Month: March 2017

What my kids are (and aren’t) eating – Part 1

I feel like as parents we spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about three things:

  1. Poop
  2. Sleep
  3. Eating

You can’t avoid poop* (once you stop obsessing over if they’re pooping and what it looks like, they start talking about it constantly), and sleep is always evading you. Kids can be really picky eaters, and we spend so much time trying to figure out what they can and should be eating when they’re just starting out, and then what they’ll actually accept as palatable when they get a little bigger. But the thing about eating is that we at least have some modicum of control over it.

I know some parents get really frustrated or concerned about what their kids are eating, but just try to keep in mind that as long as you’re offering them healthy options, you’re doing everything you can. Kids will be picky, and they might go a week without touching a vegetable. But don’t freak out. They’re not going to get scurvy. We definitely do some bribing sometimes (“If you eat two bites of chicken, you can have dessert.”), and the main reason behind buying the little table was that Lily would not sit through a meal at the big one. (She ate all her meals at the little table for months. She eats with us at dinner now, but still prefers breakfast and lunch at the pint size one.)

My kids like to eat a ton and are pretty healthy eaters, but Lily can be suuuuper particular. I end up giving her really simple foods much of the time, and try to get the biggest bang for my buck out of something like a PB and J by making some easy tweaks. Working moms just don’t have the time to experiment with new recipes, so having go-to options like these is really important.

Lily couldn’t wait for me to finish making her lunch so she took things into her own hands.

*This post is just about what Lily eats. I’m doing a separate one about Maggie because we started table foods very early. We didn’t intend to do baby-led weaning but that’s what it ended up being, so stay tuned for more on that!

While we eat generally healthy we aren’t super crunchy granola. I think we’re pretty middle of the road. I’d love to cut sugars out of my diet and serve Buddha bowls for dinner and smoothies topped with chia for breakfast every day but I just don’t have time to do that right now. As a family we’re in this really busy stage in our lives where I need to have a handful of meals on rotation because I don’t have the mental energy to handle thinking of new ideas every week. And while the meals/items below are generally healthy, Lily does eat some snacks of questionable nutrition (mainly fueled by my own animal cracker obsession) and I have a mean sweet tooth.

A few other little things that guide the way our kids eat:

  1. We don’t do “kid foods.” If I wouldn’t make it for myself, I don’t buy it. The only things we’ve gotten that fall into the kid food category are mac and cheese (but we get Annie’s Whole Wheat Shells and Cheddar or their other grainy blend, mix it with peas, and I take the leftovers for lunch), and yogurt pouches between the ages of about 18 months-2.5 years to reduce mess during the morning rush. I might actually be able to avoid yogurt pouches with Maggie because she seems to like Kefir in a cup.
  2. I make sure to include a fruit at breakfast, and a fruit and vegetable at lunch and dinner.
  3. We don’t restrict them from eating what’s offered at other people’s houses and we occasionally order pizza or go out to eat, so obviously they’re getting less than favorable foods then, which I’m fine with.

My plug for whole grains: If you aren’t eating very well and want to make an easy change that has a big impact, switch to whole grains. Unlike trying to get more vegetables in your diet, by switching to whole grains you’re just tweaking something you’re already eating versus trying to add something new. A lot of people have a misconception that kids won’t eat whole grains, but if you don’t start them off with white bread, white rice, refined pasta, plain waffles etc. they won’t know the difference. So any time I mention bread, toast, pasta, etc. below it’s 100% whole wheat/grain. Also, grown-ups don’t eat white bread.

Lily’s Typical Meals
Breakfast

For a good week Lily asked for Teddy Grahams before breakfast every single day. She also had a screaming tantrum everytime when I said no. She also tried to get around it by asking for lunch, so then they would be a snack, or claiming she just at dinner.  Nice try, kid.

Peanut butter and jelly banana – this is her concoction. Banana slices, half of them topped with peanut butter and the other with jelly. Sometimes I used almond butter if we have it. Sometimes she has something else with it, like “frozen toast” (below), or peas (I’m not going complain about that odd request).

