March 27, 2010

Not an Advice Blog

I’ve been asked a few times about the most useful baby presents, parenting suggestions, etc. so I'm attempting to remember everything and get it down on paper (laptop). Please feel free to comment and add on!

Gifts we couldn't have lived without: sleep sack, Bright Starts chair (pictured above), Diaper Genie.

Did you know formula is sometimes covered by health insurance?WHAT?! Yes, it's true. A 30 day supply for either a $0 copay (with BCBS HMO) or $30 copay (with BCBS PPO, what we have). A big thank you to my friend and co-worker Nancy for this info. I would have never known. All we had to do was ask Jill's doc to write a prescription. It's good until she is 1 year old so we asked Dr. Oh to write it for 6oz a feeding. Jill just went from 4oz a feeding to 6 (2oz breastmilk, 4oz formula). We received a rejection letter from the insurance company and then a few days later an approval letter. It seems like a hush hush insurance benefit but it is there for the taking so take it! Keep after your doc and pharmacy. It may take more than a few phone calls and a couple weeks.

I'm sure all day cares are different but our center (Jack n Jill in Marina Bay) requires Jill's bottles to be mixed and ready to go at drop off. Three weeks in and we just figured out to measure the water and fill the bottles the night before. Now if we could just clean the bottles earlier in the night and actually do it!

Jill has been having a combination of breastmilk and formula from the beginning. I wish she could have been all breastmilk for a few months but I wasn't - and am still not - making enough. Many Moms have this dilemna. I've learned that it's nothing to be ashamed of though. Any amount of breastmilk is a gift. There are actually benefits to doing at least some formula from the beginning as well. It has Vitamin D! Without formula intake, breastfed babies sometimes need a Vit D supplement. It also gets the baby's tastes and belly used to formula early on so they don't have a hard time adjusting when weening arrives.

New parents hear nonstop advice (welcomed and not); this site is not meant to be an advice blog by any means. It's more of a this-is-what-worked- (and didn't) for-us and you can take or leave it. Something I feel we've done a good job with is Jill's sleep schedule. She probably could have been sleeping in her crib earlier but we weren't ready. I don't think there's a good time suggestion for that. It's when the parents and baby are ready. Anyway, I listened to the welcomed advice of several co-workers to start putting Jill to bed at the same time (much earlier) every night and to stick to a solid routine. Dark room with very little light and classical music lullabies. She was going to bed around 9:30-10 and we started putting her down around 8. The first few nights were rough and it took her a bit to fall asleep, but we stuck with it. Now she's asleep by 8 at the latest. I firmly credit our routine of the same everything every night. She got used to it and now falls asleep fairly easily every night. It's awesome!

March 25, 2010

Babies R Work Day, 'Real' Showers and Long Rides

My hands were completely full and I made my way down to the third floor. That's where the lactation rooms are. I put down my ID badge, pump bag, bottled water and phone (to keep an eye on the time). I forgot my shields with membranes. Are you serious? Deep breathes. Somehow I didn't cry. Must've been the luck of the hormones at that moment. Tony picked me back up from work and we went to Babies R Us (closer than going back home) for its 9:30am opening. The day was saved. That was Thursday.

Friday I decided enough was enough with the hair growth on my legs so I got up a 1/2 hour earlier than the usual alarm and took a "real" shower. I didn't rush. The house was quiet. I shaved my legs. I felt like a different person! I did this another day too, but worked out on the elliptical. I wish I could drag my ass out of bed at 4:30 every day! So peaceful and relaxing...

Not peaceful and relaxing: the 4hr car ride to Vermont Friday afternoon. We got out of work early and shot home to pack up the truck. This is a much more involved process than the bag of clothes, toothbrushes and dog food packing before baby. I think the entire bed of the truck was full. You have the Pack n Play, the bouncy seat, the stroller, plenty of diapers, wipes, outfits, blankets, warm clothes in case we (God forbid) broke down, burp clothes and more diapers (you can never have enough). Jill's teachers at day care offered to try to time her last feeding so that we could hit the road (very nice of them!) running. We ran until New Hampshire. Then she started running her mouth. And then Mom ended up in the backseat. Two pitstops and 4 hours later, we made it to my in-laws in Burlington. It was a relief! And it was great to see them too, of course. Jill has changed and grown so much since their last visit. We are looking forward to spending a lot of time with them this weekend!

March 18, 2010


Maybe it’s a hormonal thing. I’m jealous of stay-at-home Moms today. I’m jealous of new Moms with their pre-pregnancy bodies. I’m jealous of Moms who produce more breast milk. I’m jealous of formula Moms who don’t have to pump at work. But then I wonder: Are they envious of working Moms; Moms who have a few pounds to lose but are fine with it coming off in due time; Moms who supplement with formula and do the best they can; and Moms who get a break at work to think of their little ones? Maybe it’s a hormonal thing.

I feel like I’m in between on a lot of these. Some days I wish I could stay home with Jill. Other days I really enjoy going to work. But take yesterday: Tuesday I had stayed home with Jill and we had a great time. Wednesday (St. Patty’s Day – see above) Jill was crying when we walked into day care. It broke my heart. It was so hard to see her upset. Of course she cries at “school” but we hadn’t seen it happen yet. Ideal solution for me: a part-time job with an independently wealthy bank account - not going to happen so my full-time job with precious time with Jill in the morning, at night and on the weekends. Monday holidays will be a special treat!

