Thursday, March 16, 2017

Breastfeeding Fun

OK.  Real talk time.  I haven't said much about my post pregnancy body and fitness lately, aside from a casual mention here or there that I've been going to the gym.  So here's the real scoop.

Breastfeeding is slowing me down on my fitness goals and post baby weight loss. 

That might seem like an excuse that I can work around, and on some level it is, but here's the truth:  after pumping 3-4 times a day (at about 30 minutes per sesson, once you factor in washing off pump parts afterwards and the like), I don't have a lot of spare time for me.  And what little time I do get, I kind of just want to enjoy ... via sitting ... on my still somewhat fat ass. 

Just to illustrate, and not to bitch, my typical daily schedule right now is:

5:45-6:15am (depending on baby) - wake up and breastfeed
6:15-30ish - change baby, let him play on his own while I pump off any excess supply
7ish - husband takes baby to daycare, I finally get to shower and prepare for work
8:30 - assuming it's a good day and my son behaves in the above timeline, I make it to work on time
12:00 - also assuming it's a good day, I might get in a short mid day workout
Post work - get home, feed baby dinner, get him in bed, do whatever clean-up required from his day (fun fact, he likes to wet out of his diapers at daycare, sometimes multiple times a day, so often this time is filled with washing backup clothing to bring back to daycare the next day, dirty bottles, dirty diapers, and packing tomorrow's lunch)
6-7ish - dinner time, AKA the first time I get to sit down since I got home from work
Post dinner - since my husband cooks, I clean up after and change over laundry/etc., which is easily another 30 minutes on my feet
7-8ish - finally, me time, so I sit on the couch ... only to begin in just a few moments ...
8-9ish - pumping one last time before bed
10pm - if I'm lucky and it's a good day, I get to lay down for bed ... assuming I am not too wound up, I might actually fall asleep before midnight LOL!

As you can see in the above schedule, there's not a lot of time for me.  Or sleep, really.  Not to mention working out.  Which means I still have about 15 pounds of pure fat that I need to burn off, maybe even more, since I'm sure I have lost some muscle tone in the last few months due to my reduced workout regimen. 

This all translates into a very simple statement: I'm not thrilled with what my body looks like right now, particularly my midsection. 

Plus, I am carrying some guilt for not taking care of my body better, as it feels like I'm letting myself lose all the progress I made towards a healthy lifestyle 5/6 years ago.  Then, add in even more guilt from the diabetic aspect of it, as I KNOW I need to be healthier to reduce my risk of developing type 2 down the road.

But here's where I'm at.

Yep.  That graphic pretty much sums up how I feel.

I'm not trying to put this huge pressure on myself right now to be all fit and lean again.  I have to look at things realistically.  For example, technically right now I weigh exactly what I was pre-baby, so I have lost all the pregnancy weight.  The excess weight I carrying today I mostly put on after my previous pregnancy and miscarriage, which was over 2 years ago now. 

I'm pointing this out because I often tell other people "it took you X years to gain the weight - it's going to take you awhile to lose it, too".  I mean, if I tell other people that kind of advice, I'd be a bit of a hypocrite to not take it to heart myself, right?

Ok, so let's pause here for a second.

What's my point on the above?  Because it seems like this post is basically a woe is me rant, and that's not really my goal.

Where I'm going is actually more of a ... hm.  I'm not sure what to call it.  Not really a celebration, or a light at the end of the tunnel, because that makes it sound like I'm looking forward to this, and that's not really the case so much as ... it's a ...

Milestone.  That's a good word.

I'm about to hit a major milestone.  My son is turning one in April. This is a big turning point, as it's when a child can begin drinking cow's milk. 

I know this is kind of a sensitive topic, and I'm not looking for anyone's commentary on my life decisions.  What I will say is that after careful consideration with my doctor, and factoring in what feels right for me and my family, I have decided I am going to try to wean my son around the one year mark and transition him to store bought milk. 

This transition, when it is finally done, will give me at least two hours of my day back.  Not that those two hours are why I'm making this choice, but it is certainly a nice extra bonus after the fact. 

So obviously, my hope is that this extra time will allow me to start focusing on getting my body back in line again.  I plan on trying to use this time to work on myself through summer 2017 and get my weight back into what I consider an acceptable range for myself. 

And maybe I can start training again.  For what, I don't know, since I'm not really committing to anything yet until I see how this goes.  But I know personally I do best when I'm committed to an event that I'm training for.  So I'm sure I'll tie myself to something ... when I'm ready.

But wait, there's more!

Since I already touched on a controversial topic today with the whole weaning thing ...

Earlier this week, I saw a news story in Minnesota that just kind of made me shake my head.  It was in regards to some woman who was on jury duty for some major county in the twin cities, and was stuck reporting for service to a court house for (*gasp*) two days in a row, waiting to be vetted for a court case.  During that time, she had to pump, as she was still breastfeeding her child. 

Ok, so far, pretty boring stuff. 

The drama that made this story news worthy was that she wasn't allowed to leave to pump every two hours, and that she had to pump one time in a single stall restroom that had a locking door.


Now, don't get me wrong.  Breastfeeding your kid isn't an easy process.  I know the woes of trying to find a place to pump ... or feed my son, if he happens to be with me.  Not to mention the lack of understanding of this requirement to pump/breastfeed from the people around you.

