Nothing lasts forever. After 4 and half months part of our routine needed to transition
1. Preparing the new routine
I’ve always been a very structured and organized person. Every decision I take it’s been thought for some time. That’s why I planned to have a baby in September in order to put together the maternity leave and the vacation period. That’s why too I followed the advise of buying a pack of diapers every time I went to the supermarket for 9 months. I’m a planner, that’s who I am.
I loved every second of the maternity leave knowing it was going to end at some point. In December 2017 I started seting up a routine that will help my baby take the changes easier.
I started a home milk bank in order to avoid the formula milk as much as I could. Every morning after I woke up I would take out the milk pump and connected myself to it. The milk pump was a gift from my sister in law. This was probably one of the best gifts ever. Before, I had a manual pump but it took me forever to get 1 once out. Now I have a double electric breast pump and within 15 minutes I have milk one bottle that my baby can drink the next day in my absense. I got to have around 240 ounces of milk in the freezer. The milk issue could be trivial for some women. My mom use to ask me why wouldn’t I just buy formula milk. I’ ve decided that as long as I can formula milk will not happen. There is not a better food for a baby that mom’s milk. And there is no more satisfaction for me than seeing my baby grow from the product my own body produces.Breastfeeding takes a lot of hours of my life..i won’t lie. Sometimes I get tired. But is a one in a lifetime oportunity. Is a memory no one ever will be able to take away.
Secondly, I started dedicating one hour of everyday for myself. Happy mommas means happy babies. I lost a lot of weigh with bteastfeeding, around 45 pounds. With the weight I also lost muscle mass. I couldn’t join a gym so I started working out at home. In another ocassion I would like to share more details about it. I would like to say though that exercise improved my body physically and emotionally. I have improved too my diet. All the good energy and vibe finally gets reflected on my baby. She’s active and happy.
Another decision I took was to start an activity just for momma and baby. I inclined myself for swimming. My baby just loves it. It was hard to get use to it since she would get hungry in the middle of the class but after a couple of saturdays we had everything under control. I have been taking her for a couple of months now and I can see how she’s got a stronger back and neck already. After each class she eats better and sleeps better too. Is 45 minutes of play time just for my baby. I also bought a book. Every day and for 5 minutes we discover a new adventure. 5 minutes just for us.
I also started giving her a bath at night instead of the morning. I know in some parts of the world this is very common. Is not common in Central America. Giving her a bath later on the day brought some bennefits such as spending quality time in the mornings and a relaxful evening.
Time off was finishing. My baby started spending time with baby sitters. She also started drinking milk from a training cup. She only used the baby bottles a couple of times. Our doctor recommended the cup instead so she wouldn’t reject the breast. She didn’t like it too much at the beginning but she ended up getting use to it. She prefers the breast any time still. Not all babysitters were ok for her. She liked some of them a lot and some others… well she would cry a lot.
Since we brought our baby home we have been co-sleeping. This is a very common practice in Latin America. When considering we also thought about the security. We got a nest and as soon as our bodies were enough concious of the space that our baby needed we kept the nest. I’ve always feared SIDS (sudden infant death), so having my baby with me during the night brought me confidence. Me and her sleep better. She was her milk without crying for it when wakes up and I don’t look like a zombie during the day. We tried a couple of times to make her sleep in her bed. Actually she plays a lot on it and takes some naps on it too. But the night is a different issue.
I used to say that as soon as I went back to work she was going to start sleeping alone. I’ve heard many times from different people different myths around co-sleeping. Some say I will never get her out of my bed. Some say is unsafe. Some tell me I should do it until certain age. Some tell me my baby will growp up depending on me. Why do adults have the right to co-sleep with the ones they love but babies cannot? You know what?, the more I read the more convinced I am none of those thought are true. My baby will sleep with us until she is ready for a change.
3. From maternity leave to going back to work
4 and a half months went trough very fast and the day finally came.
I had everything ready. A routine, the home milk bank and a person who would take care of the baby. Initially I was going to put on her on day care. But to be honest my heart broke every time I thought about her having a schedule to eat on a day care. We trusted a close friend her care in the end.
The only thing I didn’t have prepared was my feelings. The first day I went back to work I couldn’t stop thinking on her. Would she be doing the same routine she did at home with me? Would she drink all her milk? Would she miss me? Would she forget who her mom is? Would her siter know how to lull her so she could take a nap? I literally hid my phone in order to avoid the temptation of sending the sitter a message. I only had a meeting that day. I swear I had my purse ready 10 minutes before they said it was over.
My baby got sick the 2nd day. It was her first sickness. She got diarrhea and fever. I felt awful. There was no feeling like this one. She looked discouraged and sad and that was the worse thing it could happen to me. I took her to 4 different doctors. None of their opinions were good for me. The first one was in a private local clinic. She said that the baby didn’t have symptoms of infection. She sent me home to control the fever and prevent dehydration. Second doctor sent her a blood test. After it, she said there was infection and prescribed antibiotics. She also told me to give her gatorade. Thatrecommendation was enough to not take her seriously since a 4 month old baby cannot process any other drink that is not milk. I gave her the antibiotic for 3 days though. It was getting her worse. She would be drinking her milk and pooping at the same time. I called a different doctor. He told me to stop the antibiotic and just breastfeed her constantly. A week later she didn’t have diharea anymore but her poop was still liquid. I took her to my local public clinic. The fourth doctor told me making liquid poop was normal. She needed to restore her intestinal flora but babies take longer time than adults to do it. He recommended me to give her rice water. In the beginning I refused until the day she was drinking milk and the poop would drip through her legs at the same time. That was enough for me. We gave her rice water and she got better inmediately and after 3 weeks of the first synthoms. She also developed a diaper rash from pooping so frequently. I used all sort of nappy creams. The baby powder worked better. It kept the area dry and cured her butt.
The worse thing of those 3 weeks was having to trust that she was in good hands with her sitter. Sick or not sick, momma needed to work. I tried to take advantage of my breastfeeding time off that I have by law but even that right was denied to me the first few days I went back to work. I felt so unprotected and frustrated. I almost quit my job. I realized I had became a mom. I was willing to call my union and sue my boss in order to fight for my right. This is 2018 and things like that still happen.
Been working for a month now. I am a special education teacher in a public school. Due to that my routine is not always the same. Some days I start working at 7:30 am and some days I start at 10:50 a.m. It has been difficult for her to do understand it. This year I have the blessing of working only 3 hours a day. That means I’m away from her only 6 hours. Every night I leave everything ready. My bag, her bag, bottles and components of the extractor clean and ready for the next day. We get up, get ready, she eats, I have a small breakfast and we are set to go in about an hour. We get to spend some quality time together in the morning no matter the time I have to be at work. I take out milk twice a day even if I hate it sometimes. I’ve decided my #1 priority is her. I will not stay longer at work if I don’t have to. I will not work at home of I don’t have to. I am writing this while I ride on the bus.
I want to enjoy the time I have with her because she’s growing too fast to not do it.