process to figure it all out. I am sure I will do a post about it! ;)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Daily Schedule Revisited (7 months)

Ben is seven months old today! I can't believe it! Time has really flown. I have now been back at work for three months, and I have survived - amazing. For the record, the biggest challenge has been illnesses. The schedule is like finely tuned, well-oiled machine. Ben and I being sick is like someone hitting that machine with a wrench. After I remove the wrench, it takes a little while to fix the machine. Gawd, this metaphor is GENIUS!

Ben can sit up now, is really interactive, and can crawl backwards. Babyproofing is in our immediate future!
So I didn't do an update on the schedule at six months for two reasons. (1) I forgot. (2) By the time I remembered, I realized it was ok, because it was still basically the same as the five month old daily schedule. However, there have been a few changes since, so here ya go!

Workday Schedule (7 month old and Breastfeeding/Pumping)

5:45am - Dan wakes up, gets ready

6:00am - Dan wakes me up, I beg him for five more minutes. This may happen twice. I wake up and get ready. I shower the evening before, so during this time I put on my make-up, straighten or curl my hair, and get dressed. If Ben gets up during this time, Dan gets him until I am ready.

6:30am - 7:15am -  If Ben is still asleep, I bang around the kitchen while making his bottles, making my coffee, etc. I might also get all of my bags ready for work before I grab him if he is sleeping late. I bring my granola bar and water to Ben's room and breastfeed. I have had to start nursing him in his room in the morning versus the living room, because he gets too distracted. Sometimes he has a full sesh, sometimes he just snacks. I usually don't start actually breastfeeding until around 6:40am. If he is really sleeping hard, I might not get him up until 7am, because I feel terrible about waking him up. I'm late those mornings (but it hasn't happened often). While I am nursing Ben, Dan goes to Starbucks to get himself a venti french vanilla iced coffee with soy milk (his one luxury, he's such a yuppy). If it is a Tuesday or a non-flex Friday, he also drops Shelbs off at doggy daycare during this time.*

7:15-7:25am - I call down to Dan when Ben is finished nursing and he comes up and changes and dresses Ben while I make Ben's cereal for breakfast (and make his bottles for the day if I haven't done that already). Dan brings Ben downstairs and feeds him breakfast. I get my things together, kiss Ben and Shelbs goodbye (Ben could care less, Shelby whimpers), and run out the door.

7:25-8:00am - Commute to work. Traffic is definitely worse now that it is fall. Also, there is a sun glare this time of the year on sunny days. These annoying things are tempered by the glorious fall weather.

7:40am - Dan leaves the house to take Ben to daycare and go to work.

8:00am - Dan drops off Ben at daycare.

8:45am - Dan arrives at work.
    • During the day, Ben usually has three 6 oz bottles of pumped breast milk. I also send a fourth 4oz. bottle for him just in case, but he almost never has the fourth bottle.
    • Ben eats a jar of baby food for lunch around 11:30am. He also has either yogurt or another jar around 4pm.
    • Hopefully, Ben has a good morning and afternoon nap. At home, he sleeps for about 1-2hrs in the a.m. and 1-2hrs. in the pm. At daycare, we are lucky to get an hour at each nap. This is a constant struggle with me, because he is so much happier in the evenings when he is rested. But, he just sleeps less at daycare.
    • I pump three times at work - 8:15am, 12pm, 3:30pm. I normally pump 11-12 oz.
    • If I get in any exercise, it is during my lunch break. We have a gym in our building with a few treadmills. This doesn't happen much because I am almost always getting over a cold.
5:00pm - It's 5 o'clock somewhere! I leave work and drive like Cruella Deville to daycare, because I miss my son. I may call my sister or a friend (using Bluetooth!) and chat on the way there.

5:30pm - I arrive at daycare to pick up Ben. Most of the time, he smiles and is happy to see me. However, he usually fusses when I put him in the carseat.

5:45pm - If Shelby is at doggy daycare that day (Tuesdays and every other Friday), then I pick her up on the way home.

5:50pm - 6:00pm - Arrive home.

5:50pm-7:00pm - Throw the expressed breast milk and any daycare left overs in the fridge. Quickly let out Shelbs (Dan usually feeds her when he gets home). If Ben has fallen asleep on the way home, I may go ahead and wash bottles while he sleeps, or I may just sit on the couch and relax for a few minutes. He never naps past 6:30pm. Bathe Ben (I do this about every other day). Play with Ben, change and dress him for bed. Look at his fingernails, and say - Damn, I need to clip those. Don't clip them. Squeegee out his nose if it's stuffy. He absolutely hates this. Play with him some more until bed time. 

6:15pm-6:45pm- Dan gets home. Monday is usually his day off from running. On this day, he will usually bring something home for dinner. Other days, Dan warms up for his run, then goes for his run. Ben and I follow Dan around the house while he changes before his warm up and chat. While Dan warms up, Ben is usually playing next to him with me. 

7:00pm - Around this time, Ben will start to get fussy. I take him up to his room, check to see if he needs another diaper change or nose suckage, and nurse him. If he is clearly tired and fussy earlier, then we start nursing earlier.

7:30pm - Put Ben to bed. Like I said, it may be a little earlier or a little later than this, depending on how sleepy he is. Most of the time, he goes right to sleep. Occasionally, there are bad nights when he is super fussy for some reason and has a hard time going to sleep.

7:30pm-10pm- Lately, I wait to eat until after Ben is asleep. If I am starving, I will go ahead and fix myself something after I put him down. If I am not so starving, and Ben seems pretty knocked out, I will shower first. Dan gets home from his run, showers, and then makes himself some dinner and eats. Whoever gets to the bottles first washes them. Lately, it's about 50/50 who washes all of the bottles and pump parts, depending on if it is taking me longer to put Ben to sleep or if I am showering when Dan gets home or if Dan ran that night. Sometimes we eat dinner together if I have waited. Sometimes, I make the bottles for the next day, sometimes I leave that for the morning. Sometimes, I do it halfway (because I have to wait on other milk to defrost). I check and see if Ben needs any supplies for daycare. We collapse in front of the TV for a bit and pet the dog. I may grab some laundry to fold while watching TV.

10:00pm - We go to bed.

Wee hours of the morning - Ben usually sleeps through the night now (knock on wood).  The past week, I got into a not so wonderful habit of nursing him at 4:30am, because he was sick and needed the extra tender care. We didn't do that the past couple of mornings, so that might be gone, phew.

A couple of things to note:

(1) Ben now eats three "solid" meals a day. I tried feeding him "dinner" at home in the evening, but that didn't work out for us. Most of the time, he was too tired and cranky to eat then. I also realized that on the weekends, I was feeding him the "dinner" meal earlier. So I asked daycare to do it. That seems to be working well for us now, and they always say he is hungry for his meal then. We will probably need to adjust this even more not too far down the line when he starts eating even more.

(2) His mood in the evenings affects a lot, and I have to go with the flow. On magical happy days, he has had a good amount of rest during the day, and is happy and playful in the evening at home. Sometimes, he is tired and just wants to mostly be cuddled in the evenings. I try to just play it by ear and read his mood.

So that is our daily schedule with a 7 month old. Don't be jelly!
*Shelbys goes to daycare on Tuesdays because that is when we have the housekeeper come. Although the housekeeper only comes every other week, it is easier to just keep our schedule consistent each week with the dog walker. I am home every other Friday due to my flex schedule, so Shelbs goes to daycare on the other Friday. All other days, our sweet dog walker comes to walk Shelbs in the middle of the day so she can do her business.