A family update

I haven’t talked about my family in a while, because why ruin the happy mood?

The Good:

My cousin has been so supportive and wonderful. She’s really stepped into the role of being Charlie’s aunt, as has the Captain. They both brought me food after she first came (the captain filled our freezer-no joke), and we’ve seen my cousin S several times for a lunch date or just a visit. She came over one morning when Chief had to go into work for a few hours and held the baby so I could eat breakfast (have I mentioned that Charlie hates being put down? We’re just now getting to where she’ll sit in a bouncy seat for a little while).

My aunts have been the same. Supportive without being pushy. They brought us lunch and sat and visited for a few hours when Charlie was about three weeks old. And we’ve seen them all of course at Tuesday family dinners. I’ve only missed one, and that was the one they had the day Charlie was born. I had a good excuse.

My dad has been supportive and loving while also giving us our space, something I’ve really needed.

The Bad:

I’m sure this shocks no one, but of course my sister has been pretty awful since the baby came. The first time she saw her was at Father’s day when she was just five days old. I was aggravated because my aunt was holding her and asked K if she wanted to hold her. Luckily K didn’t want to because she’s heartless anyway, but my aunt shouldn’t have just offered knowing what’s been going on. Then K said that she wondered if all babies “came out looking angry” and asked “where her horns were.”

I almost went crazy hormonal bitch momma on her right then, but I just completely ignored her because I KNOW that my daughter is gorgeous. I don’t need any validation on that. And of course her value isn’t in her beauty, but irregardless of that-she’s beautiful. I was so tense I couldn’t eat that day. I ate when we got home.

Since then she avoids any gathering that Charlie is in attendance, which means family dinner. Am I sad about this? No, not even a little bit. But in the words of the Captain, “she’s blowing this”, and she is-big time.

The In Between:

I feel bad throwing my mom into the in between, but that’s just where she is. She loves Charlie SO. MUCH. that she wants to be here all the time. And my mom will tell anyone who listens that my dad wasn’t very good when we were born and didn’t help out enough, and she needed her mom so much. I guess my mom expected me to be crying to her on the phone every day begging for her help, but here are some things about that:

1. Charlie is a pretty easy baby

2. My husband is a rockstar

3. The thing I needed the most help with was breastfeeding, which my mother didn’t do and wasn’t very supportive of me doing.

So…yeah. I’ve never withheld the baby from her. Anytime she’s wanted to come over I’ve let her. Anytime she’s invited us over, we’ve come. Even sometimes when it’s been inconvenient. Like the night before our newborn photos, when she didn’t come over until 7:30 pm despite acting like she’d be there at least an hour earlier, and then stayed until 10:00 pm when I had a ton to do, not to mention a 10 day old baby. And she sat there and held her THE ENTIRE TIME. I had some really bad separation anxiety with Charlie when she was first born. I needed to be physically in contact with her a lot. I don’t know if it’s normal or abnormal, but it’s just how I was and my mother KNEW that. So by the end of that particular visit I wasn’t terribly gracious or friendly. I was up using all of my Charlie sleeping time after they left getting my house ready for the photographer and looked really, really tired the next day.

Then we took Charlie to church on Sunday for the first time and I held her all the way through the service so she’d stay asleep and my mom basically pouted about it. We went out to lunch afterwards and she held her for nearly an hour.

And then last night we went out to dinner with Captain and her brother like we always do on Fridays. Chief accidentally hit the hazard light on the car on our way in and didn’t realize it, and when we got back out from dinner our battery was dead. I called mom and asked if they could come and give us a jump. After I got off the phone a nice lady stopped and said she had jumper cables, so I called mom right back to say never mind-we were taken care of. Then she sullenly said that she would like to see the baby SOMETIME this weekend. Well tonight is my dad’s birthday party and the first time his family will meet the baby, so I told her that Saturday was taken to which there was a long pause and she just said “Fine.” I then said “That doesn’t mean you can’t see her, I’m just saying that we already have Saturday plans.” She got off the phone and I texted her and said we’d probably be in church again on Sunday and we could eat again afterwards if they wanted. She texted back, thirty minutes later (even though I knew she had her phone on her) “Sounds nice.”

So yeah, she’s pissed.

I don’t really know what I’m supposed to be doing differently. Everyday I wake up and I focus on my baby. Making sure she’s eating, doing diaper counts, trying to get her to sit in her swing or her bouncy seat so I can have five minutes to eat or brush my teeth. I’m sorry that the last thing on my mind is making sure mom gets enough time with Charlie. All she has to do is call and set something up. Again, I’ve never denied her. But she seems resentful that I’m not constantly inviting her over to hold my child.

