She Says… Work It, Girl

The last week has been a rocky one. Both kids have been battling nose/chest/ear congestion and a hacky cough. No fevers to speak of and really nothing to do but wait it out, really (while of course hydrating, humidifying and treating the asthma kid). But it has meant extra night time wakeups and extra fussiness and whining during the day. We’re all a bit worn down.

Ahem. Especially me.

This past weekend we went up to Benjamin’s parents’ house in New Hampshire with some friends who have a son in Owen’s class. Perhaps not the best timing to let the boys try their first sleepover, which of course resulted in NO SLEEP for most of us, but it was a really fun time nonetheless. Another post to come with the whole story on that.

Now I have a new deadline looming. No, not Halloween (though I do still need to finish up Owen’s costume — eek!).

My return to work.

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN. (Do you hear the ominous music playing?)

I go back next Tuesday.

I know, I know. How did that come so fast?

I am feeling surprisingly ok about going back. After Owen was born I took some unpaid time off and didn’t go back to work until he was 5 1/2 months old (in January). And I was still kind of a wreck. My brain was still very much in motherhood lala land and the transition back was hard. In planning my maternity leave this time around I yearned for that extra time, but ultimately we decided that paying for Owen’s daycare meant that we couldn’t swing more unpaid time. And since I got a promotion right before I left back in July, I have a LOT of work to do when I get back. However, now that I’m here, only a week from going back, I feel so differently than I thought I would.

My brain is back. My body is back (of course I wish I had more time to exercise and most of my pants are still a little tight around the waist, but for the most part I’m back to my normal size and feel relatively fit). While of course I’ll miss Emmett’s sweet little face during the day, I absolutely adore our daycare and know he will be in great hands while I’m working.

We’re all going to be ok.

So this week is my “practice week” sending both kids to daycare all four days, all day long. Benjamin is traveling again (yes! again!) and I couldn’t totally get everything organized this morning to do a double drop-off, so I opted to take Owen at his normal time (7:15am) and bring Emmett back to have a nice, long morning nap in his crib with his humidifier on. Poor guy is still snorting and shnuffling quite a bit. I’ll pack him up and take him to school when he wakes up. But for the rest of the week, it’s double everything, and Emmett’s longest days at school yet.

Oh, and time for me to practice pumping. As I mentioned, I’ve been pumping at my bedtime since Emmett started going to bed early. I’ve been using those extra ounces to help me tank him up at the following night’s bedtime as needed (I seem to run out of milk and he seems to want to eat, eat, eat) and then I’ve started a small (very small) freezer stash with the extras. But this week I’m going to be pumping all day long Tuesday through Friday! Here’s hoping I can pretty much keep up with what he’s drinking at school.

Aside from pumping, I’m trying to figure out how to best use these 4 days of freedom. I’d love to fill them with manicures and shopping (ha!), but in reality there are so many little projects at home that I’d really like to wrap up before I go back to work. Papers to file. Baby clothes to sort and put in the attic. Deep cleaning in all of the nooks and crannies to do that I’m sure I won’t be doing once the work schedule picks up.

Lame. I know.

I’m going to do another post all about pumping (apparently I have lots of posts that I’m planning on writing “soon”…), but leave me your best pumping at work tip to get me pumped (get it? pumped?) for work next week!

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17 responses to “She Says… Work It, Girl

  1. If you don’t have a locking door at work, I suggest putting a note on the door tht says “Please do NOT enter! Thanks!” I read my magazines it books while I pumped to help the time pass. Heck I did that at home too lol. Good luck!!

  2. The sign! I had to close my door for various reasons but the sign – everyone knew not to knock or bother me for those 20-30 minutes! Also I loved those pump wipes!

  3. I’m pumping as I write this! The sign is a must…even with a locking door people would still knock or try to come in. Now everyone knows to call my office line if they really need something. I also set phone alarms to remember to pump. I can get so busy at times that I just forget. If I miss a pumping session here or there I can tell a difference in my supply. It’s tough and inconvenient but you can do it…you are not alone! 🙂

  4. I have a little journal in my pumping backpack, and I try to write in it at least twice a week when I pump. With two kids, full-time work and a long commute, these babyhood days are going by in a blur. I want to be able to re-visit them when my boys are so old I cannot remember these days in the trenches.

  5. This may sound a little corny, but it really worked for me: Bring a heating pad with you to work and put it on your breasts (on low, of course) for about 10 minutes before you pump. While you’re pumping, visualize your baby as much as you can. Think about him floating on a milk river (yes, really) or your milk flowing into the bottles. The theory is that the more endorphins and oxytocin you produce while you’re pumping, the more output you’ll have. Obviously thinking about your baby will give you the warm fuzzies. 🙂 I wouldn’t recommend doing any work while you’re pumping. Use that time to relax and focus on deep breathing. When I was at work during Olivia’s infancy, it allowed me the opportunity to decompress during a hectic work day. I’m sure you know to drink a lot of water before, during, and after. You can also take the opportunity to have a snack.
    Good luck!

