One Down

Home. Guess he missed me.

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.

not a Depeche Mode video

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.

Pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe. Probably one of my favorite quick dinners.

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.

8 responses to “One Down

  1. Crock pots are an amazing thing when you have a new born. Speaking as a mom of three I can say that although they aren’t my favorite meals they saved my butt on many an ocassion those first several months. Plus with it being winter soups or stews are easy to put together while your son is napping in the morning and then they’re ready when it’s time to eat.

  2. callalillie

    We lived on winter stews and soups during Emelia’s first few months. Actually, we still do!

  3. I totally recommend buying a slow-cooker. You can set it up in the morning, and by the time you get home, dinner is ready. Congrats on your smooth transition. There’s no more secure feeling than having a good “bank” in the freezer. Just in case.

  4. Also, don’t forget that Julian’s hours will be constantly shifting. You might be lucky and have a kid who settles into a true sleeping routine earlier rather than later, leaving you more time and energy to cook the way you like to in the evening. Emelia settled into that at about 4 months, I think, though she woke up a lot at night. Regardless, there was more of a window to cook something, and to take a breather between work, parenting and cooking.

  5. Steph

    Oh, I feel your pain! Even now, with Sam at 15 months, it’s hard to make a decent dinner. I find that the biggest problem is that dinner tends to happen at the end of the day when everyone is tired. So I employ the crock pot often and try to do prep in advance so there is little to do at the last minute. For example I will roast vegetables whenever I have time to serve with roasted chicken breasts or grilled beef or pork (or broiled). I’ve done a lot of stuffed peppers and cabbage. You can assemble the filling (and steam the cabbage) early in the day and just stuff when you are ready to cook. Of course, as you well know, pasta is a life saver. I regularly freeze meat sauces. I made a slow cooker palak paneer (not authentic by any means, but tasty and easy) that froze really, really well and yielded several dinners (along with basmati rice which I had also frozen in baggies). Beef stews of any kind are in regular rotation.
    It’s definitely not an exact science. More often than not dinner is just not served as piping hot as it used to be, or the chicken is just this side of perfectly cooked. But it’s better than ordering pizza every night, so I keep trying. :)

  6. Jennine

    I agree with the soups suggestion. My little guy is 10 months old and I wind up eating soup for lunch and dinner somedays! And now that he is eating solid food, I just mash up the same soup for him as well. I try to make double batches of whatever I’m making and keep a stash in the freezer. But it sounds like you’re off to a great start!

  7. laziza

    Also, don’t underestimate the value of breakfast for dinner! Eggs are such a great, fast, tasty source of protein.

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