For example, I particularly LOVE when I'm locked in the bathroom at work that's designated for pumping, which is 20-30 feet away from a second bathroom and just down a stairwell from a third ... and one of my younger female peers at the office bangs on the door and yells "shit" because I've been in there for 10 minutes and she needs to go.  (There are no shelves or storage areas in this bathroom where she might need to access something, and HR communicated the room's pumping designation to our staff, might I add).

I also LOVE getting questioned by a male peer about how I'm making up time at work, which he didn't flat out say was due to my pumping schedule but implied it (he, btw, has a 2+/- year old son at home, so he should know better).  The best part about him was he questioned me publically in a team meeting about the hours I'm putting in at work. 

What I wanted to say in response to him was "Sure, if you want to sit in a bathroom that smells like used menstrual products/feces and attach a machine to your chest that feels like it's ripping off your nipples, I will gladly sit at my desk engorged and leaking so that I can potentially answer a purchasing request that you may or may not have for me as a secondary (not even primary) buyer for your team.  Because, you know, taking a few minutes out of my day to pump has had zero impact on my performance for your group, as I have missed or delayed nothing since I came back from maternity leave, and I certainly want to spend my time pumping in a bathroom just so I can play on Facebook and avoid working.  If you simply agree to not fault me for my breast milk stains on my shirt post leaking, we'll call it a deal." 

What I actually said was "My boss is aware of my work schedule, if you have concerns about it you are welcome to speak with him."

But I digress.  Getting back to the story about the lady on jury duty, since this is about her and not me. 

Here's what I don't understand. 

Are you seriously that bent that you had to pump in a bathroom one time? 

I mean, I get it.  Bathrooms can be gross and pumping out food that your child is going to consume at some point isn't exactly appealing in such a setting.  But that's life.  There aren't always other rooms available that offer all the amenities you need in order to pump (IE a private room with a locking door, windows that don't look into room or at least offer shades that can be closed, a power outlet, and ideally a sink for parts washing post pumping). 

And technically, the milk you pump out nor your equipment, never touch anything "gross" anyway (assuming you have a couple of chairs to sit on/set your things on).  So aside from the fact that you might need to smell something unpleasant for a brief period of time, why get so bent?

I say the above knowing that sometimes things can get unpleasant.  I myself chose to fly to Boston to visit family when I was about 2 months postpartum, AKA a milky/leaky mess.  And during that experience, I had the special privilege of having to pump in a toilet stall of a large public bathroom at the airport; my pump bag at my feet and my bottles balanced in my pants - that were pulled down around my ankles as I didn't exactly want to sit on a self flushing toilet with my pants on. 

But you know what the key to the above scenario was?  I chose.  I chose to leave my house and live a normal life, yes.  Should someone else be forced to support me because I made that decision?  Debatable.

Sure, it would be nice to have breastfeeding/pumping stations everywhere I went.  But in the same fashion, I don't really want to pay a higher plane ticket cost / purchase cost on a dress / price per gallon for gas / or whatever for the convenience.  Realistically, adding these extra room(s) for women to pump cost money, and that cost will end up rolled up into whatever I pay for at said facility.

Now I know the exception to this is a work environment, where employers are required by law to provide these amenities (as they should), but again ... don't expect a lavish pumping suite.  Would I like something nicer at my office?  Sure.  But I also know we're a smaller size company with limited areas that can be utilized for pumping.  Not to mention, I had courtesy enough to tell my HR a bathroom is fine, since there's a second bathroom 20-30 feet away from the one where I pump and yet a third just a stairwell away ... whereas there are only two locking / private conference rooms in my office that need to be used by multiple staff members continually through the day, and are always at capacity, which I didn't want to exasperate even further ...

Ok, ok, back on point. 

Aside from the fact that this jury duty lady had to pump one time in a bathroom, her other bitch was that she needed to pump 4 times a day, and on her second day on duty she was limited to 2.  This is where I seriously WTF. 

Courtrooms are open like 6 hours a day.  (OK, that might be a tad sarcastic.) 

Even if this woman had to report for service from 8am to 5pm, which is normal office hours, pumping 4 times a day would mean she was pumping EVERY TWO HOURS.  I want to say nobody needs to pump that much, which could be wrong I admit.  Yet ... I know RNs who work 12 hour shifts and their employers give them grief for taking 2 pumping breaks, and that's with lunch being eaten during said breaks.

Speaking of lunch - jury duty lady needed 4 pumping breaks.  I guarantee you jury duty people are allowed lunch breaks mid day.  Don't you think she could squeeze at least one of those pumping breaks into that schedule?  I know I sure would have been able to manage that if I was in such desperate need to express my milk.

I'm sure they heard my eyes rolling in China after that statement.

And while we're on China, this post is getting so long that by the time you finish it, you will have scrolled the equivalent distance as would be required to dig to China, so I suppose I should wrap up.  I'll conclude this rant session by saying - American Women, yes ... we are disadvantaged.  Women as a whole are.  But stop whining about little things like pumping stations, and instead focus on taking action about getting your reproductive rights taken away, equal pay in the workplace, or any other MUCH MORE IMPORTANT issue than the fact that having to pump in a bathroom once in awhile is gross.

Complaining about stuff being icky ... just makes us sound even more like little girls.

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