- You can find Shari at www.aPsychMommy.blogspot.com
- What is your biggest struggle as a mom? Learning how to re-balance my already busy schedule. I recently started working again and I am finding it difficulty to ensure that my family remains my top priority. My New Year's Resolution was to not bring work home and so far I am already failing!
- What was the biggest surprise about being a parent? While I was pregnant, my biggest pet peeve was hearing "Your life will change when you have kids." No kidding! I always knew my life would be different, but I never imagined that it would change so dramatically! I won't get into all the details of how my life has changed since I imagine most of the people reading this are parents themselves and have an idea--but let's just say that I can't remember what my life was like just a few months ago, and I wouldn't want my new life to be any different than it is now.
- How old is your child? My son is five months old
- What is your guilty pleasure? Chocolate! I have the bad habit of eating when I am stressed. When I returned back to work, I noticed that I was craving everything sweet. After going through a jumbo size bag of M &M's, I decided that I needed to switch to dark chocolate which is richer and more satisfying in small amounts. Plus, the antioxdants in dark choclate help to justify my need for it!
- How do you unwind? I love yoga. I haven't had much time to practice yoga since my son was born, but I would love to start taking classes again soon. I also love to take walks with my son.
- Favorite television show? Any reality show--you name it! I almost put this under guilty pleasure, but I thought that would sound funny. There's something about peeking into another person's life, no matter how artificial the setting, that intrigues me. I guess it's similar to following blogs, right?
- How did you decide on the names of your child or children? We decided to go the cultural route with our son. His first name is Irish (which is my husband's background) and his middle name is Japanese (named after my grandfather).
My son was born premature at exactly 35 weeks gestation after a somewhat rocky pregnancy. Since he was born early, he had difficulty with the suck-swallow pattern needed for eating as well as some jaundice. Because of this, he had to stay in the NICU for a week. My goal from the beginning of the pregnancy was to breastfeed and I knew having him stay in the hospital for a week would place a huge kink in this plan. I immediately got in touch with the hospital's lactation consultant who hooked me up with a hospital grade pump. I was told to pump every two to three hours around the clock in order to ensure that my milk supply would not go down as well as to have enough milk to bring to the NICU. I was also told the importance of sterilizing the pump and collection parts after each and every pump since we did not want to risk my son getting an infection.
Pumping around the clock and traveling back and forth between the hospital and home was very stressful for us. Needless to say, I was sleep deprived and the thought of having to clean and sterilize pump parts and the collection bottles after my 20 minute pumping session did not help alleviate the stress. I called our lactation consultant and asked her if there was an alternative to boiling water after each pump. She mentioned the Medela Quick Clean Micro Steam bags as an easy and quick alternative. I immediately sent my husband out to stock up on these bags.
I fell in love with the bags immediately. The steam bags are very easy to use. Just pop in the pump parts, add two ounces of water, place the bag in the microwave, set it for three minutes (depends on the wattage of your micro—there is a nifty chart on the back of the bag and the time ranges from 90 seconds to 5 minutes), and walk away. Beep-beep. Voilà! In just a few minutes, my microwave and these nifty bags eliminated 99.9% of harmful bacteria and germs. It really couldn't be any easier. Each bag can be used up to 20 times making the cost per use to be roughly a nickel each. Well worth it in my opinion.
I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom for four months. During this time, I found the steam bags to be helpful in sterilizing our son's pacifiers and bottles. Now that I'm back at work, I pump two times a day. I have fallen in love with these bags all over again as I can just toss in the pump parts and bottles, start the micro and then have time to change a diaper or put away some dishes (can you tell I love to multi-task?).
The bags are small and easy to stow away in a drawer when not in use. They are easy to pack and take with us when we stay the weekend at grandmas. Although we haven't travelled far yet, I know that these will be one of our essentials as we can easily find a microwave in a hotel (or even [gasp!] a gas station!) to sterilize on the go. Alas, for those who do not have a Medela pump, don't fret—according to the manufacturer, these bags can be used with most other pumps too (just check with your pump's manufacturer) as well as other feeding accessories. I have even found that the items that I have steam sterilized air dry super quick--much better than drying with a towel or leaving on a drying rack all day. Worried that you will lose count and not know if you used the bag 15 times or 50? There is an easy check-off chart in the back. Medela pretty much thought of everything and these bags are fool proof—even for moms like me who are constantly in a very sleep deprived state!