Thursday, March 28, 2013


On and off for the past six months, I've been having a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, usually topped with a sprinkle of brown sugar and some Smart Balance buttery spread. Today's bowl of oatmeal was perfect. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's overcooked oatmeal. If there's another thing I can't stand, it's soupy oatmeal.

In between those extremes, there's a perfect consistency of oatmeal to be achieved and today, it was achieved.

Some days, it's not achieved. Those days make me sad, but it is the nature of working with something as volatile as oatmeal and not using a measuring cup to parcel out proper amounts of oats and water. I know the risks every morning when I open that can of Publix brand oatmeal.

For anyone who was wondering, I do still have more baby travel tales to relate, but they have unfortunately taken a back seat to being back at school. I found a nursing program that I can complete in a year if I get accepted, so making sure I have all A's is more important than ever.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Something Beautiful

Some will call me crazy and some will understand. There is something so beautiful about being pregnant and having a baby that it occasionally makes me speechless, overwhelmed by emotions stronger than I ever remember feeling. I realize it is like those moments where Silas smiles and becomes so happy that he has to look away or put his head down to deal with the raw emotion of the situation, and I rejoice that I get to feel this sort of intense emotion that perhaps I once felt as a new baby myself.

As Silas grows and begins to regulate his emotions, I wonder when I will stop seeing his raw reactions and start seeing his calculated responses.

I've been taking my pre-requisite classes to eventually become a nurse and then from there, to become a nurse midwife and I know that then I will be able to connect with women who feel as I do about pregnancy and birth and I will be able to help them feel confident in their ability to be pregnant and give birth. I know every woman is different and I don't expect every person to feel like I do! How boring life would be if everyone felt the same! But I do look forward to having a job that will ensure I work with people who feel similarly to me.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Baby Travel Tales Part Two

I couldn't sleep the night before my first flight with Silas. I laid there in the dark, imagining all of the hatred I would see in people's eyes when Silas started bawling the moment we sat on the plane and didn't stop until we got back on the ground. Hearing the snide comments people would say when they saw a baby at the gate for the flight they were going to be going on. I don't particularly enjoy people I don't know not liking me. I'm weird like that.

Luckily, my experience traveling with Silas was nothing like that. I can't say enough how nice people were towards us. To be self-sufficient, I had brought my carry on luggage in the form of a backpack and messenger bag and had a baby carrier to keep Silas close to me. But even still, people offered to help me stow my bag and retrieve it for me after the flight was over. I was very thankful to them.

And, I did get lucky that Silas does not seem to be affected by the change in pressure during take off or landing. I nursed him and/or he was asleep for most of my flights, but he was wide awake for the last flight and didn't even fuss during take off. That's not to say he didn't fuss and cry at points throughout the flights, but the reaction of people around me was not at all what I had feared.

On my first flight, I had a row of two seats to myself and Silas slept for nearly the whole thing. No problem. My next flight, I was kind of squished into my seat area by a gentleman who took up almost every square inch of his seating area. I had to twist sideways to nurse Silas so that his legs were pointing completely forward in order to avoid Silas kicking my seatmate. But when Silas started fussing some, my seatmate was quick to smile at him and Silas quieted down quickly.

My return flight started to get me nervous. At first, it was fine. I got onto the plane with Silas and stowed my backpack. The people next to me asked me how old he was and the flight attendant told me about his seven month old granddaughter. A man in the row behind and across the aisle from us smiled and waved as Silas stared at him.

Then the captain announced a flight delay due to a mechanical problem. The maintenance team was on another plane, so we had to sit tight for a little while, he said over the intercom. Silas was still being happy and content, but inside I worried a bit, because I knew that it would be soon time for him to nurse and nap and if he started that while we were still on the ground, there would be more time awake in the air.

Time passed, about fifteen minutes, and Silas started fussing to nurse, so I fed him while we all waited. More time passed and Silas fell asleep on my lap. Still more time passed and then the maintenance team arrived and started working on the problem. Silas woke up from his nap and I started to think of ways I could entertain him for the nearly two hour flight. Silas is a baby who enjoys being walked around and I was picturing a flight of frustrated cries.

Then came the announcement that we had to deplane for a pressurized test of our aircraft. It had been just over an hour since we all boarded the plane. I found myself somewhat happy to have a chance to take Silas out of the plane and have a bit of a change of scenery, but I had no clue what this meant in terms of my connecting flight. Honestly, I thought almost immediately that I would just ask to fly out tomorrow.

