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Saturday night: 

Who do I believe: myself, my partner, my baby, my own mom, my sisters who both have toddlers, the moms in my Mommy & Me group, other friends who have babies, the breast feeding community (book: Sweet Sleep), attachment parenting sleep styles (which means I have a baby barnacle attached to my nipples all night and barely sleep but is the path of least resistance) or the sleep training community (now my soul is dying)?

We nurse to sleep. Move Gia to her crib. Put her back all night long. End up bed sharing in the wee hours of the morning. Come up with a sleep plan we don’t follow because it doesn’t really work (The No Cry Sleep Solution, although I greatly respect this book and wish it would work better for us but Gia is just too persistent). Every night Gia’s sleep gets worse. I think I can’t take it anymore, only to be hit with a night worse than the one before. A typical night is bedtime routine at 6:30, nurse to sleep, put her down slightly awake at 7, she falls asleep, then is awake at 10, 11:30, 1:30, 3 – 4:30am, crying and laughing, then my alarm goes off at 6. I’m in a haze and my relationship isn’t fun anymore and I survive at work on coffee and have severe anxiety as nighttime approaches again. When she goes to sleep I lie in the dark listening for her first cry. I inevitably get confused, wishy-washy about our plan, passive-aggressive, and sometimes just plain aggressive in the middle of the night. I end up crying and nursing her in the bed, then getting ready for work in a bleary haze.

I know this is “normal.” I also know that the women in my group are NOT experiencing this. They’re still struggling with a few nights a week of difficulty getting the baby down or an extra night waking, but it’s nowhere near what we’re going through.

Did I hurt Gia with my “attachment parenting”? In my conviction to be there for her physically and emotionally, did I make her too needy? I’m terrified of this. I was such a sensitive kid, still am, and have so many serious attachment issues. Too many to even describe. Let’s just say I’m deeply insecure in my relationships. I have confidence in many areas of life, but on a personal level I’m impressionable, need a lot of reassurance, and also can be chaotic, both nasty and needy at the same time. I wanted to just love Gia and give myself to her completely so she never experienced this, but I’m slowly realizing that as far as sleep goes, both napping and nighttime, I haven’t given her enough autonomy and consistency to build her own confidence.

Yesterday I randomly texted a friend of mind who is also a psychologist. She’s someone I really look up to and trust. I don’t know her that well, but I know she’s happily married, is in recovery and therefore vulnerable but strong, and wouldn’t be okay with a harsh cry it out method. I thought she bed-shared because I’d seen pics of her and her sweet baby boy in bed together a few months ago. I asked her about it and explained what we’re going through, expecting her to reassure me that bed sharing is necessary and normal in our situation. But no, she said her boy has been sleeping in his own room for weeks thanks to a book called The Happy Sleeper and something called The Sleep Wave.

I literally grabbed the diaper bag and Gia and walked out of the house, drove to The Pump Station and bought this book. This morning I spent two hours reading it, taking notes and creating a plan, then the rest of the day reviewing things with J. We have to be on the exact same page or it won’t work. Already there are a lot of barriers – she wants to do bottles at night but I can’t produce enough milk for that. We can’t decide whether we’re ready to move Gia into her own room. Anyway, we came to some compromises and agreed on a plan.

Even bedtime, which is usually the only thing that works, has become a struggle. Gia cries after her bath and won’t settle down, a time that used to be fun and sweet for all of us. The Sleep Wave requires the same early bedtime we’ve been doing, but instead of nursing to sleep tonight, I nursed her and then we read to her. Then J took her to her crib and I made myself scarce. (This is because Gia is obsessed with breast feeding.) We let her cry for five minute increments. Every five minutes J went in and said the same loving confident mantra to her: “Time for sleep Gia, we love you, we’ll be right outside.” It took two cycles and then she went to sleep.

I can’t tell you what it does to me to hear her cry. I was in the kitchen crying myself. The distress and sadness I feel chips away at my soul. I swore I’d never ever do it. Gia needs help though. She’s just not sleeping. The past few nights she’s slept a total of like seven hours every 24 hours, no exaggeration. Even though she’s always in “bed” for 12 hours, she’s awake for most of it, then takes 30 minute naps during the day. The Happy Sleeper states that babies her age are ready to find their own soothing techniques. I know all there is to know about positive and negative sleep associations, ideal hours of sleep, nap schedules, nighttime routines, early bedtimes etc. I was beginning to want to throw it all away and just accept bedsharing for the next year or so, but even that stopped working for us. I was in a state of complete panic. I cried this morning when I woke up. I cried on the phone with my mother. I cried in front of Gia. 