  6. I loved the time I had to pump at work. I looked at pictures of my boy to get things going, and then I would read stuff online and relax. If you have an office definitely get a sign on the door (I’m a ‘freelancer’ so no office – in one gig I was pumping in a very small furnace room, and in the other I went to a washroom that locked – whatever works!:) And I also set up timers to make sure I didn’t forget… Hope that helps!

  7. You should totally check out the freemie system for works. It starts shipping mid November and seems like such a better process for pumping at work!
    Freemie.com

  8. So one thing that worked for me was reading cheesy fiction designed to really manipulate emotions. Not my usual fare! But it worked! I got much more milk when reading trash than when I was reading great lit. So weird.

  9. @Erica and @Mihaela, Thank you! Great tip. I’ll be pumping in a “pumping room” (aka I think it’s a closet), not at my desk, so even more reason for a note on the door.

    @Jessica C., Good call on the phone alarm — I may even schedule pumping times into my calendar so that I don’t have meetings/calls then.

    @Meggy, Keeping a journal is a lovely idea. Maybe I should take that time to blog!

    @onesosmall, The heating pad is a great idea. I used heat a lot when I was first starting breastfeeding this time around and it helped my comfort and my supply a lot. I will tuck a heating pad in my Medela bag.

    @Cinemarie, I love that attitude! Instead of dreading the pumping time I will try to enjoy it as a little time “off” during my day. That time is hard to come by!

    @Kimberly, Whoa! I love that product idea! That looks amazing. I’m definitely going to look into getting that. Thank you.

    @Christa, Ha! Maybe I will read 50 Shades of Grey after all?! That is a good tip, actually. I’m so work-focused that I think it will be hard to put my work away, but I bet you’re right that emotional responses will help the milk flow. Thanks!

  10. I also sometimes take the time to paint my nails 🙂

  11. The best tip I have received is to pump at the exact same time every day for a minimum of 20mins. the past two weeks I have strayed from this a bit and can definitely notice the difference in my supply!

  12. I’m pumping while I write this, ha ha. milkmakers lactation cookies! I tried tea with my first and it didn’t do anything. this time i was back at work a week and my milk kept dwindling and i was starting to panic when i discovered the cookies. if you can (can’t remember if emmett has any allergies like owen did?), they seriously work and are a lifesaver. good luck!

    (And, for me, going back the second time around was a bit sadder. I feel like you feel more confident around the second and then the first is so much fun to be around – the whole thing was just a bit harder. So good luck and I’m sure it will feel like normal soon enough!)

  13. One more thought – this may not apply to you, but don’t be discouraged if you have a bad day or couple days with low productivity. I think that’s why I stopped pumping for my first – I figured why bother. But this time I fought through it and my milk supply increased. There are ebbs and flows, but as long as you don’t stress about it, you will be fine!

  14. I brought a onesie that my baby had worn and would hold it and smell it while pumping. Sounds kind of strange, but it really helped with getting the milk to let down. Also agree with putting a sign on the door. I came to enjoy my pumping breaks. It was nice to have time to relax during the day. (I pumped for the first year of both kids’ life.)

  15. oh, work it girl! third time around and I have gotten the pump thing down to a science. here are things that work for me.

    1. I printed out the official breastfeeding image and have the sign taped to my door (mine doesn’t lock) with the phrase: “Moo! call me or e-mail me, but please don’t enter. Makin’ food.”
    2. I have on my outlook calendar 30 min of “busy” time scheduled at the same time every day so people don’t schedule meetings then when looking at my calendar (I will say, though, I rarely get those 3 times!)
    3. I have an old pump, but through the ACA, got a brand new one for free from insurance. SO, I have 1 pump at home and 1 at work. Less to carry each day!
    4. I pump into my bottles at work, and leftover I put into a freezer bag and then freeze at home. That way, when I get home, I already have the bottles ready and labeled for the next day.
    5. I rotate out milk on MWF from the freezer–x oz in, x oz out (try at least).
    6. I DO NOT WASH MY PUMP AT WORK. Yeah, I’m admitting it. I don’t. I quickly rinse the flanges and bottles and PUT THEM IN A BAG IN THE FRIDGE. Then I clean them thoroughly each night at home.
    7. I wish I could look at my kids while pumping, but I have to work at every possible moment so I can get out, so after a quick instagram sweep, I get through lots of e-mails, track my time, etc.
    8. General storage advice: I freeze all my bags flat. So it’s like almost paper thing bags, and then stack them in gift bags in the freezer and then cut a hole at the bottom of the bag and dispense that way. (I think I’ve mentioned this before probably?)
    9. I always have oatmeal in my desk drawer. I haven’t had much supply issue, but just in case.

  16. Please give me more details as to how exactly this works and if there are any costs involved. Please don’t have anyone call me, just send me an email reply. Thank you. Sarah.

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