Monday, April 28, 2014

Grateful for #4

My employer.
I was given 8 weeks maternity leave at 100% pay of 40 hours a week. Even though I had only been working 30 hours a week the 6 weeks prior to birth. And had been working 20 hours the 6 months before that.
Coming back to work I requested an exception to my schedule so I had time to nurse or pump. (Working from home means I nurse on breaks for the most part.) The law requires they provide time, but it doesn't have to be paid. I was given an extra paid 10 minutes on my regular paid 15 minute break for the next 6 months (at least).
Amazon treats it's employees quite well.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Grateful for #3

Today I find myself grateful for my home. I have the best of multiple worlds. A smallish loft apartment for everyday living, a large shop for hosting parties, country air, close to the city, my own space but a great support system living near my in-laws.

Of course there are things is change if I could, but I am quite grateful for what I have.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

So you say you're uncomfortable with breastfeeding in public.

I understand why you are uncomfortable, society has been sexualizing breasts since before you were born. You, and many others have the sexual function of breasts in the forefront of your minds(thank you media) rather than their primary function, which is to nourish babies. The problem with that mentality, and with expressing your thoughts to suppress a woman's right to nurse her child, and that child's right to eat, is that it continues the de-normalization of breastfeeding.

Many people nowadays rarely, if ever, see women nourishing their babies with their body. Those people become parents or grandparents or aunts or child care providers and have a disconnect with (God's or) nature's design and choose to feed formula, which is proven to raise health risks. The increase in health problems as well as the enormous environmental impact of formula use affects everyone. That disconnect with nature's design can also lead women to not trusting their bodies' natural capabilities and intuition when it comes to health diagnosis, childbirth, taking control of health issues etc. It has been proven that the more a woman sees breastfeeding and hears positivity surrounding breastfeeding, the higher chance she has at breastfeeding her children and the longer that they will be able to nurse.
The health of children, the environment, economy, and society will be greatly improved when the majority of mothers breastfeed.

So try this. Instead of expressing discomfort with a mom nursing(covered or not) (verbally or with body language or after the fact gossiping), smile, nod, imagine your own babies, nieces, nephews, imagine love and support and realize that breasts were made to feed babies and mammals were designed (by God or evolution whichever you believe) to consume their own mother's milk. And parenting can be hard enough without criticism.

So you say "I couldn't nurse"?

I don't say this to be mean, or to make you feel guilty, or because I think I'm better than you. I'm not calling anyone a liar or a bad mom. It's not my intention to hurt feelings or to accuse anyone of wrong doing. But, how you talk about your lack of ability to breastfeed can make a difference to others.

It is VERY possible that you could have breastfed, had you received ample support and education. I DO NOT blame any mom for not breastfeeding, regardless on how much they did, or didn't try. I blame the many years of formula use. A seed was planted when formula was invented, a mixture of pharmaceutical company marketing, new mothers having to work more, and misinformed doctors, got moms and dads and aunts etc thinking that formula was better. Years of moms giving bottles (whose children "turned out fine") and those moms becoming grandmothers and not knowing how to able to best help their new mom offspring is to blame. (I could also talk of society's over-sexualization of breasts here too but I'll skip that) All those bottles (and "fine" outcomes) has de-normalized breastfeeding. It isn't seen as the normal, go-to, common way to feed a baby.
Science now has since proven that formula is inferior. Protective, defensive moms refuse to accept that they gave their child an inferior food, they're moms, they instinctively want whats best-and hate to think they made a "mistake" or that they could have done "better". So they either convince themselves they *couldn't* breastfeed, that formula was better in their situation, or they feel guilty.
No one should feel guilty besides formula manufacturers. They push their product at the health expense of babies and moms all over the world. They give free samples to new moms - knowing that once a mom starts using formula, it is very slippery slope toward exclusive formula use as it is hard to have enough milk supply and she will have to soon pay for formula. So I don't ever blame moms for not breastfeeding.
Moms who didn't breastfeed or stopped before long need to know though, that they shouldn't feel guilty. What I see is many many defensive silently guilt stricken moms perpetuating the myth that its common to not make enough/any milk. This only hurts babies.
Medically, it's very rare for a mom to not be able to make enough milk. I'm not calling you a liar if you believe you couldn't. I want you to know though that it was most likely not true. Instead of saying "I didn't make milk" or. "My baby wouldn't latch say "I didn't have enough information or support to breastfeed." maybe you didn't try, maybe you did, maybe the baby wouldn't latch and nurses or pediatricians or your partner or own mom pushed formula, maybe you had medical birth interventions which altered your hormones/body and baby's body and hormones maybe you never knew anyone who breastfed or for some other reason had skewed feelings about breasts and breastfeeding.

