Wednesday

different

When my first child was a baby, I worked full time and he was formula-fed. His grandmother took care of him while I was at work (thanks BKG!) and then he went to preschool.

With my younger two children, I worked from home when they were babies and toddlers. Yes, I definitely worked, but since I did it at home (as full-time freelancer) on a flexible schedule, I was free to mother on their schedule. There were never worries about which parent would miss work when a child was sick, and neither of them ever took a bottle of anything. I nursed them when they needed nursing, often while I did phone interviews for my work, or wrote. When I needed to go somewhere, they came with me. When one of them needed to go somewhere, I took them. Occasionally I needed a few hours of childcare, and then I could rely on grandparents (thanks BKG!) or my wonderful next door neighbor. When each of the children turned three, they started part time preschool.

Now, fifteen years after child #1 was a baby, and 9 years after I last had a baby, I am expecting baby #4. This time, I have a very demanding, fulltime, outside-the-home job that I cannot quit. I won't even get much of a maternity leave. Probably only about 8 weeks. Plus, I drive about two hours a day on the days the children are with me and not their father to get them all where they need to be (school, lessons, etc).

Jon and I have started talking about how this whole babycare thing is going to work, given my schedule. It's clear it's going to be a very, very different experience for me and for the baby. For starters, I will be separated from the baby many more hours than I would like each day. I am hoping that Jon's mother will help with childcare (she says she will but we have yet to discuss specifics). And Jon works for a family business, so he has far more ability to create a much more baby-friendly, flexible work schedule than I do, so I expect that Jon will be as involved - if not more involved - with babycare as I am.

This all means, of course, that our baby will have to learn to take bottles of pumped breastmilk, and that I will have to make pumping and storing breastmilk a regular and major part of my daily life. I cannot say that I am looking forward to this. The only time I have pumped regularly was for the few weeks E. was in the NICU and couldn't yet nurse. I did not enjoy it.

I am getting pretty nervous about all of this. I know lots of women work full time outside the home and manage to be wonderful, attached mamas, but I think I am going to find it very hard to leave the baby each day. And I do sort of dread all that pumping...

25 comments:

Katie S. said...

I thought the pumping would be a drag but it wasn;t to bad. As long as you have good equipment it will make it a lot easier. I rented a Medela pump from the hospital and had the ability to pump both breast at the same time, twice a day which did not take more than 30 minutes. The baby will probably cluster feed in the morning and at night to make up for not nursing during the day. On Childcare if you are choosing it, the only ones that I found to do as the baby wanted was a Montessori style, no schedule, baby eats and feeds when baby wants and no cribs, mat style sleeping and lots of holding. The wait lists are usually a year out.
p.s. toxins are in baby bottles so be sure you buy safe ones such as:
Evenflo Colored Baby Bottles
Evenflo Baby Bottles (opaque, pastel)
Gerber Baby Bottles (colors)
Medela Baby Bottles
Lamby Glass Baby Bottles
Evenflo Glass Baby Bottles
There was an article on Bloggin Baby about this.

Ma Turner said...

In order to keep up my milk supply, I had to pump several times a day after my then 11-month old went on an abrupt nursing strike. I continued this regimen for 6 weeks while trying everything I, LLL and 2 lactation specialists could think of to coax him back to my breasts. At first I despaired at all the pumping, the time required, and how weird my breasts felt, but then I realized it was lovely quiet time and started reading books I previously hadn't made time for. Alas, my son never returned to nursing and after 6 weeks, I turned off the pump, but by that time I had gotten into a kind of rhythm that rather complimented my life. I hope that you will find much peace in your pumping endeavors.

Anonymous said...

Most men are not willing to do equal or more-than-mom amounts of baby care. Even really good fathers I've seen don't really do their hour-for-hour equal share when the kids are infants. Do you really think your husband will be willing to adjust his schedule to care for a baby? Or stay home whne the baby is sick? I doubt it.

katie allison granju said...

Jon is a VERy hands-on stepfather, and is excellent with babies. He's very excited about our baby, and I have no doubt he will do his share and then some.

He's a special guy, not like your average fella ;-)

Anonymous said...

I know a mom and dad who are doing an equal childcare schedule. Dads CAN do it if they want to, and their jobs allow it. They did fine with pumping and dad giving their child bottles.

Hate to suggest this, but the older kids may have to curtail some of their activities while you all work this out. All that driving around is not going to be fun with a little baby.

