Back to Work: Post-Baby Advice

We were so fortunate to welcome a second little girl into our lives in early May. We were also fortunate enough that despite her spending her first week in the NICU she is a very healthy girl. Everything happens for a reason and it has made me a better provider as I now have more appreciation for parents who’ve been there (generally for much much longer than we were) and for exclusively pumping mommas.

While I’m not a first time mom, this is the first (and last) time returning to work post-baby in my current capacity. I’ve learned so much through both experience and from other moms with both children that I’d like to share in one place what has worked for me in hopes that some other working mom (or working stay at home momma!) may find it useful.

Routine—hahaha! That’s a joke right? Especially if you’re breastfeeding. You can get into a very loose routine but don’t fool yourself in to thinking baby is going to get into a set schedule for the first 3-4 months. Fellow type A mommas—this is ok, let it go or you’ll make yourself miserable by constantly failing to live up to impossible expectations. I pump around the same time everyday regardless of while I was on maternity leave or now that I’m back to work. I pump roughly 2xday at home. If you’re exclusively pumping don’t expect to hit that number for a long time. Just go with the flow, and for goodness sakes try not to go back at 6 weeks if you can manage longer. That’s really soon.

That being said, focus all that energy on trying to prep for the next day/challenge such as organizing your diapers, wipes, changing stations as well as your nest. Yes I used the word nest and I’m not referring to the whole house. The Moose coined this term with the first child in our house and he was referring to my seat that became my breastfeeding and pumping station. With the first I was less organized than with this baby. This time I set up a cheap dollar store basket for all of my pump parts and creams, etc on the end table near my nest.

I started my first week back to work as a “one-day” week where I worked Friday only then the next week went back to my 4 day schedule Tues-Friday. This let me “test the water” so to say on how much breastmilk I needed to leave for the sitter, anything I may need to bring to work the next week, and it was better for me emotionally. I had taken 10 weeks off but it still felt too soon and we certainly weren’t getting much sleep at night (night-time nursing is good for your supply however…).

I have my own office at work so I am fortunate to leave my station set up and ready to rock. Otherwise I would have probably got everything set up and ready sooner.

My work pump station:

I had used a Medela with Little Bit but tried a spectra that I got brand new from Amazon for like $112 or something along those lines. Oh My God! Saved the nips. I didn’t know how much the Medela was killing me! Lol.

I bought a new hands free bra that made it a little faster for me. Previously I just cut holes in Lycra sports bars (cheap from target) and those still work great for home. This portable drying rack that has been good for travel (Disney World trip!). I also find these helpful as we use tommy tippee bottles and I can pump into those with my Medela phlanges and can use those with the spectra with this.

Going back to work has not been easy of course but hopefully I’m learning how to make it work better and will be able to help other mommas as well as show my two little ladies how to rock it as a working mom.

I’ll post more as we go through this journey. I’ll also discuss a little about what I’ve learned about exclusively pumping (when I had to the first weeks) and what I do to save milk for my munchkin.

Update: bought a second spectraand you can check the hours using the above if you decide to as well. I paid $30 for a pump with 3 hours on it. 3 hours ladies. I’m not even an exclusive pumper but I had already put 91 hrs on the Spectra that I bought when she was almost 2 months old.

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Baby Break

IMG_6475Back to work!

I think it’s obvious when I say I’ve been on a sabbatical. Everyone knows new-mommy life can be very time consuming to say the least. I’m back to work, pumping and trying to keep afloat at home. As of that wasn’t enough we are also looking at possibly buying a new home. Stress anyone?

So while I will elaborate on the work aspect a little more on my NP blog, I’d like to talk about being a second time mom and all of the above in the next several post. I’ll tell you a little about our story and then what has worked and not worked for us!

Little Bit became a big sister and I ended my child-bearing journey on Cinco de Mayo this year. Punky Doodle came into the world pink and crying and a few hours later decided blue was more her color so ended up in the nursery and then the NICU. Brand new experience for our little family. Moose followed her down there and was hand on as much as possible until I was released a day and a half later (c-section). She was by far the biggest baby in her neck of the woods there and quickly got better but we were still there a week. The Ronald McDonald house is awesome and our families new charity after meeting some amazing people and witnessing all the good work they do there. They made us so much more comfortable than we would have been otherwise. It was the last week of school so my mom, dad, and sister (The Princess) took care of Little Bit while we took care of Punky Doodle.

 

So Little Bit has adjusted pretty well. A few jealous moments mostly with the Princess who is her BFF, but otherwise she is in love with her sister and so are we.

For the first time ever I was able to spend the whole summer with her and be a stay-at-home mom for awhile and I actually really enjoyed it. Could I completely quit work? No, I’d miss my patients and doing what I do to much but could I cut my hours more? Yup if and when we could afford it. It was still a lot of work and I give props to SAHM and my sitter but we had a really good routine once baby and I were out and about; I kept big sister active all summer too.

Anyway that’s what we were busy doing. I’ll post some more about breastfeeding and pumping and back to work soon! Ciao!