Medically though, if you had help getting baby latched and had information on how breasts work and how to succeed at breastfeeding, you most likely wouldn't have needed formula. Its not your fault. Please though, future moms see and hear what you say, if they hear "I didn't make milk" they will think it's common to not get milk and might think they won't make milk and not try. If they hear "I didn't get enough support or learn enough about breastfeeding" they'll seek support and knowledge and with that, they'll most likely breastfeed. Know better do better, at the time, when your new baby was born, you did what you knew, it's ok to learn better and do better next time, and in the meantime, help other moms learn better.

It takes a village, if accepting that possibly, you could have breastfed under better circumstances, you help another mom breastfeed, isn't that great? It's not a competition, don't inadvertently perpetuate myths that may lead others to make a mistake you made. If your kid fell out of a certain brand high chair, you wouldn't recommend or defend the highchair, you'd share the knowledge and hopefully help another mom. Same thing.

A few things: You don't know if you made milk or not if your baby never latched on or if you gave formula right away. Your breasts are supply and demand. If baby doesn't latch, you body thinks the baby died (it doesn't know about formula) and it will stop the hormonal process of making milk. If the baby gets formula, it will learn how to drink from a bottle and may not know how to latch onto a breast.
Not leaking or swelling during pregnancy doesn't mean you can't feed. Neither does small breasts or large breasts pierced nipples, or breast surgery(although it may mean more challenges) or adoption (yes even women who've never been pregnant can lactate, although this is much more effort, stress and often not enough for exclusive breastfeeding). Newborn tummies are as big as a cherry, colostrum is plenty until the first milk transitions to mature milk. Breastfeeding is natural, but doesn't always come naturally, it takes some learning to know how to hold baby, what a good latch looks like, and how much a baby nurses. If it doesn't come easy, it doesn't mean you can't breastfeed.

Blog bombarding.

(I just made that term up)

Cleaning off my phone tonight I found some old (like a year or 2 or 3 old) rambly notes on various topics. Decided to blog them. Because they're not doing any good sitting around on my phone.

you have been warned

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Grateful for... Entry #2

(Totally had to add the "entry" in the title because it sounded like I was grateful for poop without it.)

I am often quite thankful for our fertility and easy pregnancies.

I have several close friends who have struggled with infertility and pregnancy loss and it breaks my heart for them.

When I recall my TTC adventures I think of those who have much more difficult stories to tell.

Before Ellie, we were "not trying not preventing" although I did want to get pregnant and didn't want to waste any opportunities.
[I always feared I'd have fertility issues, partly because it seems they always happen to those who would be the best parents. And partly because I wasn't always the most responsible sexually active woman of childbearing age and never had any oopses.]
I did imagine getting pregnant and thought about it often and visualized it (had recently read The Secret).
I had dreamt I was pregnant and took a test that morning I woke up and was thrilled.

When Ellie was almost 2 we took out the Mirena and wanted to wait a few months to get the hormones out if my system. We "tried" (as in intentionally made the sperm go inside) for 2 cycles then thought to get my thyroid checked. The numbers were crazy so we adjusted my dosage and checked it a month later. The numbers were good and I was ovulating a few days later.
We had considered not trying that cycle since it would put the next baby's birthday a couple weeks from Ellie's but waiting another month would still be the same issue and I still had that infertility worry, even after an easy time with E, so we just *enjoyed* our vacation.