Sunday night:

I woke up at 5am this morning confused. Then elated. It felt like Christmas morning but better.

After the sleep wave was over, J and I watched The Martian, ate frozen pizza, drank wine, I took a Xanax (not kidding), had ice cream, then fell into a deep sleep. 

I couldn’t wait to see my baby. I took her into the nursery where I’d been sleeping by myself and we had a sweet cuddly nurse. 

She was happy today and napped okay. Not great. Tonight’s sleep wave was harder than last night’s. I’m going to try to sleep now myself. Wish us all luck, and you other sleepless mammas out there, I’m sending you compassion and strength.



Hi ladies, I need some support and I guess here is an appropriate place. My boss had a baby last week so her boss is in charge. She’s giving me a hard time about pumping – she has made comments about how I shouldn’t be using a certain office and I need to find a different place to pump. Today I stood up to her and explained that I’m back at work because I genuinely want to be there – I care about our clinic and I’m a hard worker – but I can’t work for her if she doesn’t understand that I need to pump. Then she told me that it was a private issue and I should not have mentioned it in a meeting (“I said I would be happy to see a client but needed to pump first” in front of other staff.) I told her it was not a personal comment, that it’s normal to pump I’m just explaining what I’m doing and she said if it were her she would keep it private. Also, the other staffi mentioned it in front of us a man who also had a new baby and whose wife pumps at work!! All of my coworkers are super supportive and don’t even blink an eyelash when I say I have to go pump – this is a WOMEN’s clinic I work in! For the county of LA no less! And she is a thirty-something woman; shame on her  for not supporting other women. It’s ridiculous – a perfect example of a woman using her power against other women in the work world to get ahead. Pumping should be normalized – it’s bad enough I have to leave my baby every day and pump at work. I’m so frustrated – I stood up to her and it backfired. She is a young director, single with no kids but has pictures of her little nephews all over her office. Maybe she’s subconsciously jealous.


A very sweet and wonderful coworker of mine started her maternity leave this weekend and I’ve been promising to share some tips with her that I’ve thought of along my journey. This woman is one of the most positive, open and rational people I know, and I wouldn’t be surprised if her birth and new motherhood experience is like the stepmom with twins in the What to Expect When You’re Expecting movie! At the same time, new motherhood has a way of throwing you for a loop and in my darkest, loneliest and most confusing hours of new motherhood, the light that came my way was held by other new moms. What better place to write these down than here.

Disclaimer: Every mother has a very different experience; this is mine. Yours will be different, but there are certain things I wished I’d known that I can share with you! Some are even universal.

If you don’t want to read my life story as a mom, I have conveniently bolded and colored the important tips; the extra is my own process if reading that will help you. I meant for this to be a quick cheat sheet-type guide, but alas, I am wordy.

Birth Experience

Nothing could ever have prepared me for Gia’s birth. I spent months researching natural birth and really trusted, for once in my life, that I could and hopefully would have a natural birth. I’m physically strong, knew all the research and history and politics, and had the best birth team including a doula, a midwife, my mom who is a midwife, and a partner on board with all of this, and I still ended up having every intervention possible short of a C-section. Also, these tips are not for a scheduled C-section; obviously that would be a much different and probably more predictable experience, and one I actually wish I could go back and have.


  • Be open to anything. Your body is going to get that baby out one way or another, but you have no idea how, and there will likely be many twists and turns. Have a very loose birth plan, so even when things aren’t going as you’d like, you can still have things that are important to you (ie, having skin-to-skin time even after having a medicated birth or C-section)
  • Use your hospital support staff – they are there for that purpose! Hopefully you have sweet nurses who are on board with your wishes, most L & D nurses are amazing and will be your best friend and constant nurturer while you’re there. Postpartum, let a nurse help you go to the bathroom or spray your bloody parts rather than your partner – better a trained stranger than your sexual partner I say, although of course this may be different for others.
  • Use hospital gear – forget your fancy nursing nightgown, don’t bother brining maxi pads to the hospital. Your room will be equipped with a plethora of stuff your vagina will need – pads, numbing spray, the mesh underwear you’ll never have an excuse to use ever again. And that hospital nursing gown is amazing and you don’t have to launder it yourself!


