Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Liquid Gold and the Supreme Court

Today, the Supreme Court will hear on same-sex marriages, and my breastmilk supply is at it's peak! That's right, people. The two go together today, and may actually go together EACH day from now on.

Back a little over two years ago, I was intent on exclusively breastfeeding our first child. All was well (or so I thought) until we went to our daughter's two month wellness and weight check appointment and realized that even though I felt like she had been nursing nonstop, she only gained 3 ounces in a month. To those of you who do not understand this: a newborn should be gaining 1/2 an ounce to an ounce A DAY! I was devastated. I cried in the pediatrician's office. How could this be? I had been feeding her nonstop!!

I was miserable and totally stressed out. Our daughter was off the charts small and I was forced to supplement with formula, which at the time, I said didn't bother me, but it actually really did. I mean, how can you get away from the whole "Breast is Best" philosophy when it's being shoved down your throat during your pregnancy, in the hospital, and once you get your baby home? It's true. Scientific research shows that breastmilk IS BETTER than formula. It's natural and nothing can be better than that. I drudged on and tried to feed her as much breastmilk as I possibly could. It just wasn't enough! The hormones I was on to help repair my poor broken vagina (you can read about that HERE) was taking its toll on my breastmilk supply. I hired a lactation consultant, ate a whole lot of oatmeal, took fenugreek capsules, drank a hell of a lot of water. It wasn't helping. And the stress of it all was making matters worse.

Did I give up? Oh, no I did not. I pumped at work until she was 9 months old and I thought that ANYTHING was better than NOTHING. So she got half breastmilk and half formula. And I just told myself that it didn't matter HOW she gained weight. The important thing was that she was gaining weight and that she was thriving.

Now we are here with a second child and the situation is a much much different one. I literally have so much extra milk that half of it is currently being stored in our neighbor's freezer because our small New York City apartment refrigerator isn't big enough to store it all! The amount of milk I'm producing could, quite possibly, feed another child. So that is what I'm doing.

Last week, on our Brooklyn neighborhood message boards, a male gay couple was looking for donated breast milk for their newly adopted baby. Without hesitation, I emailed the man and told him that I would give him about 150 ounces now, and that I would need to evaluate, but I could probably give him much more in the future. I explained that since I work part time, my infant takes about 10 ounces of milk while I'm away at work, but that I'm pumping approximately 15-18 ounces WHILE I'm at work. So I'm replenishing my freezer stash AND I'm adding 5-8 ounces more each day. So why not give it to a couple who, by nature, is unable to provide breastmilk to a child who needs it?

Breastmilk or formula? Opposite or same-sex marriages? Everyone has a right to have their own family so who are we to decide who can get married and who can not? I guess we'll have to see what the Supreme Court decides today. But I've decided that I'm adding an extra pumping session tonight before I go to sleep. Because that, my friends, is the RIGHT thing to do.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Before we had Adler, we heard so many people say that two children is like having five. My response was always, "Great! We have ONE that already feels like five. How is the second one going to REALLY feel?" If I can say truthfully, the adjustment at home hasn't been too bad. We were expecting the worst at the very beginning, and the worst, well, the worst never really happened.

Maternity leave with Adler couldn't have been better. We have an amazing nanny who we (and Harper) love, and she's been with us since Harper was three months old. She continued to take care of Harper while I was on maternity leave, and I was able to really stay home and bond with our newborn. From the very beginning, even in the hospital, Adler slept through the night. He was so big (reminder: 10 1/2 pounds at birth!!!) that the nurses didn't bother me with middle-of-the-night feedings. I mean, when your newborn (at birth) is the already the size of an average 3 month old, there is really no push to have him gain weight. HA! When we got home from the hospital, there were definitely middle of the night feedings, but it didn't last more than a couple of weeks. He was seriously sleeping 6-8 hours straight from the get-go.

My husband and I practice somewhat of an attachment parenting style. Aside from riding in the car, using the bathroom or making ourselves food, our children were both held constantly as newborns. We literally held them from the time they would wake up in the morning until it was time for us to go to sleep at night. It may not work for most couples, and I know people think we are crazy, but it worked (and continues to work for us). We believe that this style of parenting allows the baby to feel so secure during the day that they sleep through the night.

As my return to work loomed overhead, I knew there was a chance that Adler would not adjust well. He was a much much different newborn than Harper ever was and I just knew he would have a hard time not being cuddled all day long. Our nanny can not (and will not) hold him all day, and I don't expect her to. For some reason, when I went back to work after Harper, she still continued to sleep through the night, but I knew Adler was going to be a different story. I was right. Adler started waking up in the middle of the night the week before I went back to work (as we started to introduce a bottle). It was like he knew.

So here we are at the 4 month mark, and our infant is waking up in the middle of the night - consistently every night. He's not hungry. How can he be when he's 3 1/2 months old and weighs about 16 1/2 pounds!? He's not even waking up crying. He's just waking up with sounds of uneasiness and restlessness. He's waking up because he's lacking that security he was receiving every day for over three months. And we're honestly not sure what to do! We didn't have this issue with Harper.