I was thrilled when I noticed my reduced appetite (basically my only symptom with Ellie) a few weeks later.
A few weeks after that I took a test a and had a BFP.

We had a very easy time of getting pregnant.

I am grateful for that.

I also have very easy pregnancies, despite the gestational diabetes with Penny. I also had quite short uneventful natural vaginal births.
I am thankful for that.
We also have had very easy times breastfeeding. I know moms who have really struggled and I am thankful for the easy time we have had.

So I contemplated not writing this. I do not want to make anyone who struggled with infertility, pregnancy complications or breastfeeding struggles feel bad.
But I have this theory about stubbed toes.

Grateful for...

I was just laying in bed contemplating writing a post about what I am thankful for. I have a long list but I wasn't sure what I would write about.

Then, out of nearly nowhere, I hear Ellie, laying in the sidecar crib next to me, throwing up. Record breaking (I'm sure) amounts of throw up. Thanks to my mama ninja skills. And having extra large burp clothes handy (usually for leaky breasts or baby spitup) I caught all but the first amount.
She barely stirred (had stirred about 3 minutes earlier but not uncommon for her) and barely reacted to the throwing up and fell right back to sleep after.

Had I not been right there I'm sure it would have been a much bigger, more traumatizing (for her and I) mess as I'm sure she would have gotten it in hair and all over face and more than the one unfortunate stuffed toy. (She has quite a menagerie of animals normally.)

I must also say, I am grateful for a helpful hubby who rinsed out the clothes and fetched me warm rags, new sheets etc. And I'm grateful that Penny slept through it all and that I don't have an overly strong gag reflex.

Not sure what caused it, we all ate the same thing at dinner, she had an applesauce cup and we all had some popcorn before bed. I just hope Mikey's parents and grandma don't get sick too, being elderly and all.

I won't likely sleep well tonight, but I am happy to at least I can not-sleep well in my own bed with my sick kiddo in her, now extra padded bed, in arms reach, rather than worrying from another room or having to overly pad our bed to bring her in our bed for the night. Or sleep on the floor of her room.

Also bonus tip, if your long- haired child goes to bed sick, put the hair up in a high loose pony tail, this should (I hope) keep any more puke out of the hair.

My view from here:

Making room.

I am starting to feel like we really have too much stuff. I thought about what we acquired recently and am thinking of what can move out to make room.

I recently bought 3 new bottles (2 as back up I'm trying to wash Penny's one bottle after work each day.) I packed away 5 of Ellie's sippy cups. That freed up space in the cupboard bin for not only the extra bottles but also the extra milk storage bags. (Bought a 4x25=100 pack and that box doesn't fit in the drawer with the ziplocks, the 25packs do so 3 packs are in the box still.)

I also moved infrequently used kitchen gadgets out of that drawer to make room for the pump parts/pump bottles.

My next big focus is the office. I have a wonderful dresser I have previously devoted to gift wrap and generic gifts and extra goodie bag fillers.
Up in the attic the other day I found a box with some gift stuff in it and realized that I wrap gifts so infrequently that I could totally go into the attic for that task. And thought of using plastic totes like I used to for gift wrap stuff.
Looking in the office I see a short dresser that is half toys half Ellie's socks tights and panties. There's a drawer in penny's dresser that had attic stuff in it, so I re-arranged a few drawers and can move that little dresser up to the attic for gift wrap. I will keep one drawer of a few generic gift bags and tissue for last minute wrapping down in the office but this will free up so much space in my office!
Or I might keep the little dresser in the office for storage. I will decide.

I will also be relocating some glassware and books to the attic too.
There's just too much stuff in my office!

I know some FlySisters are probably thinking I should purge stuff to make room. I know I know. Tell hubby that.

I will be back with updates.

For now here is a little before pic to keep me accountable:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A good day as a Lactivist.