Your relationship may be rocked to the core. That’s just the way it is. J and I had a few odds against us in this department – we’re a fairly new, unmarried couple, we haven’t bought a house together, navigated huge family decisions, etc, and we’re both women, creating more of a power struggle; two protective, hormonal mammas may be harder than one mamma and one new dad. I never would have expected the awkward moments, struggling conversations and confused feelings J and I went through the first two months. Thank goodness we have recovered and she is the most helpful and amazing mamma, doing many diaper changes and tons of playtime!

  • If your partner is open to it, talk about how you’re going to make decisions BEFORE the baby arrives – even little things like when you’re both comfortable taking the baby out of the house or whether you’re both comfortable with grandparents changing diapers. You’d be surprised how sensitive these topics can be!
  • Once the baby arrives, if you notice these issues are coming up, talk about them when you’re both as well-rested and comfortable as possible, not in passing as they’re happening!

Breast feeding

I went into breast feeding believing it would go smoothly, and it did, but I was bowled over by just how smoothly it went – Gia wanted to nurse ALL THE TIME and was never awake for more than 15 minutes at a time without nursing. I had to eat meals with the breast friend and her on my lap and I had to rush through a quick shower every evening while listening to her sob in someone else’s arms in the hallway. She cluster fed several times too, we’re talking ALL NIGHT or for UP TO SIX HOURS AT A TIME with only brief stops. As much as I believe in breast feeding, I have never felt so desperate and trapped in my entire life. Since nothing particularly bad was happening now that I look back on it, it’s amazing how upsetting this was. I mean tears, feeling totally lost and isolated, and several times leading to depression for a few days at a time. I can only offer preparedness and  practical tips, as there’s no way to change this if it happens to you. Also, I have no words of advice for the ACTUAL breast feeding problems that actually do happen to most people, but did not happen to me – waiting for milk to come in, low supply, clogged ducts, mastitis – there’s a lot of help out there for that though.

  • Just be aware that you will feel trapped and isolated. If I’d just known this it would have helped.
  • ACCEPT HELP – Have friends and family who can come over and bring meals or just sit on the couch with you – people who will just listen and feed you, NOT give unsolicited advice, etc. They have to be people who will only offer you what you’re asking for (ie, if you’re determined to breast feed and want to work through whatever is going on, but still need to cry about it, you don’t want someone there trying to convince you that it’s okay to give up).
  • Communicate with your partner how unexpected nursing sessions (ie, the baby just nursed for an hour and ten minutes later has settled in for another hour) will go – is he/she okay with waiting on you when you’re tethered to the baby and need water or your phone? Is he/she willing to literally drop what they’re doing to get you something if necessary?
  • Make a nursing/pumping station – I did not do this and wish I had. Instead I learned along the way and there was always something I’d forgotten! You will want all of this stuff within arms reach while you’re nursing: WATER (always drink while nursing), your phone and ipad/laptop (keep at least 7 inches from the baby’s head to reduce radiation), a snack, Kleenex, a burp cloth, a book, headphones, the tv remotes, a blanket for yourself, and whatever the baby needs when he/she falls asleep, ie, pacifier
  • Side-lying nursing – while you’re in recovery from a vaginal birth OR a c-section, sitting up and having pressure on your body will HURT. Getting you and the baby used to lying down while nursing is a nice way to take the pressure off, plus nurse and doze off at the same time.
  • Pumping on one side while nursing on the other – the best thing I ever learned, especially once I went back to work and needed to nurse the baby before running out the door in the morning, while needing to drain both breasts and store up a few extra ounces for her day!


