The IdeaList.

Remember when I said that we’d be getting rid of the TV set in our bedroom because I wanted to set an early example for my son? That didn’t happen. In fact, sometimes the TV stays on even when I’m not in the room. And I have watched shows I never thought I’d watch just to pass the monotonous time spent pumping breastmilk. The removal of the TV, along with a dozen other claims I made over the last 9 months, have made it onto The IdeaList.

1). I’m Getting Rid of the TV Set!


2). Cloth Diapers Are Great for the Environment and Cheap!

I said I’d use cloth diapers because I didn’t want to add to all the unnecessary waste that Americans tend to produce. I think my answer to all those who suggested that using cloth diapers wasn’t as easy as it looked was, “Yeah, well, this is going to be my job. I will find the time!” And I was really set on the cloth diapers. But we’ve been shipping more and more used Pampers to the landfill known as Staten Island. I simply cannot find the time right now to add cloth diapers into our daily routine. Cloth diapers will have to wait until we’re not going through diapers like they’re tissues. Seriously, at times we go through three diapers in under a minute. This phenomenon usually takes place when Tobyjoe is changing him. He’ll take the soiled diaper off Emory only to have him squeeze another pile of poo onto the new one that waits below. And then once that one is firmly in place, sealed and ready to do its job, Emory will squeeze out another pile of poo. I can’t imagine going through a Poop Trifecta using cloth diapers.

3). Diapers You Can Flush! Holy Shit!

And I said I’d give gDiapers a try. What a great idea! And flushable diapers are a great idea if you have running water and a toilet in your baby’s nursery. We do not. As a matter of fact, Emory’s room is the room furthest away from the bathroom. I can barely get to the diaper wipes let alone into the bathroom in order to flush and clean his gDiaper. They are a great idea in theory and in time perhaps they will work.

4). Plastic = Bad. Glass = Good.

Plastic has all sorts of chemicals in it, unnecessary chemicals that can be harmful to your baby. So we were going to use glass bottles. And we got some and they are awesome. Thing is, we have yet to introduce the glass bottle into our daily feeding routine. I currently pump using the yellow and plastic bottles that come with the Medela Breast Pump. I then transfer the breast milk into the Dr. Brown’s bottles my sister-in-law, Melissa, gave us. (These things are awesome for gassy babies.) Emory likes the nipples that come with Dr. Brown’s. Almost as much as he enjoys chewing on my nipples. He’s perfectly pleased with using the plastic bottles and their nipples.


… like a champ!


Breastfeeding has been the single most difficult thing for me to work with after having a baby. It literally consumes the majority of my day. If I’m not cleaning pumping supplies, I’m pumping. If I’m not pumping, I’m applying Lanolin. If I’m not applying Lanolin, I’m wearing ice cold cabbage leaves. If I’m not paying attention to my boobs or actually using them, I’m thinking about what to feed them in order to make the produce better. My torso has become a farm and that farm isn’t making profit and I’m ready to fire its leader. Me.

My boobs have become the focal point of this operation second only to the baby. There are moments where I want to give up on breastfeeding entirely especially since my boobs are still producing dwindling amounts. I am so frustrated by the whole breastfeeding fiasco. And I’m quickly becoming one of those women who solely wants to pump. I was told by a lactation consultant, “I don’t care how he gets the food from the upscale restaurant, as long as he gets it. If it’s take out, then so be it.” Granted, I have received countless email letting me know that Emory will bring more milk to my breast, but I’m having difficulty getting him to latch on correctly and for longer than a few minutes at a time. He either falls asleep or just sits there with my boob hanging out of his mouth and I’m like, dude, wake up! There are things that must be done after I feed you! Breastfeeding is not as easy as it may sound. It’s not easy at all. I was kidding myself to think otherwise.

The IdeaList gets longer every day. Pacifiers? We use them. Fussiness? It’s rewarded with being picked up and snuggled on. And I realize that my intentions, while possibly noble, were not realistic for this new mother. I simply do not have the right number of hands, arms, and legs to make all of this happen. And there aren’t enough hours in the day to see to it things go off without a hitch. There’s always something to do, someone to feed, something to clean. And if I’m not doing one of the most important things, there’s sleep to catch up on. Sleep? Huh?

