working mom

You are currently browsing articles tagged working mom.

Weaning After Age Two  |  http://nextlifechapter.com

My berry-loving, messy-faced “Super Awesome!” girl.

Adelaide is officially weaned. She’s now two and a half years old (or 30 months). As I wrote in this post when she was 25 months, or in this post when she was 19 months, it’s been a slow process.

I let Adelaide wean on her own timeline. As a mom who has worked outside the home full-time since my daughter was 12 weeks old, I’m proud that I was able to nurse exclusively until she was one.  At around 13 months we introduced whole cow’s milk and continued to supplement breast milk with cow’s milk. Then at about 17.5 months I stopped pumping while at work. As my supply dipped and Adelaide’s appetite for “real” food increased, it was natural that she only nursed three times a day and drank cow’s milk the rest. Then she was nursing only twice a day. It was that way for several months–in the morning lying in bed before starting our day and at night in her room in the rocking chair, right before books.

The last couple of months Adelaide’s nursing sessions have become shorter and shorter. I laughed when one day she announced, “empty,” as she patted my breast. Sometimes she seemed a little frustrated that Mommy’s milk supply was low, but it didn’t usually bother her. She still nursed for comfort.

A couple of months ago I stopped offering Mommy’s milk, but Adelaide would almost always ask for it. Each night I tried to pause and savor the moment, to look into her eyes and remember the special bond I felt. Then, nursing started to not be as fun anymore. It wasn’t painful, but it wasn’t as comfortable for me as it used to be. Still, I thought each night might be our last, so I tried to appreciate it.

One night when Adelaide was nursing, I asked her if it was empty and she shook her head no. Apparently, she was still getting something. But the sessions became very short–just a minute or two on each side. The last several weeks, Adelaide stopped asking. I was a little bummed that I couldn’t remember the exact last day, the last moment we nursed together. I thought the date would be something nice to record here and in her baby book, but I was okay. I knew it was time.

Then, on Friday, February 7, I was changing Adelaide into her pajamas when she said “Mommy nilk.” The request caught me by surprise. It had been a week or two since Adelaide had last nursed. If Tim has been around, he probably would have said, “Oh you don’t need Mommy’s milk anymore. You’re a big girl.” But, it was just me and her. I was excited to have one last nursing moment with my girl.

I said okay and Adelaide nursed for maybe 25 or 30 seconds. When I offered to “switch sides,” she sat right up and we switched. Almost immediately she popped back up and climbed down to get books to read. That was it. No grande finale. It was less emotionally climactic than I thought it would be, but in a good way. There were no tears (from her or me). That was it.

 *   *   *

A while ago I ran across an article that reassured my thought process surrounding extended nursing and weaning. The following is an excerpt from Norma Ritter’s post “Thinking About Weaning” at Breastfeeding USA:

…human milk does not suddenly turn to water after a certain length of time! Mothers can nurse their babies for as long as both they and their children wish to continue. Children will wean all by themselves when they are developmentally ready to do so.

Many mothers are surprised to learn that during their baby’s second year (12-23 months), 15 ounces of their milk provides:

  • 29% of energy requirements

  • 43% of protein requirements

  • 36% of calcium requirements

  • 75% of vitamin A requirements

  • 76% of folate requirements

  • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements

  • 60% of vitamin C requirements

Ritter goes on to say:

I’ll bet you have never heard a mother say, ‘I will make him walk by the time he is xxx,’ or ‘I will make him talk by the time he is xxx.’ We KNOW that you cannot make a baby walk or talk before they are ready to do so! All babies are different, and there is no reason to set an exact date. The same goes for weaning; children wean when they are ready.

The article ends with the line, “Remember, you know your baby best, and you know what is best for your family. Trust your instincts, and you won’t go far wrong.” Great advice for all of us.

Tags: , ,

Last year, on October 1, Adelaide moved out of the infant room at her daycare and into the young toddler’s room, and I blogged about it here.

This year, on Monday, August 26, Adelaide moved out of that young toddler’s room and up to the two-year-old room. I don’t know what she’s going to do without her Kiki and Saddie. (Kiki was her teacher and Saddie is her friend who is a few months younger and not yet moving up). Adelaide talks about “Kiki Saddie” all the time. As if they are one entity. Kiki Saddie. Kiki Saddie.

