I have a little under four weeks before I have to go back to work, but as with Cal, we have to lay down the groundwork for my re-entry into society early early early, because the whole thing's going to involve a bit of planning.
First thing's first--food. If I am to be separated from Mack for any period of time longer than, oh, say, an hour (he usually eats every two hours, sometimes every three, but sometimes after one), he's got to have something to eat while I'm gone. So since last weekend, I've brought the breast pump out from hibernation (it seems that sometime in the two and a half years since that thing's been in stasis, Cooper decided to use it as a rawhide chewing platform, because the outside nylon of the bag is coated in dog spit and cow skin parts--hygienic!) and have started laying the base for the Strategic Milk Stores. We are doing pretty well on that if I do say so myself.
Also, in the evenings, I have been giving Mack a bottle, just to get him used to the idea that equivalent food can be dispensed from either boob or silicone nipple. I don't want to wait so long that he actually rejects taking the bottle altogether, because if he wants to eat during the day, he's got to get on board with Plastic Mommy, you know what I'm saying? I know everyone gets all frantic about nipple confusion and rejecting the breast the like, but with Cal, I started introducing the artificial nipple for one feeding starting at just around two weeks, and he was able to switch pretty effortlessly between the two, so go figure. Babies--not so stupid as we think! I have been saving the bottle feed for the evening, so that either Joe or Cal can enjoy the experience of feeding the baby, and while they're all occupied, I'll take the opportunity to pump. These past few evenings I've been able to net about 6oz. during this one skipped feeding, which amounts to three fresh bottles for every one used. The stockpile, she is growing!
I have also been sleeping with my glasses on. SO I CAN SEE MY DREAMS. No, really, it's so I can check the clock throughout the night. I know that all talk of a schedule or regularity is meaningless between now and when Mack hits six weeks, and that whatever he's doing now, it's all subject to change anyway, so why bother--but I am trying to figure out what times he's waking up to eat. Overnight, he's still feeding about every two to three hours, and I think if we can engineer it so that he eats at 4am, and then at 6am, I should be able to make my escape for work at 5am without too much of a fuss. Either way, it's going to be hard getting out the door, but it will probably be a little harder if I have to tear the kid off me, possibly setting off The Crying and The Waking Up Of The Sibling and General Household Chaos At Dark O'Clock.
Luckily, Mack so far seems to be a pretty easy baby (he rarely cries, and when he does cry, all it takes is some combination of snuggling +/- foodstuffs to get him to quit making those little bird noises) so hopefully that will continue and we'll have a reprieve from some of the more pernicious aspects of newborn parenting--colic, staying up all night pacing the halls and the like. But nonetheless, returning to work does take some advance planning. For instance, on the other end, I already scouted out months ago where the outlets are in the bathroom of the women's OR locker room, so we're go on that. Ah, back to the days of breast pumping next to a toilet. Don't let anyone tell you that the life of a doctor isn't glamorous, kids! Because I forgot to tell you that the toilet is made of SOLID GOLD.