Going Back to Work: A Dad’s Perspective

Going Back to Work: A Dad’s Perspective

We recently sat down Santiago Ongay to talk about going back to work after having a new baby. He offered his perspective as a dad going through the process. You can listen to the interview or read it below.

Sonal Patel

Hi, guys. And welcome back to the NayaCare family. Today we’re doing our blogs again with our mom and dad, and again with us. We have Santi, our dad and Meagan. And so I’m going to take a minute for them to introduce themselves again.

Meagan D.

Meagan, I am the administrator for NayaCare. I came to NayaCare first with my daughter as a patient at the beginning of Covid and quickly believed in what they were doing. And so I came on as the administrator.

Santiago (Santi)

And I am Santi. I am a new patient of Dr Patel because Dr Patel does have multiple patients, the babies and the parents, and our baby boy was born over two months ago now. So we’ve been working with Dr Patel for some time and got to benefit from a lot of our services. So I’m happy to be able to come on and discuss those with everyone.

Sonal Patel

And I just honestly, I say this so many times that I’m just so honored that when people go through the services, they believe so much in the mission and the vision and that they come on and support. So being that being said, today, we’re going to talk about a fun topic and going back to work after you have a baby. And since Santis and the dads usually go back to work much earlier than the moms do, we’re going to have Santi kick off of how he felt going back to work.

Sonal Patel

Go ahead.

Santiago (Santi)

So I had a very interesting case. I actually quit my job one month before the baby was born and became self employed full time, which is nice and also a blessing and a curse, right? The blessing is well, I’m self employed so I can control my own schedule. But the curse is I’m therefore no longer have the paternity leave because again, I have unlimited vacation with unlimited work now, so you can only choose one. So it was definitely a nice balance. I figured if I wanted to take this step in my life, it was kind of now or never, right?

Santiago (Santi)

Once the baby comes and I’m comfortable receiving that paycheck and have that security blanket per se, then I thought I might not take that step in my career. So it was definitely a challenging step to take, but obviously it would support from my wife. I did that. And so going back to work was never really going back. It was just maintaining the bare necessities while spending more time with my baby and then little by little, ramping up more of the work hours. So it was again, an interesting balance, right?

Santiago (Santi)

It was definitely not a nine to five type of work schedule. Sometimes I would be up at two three in the morning and feel like I have the energy to get a little bit of work done, answer some emails, do some administrative stuff, then maybe the rest of the day would just spend with baby. So I was working kind of out of pocket from my phone, just replying to a few emails or phone calls like that, and then come bedtime or nap time, I would go back to work.

Santiago (Santi)

So again, the benefit of working from home, I think one of the biggest challenges there was mentally and physically, all I could think about and all I wanted to do was spend time with my baby. So it was actually very difficult being inside the house to be able to just close the door and focus on nothing but work. So what I found is a few days I would go to the coffee shop, and that way I would be there for one or 2 hours, and it would be nothing but productive time.

Santiago (Santi)

And then when I leave the coffee shop, I feel a little better, at least mentally, to spend time with the baby. Right. Because it’s also not how much time I might spend. So not the quality, not the quantity, but the quality of the time that I was spending with a baby. Right. If I was multitasking and working off my phone or thinking about something else, I realized it really wasn’t worth it wasn’t quality time. So that balance and finding again, the right routine, which the routine changed on a daily basis until I could find that right balance of getting a little bit of work done in certain apps hours of the day.

Santiago (Santi)

When mom needed a break, I had the flexibility to be at home and be able to help with that. And I’d say right now, we’re two months and change into having our baby. And I’m still trying to figure out that balance in that routine. So it’s definitely nothing that came naturally, but it’s been the best adventure of my life so far. So good.

Sonal Patel

You’ve highlighted so many amazing things just to kind of unpack. One of the things is you actually made this decision in Cove in the pandemic to go from being employed to self employed. That is best before we go into us, women going back to work, spend a little bit of time in this space when the desk go back to work. I actually was jealous of my husband when he went back to work and the opportunity to step away for a couple of hours. I think when going into it, I mean, I initially I was like, okay, yes, I have to breastfeed.

Sonal Patel

I have to do all of those things. But three, four weeks into it, when I was feeling a little bit better and I’m only drowning in breastfeeding and diapers, I’m like, wait a minute. I mean, you get to go and leave. And the flipping was it that yes, of course, when he comes back, he’s tired and he’s trying to balance both of it. But just speaking from a mom’s perspective, I was like, wow, you get to step out of this.

Santiago (Santi)

That is a great point. I actually work related, but I went to play golf. I’m not good at golf, but I at least enjoy it. And it felt like a vacation not in a bad way, right? Obviously, I missed my baby and wanted to be with a baby, but it definitely felt like a mini vacation. And the first thing I did when I got home is I told my wife, Let me stay with him and you go out, whether it be to the grocery store, Target, just to drive around whatever you want to do.

Santiago (Santi)

Because now I realize is stepping away. Is that a little bit of a break or mini vacation to just kind of rejuvenate yourself and be able to come back in into really the 24/7 job, which is taking care of a baby? Yes. And it’s challenging because like you mentioned, doctor would tell you you come back from work and you’re tired and taking care of a baby is very tiresome, but at least acknowledging and appreciating the fact that I got to step away and I just got a change of scenery and wanting to give that to my wife so she could also get a little break and just recharge the batteries and then come back and we can both be a team raising our baby.

Santiago (Santi)

So absolutely. I think definitely you step away to work, but you still step away. That change scenery. That a lot of times mom just can’t do.

Sonal Patel

Megan, what did you feel and your husband went back to work?

Meagan D.

I actually felt the opposite. I felt kind of bad for him, especially because he had to go back so quickly. I I felt bad that he had to I felt bad that he didn’t get that leave with the job I was at at the time. I had 13 weeks of maternity leave paid. He had no time, he had his vacation time, he had his sick time and with COVID his schedule was modified, so that did give us some extra time that he wouldn’t initially had. But I felt bad that he had to go back so quickly and had to miss those first few weeks.

Santiago (Santi)

It is definitely different, I would say in my experience, not having to go back to an office or some of my friends are contractors, so they have to go to job sites. So not having the choice and having to go back to work, I could definitely see what a man saying that a lot of times you don’t get to choose, you just have to go back to work, and now you’re missing watching your baby from nine to five or eight to six or whatever that might be.

Santiago (Santi)

So it’s definitely I think everybody has a different perspective.

Meagan D.

But it’s interesting to share what you offered paternity leave before you left.

Santiago (Santi)

I would have had, I believe, those two weeks of paternity leave, which is also not enough. But I would have had at least two weeks where you at least disconnect and not worry about anything. So that’s what one of the things I gave up, I guess, switching to selfemployed. But instead of having those two weeks to disconnect being self employed, I was able to have two months of a flexible schedule. So that’s another nice thing. After the two weeks of being completely disconnected, I didn’t have to go back to a nine to five.

Santiago (Santi)

I was able to more so balance that out and spread out the flexible schedule for now, going on more than two months.

Sonal Patel

Again, did your husband have how long did he have?

Meagan D.

So he didn’t have any opportunity to leave at all. His schedule had been modified from a Monday through Friday schedule to I think it was Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. Then he was working because it’s COVID because they were trying to separate all the shifts and stay busy and not ultimately lay them off. So he did have a modified schedule. So he took about a week and a half off. It just so happened that Reddit we went into labor was right into the start of his first set of shifts.

Meagan D.

And so he took those few days off and then had ultimately, like another week and a half off. So that was pretty nice. But after that, he did have to go back. But like I said, he was on a modified schedule. So we got lucky there where he did have a lot more time home. Then he would have initially had. But still, I think it’s definitely a big gap. I had 13 weeks paid, and I know still, a lot of moms don’t get that, but most dads don’t have any kind of leave and they have to use their sick time and vacation time.

Meagan D.

And for him, his thought was, well, do I want to use that? All right. Now what if she gets sick? What is something you need my help? What about the holiday times? Do I want to take off time around the holiday times to be with her? So he asked to factor taking that time, too, make it all work together.

Santiago (Santi)

There’s so much that goes into these decisions. And another interesting perspective as a dad, right? You go back to work. And as new parents, you’re learning so much on a daily basis. You’re not only communication cues with the baby of his hunger signs and his tired signs and how to hold them when you’re feeding him. So there’s so many lesson learning lessons on a daily basis that as a dad, when you step away from work, you come back and you feel like you missed a lot of that.

Santiago (Santi)

Right now, mom is telling you how to do things because of her experience on a day to day basis. And now dad might feel like he’s missing out or mom is teaching him how to be a dad. And then, personally, I would get defensive because I don’t want my wife to teach me how to be a dad if we’re both together. But at the same time, if I am working for 5 hours during the day, I did miss out on some learning lessons there. So it is a very interesting balance to try to continue to bond with your baby while at the same time not being able to spend so much time with the baby.

Santiago (Santi)

It becomes difficult. And the worst thing I would say they get it for dads to avoid is to have that separate you and your baby. Right. I think I’ve seen this with some friends where the moms spending all day with a baby. The dad comes home from work. Mom is kind of telling him how to do XYZ. And then the dad gets defensive and says, Well, here’s the baby back then. You know how to do it. I don’t know how to do it. So you take care of the baby.

Santiago (Santi)

So there’s a lot of interesting dynamics there to work through.

Sonal Patel

When I had my first, I was a resident, so meaning my husband is also a physician. So we were both in the grind of residency, and I didn’t have that leisure in the sense of allowing myself to be like, dad, you do. I need you to do it a certain way, because I was putting in the same hours and I was like, I can’t plan for every little step that you do. You’re the dad. Keep him alive. I’ll be back. But that insight allowed me for my other ones to step away, to be like, okay, you might not be doing the way that I’m doing it because I’ve been with them the longest or however, but going back to work in residency allowed me to be like, okay, yeah, you’re the dad.

