Monday, September 29, 2008

Pump up the jam...

Monday Sep 29, 2008

Pump up the jam..

Pump it up
While your feet are stompin'
And the jam is pumpin'
Look at here the crowd is jumpin'
Pump it up a little more
Get the party going on the dance floor
(A little early 90's Technotronic to get your week started right!)

Well, I'd been avoiding the topic. I wasn't going to write about it in such a public forum. But after this article, I had to share with you the joys of pumping. (Short version of the article: the geniuses at PETA's have suggested to the makers of Ben & Jerry's ice cream that they use human breast milk instead of cow's milk. Yeah, good luck with that.)

As you may or may not know, I'm an exclusive pumper. I spend an inordinate amount of time with "the girls" attached to plastic parts to get the milk to feed Jay. Well, I'm not truly an exclusivepumper - we do nurse some, mostly at night before he goes to bed. But the vast majority of the time, he gets my milk in bottled form.

Why do I pump as opposed to traditional breastfeeding? We had a great deal of trouble getting him to latch in the hospital (the fact he wasn't getting any oxygen certainly contributed to that!). But even after surgery and after he came home, we really struggled with nursing "from the tap." We had a fabulous lactation consultant who helped and was able to get him to nurse a little. But by that time, he was good at bottle feeding, I was good at pumping, and it was nearly time for me to go back to work when I would have to pump anyway. Plus I have an enormous volume of milk - for a while, I was making enough to feed twins. I still pump more than 50 oz per day - that's 1 or 2 bottles more than he's eating. (Yeah, that pretty much makes me a rockstar in the pumping world.)

Do I tell people that I'm breastfeeding? Absolutely. That's how I'm feeding my child, albeit indirectly. He gets the nutritional benefits of breastmilk, which is the main reason we didn't switch to formula when nursing got tough. There are some great things about it - anyone can feed him, anytime, anywhere. It's free (and have you seen the price of formula lately?!) and it burns a ton of calories for me. But as with anything, there are drawbacks, too. I spend 2 hours a day hooked up to that thing. I can hear its rhythm (wha-wo wha-wo wha-wo) in my sleep. I have to take 2 breaks at work to close my door and pump. I've been interrupted at work not once but twice - once by a fire drill (uh oh) and once by a power outage (big uh oh). Fun times. And the washing of those aforementioned plastic parts is a never ending chore.

But back to our friends at PETA. I think it takes an incredible amount of gall to suggest that breastmilk be used for anything other than feeding babies. Some moms with extra donate it to milk banks who typically give it to sick babies/preemies. But because I'm not an eligible blood donor, I'm also not an eligible milk donor. (Long story, and no I do not have any diseases.) So the extra I'm freezing will probably be used to keep feeding Jay the good stuff past the magical one year mark. Heck, at this rate, I may be pouring it on his cereal when he's in kindergarten!


Amen to your faithfulness to brest feeding! I nursed all three of our babies until they were around a year. It was such a special experience I would not change a minute of it for anything! They never had any formula and I am proud to say that. God gave us "the girls" for feeding our babies!
re: PETA's idea, I think NOT!

Posted by Lynette Rhodes on October 01, 2008 at 11:02 AM EDT#

Jen - I appreciate that you wrote this about breastfeeding, for as far as I am concerned, it is about the product, not the process. I would worry a little if you were putting one of those hats on him with the beer can holders and a big straw - but you have been spotted actually holding your child while feeding him, so you're in good shape.

It simply isn't possible for all babies to feed from the breast directly. I suspect that had Jay been up to the direct deposit type of BF, he would have had no problems whatsoever. The easiest route that some moms resort to is to decide that if an infant won't or can't "take the breast", then it is off to the Harris Teeter (or maybe it's spelled Teater) for Enfamil.

You have taken the harder but wiser of the paths, and I applaud you for it. Like anything with parenting, it seems hard at first, and then, lo and behold, you all of a sudden seem to have a routine and a schedule going. That is, until your baby starts getting that first tooth or gets his first boo-boo, at which point you, like the rest of us, will question your ability to mother, and will be watching over your shoulder for Child Services to wrestle your child from your incompetent arms.

