what motherhood means to me right now

me and jules

It means…

letting my coffee get cold.

studying all the methods of sleep training and ultimately deciding to do it my way. She was/is getting heavier and squirmier, so rocking her to sleep just wasn’t an option for me anymore, especially when it would take almost an hour of bouncing her around in my arms. Talk about a workout! I just couldn’t bear a “cry it out” approach, but other “no cry” techniques just weren’t working. So I just started putting her in the crib and humming her favorite lullabies until she fell asleep. She might be the only person in the world to like my singing 😉 Eventually, I was able to leave the room now and again. Now all I do is just lay her down in the crib with two pacifiers (one to suck on and one to play with—she’s got idle hands) and leave the room. The only times I go in is  when she gets twisted up or hits her head on the side of the crib, in which case I’ll quickly straighten her out and/or comfort her. Some nights are better than others, but mostly I can’t complain. She falls asleep on her own in the crib and that’s all I can ask for. Naps, however, are different and she still needs to be held and rocked a little bit for those, but the rocking usually doesn’t exceed 10 minutes. We can deal with that for now.

always worrying and wondering if I’m doing the right thing. Do I not take her out for fresh air enough? Does she need more cuddle time? Am I stimulating her enough?

knowing that the worrying will only get worse as she gets older.

sometimes running on 4 hours of interrupted sleep. Coffee helps. But then…see #1 above

lots of pinching and squeezing of her cheeks, thighs, butt, toes, nose, you name it. I just can’t help myself.

enjoying her now at 8 months, but still very much looking forward to her first birthday.

getting really good at multitasking. I can hold her with one hand and prepare a bottle with the other. MAD SKILLZ.

realizing that sometimes the answers may not be in parenting books or the Babycenter message board. It’s about going with my instincts and taking cues from Jules. Hence, successful—and mostly-cry-free—sleep training!

also knowing that sometimes the answers can be found on the internet. When in doubt, Google.

thoughts on public transportation, Snapchat + more

pizza

Pizza with friends at Two Boots

I never understood why people who owned a car in New York would drive everywhere. I thought, But the train! The train takes you everywhere. Why would you drive and spend money on gas/sit in traffic/waste time trying to find parking? But now that I have a car, I get it. I really do. After being on maternity leave and not taking mass transit for over 4 months and now having to take it everyday to go to work…well, I’m over it. I’m over obnoxiously loud teenagers, manspreaders, huge backpacks, pole hoggers…basically people with no consideration (which feels like everyone these days).

My parents have booked a rental for all of us to stay in Cape May this summer for a week. To say I’m excited is an understatement. Bob and I had such a great time last time we went so I’m super pumped. I’ve already started planning out where we’re going to eat and what we’re going to do. It’s so much fun planning a summer vacation when it’s 20 degrees outside. It gives me something to look forward to.

On Sunday, Juliette went down for a nap, so I took the time to make some brunch. Something I haven’t done since before she was born. And aside from being awesome (honey on warm biscuits? hello deliciousness), it felt great to get back to something I once loved and did pretty regularly. Little by little, I’m getting better at  incorporating more of my pre-Jules life into my present life and it feels so good.

Note to self: Next time I want to be healthy and buy a $6 juice that contains kale, spinach and cucumber, remember how, um…green it actually tasted. Drink water instead.

Speaking of water, I was reading an article in Real Simple that stated if you drink two glasses of water before each meal, you’re more likely to eat better/lose weight. I might have heard that before, but either way, I’m doing it.

We hired a home-cleaning service to come in and clean the entire apartment and it was the best money I’ve spent in a while. I don’t think I’d ever seen our place that clean before. Honestly, I always thought of hiring someone to clean your house as frivolous. Why spend money when you can just clean it yourself? But in the true words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that”. Or rather, making time for it is a giant pain, so we’ve agreed to  have the house cleaned by the pros once in a while and try to maintain in the interim. It’s one less thing I have to do and I feel loads lighter because of it.

bloomingdales

Taken last year on a rainy day in Midtown.

Some things about Juliette: 1.) She is teeny tiny. She photographs large and chubby, but don’t be fooled, this girl is a peanut. She was barely 13 lbs. at 6 months! Which, if you have no concept of how small that is for her age, puts her in the 2nd to 3rd percentile (meaning about 98% of babies her age are bigger than her) 2.) She LOVES peas and carrots, but isn’t sold on sweet potatoes or avocados yet. 3.) She loves to be hummed to sleep. Some faves include Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb and Christmas songs. 4.) She hasn’t started crawling yet. Instead, she rolls over until she is where she wants to be. 5.) She smiles and laughs so easily and it just warms my heart. Her gummy grin is all I need for a good day.

I’m on Snapchat and I mostly find it amusing to watch others on it. I don’t actually know how to  Snapchat though. I’ve had it explained to me twice and I still don’t get it. It’s like math. Does. Not. Compute.