Sonal Patel

You’re going to do it. You’re going to do what it takes to keep your baby happy, alive, healthy. It might not be what I want or how I do it, but that was a really very valuable lesson, because this allows me to not only continue my career because there were some times where you’re on call and we’re a call in opposite day to go do a Fellowship gave me a little bit more freedom to kind of figure out what I needed to do and how I wanted to do it as well.

Sonal Patel

But I think that’s a very valuable lesson for dad.

Santiago (Santi)

No.

Sonal Patel

So sorry for moms to hear that you just step back with dad be death unless they’re doing something stupid. But still, absolutely, they can peed on a couple of times they’ll figure it out. That’s how you figured it out.

Santiago (Santi)

That’s a good perspective. A lot of times there’s not one right way to do things right. A lot of times there’s different ways to accomplish the same thing. That’s nice to hear.

Sonal Patel

So just kind of leading into it. Like I said, going back to work for me was very different. It was grueling hours in residency and fellowship, I had a little bit. So as an attending, after all my training was done, I knew I wanted I had to go back to sorry. I knew I wanted to go back to work. And I think that’s the difference, right? It’s what I wanted to do and how I wanted to accomplish. Versus I was very fortunate that I didn’t have to be forced to go back to work because of a financial reason.

Sonal Patel

Like, this was my identity. I wanted to do this. And I have an amazing, amazing, supportive husband. But being that said, I just remember we were dropping my son to daycare. It was like, like, my whole life, like, fell apart in front of me. You know, one of my friends had actually had a baby six months early. And she said, you know, when you drop them, make sure that you allow an hour just for yourself. Because it was this transition from I’m having had this baby in me for ten months.

Sonal Patel

I’ve been taking care of him for two months, and all of a sudden was leave him with a stranger. And it’s okay.

Santiago (Santi)

So your baby was two months old when you dropped off a daycare, actually.

Sonal Patel

Nine weeks. Yeah. Yup. Nine weeks.

Santiago (Santi)

I couldn’t imagine. I couldn’t imagine.

Sonal Patel

Yeah, you had because we were in training. So it was just like, you have to finish it, right. Otherwise, of course, all what you worked up for. And I think that’s the thing that mom’s. I mean, the hormones don’t help either. I think dads deal with it, too. And I like the fact that we’re recognizing more stay home dad, in that case, as well, because they come to this this pathway, they have to make a choice. And neither choice seems very, I don’t know, just doesn’t seem right.

Sonal Patel

But then you go through it and you go through it. But I see the first time I had to drop them, then I cried. And then the next couple of times, we were a little bit financially better. So I was able to have a nanny. So I didn’t have to actually physically take my kids somewhere to do that. But, yeah, it’s just a heartbreak of taking your kid to daycare and, like, okay. And the struggle that I think moms go through. So Megan jumping in here because I know I know you joined.

Sonal Patel

I care for kind of some similar reasons.

Meagan D.

Well, first, I want to ask you because I want to see if it was similar. How did you feel when you were at work? Did you feel, I mean, more distracted or more torn? Like, you wanted to be with your baby? And I felt like it was harder to focus when I went back to work.

Sonal Patel

So luckily for me, I found a really good we’ve had an in home daycare, and she took care of him, like my friends, six month old. So I had a friend who had was a residency friend. So she had already gone through it, and she was really able to help me transition through it. And that daycare, Lady, Miss Peggy, I will never forget her. She was awesome. She would send me pictures a lot, or I would call and find if everything was okay. We also had, like, a staging things like the first the week before we were going back, I would drop him for 2 hours or drop in for an hour just to get myself comfortable and get comfortable with the situation.

Sonal Patel

And then the first couple of days. And Luckily, I went back into work because we have different rotations where you didn’t have to do patient care right away, where you could also be eased back into work. So I would work, like 5 hours or it would work 6 hours. And then when you did in patient care, we were in the system for about now. It was two months. So now he’s four months old and he was thriving, and we were better with that. So when patient care came, it just worked out in my favor.

Sonal Patel

I think that I was able to manipulate things. But I’ll tell you one thing, as soon as I got comfortable, because I think it’s me getting comfortable also. And we had a great day care. Miss Peggy was amazing. She was awesome. She loved my child as much. Just I did. You could see it. I would take advantage of be like, okay, we’re paying for five. So how many hours we paid for daycare and I’m off of work. I I think I’m going to go to the gym now, and I started becoming okay with that.

Sonal Patel

Be like, okay, I need time to I want to go back and become more healthy, and I’m going to go and do that. But it was definitely a transition. I don’t think, like, I was lucky enough not to kind of just go into patient care. And it was just like an easing myself into it.

Santiago (Santi)

The last piece that you mentioned, they’re going to the gym. I think it’s important. It’s difficult, right? Because sometimes you feel guilty. You’re like, I’m out of work. I should pick them up early or her early. But it’s also important for you to take care of yourself first, to be a better mother, better wife, but her husband. So that’s self care, which is something Doctor Patel always reminded us when she would visit us here at home, is important. If you’re healthy and you’re in a good mental space, then you can be that much better for the baby.

Santiago (Santi)

And then to Megan’s question, one thing to point out for me, what I saw is it depends on what type of work I was doing. Right. So if I’m in a meeting or in something that requires me to be in the moment, I was able to still am able to focus on that. But with the administrative work or things that could be put off or where I can become a purpose crash. Inator. Those are the things that have become very difficult to get done because I just put them off and go see the baby.

Santiago (Santi)

So it’s definitely a balance for me when I need to be somewhere and I have a meeting with someone that’s no problem. But when I need to sit down and get things done, that’s where I started to go to the coffee shop in order to focus, because what I would tell myself is I’m here. I’m away from a baby, whether it be an office or a co working space or a coffee shop, I’m away from the baby anyway, I might as well be productive to make it worth the time away from the baby.

Santiago (Santi)

Then I can go back. It was very difficult to get those administrative tasks done at home because obviously I would just choose the baby over. That okay.

Sonal Patel

I was told Megan, I know from one person too, actually, because I have four kids, and now I’ve been raising them for 15 years. But twice in my life I had been told that your nanny’s raising your kids. You aren’t. And so I think as a working mother, you encounter those kind of statements. It’s like, oh, but you’re taking them to day care for X many hours. How are you raising your child? And you’re just like, oh, my God, I am raising my child, and I’m trying to balance everything for them, but it’s difficult.

Santiago (Santi)

I think people are always going to judge as well and have their own opinion.

Sonal Patel

Megan, what about you? Before we even dive into more of this conversation?

Meagan D.

So I I mean, I obviously had my daughter beginning of covet. And so I had went on leave a little bit early because of covet because potentially being at risk. And I worked at a bank, and so I had closer to I think it was 14 and a half 15 weeks of leave. And by the time I was about, I think two weeks into having the baby, I just really knew that I did not want to go back. I felt like my place was to be home with her and take care of her.

Meagan D.

We had care arrange with my mom, but we were really apprehensive because my stepdad worked as a paramedic. And so that meant he was constantly exposed and in the middle of all of it. And we were already taking measures such as having your care come to our house and not taking her anywhere to avoid all that stuff. So sending her to my mom’s house was definitely a big concern, and I really was not not at already. So I think at that point that’s when I first contacted you and you weren’t quite there yet.

Meagan D.

So I kept looking for every Avenue working from home. I knew that I couldn’t do, like, a customer service type job, especially with her by myself. Any mom that can do that for 8 hours a day and take care of their kids once I praise you up and down because I can’t barely get a half hour cash done with my little one here. So I ended up going back to work. We did the test trails, like you said, and my mom lives about 25 minutes away from us.

Meagan D.

I balled the entire way there. I cried when we left. I had such a hard time with it. And like you said, I think it was hormones, too. But I mean, even now, I’m going to admit I still have a lot of difficulty of leaving her without me here. I feel like I know everybody can take care of her, but I feel like I’m just the answer to everything. So I went back to work and I was also pumping, and that became really difficult to keep everything clean.

Meagan D.

I didn’t really have a space to pump, so I ended up getting a pump that I could hide and where. And I did that while I was working, because I also didn’t feel like I had the flexibility with my job to stop and step away and pump. I went back to a job where I had a lot of seniority. I had a lot of poll, and I went back. And I felt like I had lost all of that in three months on maternity leave and just felt very out of place.

Meagan D.

At that point, I just felt like I needed to be home. So we tweak some things around. And two months later, I ended up leaving my position and decided to come home. And we decided to live off some of the money that we had saved up and basically kind of wing it. And I figure it out. And then I got a call from you that you were looking and you are ready. And so I stepped in this position. It’s worked for me to be at home.

Meagan D.

But like you said, it’s a balancing act. I literally feel like I go all day, I wake up with her, I Cook for her, I play with her, and she goes down an app. I do my work stuff. During her nap, she gets up, we play, we do dinner, she goes to bed, I do other house chores and other things that you need to be done and then some work. Sometimes I don’t I don’t stop home the night. But the trade off, like you said, it’s worth it to be more here and more present.

Meagan D.

And I feel like there seems my daughter is very ahead in it. Like, because I stayed home and had that ability to do it, she’s been able to have those advantages that I guess she wouldn’t have had it. I wasn’t here.

Sonal Patel

I had to grapple with the fact that all my twenties were devoted to becoming a doctor with all the studies and all the like, I sacrificed, like the going out and, you know, just being a rowdy 20 year old and I was just going to put that on the side. I think that was, I think with any woman who’s going back in any type of career or even now more so do also is just that you come to the fork in the road and say, okay, what’s important?