  • Bed-sharing – holy moly is this an important thing to learn to do! Even if you’re not going to be bed-sharing as a practice after the newborn stage, you WILL bed share sometimes whether you acknowledge it or not. It may just be while nursing in the afternoons or from 5-7am, but any length of time requires you do it safely. Do yourself a favor and read this:

AND this:

  • I cannot stress enough how big a deal bed sharing has been for us. I don’t mean we love it and plan to do it forever; I mean we weren’t prepared for how to deal with it, when to do it, how to do it, and how to now STOP doing it. At first, J didn’t want Gia in bed because I was on painkillers, and she was correct. At the same time, I literally ached with emotional pain when Gia was more than a foot away from me – this wasn’t as pathological as it sounds, I just wanted her close after holding her inside me for ten months. We ended up using an Arm’s Reach co-sleeper and then a crib in our bedroom, but we have continued to bed share on a regular basis under the following circumstances: traveling (Gia refuses Pack n Plays), sickness, cluster feeding/growth spurts, while J is away on business, cold nights, hotels (make sure mattress is firm enough).
  • Naps and getting to sleep: at the newborn stage, a foolproof way to get Gia to sleep was putting her in the wrap and bouncing on the exercise ball. This would calm her down no matter how fussy, especially during the late afternoon when I was starting to go crazy and J wasn’t home from work yet! Putting her in the Ergo on a Saturday afternoon is still sometimes the only way to get her to nap, and it’s still foolproof.
  • When transitioning to her crib, we used a Merlin Magic Sleep Suit. It was amazing and Gia loved it. The problem was that she quickly grew out of the biggest size, but you likely won’t have this issue (Gia is off the charts in height and weight).
  • Implement a nighttime routine and early bedtime around eight weeks old. This is based on research and information I learned at The Pump Station and in several books, and now my own experience. The first couple of months are like a staycation (um, one with a crying baby attached to you) in which we stayed up a little late, watched movies, had a beer, and slept in. Gia took no notice to the television and slept wherever we were – on the couch, in the Rock n Play. Once the baby becomes more aware of her surroundings though, start putting a routine in place – bath (only ever other night or less), massage, read a book, nurse, sound machine, etc. The Pump Station recommends putting the baby to bed between 6:30 and 8:30, but the closer to 7pm the better.


Logistics were the hardest part of my mat leave – the first time I took Gia somewhere on my own (which was breast feeding support group when she was exactly nine days old) I had no idea how to get her out of the car and into the facility! There are still times when I wonder, do I bring her into the grocery store in the ergo or the stroller? Change her diaper first? What if she falls asleep/cries/needs to nurse?

  • Try not to be too anxious about these things; if you nestle her in a wrap and all of a sudden she cries to nurse, you can just get her out, sit down wherever you are and nurse, then put her back in.
  • Keep your diaper bag well-stocked so you always have what you need: at least four diapers, wipes, extra change of clothes, burp cloth, face cloth (we use reusable cloth wipes designated for face only), clean pacifier, grabby toy, water bottle and energy bar.
  • You don’t have to decide between carrying or stroller – you can use both. Ie, If she falls asleep in the stroller, take the wrap or ergo along with you in case you want it when she wakes up. That way you don’t get caught without one when you need it.
  • Learn how to use all of your carriers properly -the Solly or Moby is amazing and safe for newborns, the ergo is comfortable for when they get a little older, and the ring sling is great for quick trips into the store or around the house once the baby has head control and gets too heavy to just carry in your arms all the time.

Existential reality and sense of Self (who is that?!)

