Pump talk part 2

(Long post alert...this should have probably been two posts, but oh well. You'll live) :)

Because pumping is basically a numbers game it's very black and white, all about input and output and there's nothing comforting about being hooked up to a machine over and over again. Save the comfort, cuddle, sweet bonding time for actual breastfeeding sessions and get ready to be a number cruncher during your pumping times. Ah, numbers. Love/hate relationship for sure.

Numbers specific to me:

I pump three times in a work day and usually get between 12 and 18 ounces of milk total. That is a HUGE range, people, and it totally stresses me out. I'd say more often than not I get between 13-15 ounces but it definitely fluctuates. Let's match this up to Truman's intake: he had one day when he only ate 6 ounces of milk while I was gone (not good for our nightly schedule, my friends), once he ate 8 ounces total, and once he ate a whopping 18 ounces in a workday. Those are the extremes though and aren't that frequent. Mostly he downs between 10-12 ounces while I'm gone which is right on the mark for the 10.5 hours I'm away. So as you can see, what I pump USUALLY matches or exceeds what Truman will eat each day but it's easy to get down on yourself anyway. My first week back to work I rocked a steady 16 ounces each day and then all of a sudden it dropped to 12 or 13 and I freaked. Turns out that was right when my mastitis hit and I hoped my numbers would go back up once that cleared, but it really hasn't too much. I know it's normal to fluctuate but it still ticks me off even though I'm pumping 1:1 for Truman's eating. Call me an over-achiever or something but I just want to post big numbers each day, darn it! Oh and my right side produces at least three to four times the amount of my left, which accounts for that boob being so much bigger--but I'm glad it can produce so much to keep my numbers up overall. If both sides were equal and only made as much as my leftie I'd be in trouble for sure. I've sort of gotten used to my lopsidedness by now anyway.

And the other big number is in ounces but it's not for milk. It's for water. I drink a butt load of water each day you guys. I've always been a big water drinker but ever since I had Truman it's gotten amped up ten fold. I carry a 32 ounce Camelback water bottle with me at work each day and I fill it up at least 3 times if not 4. Plus I have another Camelback at home that I drink one full 32 ounce amount for breakfast, and usually two more fills at night for dinner and the evening hours. In case you aren't keeping track, that is 192 ounces of water I drink in a day, or 1.5 gallons. GALLONS, people. It was way more than that on my maternity leave when I had more time to sit and guzzle the agua but now I'm paring down to just 1.5 gallons since I'm too busy treating patients to drink. :) And yes, I do pee a lot but not as much as you'd expect. I think drinking this much water definitely helps my breastfeeding ventures and it also makes me feel healthy and energized. How else would a nurse tell me the other day, 'You look very well-rested for having a newborn'? unless she was just pitying me:) So lesson is: drink lots and lots and lots of water because it really does help with milk production and it makes you feel good.

This is how I do it (cue Montel Jordan, please) aka--the Logistics that scared the crap out of me at first:

-I pump directly into two BIG bottles instead of using a whole bunch of little ones. At first I thought I'd pump right into the bottles that T would drink out of the next day but because each session yields a different amount of milk from the boob, and you want your bottles to be consistent for the baby, it just creates more hassle (in my opinion). Who wants to be pouring ounces back and forth between bottles? Not me. And I'd rather not tote around a crap-load of bottles to and from work, too. Even if you just use the four tiny bottles that your pump comes with, then transferring that milk into other drinkable bottles at night, you are washing WAY too many bottles. I had this bright idea when I got my new pump to use two of our big fatty 9 ounce Avent bottles as my milk collectors since we never even come close to using the big boys for Truman's actual eating (he only takes 3-5 ounces at a time, so who needs a 9 ounce bottle?) And I love just having two bottles to clean at night (plus the ones he drank out of, but whatever). Some people pump into freezer bags but I am not brave enough to do that just yet.

-There are a few different ways to provide milk for the baby during the day: by using frozen milk from your freezer stash or freshly expressed milk from the day before. You should be aware that frozen milk in a regular fridge-above-the-freezer is good for 3 months but if it's in a deep freezer, it lasts for 6 months. This is really important once you get into the swing of pumping because the frozen stuff doesn't just last forever and you'll need to rotate your stash to avoid wastefulness. I know in the beginning it seems like 3 months is forever away but it really does come quickly! Also, I really like this article about using your freezer stash properly--I didn't have a clue how to use it before I read this.