Sonal Patel

Not in the sense of I think what’s important to me because and like you mentioned, why I say self care and identity. Because, you know what? If I would have been happy, I wouldn’t have. That’s how I wear my hits. Then I would be constantly not happy. And I tried to stay at home stand for three months, I think with my second and bless you. Stay home, Mamas. Megan, I do not know I know you work for me, but my goodness, the constant going. I was like, and I felt it was not a good stay home mom.

Sonal Patel

I was a better working mom because then I was more organized. And so I knew where I compromised. A lot of my stuff is this was like you said, than these 2 hours were just going to be productive. So I knew when I was gonna step away from work or when I was at work, it was just work. And I had a good nanny that was helping me in that background. And she would only text me and stuff when I was really dear and needed. But when I came home, it was just home.

Sonal Patel

And all I did was spend my time at home. So that balancing, buddy. Now I did try to be a stay home mom and Megan hats off, man. Like that. I completely failed at that part of it.

Santiago (Santi)

I yeah, I think juggling both, which it seems like all three of us here are doing is a good experience to talk about quality over quantity, right? In any aspect of life, both going to the gym, I’m sure you’re going to work harder in the gym knowing I’m away from my baby, I’m away from work. I better make it worth it. And same with work and same with a baby, right? When you’re with a baby, then you got to separate everything else so that that time is really worth it.

Santiago (Santi)

So that to me, has made it easier to try to balance everything out and just becoming a better person every day. That’s all I can try to do for the baby. To Megan’s point, it is very interesting to see. I mean, I was so ignorant to everything that it takes to raise a child. I mean, obviously I am the son to a mom and dad, and I have a sister who has two little ones. And even with that, I was so ignorant before going through this experience myself.

Santiago (Santi)

The pumping, right? It’s a 24/7 job. You can’t stop. You risk actually your health if you don’t pump. So that’s very important. And then just being away from a baby, all the hormones, everything that’s going on, it’s crazy to see how as humans, we’ve gone through this for so long, but we don’t really accommodate for one another rate, like at the office. Like, maybe when I’m saying there’s no room for a mom to go pump just now, I’m starting to see and hear of airports having pods for a mom to feed or pump like breastfeeding in public.

Santiago (Santi)

It’s still such a taboo that my wife is like, should I cover myself? Should I not cover myself? If I don’t cover myself, I make it so awkward for everybody else, and then they make it awkward for me. So I think I was hoping, joining the parent club that there would be more services like NIA Care and more people like us three here who can relate with each other know that we’ve gone through this and try to help each other out, right? It’s somewhat frustrating to see businesses so far behind with childcare or with just certain benefits, even if it’s just a comfortable room for mom to pump.

Santiago (Santi)

It’s a blessing and a curse, I guess, because because the blessing is that it brings like minded people together, like the folks here and the folks I get to leverage NIA Care services. But it also opens up my eyes to what I was so ignorant to before, which is really, I think, the world. And unfortunately, where we live in the US, like maternity leave sometimes doesn’t exist. Sometimes it’s too short maternity leave as well. And then when mom’s going back to work, like Megan was mentioning, right, you went from a senior position where you felt like you have a somewhat like power, right?

Santiago (Santi)

And say in the office. So now all of a sudden feeling like you lose all that because you’re not even comfortable in the place where you’ve been working and where you feel like you have this seniority, you don’t even have a comfortable place to pump. So it is very eye opening experience, not only becoming a dad, but seeing also the world and how we accommodate parents or don’t accommodate parents. But I’m glad we’re here. And again, I’m glad Doctor Patel, you took the risk you did, leaving your job to start night care so that we can hopefully move in the right direction as a community.

Sonal Patel

So on those two notes, so there are laws in Colorado that you can demand your employers to provide adequate breastfeeding areas. If you’re anywhere in Colorado, just contact the public health Department and they will stare you right, because the laws support that. Even if you’re working at a Burger King, there are ways, and I don’t think people are aware of that.

Santiago (Santi)

I would say at least me personally, I’m definitely not aware of that. So I think this is a great point of our blog and time together to highlight those fun facts are very important.

Sonal Patel

And then I had the privilege of actually sitting in the room where the paid family leads that we just passed last year was being formulated and had the voice. And I was able to be one of the speakers not only in the legislation, but when we actually had are rally and everything and just super excited. After six, seven years, it got passed and it should be starting to be implemented in 2024. So those are the couple of laws. But I don’t think, like you said, Fancy, you get aware of stuff, and then you’re like, wait a minute.

Sonal Patel

There’s laws to support this. Wait, how did I not know about that? I just wanted to point out those two things that’s what you had brought up.

Meagan D.

So I’ll go ahead.

Santiago (Santi)

I was just going to say, I definitely appreciate your efforts there and bringing awareness to them. Like, if the law is there, but nobody knows about them, then it’s useless. So it’s nice to have you leading the pack there and bringing awareness to all of us around you in the community.

Meagan D.

And I was aware of of the laws, the place I was in, though I knew it had to have been within reason that they provide a space. But where I was at, the only reasonable space that would have been even able to be provided would have been the bathroom for me. There wasn’t where we were with such a small area. It wasn’t a typical bank. It was a stand up kind of bank, and they put the whole staff into there. So. And I knew I felt so uncomfortable when I went back as it was.

Meagan D.

I think that’s the thing, like, we know that there are things that protect us when we go back and even while we’re on leave and even while we’re pregnant. But I think there’s still a certain level of I mean, you feel uncomfortable. I know that you’re protected if you blow the whistle on those things, but you feel uncomfortable. You can’t stop people from making you feel outside the loop. And like I said, I went from the place I worked. I had ran this particular branch pretty much by myself at one point for over a year.

Meagan D.

So I went from having all this poll and all this day there to feeling very on the outside when I came back, and I didn’t want to feel anymore on the outside than I already did. And I’m actually friends with another man that works there. And she had similar feelings when she went back. She felt very uncomfortable about how she would even breastfeed. She was asking me questions about how I did it and how I went about it. So I think it goes back to what you said.

Meagan D.

I think people need to be more accommodating to mom and dad when they go back to work. We’re trying to figure out how we even do this. Something at work is a full time job. On top of your job, you’re literally pumping. You finish, you clean up before, you know, you’re setting up to do it again. And you’ve got to figure out how to correctly break out of work to do that, and you got to take care of it. And then you’re thinking about your baby.

Meagan D.

And like you said, you’re getting the updates from the babysitter, the little picture. So you’ve got that, too. And your job. It’s a lot for us to bounce. And dad, they’re worried about what mom’s doing when they go back. They’re worried about how baby is doing. There needs to be a lot more accommodation and a lot more easing back into the job and a lot more acceptance of what the parents have been through before they come back.

Sonal Patel

What you just said actually highlights literally sums up the literature that is supporting paid family leave because those companies that actually offer page families, their employees and stay there longer, and they’re more committed to that company. Exactly. I think accommodations in the sense of like, yes, of course, a good space to pump, a nice areas to do that. And that go along with the public health Department regulations, because the place needs to be clean. You need to provide places where you can clean your UM parts of reducing viral and bacterial thing.

Sonal Patel

But also the understanding. I think the accommodation is one time. But just overall understanding of this person was so important to our company, and they did so much, they just might need a little adjustment coming back to work. And so this overall understanding of it, I was super lucky. I had amazing role models in residency. We had. And my third year when I was an intern, I had two residents, two physician doctors who actually had two babies in the three year period. And they would pump.

Sonal Patel

And so everybody got comfortable pumping. Like, with us female residents pumping, they would nurse in the car rooms because their husbands or spouses would bring the babies. And when they had a minute of break instead of pumping, they would nurse. And it started fostering this culture of like, so when I became a 30 year residence and I had my baby, too, I was like, oh, my husband would bring the baby to me when I was on call, and if I had a chance, I was able to nurse.

Sonal Patel

And that was just accepted. It wasn’t like, oh, my gosh, you’re doing it again. I think just having people that have gone through it, we had a couple of male residents and they’re like, oh, yeah, you’re pumping. This overall understanding from both perspective was really helpful and encouraging to have a child in residency.

Santiago (Santi)

I think that highlights it’s not only at a regulatory level that efforts need to be made to establish these laws and regulations to protect parents, but also at a company level, no matter the size of the company might be Fortune 500 or a small mom and pop. But having that culture is priceless. I think, obviously, people I’m sure statistics that show that people stay there longer, that the quality of work is better. And now we’re talking about this four day work week versus five day work week.

Santiago (Santi)

Again, to me, just the quality versus quantity always comes back. If you’re sitting in front of your desk for 5 hours, but you concentrate for 15 minutes, what was the point? Right. So I think that culture, that company culture is an important thing to highlight what a lot of people business owners and also employees can make an effort, even though you might not think you can change the laws or you can change the company, at least make an effort for the culture to be one way.

Santiago (Santi)

I hate to see when people have the attitude of oh, I figured it out. So you’ll figure it out as well. You’ll be okay, right? Where it’s you figured out that there were obstacles that had to be overcome. And instead of just saying, I crossed the bridge and then burn it or figure out how to cross it yourself, let’s take 1 second to look back and say, how can we improve this for the next person that’s going to cross? Right? Maybe you’re not going to have another baby yourself.

Santiago (Santi)

Maybe you are.

Right.

Santiago (Santi)

So maybe you’re going to have to cross that bridge again. But don’t be so quick to forget just because you’ve gone through it. And now the next person is going to figure it out. Just as a community, take as a community, take a second to look back and say, how can we improve this for each other?

Sonal Patel

I mean, that’s a perfect place to end. So thank you, Sandy. The floor. We completely end. What’s? One tip that you guys think that you’d like to relate to your counterpart when going back to work so I can start as a working mom going back to work? One tip is particularly if you’re in the corporate world, if you could schedule your pump breaks as you would schedule meetings like 1520 minutes. So then everyone is aware that you are and they look at your calendar. They’re like, okay, that one is blocked.

