Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pumping, dumping, plane hopping 5 preparations!

Next week I'll spend three days away from my baby for the very first time. "Torn" is typically the adjective that seems to best describe everything that I feel when it comes to work and motherhood.

Challenge: keeping baby exclusively on breast milk while I'm away and keeping supply up!

Scenario: I'll be going from Minnesota to Canada on two flights and sitting at a conference table for long hours at a time.


1) Tapping into other traveling moms from my favorite mom organization, Enlightened Momma. They offer a wide range of advice of how to do this successfully. One experienced momma traveler says, 

"I tried eating lactation cookies leading up to and on the travel, which was a bad idea.  I became engorged and actually got mastitis on one trip.  If your trip is less than 5 days, you probably won't have issues with supply since it sounds like breastfeeding is well-established.  However, try to keep a regular pumping routine while you're away.  Logistically, here are some things I learned along the way... TRIPLE check that you have every single little tiny piece of equipment packed and ready to go.  Learn hand expression as a backup skill just in case you're in a jam and need to do that rather than pump.  I used standard breast milk storage bags and the cooler that came with my pump.  I asked for a fridge at the hotel and stored the milk and cooler in there (if you have to request a fridge and they give you a hard time, tell them the fridge is for medication and they won't charge you).  When I left the hotel for the airport I filled the ice bucket bag with ice and stuck that in my cooler (take an extra ice bag which you'll use later).  Once that melts (you'll have to toss it before security), use cold packs from the pharmacy section at Target (the kind athletes use for injuries).  Once in the airport, go to a fast food restaurant and ask for a cup of ice.  Dump that into the extra ice bucket bag you took earlier.  Once on the plane (as you board, before you even sit down) ask the flight attendant for a bag of ice to keep medication cold (usually they'll give it to you right away).  You may have to request one or two more bags of ice during the flight, but  that should last you until you get home to your own freezer.  Why did I always (sadly) have to pretend I needed things for medication rather than breastmilk?  It garnered less uncomfortable looks and left little room for questions as I think they were afraid I might have a seizure or something and they would be held liable." 

2) I consulted the TSA website on their guidelines. I plan to print and bring them with me, because no offense to TSA employees but I've had really mixed experiences with them. See this link for details. 

3) I purchased this cooler on amazon as it looks like I could fit about 75 oz of breastmilk in it. 

4) I have a plan of pumping times, assuming no delays in flights- now find a spot to do it, might be a different challenge. I'm guessing I can't sit in business class seating even though I'm convinced it's some seriously important business.

5) I've added a nightly pumping session for the past three weeks to stock up. 4-5oz x 21 days = close to 100oz of frozen milk in a drawer in the freezer, where I used to store the margarita mix. Ola!

I've tried to mentally prepare myself to dump milk, something I've never done before. Even though I know it's a possibility, I could see it going down like promising a two year old he's going to get a treat at the bank and then they're out of suckers. "What do You Mean no sucker? But..but.. WAHhhhhhh!!"

I mean it will literally be about 75 oz of breastmilk! Here's hoping I can find one TSA person who has experience with breastmilk!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Observations of Postpartum Life

Observation of all things Postpartum

You know, I started to think that one way to look forward to the pumping sessions is to write down some of these thoughts I have during the day about what life is like postpartum.

Postpartum Invisible Power
It is a whole other ball game than being pregnant. Perhaps others of you have experienced this when pregnant, you're the center of attention when you enter the room whether you like it or not and people light up when they see you, especially older women. Then it happens, you gain that super power you dreamed of as a kid, you go invisible once your baby enters the world. You may go a couple family gatherings without making eye contact with anyone as they gleam over your baby and perhaps this break from the center of attention is welcomed with opened arms by you or maybe not but its definitely a shift and something to get used to. It can feel a little isolating during early days of postpartum. 

The issue with clothes isn’t necessarily the fact that you’re rocking your new postpartum body and carrying a little extra weight after the baby comes out. If you’re a normal person, you likely had some insecurities before pregnancy and had clothes that weren’t painted to your body. Postpartum weight is the same game, loose tops around the middle, pants that don’t hug your legs unflatteringly, this is a road I guarantee every woman has traveled before and there are always bigger clothes available.

The issue that comes with clothes is finding ones that allow you to whip your breast out. Unless you’re a resident of New Orleans and get down for mardi gras, chances are you have dresses, shirts or the worst, turtle necks, in your line up of office attire.  It’s hilarious to me that when I need to pump at work, most of my pre-baby life clothes require that I get completely naked. I never had to think about whipping my breasts out 10-12 times a day. I never thought I’d be sitting naked in that conference room before I had a baby, alright maybe I did, but that was a fantasy of a different kind.  

Friends without Kids (FWOK)
Did you make those promises to your friends that don't have kids that you won't become one of those parents that "never goes out" or that they "never see anymore?" We did and we ate those words like a PMS-ing lady with a dark chocolate bar. The reason new parents aren't seen anymore or never go out is because of one million reason that friends without kids cannot understand. I don't need to list them here, assuming you're in the thick of raising your own newborn or multiple kids, but its clear why there is such a division. FWOK called the day after I delivered my baby, inviting my partner to a beer festival that day, FWOK told us to "just bring the baby" to an all night party at their house - they'll sleep through it all right? FWOK are so important to keep around though and to make advance plans with because....

Friends with kids (FWK)
Have you found yourself gravitating towards hanging out with FWK? Be careful as I know at first it feels soooo good. Finally, people who "get it." You may even find yourself bitching about FWOK kids together as if you're mutually suffering from these inconsiderate assholes who want to drink beer after 8pm. I mean geeze, don't they get that your kids are in bed by then? Let yourself hang out with the FWK when you need the support (they will affirm the shit out of you), but back away once you fall into the comparing every little decision mode. "Oh you're doing cloth diapers? We could never do that!" "Oh, you're not sleep training? How do you ever expect to survive work?" It can quickly go from a relaxing massage to a student acupuncturist, leaving you feeling poked and stressed in all the wrong places.

Well thats it for today, see you at the next 4 ozs!