Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Post-partum wardrobe

Definitely not my work wardrobe

10 weeks...postpartum
Apart from being nervous about leaving Noah to go to work next week, I've been worrying about what I'll wear since my wardrobe for the last 10 weeks has consisted of nothing but pajama and sweat pants and maternity casual clothing. Anything remotely tight around my midsection was uncomfortable either due to sore abdominal muscles or my incision area.

Recently, in the past 2-3 weeks, I've been able to wear leggings again and last weekend I tried on a pair of size 4 Lulu Lemons that have been hanging in the closet for a year and they weren't terrible! I'm still about 5-10 pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight which I'm not at all complaining about but my body shape is just different. Up until this week, none of my non-maternity dress pants were close to fitting. While I was pregnant, I let most of my work shirts get stretched out to get the most wear out of them. I planned on buying a new work wardrobe post-baby rather than buying new maternity pieces that I wouldn't wear again.

Right now, a new work wardrobe isn't in the budget but I did need some new pieces to wear since many of the ones I own still don't fit. Also, my new work environment is more business attire than my old workplace which was more business casual. Thankfully the summer at my new workplace is more relaxed so I can get away with business casual for a few months.  I'm planning on using most of the clothes I have in my closet and slowly replacing them over time as my body continues to change and things get worn.

As a thank you/going away gift, I received an $100 gift card for Mark's Work Wearhouse from my old boss. I was able to get a few pieces of clothing on sale or clearance so that I have enough items to mix and match with my existing wardrobe and make it through the summer months at work. Shopping at this point didn't make me feel great about myself. A lot of the pants and dresses didn't fit nicely or were very unflattering around my stomach. I also had to think about ease of pumping/breastfeeding. I had the most success with tighter shirts and cardigans but did buy a pair of black capris with a stretchy waist. I'm fairly happy with the few items I bought. I'll be able to definitely wear the cardigans long after my baby weight is gone and I plan to make accessories my best friend to feel more attractive and put together.

New work clothes (approx. $90)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

2 Months

This post is about two weeks late. I've been busy gearing up for going to work in just one short week. The last month brought with it a noticeable shift toward some semblance of normalcy around these parts. After being more or less housebound for Noah's first month, this month we ventured out a lot more.

Our first long weekend as a family of 5 was fun. It is hard to remember our family before Noah though I find we're split up a lot more 3 and 2. It doesn't seem exponentially more difficult, the transition from two to three kids.

I've also been able to get out more on my own and back to my volunteer commitments which usually have me out one night/week for about 3hrs.

At 2 months, here are some of Noah's highlights:

- Actually smiling! He is all smiles in the mornings. Melts my heart.
- Up the back poop explosions
- Rolled from stomach to back (once). Doesn't care much for tummy time but has great head and neck control.
- Fits his 6 month clothing comfortably and shows a preference for footless clothing. Needless to say he isn't loving being swaddled much anymore
- Still sleeping in our bed for now. Still up about 3x in a night (Yawn!)

I was finally able to pack away the last of my maternity clothes this week. I'm slowly starting to fit back into some of my regular clothes. This is one aspect of being done having babies that couldn't come quick enough. I am so ready to put away the frumpy mom wear. Seeing the newborn sleepers that all 3 of my boys wore packed away for a new home was a little bit more emotional.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Nursing and Working

The part I am most nervous for about going back to work in a few short weeks is maintaining the breastfeeding relationship I've worked hard to establish with Noah even with a major bump along the way in the beginning. With Nicholas I went back to grad school full time when he was 4 months old which had me away 2 days/week and with Brendan I took a couple of evening courses, also at 4 months.

Here in Canada, parents can collect up to a year of maternity and parental employment insurance benefits. Most do take the entire year off. This means that most women stop breastfeeding by the time they return or only continue to nurse in the hours they are not at work. Consequently, breastfeeding and the workplace isn't an issue that comes up a lot so I'm anxious to broach the subject with my employer, especially since it is a new employer. I guess I don't want to look like I'm high maintenance or demanding special treatment. Kelsey's posts on breastfeeding and working have been such a go to resource for me.

My goal is to maintain breastfeeding for at least 6 months and ideally to 12 months. Right now I've started pumping once in the morning and once at night using my Medela Freestyle Advanced (double electric) pump to try to build up a bit of a freezer supply. Noah takes a bottle no problem but I've only ever been away from him for 3-4 hours at a time.

My plan for the first month is to come home at lunch time when I can to nurse and pump. Taking travel into account, I'd still have 30 minutes at home. Another alternative would be to meet the boys and my sister (who watches the boys) at my mom's house on occasion which is 5 minutes from work. This would give me more time. Since I'll need to pump at least one additional time, that'll have to be done at work. For that I'm planning on bringing my hand pump and cooler bag like I did when I was at grad school. I found when I could control the suction and frequency by hand I was able to pump a lot more. The manual pump is also light weight and can be used anywhere. I don't have to worry about plugging in. We introduced cereal at 4 months with both of the other boys once they showed signs of readiness. If Noah is the same, that should help since we can replace one bottle feeding while I am away with food.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Working Mom Again

I almost can't believe I'm even writing this post. One of my goals for 2013 AND 2014 was to find meaningful and secure employment. Now I can finally check that off my list. My new position is 15 minutes from home, exactly the same distance away as my old job, and is a permanent position with pension, benefits, paid vacation, etc. 

My new job will be about 50% of the same work I was doing before, only in a different setting, and 50% work I don't have much, or in some cases any, experience with but am eager to learn. I am especially excited for the learning opportunity. The pay will be less than what I was making at my old job initially but there is lots of opportunity for growth in salary and within the organization. I'm also looking forward to staying a while somewhere and putting down roots. In the past I've never made my office or desk "my own" so it is something I'm looking forward to. 

Me landing a permanent job is a huge deal for our family and brings much much more financial security. I would normally say I'm very lucky or blessed but one of my best friends who also happened to be waiting to hear back on a job opportunity said to me - "you deserve a full-time permanent position"- and I do. Ever since I was a student in my undergraduate program, I'd say for the better part of 8 years (when I really got serious), I haven't stopped working hard toward securing a full-time position in my field. 

I know I will be sad leaving Noah at the end of the month so the timing doesn't feel ideal but at the same time, the timing in many ways couldn't be more perfect since we're done having our family and I'm ready to hit the ground running with my career.