Sonal Patel

And then always my responses smokers take breaks of breast, getting moms need to take break to, and that should just be part of it. But that’s one tip that really helped schedule pumping that I knew and everybody around me knew was like, okay, I’m taking 1520 minutes, break to pump. Then when I’m back in it, I’m going to be start working. So that’s why one tip that would give working moms.

I.

Meagan D.

Think mine would be just advocating for yourself. I mean, ultimately, I left my position, but I think there were certain things that I advocated for myself. And the biggest thing was that I was not the same person as I was before I went on leave, I came back a mom, and I mean, I wasn’t single, but I had an individual life before I went in. So I had all this availability, and I definitely had to advocate that. Now I have a schedule. Now my availability is not the same.

Meagan D.

Now I have these priorities out of work. I’m going to advocate that I’m here to do my job, and I still be the same person doing my job. But there were things that like the pumping and everything that needed to change, and I had to try to advocate, and I should have advocated more for my situation.

Sonal Patel

I’m not too much, Megan. Then you wouldn’t be here. True.

Meagan D.

And I’m actually way happier doing what I’m doing. I mean, longevity wise, I planned on staying where I was. I was in a good position, but I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to have and the fact that you give me the flexibility to be a on and bring home income so a better and even leaving.

Santiago (Santi)

You do advocate, right? Not only for yourself, but for the next people to go through that experience. Hopefully the company would do an exit interview and understand why they lost such a or ten year employee. So even not being there, still, I think that step hopefully would advocate and speak up for yourself. And the rest mine would be, I think, time management and quality over quantity. I realized even though yes, I could hold my baby and answer emails on my phone, I’m not doing either of them.

Santiago (Santi)

Well, there’s no point. I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, and I would much rather not spread myself thin or try to boil the ocean. I’d rather have the 2 hours set aside for work where I know, Unfortunately, I’m not going to be with a baby. I’m not going to see the baby or hold the baby. But because that’s the opportunity cost, that’s what I’m giving up. I’m going to make sure those 2 hours are going to be very productive. And I realized I can even fit what used to take me three or 4 hours of work into 2 hours, and then I can go home, be with a baby and put my phone aside.

Santiago (Santi)

So I think in everything not only time spent with a baby, but time spent at work or with friends, family at the gym, just quality over quantity is important for me.

Sonal Patel

Awesome. Well, thank you guys so much. This has been an awesome, amazing conversation. So thank you. Believe it.

Santiago (Santi)

Of course. Always a pleasure. Thank you guys for what you do. We’ll talk again soon.

Sonal Patel

Yup. Bye.

What was your experience with returning to work? Share with us in the comments!


Recently on the NayaCare Blog

Baby Safety at Home: A Dad’s Perspective

Baby Safety at Home: A Dad’s Perspective

This month as we focus on baby safety, we talked with Santiago Ongay. He offered his perspective as a dad going through the process of babyproofing the house and their life. You can listen to the interview or read it below.

Sonal Patel

Hello NayaCare Family. And welcome back. We’re continuing our series with our amazing dad, and this time we’re going to be talking about safety and the way that we thought we talked about safety would be in the fashion that we’re actually dealing with it in the different stages of our lives. So for example, you guys all know that I have four boys, the ranges from four, six to 15. So I have other safety issues I am now more concerned about.

Sonal Patel

And then Santi has a three month old and Meagan has a toddler on the loose. So let’s kind of just start in the order about baby safety and infant safety. And obviously say sleep is one thing that always comes up. So we will. If you go on our website, we’ll have a PDF that shows you exactly about infant safety and what to do with it. But the next big topic. And so we won’t draw on that as much, because since it’s everywhere is car seat safety, and I think that’s one thing that people overlook or don’t know how to do it.

Sonal Patel

When we first got our cars for first little one, I remember bundling him up in it, but we didn’t know how to adjust the straps. And so the poor boy was, like squeezed in like it was a straight jacket for him, essentially because we couldn’t figure out. And until we went to our pediatrician’s office, they’re the ones that showed us to be like, no, no, no, you just have to press that button to loosen the straps. So did you guys have anything about infant safety or car seat safety in particular?

Sonal Patel

Or one last thing when I was doing my car, we didn’t have all these options that you young parents have now. So how did you guys navigate all of that? Because that seems mind boggling to me.

Meagan D.

For me, I get kind of lucky because my stepped out is a paramedic, so I don’t have the choice but to do it correctly because I have him in the back of my head constantly telling me, even as an adult, how to properly be buckled. In several weeks before we had our daughter, we installed the course, and we actually had him come over and make sure that it was properly installed because he actually helped do installations when he it was at the fire Department. So we got kind of lucky with that.

Meagan D.

I still don’t know how to install it. My husband has since figured out how to install it properly. I am hoping nothing ever happens to him because I’m never going to know how to install the car seat.

Sonal Patel

I hear you. Santi, how about you?

Santiago (Santi)

That’s funny. Yeah, I left that to my wife. She picked out the car seat. She did her research, got some recommendations. She also was looking for something light so she could carry it. But the installation, she then left to me. And we also went to the fire Department here locally in Arvada, Colorado, and made sure that they checked it out. And my sister also has a three year old and an eight month old. So we had her check it out. We letting everybody check it out. They could check it out just to make sure we got multiple points of view.

Santiago (Santi)

So that was definitely interesting, right? That’s before the baby comes, we were already driving around with a car seat ready to go. And luckily, at the hospital, they showed us what you were mentioning, Dr. Patel, how to loosen it, because that’s something everybody checks to make sure it’s installed. But then when you actually have a baby in there, you got to figure out a few other things. So they showed us how to loosen it, how tight it should be. The pinch test above the shoulder to make sure you can’t pinch the strap so that, you know, that they’re tight enough, but not too tight.

Santiago (Santi)

So it’s definitely a more complex situation that I imagined with the car seat. I thought we just purchased it, install it, and that’s that. But even as my wife was going through the research, I learned there were so many different car seats to choose from. Figure it out. Yeah, I’m definitely comfortable with it. And I think, like Megan mentioned, I think I’m a little more comfortable than my wife at this point.

Sonal Patel

I totally agree with all your points. There the comfort. My husband took over more of the charge with the comfort, but it was like I said, you guys have so many more choices out there. And to kind of find the right one, because it’s the safety of your infant. If you’re just like, I’m bringing this child home. And also you have to make sure that you spend your money wisely that they are, they can grow with a child as well. So then for car seat safety, obviously, the law is in Colorado two years backwards.

Sonal Patel

And then most people recommend as long as your child allows it to be facing backwards, and the car seats will start supporting that. The other little quick things about safety, car seats. There is an expiration date because of the plastic. So please be mindful of that. So now that we’re going to start with the state of Sunny, what is your biggest concerns now with safety now that you have a three month old?

Santiago (Santi)

So I’ll try to go in chronological order. I love the term making use to describe how we’ll talk about it today, the generations of safety. So I’ll try to keep it in chronological order as we were. So first, obviously, the car seat right before the babies here, we have that installed and make sure it was done properly, got a few people to review it. And after that, the whooping cough, the TDAP vaccine as well as unfortunately, nowadays the COVID vaccine was a big topic for us even before the baby was here.

Santiago (Santi)

My wife’s family’s out of state, so traveling right now was also a concern. Even with the vaccines being out. Obviously there’s concern whether vaccinating people can carry the virus, whether they can, whether they can spread it, etcetera. So those two I think again, the whooping cough, which is not a normal conversation that you would have if baby aside with friends and family. So that was a new conversation to make sure people had their shot, and also the COVID vaccine and just being careful with COVID. That was before baby was here, thinking about bringing him home, thinking about friends and family wanting to meet him and visit.

Santiago (Santi)

And honestly, till this day, most of our friends have not met our baby. Only my parents and my sister, who live locally in Colorado met the baby, and then some of my wife’s family who slowly have been traveling here to meet the baby as well. But health concerns, of course, sleeping and all that. I think we’ll get into those topics a little later because they’re definitely worth discussing in detail. But those two were new to me that I didn’t really concern until much later in the pregnancy were those health concerns of the vaccines and COVID.

Sonal Patel

So as a new parent, navigating all of this, how did you address that to your friends? Because some I mean, I could just imagine having that kind of a difficult conversation for some particular friends that I have.

Yeah.

Santiago (Santi)

And I think human nature, you try to avoid those difficult conversations. So what I found myself doing is really I wouldn’t approach the conversation unless someone was adamant about meeting or visiting us or meeting the baby. So at that point I would bring up the conversation of the options are to get the that vaccine and explain what the whooping cough is and what I’ve learned of it. And also the COVID vaccine and just being careful with COVID and mask, et cetera, or waiting a few months until the baby has the opportunity to get his vaccines so that he’s covered.

Santiago (Santi)

And luckily, most of the people that were adamant about meeting the baby were also obviously open minded and either already knew that they would have to do this or we’re open to doing it. And it’s funny, one of my friends even ran out to Walgreens to get the tap vaccine and send me a picture of his Band Aid afterwards because he was excited to meet the baby. But I let people more so open up the conversation right by wanting to meet the baby. I didn’t approach people who were more so willing to wait to meet them, telling them that they have to run out and get their vaccines Megan.

Sonal Patel

You had to encounter COVID White when it was starting with your little one. How did you navigate that conversation?

Meagan D.

It was really difficult because in general tend to be very far. I’m kind of known as the germophobe of the family. I get teased quite a bit for it. So this couldn’t have been, like any closer to my worst nightmare if it tried and then being pregnant and having a new baby, it was definitely scary. It was really hard because we didn’t have a lot of family around, but the biggest person that wanted to see him was my parents, and my stepdad was expose based on his job as a paramedic.

