Category Archives: Working

Getting Un-stuck by Taking Action

A lot of people would (and do) call me crazy for making this action step I’m about to take.  I’m about to take a leap of faith into the unknown and figure things out as we go.  I have plans but I don’t like to make them set in stone.  I have back up (a bit, only, kinda) to help make this transition easier and I have a support group making this all a little easier.

Friday, May 20th, I will be giving my formal resignation letter and my two-week notice to my full time employer.  The scariest thing about the whole plan is that I do need income to supplement my husband’s so we can actually afford to eat but it’s not like my plan is to sit around staying at J all day.  Oh no, not at all.

I want to wake up rested and see that cute little squishy face smiling up at me instead of getting jostled awake by my husband while my daughter is having her early morning nursing at 6am.  Being told over and over I need to shower, stop, get in the shower, Sara WAKE UP.  I won’t miss the way I start my mornings as they are now, that’s for sure.

I can't believe how big she is - I feel like I've missed a lot.I will start my day with a list of to-dos for household, time with J, meals, business and family fun.  I’ll spend my day completing tasks by priority of importance and not just what I can cram in at the end of a busy work day when we pull in the drive at 6:30pm.  All while being more present to one of my favorite (and missed) people in the world; my daughter, J.

I will take action and start living a life for tomorrow instead of just living day to day. 

It’s scary to go into the unknown but when I look back… back to when she was 2 months old and I really made the decision to go back to work I remember why I went back.  It was the worry.  The worry that we needed more, we needed a house, we needed our cars, we needed more “stuff” and we worried about paying our bills, worried about having fun doing what we love and making more time for everything.  Do you know where we are today?  Still worrying… still living day to day and worrying about all that crap.  You know what we haven’t done?  Taken action to pursue what truly will bring balance and happiness to our lives.

Some will call me crazy, some will call me stupid and some will think that I’m brilliant.  I know my daughter will, I know my husband is supporting this decision and I know I have friends and family that have my back.  So, here I go.  I’m taking that step to getting un-stuck.  I firmly proclaim that from this day forth I will live with intention, take action with abandon and use my skills to their fullest potential instead of feeling trapped in a job and resenting it.

What action steps have you taken lately or are you planning on taking?  Are you scared (but, a good scared), like me?

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Into The Great Wide Open: Sara’s Knits

After many a friends and family insisted helped build my confidence I decided to make the leap and truly launch my Etsy shop Sara’s Knits.  Creating handmade crochet hats, diaper covers, blankets and cocoons has been a hobby of mine that has started to grow into a little business on it’s own just by word of mouth. 

J wearing my very first creation!

I just listed my first item and started up a Facebook page over the weekend for my unofficial official launch.  Let me know what you think!  I’ll have more goodies listed throughout the week as I snap pictures and create the listings.  “Like” Sara’s Knits on Facebook for first views of new items and deals!

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April Showers Bring Renewed Senses

I had to take a break.  I have so many projects, hopes, dreams, realities and commitments that something had to give.  I kind of simplified to an extreme to stretch, grow and renew; boy does it feel good.

I still have a million projects but I feel like I can manage more since I’ve reconnected with myself and my family.  I’ve made a major life decision to pursue a change – a pretty drastic one.  I’ll hint that I plan to work for myself, my family and my passions instead of “the man”.  But, more on this to come as it all unfolds.

With the coming of spring I’ve started to chisel away at one of my most important goals for myself this year.  That goal was to simplify our lives.  Physically de-cluttering for 15 minutes a day in one room has changed my life drastically.  As boxes get unpacked (yes, nearly a year after we moved into our home), items get recycled/donated, while others get priced out for a large family yard sale I’m coordinating I can feel the heaviness lifting little by little.

We’ve finally started to jive into a solid family routine so I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it’s not so much on me anymore.  My husband always did try to be helpful and was/is a wonderful dad and husband BUT we butt heads a lot.  I know I suffered from the elusive “mommy burnout” from time to time here and we’ve been working on creating a more balanced household and life.

So, that’s my short and sweet little update on me.  How are you these days?  Are you simplifying your life in any way and how has it impacted your life?

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Cloth Diapers: Hip, Smart, Green, & CHEAP – A Moms Dream!

J Wearing a BumGenius 3.0 Cloth Diaper

If you have a kid in diapers and they’re disposables you, my friend, are a fool.  Anytime you buy a package of disposables you are paying for garbage, literally.  When you change those disposables it’s like throwing money into the garbage daily, hourly, even!

Switching over to cloth diapers can seem intimidating, it can seem fruitless (it’s not!), there’s *gasp* poop involved here, too!  But, you can will do it.  I have faith in you…and your kid can look as cute as mine (look at the cuteness to the right!) while you save not only money, but this wonderful earth we like to call home.

