It’s OK to want to work

It’s OK to want to work

I wish someone had told me this. I wish someone had said “it’s ok to want to go back to work.” It’s ok to not want to be a stay at home mom. That doesn’t make you a bad mom. 
But that’s not what I heard or what I read. What I heard was “don’t you just love her?” Well, yes, I do. But I miss my career.
“Isn’t she just adorable! Don’t you love being with her?” Yes, yes she is. I’m feeling rather clueless and overwhelmed and would like to do something I know I’m good at, though.
Or my personal favorite:

“They grow up so fast. Cherish every moment.”  This one is hard to respond to, because the truth is I can’t cherish every moment unless some of them (ok, a considerable amount of them) don’t involve my child at all. It’s like that phrase- I can’t miss you if you never leave.
I had a baby after I established a career.  I was in my mid thirties and had been lucky enough to find a jo. I enjoyed and was good at. I married my husband and we had a baby. Then the guilt started. I felt guilty for wanted to return to work. For wanting to leave the baby in the care of a (qualified) complete stranger, to continue my career.
If you’re in that place, don’t struggle with it like I did. Remember that you are doing the best you can for your child. Your child will learn the value of hard work, determination, ambition, and dedication.
So now when a friend gets pregnant, I tell them “it’s ok to want to go back to work”, and usually I get a sigh of relief, or a thank you. 

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The best baby gifts

The best baby gifts

So you’ve been invited to a baby shower. Congrats! If you’re like me, before I had kids, I had no idea what to buy the mom to be, and I always deferred to clothes. Along with generally 50% of the other folks at the shower. And while clothes are nice, let’s all strive to be the rock star friend that doesn’t bring yet another cute onesie that the mom to be will feel obligated to remember to put her child in. When she’s on week three of no sleep. 

And for the love of everything good and mighty, include the receipt!

1. Diapers-  Sure, it’s not cute. It’s not fun. Nobody will say oooohhhh or squeel wtih delight. We aren’t winning prizes for best gift here, so buy something you know mom will use. If you’re not sure of the size, buy size 1.

2. Nose Freida- yup, it’s a snot sucker. But you know what? Kids of all ages get congested and babies (and toddlers) don’t know how to blow their noses. So you have to suck that snot out. My kid is 2 and I still use mine.

3. Gift certificate to a restaurant that has deluvery- No one in that house will be sleeping. No one will be cooking. Be a dear and provide the best kind of food, the kind that shows up at their front door.

4. Laundry pick up service gift certificate- if you live in a city, this is usually available. 

5. Did I say diapers?

6. Breast feeding supplies- if you know mama plans on breasts feeding, support the endeavor and buy some supplies- cream, pads, lotions, etc.

So you’re going to breastfeed….

So you’re going to breastfeed….

Almost all of the women I know who have had kids intended on Breast feeding. Some lasted longer than others at it, because let’s not sugar coat it- Breast feeding is HARD.  From what I’ve heard, it gets easier the longer you stick with it… Or you become exclusively a pumper (as I did)… Or you switch to formula. 

Regardless, there are countless products out there that can make it easier on you.  None of these are in fact required. Mother Nature already gave you breasts so you’ve honestly got all you need… But why make things harder than you have to?
1. Get a Breast pump. When Ms Bugs was born in 2013, our insurance covered our breast pump. I’m not positive if they still do, and you’ll need to call your insurance company to see what they do cover. A good breast pump is not cheap. We had the higher end Modela one. Why do you want a breast pump? Because sometimes your body produces more milk than your baby needs and your breasts swell to painful levels (aka engorgement) and you need to empty them, and breast milk is like liquid gold and you can’t let that go to waste. Or, breast feeding is too painful but you still want to give your child breast milk so you pump and feed through a bottle. Or… There’s tons of reasons. Go get that free/cheap breast pump!
2. Breast milk storage containers. Like I said above, breast milk is liquid gold. You need to save every last drop that you can of it. Thus, you need storage containers. I used both the bags and the bottles and either worked well.

