Moms, Marathons, and “Milk-Milk”

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Snow White, Mommy, and the 4 Dwarfs (Guess which one is Sleepy?)

After training for what seemed to be FOREVER….I finally completed my first half marathon!!! I am very proud of myself and thankful for all of the support that I received from my friends and family, especially my husband, ODC! It was an amazing experience, I reached my goal of actually running the entire 13.1 miles (something I learned is not required, who knew?). I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon with Team in Training. I raised over $3,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

I returned to the gym when G4 was three weeks old. ODC had no problem with me leaving her with him, as long as I left some expressed milk. I would nurse her before I left the house and then check in with him while I sat in the sauna to see if I needed to make a mad dash back home. You see, expressed milk, in my book, was for “emergencies” only. You know, for if I broke my leg in a step class, fell off a treadmill, broke my arm, hit my head on the bench press machine AND was unconscious! We live 15 minutes from the gym, in my “AP, exclusive breastfeeding world”, I only wanted the baby to have a bottle in the aforementioned “emergency” scenario. I was such a control freak that I would check the freezer and count my bags of milk to see if he had to feed her while I was gone. More often than not, I would release a huge sigh of relief because he didn’t, but on the rare occasions that he did….honestly, I would be a bit upset. I had to realize that I couldn’t have everything my way. I was leaving her with him and I could just work out at home if it was going to bother me that much. (Oh yeah, I did that at 2 weeks post-partum and after having the other girls join me for my Jillian workouts, I decided to get over my control issues, pump the milk, and pack my gym bag.)

As the weeks passed, G4 could go longer between feedings and I could hit the gym without frantically stepping on the medal to make it home before she needed to be fed. Fast forward to this month and she is now 10 months and still pretty much exclusively breastfed. As I started to prepare for the trip to Orlando, it was a given that she would be traveling with me. ODC would drive down with the other girls and he would have her while I ran. The logistics of the TNT runs and meetings never fit my schedule, so aside from e-mails, I had not met any of the team members. When I received my hotel and flight confirmation I thought “maybe I need to let someone know that I am bringing my baby” but because I didn’t see any information about a roommate assignment, I decided to just let it (and her) ride.

I arrived at the airport with G4 in the Maya Wrap while ODC took our luggage in the car with him. I noticed a few women with TNT shirts and I introduced myself. Everyone was warm and friendly, but I’m pretty sure it was unusual to see someone with traveling with a baby, alone, headed to an endurance event. It was a super quick flight to Orlando and using the “one-two punch”, my little nursling slept most of the flight.

When we arrived in Orlando, our event coordinator pulled out the hotel information and ugh!!!…I had a roommate. We headed to our hotel and grabbed some lunch and I kept looking at my watch and looking at my phone, I was ready for my family to get there. My social circles mirror my life. These women were past the baby days, or didn’t have children at all. Don’t get me wrong, they were nice enough, but I was pretty sure that I was not the typical TNT member, but hey, that’s why I’m Outta Da Box!

ODC and the girls arrived earlier than I had expected, and I couldn’t have been happier! We hooked up with ODC’s cousin, grabbled a bite to eat, and enjoyed some quality family time. I opted out of staying at my prestigious Disney Resort Hotel and instead stayed off property with my loud lovely crew.

Saturday would present a new set of challenges for the breastfeeding dyad. I had a TNT strategy meeting followed my an inspirational dinner. ODC and the girls enjoyed some serious pool time and G4 was sleeping when the strategy meeting started. I knew I would leave her with him for the dinner (which, by the way was family friendly, but since my family wasn’t attending, I decided I would leave her with them) and since it was a low-key meeting in the lobby and she was sleeping, I kept her with me so that I could minimize our separation, you know, like a good “crunchy” mommy does. I filled her tank, and after the meeting was over, I dropped her off with ODC and enjoyed a great dinner with an inspirational presentation from a leukemia survivor.

