(written a couple of months ago while perusing the internet for breast milk enhancing recipes. Be jealous.)
Hey guys….question. Have you ever tried “Leaky Lactation Lemonade?” It’s a thing..and apparently it’s darn good. And apparently it’s supposed to help increase your milk supply. If you’re a breastfeeding female, I mean. Cheers, anyone?
Let’s cut to the chase. Being a mom is no joke: so hard, so fun, so tiring. But in the end it’s basically the best thing that’s happened to Jon and I.
This is not new “news” for parents.
Being a “traditional working” mom is crazy. Time management is tough. Figuring out new routines is completely trial and error (more emphasis on the error.) Sleeping enough while trying to get all the things you need to do in a single day is a struggle.
Again, I’m not singing a new tune.
But can we just talk for a second about feeding your child? Specifically….breastfeeding?
Forget the fact that there’s already pressure on all sides about feeding your baby. It’s darned if you do breastfeed (don’t breastfeed in this place, make sure you’re hiding all the goods at all times, exclusively pumping is bad, “you breast-fed your baby until they were how old?!”), and darned if don’t (you totally gave up on breastfeeding way too soon, you give your baby what kind of formula?).
Moms get it from all sides. No matter what they choose to do.
But throwing a traditional full time job alongside all the other stuff of trying to figure out how to keep a tiny human thriving (while also taking care of yourself and your husband and your house) is HARD. Before I go any further though, let me just preface this post by saying that I totally respect and empathize with stay-at-home moms as well, and the tough challenges they encounter day in and day out! That’s a whoooole other conversation. Just know, stay-at-home mommas, I see you. Mad props. Motherhood in general ain’t for the faint of heart. (But it’s pretty freaking awesome, am I right?!)
To start, my routines are completely different than they used to be. Now, I always prep for my days the night before. With wine-in-hand, I mentally go through this checklist every night:
- Coffee ‘delay’ on for the morning (so I don’t have to think about making coffee at the crack of dawn and it’s just there for me to start drinking ASAP)? Check.
- Outfit laid out for the next day? Check.
- High-in-calorie-but-healthy-lunch for work? (Low calories equals no milk) Check.
- Dempsey’s bottles for daycare? Check. All labeled appropriately with the name, date and ounces? Check.
- Pumping supplies for the next day? (Bottles, connectors, tubing, shields, bottle caps, pump machine.) Check.
- A million ounces of water to stay hydrated? (Not enough water equals no milk) Check.
- Workout gear for after work? (Have to make sure you pack the right sports bra so you’re not smooshing the girls down, thus hindering your milk ducts/production.) Check.
Long gone are the days of just throwing some things together in the morning and coming out of it looking and feeling decently put together.
Morning routine now:
Alarm goes off, shower, coffee, read, do hair and makeup, more coffee, get all my bags together and in the car (we’re talking like 3-5 different bags each day, people), get Dempsey up, feed him, eat my breakfast, dress Demps, double check I have everything, get out the door. I used to be one of those people that loved getting to work early while the office was still a little quiet. Now after I drop Dempsey off at daycare I’m basically running to my desk in order to get my day started ASAP.
And then there’s the pumping at work. DEAR. GOODNESS. Pumping is an additional full-time/part-time job it feels like. It takes commitment. It takes discipline. It should be a bullet point call out on every working mom’s resume.
Real thoughts that go through my head every.single.day. while in the “pumping room” aka tiny conference room at work:
It’s a million degrees in this room. I’m sweating. Like, dripping sweat. There is literally not a vent anywhere in this tiny thing. How is this allowed? SOMEBODY! HELP.
Can anyone see through that shade over the door window? I don’t think so – but what if they can see my shadow? Should I put a blanket up? Mental note, bring blanket.
I locked the door, right? (quick check) Ok phew, it’s locked.
2 minutes later… someone tries to open the door and the handle shakes…
Straight panic. My eyes zoom in on the door handle. OMG IS THE DOOR LOCKED?! I LOCKED IT, RIGHT?!