So what works for me is alternating between the two methods of bottle making (frozen versus fresh). Sometimes I take my freshly pumped milk and pour it right into Truman's favorite bottles (usually in 3 ounce increments) to be used the next day but sometimes I just freeze it in bags in 5-6 ounce increments. It just depends on who is watching Truman the next day, if they want to defrost frozen milk from my stash or use pre-made bottles (Nate and Tony like the frozen stuff, daycare requests fresh but will take a few bags of frozen 'emergency only' milk, too).

Ideally, I'd like to work our way through my maternity leave frozen stash up until the point when I went back to work and then freeze all of that stuff going forward for 6 months in the deep freeze. We are getting really close to that point, and once we get to June bags I think I just want to use all fresh milk. Either way works, and if you rotate your older freezer stash you are basically replenishing the total amount you have frozen each day by freezing the new stuff in it's place. I don't like the idea of my frozen stash going to waste since it's only good for so long and I like working through that older stuff so that we don't let the liquid gold go bad. I calculated how much frozen milk I have at this time and it's a whopping 206 ounces, plus two more bags that I sent to daycare for emergencies. Since it's been in the deep freezer the entire time, the oldest stuff will be good until November. That makes me feel pretty good knowing that I could extend Truman's breastmilk diet on for quite awhile even if my supply tanked.

There are pros and cons to both: it's definitely more hassle to defrost a bag of milk and those bags are darn expensive but at least you don't risk wasting milk, right? And you only have to use one bottle for the whole day and just re-fill it with defrosted milk over and over again. Less washing of multiple bottles = good!

-After I pump at work, I've found that I can just wipe off my pump parts with Medela cleaning wipes which are ridiculously expensive but worth it (Nate disagrees and is on a quest to figure out how to make our own to save money). Then I stick the pump parts in with my milk bottles along with two ice packs into the separate insulated bag. That way the milk that remains on the parts stays cool and won't go bad as fast (although breast milk at room temp stays fresh for 10 hours apparently). Sometimes I'll just keep the iced-down bag out with my pump and other times if I'm feeling especially crazy I'll put the whole thing in the fridge even though there are ice packs already to keep the milk cold. Fresh milk that is in the fridge is good for 8 days so you are totally good to go this way. But I guess in reality, I could leave the pump parts full of milk and continue to use them without being too worried about it since I would be done with the whole process within 10 hours. I just get psycho about cleaning the parts for some reason but using soap and water and drying it all off is way too time consuming to repeat three times at work. The wipes are the bomb, if you ask me.

-And let's finish with the beginning of my pumping journeys. My LC at the hospital recommended waiting to give a bottle and also waiting to start pumping until the 3 week mark. I got a little antsy and tried pumping once at 2 weeks and was so discouraged that I vowed to wait a whole week to try again. What worked for me was to feed Truman in the morning, then get up out of bed and eat breakfast/play with Truman, and then about 1 hour after our last feeding I would pump for about 15 minutes. That is it. No other pumping sessions throughout the day to 'build supply' because in those early weeks, your body is still trying to regulate your milk and if you pump too much you risk totally screwing up your supply. Every time you pump you are telling your body to make more milk, or 'placing an order', so be careful about overdoing it.

The disappointing thing is that the first few times (maybe even the first week?) you pump, you will get literal drops into the containers. It's so disheartening and it sort of hurts your already raw nipples because you aren't used to a machine pulling them into long inch-worms (they do get really long, don't they?). But lo and behold, if you keep up the pumping routine each morning you WILL start to get results, although it still won't be as much as you'd like. Don't worry about stealing milk from the baby, if you have one like mine who liked to eat every hour or so. Even if you just get finished pumping and then you have to feed the baby shortly after that, your body should be able to make more milk without a problem. Plus, babies do a much better job of expressing milk out of your tats compared to a pump. They are the ultimate pumpers, I guess.

After I pumped I poured the milk into my freezer bags without much thought to the amounts in each bag. I wish I would have regulated that a little better because those first bags had anything from 1 ounce up to 5 ounces in them and it was hard to correctly measure bottles as a result. I think saving 3 or 4 or 5 ounces at a time is best, personally and now that I'm pumping a lot more during the day my bags usually hold the max 6 ounces at a time. It does make it harder to thaw out the milk, the more you have in there, but oh well. Also I highly recommend laying your bags down in the freezer flat after getting out all of the air. That way, when they freeze they will easily store standing upright because they are nice and skinny. We bought a few plastic box containers to store the milk in our deep freeze and I know they sell actual Medela storage trays, too. Whatever system you want to use is fine but just remember to label the bags and plan to rotate through them as needed so they don't go bad.