(A lactivist is an activist who focuses their attention and energy on supporting breastfeeding and normalizing human milk as the standard milk for human babies)

We met family (young looking mom with 2 boys- 3 and 2 yrs old) at McDonald's today. Ellie became fast friends with the older boy and the mom, younger boy, Penny and I sat on the chairs in the play place while the 3 year olds played. I nursed Penny openly like I always do. Other mom smiled when I joked with Penny about her hands not having milk in them. Other mom's 2 year old wanted milky too and, a bit shyly Other mom let him nurse a moment. My heart soared.

I wasn't sure if my nursing helped her feel comfortable nursing her (gasp!) 2 year old uncovered in public, or if she chose to nurse her 2 year old to encourage me to nurse full term.
Either way it was a win-win for normalizing breastfeeding.
Wanting to reassure Other mom that I thought nursing a 2 year old was just fine (or GREAT rather), I mentioned that Ellie (gesturing to the play structure) still nurses a few times a day. Other mom says "really?" And I wasn't sure if she was surprised, impressed, appalled, or what. I mention that it was especially helpful when baby was born. Then she talked about tandem nursing her (then 3) 6 year old daughter when her 3 year old son was born.

I wanted to hug her when it was time to go.

But breastfeeding is just another normal part of parenting, like insisting on eating the cheeseburger before playing, or buckling up in the car seat, or saving the happy meal toy for the waiting room at the next errand. So I just said "it was nice to meet you" and smiled happily.

Pumping Sucks

Actually it's not too bad, I just love the pun.

I have gotten into a routine to pump Lefty-loosie while Penny nurses on Righty-tighty (their nicknames reflect how easily the pump can get milk out.) a few time a day. I'm consistently able to freeze 2-4 ounces a day, which will be shared with an adopting family soon!
(Interested in donating or finding milk for your little one? Search Facebook for "Human Milk for Human Babies (then add your state)" .

Penny takes the bottle just fine, which is nice for grandma and daddy. So far, no I'll affects of returning to work.

I was always proud to exclaim how Ellie never needed bottles, that we weren't separated for feeds until she was old enough to use a sippy cup. And that I proudly nursed in public. I couldn't really relate to breastmilk bottle feeding families before (except my inability to pump very much with Ellie). I look at the bright side of giving Penny expressed milk. I can be an example of balancing work and breastfeeding. I can relate to more families.

Amazon is great by the way, I get an extra 10 minutes paid so that I can nurse directly and/or pump milk added to my regular break, which has worked pretty well as long as I don't get stuck on extra long contacts. If she seems hungry not long before break or end of shift grandma or daddy try to keep her happy so she can wait for me. On days she takes more expressed milk, I pump while nursing on break or right after work.

Tonight, I knocked over a fresh pumped bottle and of course it popped apart and spilled several ounces out. While I didn't cry about it, I did have a few choice words. (Beware of mixing Avent bottle with Medela pump.)

Funny thing, Ellie woke randomly to ask to nurse, which she nearly never does, so I paused the blog post for a few minutes. After she was done, and I started typing that last paragraph, I started leaking from Lefty.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Going to bed feeling a little crummy.
Felt good about making it to story time which entailed getting up an hour+ before we usually do, nursing and pumping milk, feeding E, getting her and I dressed, packing a snack, remembering change for the meter and arrived only a couple minutes late.
I have had a goal to engage more with Ellie so I focused on enjoying a few books with her and let her take plenty of time in the playroom after.
Didn't actually check out books because my sister met us and she needed to feed the meter so we did that then had a picnic snack. By the time that was done E didn't want to go look for books (which bugged me, I want her to obsess over books!)
Anyway I am proud of the positives today but I'm going to bed feeling crummy because of some negatives and I just can't shake them.
I don't tend to let negative things affect me- unless they're about me. Which they are.
I've been struggling with metrics at work the last few weeks since maternity leave and will likely be written up. I'm not too worried, I have confidence that I can pull it around , it just weighs on me.
Hubby and I argued today and I found out either I'm not doing as good as I thought I was at keeping up with the house lately or he's not noticing it. I probably should talk to him more about this but I'm just drained and want to bottle up my feelings, it's easier than fighting.

