Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to Work

So, I went back to work.  It's been nice - catching up with my colleagues, socializing around the proverbial water cooler, earning money, getting out of the house every day, having time to myself in the quiet in the car as I drive to work, at my desk, and while pumping.  Mrs. Marie has also been sending me texts and photos of the children daily, which is wonderful.

If I was at home, I would not be staring at a sleeping baby...I would be running away quickly and quietly to go screw around on the internet or brush my teeth.

It's been less nice in some other ways - leaving the kids, functioning on little sleep, traffic, pumping.

But all-in-all, I am happiest when I am working (in a flexible job that I have heard is fairly high-stress but that I don't let bother me). 

I was due for my mid-year review when I got back and was told to keep up the good work, so I shall.  It is nice to return to work and be told how much people missed me.  One notoriously gruff older gentleman at work hugged me he was so happy to see me.  And the hug was friendly and fatherly not icky and harrass-y.  I mentioned that one to my boss who was shocked because that guy is not a hugger (or even a smiler).  I think having tamed the lions gets me extra credit at work. 

Plus I have my office decorated with photos of my kids.  I figure if people have to contend with my maternity leave, they should be allowed to see what I was off doing. 

The picture that decorates my file cabinet.

Most of the men at work have grandkids the same age as my kids (it's pretty much all men at work...there are a handful of women of various ages who also think my kids are cute).  Many of them have daughters who work or don't or who have daughters-in-law who work or don't.  Really, for a heavy industrial environment, I have found it to be pretty family friendly.  Picture a coal mine, an oil refinery, or a smelter.  Does that seem family friendly to you?  And yet, I have found it to be true in most of the places I have worked.

Can you believe he starts SECOND grade in a week?  I cannot.
But based on how he looks here, I can understand why all those 7 year old girls keep calling my house.

Right before I went back to work, I went to the basement and pulled out all the bottles and nipples I had.  I found one single nipple of one kind that someone gave me when Chuckles was a baby.  We never used it so I just kept it in the box.  It turns out, that nipple was the winner.

Anyway, on my first day back, Trip took his first bottle (2 ounces) like a trooper using that random nipple.  By the second bottle, however, he was like, "Really? Two in a row? Where is that milk lady?" But he took most of the 2 ounces.  By the third bottle he was pissed.  But the next day, he took all three (using that random nipple).  And so it has been.

But I couldn't relax knowing that we only had one nipple. What if something happened to it? So, I went on a quest.  I hit many many stores and no one had it.  Well, it's a NUK.  And it's discontinued.  Of course it is.  I ended up finding a supply of them on  I realized if you are willing to throw enough money at a problem, you can make it go away.  I didn't know anything about the nipple other than standard width, NUK, Made in Germany, and orthodontic.  So, I bought slow and medium flow and put them both on bottles and compared the drip rate to the winner nipple at home. 

And this guy? He's starting preschool this year.

The winner is:  NUK, orthodontic, standard width (not wide width Trendline), Medium Flow (for 6+ months).  Trip is 4 months so that was a surprise, but he's taking it and is fine (and now taking three 4-ounce bottles).

In the interim, we introduced "solids".  Rice cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula, green beans, and squash so far.  We're going slowly.  The pediatrician said he likes to wait until 5 months for breastfed babies, but I couldn't wait if that was all Trip was going to eat.  I could stop the solids now, but why?  He'll be fine.

I call this picture "Oh, you think so, do you?"

So, that's what's going on.  I'm not sleeping because Trip's not sleeping.  I don't think caffeine was affecting him but I gave it up (again) to see if that would help (so I win either way...if giving it up helps him sleep better then I won't need the caffeine and if it doesn't help then I can use it while he doesn't  I'm pumping enough for his three 4-ounces bottles for now.  I have a lot in the freezer from maternity leave*, and I'm getting an extra bottle about once a week to put in the freezer.

Everything I do, I do it for you.

I get three weeks of vacation a year.  I used one day prior to maternity leave, then I took 19.5 weeks off so I have 14 days left.  I am taking one day a week for the first 5 weeks (first day or school, PTO meeting day, preschool orientation, etc).  It's a gradual return to work for all of us, and I am happy I can do it like this.

* In case anyone ever wants to know how I wind up with a freezer stash of's like this.  Every day (once you feel up to it) after the baby is born, you double pump after the first morning feeding.  You get to decide when "morning" is.  It started as after the 11 am feeding the first week and worked its way earlier over time to 6, 7, or 8 am by the end of leave. 

I try to be done pumping within one hour of the start time of the previous morning feeding so that I have enough time to make more milk prior to the next feeding.  I do this every day (seriously, every day...I think I skipped 6 days).  It induces a slight oversupply and gives you a freezer stash.  I use Lansinoh double zipper freezer bags.  Lay flat to freeze, then put those small bags into Ziploc gallon freezer bags in the deep freeze.  I fill one giant bag at a time and just label those #1, #2, etc.  That way, when you go to use the milk, you don't need to hunt for the FIFO date on the little bags.  You can just use any milk from bag #1 (then #2, and so on) to get the number of ounces you need to make up the bottles. 

She followed this plan with me...and see how happy I am!

I followed this plan with Bobo and ended up stopping pumping at 10 months and he was still on 100% breastmilk at 13 months (from me when I was home and from the freezer during the day).  It works well for me.  YMMV. 

Have a great weekend!


  1. Hooray! So glad it all worked out! You have beautiful children :)

  2. Indeed, what beautiful kids!

    And I used the same pumping method with both my kids. The first time I used my milk stash for a nighttime bottle (given by Hubby), though- it gave a little more sleep. The second time around, we did that, but somehow I ended up with lots extra, anyway, so I donated some to a mom who had adopted a kid and really wanted to feed with breastmilk.

    I think you're right about the benefits of a slight oversupply if you're going to be pumping.

    After I'd weaned Petunia (at somewhere over 2 years old....) I found some bags of milk in my freezer. Oops. I made my husband throw them away. I couldn't bear to do it!

  3. Cute, cute, cute! Those NUK nipples! I don't know what magic shape they have but DS would only take a NUK pacifier. Which was discontinued as well. I found one last one just before we had the pacifier fairy come and visit.

  4. Of course the cute, cute, cute was in reference to the kids, not the nipples :)