This is the most difficult job I have ever had. I have worked for tyrants. I have lost nights worth of sleep trying to finish up a design project, but nothing compares to this. I have served drunk frat boys at an all night diner. I have even cleaned up their puke, and that was still easier than this. And yet somehow I shower every day. I have no idea when or how that takes place. And I can never remember if I’ve brushed my teeth or combed my hair. And I have to change my diaper as often (if not more so) than the baby’s. I hate that I have to wear pads all the time and that the bleeding is still going strong. I asked someone recently how long I’ll continue to bleed and they answered, “Six weeks.” This magical six week mark will apparently bring with it true euphoria delivered on a baby’s smile.

And on top of all those things I said I’d do and have either failed at or have given up on, I’m battling with the Baby Blues every single night. There are times where I ask myself if I can actually do this at all. I worry he’s entirely too fragile for me to care for. I worry I’ll screw up somehow. And that makes me feel worse. So every day I set aside a little time to cry. And somehow that makes me feel a little better, a facial shower preparing me for another night. And somehow it works.



  1. I love you Michele. Your honesty, your humor, and your huge heart.

    You can do this…you ARE doing it. Being a mother IS the hardest job in the world. You are figuring things out a little at a time. I promise you it will get easier. Seriously. It takes time for your hormones to chill out and for a routine to be discovered.

    Whatever goes on, please try to go easy on yourself. If things aren’t going exactly as you envisioned or planned, that is no failure! You are adapting; adjusting; figuring it all out.

    You are doing a kick-ass job, in my eyes. We all cry and want to rip our hair out sometimes being parents. Keep talking and sharing like you are, and let us show you that you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings. That was such a huge revelation to me when my daughter was a baby. I really thought I was the only person to ever think it was hard; to ever have thoughts of giving up.

    You are not alone and you can do this. I have no doubts whatsoever.


  2. I 2nd everything Sarah has said. You can do it & you are doing it. It is still very early. A couple of weeks ago two of you left the house and when you returned there were 3 of you. Things will settle down. Imagine the transition into kindergarten or college or living with Toby. You didn’t figure everything out right away. It took a while to adjust & this might be the biggest adjustment you will ever make. You will develop a routine. The triple diaper changes will slow down (trust me I’ve been there.) You will find a way to introduce new products & methods of parenting, but right now all you have to do is maintain to the best of your ability. You are not alone. You have your real support system & your vitural support system cheering you on. When I had my first child I thought, “Holy crap! Is the rest of my life going to be this hard? Is there ever going to be time for anything other than the survival of this child?” But I’ve said it before: everything passes, everything changes. You won’t be in this stage forever. Things will get easier. You are stronger than you might think, but we know you and Toby & Emory will survive and thrive.


  3. The ladies speak the truth. You stay open and honest and you are not saying anything we have not all felt at one time or another. If it is any consolation, I had a moment on Saturday where Grace in an attempt to escape her father’s kiss banged her head in the bridge of my nose. I thought I broke it. I just cried. I went up stairs to draw her a bath. She was crying asking if I was ok, I was crying and saying I was ok and back and forth it went. Sometimes, you just need to let it out. It isnt easy and it gets easier but it shifts from physical to mental exhaustion.

    I have read that they are making disposable diapers to degrade. It isnt a twinky or a hotdog. We have no problem eating those. Oh, you could be like the chinese. Their toddlers wear pants with the seam in the crotch open so they can do their business. No undies no diapers.

    I have full confidence in you and you are a strong woman. Take it one poop and one feeding at a time. Before you know it Emory will be going off to college.


  4. Hey Michele,

    Hang in there! Couple of thoughts on the breastfeeding front. My son was not a good latcher until he was about 6 weeks old. A nurse told me to place a bottle nipple over my nipple to stimulate supply and get him to suck properly. Worked like a charm – and since Emory already takes a bottle without a problem, he won’t be nipple confused, which was my concern. Medela also sells nipple shields that help – they are similar to bottle nipples. One more thing – I was always told to use cold cabbage leaves to prevent engorgement or to reduce supply. Not to increase it. I know some women use cabbage to stop their supply entirely after birth (if they choose to formula feed). Might explain the continuing supply problems.


  5. Wow, on the cabbage leaves! Yeah, ok, so those will be retired for now as well. Is there some sort of vegetable I can tie to my tits to make them produce better? Heh

    Hopefully, as Emory gets older, he’ll stay awake long enough to feed for longer than a few minutes at a time. I blow and blow on him, tickle his feet, etc. My boobs, I think they serve Ambient.