Cloth Diapers are AWESOME because…

  • You can save THOUSANDS (upon THOUSANDS, especially if you use them on more than one kiddo).
  • You can save over TWO TONS of waste from going into a landfill per child.  (Did you know it takes over 500 years for one disposable diaper to decompose!?)
  • Super comfy, super absorbent, and healthy; they don’t have the harmful chemicals found in disposable diapers.
  • Cloth diapers have resale value – you can’t resell garbage!
  • Cloth diapers are way way WAY cuter than ugly paper diapers of terror.
baby_cloth_diaper_prefold_thirsties_cover

J Wearing a Prefold w/ Thirsties Cover

J has been wearing cloth since she was born and for the first few months we went the cheapest route we could and bought this awesome Basic Cloth Diaper Package.  It came with 24 pre-folds, 5 Thirsties covers, a package of wipes, a Snappi, and extra flannel inserts all for $126.50 SHIPPED.  With this package we had about 3 months (5-12lbs) worth of diapers for a grand total of $126.50…that’s like one month’s worth of disposables (if you’re lucky)!

Plus, get this, I sold them.  Yep, I sold my used Thirsties covers for $6 each so I made $30 there.  Then I sold my used prefolds for $15 a dozen so another $30 there and I kept the rest of the wipes, inserts, and the Snappi.  So, from birth to three months my daughter’s total diaper cost was a whopping $66.50.  I’ll say it again, THREE MONTHS OF DIAPERS FOR $66.50!!! If you don’t want to sell them and use them for kid #2, #3, etc. then the savings can be simply astonishing.

But, the diaper options don’t stop there.  There are oodles upon oodles of different cloth diapering systems out there.  Some, like Fuzzibunz are literally worth their weight in gold.

The poop, Sara, THERE’S POOP.

J Sporting BG

I know, it’s a crying shame that babies have bodily functions, right?  I mean, if you use disposables you’ll never ever have to deal with washing poop, right?  WRONG

Have you heard of this crazy phenomenon called “exploding newborn poop“?  That’s when you have your newborn all strapped into their car seat (carrier, crib, your arms…) and their poop literally EXPLODES out the diaper, up their back, through their arm holes of their onsies, up into their hair, etc. etc. etc.  Pretty gross?

Well, brace yourselves because with disposables that’ll happen…often.  With cloth?  I HIGHLY doubt it.  In the 1.25 years my daughter has been in cloth diapers there has only been one time the poop escaped and it was when we all had the flu.

No matter how you slice it there will come a time that you have to deal with your kid’s poop, I’m sorry.  Plus, they have these handy diaper sprayers to get poop off diapers, flushable liners or you can shake the poop off (that’s what I do) and then you wash your diapers.  It’s easy, you can do it, you can save money, you can save your baby’s butt, you can save THE WORLD.

To help you, there is this awesome company Everything Birth that started Diaper Parties to spread the awesomeness that is cloth diapers far and wide.  I became a Diaper Parties consultant to teach others how they can sort through all the systems to find a perfect one for their family/budget and how to care for their diapers.

What is Diaper Parties?

We bring the store/webstore to you, your friends, your family so you can look/feel/smell/investigate cloth diapers and get a personal consultation before you commit to buying anything.  But, it doesn’t stop there…

As a host you can earn FREE PRODUCTS and as a guest you can earn, you guessed it, FREE PRODUCTS.  Plus, we offer a rewards program where you earn 1 point per dollar spent, our commited to cloth guarantee in case you’re unhappy with your purchase, our forum, and the Birth Depot to resell your mom/baby gear!

To learn more about Diaper Parties head over there or if you have other cloth diaper questions send me a shout out – I’m a guru.  sara {at} diaperparties {dot} com

If you love cloth diapers and you want to become a consultant I can’t say better things about this family that is Everything Birth.

It is my goal to make this world a better place – one cloth diaper at a time.  Will you be making a difference by switching to cloth?  If you already cloth diaper, what’s your favorite brand/product?

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Filed under Cloth Diapers, Natural Parenting, Working

The Beginning of the End: HUTH

I think my half crabby balance post yesterday was stemmed from a milestone that my daughter and I have recently reached and it’s hit me like a pile of bricks. 

Yesterday, I retired my pump.  I hung up the horns and I’m officially partially weaning her.  Right now, as I typed that it became all the more real and upsetting.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I would do this if it was upsetting to me and part of me wonders that very thing.  But, the truth is, I don’t have enough time and balance in my life to continue pumping anymore.  I feel guilt and relief all at the same time about this as I sure many moms before me have.

Why did I really do it? 

