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Working and breastfeeding

August 28, 2009

As Dean noted in his last post (are you catching the vibe that he prefers to blog about sustainable lifestyle topics?), we have acquired a vacuum food sealer, a dehydrator, and a freezer in recent days. But I have a confession about that freezer. It’s so I can freeze breast milk.

My first son weaned himself at 8 months, and that was largely because I was working quite a bit and had returned to school. I was devastated. Granted, we had started solid foods at this point, but I felt a tremendous amount of disappointment because I had wanted to nurse him for a full year. He just wasn’t interested anymore, and I suspect it was because we’d started supplementing with formula: we didn’t have a good system for storing breast milk, much less the means to afford a good pump. I remember being on the night shift at Hilltop House–I was a CNA back in those days–and having excruciating pain because Elder Son had refused the breast the evening before.

Now that I’m older and more well-established in my (non-health-care-related) career, I have a better shot at succeeding with this. My mother instilled in me a trust in my body to provide for my children; she breastfed us back when it wasn’t encouraged at all. So even though I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to cloth-diaper the kid the way I would if I were a stay-at-home-mom, I am reasonably sure that I will be able to do keep providing breast milk for son #2 for the full year and then some, if possible. I have a supportive work environment that includes a room for such things, and I’m working on the day care piece of it.

But the freezer eliminates the storage-space worry I’d been having. I like putting food by, and find that when I don’t, I overbuy and watch things overspoil. So the freezer portion of my fridge is always packed. I started looking out for a supplemental freezer, preferably a small chest style, for under a hundred dollars. On Tuesday, I scored.

I dated a guy whose family was Mennonite for a year and a half some years back, and one of the best things I got out of that relationship was an appreciation for managing food storage. Buying a dozen ears of corn, for instance, when you’re only eating two; cook the whole batch; slicing the kernels off the extra ears, and freezing them in quart-size freezer bags is a great way to never buy a bag of much-less-tasty commercial frozen corn, for instance.

Now I can pursue more of that, which will come in very handy as I make my own baby food as well. So you can see why sustainable living is an important topic in our family life, as people, and as parents. And as we shift out of pregnancy mode in a few months and into life with baby, we’ll continue to share our little piece of how we’re making the world better for our kids.

Speaking of which, I need to finish Elder Son’s laundry….

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