….Writing emails, researching…… lose track of time and then 2nd letdown happens – Um, how long have I been pumping? 38 MINUTES?! NO! CRAP. I’m late for my next meeting. Frantically take apart the pumping “system,” clean myself up and run out the door.
Nooooo – did I just spill milk on my pants? No!! I knew I shouldn’t have worn these pants. ……Ehhhhh, it’ll dry, I guess.
WHY IS IT SO HOT IN HERE?!!
Why does wearing a dress make things much more difficult/awkward? Mental note, wear spandex shorts under dress next time.
Someone knocks on the door while I’m pumping…(because after all, this is an actual conference room for others to use as well) ”Uh, hi! Are you going to be in here for a bit?” Me… talking over the waah, waah, waah noise of the pump.. “Eh, yes! Yes! Sorry! I’ll be out in just a few minutes!” Person awkwardly answers once they realize what’s going on in there… “Oh! Oh! I’m sorry! Take your time!” ….Person waits awkwardly outside of door until I’m finished. Walk of shame-esque situation happens once I open the door and I shyly smile and slide past them…”Sorry about that!”
As you can see, I’m very level headed during these sessions each day.
Why is breastfeeding such a mind game? One day you can be all like “this is amazing, I love being able to do this for my kid! I feel so connected to him! I’ll never stop!” And the next day you’ll be all “When is the time coming where I don’t have to think about breastfeeding every minute and if I’m doing every single thing I can to produce milk for a tiny human on the exact right schedule?!” It consumes your mind.
As if trying to figure out your body after pregnancy isn’t hard enough. You’re concerned about losing that extra pesky baby weight, clothes fitting all weird, and….hormones. YIKES. How are you supposed to lose weight and eat enough calories to make sure you’re giving your body enough mojo to produce enough milk? (But the right calories so that you don’t gain more than you lose.) Because if you’re not – see ya milk production. Of course, of course (for my fitness friends who are reading this), there are certain foods, programs etc you can incorporate to make sure you’re eating enough fats, proteins, carbs, timing of foods, etc.
But guys. When you have an infant – that stuff is literally the last thing on your brain. You’re in “learning/survival/sleep when you can” mode those first few months. So you do what you can and eat the best you consciously can and you take walks – lots and lots of walks. You navigate back into gym life (when it’s safe for your body and you have the time), but that looks so much different, too. More on that another time.
So, fast forward, I had been navigating this breastfeeding life – breaking into my “stash” from the early days of pumping when the milk was flowing because I’m not quite producing enough at around month 5. I had been trying to eat well, but also eat enough calories and drink a million gallons of water to keep producing. And you know what happens? You know what life did to me?
I went to my friends wedding – and they had huge delish local donuts as their “dessert.” I had two of them. (Don’t judge.) And when I got home that night and had to pump – I pumped the most milk I ever have in one sitting. Ever. We’re talking b o t t l e s full. I could have cried.
WHY, WORLD?! This is not fair. MUST I EAT DONUTS TO FEED MY CHILD?!
Anyway, if anyone has a recipe for donuts that help produce milk but also doesn’t make you gain 175 pounds, let me know. I’m in.
Basically….there’s no magic ending to this post, no “A-ha! Here’s your life lesson” moment – except to say, if you’re a mom (or if you’re a friend of a mom who is going through this, pass this along) – I get you. I feel you. You’re not alone. This stuff is beautiful, and amazing, but hard. These are normal feelings. Talk about them. Share them. Laugh with your girlfriends about them. Talk to your spouse about them. IT HELPS, I promise. There’s been a few times when I’ve been frustrated/happy/sad all in one moment and we’ll be casually laying in bed or watching TV and Jon has looked at me and been like, “wait…woah…wait… are you crying?” Yep. I am. I don’t even know why, except that I’m in my feelings right now. (Thanks, Drake.) Haha, MAN, guys don’t always understand the crazy hormones/emotions associated with mom-hood…but I promise, they’ll love you through it – just help them understand. Breastfeeding has been an amazing journey…but it’s also been one of the biggest mom emotional roller coasters ever.
What’s your story? I’d love for you to share!
(Stay tuned for part two….)