And I’m sure she gets mad that the Captain gets to see her every Friday because of burrito night, but burrito night has always been around. It’s not something I’m doing to hurt mom’s feelings or exclude her. And I see her on Tuesdays for family dinner, so that’s her standing engagement with us. She’s probably resentful that the rest of the family is there on Tuesdays too.

It’s beginning to feel like I have to ask permission to make plans so that they don’t interfere with my mother’s desires to see my child, and that aggravates me.

So while I love that she loves the baby and wants to see her, I don’t love the way I’m being treated as a result.

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Spectra vs Medela

The baby is asleep on Chief’s chest, so I have time for a quick post about the Spectra S1 vs. the Medela Pump in Style Advance.

In short: The Spectra kicks the Medela’s ass. Let me list the ways that it’s better:

1. So gentle. No pain at all. None.

2. I got way more milk out. I normally don’t pump in the afternoon because a) it’s not worth the small amount I usually get and b) I don’t want to drive my supply up any higher. Today I pumped after she ate from both breasts and got three ounces. Normally I would get 1-2. I can’t wait to see what I get in my morning pump where I usually get 3-4 ounces.

3. It’s so quiet. I don’t have to turn the TV up to hear it over the sound of the pump.

4. I loved that I wasn’t tied down by the cord because I had charged it last night. I just sat it up in bed with me.

5. It fits the AVENT bottles we already have perfectly. I ordered some compatible bottles on Amazon but I’m going to return them because we have a ton of these AVENT ones. I did order some $5.00 lids though because I just have nipples for these bottles.

6. I got it for $150 on eBay. Someone had only used it 4-5 times and then quit breastfeeding.

There are just a few cons:

1. I can’t get spectra stuff anywhere locally. Medela and Lasinoh has the market cornered in my area.

2. I didn’t realize I could only purchase one flange at a time. I bought what I thought was a set of 28 mm’s, but it was actually just one. Luckily I can use the freemie’s I have with it (I ordered the adaptor set) until the next 28 mm flange comes, but that’s sort of inconvenient. I guess it’s good for people who have different sized nipples….but are there a lot of people like that?

3. The tubes are this sort of gummy rubber material which makes me think that fuzz will stick to the outside of them really easily, and I have a lot of fuzz in my house. This won’t affect how it operates, but it’s just sort of weird.

This isn’t to say that the Medela is just awful….it’s served me fine this last month, but it’s not gentle and it’s loud as all get out. It is quite compact though and sort of self contained in this little velcro pouch, which is nice. I’ll have to get a bag for the Spectra, but that’s no big deal really. The Medela does have a major advantage in that everyone and their momma carries Medela parts, so if something goes wrong with my Spectra I’ll be in trouble until I can order a part.

In general though, the Spectra is my jam now. I love it so so much. If you haven’t bought a pump yet and you’re going to, I HIGHLY recommend this one.

Calling Hopeful Worrywart or AndiePants

My spectra is here many days early! The only thing missing is the instruction manual. Could one of you email me pictures of the most pertinent pages (you know, like how to operate it)? I’d greatly appreciate it! I know you both have lives and babies and things. Anyway, thebarrenlibrarian@gmail.com would be the place to send them.

And for the record, I tried to see if I could just email one or both of you but I don’t have your email addresses and couldn’t find them on your blogs, so I’m sending this out into the void. Thanks!

The Real Cost of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is going well still. I think we’ve found our groove. And of course, once we found it, it became time to start weaning off of the nipple shield. That is going okay though. Sometimes she just won’t have anything to do with a breast without a shield, but more and more I’m able to get her to nurse without, and I still hear nice big gulps so I know she’s getting milk.

What I wanted to write about though is something that’s occurred to me this week: breastfeeding is expensive. Which is funny, because it’s supposed to be way more cost effective than formula. I’m not sure that’s actually true.

I’m still glad we’re doing it, because I know it’s good for her and good for me, but I’m just saying I don’t think it’s necessarily been awesome for the pocketbook. I’m going to lay out some expenses for you of what I’ve had to spend so far:

Lactation Consultant Visit: $140

Nursing Pillow: $42.00

Nipple Shields: I got two free, and spent $20.00 on two more.

