breastfeeding & pumping & being a working mother

My goal when Jackson was born was to breastfeed him for one year. I didn’t really know what I was asking of myself, my emotions and my body, when I set that goal. I was lucky. First of all, I had helped so, so many women start breastfeeding when I worked L&D, so I understood the basics and knew the tips and tricks for starter success. Secondly, I was anatomically set up for breastfeeding success – not too big, not too little. And lastly, I made plenty of milk.

The first three months of Jackson’s life I was tremendously busy with school, but was on maternity leave from work, and a significant amount of my pumping went into the freezer, because I was able to feed him at my lunch breaks when he was at home with the nanny. When I went back to working 12 hour shifts at the hospital and Jackson went to daycare, I had to learn a good pumping system. I’d pump right before I left for work, and twice during each shift. Some days it was easy to slip away from the activity of the hospital floor to pump, other times it took a little more planning and sometimes I just had to say things had to wait, because pumping was really important. Like most pumping mothers of today, I spent my pumping time catching up on FB, blog reading, and making phone calls home to check on my baby. I also tried to eat a snack every time I pumped, making the most of my time. I’d pump about 10 minutes, which really isn’t a significant amount of time, but it was enough time to pump more than enough for Jackson to eat. While pumping gets old quickly, it has been worth all of the headache. It really has.

Now, Jackson is 10 months old (let’s be real, almost 11 months old 😦 ) and my body is no longer over producing. I’m making just enough to send to daycare the next day. When this first started to happen, I began to panic, even though I find it nice to not be freezing milk constantly. I have a stash in the freezer, too, should I start to not keep up, but I think I’ll make it through the next 2 months. Then I get to start the process of weaning, which will probably be equally hard on both Jackson and I. Jackson still nurses 3 times in 24 hours directly from the boob during those day when I have to work – evening, mid-night, and morning, and gets 2 bottles at daycare. Once he’s a year old I’ll keep that up until I dry up, but I will not keep pumping. Will not. I’m proud of myself for providing this for Jackson for a year, even when I couldn’t always be physically present. It’s been one hell of a committment. And, it’s been worth it.

The days I stay home with Jackson and I don’t have to pump are awesome (like today!!). It’s just us, and I love it. Women who are afforded this luxury full-time are lucky, and I am jealous. I am excited to move on with my career and the next steps that are in my path… but I also wish that we could afford to have me stay home. I wish I didn’t miss those little moments and was afforded the ability to fix every problem throughout the day. However, this is the life I knew I’d have. These are the sacrifices I knew I’d have to make. And I’m really excited to be a nurse practitioner!

I have made a decision and accepted one of the positions I wrote about, and I will fill you all in soon. I am officially done with all of my graduate school commitments. ALL OF THEM. I just have to attend my hooding ceremony in August. And take boards. My life has made some of the most dramatic changes I’ve ever encountered in the last 12 months. It has been amazing, exhausting, and crazy.

I now hope to have a smidgen more time to blog, and I hope to provide an interesting and somewhat original insight into working motherhood. And make some mommies out there feel okay that their child watches Frozen at least once per day, eats Gerber graduates snacks instead of organic, and has more toys than he knows what to do with… but is SO, SO loved.

dear daycare lady

jackson starts daycare monday… we managed to find a different in-home daycare than the one that i was originally uncomfortable with… so i feel better about this transition than i did a few weeks ago.  however, i am also sad, and scared, and miss him already. i always knew we’d do daycare, and i am okay with it. i was a daycare kid, too. but, something only a mom can explain is the inability to trust that anyone can do good enough job with your child… and that ever-present guilt of not being there every minute of every day.

Dear daycare lady,

Thank you for opening your home to small children. For providing a warm, loving, safe, and fun place for babies to grow. May the first thing I always get across to you is my gratitude for what you do.

Please remember this is so very hard for me. I’m a new mommy, dealing with a multitude of emotions. My baby is the best (best, best, best) thing I have ever done. He is my world. I know you understand this, because you’re a mommy too.

Please don’t judge my choice to work and go to school. I judge myself enough for both of us. I’m only doing what I feel is best for my family and our future. I need your encouragement and support, because every day is a battle in my mind, every day I make a hard choice to move forward with my education and not stay at home to snuggle my baby.

Please respect my choice to breastfeed, it’s one way I can be with him even when I am not able to be with him. Three times a day I hide in a bathroom and pump for my baby. Please treat that milk like the liquid gold that it is. I know it’s not easy to deal with all of the “rules” that feeding pumped breastmilk entails, and that, for you, formula would probably be easier. BUT, breastmilk is one of those things that is really important to me, so I hope you will be willing to be flexible and work with our choice.

Please don’t tell me if he takes his first steps at your house. Let me think I saw it first when he does it again that night. And please just giggle when his diaper bag has three extra pairs of pants but no shirts, or when his outfit doesn’t match on the days his daddy drops him off, and try not to judge us based on those silly things that embarrass me that must happen to everyone.

All I can really ask is that you take care of my baby like he’s your own. Protect him. Nurture him. Teach him. Read to him. Play with him. Be fair with him. Kiss his boo-boos. And love him. Because we love him with every fiber of our beings.

Thank you so much for what you do,

The McMillans


growin’ boy

as a breastfeeding mommy, I worry sometimes if Jackson is getting an adequate amount of milk with each feeding. I think that’s a common worry. I know when I pump, I get about 5-6 oz per breast, so when he has the patience to eat until a boobie is empty, he should be getting a decent amount. Hopefully. He pees plenty, poops semi-regularly (ooooh doggie does he get pissy if he needs to poop and it’s been a few days). AND, I may kick myself for saying this, but it seems the spitting-up of entire feedings has slowed down somewhat. He’s gaining weight, that’s all I can ask for. OH, and we’ve done some 5 and 6 hour stretches of sleep this week. A-MAZ-ING!