Meagan D.

So that was definitely a concern for me. But it was also kind of a relief because I felt like at the same time, he knew the risks and he knew how to be careful, and he wouldn’t have done something to put our daughter in danger. But my parents especially had been very good about being vaccinated, wearing masks, washing hands. David made sure they had the flu shot last year. They’re really good about adhering to what we’re comfortable with. But even after those conversations, we even had some people that were exposed that didn’t let us know until after they visited, which was very frustrating.

Meagan D.

So now we just ask a lot of questions and going into COVID kind of coming back. And with this variant, we’ve had to start having the conversations because my entire family is not vaccinated. We tend to be very close. And I’ve had to have the conversation that if it gets to the point where we feel uncomfortable again, we’re going to be distancing ourselves from the unvaccinated family members for our daughter’s safety, or they can wear a mask around her just because she doesn’t have the ability to be vaccinated.

Meagan D.

I mean, we’re hoping that breastfeeding is protecting her in some format, but there’s still just not a lot to know on how protected she is, and I’m just not willing to risk it. But my husband has never gotten the flu shot up until we had the baby, and now he is a regular vaccine taker.

Sonal Patel

So Interestingly. Pertussis and the tap was reemerging. And those guidelines came out when I actually was training for pediatric residency. So for our audience, pertussis actually present in less than six months, not as whooping cough, meaning that your senior by call cough, but they actually present with lack of breathing, which is the medical from apnea. And I remember being in New Orleans being in my LSU residency and had to admit to kids both babies. One was like a four month old, one was a five month old, and we thought it was in the winter.

Sonal Patel

Obviously you go to RSV, but when it came back as pertussis and you know, my residency training was 2003 to 2000 or 2004. Sorry, I’m missing of the date, but what I’m just trying to get at was it wasn’t very long ago that we saw this. It was less than 20 years ago that we actually changed the guidelines for pertussis. And it was really interesting to see avail in front of your eyes because of all what you were seeing. So that was kind of an interesting thing to take on that in science in real time.

Sonal Patel

And I think that’s what we’re dealing with COVID, right? Science in real time and people that people are seeing it more first hand than ever now fancy. So now we have the baby stuff. And like you said, the vaccines and all of that. What’s your next concern? Because I think that’s going to lead into really nicely to what make him dealing with these days.

Santiago (Santi)

My next concern, I usually was not a concerned person, but since my wife was pregnant, I’m now all of a sudden concerned with everything. So I’m just laughing at the question. But from the top of mind, what I would review as the top concerns right now, I’m terrified of choking anything to do with choking, and I know it’s more common than I imagined. So that’s something that’s on the back of my mind. And obviously the CPR classes we took, but they were virtual this year because a COVID following that conversation.

Santiago (Santi)

So I don’t feel like and on my hands on learner. So I don’t feel like I got the hands on experience of what the CPR infant CPR course would give you. So that’s definitely always on the back of my mind. And the other one is sleeping. I think we might dive deeper into this one, but not only sleeping right right now, I think of sleeping at night the way they sleep, whether in the bassinet next to the bed. We have a pretty fancy Basnet that has a swaddle attached to it.

Santiago (Santi)

So at least it just gives me the peace of mind also that he’s not going to be rolling around or anything like that, but also napping. So sleeping and napping. We used to or mom more often than that. After he was done feeding, he would fall asleep on her chest. And then sometimes mom would be tired and would start dozing off. And we know that Child Safety 101 don’t fall asleep while holding your baby. But we also read a little bit about that specific position of them sleeping on your chest and how if they turn their face towards you, their nose doesn’t really have the bone or cartilage to stop them from completely blocking their airway.

Santiago (Santi)

So that’s another super scary fact that I guess. Dr Patel, maybe you could speak to more. But going back to ignorance is bliss, right? As soon as I learned that now terrified every time the baby’s napping or when mom’s tired. Usually since I work from home, I have the ability to just kind of Hover when I can and make sure they’re not boat sleeping. And if mom’s tired, just take them and put them in his best in heat, or maybe hold them for a little bit if I can.

Santiago (Santi)

So those two sleeping napping and choking out the top concerns right now, on top of mine.

Sonal Patel

Again, how did you deal with the choking? And then we’ll dive into sleep.

Meagan D.

So again, I got really lucky. I have taken CPR several times. I started taking CPR when I was younger because I used to baby sit a ton. I also worked with adults with developmental disabilities, so I had trained for that as well. Then I did kind of like a refresher thing with my stepdad. I didn’t do formal training, but just kind of a refresher on what you do. But I’m kind of with you, Sante, where I still had to practical, but I feel like in the moment I would kind of panic and I question myself and I wouldn’t know what to do.

Meagan D.

So I do worry about choking. But surprisingly, my husband actually worries about it far more than I do. And it could be because I’m home all the time with her. So I see how she eats food and the things she does, and I see like, oh, it’ll be fine. She’ll work this out where he sees crap, she might choke. So for me, I don’t worry about it as much. I mean, it is there. I obviously watched for smaller things on the floor, things like that. When we started food, it was a little bit of concern.

Meagan D.

But I also kind of learned to trust her a little bit. I realized that when something was too big, she also realized that, hey, this is not going to work. I can’t swallow this and she’d actually pull that out of her mouth or try to get it out of her mouth. So I realized that some of that she could work out on her own a little bit, and it taught me to be a little less paranoid on that came to choking.

Santiago (Santi)

I’ll add a little bit to that paranoia in the first few weeks, any little noise that he would make, especially at night, he could make really, what would be a cute noise? But any little noise, I would jump up in bed and ask my wife if he was choking. I don’t know why I had that phobia so bad. And now little by little, like Megan mentions. Right. You get to know their noises and kind of just how they are when they’re eating or when they’re sneezing or sleeping.

Santiago (Santi)

So now much more calm and compost when it comes to any little noise. I haven’t got to the milestone of eating solid food yet or crawling around. Right. So what Megan was mentioning about making sure there’s nothing small on the floor that they could get to or eating solid foods. I’ll have to come back and let you guys know how my paranoia is doing at that point.

Definitely.

Sonal Patel

Yeah, I agree. I mean, it’s like it’s more watching and allowing your kids to explore. And you offer the best abilities that you can, but really starting to get to know them. And do remember, coughing is a reflex that they’re protecting themselves. So parents usually get really scared when their babies are coughing and the mistaken that is choking. But actually the mechanism of coughing is protecting your airway, so that’s actually a good thing. And then you can adjust your or just whatever they’re doing. And Fancy, I have to save this.

Sonal Patel

Also, when your little one grows up a little bit more, I mean, they can choke on a tether sometimes it feels like so they have it in their mouth. And all of a sudden, because of all that, the build up and they start just coughing on that. And again, like Reiterating, a lot of parents confused coughing as choke game. The coughing is literally it’s a defense mechanism for the body. So that’s a good thing.

Santiago (Santi)

I’m nervously smiling with us.

Sonal Patel

No, it is a voyage. It is. Hopefully in the fall, we actually started a series for introduction of baby food and developmentally and all of that good jazz. And just to have parents understand the knowledge about developmentally, we introduce food and that’s your biggest source of if they’re going to be choking or not. And that’s usually around six months. So you have a couple of months left to go. You know, being cautious is with everything. The minute you become a parent, the light bulb switches in your head, your mindset just switch.

Sonal Patel

And you just want to make sure that everything around this little one is the best to its abilities and the safest visibility so your little one can grow and thrive. So your concerns, I think, are not. They resonate through all parents and particularly new parents. And I’m sitting here fortunate to have four. But I will tell you, every single time experience does create more comfort in some regions, some ways, and in some ways you get too comfortable with certain things. But you do learn. You do learn.

Yeah.

Sonal Patel

Let’s dive into sleep, guys. So Fancy, you started with the sleep. Megan, do you want to add? So Megan and I have to be totally open. We’ve had a lot of conversations on sleep, and there’s two aspects of sleep. One is a sleep training, and then one is a sleep environment. And Megan knows my stance on this. You cannot sleep. Train a baby. You can sleep. Q A baby. What’s the difference is that when you’re training something you want it to do and respond to the same ques the same time every single time they have to do it this particular way, you can definitely train like to train your dog to go outside and pee and do it.

Sonal Patel

And training can lead into good habits and behaviors. But unfortunately, what happens in the first year is babies change a lot. So what you want them to do is you want to create an environment where they’re starting to recognize that this is the same place, basically sleep every single time. But you know what? When they’re six months old on the weather’s night and you want to go out, it’s okay once in a while to be like, I want to go out with my baby and I might want to skip my nap for that day and then have a bigger nap in the evening or however.

Sonal Patel

But the training, when people train their babies, they become so just too much into the schedule. I feel that it doesn’t allow them to have a little bit of maneuvering. So that’s my one stand one sleep training. I really prefer sleep queuing. And what that means is again, same environment, same thing. I think I’ve told you both guys, eat, play. Sleep is what I kind of go along with is babies. Each babies play for a little bit and then they sleep. And as your babies get older, you see that pattern occurring and occurring, and that’s what the pattern is.

Sonal Patel

The other thing is that when babies are crying at night or send you, like, for your age three month old baby, they’re crying for a reason. That’s their way of communicating. So go address that reason. And then you start creating bondings of comfort, bondings of nurturing, bondings of security because I’m seeing the end of it or my 15 year old, I wanted to reach me. I mean, he’s going to be in three years, he’s going to be in College, but I wanted him to have the security to be like, I don’t care.

Sonal Patel

It’s two in the morning. I’m going to call my mom because I need my mom. And I think sleep queuing is just a better way to go about when you have a three month old to a toddler age, because that’s just establishing more security and bonding with your babies. And not to say sleep is not important to sleep, it definitely is important, and there’s definite transitions part of it, even at this stage. My youngest is 6 miles old, is is 15. We have quiet time in the afternoons where we go into the rooms, everybody gets a book and they quit their bodies.