Medela Replacement Parts Kit (a friend gave me her Pump in Style Advance): $39.00

Medela AC Adaptor (she lost hers): $17.43

Soothies Gel Pads (3 sets): $25.50

Lasinoh Breast Pads (1 box, I’ll have to buy more over the next year): $11.99

Medela Quick Clean Steam Bags (for sanitizing-you do NOT want a dirty pump): $4.99 (good for 100 sterilizations)

Avent Thermal Gel Breast Packs: $7.49

Medela Collection Bottles and Caps, 3 pack: $12.49

Nursing Bras:  Around $300 (I’ll explain more about this one, but yeah, it’s A LOT).

Lasinoh Milk Bags (100 Count-I will obviously need more): $13.75

Medela Milk Bags (50 Count-not buying more of these after I run out of them): $10.39

Trays to store milk bags in the freezer (five at $4.00 each, and I will need more): $20.00

Lasinoh Lanolin: $6.26

Total: $671.29

I feel like I’ve forgotten things, but that’s what I can think of so far.

That’s still a far cry from the $2000 that formula costs per year, but it’s also not nothing. And some of it is certainly optional. I probably could have just dealt with shoving bags of frozen corn in my bra to deal with the soreness instead of getting the specially designed boob ice packs. I could also just boil my medela parts every day instead of using the quick steam bags and spend my entire life in the kitchen cleaning things (which I already feel like I do). I also could use reusable breast pads instead of the disposable ones, but several friends told me to steer clear of that because they don’t lay well under your clothes and the risk of thrush is higher. I hardly use the nursing pillow now but it was invaluable when we were first starting. It kept her right where I needed her and gave me one less thing to juggle while starting out and learning.

And most insurance companies are probably better than mine and pay for a) more than just a manual pump so you don’t have to use your friends hand-me-down electric one and buy replacement parts for it (not that I’m not grateful, don’t get me wrong-she’s a sweetie) and b) the lactation consultant, because at $140 a pop that’s not cheap. I would love to see her again to make sure we’re on the right track but I don’t know that I can justify it.

And let’s talk nursing bras: they suck. Basically if you’re a big breasted gal good luck finding them in store where you could actually try them on. Which is RIDICULOUS, because never in a woman’s life will her breasts be bigger than they are when she’s nursing. Never. Right now I’m measuring around a 40 H. When I was first engorged it was a 42 I. Anyway, I tried to order a few online and they sucked. They just don’t fit me well, they’re obviously cheaply made, and I’m uncomfortable in them. I could only find ONE in an underwire (although I’ve found more since then, again online) and I know they say underwire is bad for nursing, but I’m sorry, I need it y’all. I have GIANT BREASTS. I need some reinforcement.

So what I’ve ended up doing is buying regular bras, Wacoal to be specific (the BEST brand if you’re chesty) and my mother is painstakingly turning them into nursing bras using online tutorials and sheer ingenuity. I hear that Nordstroms does this service for $10.00 a bra, but sadly we don’t have a Nordstroms here. So while she’s working on the three very expensive bras I purchased I’m stuck wearing this one awful bra I found that is uncomfortable and unsupportive. I’ve also got some soft, underwire free ones for sleeping because of the leaky boob situation.

Another unfortunate (or maybe fortunate, just depending on how you see it) situation is that I’m pretty sure this Medela Pump may not make it forever. My friend used it for two babies so it’s not a spring chicken and it’s making a funny knocking noise. I’ve been lusting after the Spectra S1 but had resolved not to buy it because I have a perfectly good pump and, yeah, breastfeeding has sort of been expensive, but now I’m thinking I may need to sooner or later. I don’t want to wait for the Medela to go out on me, because there’s no place I can get the Spectra locally, so I’d have to wait for it to be shipped to me, leaving me pumpless for a few days. But also the idea of spending another $200 on breastfeeding, plus $20 for the flange size I need (because of course the 28’s aren’t included) makes me nauseated.

So yes. Breast is best. I’m glad we’re doing it, but no-it is NOT free. Especially not if you have to go back to work and have to deal with all the accessories that go along with that. This isn’t an indictment of breastfeeding at all. No, it’s really an indictment of our economy and healthcare system that have found yet another way to make it hard on new moms. Honestly if we had better maternity leave I wouldn’t be pumping at all. If I had a year off like everyone else in the world it wouldn’t matter. I wouldn’t need to worry about sending milk to daycare when she goes in eight weeks (yes, I have eight weeks still, but I actually sobbed about it today).

But also, if something has to do with breastfeeding, just go ahead and plan on spending more. Bank on it. Because that’s America.