10 Reasons why breastfeeding is better than pumping. Or “Why pumping sucks.”

1) Set up and clean up. With nursing you just plug the baby in, wherever you are. Nothing to clean afterwards, no special equipment.
2) It’s uncomfortable. I know, I know. People say nursing hurts. I’ve had a few blood-blistered nipples since we started this but the pumps are just uncomfortable all the time. They’re plastic. Pulling on skin. Repeatedly.
3) The pump parts do not get excited to see you. This may sound silly to you. But it’s not. Seeing that little face get all excited when it’s milky time is so cute. I know I complain when he pulls off and relatches 52 times, but he’s so dang cute when he just grins at me it make it ok.
4) The pump parts are not warm and snuggly. Again, may sound silly to you but that little baby is so sweet and cuddly when he’s nursing. Pump parts? Not so much.
5) You cannot sleep while pumping. This would result in very very sore nipples as there is no timer on the pump. And you can’t lay down. That results in milk everywhere.
6) Pumping requires electricity. And then refrigeration.
7) The pump is not as efficient as a baby. It only does so much for clogged ducts. It can also affect supply as it doesn’t always empty all the milk out.
8) The pump is impersonal and clinical. It does not inspire warm fuzzy feelings.
9) You can’t pump while shopping. Well, I suppose if you had a battery pack you could. But that would be super awkward.
10) Pumping hinders some breastfeeders. Let me explain. When you breastfeed you can’t tell just how much the baby is drinking. You can only base consumption on how many wet/dirty diapers the baby has. And steady weight gain (even though breastfed babies generally gain weight slower than formula fed babies do). So women who start pumping and only get 1/2 – 1 ounce freak out and think their supply is low. Not true. Just because you only pump an ounce from both breasts doesn’t mean when you breastfeed the baby is only getting an ounce. Some women can pump more than others. Some sessions you’ll pump more than others. Some women don’t use the pump right or have the wrong flanges. Consumption can never be measured by how much you pump.

Now listen. I could tell you all day long how much I hate pumping and how I’d much rather breastfeed my little one instead. But pumping does have one redeeming factor. It allows me to provide my son breastmilk when nursing isn’t an option. Like while I’m working. Or for the almost 6 weeks he spent in the NICU, most of which he couldn’t nurse at all.  So while I consider pumping a necessary evil, I’m glad I have the option. Because while I’d much rather have had a term baby to nurse and not have to work, that’s just not how things panned out for us. So even though this isn’t my favorite part of the day, I’m willing to keep doing it because I feel it’s better for him. And that’s what matters to me.

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Going Home

Today the Lord called my Grandfather home.

Don’t be sad for him. Or for us. Our tears are selfish. We cry for ourselves, not for him. We cry for our loss and it makes it hard to think about his gain. He’s free. He’s not in pain anymore. He can walk again! He can sing aloud again! He can put on his shorts and mow some heavenly grass! Or fix the radios or engineer some other heavenly electronics. He doesn’t need a hearing aid anymore. Or glasses. He doesn’t have to worry about nurses or bed sores or allergies. He’s free. He’s happy. He’s home.

Grandfather leaves behind a wonderful wife of almost 61 years. A wife who was by his side fighting for him 6 days a week for the past 2 1/2 years (on the 7th day she rested). That kind of life takes a toll but she lived it faithfully. He also leaves behind 5 children, 13 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren. That doesn’t include all his children and grandchildren in-love (our version of in-laws).

Grandfather was unique (all the best people are), and some of his quirks made us giggle. Like his vegetable jell-o. Yes, you read right. Grandfather ate orange jell-o with carrots and peas in it.  And he had a penchant for “fixing” perfectly fine electronics. Or other things in the house he deemed needed his tender loving care. And glue. Glue was his duct tape. There was the fact that he didn’t like to leave home because it was too cold “up north” where all his kids live. Except “up north” started in the panhandle of Florida.  Grandmother and he had a constant thermostat battle. He’d turn it up, she’d turn it down. He liked it a tad warmer than the rest of us. Grandfather took lots of “vitamines” and used to live in “‘Miamah.” He woke up at 5am to eat breakfast then went back to bed. Grandmother and he had a constant thermostat battle. He’d turn it up, she’d turn it down. He was a Florida Gator through and through and loved to watch the games. And he didn’t even give me a hard time about going to a rival school. In his time at the nursing home he loved when the family got together and sang for him.

That’s how I choose to remember him. My last memory and maybe my favorite. See, Grandfather got to meet my son in July. He had a really good day that day with the whole family there. He enjoyed his two grandsons and enjoyed our singing. He even held the songbook with me. I will cherish that day and I thank God for it. So though I cry tears for those of us he has left here, I praise God that he has taken him home.

A day in the life

5:45am: Sister brings a wiggly fussy Baby G to my room. It’s the second time he’s woken up and has (once again) bumped his head on the rails of the crib after he’s flipped himself over. Notice I didn’t say rolled. He doesn’t roll. He flings.

5:45am – 7am: Baby G sleep nurses, wakes up realizing he only got half his milks and wants the other side. I doze off and on as he’s nursing. {The morning sleep nursing cuddles are sweet and wonderful and some of my favorite times with him but they kill my back. His little hands dance as he nurses, touching my chest, neck or face, or playing with the covers. His movements are soft and fluttery and precious.}

7am: Transfer Baby G to his pack n play and go back to sleep. Hope Baby G sleeps in pack n play.

