When G was about 10 months old, I came down with a gnarly stomach flu that tanked my milk supply. So when Monday rolled around – I had no breastmilk to send. None. Nada. Zip. Nothing in the freezer, and my ta-tas were dry as a bone. I stifled my guilt and feelings of general failure as much as possible and told her teachers to just give her formula.

Fast forward to that afternoon and I got a phone call asking me to come feed her because she hadn’t had anything to drink all day. Girlfriend flatly refused that formula.

I cried so hard that day, ya’ll. I was so tired of feeling chained to my pump. I needed to know I could take a break from it and she would be okay.  And, turns out, she wouldn’t be okay if I took a break from it. I had to press on.

I pumped for a full year for her. And breastfed her until she was 16 months old.

I actually loved nursing. But pumping? Pumping was a whole ‘notha thing.

So when I was cradling The Boy at his 2 week well check and the sweet nurse practitioner asked this innocent question, all I could do was blink back at her for a few moments.

“So, what’s your plan for when you go back to work?”

Back to work. Oh my word. I’m going to have to pump again. How had I blocked all of that out?

Anxiety started to build up in my chest, and instead of putting on a brave face and giving a cheerful response, I was honest.

“I don’t know. I really, really hate pumping.”

Her response was immediate.

“Then don’t.”

Huh. What? THAT is an option?

She pointed out that he’d be starting daycare in the winter, which meant more germs, and that he’d likely benefit from as much breast milk as possible. But also? Also, formula was totally fine.

“I’m giving you permission to give him formula. Even if you produce more than enough milk for him. You. Can. Give. Him Formula. Give him a bottle a day starting around 6 weeks so he’ll get used to it.”

You know that scene in Braveheart where Mel Gibson screams FREEEDOM? That was basically me in all my postpartum glory in that moment.

I’ll give you a moment to let that mental image sink in.

Anyway, we left that appointment and off I went to my trusty Amazon to find some Prime-eligible formula.

And then I almost died of sticker shock.

Holy hell, you guys. How do formula parents DO this? I thought formula feeding moms were pretty much rock stars just with all the bottles they have to make & wash times infinity, but I had no idea that they were also spending a small fortune to fill all those bottles.

I browsed, and browsed, and browsed some more. I was sure I was missing some great Formula secret. Like, surely this is like Bed, Bath & Beyond or Loft where you shouldn’t buy anything that isn’t 40% off?

Nope. Even with the coupons I could find, formula is just dang expensive.

And then I looked at my pump and apologized.

Poor pump, poor sweet, innocent, free to me through insurance pump. I had said so many mean things. I had begrudgingly lugged it to work every day for a year. I had groaned every time I heard that familiar whirring. I had sworn under my breath while washing all of the parts every night.

I hadn’t realized what a gift it was. There was food! FREE FOOD for my baby. From my body. Yes, it was a lot of work getting it and most days I felt like a cow when I was hooked up to the damn thing (see, there I go again…). But it was there. And the price was right.

Ya’ll, I’ve never been so conflicted about something. On the one hand, I loathed the pump and my general inability to escape it once I went back to work after my babies were born.

On the other hand, it’s kinda nice to be able to afford to feed the other people in my house, and I wasn’t sure how to do that and also buy formula.

So here’s where I’ve landed:

I’m not putting any pressure on myself this time.

I’m still pumping, for now. I was pumping 3 times a day at work, but that got to be time consuming and, frankly, annoying so now I’ve dropped it to 2 times a day. The Boy has an occasional bottle of (daycare supplied) formula if I’m short on milk for the day. And, guess what?

So far, he’s doing just fine.

And if I decide that pumping is too stressful, or is giving me anxiety, or if I feel myself slipping back into the guilt that contributed to my PPD?

I will kick that pump to the curb and not look back.

So, pump. I LoveHate you. You’re a total Frenemy. But you’re safe.

For now.

 

 

Listen.

We’ve been through a lot this year.  We lost a lot of amazing people. We had an election cycle that seemed like an SNL skit gone wrong.  And our president-elect kinda resembles a Cheeto in a bad toupee.

Yeah, I went there. I’m not sorry.

So I guess I get all of the internet hate and general comments telling 2016 to stick it where the sun don’t shine…but.

You knew there’d be a but.

There were also some pretty great things.

1. We had the Olympics. Which gave us so many gifts.

Like Michael Phelps’ mean mugging. 

www. washingtonpost.com

Looking at this picture again makes me realize that I see this face like 85 times throughout the course of a single meal with my child. Ah, family dinners. Such a magical time. 