  • When Gia was about 10 days old, I woke up in the middle of the night stricken with terror – this helpless being in the co-sleeper next to me would need me, at some point in the next hour, jerking me out of sleep, at many hours for the next day, for nourishment and comfort, and pretty much consistently for the next FOURTY YEARS OR SO. I will admit that this feeling has continued occasionally the whole six months I’ve been a mother, and may not ever go away – having a child is a burden. A much wanted and even reveled in one, but a burden just the same. At times it will feel very heavy. IT’S OKAY TO BE OVERWHELMED. IT’S OKAY TO VENT OR NEED SUPPORT; IT DOESN’T MEAN YOU DON’T LOVE BEING A MOMMY TO THIS PRECIOUS LITTLE BEING.
  • Productivity – your house will never be the same again. If you’re a micromanaging control freak like me, who likes the dishes done right after dinner, the floors vacuumed twice a week and a refrigerator full of healthy meals, all prepped on Sunday afternoons – forget it. You will have a mess. You will eat frozen pizza and just be glad you didn’t starve.
  • Hobbies and adult time – Eventually, you will play the piano, go for a jog, take a long bath, go out to dinner with your spouse, watch a thriller in the living room, have sex in a room by yourselves… but it may not be anytime soon. I had 36 years of freedom before Gia came along, and I was used to a ton of freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. After a few months these things start slowly up again, but you may be doing them with your baby on your chest in her carrier, or having to switch off childcare duties with your spouse on a Saturday afternoon. And to some extent, you’ll just accept that going out to dinner usually means the family-friendly pizza place at 5pm or navigating the city streets with a stroller and diaper bag.
  • Working: If you’re used to going to work every day, and are a creature of habit or an extravert, get ready for a shock to your system. Just know it’s coming and that will help. You may lie on the couch every day for weeks, with only a few activities here and there to make you feel normal again. THIS IS NORMAL DURING MAT LEAVE – find a show you enjoy watching for hours and can start and stop, get your supplies ready all around you and hunker down.
  • Mat leave schedule – once I got this going, my life changed for the better. Get out of the house and meet other moms if you like having a schedule. On Mondays Gia and I went to the infant-friendly movie showing with other new moms (they put down a changing table and keep the sound down in the theater). Tuesdays was breast feeding support group. Wednesdays was postnatal yoga with my doula/yoga teacher. Thursdays was Mommy & Me. Fridays I usually had a list of things to do around the house or scheduled coffee with another new mom. Afternoon naps with Gia were usually a reward at that point, rather than lonely and too-quiet. Knowing I had a reason to get out of the house every day helped. Of course, if I lived near my mom or sisters I probably wouldn’t have needed this as much!

I hope expecting moms will find some of this helpful!

I’m way behind on blogging and always just thing I’ll throw the towel in, but it’s the community I’d miss! 

As Gia gets older and we adjust more, I feel more overwhelmed by the longevity of certain issues – breastfeeding and bedsharing mostly. She was very sniffly and teething throughout November and December and stopped sleeping in her crib. After sleeping around six hour stretches as a newborn, we were unprepared for long nights in which she’d wake up and cry for no reason for two hours. She started wanting to nurse all night and of course with me working she ended up just sleeping with us and now she’s been bedsharing pretty much full time, as we’ve been away on vacation for a couple of weeks. If she wasn’t going to sleep in her crib, she certainly wasn’t going to sleep in a pack n play, and she didn’t. As much as I believe wholeheartedly that breast feeding and even bedsharing are natural and appropriate at this age, I also admit to feeling trapped, exhausted and sometimes desperate. The frustrating thing is that we moved her crib into our room when she outgrew the co-sleeper, and we don’t mind keeping her in our room until she’s a year or more, but she still won’t sleep in it! We’re planning to gently help her learn to sleep in the crib soon, but right now we’re jet-lagged and sick. I could write about this topic for hours, but I have to sleep so I can nurse in the wee hours of the night and still make it to work tomorrow! 

On a positive note, we had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s in New England. Happy new year everyone!

Hipster lesbian outfit:   

With cousin Giuliana on Christmas morning: 


Bundled up in Massachusetts:


Picking out prosecco for NYE:


Wearing a Santa hat I knitted:


Gia has received two incredibly sweet and thoughtful gifs from blog friends. I really suck at gift giving and I’m always so impressed when people get it together and send gifts! Thanks to Amazon I’ve gotten better at it but in that sense I feel like I’m contributing to our over-busy, Earth-unfriendly society! Anyway, these gifts are so beautiful and we love them; Thank you My Perfect Breakdown and Lady Love and Baby Dust! I love you guys and Gia does too. 

  Wooden letter block puzzle from My Perfect Breakdown:

Adorable and much-needed onesies from Lady Love:

I’m going to start doing short random posts because actually writing just isn’t happening. I’m still following everyone but I rarely sit down at my computer anymore; I just read on my phone in the middle of the night while nursing.  

Gia is doing well. We just got back from a wonderful 10 days at my mother’s house in New Mexico. She’s still nursing a ton and was over 14 pounds and 25 inches long at her 2-month appointment!


I’ve been writing his post for a week so I decided to just publish it, finished or unfinished!