-So what breastfeeding/pumping/bottle feeding gear do I use regularly and love? (besides my awesome new pump)

I registered for both Avent and Dr. Browns bottles and have a few of the 4/5 ounce size and also the 8/9 ounce sizes to pull from. We also got a few Evenflo and generic brands, too. The Avent bottles are 'wide mouth' which means the nipple bases are wider more like the actual boob and Truman really digs wide mouth bottles. The Dr. Brown's bottles are pricey and have lots of parts to clean but supposedly they are great and preventing too much air ingestion and great for reflux babies. Both are nice bottles, but we found Truman didn't LOVE either (nor the Evenflo, nor the generics)

So since he really liked the wide mouth nips best, we bought 6 of the Tommy Tippy 5 ounce bottles on a whim at BRU one day. And let me tell you, Truman loves him some Tommy. They are super cute bottles and according to the box they are 'number one in Great Britain' which makes Truman very English:)

My best advice here is to register for a few different brands of bottles and then see which type your baby likes best, since all babies are different. And I would probably skip the giant 8/9 ounce bottles all together (although I do like pumping into my big boys) because from what I read, breastfed babies don't really increase the amount of milk they drink as they grow bigger unlike formula fed babies. Who knew? I believe we have 2 small Avents, 3 small Dr. Browns and 6 small Tommy Tippy bottles that we use pretty regularly but I'm sure we could get by with just the 6 TT brand if we wanted.

We love our Dr. Brown's bottle brush to hand wash all of our bottles. The First Years Spin and Store drying rack is my lifesaver as someone who doesn't own a dishwasher and has very little counter space for bottles to invade. Our Philips AVENT BPA Free Microwave Steam Sterilizer is pretty sweet even though I only sterilize my bottles about once a week or so. I am glad I have it, for sure. Our First Years bottle warmer gets used a TON by Nate and Tony but I have to admit that it kind of annoys me. There are just too many steps and measuring out the little amount of water it needs takes a lot of time. Maybe I just like whipping out the boob too much, but the boys do like this warmer.

I am totally obsessed with my two nursing covers, one by Peanut Shell and one by Bebe au Lait. I keep one in my diaper bag for outings and one at home for when we have visitors and let me tell you, these babies get used all the time. I've used one in the back seat of our car (when it was parked, of course), at the dinner table with my in-laws, in front of friends on my couch, and even outside of a coffee shop. They are awesome and I'm so glad breastfeeding mamas can have something cute like this to cover up with instead of just a blanket.

As far as breast pads go, in the first few days of breastfeeding I LOVED my Lansinoh Soothies gel pads! They were perfect for my burning nips but once my milk came in a few days later I wasn't a big fan of how messy they got. But get these and bring them with you to the hospital, for sure. Now I use their disposable pads although I am totally on the hunt for the best re-usable pads, because these throw away ones seem wasteful and it's annoying having to buy a new box every month. I've tried a few cotton pads but nothing works well for me so far and I spurt out of the sides most of the time. Not cool. I lust after these Artsy Fartsy Foo Foo Milk Maid pads because everyone RAVES about them but she only stocks her store twice a month and I am not kidding when I say they sell out in SECONDS. I've tried 4 times (during my maternity leave) to log on and buy them right when she stocks the store with no luck so I've given up on that dream. :)

I've already posted about my nursing bras, tanks, and tops but I really needed more support in my nursing bras besides those 'sleeping' bras. So I got this one and this one to wear to work for added support and more of a cover for my nursing pads.

The only other thing I really want to buy now is a handsfree pumping bra to slide on over my nursing bras at work when I pump. These things look ridiculous and disgusting but I am so tired of hunching over and pushing the bottles up into my boobs with my thighs while I type. Bad posture, what? Plus, Kortney Kardashian wore one on an episode of her show and therefore they are cool now. :)

Well that's it. Everything you wanted to know about pumping as an exclusive breast feeder but you never thought to ask:) Any questions?

(I cannot do a post without a single pic, and so here is my boy....stunned to read that it takes THIS much work to keep him fed! High-maintenance, what?)


Pump talk part 1

I know not many of you will find these posts helpful but I'm thinking that if it DOES apply to you, it might be really nice to read about this process from a real person. I don't expect a ton of comments on these babies at all and actually found that writing all of this out was kind of fun for me, and it helped me realize how much I've learned in a short time. I could have made this a three part series for sure but went with two longer posts instead so sit back and take it all in!