And Aly Raisman’s Parents 

www.today.com

I am exactly them if your definition of exactly them means that I gesture wildly at my child to get back in the line at her ballet class while she’s running amok and everyone else is standing nicely and tapping their little toes to the beat. 

And SIMONE. FREAKING. BILES.

Show me someone who doesn’t remember this helicopter move she did on the balance beam and I will show you a liar. We all watched her do this routine for days. I mean, fuhgettaboutit. I would break my neck so many different ways if I attempted that. And, no lie, G watched her do one tumbling pass and her immediate reaction was “OH MY GOSH MOMMY!” Which basically sums up how all of America felt watching her crush all the things in Rio. 

2. Gilmore Girls the reboot happened.

Don’t even try to tell me that’s not a good thing from 2016. Maybe I watched the whole thing while on my last week of maternity leave. Maybe.

(I feel I should mention here that Fuller House also happened, but lets be real, it’s not the same without the Olsen twins or unfortunate 80s/90s attire.)

(I could go on about all the binge worthy shows since I basically mastered that between pregnancy + maternity leave. But that’s likely a whole ‘notha post).

3. In Momma news: Chrissy Teigen Shamed Mommy Shamers.

Man, for a person I knew as “that model who is married to John Legend and ugly cried at that one award show that one time”, Chrissy Teigen has sure moved up my list of my favorite people this year.

I’m sure she’s thrilled to bits with that news.

Anyone who describes themselves as a “proud shamer of mommy shamers” is an A plus all star in my book.

4. GUYS. THE CHEWBACCA LADY VIDEO HAPPENED THIS YEAR.

Remember that? And how Kohl’s gave her like all the Star Wars gear for life? You can’t not love this. Or, I guess maybe you don’t have to love it, but your humor is probably broken if this lady’s unbridled JOY doesn’t make you smile at least for a moment. (Watch it here, laugh, enjoy).

5. And because I’m the boss of this blog, this makes the list. This baby happened this year.

And he made her a big sister. Which has brought me so many sweet moments like this.

And how can a year that brought precious new life not be thought of as good?

So, cheers to 2016, it was real, it was fun, even if it wasn’t always real fun.

2017 – Bring. It. On.

 

 

 

Ya’ll.  This baby.

I mean, just LOOK AT THIS BABY.

Andi Smith Photography

 

I worried when I was pregnant with him that I wouldn’t love him enough. That I would favor his sister, who had so deeply cemented her place in my heart. How could there possibly be enough room for another love that great?

Per usual, I was worrying for nothing.

Because the moment he came into this world – he had me. Hook, line, sinker. I was smitten.

He has been the world’s easiest baby (which is much appreciated since he also gave me the gift of a miserable pregnancy & a second unplanned c-section).  He nurses like a pro, and has the most delicious rolls as a result.

And OMG his cheeks. He loves to chew on his hands and they often get caught in his cheeks on their way to his mouth. The struggle. It is so real.

At not-quite-four months, he rolls over from his belly to his back occasionally, and is happiest when being held and talked to.  He was slow to smile at first, very choosy with who he’d show off his gummy grin to, but now beams freely at just about anyone who holds him.

He’s the most laid back baby, which makes him the perfect second child.  He endures the attention of his big sister & her friends who sometimes want to love him a little too hard and is also the perfect tag-a-long baby.  We laugh because we barely took G out of the house for the first several months of her life…and the boy was with me at her dance class when he was 3 weeks old.

Second child problems.

Essentially – Full belly. Dry diaper. He’s a happy fella.

G adores him. I mean – ADORES him.  She was initially skeptical – and by skeptical I mean she didn’t want to look at him.  But now she basically thinks that we brought home a real life baby doll for her.

How good of us.

He’s becoming his own little person. And is inventing his own little mischief, keeping me on my toes in the way that his very cautious sister never has. For example, observe how I found him after leaving him in his crib for exactly ONE minute.

 

Just giving mama heart attacks, one clinched fist through the crib bars at a time.

He sleeps well at night, usually from about 8-4.  I suppose I could feed him at 10 and he’d sleep til 6 but I’m so exhausted by 9 that I can’t stay up that late. Probably has something to do with waking up at 4 every day.

It’s all a vicious cycle.

But I wouldn’t trade our early morning cuddles, or him, for anything.

Sweet boy, you’ve created a space in my heart all your own.  What an honor it is to be your momma and to get to watch you grow.  I love who you are right at this moment, and I can’t wait to see who you will become.