Monday, March 28, 2011

It's my birthday!

Nothing says "birthday" like going to work early, right? At least we had a Breastfeeding Support Group meeting today, so that made the day go quickly. After work, I picked up the supplies for the shrug that's going to be my next knitting project, and I went for a quick run.

Brett and I had the nanny come over for a bit so we could go to dinner- first time we've had dinner all by ourselves in almost a year (what's a date night?!?!?). We put Lucy to bed before we left, and Junie was about to nap, so I was able to bypass mommy-guilt for the time being.

We headed to McGuire's- our fave Pensacola restaurant. Brett forgot his wallet, so not only was he unable to drink, but I got to buy my own birthday dinner- wahoo! Anyway, our meals were delicious as usual, and we had a good time, even if we talked mostly about the kids.

I especially enjoyed all birthday wishes, the chocolate-covered strawberries that arrived at work, and my spankin' new Kindle. Thanks, everyone!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I am sick. So here are some pics of Junie....

....who I am praying doesn't get sick as well (same goes for Lucy, and Brett, of course). So far mama's milk is working its magic in this respect, so thank goodness for that. Since I basically feel like sh*t and have no motivation to write a long post, and because Junie is already rolling over both front to back and back to front (wayyyyyy earlier than her big sis, I might add), I thought I might as well document it. Her first "official roll" was on 12 March.

Can we slow things down just a little, sweetheart?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Emily’s Guide to Successful Pumping: Part 1- Attitude

In my experience, the most important factor in one’s success or failure as a pumping mama is ATTITUDE. As I’ll describe in coming posts, equipment and environment are two more important aspects. However, I firmly believe that if a mama is truly committed to pumping, she will find ways to overcome a difficult work environment and to make the best of what equipment she has available.

When one first decides to pump, whether out of necessity or by choice, there are several decisions to be made and options to think about and these ideas are all affected by a mama’s personal beliefs and her body’s capability to produce for a pump. Some things to consider:

1. What are my goals for pumping? Do I want to attempt to feed my baby breastmilk exclusively, or am I willing to supplement if needed?

Breastfeeding isn’t an all-or-nothing relationship. Even if your body is not able to produce enough for the pump to breastfeed exclusively, every ounce of breastmilk counts- and, after all, breastfeeding isn’t just about breast milk. I’ve heard many mothers say that they were unable to pump “enough,” so they quit entirely and went to formula or donated breastmilk. Remember that inability to pump DOES NOT equal inability to breastfeed, as some women are physically unable to maintain their supply on a pump. Are you willing to pump even if you have to supplement? Giving formula during the day and nursing when you’re home is an option. Even when my supply plummeted during my pregnancy with Junie, and Lucy was receiving formula bottles while I was at work, I was able to nurse Lucy when I was home. She didn’t get much milk, but I reminded myself that every drop of breastmilk contains antibodies, and the comfort and closeness we shared was wonderful.

Some suggestions: continue to breastfeed when you’re home. If you’re comfortable with the idea, put your baby in bed with you- baby can nurse at night. I’ve slept through more nursing sessions than I can possibly count. Some babies even reverse-cycle, sleeping while mom is away and nursing frequently when mom is home. This makes things easier for a mom who has trouble producing for the pump, because it decreases the amount that baby must be supplemented- especially in an older baby who is also taking solids.

2. How long do I want to pump for?

Setting a goal in regards to how long you want to pump is important, both emotionally and for practical reasons. If you only want to pump for a few weeks or months, renting a hospital grade pump is probably a better option than buying a pump designed for home use. If you are committed to pumping for several months to a year or beyond, buying a pump is the more economically sound decision.

Goals also help keep you focused. Set short-term goals- they are easier to meet, which is very motivating. Once you meet those, you can set your sights higher. I’ve known mamas who initially wanted to pump for 4 months, and dedicated themselves to that amount of time. By the time they reached that point, they had adapted so well and pumping was such a part of their daily routine that they set new goals for themselves- pumping for a year or even beyond.

3. Who can I talk to? What support is available?

I have found that talking to other mamas who are going through the same experiences as myself is incredibly helpful. In-person support groups, online groups, someone who works with you and pumps as well- all are options. In my last workplace, we didn’t have a designated pumping area- so I made my office into one. I pumped at the same time as a co-worker, and it really made things easier. It was a wonderful opportunity to support one another and share “tips of the trade,” which I’ll talk about later.

4. Be gentle with yourself.

Even if pumping doesn’t work out for you- whether it’s because of physical or emotional reasons- treat yourself kindly. You’ve done the best you could, and there’s no shame in that.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lucy at 18 months.

Weight: 22.4 lbs (20th percentile)
Length: 32.48 in (70th percentile)
Head: 18 in (25th percentile)

So basically Lucy is growing like a weed, and has *luckily* not inherited my giant head.

The doctor didn't bug me about her speech, either- he was too busy being impressed by her signing. (Insert sigh of relief here.) Luckily Lucy was on her A-game today and signed several phrases for him- including "help-ball-please," as she reached for the ball on his desk.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm still here...and Lucy's still not talking.

As I type, Junie is sleeping on the Boppy on my lap. Her right hand is clutching my chin- one of her cute little habits. I've been trying to get her to take a short nap all night- no luck. Just like her older sister, Junie demands to be held at. all. times. The child could be out cold, but the minute I put her down, she's wide awake.

Anyway, both girls are doing great. Lucy's been nightweaned successfully (for the second time), and is either sleeping through the night or waking once, settling back down quickly for Daddy. Junie sleeps through the night most nights, but if she does wake, a quick nursing session has her asleep again in no time.

However, I'm not looking forward to Lucy's well-baby visit next week- it's her 18-month check-up. She's growing great, eats a wide variety of foods, is incredibly coordinated for a child her age, and knows so many signs that I've stopped counting them. She can also put together short phrases- her favorite as of late being "more banana, please."

The issue? Lucy's still not talking. I mean, she says Mama and Dada regularly. I've also heard her say "hi!" and something that sounds like "dance dance." But that's it.

I'm not worried. I know that every baby develops on his or her own schedule. Some pediatricians even "count" signs as being the same as spoken words, as far as communication development goes. However, I know that pediatricians are also big on milestones, and I'm anticipating that Lucy's will have an opinion and likely some ideas on how to encourage her speaking. I also know that research indicates that signing does not hinder speech development, which is a common misconception about signing. Still, I can't help but wonder if proficient signing makes speech less of a priority for a child.

I can't wait until Lucy becomes more verbal. I just want to hear her little voice!