Gender Reveal

IMG_5798.JPGMy little sister hosted an AWESOME gender reveal for Moose, Lil Bit and I. She is not always the best secret keeper but she was the only one who knew what the baby was and did a great job. We had about 30-35 people over at my parents house where she hosted and we did a live Facebook stream for my family out of town.  As it was just a few days before Christmas she did a Christmas themed party with red and green and gingerbread men.

We had a hot chocolate bar with cups, an Ugly sweater aspect that we voted on with the cutest ugly sweater ornaments and a sweater voting for boy/girl. Boys were 16 to girls 11. Tons of Christmas treats as well as hot food for guests.

My father-in-law has a side photography business including a photo booth that we had a ton of fun with!

My sister tricked us initially by having individual wrapped ornaments and having everyone open them with the stipulation that if you get gold, sorry you don’t have the winner, if you have red its a girl, green its a boy. Well they were ALL gold. Then she had a sack of balloons for us to open. They were also all gold.

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Opening balloons….wait a minute…

So we were taken outside for the real deal and we were literally in the dark about what was going to happen. She and her best friend had decided to be master engineers and create a light display for which Josh and I had the plugs

On the count of three we turned on the sign that said:

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Another sweet girl for our home!

We are very excited to welcome another girl to our family. I will have to come up with a good nickname to call her. Hmm…

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas! We are sending you love from down south where our air conditioner will literally be running today. A little warm but it isn’t putting a damper on our holiday. My daughter is busy playing with everything Santa brought and that we gave her as fast as she can. My husband is enjoying his new Garmin Vivoactive watch and I’m typing from my awesome new backlit Bluetooth keyboard. But honestly the best thing about today is that we are all happy, healthy, bellies full of delicious (and organic) breakfast. Even the dog seems super comfortable and happy today. I wish you all the best Christmas and a Happy New Year!

And for some cheer, please enjoy this picture of my crazy bulldog snoring on her back with her jowls flapping in the wind. 🙂

Post-vacation

So as usual when we try to go on vacation when we return from wonderful something inevitably breaks. This time it was the computer that completely ate it…along with the pictures I have to match posts I have lined up from vacay. We just got a new hard drive in so when I get a few moments to (re)upload pictures to the computer I’ll be able to complete said posts and you should have some more beautiful Ireland (I’m already home-away-from-homesick) and stories awaiting you.

Exploring Dublin

We’ve officially spent our first full day in Ireland and Dublin. We arrived to the airport and then went to pick up our rental car which took quite awhile. Little Bit did AMAZING on the flight there and slept most of it (unlike the 3 adults). This was our first peak out the airplane window!

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We don’t plan on using it much through Dublin but will be using it to drive to Tralee in 2 days. My first impression once we got to our hotel was that the food was way better than anticipated. We drove to find a hair dryer and straightener from the pharmacy and it took 3 tries before we ended up all the way in St Stevens Green shopping centre where we then met a nice merchant who suggested we get out of Dublin ASAP and head towards the countryside, lol. We told him our plans and he made a few recommendations and suggested we avoid Kilarenny and go ahead towards CO Kerry that there was some beautiful places to visit and see “although the roads aren’t brilliant” and the drive might take closer to 5 hrs than the 4 we thought.


We left there and swung by the mall at St Stevens Green which is another beautiful piece of architecture. We found it especially humorous that TJ Max is TK Max over there. Not sure why they feel the need for the letter change but there you have it.

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On the way out we stopped by Butler’s Chocolate Cafe where I bought one of the best cups of hot chocolate I’ve had in my entire life for €3.50. They also gave me a free chocolate to go with it and I got the Butter Praline which was good as well. The next day however when we stopped by and ALL got a cup (The Princess, my sister, got a white chocolate and Moose a Mocha which they use the hot chocolate with the coffee)we tried the shaved white that was phenomenal.
We were exhausted by the time we got back to our lovely, rather nicer than expected room with a Queen bed and two singles. We didn’t really eat dinner and all of us proceeded to sleep 11-13 hours each.

We woke up the next morning and were at it again bright and early to try to get both breakfast and to make it to Trinity College and Guinness to play true-to-form tourists for the day.

I loved Trinity College but then again I’m a nerd. Here you can enjoy the back of my head along with views of the courtyard facing those gorgeous 200+year OREGON oaks. Lol.

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It was beautiful, the tour was fun, interesting and I got to go to the library…the only thing I cared about why we were in Dublin.

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Incidentally, we have discovered a new challenge. Apparently this gold snitch-like sculpture has brothers/sisters around the world.

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My family and I hope to have our pictures taken with them all at some point or another. At least we like the idea of it. We very much enjoyed the tour and left to explore some more of downtown Dublin and head towards Guinness.

To Be Continued….

Laugh a little

Sometimes you just need humor at work and today we started the day with these…
 in honor of my future international flight

And this one…be warned, don’t read this while you need to maintain composure….Moose and I have voted it the most passive aggressive gift and he is buying some for work. What’s even funnier is I can see him writing the one about Satan bears.


(Pic courtesy of www and free clip art)

Enjoy and send some of your favorites my way!