Sonal Patel

So that was initially when they were mapping, but now it’s turned into quiet time and then the sleep safety. So let’s break that up. Do you guys have any comments about the sleep environment and the training and the queuing?

Santiago (Santi)

Well, I have three months of perspective, so not as much as a few doctor could help, but I definitely resonates what you’re saying with the Cubers training. I think there’s definitely a balance, because if you’re so strict with just one right way, then maybe if you have to go out of town on a family vacation or whatever, you’re just outside of the normal environment, then it might impact the baby negatively because it’s just so used to that one specific way. We started being a little too much, I would say, with the apps and tracking the feeding and the sleeping and napping.

Santiago (Santi)

And then you gave us a different perspective, which you just shared right now. And since then, I think that as parents were a lot more laid back, we still have a routine not as strict of a schedule as you said. Right. If we have to do something during his nap time, he doesn’t necessarily have to nap in the bassinet at home. Sometimes nap more so, like in the car and things like that. So we are trying to find our balance and our routine without being too strict and also allowing us as parents to not be so under such a strict schedule and still allow us to kind of live our life, but definitely with a new routine now with a baby.

Santiago (Santi)

So I would say what I took away is just that balance. I think that being too strict might be a little too much, but definitely a good routine is healthy. So when it comes to that, we’re trying to find that balance. And like Megan said before, right. Just when you think you figured out the balance and their schedule or their routine changes a little bit, which is also nice to have that adaptability instead of being too strict with what we’re doing. So.

Meagan D.

For me, I have struggled every step of the way with sleep. When she was first little, I never understood the EA play sleep. I could never get it in that order, no matter how much I tried. My daughter seems to be a unicorn of that situation, and she just does her own thing and she beats to her own drum. Even when she was little, her wake windows were more like three 4 hours versus one to 2 hours, like she just always seemed to do stuff differently. We did at one point, as Dr tell us very well, try to hire a sleep trainer who I promptly fired the night that I was supposed to start, because even though we had discussed at great length what me and my husband wanted for our daughter, this person slowly came in and started trying to change how we were going to do it in a way that I wasn’t comfortable with, such as taking my daughter’s past supplier.

Meagan D.

I felt like at that point she had been used to sleeping in our room. So I felt like trying to take all those things at once was way too much, and I needed to do it in a way that I also felt comfortable doing it so I could reinforce it with her. I did take some things from the experience we do let her sleep in her own crib in her own bedroom. Now I do try to keep bedtime at the same time every night and that time at the same night, the same time every day within about a half hour of reason.

Meagan D.

We have noticed if we don’t stick to those times, we either don’t get naps at all or bedtime. It’s really hard to get her down. So we do stick to that. We do leading up to that do kind of a routine, especially at night. She gets to watch a little bit of she loves the Muppets. So we let her watch the Muppets, and then we do teeth brushing and story time and snuggling and bedtime. So we do keep a bit of a routine. But for us, that just works for her and her busy little mind.

Meagan D.

But with safety, we do the crib. And right now she’s 16 months. So we have just started to introduce a blanket in the crib. And that’s more at nap time when I can really watch her on the monitor with the blanket and make sure that everything is safe in the past, that we don’t use any kind of bumpers or anything like that. The only bumper we did use at one point was a mesh one. So it was breathable, mainly because she can literally turn a 360 and has.

Meagan D.

And she was really little in her bed, so she was getting her legs and arms stuck in between the railing of the crib. And for me, I was paranoid that she’d break her arm or something, getting it stuck in there. But we pretty much adhere to the safety rules. The only other thing that’s inter cribs, it’s a harder kind of stuffed animals that live up and it sings doesn’t really present a lot of suffocation risk past that, though. We adhere a lot to the safety rules when it comes to the car.

Meagan D.

I’m still very paranoid of something happening with her, but we’re doing pretty good so far. But like I said earlier, every time you think that you get used to it and I think you’ve got something in place, they change. I had her sleep trained, and as I would say, I guess at this point for the last four and a half months and now just recently, the last few days, she’s not wanting to go down. She’s struggling to take a nap. And it could be other things with teeth and everything else, those tend to mess with the sleep times, but it does change.

Meagan D.

I think it’s being flexible to work with it.

Sonal Patel

I think that’s one thing that you mentioned that you are particularly a little better than I did was structure versus being so like, I mean, I know parents who would be like, oh, my God, it’s 10:00. We need to go home right now, you know, or we need to do this right this second, because otherwise it’s going to mess up everything. And I just honestly, from looking in that way, it just didn’t seem healthy to be like, if you’re so ridges on that aspect of it that you cannot just enjoy one evening, then how are your kids going to adjust when things are thrown at them.

Sonal Patel

But I like the term structure a little better because it’s still not training because you’re not setting a particular time. You’re not being like, okay, we have to do ten steps first before we can actually have this bedtime routine and go to bed, because sometimes life happens and those things can be messed up. So you really do want to teach your kids, even with the sleep, part of it is to be able to adjust two things that happen to you, but hopefully in most normal circumstances have a good structure for it.

Sonal Patel

Making your little one reminds me of my oldest one. He never like, I remember he was nine months old, and I read in a book that he was supposed to get two naps still. And I literally had him in his crib and close the door, and he was crying his head off. And my husband looked at me and he goes, what are you doing to him? Like, Why? I was like, no, no, no. A book told me a book told me that I had to do this, and that was literally the last of that.

Sonal Patel

My husband was like, no, we’re not doing this. And he’s like, we’re gonna make sure that he gets appropriate sleep if we need to listen to our child as well. He’s telling us he doesn’t want to do this, and those points in time are just changed. So, like, your toddler is going through right now. Is she’s growing? She’s changing, and there might be something else that needs for her. So with every sleep change, I know I did this, too, is whenever they went down to one or one map or even if they dropped, they’re not completely.

Sonal Patel

Every third or fourth day, I ensure that they had a nap because then it would catch up to their body until they were over that transition. And, you know, when you start listening to your baby’s cues, I.

Santiago (Santi)

Personally really appreciate you guys sharing those perspectives, because obviously you are 15 years or a few months ahead of me. So it was great to hear your guys. We’ve been very lucky with our baby, so he has been, you know, as soon as I think he was two months, he was sleeping six, 7 hours through the night. And as a newborn, he was sleeping fairly often. So we felt like we got really lucky. And I’m looking into the future as to how things might change there. So thank you for sharing the perspective.

Santiago (Santi)

And I’m now more prepared from this conversation to what comes next with a sleep journey.

Meagan D.

It’s a difficult one.

Sonal Patel

Or it could be totally easy. That’s the thing with kids. They’re so different. My second one, he loves to sleep, and you still love if my teenager will wake up at, let’s say, 08:00 738 every single morning, he goes to bed at ten, and my eleven year old will literally can sleep till 11:00 at night. Do goes to bed 11:00 in the day, though. He goes to bed bed at 08:00. So again, I think what we’re all kind of saying in a different way is there are some guidelines.

Sonal Patel

There are some safety rules that we all follow. The safety about when to introduce things into the crib when obviously and you mentioned not to fall asleep with your babies and stuff, but all of the safety rules are there. And those are guidelines. At the end of the day, the relationship comes between you and your child, and you have to figure out how you need to make sure that they’re following the stuff that you’re putting as guidelines and also how to parent them appropriately. And then another thing you’ll see plenty.

Sonal Patel

I had plenty of pictures where my little one fell asleep on my husband, but he was being supervised. I was awake sitting next to both of them while this is happening and while they were doing their bond. So it’s okay to once in a while color your baby, but make sure that they are supervised that way. Someone supervising that that interaction.

Santiago (Santi)

That is a great point. Yes, we do. I do let them cuddle when I’m able to supervise, and those guidelines are priceless. Dr Baton also Echo something that I really took away when you mentioned nap time. Going to quiet time. I think that’s awesome. And I’m definitely going to try to do that when Santis older. I think especially nowadays with how quickly life moves and how we’re just stimulated having a little bit of quiet time. Some people might call it meditation reading, whatever you do. I think it’s definitely important just to let the the mind and the body relax, even if you’re not fully napping.

Santiago (Santi)

So I might try to do that myself.

Sonal Patel

I literally say my kids taught me how to take naps and they will vouch for it. I can take a ten to 15 minutes nap every afternoon, and my oldest is like, how do you do that? You guys trained me away around toddler age. Megan, what are you dealing with? Safety issues out of toddler age?

Meagan D.

Well, the biggest thing is that my daughter we always say that she’s kind of like a dog. There’s a movie where they say that dogs get to know each other by sniffing each other’s butts. And we feel like my daughter gets to know everything by putting it in her mouth like it’s how she figure out what it is. And everything literally goes into my daughter’s mouth at some point or another. So making sure everything is clean. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a bit of a German folk, so I am definitely the mom that is constantly cleaning toys, constantly making sure that things are picked up within reason.

Meagan D.

I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t want it in her mouth. It doesn’t come even remotely close to her level. I have gone as far as to kind of keep her in a zone. So we have gates by our living room over our stairs. My bedroom is closed off almost all the time. The only time she’s ever allowed in our bedroom is if we are in our bedroom. Her bedroom for a while. We had an issue with how things were plugged in. My daughter loves to pull cords out of the wall, is pretty obsessed with cords, really.

Meagan D.

So we actually had to block her off her room for a while until we could find a better solution for her chords. Now, I mean, everything safety wise. My daughter is the challenger. She likes to definitely test her boundaries. We got the plastic stuff that it’s like tubing type stuff that sticks on the edges of corners that’s supposed to protect them. The first thing my daughter did when she could reach for it was pull it off and chew on it. So that did not work very long.