  6. What a great post!

    My “baby” is now 16, her brother 23. I was 16 when I became a mother, and I remember all the stress of dealing with a new baby and then returning to school, doing homework, etc. I’m still not sure how I did it. I didn’t breastfeed my son, but I tried to breastfeed my daughter and also had boobs that served Ambien. I gave up after two weeks and worked hard to pump as much as possible. That only lasted like a week more.

    I also did the cloth diaper thing and struggled to keep those diapers clean on her poop schedule. Babies are amazing little poop machines, aren’t they?

    My best advice to you is don’t be too hard on yourself. Everything is new right now, and you’ll make it through one way or another. I dare say you’re doing a terrific job!


  7. I don’t know if it’s 100% correct but I used cabbage leaves to get rid of my milk supply as I stopped nursing my son. It help with engorgement and drying up my milk. Like I said I may not be 100% on that but be careful!! Especially since you have been struggling with your supply.
    I cloth diaper my son but didn’t start until he was 3 months old bx of that same fact of 3 diapers in 1 diaper change. Anytime you start you are doing the environment a favor!! BTW, I love cloth diapering my guy. Lots of extra laundry but worth it when you see them in their cute little diapers.


  8. Careful with glass bottles- I have a huge scar on one of my fingers from when I was a baby, and the glass bottle fell out of the car when the door was opened, and I wanted to get it and fell on top of it. Ouch. My parents learned their lesson.


  9. Hi Michele,

    I ‘d say hold off on cabbage leaves …they won’t help you produce. Lots of stuff will though. Go to for the best ( I think) info on the net.

    Maybe Tobyjoe cpould help out!

    Cn you believe it?

    remember a happy mom is a happy baby. DONT stress yourself out. Do whats best for you.



  10. I had it very easy with breastfeeding, so I don’t really know what you’re dealing with, but I do hope you stick with it. I know a couple of things:
    – one, it sounds like you are being paranoid about your milk supply. You can’t judge from what you pump out! because pumping is not natural and it can be very difficult. I always had a problem pumping – my breasts would be full and hard and yet nothing came out. It is VERY rare that a mother – even the most flat chested woman – does not produce enough milk. Usually only happens with breasts that have had operations, etc.
    – two, if you ever are going to want to travel with your baby – even go out to dinner around the corner – the easiest thing to do is breastfeed and not worry about carrying around bottles and assorted supplies. It is great to be able to go anywhere and always have food for your baby within you. You really never have to worry about feeding them. Still, at 11 months, if my daughter is hungry and we are out, I just need to give her my breast.
    – three, aside from La Leche league and other web sites, I recommend The Breastfeeding Book by Dr Sears. It will give you a lot of useful information and dispel alot of myths.

    When you start with solids, at 6 months, the diapers will get better. I’ve used g Diapers from time to time and they are great except that yes, since virtually no one has a toilet in their baby’s room you end up carrying around a diaper full of poop from one end of the house to the other…not exactly hygienic.


  11. I second DrSears for anything. His website is also a good source of quick info. I like the way he discusses vaccines…..not judging just facts with risks and benefits of each. And the way he says when to call dr, go to emerg, or wait it out is fab.

    Living so far from home I use him a lot to make sure my dr’s are remotely close to what wouyld happen at home.


  12. If it makes you feel better, I cried all the time too and I didn’t have any list I was trying to meet. The responsibility of a baby is overwhelming and hormones are just so out of whack. I know of few women who didn’t spend a few hours crying every day.

    I will say we never found it inconvenient to have to bring bottles with us. There are so many products that make transporting bottles very easy. We ate out and traveled all the time when both of our kids were using bottles. In fact, you might even find bringing a bottle (formula or breast milk) great for you if you go out to eat. Toby can feed Emory and you can relax and eat.


  13. Hang in there, sweetie. xo


  14. You are awesome! I wish I could’ve read your blog before I breastfed so I wouldn’t have felt like such a loser.
    Breastfeeding was my biggest struggle. I wanted to do it so badly and I wanted it to happen so easily…what a shock! Most people I’ve talked to (myself included) have a rough time for the first six weeks. I struggled through and still ended up having to supplement with formula. Even worse – I recently went to my baby class reunion and was told by the instructor that if it hurt I was doing it wrong – agghhhhh!
    Just stick it out for those first six weeks and then all you’ll remember is that it sucked for a while. BTW, the bleeding was awful and seemed to go on forever, but on the flip side, Roman’s 4 months (and 1 week) and I still haven’t gotten my period!
    Smile, improved eyesight, no more bleeding – keep your eye on the prize, girl!


