Lindsey Vonn Cont’d

December 3, 2010

This is off-topic, but last February I wrote a post about Lindsey Vonn. It generated a great deal of traffic; apparently others found her as annoying as I did.

The New York Times recently ran an update on what she’s up to these days. She seems a little less annoying now, though I still don’t think we’d ever be best gal-pals. Maybe it’s just an issue of exposure…a little Lindsey goes a long way.

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As soon as you have a baby, the powers that be (i.e., pretty much everyone who crosses your path) start pushing you to breastfeed. It’s sooooo good for the baby…think of the bonding!…breast is best…modern science has not yet come up with anything even remotely comparable to the wonders of breast milk…you’re the worst mommy in the whole wide world if you even consider feeding that sweet new miracle anything powdered and processed…and so on.

In some respects, I get it. Breast milk is uniquely formulated for the nutritional needs of your growing baby, and the bonding is very nice (as is the fact that you have one hand free when you nurse; I was able to read a surprising number of books this summer during those early days when pretty much all you’re doing round the clock is feeding the baby).

But what they don’t tell you? Stopping the breastfeeding is a bitch.

Setting aside for the moment the passing of a sweet era with your newborn, as well as the inevitable guilt the La Leche folks heap on you for weaning before the baby is old enough to drive, it’s just not a fun time from a physical standpoint.

All of a sudden, that milk you’ve been cranking out for the past several months has nowhere to go. Even if you’re careful to cut back gradually, and even if (like me) you’re not churning out all that much milk anyway, you’re likely to wind up sporting a pair of painful, lumpy softballs. And most websites are no help, as the recommended cure for nearly all engorgement/blocked duct problems is to nurse more. There’s apparently some very fine line between nursing/pumping just enough to relieve some of the pressure but not enough to trigger continued milk production. I have not yet found the correct side of that line.

Making matters worse is the fact that one of my boobs (Lefty) has pretty much gotten on board with the whole weaning process – the one Eric has always claimed never produced its fair share of milk anyway, based on my pumping output – but the other has not. I’ve tried having Lorelei nurse on that side a bit, but she’s been quite eager to try out those new teeth of hers, which are like miniature white razors. The first time she chomped down, I literally saw stars for the first time in my life. (It was just like one of those old Tom & Jerry cartoons.)

Signing off with heating pad in hand,

Lumpy & Lopsided in Portsmouth

Eric and I had a great long weekend with Lorelei over the holiday – it’s the longest stretch of time Eric has had off since right after she was born.

We ate turkey (Eric and me), watched football (all three of us – Lorelei really enjoys football; it’s anyone’s guess whether her interest stems from the bright colors or the dreamy presence of Tom Brady), and shared many cuddles with family (primarily Lorelei; for whatever reason, there was not a great deal of familial demand for cuddle time with Eric and me).

However, as nice as the weekend was, Lorelei was visibly thrilled to be reunited with Dee Dee at day care this morning. Eric and I always get the sense that Lorelei views us – with some justification – as a pair of well-intentioned yet bumbling hacks: “You people are all right, I guess, but is it almost time for me to return to the capable hands of my professional caregivers?”

Hands

November 24, 2010

Lorelei has just discovered her hands. It’s pretty cute – every once in a while we’ll catch her with her arms outstretched, looking them over as if she’s evaluating a recent manicure. She also likes gazing at them while she’s working on a bottle, an activity I’ve dubbed “dinner and a show.”

The other day, I was feeding Lorelei a bottle of breast milk that she was having none of. She was trying to be a good sport, but I could tell she was just faking it to be polite and letting most of it cascade down her chin (chins, actually – she’s really filled out lately) and neck.

I wondered if there was something wrong with the milk, as she’s not generally picky about her food (hence the multiple chins). When I took a whiff, it smelled as if I’d locked it in my trunk for the better part of August. Mystery solved – I wouldn’t have wanted to drink it either.

I thought that maybe I hadn’t washed the bottle well enough, or that I’d inadvertently left the milk in the fridge too long, but I discovered yesterday that my milk is starting to go off nearly as soon as it leaves my body. It’s a little disconcerting.

I looked online, and the problem seems to be that I have an excessive amount of an enzyme called lipase, which starts breaking down the fat in the milk as soon as it’s expressed. I didn’t used to have this problem, but apparently now I do. There’s nothing I can do about this short of scalding and cooling the milk before it starts to turn – going into the home pasteurization business, essentially.

Even setting aside the fact that I’d basically be pumping directly into a saucepan several times a day, given how quickly the milk goes bad, there’s the separate issue of just how little of it there is. Ever since I went back to work, my supply has dwindled to the point that I’m only able to pump a little more than one bottle a day. The rest of the time, Lorelei has formula (which, it must be said, she enjoys immensely; she’s clearly on target to embrace all manner of highly processed foods in the near future).

I had really hoped to keep giving Lorelei breast milk until she was 6 months old – about a month from now – but I think it may be time to end the milk heroics. Gisele B√ľndchen would be horrified, but it’s not like they call her the “Boobs from Brazil” for her extensive lactation expertise.

We Have Refrigerator Art!

November 16, 2010

Lorelei’s daycare recently sent her home with her first refrigerator-worthy art: A headshot of Lorelei framed in a construction-paper heart, alongside two purple-paint footprints. We love it and have, of course, given it a place of pride on our fridge.

Close inspection of the headshot reveals that the backdrop is the carpet in the infant room – I have images of a row of squirming, sunny-side-up babies being calmed by one of the teachers while another quickly makes her way down the line, snapping each shot before all hell breaks loose (as far as we can tell, working in the infant room is a lot like spinning plates – squalling, pooping plates. “As soon as one baby starts crying,” one of the women mentioned to Eric in an unguarded moment, her gaze darting around the room for signs of incipient distress, “the rest just light up.”)

I also wonder if each baby’s feet were duly dipped in the paint for the footprints, or if there was just one extra-amenable (and/or sleepy) baby who was pressed into service as a sort of human stamp, bopped up and down 12 times over before being cleaned up and sworn to silence.

Misty Watercolor Memories

November 10, 2010

This morning as I was driving to drop Lorelei off at daycare, I heard Starship’s “We Built This City” on the radio. (I chalk this up to listening to a station whose stated motto is, “We play everything.” This also explains why I found myself serenading Lorelei with “It’s Raining Men” during another recent commute.)

It made me smile, as I have distinct memories of being one of a group of giggling girls who called up our local radio station to request the song – then just out – during a friend’s sleepover birthday party back in 1985; we must have all been 11 or 12. And the birthday girl had recently been in my thoughts anyway, as she gave birth to twins yesterday.

Another friend of ours from high school is due to deliver her first child any day now. I’ve known her husband since we were tiny, back when he used to come trick-or-treating with me and my brother (who recently had a baby of his own, the indomitable Matthew). Yet another childhood friend had a baby boy back in September.

Where has the time gone? How did we all get so old? Is the Gilford school system spiking its water supply with some sort of time-delayed fertility booster?

So many unanswerable questions.