Six Months of Breastfeeding (2.0)

6 Months of Breastfeeding

Technically I could call this post “almost eight months of breastfeeding” because, you know, second baby…but let’s pretend I wrote this two months ago just like I did the first time around.

The thing about breastfeeding for the second time is that you actually know what you are doing from the get-go. I get that all babies are different, and Parker and Mia are no exception, but I learned from my rookie mistakes and have had a much smoother experience this time.

I thought Parker was a good nurser, but Mia has been an even better one since day 1. Her latch was perfect from the start, and she is nowhere near as distracted as he was (even at almost eight months). She took longer to get used to bottles, but now she takes them like a pro when I’m at work.

My body has also gotten much better at feeding, for which I am so grateful. I had some supply issues with Parker a few months in, and I dealt with plugged ducts on a weekly basis. This time around, I can count on one hand the number of plugged ducts I’ve had, and my supply has been great. Having both experiences has helped me to really appreciate the smooth sailing with Mia — especially since life is busier and more demanding now.

Baby's First Food

We introduced Mia to solid foods at a little over six months, and so far, she’s not a huge fan. If she’s anything like her brother, she may not come around for a while longer, which is okay. I’m not going to sweat it like I did with Parker, because now I know that eventually she’ll enjoy eating food and for now, she gets everything she needs from breastmilk.

I’m planning to continue nursing at least through Mia’s first birthday, if not longer. Parker self-weaned at 15 months, on the same day I found out I was pregnant. Since I’m pretty sure there are no more babies in my future, I won’t mind going even longer with Mia.

We don’t have much downtime other than when she’s nursing, so it’s wonderful to have quiet moments built into our day. The bittersweet thing about the second baby is that now I know how fleeting this time is, and every second I spend snuggling and rocking her is so precious.

Simplify, Streamline, Self-Care

My Motto for 2016

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions or set any big goals for 2016. Instead, my business partner Katey and I came up with a motto. “Simplify, Streamline, Self-Care” are the three words that will dictate my approach to work and life this year, which will be quite a change from 2015.

I’m taking great care to identify my priorities and eliminate the noise, but that’s really hard to do when you’re dealing with a business, a toddler, and a baby. I feel like my life is a giant puzzle whose pieces are scattered all over the floor, and I’m trying to fit them all into place. It’s hard to even know where to start sometimes.

So I pick up a piece at a time, examine it, and try to figure out where it fits into the puzzle that is my life. Some pieces get tossed back into the pile because they just don’t have a place right now, which was hard at first but has gotten easier as I’ve dedicated myself to this motto.

I finally finished reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I want to devote a day in the near future to applying that method in my house. I think it will really help me simplify and streamline my life in general, because I am one of those people who gets anxious when the space around me is cluttered. And the act of tidying up my house totally counts as self-care, because I am a total organization nerd.

2015 was a rollercoaster year that left little time for considering my own happiness and well-being, and I’ll admit that it’s still not easy putting those things at the forefront. But I’m at least taking the first step by being more mindful about it, and continuing to come back to my motto when I start to feel overwhelmed.

Pumping at Work

Pumping at Work

I thought I was going to hate it. I still worked from home during Parker’s first year, so “pumping at work” meant walking from my home studio to my kitchen. 

This time around, I was completely dreading having to remember my pump and parts every day, haul everything back and forth, and then set up shop in my studio between clients. 

It took a few days to get the routine down, but once I did, something completely unexpected happened: I started looking forward to my pumping break. 

It’s only 15 minutes, and I have to hurry through the prep and cleanup, but the time spent actually pumping gives me a chance to relax my brain for a few minutes. My afternoons and evenings are otherwise nonstop with back to back students, clients and groups, so it’s nice to be able to check my email, scroll through Facebook, and have a snack.

I’m lucky in that I was able to structure my days so that I only have to pump once; I would probably enjoy it much less if I had to pump multiple times throughout the day. And ask me in May how I feel about pumping at work…I’m pretty sure I’ll be over it at that point. 

Two months in, though, I’m happy to have this tiny bit of downtime in my day. As long as I have a lock on my door and a fridge for storage, I’ll keep on keeping on. 

{Real Talk} This is Hard

Parker in the Fall

For a while there, it seemed almost too easy, too good to be true. I had a newborn who slept amazingly, which meant I was getting enough sleep to keep up with both her and my toddler during the day and still wake up before the sun to get some work done.

I was nailing the whole business-owning, working mom of 2 thing…until I wasn’t. Mia stopped sleeping through the night about a month ago, and right around the same time, life seemed to amp up to a speed that I just haven’t been able to keep up with so far.

There are never enough hours in the day to get everything done, my house is never clean enough, my to-do list is way too long, I’m always tired, and I feel like everything I do is only half done.

People constantly ask me how I “do it all” and from now on, I’m going to share this blog post with them. Because I know as moms we’ve all been at this point, and I’m clearly no exception.

Mia in the Fall

This is just a short season in my life, and I’m sure in a year I’ll look back at these photos and wish for squishy little baby cuddles again. But I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard, and that it’s rainbows and butterflies every day.

I love my kids and I love my work, I just don’t love constantly feeling pulled between the two. And though I’m thankful to have a successful business, it’s hard not to resent an inbox full of emails when I just want to enjoy the weekend with my family.

Parker and Mia Reading Books

I’ve interviewed 40+ fellow music therapists — many of whom are also business owners and ALL of whom are moms — for my podcast, so by now I know there is no magic formula for balancing life and work. And that piece of knowledge does make me feel a tiny bit better, but it still doesn’t make life any easier.

I’m not writing this to complain; I suppose the reason I’m writing this is to make you feel better, especially if you were one of the people that thought I had it all together. And you know what? Admitting that I don’t is amazingly cathartic.

Fall is for Pumpkins and Coffee

Pumpkin patch

Parker is ob-sessed with all things Halloween. He carries around his pumpkin bucket and practices his trick-or-treat technique on a daily basis. His favorite show right now is the Halloween episode of Little Einsteins on Netflix. He talks nonstop about pumpkins, witches and ghosts.

It’s super cute how excited he is, even though I’m not a fan of Halloween. I can’t wait to take him out in his Olaf costume when it’s finally time to trick-or-treat for real. And then we’ll pack up all the Halloween stuff and move on to Frosty around the clock (he’s already made his appearance quite a few times so far this fall).

Parker at the Apple Barn

But for now, pumpkins. And more importantly, coffee. Mia is in the middle of a seemingly never-ending growth spurt, which means she has been waking up at least two times every night to eat. I get up at 5 am every day to do all the work I don’t have time for during normal-people hours, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for quality sleep.

So coffee it is. One cup in the morning while I pump and work on the computer, and another right before I go to work in the afternoon. At this point in Parker’s infancy I was drinking 3 per day, so I feel pretty good about limiting myself to 2.

Mia at the Apple Barn

Fall is also for working on lots of projects, continuing to grow my business, getting ready to attend the national music therapy conference, and trying not to get too overwhelmed by all of the above. All of it is good, it’s just a lot — which is pretty much the status quo of my life.

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