And then Appie's voice will remind you that, "You young folks worry too much. Just enjoy every moment for this too shall pass." Then you will smile and be grateful that the voice of reason does indeed live on in our hearts, nudging us to be a little wiser when we most need it.

Love, Aunt Beth

Posted by Aunt Beth on November 04, 2008 at 01:37 PM EST #

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches...

Wednesday Sep 24, 2008

Movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches...

I'm movin' to the country, I'm gonna eat me a lot of peaches
Peaches come from a can, they were put there by a man
-Presidents of the United States of America

No, we're not moving to the country. And Jay hasn't actually eaten peaches, not yet anyway. I really struggled with the musical intro to this particular entry because food songs keep popping into my head. This one was a close tie between the Presidents of the USA (one of my personal favorite mid-90's one-hit-wonders) and "Day Old Banana Pudding" by Southern Culture on the Skids. Every time I eat banana pudding, which is pretty frequently, this song runs through my mind. And if you ever go to a SCOTS show, you will actually get to eat some day old banana pudding. Try it sometime - you'll love the food/music interaction!

Okay, I'll get on with it. I realize that no one looks at this blog to read my music or food ramblings - you want news & pics of the kid. Well, the latest news is that this kid loves, and I mean LOVES, to eat real food. He started on rice cereal and has moved right along through squash, carrots, peas (he's not so much a fan of peas!), green beans, apples, pears and bananas. When you've had nothing but milk for your entire life, a little variety is pretty exciting.

It's funny though - I guess he got accustomed to eating from a bottle where your food comes in a constant stream. When you eat from a spoon, you have to actually pause between bites as you re-load your spoon and get it back into the mouth. Jay is NOT happy about this pause. He wants me to have his next bite ready and waiting at his lips. If you're not prepared for this next bite, he makes a fist and growls at you. Seriously. My mom calls it the Incredible Hulk face, and it's pretty accurate, particularly when his face is smeared with the offending peas. Confession time: I sometimes pause extra long between bites just to see him make the face. While I probably won't win Mom of the Year for doing that, it is absolutely the funniest thing he does.


Ha! This is a boy after my own heart, for I, too, love eating real food a whole lot, and I also growl and shake my fist when I don't get it fast enough.

Posted by Brandi on September 25, 2008 at 11:00 AM EDT #

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jesus Loves Me, this I know

Tuesday Sep 16, 2008

Jesus loves me this I know...

For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak but he is strong

Sunday was a very special day in Jay's life - his baby dedication. I've gotten several questions from non-Baptist friends along the lines of "What the heck is a baby dedication, and how's it different from a baby's christening/baptism/(insert name of your favorite baby religious service here)?" Well, the short answer is that there's no water involved. This Presbyterian-raised Baptist convert won't pretend to be an expert on the finer points of Baptist theology and infant vs. adult baptism - you can Google that yourself. Traditionally we Baptists baptize by immersion (thus the name!) as adults, and present babies to God and to the church through a baby dedication. For me, the baby dedication is a way to thank God for the amazing gift of our child, and for us to publicly promise to raise him in a way that guides him to the opportunity to know Christ and develop his own sense of faith in him.

In the service, we as parents are asked to do two things - to promise to raise Jay in a home filled with Christian love, and to give attention to our relationship to each other. Piece of cake! We do that every day, right?

I'd certainly like to think so ... but when you think about it, these are the "big picture" things that can get lost in the day-to-day routine of diaper changing, bottle washing, and laundry. So how exactly do you guide a child into belief in God? You simply can't force faith. I've thought & prayed about this a lot, and what I've decided is that, for right now, the bottle washing and diaper changing are modeling God's love. Jay doesn't know where his next meal will come from. He certainly can't get up and warm a bottle himself. But he'll be fed every day, and he knows that when he cries, his needs will be met.

The same is true for us ... it's in the day-to-day, unexciting regular routine that our faith is formed & strengthened. We don't know what scary thing may be right around the corner. (And as first time parents, we really don't know what we're doing!) But I know that when I ask for guidance, when I cry for help, God places people in my path who are there to show me the way. So I head off to wash those bottles yet again, and try to remember that I am showing him what love is all about.

So here's a picture of the McClan at the big event. Don't you think Jay is saying "Hallelujah!" ?!?


