I’ve been back to work for a week now, and mostly, we’re doing fine. We got off to a bit of a rocky start, and there have been definite ups and downs in the past week, but I think the three of us are slowly beginning to find our groove. What’s most surprising to me is that the things I was most worried about are the things that have gone the most smoothly. As for the rest, as we’re learning, every day is different, and you just have to be flexible, be patient, and remember to breathe.
After getting almost every meal direct from the breast for the first 10 weeks of his life, Mike and I were both a little worried about how Julian would take to being bottle-fed during the day when I returned to work. We made a last-minute change to the type of bottle we use just days before my return, and that seems to have made a huge difference. Julian has been drinking his milk like a champ throughout the day, and I nurse him whenever I’m home. It has been pretty seamless.
As for sourcing that milk, pumping at the office has gone far, far better than I expected. I’ll admit to quite a bit of trepidation on my part that first time I closed my office door, unhooked my bra and pulled the girls out, but once I reminded myself that this is totally not about me, it’s about feeding our son, things have gone swimmingly. I’m pumping three times a day while at work, and bringing home a consistent amount which has been more than enough for Mike to feed to Julian the next day. We’ve barely touched the milk I stashed in the freezer in the weeks before my leave ended, though it’s really nice to know that it’s there should we ever need it.
I think the biggest challenge we’re facing now is making sure that The Mommy and The Daddy are adequately fed throughout the day. I’ve been trying to fix or prep lunch for Mike as well as for myself before I head out the door in the morning – something nutritious and tasty that he can easily eat with one hand, and with a minimum of cleanup – but dinners are proving to be a bit more challenging. We’re both pretty tired by the time evening rolls around (plus I’ve usually got the baby attached to me like a barnacle soon after I walk in the door), and while we’ve done okay so far tag-teaming dinner prep and getting something into our bellies, I think we both feel like we could step up our game a bit going forward.
We have a tiny fridge and freezer in our apartment, so there’s only so much in the way of advance cooking that we can do. We don’t own a microwave (and don’t intend to get one), so that leaves out any heat-and-eat meals that can’t go into the oven. We’ve done pretty well with pasta meals and quick-cooking, roasted or sautéed seafood with vegetables, but we’re both getting a little bored with our old standbys. I’m hoping we get to spend a bit of time this weekend setting up satisfying dinners for the coming week. Suggestions are, of course, welcome.