So while I always SWORE I'd never bring MY baby to bed with us, I lied. When he wakes up at 3am, he comes to bed with us. And I honestly do not care. I was such a stickler about nighttime sleeping with Harper. We did not allow her to sleep in our bed with us and as she got older, I regretted not allowing her to! Adler is just so warm and cuddly and sweet. Look, he won't be sleeping in our bed when he's in high school. So I'm enjoying it now and I'll deal with the next adjustment when the time comes.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


My husband camped out on Tuesday night in low-30 degree weather, not to buy some Justin Timberlake concert tickets, but to register our 2 1/2 year old daughter in to a preschool program beginning in the fall. At 12:45am, he put on three layers of clothing with a heavy winter coat, and packed up our iPad full of television shows, a huge fleece blanket and a Pilates mat (listen, sitting on concrete after an hour is rough) and was on his way.

The school system in New York City is crazy. I'm pretty sure that the majority of young preschool aged children in our neighborhood don't even go to preschool. And it's not because of money, although, that's a problem too. But it's because there are not enough preschools for the amount of children.

Back when Harper was a little over a year old, I started researching preschools in our neighborhood and only came up with a few that were even worth applying to. Yes, I was researching preschools TWO FULL YEARS before she was even able to go. We actually applied for a 2's program on a whim and didn't even get in. During the application process, I had to fill out a "mission statement" like I had done 15 years earlier to apply to college. It was like college all over again. The same anxious feeling I had while I awaited an acceptance letter or a rejection. As I wrote this ridiculous mission statement, I thought to myself, "She is the PERFECT candidate to get in to this preschool!!" The question they wanted me to answer was something along the lines of "How would your child benefit from being involved in such a diverse neighborhood educational environment such as 'so and so' Preschool?". EASY QUESTION!! I wrote about how my father actually GREW UP in the neighborhood we live in (yes, he totally did), and the benefits of having our child learn in an environment in which her Poppy grew up would be amazing! Well, obviously... our answer wasn't good enough. Because a few months later, I got an email (yes, a fucking email... the assholes couldn't even put a 44 cent stamp on an envelope to mail the rejection letter after I paid a $50 application fee) saying our 2 year old didn't get in. They had never even laid eyes on her. So how are they making their decisions? All we put on the application was our address and what we each did for a living. Which, I work in a counsel's office for a well known private university in the city and my husband is a designer and photographer for an advertising agency. Why didn't she get in? When I called to ask this question, they had no answer to give me. They gave me some bullshit response about how the timing was off. Yeah, WHAT?

I know people in Brooklyn that are applying to preschools that cost $33,000 a year. I'm really, REALLY, not kidding. $33,000 for a 3 year old to go to preschool. What's even crazier is that these schools are EXTREMELY competitive. You would think anyone who could afford $33,000 a year to put their child in a preschool would just get in automatically, right? NOPE! Most children don't even get in!!

The preschool we really had our heart set on had a "first come, first served" policy and they didn't begin taking applications until the day after Labor Day for the following year. I knew this an entire year in advance. They specifically stated on their website that they wouldn't even take calls regarding the following year until the day after Labor Day. So in 2011, I marked on my calendar that I needed to apply to this specific preschool the day after Labor Day in 2012. At 9am on Tuesday, September 4th, I was calling and getting information on how to apply. My application and fee was in by noon. And then we waited. We got a call that we had a spot! Next step was to go to an open house to see if the preschool was a right fit for us. We went and loved the director. Next step was to take our daughter to an "open play" where they swear they aren't evaluated, but rather observed to see if they are a good fit for the type of program the preschool provides. Then, our daughter was IN! The step after that was to decide if you wanted the morning program or the afternoon program. Since our daughter takes naps from 1:30pm-3:00pm each day, we knew the morning program would be best. And since most 3 year olds take naps at the same time, EVERYONE wants the morning program. They have 40 children who are "IN" for the academic year - 20 students are in 3 classes in the morning. The other 20 students are in 3 classes in the afternoon. So what this school does is they have a morning where registration takes place and it's "first come, first served". So yes, registration began at 7am. My husband was out there at 1am to register our daughter for preschool. And what's even more shocking is that he was number 15 in line!

When my husband got home in the morning, the first thing I said to lighten the mood was, "I'm sure everyone was soooo jealous that you had a pilates mat! I mean, we were thinking! You were totally prepared!" He busted out laughing and said...."Are you kidding? PEOPLE. HAD. FUCKING. TENTS!" He then explained that other people had full body sleeping bags where the only thing exposed was their face. And I seriously thought my pilates mat was good thinking. Who was I kidding?

But she's in! She's in to start preschool in the fall. She's in the morning program. We. Are. In.

And my husband spend the entire day sleeping yesterday. Beats losing sleep in a few months when she isn't in a program at all.

Right? RIGHT?