Sunday, August 21, 2005

Counting chickens

I am a multitasker extraordinaire, I marvelled at myself, as I walked on the treadmill with my babe strapped to my back, the breast pump strapped to my front, a bottle of filtered water in one hand, and a book in the other. I am the queen of multitasking, I revelled. Calculations fluttered through my mind. How profitable this venture can be, I thought with much excitement. Thirty minutes on the breast pump four times a day, coupled with the treadmill. That's two hours of exercise a day, when before there was none. Two hours of exercise a day! Imagine how svelte I soon shall be! Not to mention the books I will finally get to read. Oh, the excitement.

Twenty two minutes and forty four seconds into this revelry I had to pause, put down the book and the bottle, flip the stop switch on the breast pump, unstrap the tubes, and hasten to the nearest mirror where I could check my babe who had slipped further and further down my back as the minutes passed. I couldn't make it the entire thirty minutes. What if his face was buried in my back and he couldn't breathe? What if the carrier was cutting his circulation and his legs were turning blue? Thankfully, his face was fully exposed so he could breathe freely. He was fast asleep, and no harm had befallen him. I adjusted him a little and stepped back on the treadmill, plugged in the tubes, switched on the pump, switched on the treadmill, and proceeded to walk the remaining seven minutes and fourteen seconds.

Three minutes and twenty three seconds later I found myself unable to stop worrying about my little babe, sleeping soundly with his face against my sweaty back. Had he slipped even further down? I must make sure to practice the back carry more often, so I can get the hang of how to tie him in just right. Four minutes twelve seconds. Why are these seven minutes dragging on so? Five minutes fifty nine seconds. At last. The minute digit will change to six, I can count down the last fifty nine seconds and then it will be seven and then the final fourteen seconds will be over in no time and finally, we will be through. Finally. Shut down the treadmill. Turn off the breast pump. Unplug the tubes. Turn off the fan. Make sure I've got my balance, hurry downstairs to the kitchen sink. Take off the bottles, set them on the counter, remove the collection funnels and the hands free strap (great gizmo, by the way), hurry to the sofa to ever so gently take down my sleeping babe. Ignore the frowning husband who is shaking his head with that what-in-the-hell-hairbrained-idea-is-she-up-to-now expression on his face. The babe stirs and squirms, looks for his pacifier, finds it, stuffs it in his mouth like a pro, sucks contentedly, and drifts back to sleep. I return to the kitchen to tend to my bottles. With much dismay I realize the revelry and self-bestowed congratulations were premature as I measure the yield; a paltry four ounces. Four ounces. Why only four ounces? I ran to my computer, topless, and did a quick Google search. Does excercise diminish milk supply? I didn't find an article about exercise while expressing. Only that babies might not like the taste of milk expressed or nursed immediately after excercising, but that exercising in general has not been found to diminish milk supply. Of course there wouldn't be an article about exercising while expressing breast milk. What kind of a hair brained idea is that? Suddenly I can't help but recall the hours of research I had spent in the early days trying to find out what impedes breastfeeding. There was that magical and mystical phenomenon that I had yet to experience --letdown. The conclusion of the matter was that stress interferes with letdown. One must be relaxed. I should have known better. Exercise is a form of stress.

Crushed, defeated, I returned to the living room and put on my shirt. What is good for milk supply? Calories and fluids. I guess I won't be spending two hours a day on the treadmill after all, and I am not quite as extraordinary as I thought. I think I'll have some ice cream. And maybe some potato chips after that.


Blogger Suse said...

Oh gosh I'm exhausted just reading this post. Without a baby strapped to my back. And I'm on a chair. And I have my clothes on (I'm in the library).

You are amazing. Now go enjoy that ice cream and book.

6:09 PM, August 22, 2005  

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