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I knew my first day back at work after maternity leave would be a little rough. After all, I had suffered a bout of "baby brain" only one day before when I'd forgotten the forks for my 6-year-old daughter's birthday party. (Picture kids eating cake with their faces. Picture parents giving me the stink eye.)
So some of the questions that went through my mind on the way to the office were: Will I remember how to do my job? Will I fall asleep at my desk—or worse, during a meeting with my boss? Or will I miss my newborn so much that I cry—like ugly cry—in the employee bathroom? Or, let's face it, all three.
Luckily, I made it through the morning without any of the above embarrassments. (Then, of course, I felt bad that I didn't cry.) But what I wasn't prepared for was the boob emergency that occurred about two hours into the workday. I hadn't counted on the major engorgement that happened so quickly, and I was certain there was going to be some sort of explosion if someone so much as said the word "baby" or brushed up against me the wrong way while giving me a "welcome back" hug.
I was pretty sure there would be an embarrassing accident if I didn't do something stat.
You see, while I breastfed my son what seemed like every five minutes when I was at home, I started supplementing with formula when he wasn't gaining enough weight. And though I felt frustrated and guilty at first (I had breastfed my daughter for six months and she thrived on it), after one day of easier feedings and a sleepier baby, I started getting Enfamil-drunk on the freedom of it all.
So much so that I thought my pumping days were over—or at least that nursing could wait until I got home from work.
Think again, said the growing grenades in my bra.
And of course I hadn't brought my pump, and my baby was at home with my sleep-deprived husband gulping hungrily no doubt on ounces and ounces of DHA-infused powdered goodness.
So what's an engorged mom to do?
My answer: Just ignore it.
Yeah, I thought it would just go away—that they would somehow get the message that the baby was literally out to lunch at a different watering hole.
But no. They just kept growing, getting painfully full and rock hard by the minute. And I was pretty sure there would be an embarrassing accident if I didn't do something stat.
Maybe I could hand-express the milk in the bathroom? (Suddenly ugly crying in that space didn't seem half as embarrassing.) Or just walk around with crossed arms all day, praying for no leakage and somehow convincing myself that I could play through the pain?
Or I could just call my husband and tell him to wake up out of his red-eyed, daddy-daycare stupor and drive that baby to my office so I could get some relief.
Which is what I did. And, to his credit, what he did.
So I nonchalantly IM'd my boss to say that I'd be back in a jif, and long story short, my exhausted husband drove our 7-week-old child to my office, where I dashed out to the car, which was parked in a no-parking zone (no, I didn't even let my husband park properly), and latched that baby on before he could take the keys out of the ignition.
And it was awesome. Except for the UPS man who was lingering a little too close to the car.
Needless to say, today I brought the pump—and let my little human one relax at home.