I’ve made it through 2 weeks of being back at work so far (a total of 6 days) and like I mentioned in my last post, things are going really well so far.
My two main concerns going into this change were: 1) being able to pump enough milk and 2) Emma taking good enough naps to not ruin her night sleep. I’m happy to report that both of those things are going as well as I had hoped!
First, milk. My work has a mother’s room that is only about a 1-minute walk from my office, which is great. It has 2 tables, a bunch of outlets, a fridge, microwave, cabinets, and a sink. I pump 3 times a day (usually around 10, 1 and 4) for a total of about 15 minutes. With the walk, setup, cleanup and pumping time, it probably takes about 20 minutes total. I’m paid hourly now that I’m only part-time, so I go in 30 minutes early to offset the time I spend pumping (and I figure I get at least an on-the-clock 15 minute break by law so I think it’s working out ok). I don’t have a laptop so sometimes I bring work that I can easily print off (like emails or presentations to review) but most of the time, I just count it as non-work time and read blogs or a book. (I’m currently reading Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. If you like his stand-up comedy, you’d like the book!)
I had discussed my fears about not having enough milk with one of my friends who had gone back part-time after having her kids and she suggested I take a Go-Lacta Malunggay supplement. She said that it had helped her produce so much extra milk, she actually became engorged. So I figured, what the heck, it’s worth a shot. You can take 2-3 capsules 3 times a day but I’m only taking 1 a day, since I wanted to avoid having WAY too much milk. And I think it’s working. Each time I pump, I get 4 oz, sometimes 5 (total). Before I started taking the supplement, I was pumping only about 3 each time. Regardless of the explanation, I’m relieved that milk hasn’t been an issue so far.
So I bring my breast pump in a bag, and 3 empty bottles in a bottle cooler over to the mother’s room for my first pumping, and I leave them there until my last pumping. I use the 3 bottles I fill each day for the next day. I have been freezing the bottles from Thursday since I thought the milk could only be in the fridge for 72 hours before using or freezing, but I just read that 5 days is acceptable, so I guess I might just leave them in the fridge from now on.
Anyway, I ended up buying a pumping bra and I’m very glad that I did. Not only is it nice to have both hands free while pumping, it has been nice for modesty too, since there is almost always another woman in the mother’s room pumping too.
Second, naps. Emma has taken probably only 5 or 6 naps longer than 45 minutes on her own for me in her life. But at Charlotte’s house, she’ll take at least nap longer than an hour a day, sometimes two. Sometimes she even sleeps 2 hours! I’m really glad for both Charlotte and Emma’s sake that she’s napping so well – but I wish she would nap like that for me too! I asked Charlotte what she does to get her to nap like that, and one of her ideas was that I put her down for naps too early – she waits until Emma is ready to crack, whereas I had just been watching the clock and putting her down when it was ‘time.’
I’ve been trying Charlotte’s strategy the past couple of days and I will say that Emma goes down MUCH easier than before. For one of her naps today, I literally swaddled her and she fell asleep. No bouncing, no pacifier. It was amazing. I figured that since the timing was so perfect, she would sleep for a while. Nope. She woke up after about 35 minutes. Wah wah. But I’ll keep trying. Emma is not predictable in any sense, so maybe it’ll work tomorrow.
As far as my emotions about leaving Emma, I am definitely sad each morning when I drop her off, and I look at her picture a lot while I’m at work. But I have enjoyed being back at work a lot more than I expected. Things are crazy busy so it’s been a little stressful, but I love having adult responsibilities, doing something I’m good at, and having time to just sit and focus on what I’m doing, instead of feeling rushed or being interrupted. I also appreciate and enjoy Emma more during the evenings and on the days I’m home. So for now, this was definitely the right choice for us.
Luckily, Emma hasn’t yet had a bad night of sleeping on a ‘work night’ so I’m sure that’ll add some drama into the mix when she does. That is always the most daunting and scary part to me about Travis traveling for work (which he is doing every 2-3 weeks right now). Even though he no longer gets up at night to help with Emma (unless she’s waking up every hour or 2 and I know she isn’t hungry, which is rare), it’s just nice to know that he’s there – probably because he can watch her in the morning while I go back to bed for a few hours – like I did this morning. But overall, God has been VERY gracious to me while Travis is gone because there have only been a few times when I felt at the end of my rope. Emma has saved all her fussiness for when daddy’s back home.