Meagan D.

Needless to say, outlet covers. We had to get heavy duty ones because the plastic one. She also figured out how to pull them out, and she just would love to try to sit there and put them back. And she loves trying to figure that kind of stuff out. So we had to get heavy duty ones that actually have, like, a little plastic key that helps you remove them because they stick in so well. Like I said, it’s a lot of keeping doors, locks on cabinets, gates up, and nothing within realm.

Meagan D.

And now she’s starting to climb. So we were comfortable with her going into the kitchen because when we were in there, we let her walk in there because she likes to play with the room. But now we cannot do that, because even with cabinet slope and the things put away, she has started cling onto our dining room table and onto our chairs, and she’ll push the chair to wherever she wants to crawl up. That so she’s very crafty when she wants to be. And when she wants to get something right now, it’s just everything.

Meagan D.

Everything safety. I’ve got to constantly be watching her, and she learns something new every day. And I had to get into something new every day. So it’s definitely a little bit of everything.

Sonal Patel

And are you looking forward to that?

Santiago (Santi)

That’s so interesting. I’m smiling now, making his expense. But just looking forward to that, I was thinking, Megan has a little electrical engineer on her hands without interested. She is the record on outlets. But yeah, I’m thinking, oh, man, I got the plastic outlet covers and all the other things that I purchased that he’ll probably figure out. But as with everything else, I think everybody has their own journey. And I’ll have to come back and let you guys know how much my little guy figures out with all the safety protocols.

Meagan D.

Mind you, most of the safety stuff that I got was recommended to me by several other moms. I think for some, it works. My daughter just she’s very honor, like her dad. So she likes to try to test her limits and figure out what she can get away with. So I think that’s a big part of it.

Santiago (Santi)

Well, at least I know who to call. We have to move on to the heavy duty stuff.

Meagan D.

I’ll be here.

Sonal Patel

Man. It seems like the more the more germophobe you are and the more safety rules you follow, the for your daughter tries to break home. Yeah.

Meagan D.

I’ve let us on the germophobic hard a little bit with her. She’s taught me to be a little more. She taught me very much about being more relaxed, about things. It’s funny, because when she first would drop stuff on the floor, I would clean it. I’d sanitize it now. I’m a lot like, it might be okay. I mean, she’ll find, like, a cookie or, like, a cracker that she had on the floor. She has a little ball pen, and sometimes, like, food ends up in there, and she’ll come out with it.

Meagan D.

And I’m like, you might have had that, like, yesterday, but. Okay. I guess it’s still food. I’ve learned to just kind of pick my battles with her. Like, I can’t freak out about everything, because otherwise, I mean, my day will be intense. Like, she loves to go through our cabinet. So I gave her, like, a cabinet that she can go through and she could play. And so there’s a little compromises there, too.

Sonal Patel

I mean, luckily, the house that we moved into the mom had covered all the outlets. And so now we’re trying to uncover some of them because now we actually use them. Our kids are a little bit older, but it’s so funny that in the weirdest places, you will find an outlet cover. That’s awesome. The other thing don’t forget, is for tubs, make sure that you’re always monitoring your babies when you’re giving back, particularly. And then also, when the summer comes, people really forget that the toddler walking age, the number one area where receive drowning is in pales and buckets.

Sonal Patel

Usually in the summer, even a little Kitty pool is dangerous for that age of kids. Just because, first of all, with the buckets. Yes. If you ever seen a Home Depot buckets, they just kind of fall in. And that has actually happened. Make sure all the chemicals and the cabinets are closed. Kind of reminded myself where the buckets usually are captive, where all the cleaning supplies are capped. And then obviously, when they get a little older, pool safety is very important. But I think people don’t recognize the fact that toddlers actually drown in smaller bodies of water up to, I mean, as little as two to three inches of water.

Sonal Patel

And we are more aware of them when they are in a pool or a larger body of water. But kind of forget about that one. And however soon you can get them into swimming lessons. That’s one place that I would spend my time and energy and money doing is swimming lessons, actually. So that’s one of my takeaways. But now to my generation, to my generational, kids and safety. And I think, Sandy, we have kind of bridge the subject last time. And you’re just like, oh, I didn’t even think of this.

Sonal Patel

So we have a rule in our house that we don’t do sleepovers until kids are between nine and ten. So we don’t do sleepovers. And below that. And it also kind of depends what when and co. So that’s the other thing, too. It’s like we need to to know this family really well. They can’t just be a random like, I just met this person and a tech window, and I want to go to sleep. But we’ve got to have known the family for a while, definitely through school and everything like that help.

Sonal Patel

And one of the questions we ask is about gun safety. And I just remember walking that line like, oh, my God, I’ve got to ask about gun safety and just like you. And I don’t like confrontation. I don’t like telling I don’t like to hear or I don’t want to hear something I don’t want to hear either, because that leads to a different line. But luckily, most of the people that we interacted with initially when the kids were a little bit younger, they did not have guns.

Sonal Patel

And we did come and ask them. And a lot of parents were very open to the question and very understanding. So that actually was really helpful, because then you knew they were on the same values as you. And then now as they’ve gone older, we do have some friends who have done they had BB guns. But, you know, I know the safeties for that and hand guns and stuff, but I’m very comfortable saying, okay, that’s great. My son’s coming over for even a simple play date.

Sonal Patel

My oldest eleven year old just went for a play date where they actually have done. And he shot a couple of begun on the farm and everything. And I was fully aware of that. And I was like, okay, but it was that asking those questions and guns are such a trigger point in our society that when I was asking it, initially, I was very reluctant. But then I realized, well, if something happened to my child and I didn’t ask this question, I would never forgive myself.

Sonal Patel

And more and more, just keep asking it. I mean, you ask it on. I remember I know. I remember coming to both of you guys when I did you guys home is is I asked you right away. One of my questions is like, okay, do you guys own any guns? Where are they kept? And I’ve learned over time to have more of that as a natural conversation rather than it’s a triggering conversation, because the way I approach it now, it’s like I’m just going to ask and I get comfortable asking it.

Santiago (Santi)

I just want to say thank you for sharing all those perspectives. Obviously, they’re not something I’ve experienced firsthand before. Not only sharing that, but also I think after every subject that we’ve touched on, you’ve added great facts there regarding car seat safety, vaccines, sleeping safety. So just thank you for sharing that perspective. It’s eye opening to here. Here what’s coming next and what tough conversations to get used to because it’s a lot easier when you have time to at least mentally prepare about having these conversations, both with friends, family as well as with your kids directly.

Santiago (Santi)

Just thank you. Thank you for sharing that and opening up that perspective for me.

Sonal Patel

You’re welcome. I think there is one thing I read very long ago, and we can kind of end on this and making asswords. Also, I’ll tell you, I read somewhere when I was having my first to about 16 years ago that it’s actually the kids aren’t afraid to receive information. It’s a parent are hesitant to give information because they’re not comfortable talking about it. So I remember when my baby was one month old, I told him smoking is bad, smoking is bad. Do not smoke, do not do alcohol.

Sonal Patel

I kept just repeating it off and on. I would do that through the childhood because I got comfortable saying it. And back forward, when he was 9910 years old and were on the car and he saw some guy on the side of the street, he was in a wheelchair and he was smoking, and he turned to his brothers and he said, that’s what happens when you smoke. I I did my job, so I still remember two or three months, smoking is bad smoking. No, because you’ve got comfortable talk about those conversations.

Sonal Patel

More conversation wouldn’t even talk about with sex, education and the safety that goes around that. But I think that’s a whole another hour discuss. But there’s a lot of stuff that comes on when you start diving into and when they start getting older. And I really want the last piece of advice is get comfortable having the conversations on your end because it’s not the kids don’t want to receive information. It’s how you present it to them. That’s going to really help.

Santiago (Santi)

It’s a great point.

Meagan D.

I completely agree. I think it’s being comfortable to have those conversations and being open. My parents were always pretty open with me about things, and I think in turn, I felt for the most part, comfortable being more open about things with my parents and most of my friends did growing up. But when it comes to the safety, I think we just have to lead with what we think is comfortable for us. As you said, like those gun conversations, you know, vaccine conversations, all of it has to be what we feel comfortable with for keeping our kids safe.

Meagan D.

As I said before, it ultimately comes down to us to keep our kids safe, and we can’t leave that responsibility to anybody else. And when they’re so young, especially, they don’t have the choice to make those decisions.

Sonal Patel

Well, thank you guys so much. Once again, this was amazing. Anything I’ve missed, I think that pretty well covers it again. Thank you. Thank you so much for bringing the DoD perspective. Like, just enjoy it so much. And I think it’s so valuable for people to hear what dads are going through as well. So it’s totally indebted to and appreciate everything that you have put the time and effort to do for us to.

Santiago (Santi)

Yes, the right back at you guys. Thank you guys so much for giving us a platform and for inviting me to be here. I think that there’s definitely a lot of dad that would like to speak up, but they’re just never given the opportunity our platform to do so. So right back at you guys. Thank you for everything you’re doing and for allowing me to be a part of it.

Sonal Patel

On that note, thank you, everyone. And we will end the conversation on safety. Thank you.

Do you have any tips or things you’ve learned about baby safety on your parenting journey? Share them with us in the comments!


Recently on the NayaCare Blog

Babyproofed: Learned Lessons from a First-Time Mom

Babyproofed: Learned Lessons from a First-Time Mom

When I announced I was pregnant I was inundated with everyone’s helpful and not so helpful advice. The seasoned parents shared there stories, tips, and what I thought to be anecdotal advice. No one ever expressed how much time I would spend not only worrying about my daughter’s safety, but implementing it as well. The worrying started when I was pregnant and has been a continuous part of motherhood. I was about to experience the mischievously inquisitive mind of a toddler on the loose.