  15. Things that help supply:

    • Oatmeal (not instant)
    • Lots of water
    • Pump even after you are done (stimulation on a dry well = body thinks baby is still hungry and produces well)
    • Keeping him at the breast as much as possible, even if he’s not drinking. Nice hormonal thing happens.
    • Fenugreek – available at GNC. You will know you are taking enough when you start smelling like maple syrup
    • Mother’s Milk Tea

    Thing that help keep them awake (oh this was a big one for us):
    Gently poke him under the jaw—like between the corner of his chin and the jaw, smack in the middle of the fleshy part right behind the bone. If his sucking slows down, poke. I had to poke every 5 seconds, but it worked! Way better than being cold or tickling.

    Things you should do:
    • Rest and try to smile. I was exactly where you were and it does get better. It really really does. The gravity of it all will ease, I promise you.


  16. Oh and I meant to be more descriptive with the poke thing. Use 2 fingers, like you were going to take his pulse on the neck. Feel his jaw bone and move into the fleshy double chin goodness towards his chin. You will find the right spot pretty easy. Just press that spot with those 2 fingertips like you were taking his pulse. Kinda firm, but not jutting them in there.

    The most awesome nurse in the world taught me this after Lactation Consultant left me confused and crying. She also taught me a great trick to get a good strong latch from a lazy nurser, but I can’t really describe it aside from “turn lazy baby mouth into fierce piranha and SHOVE.” Both worked like a charm.


  17. I have tried the poke thing but not as you described and only with one finger. I’ll give that a go as well.

    Also, I added the cabbage leaves bit in for the purpose of adding the heap of things to do to a lactating breast. I wanted to say that I have only done that twice. I didn’t know it was to slow down milk supply, so I thank you all for letting me know. But I don’t think that’s why I’m producing milk in such small amounts.

    I try and put him to my breasts several times a day and he does still take the nipple but he doesn’t really suck for long at all. I’ll try the other things you mentioned but for now I have to continue pumping, unfortunately. And I know that some folks think it’s a bad idea, that breast feeding from the breast is the only way to go, but I”m doing what I can to get him my milk at all. Unfortunately, regarding the whole no bottle before two weeks of age thing, I didn’t have that luxury. Emory was sick for the first 48 hours. He spent most of them in NICU. They ran tests to find out why he was projectile vomiting (at one point it was green, a big red flag for a kink in his system). I had a decision to make: I could either be a true breast feeding nazi and tell the doctors NOT to feed him during that time, or I could do what I had to do and tell them to do and get him to eat. That was my main concern, getting him to eat. People kept asking me, “how much has he eaten?” And it’d had been 48 hours and I kept saying NOTHING. He hadn’t eaten anything because he kept throwing up.

    Watching him go through that brought more tears to my face than I have ever known possible. I decided that using a bottle to feed him was the decision that had to be made. So, yeah. I can’t go back on that decision. And even if I could, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I just wanted him to get some food.

    He does know how to use many a nipples now and does still take from my breast. So I didn’t break him entirely. And he’s healthy now and there’s no more vomiting.

    I did what I thought I had to regarding the whole bottle/breastfeeding thing.


  18. Michele,

    ANd you did and are doing the right thing.

    There are no gold medals for parenting. Only breast fed babies don’t get preferential treatment in the real world. Smart, well adjusted children do so Emory will do great.

    It sounds like you need a group of good girl friends to come over and laugh and cry with you.

    If a book, Tv show, doctor, person is making you feel crappy about your parenting throw the to the side and find one that supports you and your lifestyle.



  19. snow again again August 20, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Oh sweets, don’t feel bad about bottle feeding him. Heavens. You did what you had to do at the time, and if you end up exclusively pumping and supplementing, he’ll certainly be no worse for the wear! If he takes many different kinds of nipples and still nurses, just not super effectively, it’s not nipple confusion or laziness. And it’s nothing that you could have prevented. If you’re content to pump and bottle feed him while trying to work on it, by golly, keep doing what you’re doing and try not to second guess yourself.