Just checking in. It’s so hard to blog with an infant attached to me but I miss it. I want to have a recording of Gia’s young life, and keep in touch with my blog friends. I hope you’re all doing well. 
Maternity leave is getting better for sure. We’re keeping busy with support group every Tuesday, champagne-drinking (while breast feeding) after said support group with other new moms, hanging out at my friend’s pool (too nervous to enjoy swimming while Gia is in my friend’s arms) and a lot of eating dinner out on the town. 

I still haven’t decided when I’m going back to work but I’ve made some progress with paperwork and figuring things out. 

Gia updates:

-We’ve been cloth diapering with used diaper stashes from my niece and sister’s friend. It makes me happy that we got used diapers so we saved money and resources just that way. I love not using disposables and I don’t mind washing them and putting the inserts in either!

-Gia is still nursing a LOT, about every hour, but she’s started taking long naps so at least I can get a few things done here and there.  Breast feeding continues to go well although she’s getting so big she’s hard to carry around the house while feeding, which I sometimes do when home alone.

– I’m working out as much as possible (workout DVDs in the living room while she’s in the rock n play).

– Gia has started smiling, giggling and cooing which is freaking adorable. She especially loves this little bouncer with a farm theme we have. She stares at the hanging pig and chick and is either mesmerized or cracks up. J is her primary play partner on evenings and weekends. We read her books and made a mobile that’s appropriate for her current developmental stage (simple bright contrasting colors, 10 inches from her eyes).


I have a big decision to make and I’m totally torn. 

Here are the options: return to work November 1st as planned, or take a full six month leave and return to work at the beginning of January. My job with the county is secure for a year so that’s not an issue. Money is also not an issue if I’m okay with J supporting our household. Here are the pros and cons:

Reasons to return to work as planned – 

  1. I have a good relationship with my boss. We’re the same age. She was pregnant when she hired me and she’s pregnant again with her second. She’s clearly stated several times that she’d like me to return ASAP, and yesterday when I told her I was considering an extra two months, she stated that although my job will be waiting for me either way, she needs me back as soon as possible. They cannot hire to replace me temporarily, they’re short-staffed and I’m the only psychologist on the clinical staff. I’d like to keep a great relationship with her and I feel for my co-workers, who are covering my clients and totally overworked as it is.
  2. The primary benefit of this job is money. It’s the most I’ve ever made and allows me to save a lot each month, which I’d like to continue doing soon. As of right now I only have enough savings to scrape by for another couple of months and I’ll run out completely unless I go back. I DON’T like living off of J, as comfortable as she is with it. Right now I’m paying my own bills but by December she’d be having to pay pretty much all of the household bills and probably even the personal stuff I need, like Christmas presents. I enjoy my job for the most part and feel more productive and better about myself when I’m working. I got my degree and my license to use it and want to stay in tune with that.

Reasons to take an extra two months – 

  1. Gia of course! She’d be six months by the time I went back and I’d get to spend that extra time with her, going to mommy groups, watching her develop and building attachment. J really wants me to take care of Gia during this developmental time since she can’t (we moved to LA for her job and it’s sustaining us).
  2. We can’t find a daycare until at least January so we’d have to have our mothers each come for a week, then hire a nanny to stretch the time until there is an opening. Plus, once in daycare Gia is likely to get sick a lot.
  3. The two months are November and December, so a huge benefit would be traveling and enjoying the holidays. I’d go back East for niece Giuliana’s birthday, go on a few extra weekend trips and then take a long Christmas break back East with my family. HOWEVER my boss has said that if I do return as planned, I can take every Friday off and take a two-week Christmas vacation, so those kind of cancel each other out.

I want to finalize this decision soon. I feel more comfortable returning to work in November, getting back into the money-making groove and feel like my career is on track. At the same time, I have the opportunity to spend this time with Gia. My mom says to “go with your gut” but my gut sees it both ways. J wants to be supportive either way but she’s feeling much more comfortable with me caring for Gia until January. I’m very torn and need input from my most trusted confidantes – you ladies.

Same password as before. You can email me at for it. 

I wrote another post with the same password as before 🙂 Have a great weekend everyone! Good luck to those of you who are about to become mamas!

I finally finished our birth story. I’m feeling pretty raw these days so it’s got a password, just email me at if you’d like to read it.