Smoothie – I say something like “Do you want a frozen yogurt smoothie?” but it’s really made with banana, frozen fruit, greens, plain Greek yogurt, milk, juice, and ground flax seeds. She doesn’t know the difference.

Oatmeal – Oatmeal with milk. She always eats a lot of fruit on the side.

Frozen toast – quite literally frozen bread. Recently I’ve been getting whole grain variations that also include spelt or other grains just to get more of a hearty variety. We of course pair this with something else (Kefir, yogurt, fruit, milk, etc.)

Bagels – cold or toasted, plain or with cream cheese, peanut butter, or almond butter. Wegmans sells these super spelty, grain-filled bagels in the frozen aisle of the health food section. Something I’ve been trying to do with grains since Lily eats so many of them is to only buy things I would eat for breakfast. I wouldn’t eat a regular bagel, but I feel pretty good about these ones. Again, served with fruit.

Muffins, pancakes (homemade): I’m not a huge fan of sneaking veggies, but I am a proponent of boosting whatever other foods you’re eating by adding veggies to them. I like to include a veg in baked goods whenever possible. By making them at home I can both add a veggie, and reduce the sugar.

I find it hard to offer veggies at breakfast, but because Lily likes her veggies plain I’ll give her some tomatoes or peppers if I’m making lunches.

Beverages: milk (whole milk), juice (100% without no sugar added, watered down, maybe once or twice a week), or water. Lily always wakes up looking super thirsty (read: her lips are cracked) but doesn’t often want to drink water in the morning so I try to get her to drink whatever I can. I always offer water first but man, this girl loves milk. I’m not a big supporter of drinking milk from the nutrition end, so this is hard for me to swallow (ha). She does a pretty good job of drinking water throughout the rest of the day so I’m not super concerned.

Lunch

I offer fruit, veggies, a starch or grain, and a dairy or protein at lunch. Here are some of our go-to options from each group.

Fruit: basically any fruit. She’s not a big fan of mango, kiwi, or blackberries but eats everything else.

Veggies: Lily recently started refusing broccoli. It used to be one of her favorites so this is tough. She has a very limited vegetable palette which doesn’t include any leafy greens (except in the summer when she challenges us to kale eating contests).

  • Cherry tomatoes – every kid’s favorite veg. So easy to pop in their mouth. Lily has been known to consume an entire pint of tomatoes in a sitting. Okay, she’ll leave two so I’ll see them and get more (no joke, she said this to my mom).
  • Bell peppers – uncooked slices
  • Carrots – baby carrots, uncooked (she just told me a few days ago she doesn’t like them anymore so this may be nixed from our list soon)
  • Peas – from frozen

That’s it. *sigh*

Starch/Grains

  • Whole grain bread, pasta, rolls, etc. As often as possible the pasta is a quinoa amaranth blend (my mom introduced us to this–she’s gluten-intolerant) or Banza (chickpea). These both have more protein than whole wheat pasta.
  • Sweet potatoes (baked, plain or with butter)
  • Corn on the cob (summer only)

Dairy/Protein: I don’t get very creative with lunch when I pack it during the week because I want to be sure it’s something she will actually eat since I won’t be with her when she gets it. I actually don’t usually make her lunch during the week…my mom makes it on Thursday, sometimes my MIL does on Tuesday, and unless school lunch is weird (Salisbury steak) I let her eat it. She won’t eat many proteins for me, but she always eats what they offer at school. I’m not thrilled she’s eating non-organic meat and poultry but you win some, you lose some.