I can’t keep up with everything at work and still make the time to pump.  Sure, I’m protected by law for a year but guess what?  It’s been one full year to the day (today) that I’ve been back to work plus being a salary employee means I have oodles of work on my desk that needs to get done, period.

Is there another reason?

I need to get rid of the pressure to get milk for the next day.  There is a constant fear that lingers in a pumping mother that cannot be silenced.  Every single time my daughter has a drop of my precious milk I need to express… the pressure to keep up my supply stressed me out so much some days I couldn’t eat and then I couldn’t pump because I hadn’t eaten.  It’s a vicious cycle.

The Last Time

I nurse my daughter on my lunch hour.  I’m lucky enough that my sister-in-law who watches J during the day lives within 10 minutes of my office.  Now instead of crunching 2 twenty minute pumping sessions and a half hour lunch into my day to go nurse her for ten minutes, while hoping that she doesn’t want to nurse longer, I take a one hour lunch.  I can grab something to eat or prepare what I’ve brought in, drive to see her, play with her, talk with her, then leave to get back to work without being rushed.

How did I wean from the pump?

Well, in the beginning I had to pump 6+ times a day.  Yeah, that’s right.  I had to pump on my way to work, 3 times at work, once on my way home and another time in the middle of the night.  I did this for months just so my daughter could continue to be exclusively breastfed.  As my daughter got older her bottles spread out a little more through the day, then her need for milk when she was away from me decreased so I’d gradually work out a pumping session.  Midnight pumping first, then on my way home, then on my way in, then my middle of the day, then my morning and finally I just stopped.

Luckily, I never had an oversupply so skipping a session or two was never really a big deal for me.  When I wanted to drop a session I’d just pump for 5 minutes for a day or two during that session then the next day I’d drop it.  I’d let me body adjust for 2-3 weeks and then onto the next one.  For the longest time I was down to a morning session and an afternoon session until I finally found a good substitution for milk during the day.

J is lactose intolerant.  I cut dairy out of my diet when her reflux was at its peak and I wasn’t surprised when she threw up after we gave her an ounce of whole milk.  We tried rice milk a couple days in a row one week but she balked at it.  A couple weeks later we tried almond milk but she would have nothing to do with it.  The stress of having to pump and not having something to give her during the day was intense.  I felt like I couldn’t keep up with life and I was drowning.

Then, in a last ditch effort we gave her soy milk.  She loves it.  She loves it so much I was actually hurt that it only took 1 cup of soy milk to sway her.  She does still come to me for “mmmm” (nursing) right away on my lunch hour so I can’t be too heartbroken but part of me really is.  She doesn’t need part of me all day anymore and it’s a weird feeling.

Part of me is happy to see my little independent toddler yet part of me wishes I could have my little newborn baby.  So, this is the beginning of weaning and it stings a little.  But, at least I still have the nighttime snuggles and we’re not giving up nursing anytime soon 🙂

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Picking & Paying for The Pump

Pumping sounds like a really simple procedure, right?  Just put on the horns and it’ll suck the milk right out of you!  HA, if only.  I personally know a mama who is a high-yielder, a mama who has struggled then eventually supplemented with formula and I’m right there in the middle getting only what I need, more if I do a special milk rain dance (more on that later). 

A pumping mothers’ breast are as unique as the babies we’re pumping our liquid gold for.  There is no manual that will tell you how you’re going to respond to the pump and how to adjust things – it’s all about trail and error.  I’m breaking this down into a series of posts because there is just SO much information I’d love to share regarding pumping.  I’ve seen the ins and outs, been through the ups and downs and there are many, many things I wish I would have known in the beginning.

First things first, you need a pump.  Unfortunately, most insurance policies will not cover a pump unless it is “medically necessary”.  It makes my blood boil typing that out.  Personally, I believe there should be a program at every hospital which provides mothers with a good manual pump free of charge no matter what and also full coverage or a discount program for mothers who require a double electric pump.  Instead, Big Formula has their foot securely wedged in the door still and most of the time you just get free product “just in case” you need it.  !*$&#

If you want to save some serious cash on your pump and you have insurance talk to your provider first.  Maybe, just maybe, your insurance is awesome and they’ll tell you how to file a claim to get your pump covered.  Our provider told me that the pump needed to be “medically necessary” and I’d need a letter with the ICD-9 code for the reasoning from my doctor to submit for a claim.  I asked my midwife to write a letter for me to submit just in case I needed it down the road. 