In effort to redeem myself I did work on dishes and music pick ups before bed and got up after nursing P to sleep and take care of our lizard, put away 2.5 loads of laundry, tidy the bathroom, sort dirty laundry, do an s&s.

The actions taken did help the situation. Slightly. Writing an honest unedited blog post is another goal of mine that I can think of to take the crummies away.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Flying lately.

I have been really flying lately. Keeping up on dishes, the bathroom and picking up the house regularly. It feels great! I've done a few small decluttering jobs also.
The mantra that has been working has been : "just do it. You like when it's done and it's easier to maintain than recover."
A few nights I've not felt like doing anything after long days, I've done something anyway. I haven't been to bed with more than my one dish tub of dishes dirty, have pupa'd and swept and changed laundry before bed. I've been putting away the clean dishes each morning and washing more than once a day.

Participating in the flying groups on fb really helps because as every-day as housework is, and it really doesn't warrant praise, it's nice to have a group of ladies who understand that housework is a challenge for me and I feel good and feel good when I do it. I think non-flyers would think "who would care that you cleared your counter? Why is that post-worthy? Don't millions of moms do that everyday without recognition?"
I don't feel I need recognition, it's the common goals, the common struggles, and the understanding that feels good. I also hope to inspire others, as I've felt inspired.

It also helps me get over my #fakebook tendencies.

What I really like is the lack of judgement and feeling like a normal, not bad person. Lots of wives, moms, homemakers, have to make a conscious effort to keep house and I'm not less of a person because I struggle. I don't have to put up a mask of perfection in the flying groups.

Rear facing to the max

This is Ellie, 37 months, rear facing. Insisted that her baby be buckled up also.

If you're wondering why she's rear facing 2 years longer than the minimum law requirement, and 1 year longer than the aap minimum recommendation, it's because the NHTSA recommends rear facing as long as the child is within size limits of the seat, ideally until 4.
She's in a Britax Boulevard70 and is almost at the height limit, soon she will move to a Chicco Nextfit, which has a higher height limit so she can rear face to the max. I'm estimating til 4.

This blog post should not be your only source of car seat information. I'm not an expert (although I'd love to be) and this post is not all inclusive.

Check out Car Seats For The Littles or The Car Seat Lady for much more inclusive articles.

(That's 2 month old Penny in the Chicco Nextfit next to her btw)

Quit with all the acquiring already.

I struggle with this.

It's only a dollar. It can go in the shop. We don't have one like it. It can add to the collection of similar ones. It's got good educational value. I just purged so much I have room.

I really don't have much sentimental attachment to things, so I'm ok tossing/donating things. But we have plenty of storage space so I really don't have to.

Went to the swap meet and decided not to look for things to buy. Look at things, with some cash in my pocket just in case, yes, but not look for things to acquire like I have before. It is ok to leave a store with one item or none. It's ok.

Not very far along the way in the swap meet I see a "free for kids" box of random toys and suggest Ellie look inside. The only one she's interested in was baby-ish and took batteries so I talked her out of it. She wasn't interested in any other.

But! Behold! A $1 pile! With a trike in it!

She's learning the peddling but finds it easier to just walk it with her feet instead.

Then I show her the storage under the seat and find some unidentifiable food item aka a block of mold. Ugk!

Got to our swap meet space to find that grandpa had found a $1 sit and use your feet "bike" and a $1 metal trike (with broken seat).

That taught me a lesson in swap meet shopping.

We have too much stuff.

Perfectionist procrastinator.

I haven't been blogging because I tell myself to do a perfect job, make sure it's edited and includes pictures and blah blah blah. The result: little to no blogging.

So I'm going to challenge myself to blog, imperfectly, more often.

So here come the unedited likely rambly jambly blog posts about whatever pops into my head. I'll consider keeping things on topic.

You've been warned.