  • Cheese – only sharp cheddar
  • Peanut or almond butter – on a whole grain
  • Turkey – lunch meat
  • Meatballs – usually turkey or chicken
  • Black beans – only at home since she sometimes refuses it
  • Yogurt – only at home, ditto the above
  • Tuna salad

Combo foods: usually leftovers of a dinner

  • Some form of a whole grain pasta with sauce (sometimes with ground turkey or chopped carrots mixed in)
  • Macaroni and cheese with peas
  • Wrap with peanut/almond butter or cream cheese
Dinner

By far the hardest meal, and we don’t get creative. If we make something like stir fry, we keep elements of it separate and without sauce or else she won’t eat it. Lily is also required to taste everything on her plate, even if she just touches it with her tongue. Here are some common dinners at our house:

  • Tuna, bread/roll, vegetable, fruit
  • Salmon, rice/grain/sweet potatoes, vegetable, fruit
  • Homemade pizza: whole-grain flatbread, pita, Naan, or pizza crust; sauce; cheese. Lily no longer likes veggies on top so gets hers on the side.
  • Soup with a roll (pureed soup is best)
  • Wegman’s turkey or salmon burgers (summer only), corn on the cob or sweet potato fries, vegetable, fruit
  • Chicken (but only if my mom or MIL makes it), rice/grain/sweet potatoes, vegetable, fruit
  • Eggs (scrambled, or an omelet but only if she’s stealing it off someone else’s plate), toast, vegetable, fruit
  • Chili, bread/roll, fruit (vegetable if needed)
  • Tortellini soup, fruit
  • Burritos: wrap, cheese, ground meat or chicken (she usually doesn’t eat it), tomatoes, peppers. This is one of those meals she eats only parts of.

I really like to cook, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that for the next few years at least I won’t really have the time or the audience to prep creative meals.

Sometimes kids would rather eat chapstick than whatever you put on the table.

 

*I feel like ever since Lily became obsessed, I talk about poop with other moms all the time. At work last week one of my coworkers who has an 8 year old was recounting for another coworker who has a 3 month old how I had been laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face while she told me about a time she had to remove her daughter’s arm-length poop from a public space by rolling it with a stick. The new mom was totally horrified.

Getting to know you.

The other day I was talking with my mom about the different relationships and connections I have with Lily and Maggie. I’m not sure how it came up, but it’s something I think about a lot. I’ve heard and read countless stories from women who had expected to feel an instant connection with their babies when they were born, and were disappointed/frustrated/distraught when they didn’t. Sure, most of them loved their babies, but it wasn’t this immediate overwhelming, all-consuming love like they had never felt before and had been conditioned to expect. But what almost all of these women shared is that, eventually, they did feel this. It happened gradually, over the course of weeks and months. And what most of them also found was that with their second and subsequent babies, the connection was more immediate.

For me, the opposite happened. I’m not sure what’s harder: being a first-time mom and trying to find some way to bond with a baby you thought you were meant to love immensely right away and just don’t, or being a second-time mom who felt this connection with her first, who was scared her entire second pregnancy how this new baby would impact her relationship with her older child and if she would have the same time and devotion available for her second…and then having those concerns come to fruition.

I love Maggie just as much as I love Lily. In the past six months my favorite day was the day I took off from work, but sent Lily to school. I got to spend the entire day with just Maggie. We played in the basement and went to Target, and it was the best day ever. I had never spent so much time alone with Maggie, and it was just so awe-inspiring to see what a little person she was becoming independently of me. The love I have for the two of them is just so different. When I started explaining to my mom how I just felt this really deep connection with Lily I expected her to kind of observe the relationship from the outside but instead she shocked me with her response. “Oh, no,” she said, “it’s like she shares a part of your psyche.” Wow. I had never been able to put that into words, but that is exactly what it is.

Many first time moms spend a lot of time floundering. They’re new moms, and they have to meet the needs of this baby who won’t sleep or can’t be soothed. There is a lot of “what does this baby want?” And to make it worse, many moms suffer from postpartum depression, anxiety, or the baby blues. This is the reality. This is most moms.

