On Cause and Effect

That seems like the most appropriate title to describe the myriad of things going on in my life right now...

I haven’t blogged in two days, and I feel like I’ve been out of touch forever! It was only supposed to be a one-day break, but more on that later…

Minimizing my negative impact on the environment, along with how I’m going to teach my son to minimize his, has been on my mind a lot lately.  My cloth diapers finally arrived in the mail, so I took a day to research and read  about how to care for them, other varieties we may want to try, different folds, etc.  (who knew there was so much to learn?!)

But, sitting here with my cup of decaf in a disposable cup with plastic lid, I’m still feeling like it’s not enough. For several years, the husbo and I have been committed to recycling plastic, glass, newspaper and magazines; composting; using rain barrels to utilize rainwater; growing much of our own food without using chemicals or pesticides; buying local products when possible; phasing out plastic (harder than we ever imagined…); line drying our laundry; living in a tiny little house with a ridiculously small footprint, and the list goes on….

While these are all things we’re proud of, we’ve recently set a few more goals for ourselves…

-As mentioned,  we’re giving reusable cloth diapers a go, along with reusable nursing pads and maxi pads for me, whenever I need them again. We’re going to try reusable baby wipes, too, and see how that goes. I really need a sewing machine, because these are all things I can make with a little practice, and that will save me a fortune.

-On the rare occasion that we dine out in a restaurant, we will bring our own glass containers for leftovers.

-Further baby-proof our house, getting rid of all hazardous cleaning supplies in favor of things like vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. Those “green cleaners” we have are OK, but they’re not nearly as green as they sound, and they still come in big ol’ plastic bottles.

-Reexamining the things we “need.” Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Since my mind has been in the appropriate frame lately, we rented No Impact Man last night (It’s a documentary-type film about a couple in NYC who try to reduce their negative impact on the environment to zero over the course of a year.) Miraculously, I made it through the whole thing…awake! If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out. It might spark an idea or two. (Don’t miss the scene where the couple and their toddler are stomping laundry in the bathtub.)

So, like a good eco-conscious mommy, I spent my day off learning the finer points of the jelly roll fold

…and then I pulled a colossal stupid move.

I went to work without the parts to my breastpump.

You see, my pump is a large bag with a motor inside, and attached to that there is a long hose with suction parts on the end that have to be cleaned after each use. Well, with no less than a thousand things to pack up each morning before work, I left those nice, clean parts lying next to the sink while I was gone for a ten-hour day.

This does bad, bad things to a mommy’s milk supply.

I am a HUGE advocate for learning how to hand-express, for just such occasions, and I was able to express about 4 ounces to relieve the worst of my pain (a feat in itself), but by the end of the day, I was feeling feverish and extremely sore, and my breasts felt like bags full of hard walnuts. From one day of not nursing or pumping, my supply dropped from 5-6 ounces per side, per pumping session to about one ounce on the left and two on the right. 

It was definitely time to panic, and then get on the horn with the Lactation Consultant ASAP.

This is what we came up with:

-I needed to pump and nurse, pump and nurse, over and over for the next several days, even taking my baby to bed with me so he could nurse at will all night long. Milk production is all based on supply and demand, so I needed him to DEMAND!!

I need to eat more. All recommendations I’ve been given say that I should strive for no less than 2600 calories a day, and the fact that I’ve started running again could drive that number even higher. That’s a lot of food! For the first time in my life, I’m finally getting a handle on overeating, binge eating, disordered eating, shameful eating, and inclusion vs. exclusion in my diet, and now I have to force myself to eat more food? This is a lot to wrap my head around. I had a dream last night that I was invited to a last-minute wedding and had to wear a dress from the boxes of clothes I have in the garage or else go naked, and all of them fit horribly in one way or another. Methinks mesmells a bit of body anxiety resurfacing…..

I need to sleep more. My boy’s been waking a lot during the night because he is in a huge developmental surge right now, which overstimulates him to the point where he has a hard time turning it off to go to sleep (Crawling is exciting stuff!) but I’m also having trouble sleeping. I’ve had a lot of nightmares lately. Not sure what that’s all about…

I need to drink more. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m always dehydrated, but I’m working on that. I take a diuretic for my blood pressure, as well as a thyroid med, so I have to be extra careful and make sure to “bottoms-up” a whole lot more than I’ve been.

I need to decrease stress. Duh. Doesn’t everyone?

It seems that I’ve got a sh*t ton of goals set forth for me. No stress, right?  

So, my one day off turned into two and I spent the past 48 hours tethered to my baby and my pump, nursing like it’s my job (it is, in fact, my most important job.) My supply is not yet back to normal, but I’m banking on it increasing in the next few days. I apologize if I’ve rambled, or if this post qualifies as TMI, but the thought of not being able to feed my son is just devastating to me,  and I hope there are some mommies out there who can benefit from my mistake. Slow down, take care of yourself, and remember your pump parts (and learn the fine art of manual expression, just in case!) 

Now I’m going to try to take my own advice. Food pics, soon…I promise!


  1. says

    I love how much you and your family are doing to minimize your footprint. I always want to do more, but find myself sometimes getting lazy…I used to hang dry all of our clothes, but we now live in a house with a dryer, which is just so easy. But we’re growing a garden, eat vegetarian (except when my boyfriend is out), and compost and recycle. It all takes some effort, that’s for sure.

  2. says

    Thanks, Lisa! It does get overwhelming sometimes, that’s for sure. But it makes me feel really positive, so I try to keep it up where I can.

    It sounds like you are definitely doing a lot! I find the best way is to set one goal at a time and once that becomes habit, move on to the next.

    Rule of thumb: Not perfection, just progression…

  3. says

    I really admire all of your goals. I definitely need to improve in terms of my environmental impact, and I don’t even have a baby yet! (p.s. I am totally clueless about things like breast pumps and cloth diapers – I’m learning so much from you!)

    p.s. Saw on facebook that your boy likes fresh avocado – he has excellent taste! 😉


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