Before I returned to work I was a giant stress ball that cried a lot over the 'unknown' changes I was facing. The biggest source of stress, besides simply being separated from Truman, was the fact that being at work meant I could no longer breastfeed my babe at any time. It meant I had to enter a whole new world of pumping and storing milk and washing parts and using bottles. When you are a new mom and EVERYTHING is so different from your 'norm' it sort of sucks that right when you get the hang of things, you need to go back to work and change it all again (unless you are one of those blessed SAHMs out there. And if so, this post does not apply to you). But you know what, it really has not been that bad and I never thought I'd say that statement a month ago. Yep, I'm one month into this working-breastfeeding mom thing and although I'm FAR from an expert on the matter, I feel like I have a lot of tips and advice on what has worked for me thus far. I know there are other new moms out there dreading the day they return to work and I hope that if you are committed to breastfeeding beyond your maternity leave that you'll find this helpful.

I myself have discovered that I truly enjoy breastfeeding Truman (despite two rounds of Mastitis and the extra effort and time it takes to make it work!) and I really don't want to stop anytime soon. I still try to take it a week at a time and not set lofty goals that I can't reach, but now that I've made it four months I definitely want to make it to five (and I'd love to make it a whole year, but I try not to think too far into the future just yet). But I have found that it is infinitely harder to continue breastfeeding when you work full time away from your baby, but it is not impossible if you are determined to make it happen. I can be a very stubborn person, one who is very driven by challenges, and I can be very focused on getting what I want. I'm a first born, what can I say? :) I think all of these qualities will help me continue to breastfeed as long as possible and as I hit more speed bumps I will absolutely put forth the effort to overcome them as I'm able. I'd like to go on record saying that I do not think formula is poisonous and it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to supplement a bit, but it's just something I'd like to avoid if possible (cost, learning a new skill of mixing formula, cost, achieving a goal....you get the point). We'll see...

And so because of all that, I have become a pumping fool and you better believe the pump makes one feel like a cow hooked up to an utter sucker. I borrowed a very nice Medela double-electric pump from one of Nate's classmates that was about 4 years old and sterilized the appropriate parts and bought new tubing. Admitting to using a second-hand pump is a huge no-no according to the pumping gods out there but I figured it was free and it worked, so what's the big deal?

The problem was that it was a GIANT bag with the motor embedded into it and was a huge hassle to carry back and forth to work in addition to the milk, my lunch, and my purse. I was considering buying a new, smaller pump when Memaw came to the rescue and informed me that she wanted to buy me a new pump after talking to my Aunt about how to make life a little easier for this working mom. My Aunt suggested having two pumps: one to keep at home and one to keep at work, to cut down on the baggage. I tried to tell Memaw that I'd just buy it on my own but she insisted and thus, I got one of the coolest breast pumps on the market: the Hygeia EnJoye. You better believe I researched the heck out of this puppy before taking the plunge.

Before I talk about my new baby, I must admit that I contacted the company before I bought the pump and offered to do a blog review on their product in exchange for a free pump. I read one of those reviews on another blog and figured that it was worth a shot, but they very kindly told me that they have reached their limit of free handouts to bloggers. So basically, I still bought the pump and I feel strongly enough about it to do a review anyway even though I got nothing out of the deal (well, besides my badass pump, but you get my drift).

The reason why this pump first caught my eye is that it's a 'green' pump and was reviewed on a cloth diapering website. It's green because when you are finished using it, you don't just toss it out and let it sit in a landfill like all of the other pumps out there, but you return it to the company and they recycle it for you. I never thought about how many breast pumps are out there, some of them barely used, but because they are made as a single user product you pretty much have to throw them out or be deviant and let a friend use yours. Seems pretty wasteful, right? I think it's so ridiculous that you void the warranty on almost all breast pumps if you have more than one person using it. My Hygeia pump bypasses that nonsense because...

The other awesome thing is that this pump is NOT designed as a single user product. It's totally acceptable and even encouraged to be used by other people after they each buy their personal accessory kit (only $30) and that means I can try to sell my beloved pump eventually to recoup some of the money or just let a friend borrow it without worrying about voiding a warranty.

And speaking of the warranty, we have two amazing things going for this pump: an extensive THREE YEAR warranty (unheard of!) and also a 21 day money back guarantee. Um, seriously? The company feels so strongly about their product that they are willing to give you your money back if you try it out for 3 weeks and don't love it? That's a sign of a confident company! I am totally keeping mine, by the way, but I like the safety net of a money back promise.

