We've Moved!

We've Moved!
(This is NOT spam. You can click to go to our site, or just enter www.TugboatYarning.com in your web browser. See you soon!)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Other Side of Nursing

We've talked previously about breastfeeding challenges (and how to channel your inner ninja), but we have reached a point where we need to talk about pumping.  If ever a nursing mom needs to get out of the house without the baby - whether it be for errands or a day at work - pumped milk is a necessity.

I won't touch on every point of pumping, but thought I would share some challenges I have faced**.  But, DON'T WORRY.  No demonstrations or creepy footage - this will be approved writing for all ages, though I'm not certain all ages will find the topic riveting.  Here goes:


1. Breast milk does not have an unlimited supply available all the time.  Some women can produce large quantities, but it's all about telling your body to produce enough.  Nursing is a curious and amazing thing because your body will produce milk as it is needed.  When baby goes through a growth spirt and they need more, your body will kick into gear and produce more over the next few days (or until whenever the growth spirt tapers off).  Similarly, if you begin to ween the baby from nursing (or they begin to ween themselves), your supply will begin to decrease.

Rice Cereal + Milk

So what does this mean when you need to pump in addition to nursing for a night out or to add to baby cereal?  You have to tell your body to produce more, which means pumping when you don't have any left or adding in extra sessions outside of nursing.  For me, this usually means midnight pumping or ridiculous-middle-of-the-night-why-am-I-awake-at-three-A-M sessions.
On a side note: I have to give props to my dad on this one.  He babysat Quincy when Brad and I had our first date night out, and I had pumped ahead of time to ensure Quincy would have enough food.  Upon returning to my dad's house to pick up Quincy later in the evening, he told us how Quincy did eating, sleeping, etc., and then told me, "Don't forget the extra milk in the fridge.  I know how hard you worked to get it."  He may not have noticed, but I got a little choked up after hearing those words.  Having someone recognize the hard work put into setting aside sustenance for my son really resonated with me as a new mom.  Often times, that hard work goes unnoticed (when milk is warmed up, never eaten, and tossed; when milk is pumped and forgotten in the diaper bag without an ice pack, and tossed; when milk is refused by a fussy baby, and tossed...), which can be heart-wrenching when you've spent a lot of time and energy producing and collecting it. {Thanks, Papa!}

2. Pumping is a lonely chore.  At least with nursing, you have a cuddly baby hanging out with you.  As for pumping, you have to find a place suitable for pumping (especially when at work or out of the home), hook yourself up to a contraption, sit up, be relaxed, wait for milk to come, wait for enough milk to be gathered, watch for when pumping is done, store the collected milk (bottle or bag; cooler, fridge, or freezer), and then hope beyond hope that every single drop will be consumed and nothing will go to waste.

Pumping isn't quite as acceptable to do in front of others like nursing can be, so typically you have to isolate yourself in another room or area.  For working moms, this could mean using your breaks when you usually meet up with friends and colleagues (or just take a break to eat and relax) to hide away in a bathroom or office to pump.  Or, if pumping while company is over, this means going off to a different room, and missing out on the conversation or social time with friends or family.

3. Babies are more efficient.  What a baby could take 10-15 minutes to complete, pumping takes much longer (at least for me; maybe other moms out there have better luck).  To fill a four ounce bottle, it could take me one 30 minute session, or four 30 minute sessions, or 1 late night hour; it all depends on the time of day, when the last feeding took place, etc.

From left to right: 9:00am, 5:00pm, Midnight.

4. Some pumps are better than others.  I first purchased a manual pump since I would be staying home full-time and expected to only need to pump for occasional babysitters.  It worked alright, but I found I needed to concentrate a lot more on using the manual pump, and it took a lot of time for me to get a minimal amount of milk.