Adelaide even has a “Saddie shirt.” (It’s actually the t-shirt with the daycare’s logo on it, but Saddie has one too so she calls it her “Saddie shirt.”)  Adelaide also has a Saddie cup. I’m not sure where that even came from because I’ve talked to Saddie’s parents and while Saddie does have sippie cups (don’t they all?) she doesn’t have one like Adelaide’s “Saddie cup.”

I don’t know if Saddie is just an easy name for a toddler to say, or whether this girl has really made that much of an impact on our daughter. All I know is she seems to have Rock Star status at our house.

It’s not as if Adelaide doesn’t know the kids in the two-year-old room. She’s been going to our daycare three-days-a-week since she was 12 weeks old. Most of the other kids in her class were in her toddler room or even her infant room at one point. Our daycare is so small that Adelaide will still see Kiki and Saddie regularly. They all play together in the morning and during pick-up, and they sometimes do other activities together throughout the day. And, with a late October birthday, Saddie will likely be moving up to the two-year-old room later this year.

Although today was day three of being in her new room, Adelaide walked straight into Kiki’s room when she got to school today. Old habits are hard to break, and I don’t think Adelaide quite understands that she’s not in Kiki’s room anymore. While getting dressed this morning and talking about school, it was all “Kiki Saddie.”

To keep the tradition going, here is the new “first day of school” photo from Monday in addition to the photos from the previous two years. It’s so fun to see how much she has grown and changed (and how long her hair has gotten).

First Day of School | http://nextlifechapter.com

First day of school in the two-year-old room – August 26, 2013

First day of school in the young toddler room - October 1, 2012

First day of school in the young toddler room – October 1, 2012

First Day of School | http://nextlifechapter.com

First day of school in the infant room – October 20, 2011

Tags: , , , , ,

Sometimes I’m a bit hesitant to write about breastfeeding on this blog. I guess I shouldn’t be. Being a working mom living in an urban environment and breastfeeding are some of the reasons I think my “Mommy Blog” and my personal experience is different than so many of the other blogs out there. Many Mommy Blogs, even some of the favorites I follow, are written by moms who stay-at-home during the day. Many of them live in suburban areas with houses and big back yards. Many of them do breastfeed. However, breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding seem to be easier, at least more convenient, when you’re around your little one all day. I come from a different point of view. I work outside of the home and returned to work after 12 weeks of maternity leave. Breastfeeding and exclusively breastfeeding (no formula or any food aside from breastmilk) for the first 6 months were important to me, if possible.

Having said this, I like to think of myself as free from judgment. I know there are lots of superiority complexes out there, especially on the internet, when it comes to parenting. “Mommy wars,” as it’s often called, is a real thing, and much of the debate centers around subjects such as breastfeeding, co-sleeping, crying-it-out etc… It’s hard to be completely free of judgment when you have opinions about these topics. But, I only know what works for me and my family. And that might be very different from what works for you and yours. I try to keep that in mind.

Sure, I am an advocate of breastfeeding. I try to educate people I know about the benefits for both mommy and baby. However, I know breastfeeding is not always as easy as it was for me. And sometimes women aren’t able to nurse for as long as they had hoped, and I know that can cause a lot of mommy guilt. I can see that. Mommy guilt is a real thing. Unfortunately, wanting the best for our kiddos and making that happen is not always easy, so as mommies, we’re often too hard on ourselves (dads too).

I have a friend who didn’t know if she even wanted to breastfeed. She wasn’t breastfed and neither of her sister’s breastfed their children. She just didn’t have any breastfeeding examples in her life. She tried it and breastfed for three whole weeks before throwing in the towel. I was so proud of her! She tried it and her daughter got an unmeasurable amount of nourishment and benefit from those three weeks. That’s a success story in my book.

My hope was to nurse for at least a year, but I set 6 months as a mini-goal. I didn’t know how pumping would go at work, if I would be able to keep up my supply etc… Six months came and went with little to  no problems, so we kept going. Then, a year.

I thought it seemed strange to just stop because some arbitrary date had passed on the calendar. I had made it to one year. Yay! But now what? I’m lucky in that I have a supportive partner. I know that can be one of the most significant barriers to successful breastfeeding. Tim was willing to let me make the call. I got the sense that he didn’t think it was necessary for me to continue breastfeeding, but the more I read and the more I shared with him about the benefits of “extending” past one year, the more he seemed to agree that it was about my relationship with Adelaide and we could just go with the flow and decide on our own.