Another pimped out feature on this pump is also highly entertaining. There is a 'record' and 'play' button on the front of the pump that allows you to capture your baby's crying and then play it while you pump to assist in letdown. Hilarious! There is a generic baby cry that comes with the pump when you get it and I accidentally hit the play button numerous times while I was carrying my bag into work and let me tell you, the looks I got from passersby were awesome. I'm sure they thought I had an actual baby in my bag and might have called the cops on me. Whoops! I admit that I don't actually use this feature at work because I'm worried the crying is too loud and people will hear it coming from inside my little pumping room. And plus, I don't think that actually helps me have a let down as much as strong suction does:)

I really really love how small this pump is and that you can pull it out from the ADORABLE bag and just go to town on your boobs. In fact, this EnJoye version has an internal battery so after you charge it up at night you don't even need to hunt for an outlet while you pump! One less step of plugging the bad boy into the wall is a time saver and every little bit helps. Yes, the size of it and the beautiful bag (that could totally double as a diaper bag, don't you think) won me over for sure. I'm so glad I got the brown bag because it has the cute aqua lining.



And isn't the extra insulated cooler super cute, too?
Although I got this pump to leave at work, I actually do bring it home with me each night. The bag is so roomy that I can fit my pump, the cooler, my lunch bag AND can use it as my purse by zipping in my wallet, cell phone and keys into the inner pouches. So basically, I now have this one bag to tote with me instead of 3-4 separate ones. Consolidation is key, my friends.

So basically, this pump was made for someone like me who has to pump frequently and plans to pump long term. It also comes with two wide mouth bottles which is the only type of bottle Truman likes, but it has two adapter rings so you can still pump into the smaller-type bottles, too. It's really easy to clean the horns because there aren't a ton of tiny parts that hold milk in secret places. I really disliked the way my Medela had tiny little 'membranes' to clean and this one does not have those weird things. And remember, ease of cleaning = saves you time = very good in the world of a working mom.

The motor is fairly quiet and I like that I can easily control the strength and the speed of the suction, too. All in all I am really digging this 'green' pump with a cute bag that can be used by others in the future. I never thought I'd be so excited about a breastpump but I am not kidding when I say that the day it arrived on my doorstep I was literally jumping up and down like a little kid. My how times have changed. :)

And now I'd like to talk about the specifics of pumping which of course includes a lot of numbers. My analytical side is totally obsessed with the number of ounces I can pump in a day and it's hard not to freak out about it all when the numbers are staring at you in the face each session. And of course, the irony in that is the more you stress about your supply the more your supply will probably tank. Which is why I'd much rather be ignorant about how much I'm producing and how much Truman is eating by breastfeeding all the time instead of pumping. Oh well. Not an option right now.

Numbers to live by:

-8 times per day = the number of times in a 24 hour period you should empty your breasts to maintain your supply. 7 is the minimum amount of times and at 6 you will see a decrease in your supply. (This is really interesting to me because I'm pretty sure I'm only getting 7 sessions in total and now I'm considering pumping once more before bed.....because I have a ton of free time to do so. Ha.)

-25 ounces = the average amount of milk an infant Truman's age (1-6 months) will drink in a 24 hour period. Divide this by the number of times the baby eats in a day and you have the amount that he/she probably gets in a session (whether it's pumping or breastfeeding). For instance, if baby eats 8 times in a day you'll need to put a little over 3 ounces in each bottle because that is about how much goes down in a session.

-one ounce per hour that you are away = the total amount of milk you should pack for your baby in bottles. (ie I'm gone for at least 10.5 hours each day so he should be drinking about 10.5 ounces in that time.) You can divide it up into 3 ounce bottles, 4 ounce bottles or 5's if you want, depending on how frequently they usually eat (based on the calculation in the point above). For me, I usually do 4 bottles made up of 3 ounces which is obviously slightly more than the suggested 10.5 ounces but I figure it doesn't hurt to be a little above the line. Plus my kid is freaking huge.

-every 3 hours = the recommended amount of time you should go between pumping sessions at work. I hit this right on but probably could stand to do one more session when you count in my commute time (gone almost 11 hours means I'm pushing a fourth session. I just choose to breastfeed as soon as I get home instead).

-0.5 to 2 ounces = the average amount of total milk most moms can pump in a session (totaling from both breasts). I think this number is incredibly low once you have an established supply and they must just say that to make us all feel better about ourselves. In the beginning I wasn't pumping that much but now it's a lot more. Huh. Interesting.

Just a few links that I find to be freaking fantastic when I want to collect as much information about pumping as possible (this is quite often, obviously):

One article here talks about pumping in general and I thought it was pretty helpful.

This one talks about optimizing supply while working away from baby.

Kellymom has a whole section devoted to pumping moms. And I think this link in particular hits home most for me.

I've linked to this site before but it's really awesome for the working-breastfeeding mom.

And there's this message board that I haven't really spent much time investigating but I sort of want to read it all right now. Kellymom has one board just for pumping moms, too, and I do read that one when I think of it.