His brain is what seems to be doing the most growing lately. He rolled from tummy to back twice this week. He’s suddenly much more interested in the world around him, crabbing at me unless he’s held looking out. He seems to be grabbing at things more purposefully. It’s so fun and amazing to watch, both as a proud mommy and a nurse that understands childhood development a little bit.  I just love knowing he’s growing new neurons every day!

SO, here are a few recent pics of our cute little man:











the simple. and the complicated.


loving my son is simple. it’s easy and as natural as breathing, as involuntary as my heart beating.

but I’m not sure I’m enough.

I had to start clinicals this week. I had to leave my baby with his nanny, who loves him, but who is not me. I’m am ridiculously jealous of her. I keep telling myself to forge on, finish, and make the McMillan household a more financially stable place to live. I will not quit school. I will not give up. But I just wish… it wasn’t so complicated. I wish my 12 weeks of maternity leave from my job that actually pays me, could also be a leave from school, for which I pay. I wish I could spend every hour of every day with Jackson. My Wookie.  (I know, if I actually had to spend every hour of every day with him, I’d beg for a little break – wanting what we can’t have is tough).

I pray a lot. For strength. Courage. Compassion on myself.  I am so hard on me. I feel like a not-as-good mommy. I am tired, but I am trying.

Even though breastfeeding isn’t easy – it’s time consuming and it’s 100% dependent on me – I am considering myself more and more lucky that I can do it, and do it abundantly despite stress, sickness, and fairly extreme weight loss.  I will give him that gift. I cannot be with him every hour of every day, but I can nourish him when I am away. I am trying.

And, I am getting better at letting my husband help, he is getting better at helping. It’s a mommy thing, I think, to feel we know best, but I am trying.

One of my best friends sent me a link to a blog post about taking care of yourself as a new momma. Please, if you are a new momma, read it. I printed it off, folded it up, put it in my photo album in my pumping bag, and have it at my disposal whenever I need to remind myself that I am trying, and I am doing ok.

but on a much better, more beautiful note, these are Jackson’s newborn pictures… most handsome baby ever, of course. No trying necessary 🙂












3 weeks


2am. And I’m busy admiring your toes. And the little milk-filled clef in your chin. You just somehow managed to drink, burp, and spit up about 3 ounces of breast milk on yourself. And me. And then fall blissfully asleep, wet sleeper and all. Miraculous. And now, basking in the blue light from the TV, I just want to stare at you. And sleep. Simultaneously.

You have been with us for 3 weeks now, and it’s been a beautiful privilege getting to know you. I am ever amazed by how you’ve filled out those newborn wrinkles already. You’re pushing 10 pounds, based on the exact science of momma weighing herself holding you, then re-weighing without holding you and subtracting the difference. We’ve learned your likes, your loves, your little chatty noises. You’ve taught us devotion in a way unknown to anyone but brand new parents. We love you Jackson. Wooky. Bubba, bubbles, monk, momma’s man. You respond to all of these names. (i hope I am not contributing to a future personality disorder). See ya in a couple hours and we’ll do this all over again.
~ mommy




breastfeeding and blogging after baby


SO, turns out my body loves to make milk… maybe even more than my sweet baby likes to drink it. And he loves ‘dem boobies. I know long before he does that he’s hungry. I’ve had to make calls to the lactation consultant for tips on how to not be a miserable milk cow. I have ginormous boob/rocks on my chest… that no one enjoys but Jackson.

I tried really, really hard to wean off the pumping when he was about 5 days old. (For the love of God, I’ve iced these bad bitches, people do that to stop breastfeeding, I do it for survival). And at 8 days old I ended up in the hospital, required to pump. While things are slightly more in sync now, I start clinicals on Tuesday and will be back to pumping. I will have to pump both sides simultaneously to try to cut down on the number of pumps, but I also know that will juice-up my production again.  And make me miserable at night, when only one side at a time gets eaten off of.

My little man gorges himself. And sometimes I let him, despite knowing the consequence is watching him spit a lot of it back up… because he empties me out so much better than the pump, and therefore I have less “miserable” time.

So, please, anyone have any advice? I know, I know… I’m so lucky. Kinda lucky like the chicks that get pregnant when their husbands just look at them too long. And I am grateful my little man is getting as much breast milk as his rapidly doubling chin desires. However, as he sweetly sleeps beside me, my right boob is about to explode. This can’t go on like this. And, to appease the boobie, I’ll pump it for like 3 minutes, get 3 ounces, and inadvertently tell my body we’re feeding sextuplets.  God help me…

Blogging after Baby:

I love to write, and blogging has been a wonderful outlet through fertility challenges and pregnancy, a source of communication with my far away family and friends, and place to connect with other bloggers.

However, I refuse to takes anytime away from my baby to blog, but I am feeling guilt about my lack of attention to my blog and blog friends. And an even bigger sense of guilt when I ignore school to blog. My priorities are suddenly completely different.

BUT, flipping through my reader is an excellent way to stay awake while Jackson eats at 2 am.

SO, please know, I am still reading and keeping up, and when I “like” your posts, I really probably want to comment. I want to tell you that you look awesome, your baby is adorable and growing too fast, and I love your birth story. So know that my “like” is more than a like, but I can only one-handed-iPhone blog so well, and it’s actually pretty poorly.

And, my lack of posts is not for lack of wonderful things going on in my life, but hopefully pictures are okay with everyone for a while. Someday my brain and hours of sleep will return, until then, forgive my sub-par blogging.

Love you guys!! (But, love my time with my little wookie even more).


sometimes love just isn't a big enough word.

sometimes love just isn’t a big enough word.