3.  Cream/Pads- Nipples are sensitive to start with, and now you’re going to let your baby chomp down on them over and overs against. They will get sore, especially in the beginning. Buy the creams (Lansinoh is popular but there are many to choose from). But the gel pads that go in the fridge between uses. Those gel pads are oh so lovely when chilled.

3. Nursing bras- yes, you could just lift your breast or of your bra but that’s uncomfortable and trust me, your hands will be full with the baby already. Get some nursing bras. These bras are not cheap though, so borrow where possible and check eBay (wash before use!). If you’re mid pregnancy, don’t buy them now because your tatas aren’t done growing yet, and you don’t know what size you’ll be. Buy nursing bras towards the end of the pregnancy (3rd trimester) and buy a cup size bigger than you currently are (because they will continue to grow when the milk comes in after birth).

4. Bra Pads- no, I’m not referring to stuffing your bra like an adolescent. It may feel like it though. When you finish breast feeding your wee one, expect that there is leakage. Hell, your boobs could leak when you sneeze or laugh. It tends to happen at the most i opportune times. You’ll want to buy breast pads. True, you could use tissues- but they may stick (ick). You could use a cut up wash cloth but that may make you look lumpy and be uncomfortable. The pads are quite nice.

5. Pillow- It’s commonly referred to as the Boppy but there are other companies that make similar ones. Many mothers swear by them. I found that my breasts were too big and the Boppy put Ms Bugs at an uncomfortable angle, so I stopped using it and resorted to an extra bedroom pillow. 

6. Nursing cover- I know many mothers (myself included) that figured to hell with those that were made uncomfortable by breastfeeding and didn’t buy a cover… But they’re cheap so if you aren’t as brazen, you’ll want one.

If you plan on pumping a lot/exclusively you’ll want to get two more things:

1. An adaptor for your cigarette lighter that converts power into a strong we level, like for a laptop.  Most breast pumps come with a  cigarette adapter, but I found that didn’t provide enough juice to get the breast pump to fully function at optimum suckage.

2. A small cooler pack to store pumped breast milk when on the road.
Good luck!

When Post Partum isn’t so Post

When Post Partum isn’t so Post

I wish someone had told me that I wasn’t alone when I was pregnant with Bugs. I wish I could’ve been positive. I wish I could’ve enjoyed it. I wish I didn’t want to punch every positive person in the throat, and choke every person that told me how wonderful it was, and how good I had it to be able to be pregnant, and how wonderful it was to grow a life. 
I just never felt that way. It wasn’t just an inconvenience. I felt like I alone was on a private road to hell and no one could possibly understand. 
It didn’t end with pregnancy like I hoped it would. I stumbled through a whirl wind birth, and when the dust settled, the infections arrived. When the infections left, they took my ability to breast feed. And then the private road to hell became a daily dance with the devil. 
Every day I’m thankful for the wonderful husband that stuck with me through those times. I’m thankful I was able to see through the fog and seek therapy. I’m thankful for the sunny, happy days that surround me and lay ahead.
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/05/31/magazine/the-secret-sadness-of-pregnancy-with-depression.html?referrer=

Saying Goodbye to Breast Feeding

Saying Goodbye to Breast Feeding

When Ms Bug was born I threw myself whole heartedly into breast feeding. I had already purchased or received all of the accoutrements- the pump, the bras, the pads, the storage containers, etc. I had massive breasts at that point and after suffering through back pain for months due to them, they were going to serve their purposes, dammit.

 She was a premie via an emergency C section, so I stayed in the hospital for 5 days and she was there for 10 days. I took full advantage of the nursing support and lessons, and it all went smoothly. I was producing too much, in fact, so much of it was bottled. 

While she was in the hospital, I breast fed her when I was there. I didn’t live there, though, and every night I went home. That means from 10-8 she got bottles. She started to prefer them. I started pumping instead. No biggie for me. Breast feeding was increasingly painful and this meant my husband could feed her as well. I just kept pumping and snuggling her to my chest instead.