Breastmilk. Oh the breastmilk. I’m going to start taking Fenugreek again so I can make more. It’s so unbelievably frustrating to pump and not make much. It’s a vicious style really because I’m sure the negativity and stressful feeling doesn’t help production at all. My herbal friend Fenugreek and making more breastmilk might help with the next topic: weight. Although not the main reason, a very nice side benefit would be to drop a few (20) lbs. faster. I definitely don’t fit in either of the above-mentioned groups. I haven’t lost my pregnancy weight (although I have lost 30 lbs, yes, you do the math) but I’m also not ok with it coming off at a leisurely rate. I want to be back to my old self now! Haha So hard to have a foreign body still and not fit into your old clothes. Nobody wants to be wearing maternity pants 14 weeks after having a baby. But nobody wants to buy another new wardrobe either, especially after buying a mess of maternity clothes. Solution: buy a few new tops to fit the expanded chest and belly and a couple pairs of work pants. Join Weight Watchers. Give yourself a break. Take deep breathes. This is a big transition (still!).

March 9, 2010


I woke up this morning feeling very lucky (and it wasn’t just because Jill konked out at 8:15 and was still asleep). I’m lucky because I have a wonderful husband and a healthy, happy baby. I stayed in bed for a few minutes listening to Tony sleep, Rachael snore from her bed at the foot of ours, and Jill stir from her crib in the other room. I woke up before the alarm and just enjoyed the noises of our house, our family. I’ll be 30 on Thursday and I have a family. When did this happen?!

Motherhood has proven a BIG adjustment so far. I consider myself a pretty relaxed person – but really – what an adjustment! I’ve had a few crying spells. I’ve had a few freak out I-can’t-handle-this fits. And Tony has always brought me back down to planet Earth. Take yesterday when I was being an unreasonable stressball. Mondays are tough for new Moms, there’s no doubt about it. I missed Jill a lot. The weather was gorgeous this weekend and work was the last place I wanted to be. I pumped very little milk (from previous posts you know production is a challenge in the first place) in the morning, which is when I’m used to seeing the most. I was in the lactation room flailing around too quickly when I bumped one of the containers and it fell. Milk split. I cried. Crying turned into sobbing turned into mascara running. I was a mess. I talked to Tony and he didn’t sound very sympathetic. (In his defense, I’m sure he was busy at work and I caught him offguard.) Moments later, he sent me a sweet email that I was a great Mom and I was doing the best that I could with Jill’s breast milk supply. There is formula these days, he reminded me. Meanwhile, I emailed with my fellow new Mom co-worker/lactation room occupant. She completely understood my emotional concern but, as she said, “there’s no need to cry over split milk.”

The Mad Crapper

Jill’s photo shoot was a success! Mary Beth, my friend from work, took a ton of great shots! Jill wasn’t in the smiliest (just made that word up) mood but MB captured a few smirks and they are as cute as they be. One picture (included above) I sent to everyone. I’m like that proud Mom who can’t stop bragging. On that note, Jill slept in her crib in her own room about four weeks ago now. It was the Monday night of President’s Day Weekend and I was going to work the following morning. We put her in the crib and she fell asleep (after a little bit of a fight) around 10pm. We were both freaked out and got up at least once each to make sure she was still breathing. She seems to really like the crib and the space to spread out her long limbs. Nightly snoozes last from 9:30-10:30 to around 4-5. (Since I started working on this post, her schedule has shifted to 8:15ish-5.) After a feeding and a little attention, Jill will go back to sleep until 9ish. She’s getting the hang of things. Is it bad to say that I felt like I loved her more when she started sleeping longer? It’s the truth!

It’s been amazing to watch Jill’s development in the last few weeks. She’s smiling more (and coming very close to laughing), holding her head up longer, eating more, maintaining eye contact longer and just being more interactive overall. It’s very cool to hear the new noises she’s making too, lots of cooing and just different noises that make you think she really wants to talk. Who knows? Maybe she thinks she’s already talking away. I have a feeling she’s going to be a little chatterbox like her Mommy.

I went back to work three weeks ago and it’s been interesting to say the least. It’s nice to see my work friends again and to have adult interaction. And like Jill, people in my marketing group need a lot of things but at least they can verbalize them and tell me what they need. Jill just cries. (As a side note, we’re really starting to know what her different cries mean. She also doesn’t cry often. She fusses right before a nap and cries when she’s hungry. Overall, she’s a happy baby.) It’s been a little frustrating to listen to comments about how hard it must be for me to be back at work already. Of course people mean well, but it’s like well why don’t you remind me that I’m here at work and away from her? Ha thanks for making matters worse! And you know, being away from Jill is getting easier. It makes days home with her extra special and a little work/life balance is a good thing!

For the first two weeks back at work, my Mom and Tony’s Mom helped out a lot. They stayed with her during the day and also helped us out around the house. I stayed home a day so did Tony. He had training with a few (emphasize a few) wet diapers but hadn’t changed a dirty diaper yet. He advised Jill not to poop before I left for work that Friday. She didn’t listen. I got a hysterical picture in my email around 8:30 of Jill with a (clean) diaper on her head. The subject: The Mad Crapper. Jill was giving Dad a run for his money! At the end of the day, Tony acknowledged it was hard work. She needs nonstop attention, he said! So with the help of the Grams, Jill was able to start day care two weeks after I went back to work. I think that made the transition a bit easier. Co-workers warned me that the first day care drop-off day would be tough. I knew it would be more difficult than leaving her with family but I didn't anticipate my reaction. I was sobbing in the parking lot. It was much harder than I had expected. I called only once during the day and Jill was doing great. We got good report cards (sheets that report pee, poop and nap times and fun activities) and realized that the interaction and experience she was getting at day care was something we could not match at home. And so the next day was much easier. And the following day was even easier. I'm hoping tomorrow will be the same!