Saturday, February 4, 2012

Measuring Life by Ounces

Having kids changes our worlds, our worth, our anxiety, our thoughts, our percieved notions of ourselves.  I know changes happen for men too,  but I don't think it is quite as drastic as it is for us.  We women become something stronger than we ever new we could be.  Selfless superwomen.  Every thought is of someone else before ourselves, we see it all differently- our bodies are not even our own.
Things you don't think will matter- do and things you thought would matter- don't.  I find myself dwelling being a working mom.  Being gone from 7-4 or 9-5 or night shifts are not easy.  Wishing you could be near your little one more than other peoples little ones is tough for me being a teacher.  I have chosen to nurse and hope to continue it for the first year of Nola's life.  She is 7 months, so I am focused on June. I had no idea how painful breastfeeding would be until Nathaniel was born almost 2 years ago. I would bite on a rubber pacifer until the let down ended. 4 months later I started back to work, never with my heart in it.  My heart would be in measuring each day by the ounces I could pump at my two pumping times set aside for the day.  It would help me know if I was getting enough for him to eat, and eventually I wouldn't have enough, so I would add pumping times in between his last feeding and my bed time.  Eventually, I was spending all my time worrying about milk. Did he get enough, did I pump long enough and get enough ounces, when would I be able to pump again for more milk.  I was devasted the first time he refused me and wanted the bottle.  It was faster and it had enough milk.  I measured my life by ounces.  Nate started weaning himself at 7 1/2 months.  I think we were totally done at 8 months. 

You have to make pumping a priority, even if it takes only 15 minutes for you pump what you need, set aside 30 minutes.  Try to relax and attempt!! not to think of anything.  I added email to my phone so I could check it while I was pumping.  With Nola I am able to pump at 10:30 and 2:30.  Most double electric pumps also have a cooler attached to it, so you just need to remember ice packs.  I don't have two sets of horns, but you could easily get them.  I do have two sets of tubes, just in case one set breaks or something while I am out.  I wash all my stuff when I get home and set it out to dry for the morning.  I wake up thirty minutes early to nurse in the morning at 6.  She usually goes back to sleep afterwards so that is nice.  If she wakes around 4-5 am to eat then I pump at 6 before I leave for work, because I can't wait longer than 4 1/2 hours to pump again.  I know I do not have the flexibility at work to pump earlier.  I think it is important for moms to have the choice to pump or not.  If you have to go back to work, it shouldn't define whether or not you can continue nursing your little one.  Your work has, has HAS to create an environment that you can pump in. You also have to let work go at least twice a day, just like you would a lunch or break.  Allow yourself to think of your little one.  Measuring life by ounces is tough work, but it is worth it.  It is so healthy for you and your baby.  It's also free! Formula is soooo expensive!

Superwomen have a tough job to do.  If you want to nurse and work, I hope that you will fight for yourself and make it happen!  I would love to hear other ways you survived being a nursing-working mom.  Share your tips!

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around forever outside your body." --Elizabeth Stone

1 comment:

Lib said...

Hey Court--

This brings back a lot of memories from when Tess was a baby. I was still active duty in the Air Force and had to return to work when she was 8 weeks old. I remember hauling my faithful Medela pump to work everyday and I remember becoming paranoid around month four and five that my supply was decreasing. I started having to supplement with formula when Tess was 6 months and she'd weaned herself by 9 months. I remember STRESSING about my supply decreasing. It's so true...I measured my life in ounces.

Now that my breastfeeding days are officially over, I do miss that time. I loved nursing. I loved the oxytocin rush and the way I felt. It's a special time and a privilege and a season that I often miss...but not enough to have another child, lol.

Thanks for sharing your life these days. I worked fulltime after Tess was born for only about 7 months and then I got out of the AF and was able to work part time. I have a lot of respect for working mommas!!!