So here we are. Adelaide is now 19 months. We’re still breastfeeding, although it’s really only twice, maybe three times a day. I nurse her in the morning and when I first get home from work. I would be fine with just in the morning and right before bed, but Adelaide seems to prefer right when I get home from work over right before bed. She does nurse before bed too, but not very much – just a little comfort nursing (the fact that my supply is dwindling and she just nursed an hour and a half earlier are probably contributing factors to why the before bed nursing session is no longer a significant one.)

I thought it was important to nurse Adelaide through the winter. From things I had heard and read, this would be the best way to get through the cold and flu season. Often when kids are sick they get easily dehydrated and nursing is one of the only ways they will accept fluids. I was reminded of the benefits of nursing beyond one year that I wrote about here. Plus, the World Health Organization recommends nursing until age two at the minimum. I just didn’t see any reason to stop if she and I were both happy with the way things were going.

January 15 was my last day of pumping at work. It wasn’t really a conscious decision to stop that day. If it had been, I think I would have posted here – a celebratory blog post patting myself on the back while shouting “Hallelujah!” – instead, it was just that January 16 was a really busy day at work, and I didn’t make time to pump. Then, on the 17th, I just decided not to do it anymore. Adelaide turned 18 months on January 28, so I was planning to stop pumping at work around that time anyway. What a relief! Pumping is just such an annoying hassle. I can hardly believe I did it for as long as I did, but I made it 15 months – first pumping three times a day when I first returned to work, then two times a day since Adelaide was around 6 months (I think) and then once a day since around a year. Not having to worry about cleaning my pumping supplies and packing them every morning has been so nice. Freedom!

Breast milk freezer stash | nextlifechapter.com

This is a shot of my breast milk freezer stash this time last year – four bags full of 2.5oz bottles. When Adelaide was around 12 months, we introduced cow’s milk, and I went down to only pumping once a day at work. The stash became just one bag and we sent a combination of both whole milk and breast milk to daycare. We finished the last of our stash two weeks ago, and I’m sure Tim is grateful for the extra room in the freezer!

It’s been eight weeks since I’ve eliminated pumping at work and things are still going well. I’m sure my supply has decreased and that’s okay. If there’s not much milk to be had, Adelaide will slowly wean herself. And, I feel much more comfortable letting her slowly wean on her own than having to say no and deny her the comfort she has known since only minutes after she was born. Slowly weaning as she moves toward her second birthday feels right to me. And if she’s not quite done by two, I’m actually okay with that.

Tags: , ,

I decided to spend the last five days of November recapping the highlights of our fall. (Day 1 and Day 2 if you missed them.) Day 3: Adelaide’s 15-month update. I like having a record of her current milestones, so I can reflect on them later.

Today, Adelaide turns 16 months. I remember several years ago thinking it was strange when parents recited their child’s age in months. Why say “16 months” and not just “a year old”?  Well, it’s now clear that this became the standard because so much happens every month at this age.

At Adelaide’s 15-month doctor’s appointment, she weighed in at 23 lbs, 3.2 oz (75-80th percentile) and was 31.25 in tall (50-75th percentile). She has six teeth (four on top, two on bottom), and has been walking since the week before her 13-month birthday.

At 16 months, Adelaide still takes two naps when she’s at home, but only one at school. I think it’s too loud and there’s just too much going on at school, but she does fine with two naps when home with Tim and when home on the weekends. I think she really still needs two naps because she’s always so cranky and tired when we pick her up from daycare.

Adelaide babbles all day. I wish I had a translator because she seems to speak an entire language. I just can’t understand her. Still, Adelaide doesn’t have many actual English words. She’s developing quickly on this front though. She got two new words in the last week and sometimes she’ll say a word, but I’m not so sure if she understands the meaning. Her first word was dog (dig), but she said it for cat too and just about any animal. She knows “Dada” and “Mom” (still not 100% sure about that one). Her new ones this week are “hi” and “Elmo” (melmo). She says “melmo” for pretty much any cartoonish character, and I’m beginning to think she’s just replaced “dig” with “melmo” since she called Hugo “melmo” this morning. (As a side note, Adelaide has seen a few episodes of Sesame Street, but it kind of freaks me out that she knows that word – I swear we don’t let her watch much TV!).

There are many other words I know she understands, but that she doesn’t say yet. Like when we say, “Where’s your ball?” Adelaide will walk across the room and go get it. I love that it seems to be something new almost every day.