This is where things get a bit tricky and I had to get creative. The shuttle was leaving the hotel for the race at 3:00 am. My TNT group was meeting at 2:45 am. I was going to really be pushing the limits because the race did not start until 5:45 am and it was going to take me at least 2 hours or more to finish. It was likely that it would be 6+ hours before I would see the baby. By this time, I realized that I had been blessed with a super cool roommate, but I still didn’t feel the need to ask “permission” for my baby to stay with me in our shared room. ODC and I had a game plan. I would stay in the host hotel with G4 and he would take the other girls with him. They would come get her at 2:30 am, and we would meet up after I finished the race. A banana and water would be the back-up plan for the baby. (*full disclosure* the older girls wanted to swim at my hotel until midnight, G3 wasn’t having it, she was exhausted, and since ODC was coming to get G4 in the middle of the night, I told him to just let her stay with me too. They both slept pretty quietly, so I did say to my roommate, that I hoped they didn’t disturb her, she said they were fine)

I had considered bringing a pump, but I didn’t. I had to chuckle when my roommate told me that she and some of the other team members were talking and they thought since I homeschooled, I probably didn’t pump, lol! (I had to tweet and ask the difference between a judgement and stereotype). I really wasn’t going to go through the hassle of bringing a pump, finding the time to pump, and getting a refrigerator for 1 feeding for a 10 month old.

ODC arrived as planned and I whisked my sleepy babies off to their Daddy. By the time I was reunited with my family, my feet were hurting and I was strapped down by my Enell Sports Bra, not the most convenient, nursing friendly contraption. I looked at G4’s dress and she had some type of food smeared on it. The banana was my stand-in. She was happily playing with a water bottle and I wasn’t the least bit offended.

The traffic leaving the park, after the race, was horrendous. I took that opportunity to nurse the baby while ODC crept through the parking lot, by this time it was after 10 am, 8 hours after our 2am nursing session. All was well, our plan worked. ODC was going to head back to GA with the big girls after getting some lunch, so I left the baby with them so that I could shower and have a minute of down-time before my support team abandoned left me.

The TNT victory celebration was my last “official” event. This was another “family friendly” event, so although my team members didn’t have children with them, there were plenty of children at this beach party, complete with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy! The sun was beaming and the temperature was toasty, G4 managed to sleep through lunch, so my meal was eaten without doing a juggling act of keeping her from taking stuff off the table, while trying to keep the fork from missing my mouth.

I declined an invitation to dinner with my team because I was very tired and I wanted to take advantage of any sleeping that the baby would let me get. She must have known how tired her mommy was, because we napped together for almost 3 amazing hours! Snug in the Maya Wrap, I took her with me to find some food and she drifted off to sleep again! I returned to the hotel, tucked her into the bed and chatted with my roommate about the Oscars, and then I fell asleep too.

My roommate, other teammates, and passengers on the plane kept commenting on how “good” the baby was. “She’s so easy”, “She never cries”, “She’s so happy” were statements (I think they were supposed to be compliments, but if she cried, does that make her “bad”? -another post) that I heard all weekend. Without standing on my proverbial soap box, I tried to drop a few Attachment Parenting principles to explain that because we have developed a solid sense of security, I can anticipate her needs and respond promptly. (The magic of  the booby doesn’t hurt either).

By the time I run my next event, G4 will be eating solids, and this will no longer be an issue. It is very likely that I will still be nursing, but I will have other options. I hope that nursing mothers will empower themselves to reach their fitness goals without compromising their nursing relationships. It can be done with a little planning, flexibility, and a good support team. Now that I am an “athlete” the world of endurance sports better get ready for a mommy that crosses the finish line and can be found barefoot, sipping on a sports drink, while unfastening her sports bra for one of her biggest cheerleaders!

Are you an endurance athlete AND a nursing mom? Or maybe you are just trying to return to, or start, a fitness program while still nursing. If so, let’s talk! I would also love to hear how experienced mommas handle training, events, and how you make it happen for you and your baby!

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15 responses »

  1. Thanks for this recap and congrats on your 1/2 marathon finish! I was wondering what that stereotype v. generalization tweet was about. I could not imagine doing a TNT event while still EBF. I did TNT 7 years ago with a 1/2 Ironman and that took a lot of dedication plus all the logistics of TNT activities while at the event itself… wow. It is a lot different than just doing an event sans-TNT.

    I did a 1/2 marathon with my baby at 4 months post-partum. My training was not as optimal as I had hoped and I only ran the first 9 miles then ran/jog the rest. I had an easier event than you… it was local, I fed my baby less than 30 minutes before I raced and was feeding him again with 30 minutes of finishing. My hubby had him on the course with 8 oz. of fresh milk but baby did not want any part of the bottle.