That's it for part one....second installation coming soon including my own personal tips and the logistics of making it work.

rounding up to four months

Truman is almost 4 months old and I just can't get over how much fun we are having in this stage of his life. I'm told it just keeps getting better and better which is hard to imagine because he is so incredibly entertaining right now. I feel like an update is in order.

But first, let's view a few pictures, shall we?

monkey feet

Nice gams.

My little thigh-master, knee dimple and all.

the explorers, and mighty yummy, apparently.

blonde eyebrows?

Talking to his buddies while performing extensive leg lifts, all a part of his strict exercise regime.

Caterpillar 'summer' onesie by the one and only Missouri Grandma!




"Moooooom. You are SO annoying!"

Nap time in the co-sleeper with sophie watching intently...

Okay so he's totally obsessed with eating his hands these days and it's the cutest thing ever. He'll very slowly clasp them together in front of his face then stare at them intently, then bring them into his mouth and chomp away. He's also gotten really good at grabbing for toys and putting them in his mouth, too. Do you see a theme here? This boy is oral for sure.


He's rolling side to side a lot and even rolled from his tummy to his back once when I was prepping to snap a picture of him. I couldn't believe what I just saw through my viewfinder because it happened so fast, but Truman wasn't upset by the startling roll at all and continued to eat his hand like it was nbd. I'll call that a milestone though and will wait for it to be more consistent over the next weeks.


Oh, and he totally let out an official, unmistakable laugh the other night. He chuckles and coos and talks all the freaking time but it never sounds quite like a true laugh, until now. Melt my heart all over again, why don't you?







Another 'first': all of a sudden he totally gets tummy time now. This past week we just put him on his tummy one night and noticed that holy crap, the boy is actually lifting his head up to it's maximum angle and is even looking around once it's up there! Not that he sucked at head control before this but it's so cute to see him finally understand what he's supposed to do when he's on his tummy---and it's NOT supposed to be slamming his nose into the ground like used to happen. My baby is growing up so fast! (I could repeat this line over and over again throughout this post and probably the next 100 posts but I'll just say it once and be done with it).







Lots of 'firsts' around here as we head to his four month birthday. It's hard to believe that one year at this time I was pregnant with Truman but didn't know it yet. My what a difference a year makes.

A day in the life

Back in the day, I wanted to be on The Real World as a reality star. Then I realized that I was way too boring and not scandalous enough to make the cut after the shocking Las Vegas season hit the air and so I let go of that dream. Fast forward about 9 years and my life has become the furthest thing from reality-TV-worthy because if cameras followed me around for a day they'd certainly get plenty of footage and the camera crew would be exhausted by the end, but they wouldn't have any of the requisite entertaining drama. Instead of slamming shots I clean baby bottles each night. Instead of partying at the club I go to work at a hospital each day. Instead of passing out at 5 am and sleeping in until 2 pm I'm up at 5 am getting ready for my day. There's no hangover-induced vomiting here but plenty of baby barf moments, if that counts. I hardly think changing dirty diapers, hooking myself up to a breast pump over and over again, and getting spit up down the back of my shirt would make me one of the most popular reality stars on television, do you?

Yeah, my life is insanely busy right now but perhaps not the most entertaining for the outside world. And yet, I'm completely content and satisfied with each day when I go to bed at night and I wonder if those living more 'exciting' lives can say the same. I want to remember these crazy days as a working mom to a newborn in the future because I'm already catching myself forgetting what it was like in the early weeks of Truman's life. Time flies when you're having fun, after all.

So I thought I'd give you a glimpse into one of our days of the week because sometimes it's interesting to see how others spend their time. Consider it your window into our version of The Real World if you will. You'll notice there isn't much (or any?) 'free time' or 'me time' to speak of and we have to make every minute count around here or the whole day will fall apart. And of course, every single day turns out to be a little bit different than the next when you have a 3.5 month old baby in the picture. Schedule schmedule, right Truman?

5:15 am:
Alarm sounds, my hand reaches over my pudgy baby boy's head to hit the snooze button. Is it really time to start the day again?

5:25 am:
Alarm sounds again and I turn it off carefully, then sneak out of bed and into the shower so I don't disturb the sleeping boys in my bed. If, at any time, Truman decides he wants his breakfast a bit early, my whole morning routine takes a turn to the boob instead of prepping for the day. You just never know with the boy...

5:35 am:
Get out of the shower, get dressed in the dark room while I steal glances at Truman to assess the sleeping situation. If he allows it, I'll go ahead and put on my makeup and do my hair in my specialty style of 'wet-ponytail-mommy' for the day. I figure when you wear scrub pants and a lab coat at work a wet pony is perfectly acceptable, right?