Medela® Harmony™ Manual Breastpump
Current Price Tag at Target: $34.19
Medela® Swing™ Single Electric Breastpump
Current Price Tag at Target: $159.99

Eventually, I broke down and purchased a single electric pump, which made the task go a little bit more quickly, though a double (both sides at once) pump would have been more efficient, but cost a heck of a lot more.  Obviously, the manual pump was much cheaper, but with needing additional milk for rice cereal, the electric pump has saved me some time.

5. It's okay to cry over spilt milk.  As number one above proves, it can be tricky to find the time, and energy, (and milk) for future feedings.  For number two, it can be emotionally and socially distancing to isolate yourself in order to collect milk.  Number three shows us that it's a time eater, while number four let's us know the equipment can affect how quickly the task can be completed and at what cost.  

With all that said, it's tough when the milk doesn't get used when it took a lot of effort to get it!

And here are just a few ways I've found it helpful to keep track of all things milk and pumping:

I use a permanent marker & circle stickers
to label when the milk was pumped.
Stickers are fine in the fridge or freezer,
just be sure to peel them off before washing.
I use this 31 Bag™ to store my pumping gear (main section),
user manuals (side pocket), stickers & marker (other side pocket),
though you can purchase really nice pumping bags
that are specifically designed for pumps and storage.
We're big fans of glass bottles - no BPA's, fridge & freezer friendly,
and recyclable once baby grows up! We use these
Evenflo® Four Ounce Glass bottles for feedings and storage.

So there you have it.  Hopefully, this was helpful to the new and soon-to-be mommas out there, and educational for everyone else!


**These are just a few challenges that I have faced, but I'm sure there are others out there!  There can be added complications with pumping when the mother's supply is low, the baby isn't nursing well, the cost of a pump is too great, or the baby refuses to take a bottle.  Feel free to share any insights in the comments below!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hey Friends, Let's Share!

A while back, I mentioned that I have crafting urges from time to time, and am especially a fan of yarn and yarn related projects.  Instead of typing tons of words to tell you all about why I love making things, I thought I'd just share some photos of some of my recent projects, in no particular order...

Bow Tie Bunny - Notre Dame Colors {For Baby B.}
Giraffe & Bow Tie Bunny - Mustard Yellow & Medium Blue {For Baby I.}

Guess How Much I Love You Bunny {For Baby F.}

Ladybug Slippers & Newsie Hat {For Baby F.}

Sailboat Beanie Hat {For Quincy}

Crocheted Blooms (my pattern found here)
Mrs. Giraffe {For Baby K.}
Mr. & Mrs. Giraffe {For Baby K.}
Momma Slippers {for Momma N.}

Spring/Summer Wreath {For the H-G Front Door}

Teal & Grey Giraffe {For Baby L.}

I need to point out that I only made the circles for these pillows on this next project.  My friend, Kristin, made these beautiful pillow covers and wanted to add a few crocheted circles for a splash of color.  Didn't they turn out great?!

Crocheted Circles for Pillows
Great layout & design, Kristin!

Special thanks to my friend, Megan, for working on these sewing projects with me... (I love Meg/Mag Time!)

Baby Shoes {For Baby K.}

Two Yards of Fabric, plus...
One Old Shirt Pulled from the Goodwill Pile, equals...
A New Summer Dress with Matching Sash! (tutorial here)

This next project I have to explain a little bit (obviously, if you've already peeked ahead at the pictures!)  I had seen a pattern of a bearded beanie for children on Pinterest, and purchased it through Etsy (find the pattern here).  I had intended to make one for Quincy, because - let's face it - it'd be adorable.  Well, it turned out to be huge.  So I put it on, and took a few photos.  Don't I make a manly lumberjack?!

Excited Lumberjack Maggie

Happy Lumberjack Maggie

Pensive Lumberjack Maggie

Now, my question for you is: Got anything you're working on?  This doesn't have to be limited to yarn and fabric.  Do you do wood-working, glass-blowing, or design your own lampshades?  Share in the comments below!  I (and the few dozen followers of this Life, Hyphenated blog) would love to hear about it!