Adelaide has an obsession with paper and tissue. And her new thing last week was to walk around with paper and a pen or pencil. It doesn’t matter if the cap is on the pen, she’ll just sit in her little Cookie Monster chair and pretend to scribble. It cracks me up how much she loves holding a writing utensil and playing with paper. With a dad who’s an artist and a mom who’s a writer, it’s almost as if writing and drawing are in her DNA.

Another developmental stage that isn’t quite as exciting is that Adelaide is totally a Mamma’s girl right now. If I’m home, she wants to be near me. While some days her desire to see me and happiness to be in my arms fills me with warm fuzzies, it can also be exhausting. Some mornings Adelaide cries when I go to work, and although I know she’s fine within minutes after I leave, it doesn’t make getting out of the house any easier. I know it’s just a stage and that one day, it will probably be the opposite; she’ll be a Daddy’s girl who wants nothing to do with Mamma.

Still, I miss the days when she could easily be passed to anyone and be perfectly content. I worry that over the holidays her grandparents and aunts and uncles won’t be able to take advantage of her squishability because she won’t let them hold or hug her. On Christmas Adelaide will be nearly 17 months, so who knows what she’ll be doing or saying by then.

Adelaide has been using the sign for “more” for months. Rather than “more” it usually means “I want.”

 

Tags: , , ,

Busy

There was an interesting article being passed around on the internet this week called 10 Great Ways to Be An Unhappy Mom. It was on mothering.com, and I thought all 10 items were worth remembering — more of a “10 Great Ways to Be An Unhappy Person” (the mom part was secondary). For some reason, the link to the article isn’t working now, and the only one I can remember off-hand is #10: Allow “busy” to become your default answer to, “How are you?”

As I was rushing to leave work today, I couldn’t believe how fast this week flew by. I guess that’s a good thing, but I seriously can’t believe it’s Friday again already. There were so many things I didn’t get done this week, and as I made a mental list for Monday I just left feeling stressed rather than relaxed and ready for the weekend.

This is a very busy time for me at work. I had a cold last week that spilled into most of this week (knock on wood – I may actually be getting better now). One day in particular I felt like calling in sick, but I didn’t dare for fear I would be that much further behind at work. I haven’t dropped any balls yet, but I have so many in the air I’m just racing around trying to keep control of each one.

I’m also teaching a class this semester. It’s the first semester I’ve taught since Adelaide was born and it’s just one class, but part of me wonders if I’ve taken on too much. I really enjoy teaching, and it feeds my creative soul in a way that is so different from the writing I do at work or blogging. I like talking about writing with others who like talking about writing. It’s fun to share my knowledge with students who are actually interested in what I have to share.

This semester the course I’m teaching is a “hybrid.” It’s a 10-week Continuing Education class, but instead of meeting every week in person, we only meet in class four times. The rest of the work is done online. There are weekly assignments, but the students are free to work on them any time throughout the week. It’s kind of nice to not have the weekly commitment of an in-person class. I still get to see Adelaide in the evenings and help put her to bed most every night. Still, there is A LOT of prep time involved each week. I wouldn’t say it’s “easier” to teach this way. In some ways it’s harder. It’s definitely different. I think we’re offering the same course again in the spring semester, so after I’ve already taught it as a hybrid once, it should be easier the second time around.

I haven’t posted a blog entry since October 1, and I feel guilty about it. I have all these things hanging over my head. There are emails I need to respond to, friends I need to call, blog posts I need to write. I feel “behind” in life, and that’s not a good feeling. Hell, I haven’t even finished the post I drafted to summarize Adelaide’s first birthday (nearly 3 months ago), let alone the first haircut she had last week, or any of the other numerous blog ideas I’ve had.

On the plus side, this week I tried on a skirt that I haven’t been able to wear since before I was pregnant and it finally fits again, I hosted knitting last night so my house is significantly more clean than usual, and I bought a pretty (dare I say sexy) nursing bra today that I’m pretty excited about.

I’m behind on life and busy. How are you?

Tags: , ,

Last year, when Adelaide was 12 weeks old, I went back to work and Adelaide went to daycare for her first full day of “school.” That was October 20th. Today, just shy of a year later, Adelaide has “graduated” from an infant and moved up to the young toddler room. I knew I had taken a photo on her first day of school last year, so I couldn’t resist recording this year’s milestone as well. She doesn’t look particularly happy in this morning’s photo, but I continue to be blown away by how much she has grown. I see the little girl in her emerging and my little baby fading away.

Adelaide’s first day of school – October 20, 2011

 

First day of school in the young toddler room – October 1, 2012

Tags: , ,