Currently, I’m in recovery from a surgery to repair internal damage from childbirth. It’s not nearly as painful as it was when I was recovering from the episiotomy, but damn…I just want to feel whole again. There’s a small part of me that’s anxious to know if the surgery was successful. There’s a 75% chance that it worked, but I won’t know for sure until 4 weeks from now. And if it’s not, well then…I have the surgery again. So as you can guess, I’m really hoping that it’s successful. Stating the obvious here, but recovering from surgery sucks and I’d rather not go through it again.

I’m looking at the snow plow map for NYC right now and it seems our neighborhood, among just a few others in Queens, have still not been plowed after this huge snowstorm (one of our worst in history!). We are the forgotten neighborhood apparently.

coming to terms with weaning from the breast pump

breastmilk bottle

When Juliette was born, the nurses and lactation consultants were trying to help me to get her to latch, but her tongue-tie (short frenulum) was preventing her from doing so. I was determined to get her to breastfeed, but unfortunately Jules had other plans. And so, I gave in to feeding her formula. I felt like a failure. I knew early on in my pregnancy that I wanted to breastfeed and was absolutely adamant about it. But here I was giving her the bottle of pre-made Similac from the hospital that I swore I would never resort to. But she was being fed and I knew that’s what was most important so I tried not to dwell on my disappointment.

I did feel guilty though. The vast benefits of breastmilk are touted everywhere (even on formula bottles!) so it just felt like I was giving her something inferior. I wanted so badly to be able to exclusively breastfeed her for at least 6 months. No supplementing. Just straight immunity-boosting liquid gold.

The lactation consultant urged me to get her frenulum clipped by an ENT doctor and in the meantime keep pumping my milk to keep up my supply. So I did. I wasn’t making enough to feed Jules only breastmilk, so I was still supplementing with formula. The next few weeks were tough, as there were a few instances that prevented me from bringing her to my breast. I ended up in the ER for half a day (more on this in an upcoming post) and had pain meds in my system that weren’t safe for me to be passing on to Jules. Soon after, she got thrush on her tongue and I held off so that she wouldn’t pass the thrush on to me. Once that subsided, I ended up on strong antibiotics for almost two weeks from a supposed infection that I would later find out wasn’t an infection at all (more on this later too). Once I was finally able to breastfeed her, we had issues. She could barely latch properly and when she did she would get so frustrated with the slow flow of milk that she would cry and whine. After a few more attempts, I decided I would just keep pumping and feeding her with a bottle, the easier option for both of us.

Pumping is hard work and I commend any woman who has done it exclusively. Pumping on a schedule, every 3-4 hours for about 20- 30 minutes at a time is tedious and it doesn’t allow for many outside activities, like going out for a long dinner. Unsurprisingly, finding somewhere to express milk outside of your home is difficult because most places don’t have a designated private room for it. I’ve even been told on more than one occasion to do it in a bathroom stall. It’s also very time-consuming. With an electronic pump, you can’t really venture far from the outlet it’s plugged into so forget about being productive.

(Side note: this app is has been hugely helpful in finding places to pump wherever I go.)

After 4 months of pumping, I’ve decided to wean. I had been toying with the idea for weeks, but I always felt too guilty about giving up. Am I really going to not give my baby the better source of nutrition, even if I am only producing enough to feed her 1-2 bottles of milk per day? Am I really going to break the promise that I made to myself and to her? As ridiculous as it may sound, it feels like a selfish decision. Not only because it’s widely said and known that “breast is best”, but there are many people that knowingly or unknowingly make mothers who are unable to breastfeed feel horrible about their decision to formula-feed. To make matters more difficult, formulas are full of ingredients like processed sugar, palm oil (which isn’t easily digested by infants) and/or synthetic nutrients. Finding the right one required lots of time and research. A few weeks ago, I moved on from Similac to organic formulas. First, it was Honest formula and now we are switching to Baby’s Only because it is affordable, accessible and overall the best choice for Juliette. It may not be all-natural and from the breast, but it will keep her nourished and growing and that’s all that matters. It gives me peace of mind to know that I’ve made an informed decision about my baby’s health. There’s also the added benefit of feeling like I have a piece of my life back. I will no longer be a slave to this pump and have to work my schedule around it!

Oh and wine. I can drink lots and lots of wine once I’m completely off it. I look forward to the day.

Obviously my feelings are mixed. But ultimately, it’s the right call for both of us. I really do believe I will be a happier, more successful mother for it.

what motherhood means to me right now

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It means…

feeling warm and fuzzy when she looks right at me.

feeling even better when she smiles. She smiles now!

having to tie back my hair before I hold her in my arms. She’s discovered pulling (hard) with her fingers.

watching her sleep and then realizing that she’s too still so, panicked, I stare at her closely to make sure she’s still breathing.

ignoring the old adage “sleep when she sleeps”. Because when she sleeps, that’s my time to get things done!

eating solely on paper plates because having to wash a ton of bottles and nipples a day is enough.

feeling defeated and frustrated when she’s incosolable during her fussy time.

giving her kisses first thing in the a.m. And when I change her. And when I feed her. And whenever I pick her up. And whenever I feel like it (which is all the time).

feeling somewhat sad that her coughs don’t sound as tiny as they did two weeks ago.

cheering her on when she gives a good burp.

thinking she’s the best and most beautiful baby I’ve ever laid eyes on.

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