Somehow I survived Jay's dedication with only a few tears and now I read your blog and cry like a baby! Thanks for reminding me that God is there for me in the day to day hustle.

Posted by Jen B on September 16, 2008 at 12:05 PM EDT #

I think you are right on regarding the purpose of the baby dedication. Baptism is a decision I hope he will make on his own as I know you hope this, too. As for forcing religion on him, remember that the world has no reservation forcing it's 'religion' on our children as you will no doubt encounter. Starting them off with a godly background gives them a foundation they will never leave. Even when they seem to flounder, it will be there.
Thanks for inviting us to share this special occasion with you.

Posted by Great Aunt Ali on September 18, 2008 at 08:10 PM EDT #

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Goin' to the chapel & we're gonna get married...

Thursday Sep 04, 2008

Goin' to the chapel & we're gonna get married...

Ahh, wedding season strikes again. When we graduated from college, my roommate's dad told me that all I'm going to do every weekend for the next year of my life is go to weddings & help people move. It was completely true ... the only thing he was wrong about is that it's lasted far longer than a year. After 8 years, the weddings are still going strong. Luckily, the moving has slowed down some, but boy has Derek developed some mad U-Haul packing skillz!

We've now been to two weddings in the past two weeks, and we had a blast at both. The first was Jay's "Aunt Mimi" in Colorado. Beautiful dress, gorgeous flowers, stunning table decor ... a wonderful event overall. The best part was that we got to spend lots of quality time with the bride & groom - I helped with decorating for the big event, and we even got their undivided attention at breakfast the morning after the wedding. It was great to get to know Mr. Groom ... especially since this was the first time I'd actually met him!

The only drawback to the whole weekend? That infamous "stomach bug" that reared its ugly head on the airplane going out there. Yup, it struck me about 4 a.m. on Saturday and hit Derek a little bit later that day. The only thing we could keep down that day was Gatorade and saltine crackers. But we were not going to miss the wedding of the decade - and we really were feeling better (not great, mind you, but a helluva lot better!) by the wedding. Unfortunately, the bride did not fare quite so well the next day, and she came down with it too. There are no apologies that can begin to make up for giving your friend the ultimate wedding "gift" of a stomach virus on her wedding night. All I can say is that if we're still friends after that, she must really like us! And we really are sorry.

So, on to wedding #2 and camping. Yes, it's not just any wedding that allows you to build in a camping trip, but we managed to incorporate both. Derek was a groomsman in this one - the groom was his close friend from vet school. The wedding was also beautiful - they carried out the orange & brown colors through everything ... the handmade invitations, the programs, the orange flowers, the bride's orange shoes, even the groomsmen's ORANGE ARGYLE SOCKS. Yep, and they actually looked good! Derek's thinking of reusing them to dress as Payne Stewart for Halloween...

But because the Catholic service was going to be about an hour, we were pretty sure we couldn't keep Jay quiet that long. So he got to spend the night with his Granna, but she brought him to the reception to meet everyone. Then she headed off to the campground and we followed a few hours behind. We had a great time camping - much better, in fact, than I ever would have expected. Jay was a trouper, happily enduring being held by lots and lots of Granna & Steve's friends at the campground. He slept between us in the tent and seemed to think that camping was pretty cool. (He seems to think that sleeping with Mom & Dad is pretty cool anywhere ... whether in a tent or in a house!)

But the best part is that Jay met a girlfriend at each of the weddings ... each a niece of the bride/groom, and older women in both cases. We'll see if the romance lasts with either of his potential ladies!

Wedding #1:

And wedding #2:

A big congrats to both couples - we had a great time at your weddings, and we wish you both all the love & happiness in the world! And we wish you both LOTS and LOTS of babies!!


By the way, I had no idea you all were sick in Colorado! Mom told me after ya'll left that you'd had the bug. Glad you're feeling better, and the bride too!

Posted by Jamie J on September 04, 2008 at 08:07 PM EDT #

Of course I still like you! I love you guys - even if you did give me a killer stomach bug on my wedding night. It was great to see you all. I'm already looking forward to our next time together.

Posted by Aunt Mimi on September 08, 2008 at 12:10 AM EDT #