Laura said...

for me pumping for my healthy babies was much less of a drag than you perceive it to be. i guess because i knew that a. i was still giving them the best stuff on earth for them that only i could make and b. that they were healthy. with one of the girls, i even had more milk than she could possibly consume so i became a regular donor to the human milk bank for about 18 months. i did this while working 2-3 12 hour shifts a week. from my perspective it is waaaaa-aaaaayyy different to pump milk in that circumstance....mom who happily breastfed and pumped for (collectively) 10+ years for my children.

Ms. Booty Homemaker said...

check out the milk memos-- it JUST came out this week and i blogged about it.

i feel for you on the pumping, as, like you, my pumping experience was largely limited to the time of my sick newborn's hospital stay and was crazy rigorous and stressful. but it CAN be done.

any way you can work a day from home and take baby with you a day or two or part of a day?

Anonymous said...

This makes me sad. Did you not think about this before you got preggers for the 4th time? It is not just about the experience of having a water birth, but taking care of a child after the article is written.

One would have thought you would have known what it would have meant to your schedule after the child is here.

mamalife said...

I stayed home for the first 5 or 6 months after my baby was born, then slowly started adding hours back until I'm now working 4 days per week. On these days I leave the house at 7am and usually don't return home until close to 7pm. I have a 30-45 min. commute each way. My girl never would take pumped milk from a bottle, preferring to hold out till mama and her boobies walked back in the door. She nursed more during the night and such, it all worked out. I'm sure it will for you also. As for the daddy's don't do as much as mommies comment... my hubby also works for a family business and has more flexibility in his work schedule than I do in mine. He works 1 mile from home and arrives home by 4 or 4:30pm each day. The bulk of the evening dinner/ bath/ etc. stuff is done by him on the days I work before I arrive home. He has taken days off work when she is ill while I had to go to work. On the weekends they are buddies and run errands together while I get the house clean and laundry done. There are many wonderful involved daddies in this world and the wives and children who have them in their lives are blessed indeed!

katie allison granju said...

This makes me sad. Did you not think about this before you got preggers for the 4th time? It is not just about the experience of having a water birth, but taking care of a child after the article is written.

One would have thought you would have known what it would have meant to your schedule after the child is here.


Which part makes you sad? The fact that I'll have to pump for the hours in which my child is being cared for by his/her loving grandmother or father?

Lots of women work 8 hours a day, as I will, and manage to have a happy, healthy family life. I was commenting that this will be a **different** parenting experience for me, not that I believe it will be a bad experience.

Our baby will be loved, nurtured, breastfed and cared for by family during the hours each day when I am at my job. There's nothing to be sad about.

Miriam said...

It sounds as if they (KAG and her hubby) have thought things out very well. He will be doing half the childcare and will adjust his work schedule. They have a Grandma nearby to help. She plans to breastfeed and pump. What's the sad part of the story? I work full time and only wish I had a Grandma to help, or a husband who could adjust his schedule at all. Just because she admitted this will be a new experience for her doesn't mean she has regrets or that she is now worried she is unable to be a good mother to a baby. Adjusting to life with a new baby is always a little anxiety provoking, whether you work full time or are planning on going to stay at home status.

Leslie said...

There is a pumpmoms yahoo group that is supposed to be a very good resource. You might look into it. I have been amazed by the very many moms on the breastfeeding newsgroup who have worked full-time, pumped, and never given their babies an ounce of formula. I couldn't do it (pump resistance) but most of them seem to get into a routine and handle it well.

lcreekmo said...

I only got 6 wks of maternity leave when my kids arrived and I was ready to go back! :) I have to say, your book was one of the best I read and was very encouraging about breastfeeding, so I know you can handle it. :)

I wasn't able to pump at all after my daughter started taking food @ 6 mos, so she had formula at school from say, 7 mos or so until she turned 1 yr. But she continued to nurse til she was 2, at which time she weaned herself.

Shortly after she was born, my job became very demanding [80-100 hrs a week at times] but her dad was FABULOUS.

Fortunately, I haven't had to work like that in years!! I know you all will find a groove that works for the whole family. Things change all the time, but you can creatively adapt and be positive about new events that come your way, and things will be good!

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should prepare a backup plan for if you can't pump enough milk or if you have a very hard time going back to work as soon as you need to. It might be something that you need to talk about with your work. If you don't have that much time after the baby is born your milk might not be established enough to pump or the child may not take a bottle (as mine didn't). I would hate to see your baby take formula so I hope you can think of what might happen if things don't go as smoothly.