6:00 am:
Go into the kitchen to make breakfast (PB and honey bagel, duh!), my strong coffee (yum), and take my vitamins. If the beast hasn't awoken by now I sit at the computer to eat my breakfast and check my email. Ah, the luxury. :)

6:15 am:
T-dogg is probably awake by now but if not, I go ahead and wake him up so we can get to nursing his empty belly. We'll usually head for the couch so mommy can sip her coffee and watch the news while baby eats. Lots of baby talk and cuddling from mommy is required at this point, too. This is what he looks like in the morning, for real---he is truly this happy and it's just sickening, really.





6:45 am:
Done nursing, so we're off to the nursery for a diaper change and outfit selection for mister man. This is probably the highlight of the morning as Truman plays with his elephant friend above the changing table and I get to play dress up on the cutest baby boy eva (biased opinion noted). Blowing raspberries on his belly and being generally ridiculous might happen as well and it's hard not to get too wrapped up in this mommy nonsense but the clock is ticking for me to go to work.

7:00 am:
Brush my teeth, gather my gear (pump bag, empty bottles with ice packs, and lunch), kiss my boys goodbye, and hand Truman to Tony (or Nate if it's a Monday). Hit the road for work and the countdown begins until I get to squeeze Truman again.

7:30 am:
Arrive at work, start my day treating patients, typing notes, walking around to different floors of the hospital, and reviewing charts. Realize that I really do love my 'second' job even if it doesn't involve Truman. More than likely I'll get to gush about him at least a few times each day to my patients/co-workers/nurses so I really can't complain too much:)

9:00 am:
First pumping session, back down in the department, while typing a note or making phone calls. Multi-tasking at it's finest right here, folks. Realize that my pump is louder than I thought as someone on the phone asks, 'What is that noise in the background?' I stammer out a response as my cheeks flush red, 'Oh, that's just one of our machines' and I vow to stop the pump next time I make a call. Done pumping in 15 minutes, assess the amount I got (usually 5-7 ounces this first time) and try to not freak out too much about not pumping enough for baby boy. Try not to spill any of the liquid gold as I hurry up to pack it all away for next time.

9:30 am:
Back up on the floors for more PT stuff. Usually starving by now and counting down the minutes to lunch.

12:00 pm:
Back down for pumping sesh #2. Get 4-5 ounces this time while typing more notes. Lovingly stroke my milk containers for good measure (not really, but kind of). Pumping this often can make you a little crazed about the numbers for sure.

12:30 pm:
Lunch time, holla! Chat with co-workers, and force them to listen to me talk about my kid. I'm 'That Mom' now.

1:00 pm:
Back up on the floors for more therapy.

3:00 pm:
Final pumping session of the day, 3-5 ounces this time around for a grand total of 12-16 ounces. When it's on the low end my mood directly reflects it and vice versa. Pumping plays mind games with me for sure and I could talk about this for many more posts and perhaps I will. Did I mention I have a brand new AMAZING pump yet? Cause I do. Yep, another breastfeeding/pump post is a must. Clean up all of my parts and pack it in my udder sucker for the day.

3:30 pm:
Back up on the floors for my PT job. Hopefully find some adorable patients to treat that will let me talk about Truman (do you see a theme here?)

5:00 pm:
Leave work and begin the drive home, aka the LONGEST 30 minutes of my life. There's something about being done with work and headed home to baby boy that makes me want to put the pedal to the metal more than ever. I try to be a good driver and avoid road rage as much as possible but it ain't easy, my friends. Don't those people on the road know I have an adorable baby to get home to?!?

5:30 pm:
Arrive at home finally. Get report from Tony/Nate about Truman's day and lay eyes on the man of the hour. Promptly smother him with kisses and make voices that sound like I'm demented.

5:45 pm:
Rush upstairs to change out of my hospital-germ-laden clothes before holding Truman. Let Henry out of his crate and give him some loving, too. Take him outside for a pee, throw my bottles of milk in the fridge and ice packs back into the freezer to deal with later. Go get baby boy so I can cuddle him to death. Usually start nursing him right away on the couch. If he's totally focused on the boob and not me as a whole, perhaps pull out the laptop next to me to check email/internet happenings. Sometimes this is too much multi-tasking to handle and thus simply staring at Truman is enough.

6:15 pm:
Done nursing, sometimes T is half asleep and I'll try to lay him down for a nap. Things are a lot better when he succumbs to my request to sleep but more often than not he prefers to be awake. Realize I'm totally famished so I'll put Truman on his activity gym in the kitchen while I throw something together. While making dinner, continue to speak in baby talk and take plenty of breaks to get down and snuggle him on the floor. Remember to pet Henry, too.