May your life be filled with creativity,


Friday, June 22, 2012

Una Promesa - A Promise

View of Madrid skyline from the neighborhood where I lived in Spain, 2006

When I was debating whether I should stay home full-time or return to work, I mentioned my desire for Quincy to grow up knowing Spanish.  In order to explain what my promise to Quincy will be, I have to tell you a little bit about my history with the language and why it is so important to me.

For starters, I took my first Spanish class my Freshman year of high school, and I wasn't happy about it.  I had wanted to take French, but it wasn't offered at my school.  What was a girl to do?  French was romantic, fancy, elegant, sophisticated... and speaking French would therefore make me romantic, fancy, elegant, and sophisticated.  I decided to go with Spanish because it was practical - West Michigan has a large population of Spanish speakers - and maybe, I thought, it would come in handy.

I found out that I loved Spanish class (apart from homework, tests, and the tedious book work required to learn a language), because the sounds, the music, the variety of cultures, accents... it all fascinated me.  After graduating high school with four years of Spanish under my belt, I enrolled at Grand Valley State University, with a major in Spanish and minor in Elementary Education (the latter I later dropped).  I was able to take the CLEP test for Spanish and began courses at the 300-level my Freshman year at GVSU.

The courses were difficult, taught only in Spanish, and the professors came from a variety of backgrounds, but I greatly enjoyed each class (well, mostly - grammar and I never really became good friends).  In my classes, I met some really great girls who shared a love of language, and I learned a great deal from them.

Some of my GVSU Friends
Stacy, Stefanie, Maggie & Sharlynn
During my Junior year at GVSU, I had the opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Spain. Brad's family had hosted a student from Spain for a number of visits, and so I was able to stay with her family just outside the city of Madrid (the took photo in this post is the view of Madrid from where I lived).  

I learned the language (not just out of a book, but in real life situations, too), ate delicious food, traveled around the country, took courses at the local university as well as through my American program, and met some really great people.
Segovia, Spain

Córdoba, Spain
Cochinillo - Roast Suckling Pig
Galicia, Spain
Langostinos (Shrimp), Percebes (I guess they're called "Goose Barnacles"?)
Caracoles (Snails), & Jamón (Ham)
Toledo, Spain

Celebrating our last night in Spain with friends!
Emily, Maggie & Brit

Frauke & Maggie - Fireworks for El Día de San Isidro

Brad and I even got engaged in Spain while he came for a visit.  (Romantic, right?!  I thought so!)

At my program building, sharing the news with friends!

El Parque del Retiro, Madrid
Real Madrid Soccer Stadium

My time in Spain was such a great adventure - I learned about another culture, language, and country; I also learned a great deal about myself.

Okay, so enough reminiscing...

Now as the mother of a six month old, I am looking forward to seeing the adventures of which Quincy will partake.  My job, and that of the community of family and friends around him, is to nurture him in every way possible, teaching him what we can from the knowledge we have gained, while also teaching him a sense of curiosity and adventure - a desire to learn more.

I spent eight academic years learning another language (including the Bachelor's Degree I earned at GVSU) and I still struggle with components of the language.  Grammar makes my skin crawl, I've lost a ton of vocabulary over the years, and I blush from time to time when speaking the language.  Why should Quincy spend so much of his time learning a language, as I did, when it can be incorporated in his daily routine?  I'm not saying I'm the perfect teacher, or that my grammar and vocabulary will be that of a native speaker, but  even him knowing fruits and vegetables or basic conversation in Spanish will be a success in my book.

So here is what I have decided to do:

READ in Spanish to Quincy.  I budgeted one hundred dollars to purchase books in Spanish to read to Quincy and also to use to teach myself new vocabulary.  I probably could have gotten  a slightly better deal ordering books online, but I went to the local Barnes & Noble so I could page through the books and see which ones would be good to have in the house.  I tried to get a variety of books: some with nursery rhymes and songs, others filled with pictures of everyday vocabulary, a few biblical books to encourage his faith in another language, and some familiar childhood books that I can remember reading (in English) with my parents.