    I started exclusively pumping right around 3 months, and I did it for a good while. And it was totally fine, she got the goods and that was the goal. Honestly, I actually preferred the pumping over the frustration of keeping a lazy nursling on task. Plus, I was able to pump a lot of milk in fewer sessions. So instead of nursing every two hours, I could pump 1 time every 4 and have 2 bottles for her.

    Keep on keepin’ on, Michele. Let the pump run even if no more milk is coming out. It takes a while sometimes, but almost everyone will start producing more with more demand. And an empty breast signals more demand. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for your body to figure out that pump=baby too. So keep your chin up and give it your best shot, and don’t beat yourself up over anything. Seriously. He’s still fresh and you’re still raw from the whole thing. You’re doing a great job, so focus on that big picture—the sweet healthy baby you have on your hands. You’re doing right by him. Bottle, boob, formula, breastmilk, whatever.


  20. I found your blog through Torrie’s blog, I think.

    I have a 4 week old. Your baby blues sound just like mine, but mine progressed to excessive anxiety and into a prescription for ativan to help with that. Hang in there.

    Breastfeeding can be the hardest thing in the world. My daughter is a tongue thruster, so she barely opens her mouth and just keeps sticking her tongue out-hardly enough room to get my breast into her mouth. All I can do is lay her in front of my breast until she starts to get fussy and opens her mouth to cry-then I just shove it in. Works like a charm. I feel badly that that’s what it takes, but it’s the only way to get a good latch.

    And she always wants to fall asleep while eating. I’ve found that changing her diaper right before nursing helps. She hates having her diaper changed, and she cries and it wakes her up. If she continues falling asleep, I strip her down to her diaper. I’m sure you’ve heard all this before, and you may be sick of hearing it, but hopefully what I’ve had to say has helped a little bit.

    And I agree with you—Dr. Brown bottles rock! A friend gave methe Second Nature bottles, swearing up and down that they were the best because the nipple is like a woman’s nipple. I hated those bottles. We had to stop every few minutes because the nipple would collapse. It was also hard to screw the top on correctly. It just seemed like they were cheaply made and didn’t align properly. We introduced the bottle at only 4 days. We had to, because of some medication I was taking. I couldn’t nurse within 6 hours, so I’d have to pump ahead of time to be able to give that to her. She’s never had a problem with nipple confusion.

    Pumping sucks, but keep at it, even when nothing is coming out. You’ll eventually produce more. Wow, sorry about the long comment.

    Congratulations on the birth of your son!


  21. My son was in the NICU for a week because of an upper respiratory infection and it was a really rough and scary time. I’m sorry you had to go through that. Like you, I had to introduce formula/a bottle to him much earlier than I intended or wanted (and I felt terrible about it), but the doctors encouraged it because they said he needed the fluids to flush his system of the antibiotics and the infection. If I had nursed exclusively, they wouldn’t have been able to measure how much milk he was getting. So, that’s when and why I started pumping, and I became a fan of it early on. I knew that I wanted him to get breastmilk, and I didn’t care that he was getting it in a bottle. Even after he was better and home and all was well, I continued to pump almost exclusively, and he thrived. Hang in there, you’re doing a good job!


  22. Hugs to you Michele. I know that it is like to have to change your expectations. I had ideas of what parenting would be like and when I found out that I was having twins all of my expectations had to be adjusted, even my plans for birthing had to change.

    I know that previous commenters have already said it but hang in there.

    Please be easy on your self, this parenting thing is tricky and you haven’t been at the job all that long. I don’t think that you have failed at anything.

    I will pass along some advice my doula gave me. She said that I shouldn’t worry about anything for the first month other than feeding my babies. I think that this advice applies to any new mother, with one baby or more. There is lots of time to think about cloth diapers and glass bottles in the coming weeks. As long as Emory is producing wet and dirty diapers it doesn’t matter how he is getting his milk.

    I’m off to pump too, is it weird to say that I’ll be thinking of you? Sending milky vibes your way.



  23. phrase of the day: “Poop Trifecta.” Damn that’s a good one. i’ll be laughing about that all night. while i have no parenting advice to offer, i think it’s a great sign that you’re sense of humor is as sharp as ever! and your honesty makes me less fearful somehow of becoming a parent myself one day. Emory is one lucky little man.


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