6:45 pm:
My dinner concoction is done and usually I can't wait to eat for Nate (if it's a Tues/Thurs), but sometimes I have the will power to do so. Eat at the table while T watches from his gym. More baby talk, etc.

7:00 pm:
Wash dishes, or maybe wait until later. Play time with Truman--usually by sitting out on the front porch together with Henry, waiting on Nate to get home from clinicals. Love this time of night with my boys.

7:15 pm:
Daddy is home! Catch up on our days while sitting on the porch. Perhaps let Nate actually hold Truman if he's lucky:) Nate needs to eat, too, so we allow that luxury to him.

7:25 pm:
Take Henry for a walk while toting Truman in the Baby Bjorn. He might fall asleep on our trek and he might not. Remember to tell Henry he is a good boy and I love him, too. Spreading the love to both of my 'sons' as I can.

7:45 pm:
Home, snuggle time with Truman. Maybe time for Baby Einstein Jumparoo or other toys. By this time he is likely getting pretty exhausted from the day and is almost ready for bed.

8:00 pm:
Bedtime routine begins, and every other night includes a bath. My favorite is when we can bathe him on the porch because it's his favorite, too. He just loves those darn trees so much and his naked baby body is too much to handle.



8:25 pm:
Change into double-stuffed diaper for nighttime and jammies. Maybe a short baby massage with lotion if I'm lucky to avoid an overtired babe's wrath. If I really want to push my luck I might even try to read him a book:)


8:30 pm:
Nursing baby boy in the rocking chair, lights out, music on low. Attempting to be present in the moment and not get too ahead of myself about what needs to get done tonight. Soak in the sweet time I have with Truman before he drifts to sleep and stare at his sleepy eyes in wonder. How did I get so lucky to be his mommy?

9:00 pm:
T is fast asleep in my arms. I might rock him for a bit longer just to seal the deal before placing him in his crib for the night.

Then it's time to scurry around like a mad woman and yes, Nate will usually help me out here like a good hubby would do:
-pour pumped milk into bottles for the next day, or into freezer bags if we are using my older freezer stash for the next day.

-clean all bottles and pump parts used for the day...by hand, since we have no dishwasher.

-sterilize them if I feel really on top of my game.

-Wash the rest of the dishes if they are still overcrowding the sink

-Feed big brother Henry for the night

-Make my lunch for the next day, nibbling here and there as I go

-Grind the coffee for the next morning if Nate allows it. Usually he likes it to be freshly ground in the morning because he is a coffee snob.

-Lay out my clothes for the next day including breast pads because I'm just that anal about being organized. Plus it's easier to dress in the morning in a dark room when it's not packed away in drawers/closet

-If my father-in-law has done diaper laundry for us (I know, we are spoiled) on a Tues or Thurs, or if Nate did it on a Monday, pull all the diapers off the clothes line and stuff the pockets with inserts.
-If tomorrow is Friday and therefore daycare day, get Truman's bag ready to go: 6 diapers, wet bag, and two extra outfits just in case.
-See, isn't this list for nighttime insane? I have a headache just reading it.

9:45 pm:
All of that is done. Time to return emails, chill on the couch with Nate or maybe just call it a night a few minutes early. It's usually hard to keep my eyes open by now.

10:00 pm:
Brush teeth, change into jammies, wash face and hit the hay. Try to complete a prayer to God thanking Him for the day before I fall asleep, only sometimes making it to 'Amen' without snoring away.

1:00 or 2:00 or 3:00 am:
Truman wakes and is hungry. Forget trying to soothe him back to sleep in his crib without offering the boob. That is a good way to cause World War 3 around these parts. Take Truman into bed with me and nurse in sidelying. Can't tell you for how long since we both fall asleep pretty easily. If he woke closer to the 1 am mark, he might start to squawk in bed with me again at 3 or 4 for another round of boobage. Again, nursing in sidelying means I can stay asleep during the whole thing. More sleep = good when my alarm is about to go off again.

5:15 am:
Alarm goes off and we start all over again. How many days until the weekend???

So that's it, a typical day for us in a nutshell. Not exactly MTV-esque but it's my life right now and I can't complain. Life as a working mom is much more hectic than I expected and it seems like there's never enough hours in a day to get it all done. But my Wednesdays off and weekends are THAT much more special when the other days are so packed. I know that time passes in a blink of an eye and my biggest challenge has to be staying in the moment and being present. I'm sure I'm not alone on that one! And with that, I'm off to stare at my baby a little while longer. Life is crazy but it's good. :)
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