What’s the Expiration Date on this Milk?

redacted baby food popsicle

I think the end of my breast-feeding time with Punkie is drawing near.  I’ve been feeling like, personally, I’ve had enough, but I keep going because Punkie seems to rely on spending that time with me in the morning to wake up and at night to fall asleep. Also, you can’t argue with all of the benefits to the baby of breast-feeding.

Lately, though, Punkie has been breast-feeding for less time each session and he’s been biting me.  This led to some swelling, which led to some abrasion when I pumped, which caused bleeding.  And the bleeding completely ruined some of the milk that I pumped while I was at work – who’s going to feed their baby bloody milk? I’ve also had a number of plugged ducts, which were very painful.  Most significantly, though, my supply is slowly decreasing.  It’s been a rough month or so for breast-feeding and pumping.

When Punkie was born, I told myself that I’d breast feed and pump for six months.  That seemed like a reasonable goal considering I didn’t know how it would shake out with pumping at work or how well Punkie and I would breast feed together.

When six months came, I decided that things were going pretty well and I’d continue until Punkie was nine months old.  Things began to go haywire at eight months, but I’ve hung in there.

Yesterday was officially nine months and I think I’m done.  But I have no idea how to stop.  I’m not convinced that cold turkey is the best idea.  If I cut one pumping session out per week, my supply should decrease – does that mean I can’t breast feed in the morning and night?  When does that end?  And what do I do with the kid at 5AM when he wakes up looking for milk, as he does every day?

My OBGYN advised that I wear a tight bra.  Really?  That’s the advice?  I don’t know how she could have been less helpful with the weaning question.

In a couple of days, Punkie has his 9-month well child visit and I’ll ask the pediatrician the same question.  How do I wean this kid?

And a corollary to that question – what do I feed him now? He’s very much interested in solid food and he’s been less and less patient with his bottles of milk and/or formula.  How do I switch him over?  Should I be feeding him cereal in the morning still, and should I give day care the go-ahead to feed him the full lunch that the other older babies get?

I wonder if the pediatrician knows what an extensive question and answer session she’s in for this week.


Old At Being Young

Punkie is seeing a lot of changes at day care this week.  He and his friend are now the oldest babies in his room, as most of his friends have been moved to the next classroom up.  My husband called to say that, when he dropped Punkie off this morning, there were three new, smaller babies in his room and they were all freaking out.  Poor Punkie looked concerned, he said.

Punkie is also working through a teacher change.  His room has two teachers, a lead teacher and a second teacher.  His second teacher really loves Punkie – she dotes on him and carries him around a lot.  Well, that second teacher was promoted to be the lead teacher in another room.  This is probably tough for him in the moment, but she’s now the lead teacher in the next room up (where all his friends are now), so Punkie will see her again in a few months when they move him up.

Our understanding is that Punkie will also be moved up when he is 12 months old, or sooner if he starts walking, provided there is space in that room.  I feel like, even though he’s not quite 9 months old yet, we should start working on the walking so he can rejoin all of his friends sooner.  I worry that, since the new babies are quite young, they’ll require more attention and care, and Punkie will get less.  Also, he enjoyed watching the older babies and learning the things they could do.  I’m concerned that he will be bored.  I don’t know if babies get bored like that, but I suppose we’re going to find out very soon.

Working Hard

Punkie has been working hard.  He can now pull himself up and stand while holding onto something.  He can also clap, give me five, and (sometimes) wave.

Punkie can say MaMa and DaDa, but he says MaMa when he’s with my husband and DaDa when he’s with me.  I guess he’s either just making random noises or he’s a “grass is always greener” kind of guy.

What I love most about all of this is how hard he works at doing these things.  He tries and fails over and over until he gets it right, and his look of concentration is adorable – he sucks his bottom lip in and wrinkles his forehead.

Punkie is also going through a little separation anxiety.  He wants me to sit next to him and will cry if I walk away, but he doesn’t want me to hold him.  He just wants me in his line of sight, I think.

I really enjoyed spending the long weekend with Punkie and seeing him work through all of these things in real time.  I really miss him this morning, now that I’m back at work and he’s back at day care.


Food Obsession

food redacted

I’m starting to worry about Punkie and his apparent obsession with getting solid food.  The older babies at day care sit down for solid food three times a day – morning, noon, and late afternoon.  Punkie gets finger food one time per day – usually fruit, Cheerios, and/or puffs.