    I also timed workouts with feeding then heading out the door and getting back ASAP to avoid a bottle or expressed milk.

    At 8 months my little is still on the bewb but also eats other food. We have no regiment. He is not a fan of bottles (never has been) so if he is to do milk it is in a cup. He will have squash, sweet potatoes, beans, banana, or avocado if I am gone away from him too long.

    • Kia!!! You are a rockstar!! A 1/2 marathon at 4 months PP?!?!?

      I love to hear how you integrate your baby into your active lifestyle. It is so inspiring and it encourages other mothers to do the same.

      It sounds like your baby is eating some delicious, healthy foods! I know that I will have to eventually start solids, but honestly, I’m not excited about it :-/
      I’m really lazy about cooking and I like it when the babies can feed themselves, lol!

  2. You are truly an inspiration! You know that I am an attachment parenting mom like you, but I didn’t try to run a 1/2 marathon while exclusively breastfeeding; I’m so impressed. And your husband is amazing too; you are so blessed to have his full support.

    • Thank you!!! I knew that the breastfeeding was the first priority, but losing weight was a close second! Girl, I just was on a mission, but we won’t even begin to discuss what my house looks like!

      Thanks for making your mark as an AP mom, I’m so happy to have YOUR support! ((hugs)))

  3. Congratulations to my wife for being THE EXAMPLE of what a finisher looks like and congrats to my daughters for having THE EXAMPLE in the home with you. I run into people all the time who say they TRIED TO BREASTFEED and I always wondered why I am challenged by the explanations of some who do not have REAL SUPPORT. You are why. You have always been an example of someone who does not use qualifying words. No try only do! Even in your not walking one step…I mean you even ran past Princess Tiana! Geez! You are serious! Again, I am proud to tell the world you are my wife and even more proud to have you as the example of finishing ALL tasks in front of our daughters.

    You pretty girl are absolutely AMAZING and I would not want to tackle the marathon of raising 4 girls to be pure until marriage with anyone else!!

  4. Congrats on your marathon accomplishment.

    I’m not so much a “title” person..i just do what works for our family(inclusive of but not limited to:SAHM, attached parenting, family bed, exclusive bf and now extended(Tiny Cool is almost 18 months). While i have no regrets for any of it, i am only NOW coming into the realization of what i want for “me” as it pertains to my body image. It has been my desire for some time to run a marathon(on any level), and i’m now on the journey of becoming physically fit to do so. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  5. OTB, I just want to say that you are DA BOMB!!! I know I’m a lil late on reading your post, but boy was it inspiring. Well, I am due in 2 weeks with our 3rd child and in September, I am planning to run my first triathlon (300 yrd swim, 10 mile bike and 3 mile run). Although I am extremely nervous about the triathlon in itself, I wonder how I am going to juggle a hubby, 2 kids, a newborn and working out. Previously, I would always get up at 5:30 am and work out, but idk if that will be the case this time around. Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF as I had to figure out lol) is what I did in the past until it was time to go back to work, but this go round, I am actually a stay at home mom, which is completely different within itself! Anyway, we will see if this baby will be as greedy as our first or as content as the 2nd (and sleep through the night at 2 wks). EIther way, I can’t wait to see how we will juggle all of this on top of me training for my triathlon. Kudos on the half marathon. I never considered myself a runner; a sprinter in high school, but not a runner…miles on top of miles… Nope, not I, but I wait to see whats in store. Although I enjoy being pregnant and have very good/easy pregnancies I can’t wait to work out and hopefully see my abs again!!!! I enjoyed your post and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the support you have! Keep up the good work! If you have any tips, let me know!

    • Yay for you!! A triathlon!! You are DA BOMB!!! That’s on my Bucket LIst 🙂

      Thank you so much for the encouragement. I also never considered myself a runner, until now :). I did a few 10ks.. just to say I could do it, but now I am really trying to embrace my inner runner ;). I’m still waiting to “Love” it, but I have decided to keep running in my cardio schedule.

      My baby will be 1 next month and I can’t believe how fast the time has passed. Enjoy your baby and give yourself some flexibility in terms of scheduling your workouts. I try to get up before 5 am and the baby still does not sleep through the night. I find that I am exhausted most days, but hey, I get my workout in :). Experiment with the times that work best for you, don’t be too hard on yourself. I think if you give yourself until June to develop a regular training routine, you will be fine!

      Hugs,
      ODB

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