DJackson

Anonymous said...

Have you cosidered storing your baby's cord blood?

Anonymous said...

Don't feel sorry for Katie! I'm jealous :-) She has a great job. She is a published writer. She has wonderful kids (I know them and they are delightful) and her husband is one of the nicest men I've ever met. Cute, too! And now she gets to have a new baby and expand her lovely family. Nothing to be sad about there!

Anonymous said...

I feel sad for you and your baby. Maybe if you down scaled your life style you would be able to stay at home or work from home. Often women say they HAVE to work but that is usually because they have a big house, two cars, holidays aboard etc. I would rather live in a small house and have no holidays (I don't even have a car) but I get to stay at home with my children. Having read your book I would have thought you would do anything to stay at home with your baby. They don't stay little for long and you would miss out on so much by working.

katie allison granju said...

Optimally, I would stay home for a year or so. And if there were any possible way of doing that, I would. However, I have always worked. Always. It was a big job to write my book :-)

In my previous marriage, scaling back and doing without allowed me to stay home. My financial circumstances are dramatically different now. There's no way to do it. I have three other children primarily dependent on my income.

If you read my book (which I appreciate!), then you know I also have always said that women who have to or want to work full time can be just as attached and hands-on as those who don't. I've just never personally handled the logistics of this, and I admit it's going to be a new experience and a big challenge.

I also talk in my book about creating a family-centered childcare plan if you can, and that's what we will be doing, with grandparents and babydaddy.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Jon can do a 6 week family leave after you return to work? This would be a nice transition for you as he could take on the childcare full time and since you live close to your work it might make things possible for lunch time nursing, etc. Also, what about seriously talking to the ex about his taking over more of the driving and commuting for the first 6 months of the baby's life? He might be more open than you think and this would certainly make it easier on you. All in all, it will work out for you and Jon if you try and think of all the solutions.
Also, you can bank a lot of milk the first 8 weeks you are home.

sajmom said...

It's great that you have such a good attitude about this-I would be a little depressed. Maybe more than a little. I'm 22 weeks pregnant with my 4th child also, but very different circumstances. I think personality plays a role in pumping-with my first I went back to work when she was 3 months old and had a terrible time pumping. I absolutly hated it! I get stressed easy and to make it worse had timed breaks where I had to punch in and out of a clock. Trying to pump while stressed from the job and worrying about not punching in late did not make for a happy pumping experience!! I tried taking her picture with me to look at and an item of clothing to smell, even picturing the milk just flowing-nothing worked. My daughter HATED the bottle-she would throw her whole body backwards into the breastfeeding position and cry. She had some formula while I was at work because I just couldn't pump much milk (no problems getting it from the tap though!)until finally she settled into a routine where she had most but not all of the tiny amount of milk I pumped and then slept until I got home. She would be starving when I was finished work, but I would be full as well. It was kind of neat that we both physically needed each other then (her hunger and I needed the full breasts pressure relief). And it was a great way to bond after being apart for so long. I wish you luck!!

Clisby said...

"This time, I have a very demanding, fulltime, outside-the-home job that I cannot quit. I won't even get much of a maternity leave. Probably only about 8 weeks. "

Does your employer have so few employees that FMLA doesn't apply? That would give you 12 weeks.

katie allison granju said...

My employer would give me many months of maternity leave if I wanted - unpaid - but I am our family's primary wage earner and I cannot afford to take many, many months off with no paycheck.

I am doing as much freelance work as I can before baby comes, so may be able to stretch my leave out a bit longer by saving up more $$$.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it's always a challenge to adjust whenever a new baby enters a household. It totally changes your home dynamic, no matter how well you plan. I can't imagine why in the world a woman would down a fellow female for choosing to keep her job. Yes, caring for children is of the utmost important, but don't forget about that whole "providing" for them thing.

ErinOrtlund said...

I wish the US would follow other developed countries and get on the ball with paid maternity leave. When we lived in Scotland, I got 6 months paid leave, and other countries are even better.

I think it's great you plan to share childcare with family. When I worked PT, my DH stayed with DD, and I think it was great for both of them!

Anonymous said...

mmm hmmm..I smell FORMULA!!! It would be so so SO great if all that pumping was just TOOO much emotionally and Katie had to do the ole formula bit. So baby would be eating enfamil while Katie eats a big dish of nice warm CROW!!!!