Some of the older babies are mature enough to sit at a short baby-sized table, rather than in high chairs.  Punkie is not one of the babies at the table – he’s only 8 1/2 months old and not ready for that.  The “older” babies are closer to 12 months old.

But I’m told that he now crawls over, pulls himself up into a standing position next to the table, and STEALS FOOD from the other babies.

Really?  I honestly don’t know how to work through this one.  I can’t talk to Punkie about it, obviously – he’s 8 1/2 months old.  Day care is pressuring me to allow them to feed him solid food three times a day, but our pediatrician advised that we shouldn’t increase solid food until he’s 9 months old because an increase in solid food means a decrease in milk and milk should be his main source of nutrition at this age.

At home, he isn’t ravenous and he doesn’t try to steal food.  He doesn’t even complain when we’re a little bit late with his bottle.

And I’m wondering – does this mean that he’s overly susceptible to peer pressure?

I guess we’ll just have to work through it until I can talk to his pediatrician about his diet.


First Halloween

halloween 3

This coming Halloween will be Punkie’s first . . . and I’ve been really looking forward to it.  I mean, I’ve been looking forward to it A LOT.  I already have two costumes picked out for him, both of which we now own – a R2D2 outfit for day care (without embellishments that will impede his movement or the teachers’ schedule) and an adorable plush monkey outfit for trick-or-treating.

However.  The key word here is “however.”

However, I cannot take Punkie trick-or-treating this year.  And I’m feeling angry and disappointed about it.

My anger is so selfish because my sister and her fiance have set their wedding date for October 31 at 3PM (in a cemetery), and I should be happy for them.  And I really am.  But I’m so disappointed.  And I feel angry about it.

My sister has had zero interest in her nephew.  She’s seen him 3 times in the EIGHT MONTHS since he was born, and two of those times were at family gatherings she would have gone to regardless.  The first time was at the hospital.  The facts that (A) this is her one and only nephew/niece, (B) she doesn’t have kids of her own yet, and (C) she waited in the lobby for his birth with the rest of the family all led me to assume that she was excited about her nephew.  But it’s clear now that she doesn’t give a shit about him.  Or me.  Or my husband.

I never did tell her how excited I was about Punkie’s first Halloween.  I rarely see her and it never came up.  And then she scheduled her wedding for that day.  I guess it didn’t occur to her.

It’s her day and I am happy for her.  But I’m going to miss Punkie’s first Halloween.  I don’t know if I’ll even be able to spend the evening with Punkie at all – we don’t know if kids are invited and it’s not like she has a special affinity for this particular kid.

At least I have the day care costume, even though I won’t be with him while he’s celebrating.


Day Care is a Cesspool of Germs and Viruses Part II

The past two weeks have not been pretty.

First, Punkie got a cold from day care.  Then I got the cold.  Then my husband got the cold.  We were a collective mess.  Then Punkie and my husband got better, and I got so much worse.  Mine became a sinus infection and ear infection.  I was a singular disaster.

Three visits to the doctor later, I have started and stopped different antibiotics, my hearing has come and gone at regular intervals, and am just now starting to feel better.  I’m way behind on my work and my co-workers think I’m moonlighting as a germ incubator.

Also, we’ve blown through the entire stash of emergency frozen milk because I was on an antibiotic that was not safe for breastfeeding.  I have so much more room in the freezer and a billion extra bottles now, but no emergency cushion.  I wonder if we’ll need a cushion anymore – Punkie is 8 1/2 months old and I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to keep up with pumping and breastfeeding.  When we made it to 6 months, I told myself I would shoot for 9 months and then re-evaluate.

This is eerily similar to last month, when Punkie came home with a cold from day care and then I got a sinus infection.  If we keep this pattern going, we’re going to have a really tough rest of the year!

Finger Food

Punkie is officially a finger food kind of guy now.  We had practiced at home over the past week and he was doing pretty well getting the food from his tray into his mouth, although the pincer grip is still a challenge.  Mainly, he puts a food item into his hand, grips it with his fist, and then mashes it into his mouth.  It’s insanely cute.  And he works very hard when he’s eating his finger food – his little forehead crinkles and he sucks in his bottom lip as he picks up the food.

I thought I would give him some more time to practice at home before sending finger food to day care.  He’s 8 months old and our pediatrician advised that, if we increase his solid food too much, he might not get as much milk and it’s too soon to cut down on the milk.  In fact, my husband and I disagreed about this for the past several days – he thought I should send finger food to day care and I wanted to wait a few more weeks.  Why rush him, I thought.