When I had Lily, the moment she was handed to me it was like I was suddenly complete. I looked at her and I knew her and I understood her. As the days and weeks went on, this only became more apparent and it’s still so to this day. I’ve always known exactly what she wants or needs. I can interpret her emotions and address them, unless it’s a disciplinary thing, but I still usually know why she’s hitting me or running away–we’re just still trying to figure out how to get her to do a better behavior. Like, obviously she wants to run through the clothing racks at Target or run outside fully dressed into a torrential downpour or eat half a cake with her hands when no one is watching because of the same reasons I’d want to. But when she’s feeling emotional, I can deal with it. I know the instant she wakes up in the morning or from a nap how she needs to be handled/dealt with. I can sense when she just needs to play or read alone, and when it’s been long enough and any moment she’s going to act out because she wants some attention.

But it goes even deeper than that. Maybe I’m the only adult who still feels this way, but do you ever feel like wearing a certain pair of socks or underwear, like from the moment you wake up? Well I do, and that’s happened ever since I can remember. But now, I’ll wake up with a feeling of what Lily wants that day, before she’s even woken up. Other times, and I’ve posted this before, I’ll wake up wanting muffins or pancakes and then she’ll ask for the exact thing I want. I posted once about this conversation she and I had in the car one night that started out with her asking, “Mama, do you feel like the moon?” And I was like, hell yeah I feel like the moon. We want the same foods, want to listen to music or have quiet at the same times, have the same sort of sensory preferences. She does this thing where she just spaces out, and at preschool they’ve mentioned this and the fact that she kind of plays alone a lot. But I get it, and I like this about her. I’ve always loved being around her and enjoy her companionship.

That’s why it might come as a surprise that having this connection makes things really difficult. Because I can anticipate and interpret her needs, and because she has such volatile emotional reactions, it’s easier for me to tell people what to do with her, or to just do it myself. I’ve had countless discussions with other people watching her about how it’s okay for them to do things differently but most of the time I just feel like, if I know what she wants, why should you both struggle to figure it out?

When Maggie came out, I really wasn’t ready. I thought I had another two weeks to both spend home with Lily, and to take the time to acknowledge being pregnant. There just isn’t the same air of excitement and anticipation around second and subsequent pregnancies as there is around your first. Your second and third and fourth won’t be your first baby or the first grandchild or great-grandchild. Because you already know, you won’t be waiting to see what the first kicks feel like, and people won’t constantly be asking to feel your belly. I carried so much guilt while pregnant with Maggie because of this. Then she came before I had those two weeks to be away from work and think about being pregnant and what she was going to be like. When they placed her on my chest I kind of felt like “Oh, okay, hello.” There wasn’t the overwhelming rush of emotions I had experienced with her sister. It didn’t come right then, and it didn’t come a few days from then.

9 months old and already at the little table.

Maggie was so different from Lily from the start. She slept so much, and didn’t have a voracious appetite. Then she went through her witching hour phase and I had no idea what to do with her. On top of understanding Lily, she had also been a really easy baby. I couldn’t soothe Maggie, and neither could anyone else. But the difference was that because I didn’t know how, I could let other people try. Lily was an open book, but Maggie I had to figure out. Since she was born, I’ve constantly been trying to read her and she’s always surprising me. Eventually one day, like all the moms I read about, I realized I felt that overwhelming love–just in a completely different way than with Lily. Maggie is so feisty and determined, and she rests her head on my shoulder in this way when I get home from work. She is the sweetest little peanut, and we’re all always remarking how stinking cute she is. She’s much fussier than Lily, but it’s less stressful for me because I know that someone else may be able to help her more than me. And I love figuring her out. One of the most striking things is that when I look at her, I’m looking at a different person. With Lily, it was like looking in a mirror at myself. Strangers used to stop me in public and sarcastically remark, “Well she doesn’t look anything like you, does she.” Now I know what it’s like to have a baby who doesn’t look like you, and who doesn’t share a part of your psyche. While I was fortunate not to suffer from the baby blues or anxiety either time, now I can understand what it’s like for the first time moms who are tired and floundering. I at least had a happy, healthy 2.5 year old to remind me that I did okay the first time around.