8:45am: Drag self out of bed and shower. Get dressed and wake up Baby G. {I love waking him up. It takes him a minute to come around but then he’ll just smile and look at me like I’m the best thing he’s ever seen. It doesn’t matter how tired you are, that face is worth everything.}

9:00am: Take Baby G upstairs to get ready. Clean up the barf he just puked on the floor on the way up. Turn on the hot water, lay him in his crib, and wait approximately 37 years for the hot water to come from China. Wet washcloth and lay Baby G on changing pad. Wipe down his sweet happy little face and pull off his PJs. Change an incredibly boodgy diaper and sing “Good Morning to You” and “The Good Morning Song” as he gets dressed. Give him a million kisses because he’s so dang cute you can’t help yourself. {I also love this part of the day. He loves it when we sing and he gets so happy and his little legs and arms just have to jump all around because he’s so excited. This morning he was “talking” to me which is soooo sweet and just melts my heart.}

9:20am: Nurse Baby G while putting on makeup. Try not to poke self in eye while he does his best to dislodge the makeup tray from my hand. Relatch him 14 times because he’s being too nosy to nurse. Remove my shirt from his mouth as he has decided since he managed to get a handful of it he must eat it. Switch him to the left side where he nurses without interruption. {Apparently the right side is more of an appetizer of sorts because he nurses much better on the left side. Which is funny because generally the right side produces more. }

9:45am: Give Baby G one last kiss before he is whisked off to church, leaving me alone in the house to finish getting ready.

10:30am: Arrive at the job.

10:30am – 12:30pm: Twiddle thumbs. Look busy. Check phone for texts. Help customer find something they are either already looking at or are on the opposite side of the store from. Miss Baby G.

12:30pm: Pump. Bleah.

12:30-3:00pm: Pretty much a repeat of 10:30-12:30. Throw in someone’s bratty kid who keeps messing with the stuff on my desk. Help customers in every department but mine.

3:00pm: Eat lunch and pump. Go to Michaels and buy stuff.

5:30pm: Pump again.

5:30pm – 7:30pm: Twiddle thumbs. Look busy. Check phone every 10 minutes to see if it’s 7:30 yet.

7:28pm: Clock out and go home. {Yay!} Try not to speed.

7:45pm: Run inside, change into comfy pants and shirt, settle into couch corner and feed Baby G. Relatch him 32 times because he keeps pulling off to smile at me. Can’t get frustrated with him because he’s too dang cute and he is so happy to see me {heart sings with joy}. Burp him and get barfed on at least once because he always turns his head away from the burp cloth at the last minute.

8:00pm: Eat dinner while holding Baby G because he is allergic to the floor and cannot be put down. Stop eating and stand up because the couch is still apparently too close to the floor (which is lava) and try to sneak sitting down because I’m starving and my food is getting cold. Finally get to eat properly once Auntie Nanny (also known as Sister) is done eating and gets up to walk with him.

9:00: Bath time! Take Baby G upstairs, turn on water, and go to changing pad to get undressed. Pick out jammies and get diaper ready for when he gets out. Auntie Nanny fills tub for us once the hot water has arrived from Timbuktu. Quickly take naked baby from room to tub so we don’t get peed (or pooped) on. Bathtime commences with lots of splashing and flailing of arms and legs. {Bathtime is a magical wonderful time and supercedes all other ailments. Hungry? Doesn’t matter, it’s bathtime! Tired? Doesn’t matter, it’s bathtime! Got an upset tummy? Doesn’t matter, just poop in the tub!} Let cutest naked baby on the planet play for a bit then wash him up, avoiding letting him eat the soapy washcloth or flail himself under the water. Lastly wash and rinse his fuzzy bird hair and load him into one of several adorable towels. Run to bedroom to dry off and get dressed in jammies. Reposition diaper 12 times as he is doing he best impression of an octopus and then fight to get his arms in his sleeves as he is intent on eating them. Zip/snap him up and it’s milky time! {Side note: Bathtime is always followed by milky time. If he had milk immediately prior to bathtime, milky time still immediately follows. This is the event succession people and it cannot be messed with. He knows. So we try to do bathtime as close to the next milky time so that he doesn’t nurse for two minutes then pass out without getting a full feeding. Because then he’ll just wake up 45 minutes later and want to eat.}

9:30pm: Milky time!! Nurse Baby G and then attempt to burp him. Read him a bedtime story (this is a new thing) and then get bedtime kisses and head up to bed. Turn on music thing (it belongs to his pack n play and does not make beautiful music but he likes it) and lay him in bed. Pat his bottom until he settles.

10:30pm: Baby G wakes up crying (screaming). Wait 3 minutes to see if he will settle. If not, go upstairs and pat his bottom (and turn music back on if it’s shut off) until he settles. Hope he stays asleep this time.

1:00am: Head to bed, overtired, because I stayed up playing on the computer and watching Netflix too long.

2:40am: Wake up to Baby G crying through the monitor. Husband gets up to go pat him back to sleep.

4:30a: Wake up to Baby G crying through the monitor. Stagger upstairs and attempt to pat him back to sleep. Stifle laughter as his little legs kick the mattress as if he’s throwing a temper tantrum. Pick him up and bounce him, sing to him, pat him. Nothing. Sit down on floor and nurse him as last resort. {Requires no energy, thought process, or coordination.} Put him back in bed and turn on white noise.

5:00am: Stagger back into bed.

8:30am: Husband brings a wiggly fussy Baby G to me to nurse.

 

Obviously this is just a guideline of some of our days. A lot depends on what shift I work and how fussy G is through the night. Some things don’t change though. I always nurse him in bed in the mornings. I always pump three times a day at work. I always clock out 2 minutes or so before my shift ends because I’m chomping at the bit to get home. I almost always go to Michaels on lunch. Sometimes Target. Bathtime is always followed by milky time. At some point in every day G realizes he is going to get eaten by the floor and screams until you stand up with him. It’s really just the times that change.