Then the staph infections came. The first one was on my ribs, directly under my chest. A gaping hole, on my bra line. I finally went to the ER later than I should’ve and was put on IV antibiotics for a day, and had surgery to remove the hole. More antibiotics followed, for weeks. This whole time my milk suffered. Bugs couldn’t have my milk and drank the stash we had built.

I kept pumping, frantically trying to continue producing, failing a little more each day. I took the fenugreek, ate the  cookies, drank gallons of water. Finally it was almost back to normal. And thank goodness, the stash was gone.

Then the infection returned. Again with the antibiotics for weeks. This time they were stronger, giving me mygrains and making it hard to get out of the bed. Again Bugs couldn’t drink my milk, but again I frantically kept pumping. 

We had to supliment with formula. Then it was mostly formula. I felt like a failure. I felt like my body failed both me and my baby. Remember- she was a Premie, and that was due to my body’s failings. It was just too much failure to bear. The post partumdepression I had been toying with since her birth overwhelmed me and took over.

My husband is rational, patient man. Thankfully he convinced me to let go of breast feeding. Thankfully I have friends who never breast fed and their kids thrived and are wonderful children.

Once I let go of breast feeding, the weight lifted somewhat. It wasn’t easy, but I had to let it go. It had become my focus, and a negative one, and once removed I could focus on the beautiful baby girl in front of me.

Breast feeding is beautiful and saving money is wonderful. Too often I see women making the same mistake I did, so focused on holding onto their feeble breast feeding instead of taking advantage of formula and enjoying their baby and their new life and love. 

What to buy a 1 year old 

What to buy a 1 year old 

Let me start by saying there are clothes. Of course there are clothes. But if you’re heading to a 1 year old birthday party, do the parents a favor and buy 18 month or 2t clothes. Nobody has time to deal with returns of the clothes are too small.

Then there are shoes. When Ms Bugs was 1 she wore size 4, but every kid is different. Therefore, like the clothesC buy a size that the child can grow into, like 5 or 5.5. Stride Rite is the good ol stand by but super expensive. If you want something cheaper, Skidders makes great covers for the wee feet. 

And of course there are toys. Who doesn’t love toys? Now be a good birthday guest and don’t bring toys that pop, bang, talk, or make any noise. You will most definitely end up on the parents shit list for that! Ms Bugs loved the following things when she was @1 year old:

1. Touch and Feel flash cards- she actually wore some of the feel parts of these down to nothing. There are multiple sets and they are @$6 a box. Get all three.

2. A Car/truck/buggie to ride in and get pushed around in

3. Water table- since kids this age still put everything in their mouths, steer clear of the sand table for a little while longer

4. Push Cart- if the little one isn’t walking, this will help them get around and explore.

5. Sign language flash cards- yes, this is more for the parents but the kid will enjoy them to. And unlike the noisy toy, this will put you at the top of the parents cool list.

And books. Lift the flap books. Pop the bubble books. Touch and feel books. Nursery rhyme books. Bring on the books.

Best 18 month old toys

Best 18 month old toys

Ms Bug is now 22 months. There were so many things I asked for at her first birthday, thinking she would use in the future… And sadly many things she never touched. Then there were the toys she loved and used daily. 

1. Sand table- since Bugs no longer puts everything in her mouth, I’m comfortable with this toy. Make sure to get one with a top or you’ll have a mess after the first rain!

2. Wooden Puzzles- Melissa & Doug makes fantastic lift the latch puzzles, and other companies make wooden puzzles that make noises.

3. Reusable Stickers- we are big fans of Melissa &Doug in this house, and their reusable stickers are genius. And cheap! They sick to windows and mirrors with ease.

4. Slide- we didn’t get the wimpy little baby slide and opted for the 3-4 foot tall big kid slide. It means we have to watch her every time, but it also means she thoroughly enjoys it and won’t grow out of it in 6 months.

5. Books books and more books- especially books that involve lifting flaps and naming body parts. I Spy books are thoroughly enjoyed, and Where the Wild Things Are is her favorite.
Best of luck!!!