One of my favorite things is watching Maggie climb up the stairs. She books across the dining room or living room so fast her body kind of goes up and down on either side and she’ll sometimes shriek and look over her shoulder to make sure you know she’s doing something naughty. Then she gets to the stairs and the look of determination on her face is like nothing I’ve ever seen. When she gets to the top she usually races into Lily’s room and climbs onto her bed which is hilarious to watch. She has such a tiny little body and she grunts and breaths and heaves herself up and is then so proud of herself.

Determined to help clean up, even though she can’t walk yet.

So don’t worry if you don’t feel an attachment to your baby or if you’re having trouble bonding. You’ll get there. You’ll love them, and then you’ll love them differently than the next.

Spring-themed umbrella baskets: an Easter basket alternative

Easter is a strange holiday when you’re not Catholic. Plus, unlike Santa, I find the Easter Bunny to be straight up bizarre and I’m still confused about why we put jellybeans and chocolate in eggs so that side of the holiday is also lost on me. While last year Easter at our house kind of fell by the wayside what with me being hugely pregnant and having just moved in a few days earlier, the prior year I decided I would make the day a spring celebration. Lily got new rain boots, some garden tools (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!), seeds, and a seed starter tray. We planted the seeds in the tray and spent the day digging in the garden. I had high hopes of those seeds growing into beautiful vegetable plants but that didn’t happen because I didn’t read the instructions and way overestimated the amount of time I’d have on my hands (I ended up buying small plants instead of starting from seed). But it was a really fun way for me to still recognize it as a special day, and Lily ended up in the garden all summer long. I’ve also mentioned before that we try to emphasize experiences over things, and garden-related gifts are a nice way to still have a little something for kids to “open” while really giving them an experience that will last well into the fall.

Now that I’m a few years into this parenthood thing and have been learning more about gardening through my job, I have a better idea of what I can actually handle growing-wise. I saw an umbrella Easter basket on Pinterest which is a perfect alternative to the traditional Easter basket and fits in well with my spring theme. Plus I’m all about practicality, and a wicker basket filled with shredded paper is possibly the least practical thing you can give a baby or toddler. In case you’re interested in making your Easter a spring celebration and spending the day getting dirt under your nails, here is my umbrella Easter basket inspiration!

1)  Frog Rain Boots: There’s nothing that says “spring” like rain gear. Lily already has a raincoat, but her rain boots are pretty small and starting to fall apart. Western Chief is definitely the best brand of rain boots we’ve purchased, and these frog ones are adorable. They’re built to last, and come in all kinds of cute patterns. Oakiwear is another brand we’ve purchased that’s also pretty popular, but they just don’t hold up like Western Chief boots (Lily’s current pair of Oakiwear boots is cracking, a handle fell off, and they fade super fast). Plus these boots have a matching (2) froggy umbrella. I can’t wait to see how pumped Lily is going to be when she sees she got an umbrella. I might get Maggie some (3) sandals too, but Easter is a week before her birthday soooo we’ll see because let’s be honest, Maggie will just be excited to see everyone when she wakes up in the morning.

4) Wildflower seeds: We have this weird patch in our yard where the grass is different than everywhere else and grows really fast. As long as the weather is nice on Easter, we’ll turn the soil here and sprinkle some wildflower seeds or pollinators. Wildflowers are a great option for planting with kids because they are super easy to get in the ground and are fairly hardy seeds. Crossing my fingers that these work out for us this year!

5) Lettuces and (6) kale: When it comes from the garden or  farmers market, Lily loves kale.

She doesn’t have a huge vegetable pallet, so I’d like to capitalize on this. We also go through a ton of greens. We’re way too busy to have a full veggie garden, plus both our parents have huge gardens. We do have window boxes out front, and I want to try planting a variety of greens in them. This way they’ll be semi-attractive and also practical. I also know I cannot manage anything that can’t be sown directly, which makes greens an excellent option. I also just recently learned you can plant them a few times throughout the season, or rotate with something else like radishes so if I’m feeling ambitious and I get my act together we’ll try that. I’m going to order the seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Co. They have these art packs which are really pretty and Lily got a kick out of the ones my mom gave us last year (that didn’t get planted…oops.). Plus, shout out to the Hudson Valley.

