On PTSD…

In kindergarten we had a special speaker come in to talk to us about good and bad touching. We were told to just say no, and that if an adult touched us in a bad spot to tell our parents or someone we trusted. At five I remember thinking, “But, they’re adults.” Although I could not vocalize it then, I remember knowing that older people have more power. What our kindergarten teacher did not know, was that I was already a victim of an adult’s power move.

Instead of leaving the talk feeling safe I remember feeling guilty. Perhaps if I had said no that would have worked? Perhaps if I had just told an adult sooner that would have done something. At five, I knew power, and guilt, and that sometimes evil people win – and there is nothing we can do about it.

I started seeing a counselor two months ago. Since having Carly I have been having panic attacks at work and at home. I will get an email, my heart will start racing, and a panic attack begins. I had one last week driving to work when I got stuck in traffic, and I had another two days ago when my husband tried to help me when I was cooking.

Post traumatic stress disorder.

My entire life I assumed I was a naturally anxious person, and felt bad about my reactions to every day scenarios. I thought I was weak for my little freak outs. I get up at 5am, never miss a day of working out, chart my day religiously, and organize my world to a meticulous degree.

Having a baby has a way of throwing off your game. I knew going into parenthood I would need to get better at adapting to the unexpected. My friends kindly joke that I’m going to have to learn to be better at letting go of my plans (they’re right).

But let’s be fair here.

Some people get the glorious luxury of traveling through most of their lives thinking the world is a safe place. Many people get to go to age thirty before they find out about things that go bump in the night.

I was five. What they stole from me was more than innocence. They stole, for the rest of my life, that feeling of safety that allows most people to float through the world with a deep sense of trust that everything will be ok.

For the last 20+ years I have not operated in the mind set of “everything will be ok.” I operate in the mindset of “Have a back-up plan for your back-up plan.” In my patterns and plans I have found safety. I use to feel like a terrible person for being so well planned. Friends are comfortable with adapting and going with the flow. When others change plans on me it sends my heart racing.

But how could my heart not race? There was a time when the world was safe, and that was unfairly stolen. Not knowing what else to do, my beautiful and adaptive mind created a universe where I could live safely. My spreadsheets kept me warm at night. My charts tucked me into bed. When I look back at what I created without knowing why, I stand in awe of myself.

But then – Carly happened.

I look at Carly and see the world as it should be. Her world is safe, everything is new, and no one wants to hurt her. Seeing lights turn on is a magical event that for which we should charge admission. I want to be better, so Carly can keep seeing the world in a safe way that I can hardly remember experiencing. My old patterns (sigh) – I’m working to let them go.

I am trying to plan less, and be more free. I am trying to adapt when all I want to do is hide in the closet, because no one can hurt me when the doors close. Life does not exist in the dark where no one can hurt us. Life exists where there is light. Slowly but surely, I’m flicking the switches to turn the light back on. And I have sweet little Carly for showing me that everything will be ok.

Give me grace to get there. Help me to trust that this world can be safe.

On the fastest way to wash bottles…

In our house I breastfeed and then give bottles while the baby is at daycare. By the end of the day – we have a lot of bottle parts. And bottle washing takes FOREVER. If you’re pumping or formula feeding I’m sure you feel the pain. The first time I washed all the bottles it took about twenty minutes. I quickly did the math and realized that would suck the life out of me. So I vowed to find a better way! This might be where you’re thinking “Use the dishwasher!” I had that thought too – but our dishwasher kind of sucks. I did not trust that bottle parts would get cleaned, and I was concered small parts would get ruined. I also felt like washing by hand would allow me to feel like the parts were 100% clean.

WHY BOTTLE WASHING TAKES FOREVER

What takes so long in washing is individually (by bottle part) doing one step, then another, then another. You wash, rinse, and then put on the rack for each part – that wastes time. If you want to save time – you need to think of bottle washing like a car assembly line. You’re going to get all the parts together and move them from one stop to another – like Ford did the Model T.

ITEMS NEEDED:

  • Dirty bottles
  • A bottle brush (OXO from Amazon)
  • A bottle rack

STEPS

  1. Get all your stuff together. Have your dirty bottles in one spot, and have a drying rack ready.
  2. Scrub both sinks so you know they’re clean. If you don’t have dual sinks you can use two tubs.
  3. Fill both sinks (or two big tubs) with really hot water. The sink at the beginning of your line put soap in. The sink at end of the line just put water in for rinsing. To save time I fill both sinks at the same time. While the sinks are filling disassemble your bottles in the soap water.
  4. Using your bottle brush, wash each part. Scrub each part. I do bottles, then lids, then nipples, then flanges. I save flanges and nipples for last because they require cleaning with the small end of the brush.
  5. Toss each cleaned part into the rinse water.
  6. Then, pull the bottles out of the rinse water and put them on a drying rack.

And – you’re done – time saved.

The 5 best things I bought for pumping…

When I was pregnant, I wrote a post about the five best things I bought for my pregnancy. Time has moved along, and I’ve gone from the pregnancy stage to breastfeeding and pumping. Breastfeeding, for me, has been incredibly rewarding. It has definitely had it’s downs (baby Carly didn’t latch for the first week) and it’s ups (baby Carly is now in the 90th percentile for everything). Along the way I’ve made a few purchases to make pumping easier. If you’re in that same life stage, here are some things that have helped me.

  1. A Spectra S1 pump

If you are a woman that likes to do things and not hold two bottles to your boobies – this is the pump for you. It has a battery! So you do not have to be chained to an outlet to pump. I can pump at night while cleaning the kitchen and making iced coffee for tomorrow. It is also a closed system, which means you do not have to wash the tubes out. And if you learn anything about pumping it is that there is a ton of washing. Also, it has a “massage” function. It doesn’t actually feel like a massage, but when you’re having milk sucked out it’s nice to have options. Insurance fully covered my pump, so I got the one that had a few extra parts and pieces.

2. A feeding/pumping bra that isn’t super gross

Why Victoria Secret is not all over this is beyond me. When you look at pumping bras online, they’re disgusting. Imagine a gigantic rubber band you strap on. Just because I’m a mom does not I have lost my sexuality and want to wear gross underwear. This bra is pretty dang good (I haven’t found the perfect one yet). It is kind of bulky and more on the pricey side, but it looks beautiful and holds bottles super well. Plus, you can wear it to breastfeed AND to pump. Overall, it’s a win.

bra

3. An all-in-one back pack

My third week back at work I almost threw out my back hauling my laptop, lunch bag, bottles, and pump from meeting-to-meeting. I was tired of my shoulders and back hurting from lugging around so much stuff. Enter in: this backpack. It holds everything! There’s a space for my laptop, a space for the pump, and a little cooler section for bottles. Plus, there’s enough extra space for my lunch bag. Now, when I need to go to meetings I just throw it all in one backpack and go!

backpack.PNG

4. One of these ice packs

I walked into my six month check up, and there were packs of formula, a baby toy, and this ice pack. I grabbed the formula for a few families I know, took the baby toy for Carly, and then snagged three of these ice packs. I like them because they wrap around the bottles to keep them cool when I’m travelling around. Plus, they also work to keep cans cold.

ice pack

5. Extra parts

One of my current fears is running out of flanges, bottles, or extra parts. I do not want to be at work and feel like my boobs are going to burst. So ease my worry, I bought one extra set of everything. Although Amazon has a lot of stuff, I’ve found great prices on lactationconnection.com. When Amazon has not had the parts I wanted, Lactation Connection has items in stock.

Happy Pumping Y’all!