And that did work out. I ended up with a first class ticket for a flight out the next morning. I was happy to spend more time with my family but frustrated to have spent most of the day at the airport and on a plane.

My first class flight was amazing. There was so much leg room. I'm not insanely tall by any means, but a lot of my height comes from my legs and so airplane seats in coach are not very comfortable. In first class, I could almost stretch my legs out completely. And the seat was wider, so that I could comfortably nurse Silas without having to twist around. And the people were just as nice, even in first class. My seatmate smiled at Silas and the man across the aisle played peek-a-boo with his book when he noticed Silas looking his way.

At the near end of the flight, another man came up and congratulated me on having such a great traveler. A woman told Silas "you have a great mother." I couldn't stop smiling. I had been so nervous about how people would react and came to find out that it wasn't bad at all. Even when he did cry for a short while, no one glared at me as I calmly rocked him and patted his back.

My last flight was another short one, and Silas slept for most of that. Overall, I know it could have been worse, especially if the air pressure had made Silas uncomfortable. I know that is luck, as much as I wish I could claim that it was my "being awesome." I do plan to visit my parents again as soon as possible and I will be much less nervous about flying with an infant. I realized quickly that Silas is at a great age to fly and it will only be harder as he grows more and doesn't sleep as often. But I will worry about that later.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Baby Travel Tales Part One and a Half

I mentioned yesterday that I bought two new toys for Silas to have on the plane. What I forgot to mention was that I purposely tried to find somewhat "quiet" toys for him to play with. It seems these days that every toy has a chime, rattle, crinkle or crunch somewhere and I thought that would be a little frustrating to the other travelers on the plane. Except, I found out just now that the soft book I bought him has a particularly large squeaker, and that Silas absolutely loves it. I am quite thankful that he doesn't know how to work it on his own, because man would I have annoyed some travelers (and dogs).

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Baby Travel Tales Part One

Having traveled with Silas on four, almost five planes now, I feel qualified to talk about traveling with a baby. This first part will be about packing and preparation. The later parts will touch on my actual trip and also the act of being on a plane with an infant.

So, I don't know about you, but if you're like me, you don't want to check a bag. If you don't want to check a bag, you need to know what you need for a trip and what you don't need.

I traveled for five planned days (six with a flight delay) from Florida to Illinois, so I needed to be prepared for coldish weather (around freezing most days). I packed one messenger bag to stow underneath the seat and one backpack to stow above me. I use a backpack instead of a standard size carry on because I don't want to have to gate check my luggage.

My messenger bag was the diaper bag for the trip. I brought about ten diapers and a package of 80 wipes. It goes without saying, but if you can buy diapers at your destination, do so. I packed enough diapers for Silas to need one every hour of travel plus a few extras. Honestly, I could have gotten by with five but diapers are small enough that it's easily a case of better safe than sorry.

In addition to that, I had an easily accessible burp rag tucked into the side pocket of the messenger bag. I made use of that rag often. I also packed two more receiving blankets, a bulb suctioner, two new toys and a warm sweatshirt in that bag. The receiving blankets made a good place for him to roll over on the floor during our layover. The sweatshirt was overkill as Silas is a baby furnace and next time I'll skip it, but if your baby gets cold easily, I'd keep it.

Finally, my wallet and cell phone, along with a baby book, a birth certificate and our plane tickets went into the messenger bag. On the return trip, I packed the baby motrin that I had bought during my visit into this bag as well, though I didn't end up needing it. However, as a "just in case" item, it barely took up any space.

For Silas, I packed two pairs of pajamas, three pairs of pants, two short sleeved onesies and four long sleeved onesies. I guess it was overkill because I didn't use all of that, but baby clothing is so tiny that over packing is not typically an issue. Plus if you don't have an easy option for laundry, you might have to over pack.

For me, I had originally packed several outfits but ultimately ended up going with two pairs of yoga pants, a nursing bra, nursing tank top, two short sleeved shirts that were easy to nurse in and one (you guessed it) nursing shirt that was long sleeved. I also brought a button front sweatshirt, and the basics of underwear and socks and a pair of long johns. My clothing took up more space that Silas's and honestly, I didn't do anything that left me unable to wear a shirt two days in a row, so I think next time I will try to bring less.