One hundred dollars may seem like a lot, but I consider these books a great investment and should last for a while.  This way, we have a variety of books to read instead of cycling through the same three books several times a day.  A handful of the books have several stories (one has 365 stories and nursery rhymes!) so we will have different tales to read through as he grows!

SPEAK with Quincy in Spanish.  In talking about this promise with Brad, we decided that I would speak strictly in Spanish with Quincy when others aren't around.  Not that I want to make Quincy timid about speaking around others, but I want him to to be aware that speaking a language around others that do not understand could give them a feeling of alienation.  When Brad is around, English will be the primary language, but once it's just me and Quincy (or with other Spanish speakers), it'll just be Spanish. This obviously means while we play at home, but also out and about at the grocery store, running other errands, going for walks, etc.

This also means I had to make a decision about my accent.  From living in Spain, I have a rather (strong) Spanish accent, complete with the "Spanish lisp" (read more about ceceo and seseo here).  I've always held on strongly to my accent, since it shows where my language skills were nurtured and enhanced.  To be honest, it also helped distinguish certain words from others.  The pronunciation of hacer and a ser is very different with a Spanish accent, but is less distinguishable in a Latin American accent.  For those of you unfamiliar with the typical Spanish accent (I should note that there are a variety of accents besides the one I am familiar with, depending on the region of Spain), the word "gracias" is pronounced like "graTHiaS" (the "TH" here sounds like the same letter combination found at the end of the English word "with").  The letter S still has the same sound you would use in English, but all words with Z's and soft C's (ce- and ci-) are presented with the "TH" sound.

Our community has a very large hispanic population (about 22% of the total population), but does not have strong ties to Spain.  Most hispanics in the area are from Mexico (16.7% of the total population), while others are from Puerto Rico or Cuba (read more statistics here).  It would make more sense to have an accent that matched better with the local speakers, so I am making the adjustment to a more commonly recognized accent in my area.

SEEK out cultural events, playgroups and music that encourages cultural diversity.  This doesn't solely have to be related to Spanish or the local hispanic community.  I have a very dear friend in Germany (we met in Spain, actually) that we have kept in contact with and have visited each other over the years and plan on keeping up the tradition of crossing the ocean to hang out.

Brad, Maggie, Frauke & Marcel - Chicago 2007
Frauke & Maggie - Germany 2010
Michigan - Summer 2011
Stacey, Maggie, Brad, Doug, Sheryl, Marcel & Frauke

Beyond the international friends that Brad and I have, I also want to expose Quincy to new music, food, and cool festivals.  This may be easier said than done, but I'll see what I can find!  (Feel free to leave comments about recommendations of food, music, cultural events or playgroups you may know of!)  We obviously have the local tradition of Tulip Time, but we also established a tradition of attending the Garlic Festival when we lived out East.  We plan on going again this year!

Friends at Garlic Festival 2010
Chelsea, Christian, Monica, Jessica, Marcus, Maggie & Brad

WORK hard.  This will be a big challenge to relearn the vocabulary I have lost, study new vocabulary that we encounter along the way, and not give up when it gets a little tough.  For me, this means looking up words that I don't know, making an effort to always speak in Spanish, and haul out my old grammar book to brush up on the rules.

My new companion

All of these things I promise to do with and for Quincy so that he can grow up knowing more about the cultures and people around him, and have a natural curiosity to seek out new people, food, cultures... all things that will help him understand our worldly community more fully.

Special thanks to my Facebook friends that grew up in a multi-cultural home or have encouraged their own children to grow up speaking another language.  Your input and advice was really great to hear and use as I work on this promise to Quincy.  Feel free to leave comments below for any further advice, questions, resources, or tips - whether you are multi-lingual or just interested!

Got any promises you are working on in your life?  Share in the comments!

¡Buena suerte!