Breastfeeding Related ICD-9 Codes  
Child  
Cleft palate/lip 749
Abnormal tongue position 750.1
Down’s syndrome 758
Neonatal candida infection 771.7
Breastmilk jaundice 774.39
Other transitory neonatal 775.5
Feeding problems in newborn 779.3
Abnormal loss of weight 783.2
Feeding difficulty – infant 783.3
Failure to thrive 784.4
Dysphagia 787.2
Suck reflex abnormal 796.1
   
Mother  
Twin pregnancy post-partum condition or complication 651.04
Abscess of nipple 675.03
Infections of nipple 675.04
Abscess of breast 675.1
Nonpurulent mastitis 675.2
Other specified infection of breast and nipple 675.8
Unspecified infection of the breast and nipple 675.9
Retracted nipple 676
Cracked nipple 676.1
Engorgement of breasts 676.2
Other and unspecified disorder of breast 676.3
Suppressed lactation 676.5
Other disorders of lactation 676.8
Unspecified disorder of lactation 676.9
Dermatitis contact 692

 

Since my hosptial [is awesome!] has lactation consultants and a lactation “shop” I decided to wait until I was at the hospital to see if they would provide a pump.  Luckily, they did and they also submitted the claim for me deeming it “Engorgement of breasts 676.2”.  Sounds silly that my boobs being engorged were good enough reason to cover a pump but going back to work was not!

If you don’t have insurance have no fear – you can find an affordable solution.  I know that we’re all trying to save money but there are two items in which I advise you to buy new not matter how good of a deal it is: car seats and breast pumps.  Personally, I would NEVER suggest buying a used pump even if it is a closed system.  You don’t really know how old the pump truly is, how often it was used, if the motor is in tip top shape plus you have to buy all new flanges, valves, tubes, bottles, etc. 

There are plenty of options out there that will meet your needs and won’t break your bank.  Think of it this way – instead of paying $20+ a week on formula once you go back to work you can buy a brand spankin’ new pump for under $150.  The savings could be at least $600 in formula alone PLUS there are amazing benefits to continued breastfeeding!

Pump Styles

Single or Double and Manual, Electric or Battery Operated

Generally if you’re going to be seperated from your child for 3 or more hours daily or over 10 hours a week you’ll want a high-quality double-sided electric pump.  It’s important to extract enough milk to maintain your milk supply while you’re working and here are the pumps that meet the bill.

Ameda Purely Yours (Ultra)

Ameda Purely Yours Ultra

This was the pump I received from my lactation consultant.  The Ameda Purely Yours Ultra comes with the cool ‘n carry tote, 6 bottles with lids, 3 flange sizes, pump motor, pump pieces and a huge fancy bag to carry it all in.  If you’d like to try this pump but you’d like to save some cash I’d suggest just getting the Ameda Purely Yours which comes with the pump motor, pump parts and two bottles.  Then use your own cooler, freezer packs and bring a few bottles that your child uses to store your milk in.  A great bag to carry the whole lot in is one of those green grocery bags you can get from your supermarket.

PROS: Closed system, great suction/power, easy assembly, bottle/flange holder built into pump motor, adjustable suction & speed unique to user’s needs, small, lightweight, easy to clean, Playtex Nursers pump adapter kit available to pump directly into Playtex Nurser system.

CONS: Noisy, bottles do not have nipples available, contains BPA (this one does not!), and replacement parts not available at most retailers and need to be ordered online or through Ameda.

Personally this pump worked fine but it wasn’t very comfortable for me.  I couldn’t use petals to make this more comfortable because the only size that was available was too small for my nipples.

Avent ISIS iQuo Duo

Avent ISIS iQ Duo

My new favorite is the Avent ISIS iQ Duo.  This pump is amazing for me and fits everything I wanted/needed from a pump.  The “massaging” petals are soft and comfortable.  The hand control makes it so easy to mimic my daughter’s nursing and once I have a let down I just hit the blue button on the handle and the pump takes over.  I couldn’t say better things about this pump and it’s available at Target instore if you want to register for it!

PROS: Comfort petals (removable), very quiet, flange covers included for travel, manual expression turned to electric with the trigger and button right at your fingertips instead of on the pump motor, and a great travel bag.  Plus, pump, store and feed from same Avent bottles!

CONS: No bottle stands (I’ve spilt milk, and yes, I cried)!  More parts to wash and assemble.  Tubing is kind of stiff and ridgid.

Medela Models

I’ve never used a Medela pump so I cannot give an accurate review on one of these pumps.  From other moms I’ve talked to I gather that the Medela Pump in Style is the best of the Medela options but this is not a closed system pump and the pricing is steep.  It’s a very good name but I’ve also hear that this under $150 Lansinoh Affinity Double Electric Breast Pump works just as well for over half the cost.

Check back for ideas to make pumping easier, how to pump hands free, how to increase your output and how to deal with co-workers and bosses!

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