SIX MONTH BIRTHDAY
Last Friday, we celebrated my baby’s 6 month birthday. I was on cloud 9 all day! I now feel as though I might just make it through the first year. I am half-way there! A friend at work who has small children asked me if I really thought the second year was going to be better. I said, well, yes I do! I won’t have to worry about breastfeeding or pumping anymore.
I love him being a baby. Never again in his life will he be so cute and cuddly. And as far as the baby-stages go, this is a pretty good one. He usually sleeps through the night, eats less frequently, hardly ever cries, and he’s not mobile yet so he’s generally pretty easy to keep up with. He’s lying in the pack-n-play next to me right now – very tired – but instead of crying he just coos a little, kicks his legs, and sucks on a pacifier he can now push back in his own mouth if it starts to fall out, drifting off to sleep. Very nice compared to 3 months ago. But I will be throwing a huge party when he turns 1, and weaning him from the breast and bottle!
Breastfeeding is easy. When it comes to nighttime or traveling, there’s nothing to pack, no water to sterilize, and no bottles to heat or clean. But trying to work and breastfeed is hard. I am tied to a pump for my lunch and coffee breaks and constantly struggle with keeping the amount I pump comparable to his consumption. For many women, this means trying to keep up with what baby is eating while she is away and anxiety over not having enough. For me, it is trying to avoid overproduction.
The women who can’t keep up are the ones with the most stories in the books. Determined not to let this happen to me, I pumped a large supply for the freezer while I was on maternity leave. After I went back to work, I was still getting about twice what he was eating. I had wasted all that time pumping. And on top of that, when he was about 4 months old I learned that my overproduction could have been contributing to his underweight problems as well as his colic between 6 and 12 weeks. Producing more milk at a time than your baby can handle can cause him to be getting too much foremilk. He doesn’t receive enough calories from rich hind milk, and can get an upset stomach from too much lactose in the foremilk. I felt terrible when I finally put the pieces together, having let the problem go on for months without being aware of it. But my doctor insists I not blame myself. It just means being more careful now. Not to mention, if I pump too much all week, it will be too uncomfortable not to pump on the weekend and the last thing I want to do is more pumping!
As much as I hate pumping, the benefits for the child of breastfeeding are so astronomical I wouldn’t think of stopping. And all the extra pumping wasn’t a total loss – I donated it to the Mother’s Milk Bank in San Jose. They supply hospitals for preemie babies too young for formula.
Happy 6-month birthday baby! We’ll get through the next 6 together.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR – MATERNITY CLOTHES
A year ago today, I was 3 months pregnant and starting to think about maternity clothes. Some of my pants were getting snug, but the main problem was the pressure of a traditional waste band bothered my tummy. A friend of mine gave me a couple of jeans and a few shirts to get me started. One of the jeans had a large stretchy fabric portion for the tummy, and other a small elastic strip. Oh good, I thought, small waistband for now while my tummy is small, and a large one for latter. Nope! The small elastic strip hurt my tummy with pressure the same as regular jeans. So I went with the large ones. They gave me the feeling of granny-panties times 10, but they were comfy. At first I thought I had missed my window to wear the small-elastic-strip jeans, but my friend said they would sit under my belly later. She was right. Later on no amount of fabric would be able to fit over my belly! But I didn't know that at 3 months. I didn't even have a little bump yet.
I also needed clothes for work, so I hit up the consignment maternity store. There’s one in Sacramento called Another 9 Months. It’s great! I got everything I needed for $100, even some things that looked so big I thought I would never need them, but I did! I also picked up a “Bella band.” It’s like a tube-top for tummies that holds regular pants up without being buttoned. It worked out great for me because the maternity slacks were a bit saggy still at 3 months, and the Bella band just looked like a long tank-top on under my shirt.
This month was probably the best one in my pregnancy. I wasn’t sick anymore, and I still didn’t look pregnant. I could walk around feeling like I blended in with the other humans, a feeling I would not have again until long after the baby was born.