So how is it to try to do all this academic and career madness with a 4 month old, you ask? (Or, at least, that was what I was wondering last fall.)
Well, most of the time it's pretty doable. Today I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed. So it goes. (Days like this it's just about having faith that it will all work out.) As I've said before, and can't say enough, it's all about getting help. You need a helpful partner and you need paid help. This year's CWIB conference keynote speaker, Shellye Archambeau, CEO of MetricStream, (absolutely fantastic speaker btw) echoed that - it's all about finding help and making a detailed plan and sticking to it.
One thing that is sort of hard to imagine if you've never had a baby before is how hard it is to fit breastfeeding/pumping into a busy, on the go life. Babies need to eat every 2-4 hours and while the frequency lessens as they get older, it's still pretty frequent. Hence, even if you're not nursing all the time, you need to pump frequently when away from your baby or else your milk supply will decrease (which is bad news) and/or your breasts feel like they're about to explode (niice). So, now imagine where, how and when you will pump every 3 hours or so while rushing around to class, study group meetings, lunch and learns, recruiting events, meals ... ? It's challenging and you can't forgo it. Not only do you need to haul your pump around everywhere and plot out where and when you can next pump, but then you need to be able to store the expressed milk somewhere. It's really tiring honestly. And, for those of you who haven't breastfed before, the milk is not just on demand, ready to be pumped at your whim. Without a real baby on hand, your body is reluctant to let go of the milk, which adds this whole other layer of complication and frustration onto an already challenging situation.
The good part about breasfeeding, aside from the superior nutritional value for your baby and the amazing calorie burning impact for the mom (especially when you have no time to go to the gym!), is that when you are home and able to nurse, it makes feeding a lot easier than preparing a bottle. But I'll admit it's a lot harder than I expected and I'll be really glad to not have to fit that into my day.
The other challenge is trying to be productive on the weekend when Y and I are on full parent duty. Evenings are hardest since Baby Y fights sleep ... oops, he just began screaming ... off soothe him to sleep (again).