7) Garden-related books: I don’t have a particular book in mind but these both look really cute. Lily is just getting to the age where she could grasp the concept of things happening underground, and babies love flaps. Plus I still have plenty of time to ask Dog Ears to  order them!

*Let’s be clear that I’m the family heathen: both my girls were baptized and Ryan takes Lily to church on weekends. I do join on holidays and may more often when Maggie gets older.

The reality of pumping at work: The Routine

If you ever wondered what it’s like to pump at work 3 times a day, 5 days a week, you’ve come to the right place. Now that I’ve shared my minimalist pumping supplies, I’m going to talk about how I use them. This post discloses the nitty-gritty of pumping and might be TMI for some of you. Consider yourself warned.

To start, let me remind you that I’ve experienced two considerably different pumping journeys. At first I was only going to share how it’s gone with Maggie, but I started writing it up and it was so depressing. So I’ve chosen to include my routine when I was pumping for Lily because while pumping is never easy, it’s also not always ridiculously difficult.

A comical image of what pumping at home looks like, just to start on a light note. Lily is obsessed with photos in case you couldn’t tell.
Pumping for Baby #1: The “This is so easy!” Routine

When Lily was still nursing I was like a cow. I produced enough milk for at least 2-3 babies. At work, I pumped 2-3 times per day. If I pumped 2 times I still walked away with excess milk, but I also risked leaking through my shirt (there were plenty of times when I didn’t bring enough extra breast pads and had to stuff my shirt with paper towels). I typically pumped every 3 hours, and did it in my office while not working. My boobs would literally start leaking at 2 hours 45 minutes, so I had to be pretty strategic about making sure I could do this because I was also running lab participants for up to 3 hours at a time. These were paid breaks–this wasn’t actually discussed with my employer, but just assumed.

I shared an office with another girl during my brief stint working full-time, and I would just go and sit facing the window so our backs were to each other. I kept headphones in my bag, and would listen to music while either closing my eyes, gazing out the window (at half a tree and a brick wall–we were in the basement), or scrolling through my phone. I tried to avoid looking at my phone unless I had something coming up I needed to plan, or to look at photos of Lily. Looking at photos of your baby is a good way to help you relax and, hence, let down. I actually occasionally listened to meditative music to help with this, which is something I forgot about until just now and will have to start up again.

I started each pumping session by double pumping. My right boob has always been a better producer (I could pump 6-9oz during my morning session), and I completely stopped pumping my left boob when Lily was about 9 months old. The last few minutes of each session I would switch to single-sided pumping so I could massage the last drops out. Because pump bottles are made for normal women (they hold between 5-6oz milk), I usually switched to single-sided once the bottle hooked up to my right boob was full. In the morning I’d pump anywhere between 7-10oz total, and then about 5-6oz at each of my other sessions. I seem to remember averaging around 16-24oz a day but I could be wrong. I also know that if I had a pumping session where I only pumped 3oz I probably would have had a heart attack. I was so obsessive about my supply, even though I had like 80oz just sitting in the freezer, and really anxious about missing sessions and my supply just disappearing. I also drank Mothers Milk tea like water for literally no reason.

After pumping, I would try to stealthily transfer milk from the pump bottles into Lasinoh bags. Sometimes I just left the milk in the bottles, but this was like playing Russian Roulette because when I did this I would typically overproduce that day and run out of bottles to use for my 3rd pump. I’d then bring my little freezer bag of milk to the kitchen and stick it in the fridge. I typically washed my parts once a day, because I’d bring two full sets.

Once I got home I would stick the milk in the freezer. It’s recommended to date and time your milk bags so you can give milk you pumped in the morning to your baby in the morning, etc. We never did this. I figured that she was getting breastmilk which was good enough. I typically put the bags it would make most sense for Maggie to drink in an obvious place. I’d sometimes have to cobble together a few bags of different sizes to get to around 6-7oz. The next day, my MIL would thaw the milk in a measuring cup filled with hot water before pouring it into a bottle.