But Punkie had become a food scrounger.  He was waiting for the older babies at day care to start eating their solid food and then he’d crawl over and eat the food they dropped.  When the teacher in his room told me this yesterday, it broke my heart.  The poor little punk is so excited about eating solid food, he’s willing to sit under chairs and take what falls.  She said they had to put him in the exer-saucer to keep him from crawling over to scrounge for food, and he would cry.

So I sent some finger food to day care today – bananas.  I stopped by to visit him this morning (I was hoping to catch him napping – the teachers keep swaddling him and I don’t want him swaddled anymore) and found him in a high chair (next to a couple of other babies in high chairs), wiggling and grunting with happiness, and shoving chunks of banana into his mouth.  He was so happy.

I really didn’t expect the peer pressure to begin this early.  He can’t even talk yet, but he wants the same Cheerios or whatever else the other babies get.

My heart gushed when I saw him so happy.  And my brain reminded me that I now have to produce a care package of finger food every morning.

Helmet Head?

redacted ouchiePunkie is going to need a helmet.  Now that he’s crawling and pulling himself up on tables and whatever else is nearby, he is banging his head continuously.  He’s top-heavy too, so it seems like a foregone conclusion that he’ll careen around the house head-first for a while.

As a child of the 70s and 80s, I’ve done my fair share of scoffing at the bike helmet law and what seems to be a general desire to wrap kids in bubble wrap.  I totally get it now.

Here’s a photo of his first injury.  It scared the stuffing out of my husband and me.  We think he was trying to reach up to grab the curtain to pull himself up and missed.  Instead, he slammed his forehead into the wall.

He let me put some ice on it for a while and there is just a small mark now.

I hate to break the news to him, but the wall might be the least of his worries.  I installed that curtain rod myself and I’m not entirely convinced it will survive Punkie’s toddlerhood.

Diaper Changing in Public

redacted pubMy husband and I took Punkie to a restaurant yesterday.  It’s a pub with a restaurant area.  I changed Punkie’s diaper in the restaurant because there was no changing table in either restroom and neither had a place to put a child for a diaper change except for the floor.  I wasn’t feeling great about changing a diaper in a restaurant because I know diapers are gross, but my husband and I felt like we didn’t have another option.

Today, I viewed this video from CNN.com about a woman who brought her three young children to a pizza joint and was promptly kicked out for changing a diaper in the restaurant.  She took her baby into the ladies’ room and there was no changing table or any other place where one could put a child down to change a diaper.  So, rather than putting her kid on the floor or packing her three kids back up and dragging them out to the car, she changed the diaper quietly and quickly on a chair in the restaurant.  The restaurant kicked her out.


Wow.  I’ve only had a kid for 8 months and maybe I just never noticed before, but I watch the news and society seems pretty intolerant of moms in public.  I don’t accept a world where we expect moms to sit at home until their kids are 18.

If the dumpy little pizza place does not clearly and conspicuously notify customers that children are not welcome and it does not offer any place to change a diaper, then diapers will be changed in the restaurant.

Also, it seemed like they kicked her out just to punish her – the diaper was already changed at that point.  Here’s an idea: maybe the employees could have had some compassion and suggested some other place for her to change a diaper, like in the office or another area not used for food prep.

To kick a woman and her three small children out for a discreet diaper change is a whole level of assholedom that I can’t believe we all tolerate.

Don’t tolerate how these people treated this mom.  Don’t tolerate malls who proudly display signage of women baring their breasts for commercialism, but who treat breastfeeding mothers like felons (worse than felons, actually, since neither the pizza joint nor a mall would kick someone out for being a felon).

I started to type “Moms should be tolerated in public,” but that’s so absurd to me.  Don’t you dare “tolerate” me.  I belong in public, same as you.


Spilled Milk

Whomever coined the phrase about not crying over spilled* milk was an idiot.

And he obviously never pumped breast milk 3 to 4 times per day for 7 1/2 months.  I say “he” because I have to assume this particular idiot was a man.

I just spilled a lot of milk – all over my pants, all over my desk, all over the carpeting in my office.

Setting aside the fact that it stains so I’ll be branded with it all day and my floor will never look quite the same, that’s several ounces of milk that Punkie doesn’t get . . . even though I took 20 minutes of my work day to attach a milking machine to myself to get it.


*I’m too annoyed to look up whether “spilt” or “spilled” is correct.