Anyhow, all of that clothing went into the backpack along with a hat for Silas and a hat for me, a couple more receiving blankets, my manual breastpump and a few other of Silas's favorite toys.

When you're traveling with an infant, you are allowed to gate check a stroller or car seat. I did not do either, and instead used my wrap and tie baby carrier to bring him around. I think that next time I will bring an umbrella stroller as well. I really like my wrap and tie because then I can take the stairs/escalator in the airport, but it was exhausting to have a baby on the front, my backpack on my back and my messenger bag. So we'll see.

Finally, as far as a traveling outfit - I chose to wear a pair of yoga pants (yes, I brought three pairs of yoga pants. They were all black. And comfy) and a nursing bra and tank top. I also wore a button front sweater and zip up hoodie, and boots. I was a bit warm in Florida but it served me well in Illinois. Silas was outfitted in a short sleeved onesie, a pair of pants that had feet so that he wouldn't lose a sock in the airport and a lightweight jacket. He was plenty warm in the baby carrier with his hat outside, but if your baby tends to be colder, you'll want to obviously dress them a little warmer. Next time, I will wear comfier shoes. My toes ended up cramping by the end of the day from wearing those boots and walking everywhere.

Overall, flying was worth the time it saved and I think I'll be doing this again in the near-ish future. We'll see how my advice holds up then!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Flying - with baby - tomorrow morning!

And yeah, I'm a little nervous. I went to Target today and got Silas two new toys that will hopefully hold his attention during the flights. I've been packing our bags and I'm happy to say that I think I can fit everything I need in my backpack and a messenger bag. (I'll be buying extra diapers once I get to my parent's house!)

The most important thing when traveling with a small infant or child is to examine the possible problems and to plan how to prevent them - or deal with them if they happen.

The biggest issue to the most people is the crying. I plan to preempt take-off crying by nursing Silas if he's awake during take off and letting him sleep if he's asleep. Since the flight is an early morning flight, I should have success with either of those methods. If he starts crying, my go-to will be the new toy and a healthy dose of staying calm despite knowing that now some forty odd people want to murder me.

But truth be told, I'm not too worried about crying. Silas really doesn't cry too much and is typically at his best in the mornings. What I'm worried about is the poop explosions. I know I can deal with them in the airport; it'll be messy, but there'll be space. If he goes to town on the plane, I'm a bit more nervous. So I packed the messenger bag with extra diapers (enough to change his diaper every half hour during travel) and a ton of wipes, and some odor-neutralizing bags just in case. Please, everyone, (especially the spam bots that seem to love this blog), pray that Silas will not make a mess on the plan.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Morning

Anyone who has breastfed and pumped knows the ending to the phrase "there's no crying over spilled milk."

This morning I woke up to make Silas's bottles for while I was at school, and opened the fridge door to see a cascade of milk dripping from the top shelf of the fridge. Turns out the bag of frozen milk I had thawing had somehow gotten a hole. Not sure how.

Thankfully, it was only four ounces. Even more thankfully, despite the initial impression, it barely made a mess in the fridge, choosing to pool under some of our leftovers containers rather than actually dripping onto food on the lower shelves.

And I didn't cry, exactly. I just threw up my hands in frustration. Of course the milk would spill on the morning that I was running late(r than usual)! I try to remind myself of positives every day, and the morning's positive thought was that Silas snuck in a sleep session from about 11pm to 3am last night, which I'm hoping will trend to better sleeping habits. (The two nights before then, he woke up every. hour.)

So I'm tired and exasperated, but I know that I can do anything as long as it's not forever, and Silas will have to start sleeping somewhat better some day.

Here's to half a year with my favorite baby!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Busy, busy

Been a busy few days here. My anatomy and physiology class is getting to the parts that I have never really learned much about before, so I have to spend all of Silas's nap time reviewing flash cards instead of writing.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty happy. Probably because it's the first morning in quite some time that I've woken up because I chose to and not because there was a screaming baby wailing in my ear. It's crazy what a difference that makes. Mind you, I didn't get more sleep or anything. Silas still woke me up several times throughout the night.

And of course, the first thing that I saw when I checked my Facebook was a mom to a younger baby posting about how she get eight hours of sleep last night and how good it felt. Then my getting to wake up on my own after another hour of broken sleep seemed a little less wonderful. But for me, it is still great.