Pumping for Baby #2: The “FML” Routine

Pumping for Maggie has been so hard. I’m working full-time, I have a real job, and I also have a low supply. Having a low supply is really unusual if you’ve had an oversupply in the past, and breastfeeding second and subsequent children is typically much easier, so I just have terrible luck. I don’t take paid lactation breaks, so usually try to shift my hours (really minutes) around so that I get to relax until my milk fully lets down, and so I can wash my pump parts (about 5 minutes out of the 20 minutes total it takes to set up, pump, store, and wash). Sometimes I take the full time to blog, look at my phone, right angry letters to Governor Cuomo about needing paid lactation breaks, etc. and then just knock time off my lunch or come in early/leave late. I pump for 15-ish minutes, 3 times a day.

I try to start by washing my hands, which I usually only remember if I just went to the bathroom. I’ve also been trying to sanitize my desk once a day (for like the past week. and Maggie’s 10 months old. whatever.). Anyway, I then sit down at my desk in front of my computer and hook my pump up to my right boob. Let-down usually happens about 2-3 minutes in. After that, I have to do a lot of “massaging” to get enough milk out. This means that I’m holding the pump with one hand, and squeezing with the other. If I wasn’t also trying to work at the same time, this would take less time because I could massage continuously. About 10 minutes in, I switch to my sad left boob, which I get 1/4 to 1/2oz from. While with Lily this wasn’t enough to justify pumping on my left side, now I need all the liquid gold I can get and I do a little “woot woot!” on the inside when I get a little stream vs. a few drops. I’ll often switch back to the right for a minute at the end to try to get to my goal. This is 3-4oz in the morning (depending on the last time I nursed Maggie), and 2-3oz for subsequent pumps. My daily goal is 10oz, as Maggie takes 2 5oz bottles during the day (thankfully she isn’t as demanding of milk as Lily was or we’d be buying a lot more formula). If I only get 9oz, I’m also happy as half the time she doesn’t finish her bottles.

After I’m done pumping I pour the milk into Mason jars. Like I mentioned before, I’m trying to aim for 5oz per jar. I’m so glad I read about storing and handling breast milk on KellyMom, because I now know it’s okay to add to previously cooled milk throughout the day. When I bought my Spectra, I also learned that you only need to sanitize pump parts and baby bottles for breastfed babies before the first use! This could have saved me (okay, Ryan) soooo much time when we didn’t have a dishwasher and were sanitizing in a thing on the counter. If you don’t have time to wash your pump parts, you can just store them in the fridge because this prevents the milk droplets left on them from going bad. You can also store milk in the fridge up to 8 days, so I never freeze milk anymore. side note, breastmilk also lines your babies got with magic fairy dust that prevents them from getting sick (just swirl, don’t shake, the milk). Basically, breastmilk = magical rainbow unicorn.

Milk stash, which is now completely depleted, and a sneak peek at our cheese/meat drawer! (that’s a joke)

I store my milk in my lunch bag in the fridge. I’m careful to rinse the Mason jars under water before reopening, because, let’s face it, there are tons of germs in lunch bags. Then I go on my happy way. I usually wash my parts right before I need them because I’m lazy. I have a sink in my office because it used to be a doctor’s office, which is random but I LOVE it.

One of the worst parts about this whole situation is that my back is wrecked from trying to pump and work, which requires a lot of hunching over. I have a pretty bad diastasis recti, and this is making it much, much worse because I spend so much time with terrible posture. I’ve let this go for such a long time, but I decided on my morning run today that I’m going to see if I can get physical therapy or rehabilitation for this covered by health insurance. I might day-wean Maggie at 12 months because I am so uncomfortable.

The only thing better about pumping for Maggie vs. Lily is that I have zero anxiety. Because I have no expectation of being able to pump enough for her, it’s not stressful.

Yay, isn’t pumping fun! Now everyone go write angry letters asking for better support for new moms. And free yoga for me, because seriously, my back.