For the longest time it seemed as though my daughter was not going to start crawling. She was very content to sit and sometimes roll around on her blanket on the floor. Myself and my husband had gotten comfortable with her inability to go anywhere. We had prepared ourselves early for baby proofing by purchasing item we would need . Some part of us was still holding on to the last bit of our home that we had left, before being regulated with locks and gates that would become our new normal. It took a matter of a few days for her to go from rocking on her knees to zooming around the house on all fours. For my daughter this meant doing it at high speed to because she does not seem to know how to do anything gradually. A short two months later she was walking and by the time she was one she could run.

Babyproofing: What did not work.

Soon enough our daughter started crawling. We knew we had to protect her from sharp edges on furniture and even corners. I spent quite a bit of time spent researching all different types of products. We came across a sticky protective edging that can cover the long edges of furniture. This product did not work for us. Even though it was strong enough to rip the finish of my entertainment center, it proved no match for my 8-month-old and her need to not only take things apart, but chew on them as well. She, yet, found it very useful to chew on. We ended up lining the base of the entertainment center with pillows to prevent her from hurting herself. 

The next item that did not work were the cheap translucent outlet covers. They were too easy for my daughter to pull out of the wall and try to put back it the wall. They were more dangerous than safe in our case. Instead, we used some higher quality covers that we got in a baby proofing kit. They only require a little plastic key or significant amount of effort to be removed. The last item that did not work for us was the little foam pieces shaped like a “C” that are meant to be placed on the inner part of your door frame to prevent the door from smashing your littles fingers. These did not work for two reasons: 1.) you must take them on and off when you want to shut the door 2.) taking them off tends to lead to forgetting to put them back on which means they turned into toys for my daughter. She still has one of these foam pieces in her toy bin that she plays with, so at least one of us got something out of it.

Babyproofing: The things that worked.

As soon as our not so graceful daughter started crawling around, we knew we had to protect her from the corners of the wall. The pillow trick mentioned above might have worked but I would not have had enough pillows. So, upon some more research I found some great pre-cut wall corner protectors. These have been great because they are thick to cushion a blow if she falls into them, and are strong enough to defeat my little mischievous girl who likes to disassemble and chew on things. 

My absolute favorite product I found was the outlet cover with attached power strip. From the minute my daughter could start grabbing for them, she was OBSESSED with cords. With that obsession came unplugging said cords and trying to plug them in. We tried to hide the chords and the outlets they plugged into but we were not always able to. There was a particular outlet in her room where this was an issue. We found ourselves locking her out of her room except to sleep because she would always try to play with these cords. This outlet cover was our saving grace. It plugs in like a flat panel and comes with adhesive to adhere it to wall. It also has varying sized extension cord lengths. With the extension cord it was long enough that I was able to hide the cords behind a dresser. My daughter is no longer able to continue her potentially shocking behavior.

Life Babyproofed

Everyone knows your life is supposed to change when you have a child. I did not want the appearance of the home I had before having a child to be completely altered though. When choosing some of these products I selected them not only for there safety, but how they looked esthetically. There are so many options out there now to choose safety items that are not as loud and go with your home. 

The next thing I took into consideration was ease of use and practicality. I did not want to struggle to bypass these safety features more than my daughter. When it came to practicality, I had to decide if some of the safety products were to over the top. I decided that I would have to teach my daughter safe ways to engage with some things. For example, we chose not to lock the toilet. We started trying elimination communication at 9 1/2 mos. so early on she was used to the potty. Additionally, I did not want to be fumbling with a lock on the toilet in the middle of the night. We use the rule that the bathroom door stays shut unless we are there to supervise.

It has been an adjustment and a learning curve to have all these products in my home. It has been 100% worth it though to keep my daughter safe. I have even found myself getting used to them just as quick as it took my daughter to become mobile and now they are our new normal.


Recently on the NayaCare Blog

Stay-at-Home Mom Struggles

Stay-at-Home Mom Struggles

Shortly  after having my daughter, I made the decision to be a stay-at-home mom. Now, there were several things that contributed to this decision. The biggest being the fact that I had my daughter right at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and believed the best way to keep her safe was to be home with her. There were other contributing factors like my job where before I left, I had some seniority and felt like a part of the team. However, upon my return from maternity leave it was if I had never been a part of the team and my seniority was dissolved during my 13 weeks of maternity leave. You layered that with the struggle to pump with a demanding job and I felt as though I was going to have to make the choice between my job and continuing to breast feed. Childcare was another contributing factor. We had childcare figured out before I was even pregnant, but because the household had someone working  as an essential employee in the medical field, we could not continue to risk potential exposure to my daughter. We could not afford outside childcare and knew the right choice was for me to stay home.

Just like that, Stay-At-Home mom (SAHM)  became my new title. I am blessed to be able to be home with my daughter and watch her grow but I think there is so much about the SAHM world that can be underappreciated and so much harder than it seems from the outside. I feel like the SAHM title gained another layer of difficulty when Covid hit. When I heard the term “Stay-at-home mom” before I had my daughter, I envisioned a woman that was home all day with her kids  doing fun activities, having fun playdates,  doing some cooking and cleaning, but also having some time to herself. I can honestly say that I thought for sure that being a SAHM was easier than working before I became a mom.  A big part of the problem is until you are a  mom and are actually in the thick of it , appreciating the hard work that goes into being a stay-at-home mom is difficult. This is the thing, when you decide to stay home the vision you have in your head for how thing are going to be and how they really  are , are  vastly different. So of course, I went into this naively thinking that it would not only solve the previously mentioned factors but would also give me more time to get things done and  it would all be easier. I mean it did solve the  problems we were facing but I was now working for my daughter- this was a whole new level of employment for me.

The year 2020 was deemed “the year that everyone stayed home” and that could not be any truer for moms. This meant no play dates, no activities like story time at the library, no coffee dates with other moms while your kids play, or just going wherever we wanted without restrictions or worries. This for me meant I rarely left my house at all except for weekly grocery pickups and  occasional visits to my mom’s. I had all these ideas during my pregnancy about all the thing I would do with  my daughter, and just like,  I was not  going to be able to do them. This left me feeling like I had been robbed of the experiences.  I never imagined I would feel as isolated as I did, especially as a new mom. Granted covid made it worse but even now I feel it.  Most days a majority of my conversations are had with a one-year-old. While she is cute, her incoherent babbling doesn’t add a lot to conversation; It becomes very easy to get stuck in your own  head talking to yourself. I find myself jumping at the opportunity to have an adult conversation when I get the chance. I  honestly think this can be the hardest part about being a SAHM not having anyone one to talk to or relate to  throughout the day, especially when you are having a tough day.

 In general, when you work outside the home you get to come home and be away from your job until the next workday. When you are a SAHM this does not happen. My coworker is still here at 5 o’clock – I never leave work. I have made this choice to be home with my daughter, but it can be difficult to have to always “be on” and in mommy mode. I don’t get to go out into the career world and switch modes into whatever profession for 8 hours and be my own person. I am my daughter’s world 24/7. I love being there for my daughter but there are days when the fussiness and neediness  can make you want to clock out of being a mom for even just an hour.

 I recently decided to start working on top of staying home with my daughter. For whatever reason I have convinced myself that it would be good for me, and it would be a great example to show my daughter what a rockstar her mom was. Staying home with her, doing activities, cooking all her meals, and working. It has been great because it has given me a purpose other than being a mommy. A lot of SAHM make the same decision and many more moms had to work from home when  covid hit. Remote work became the  go to  and the ultimate test to every mother’s sanity who had to do it. I personally  love the flexibility to work from home on my own time. However, trying to work while being a SAHM is strenuous. I am going to give a shout out to all you moms that do 8+ hour workdays at home, while trying to manage your kids at the same time. YOU ROCK!!!…and you deserve a raise. I literally do not know how I would do it. I have had to figure out how to do my work when  and where I can.  You know the old saying “when your baby sleeps, you sleep”? Well, when my baby sleeps, I work. I find it next to impossible and the most pointless activity to try to work when my daughter is in the same room.  She has no problem contently playing alone until I pull out my laptop to work and suddenly, she is drawn in as if my laptop was calling her name. If it’s not that it is the literal CONSTANT interruptions that make it impossible to maintain a train of thought that lasts more than 5 minutes. Essentially, when you work on top of being a SAHM it’s like having 2 jobs at once and it is a struggle over who to give attention to. If you give your child attention you are not working hard enough and if you give your work all the attention you feel like you are neglecting your child. It’s a scenario where neither one wins 100% of the time.

 Being a Stay-at-Home mom is not an all-inclusive vacation spent eating bon-bons on the couch with endless free time.  It is making memories in the chaos, juggling more than you ever thought possible, and trying to maintain your identity while being a mom 24/7. It’s getting to enjoy every single moment with your kid while wanting to hide in your closet and have peace for two minutes. Mainly it is finding our strength as women and realizing just how much we are capable of. It is income free hard work and now that I am in it, I appreciate it so much more.


Recent Posts on the NayaCare Blog

Breastfeeding Struggles: In Their Own Words

Breastfeeding Struggles: In Their Own Words

Often times, people want to gloss over how hard it is to be a parent. Which inevitably makes people feel like they are alone in their struggles. Real talk, breastfeeding can be hard and moms experience breastfeeding struggles. As we embrace August as breastfeeding month, one of our goals is to remind everyone that you’re not alone in your experiences, and it’s okay to talk about it.

We asked 5 families to share their breastfeeding struggles and experiences. They each answered these questions and you can listen to their responses in their own words.

The questions we asked:

  1. What are your breastfeeding struggles?
  2. What would you tell a new mom about breastfeeding?

Listen or read each mom’s perspective on their breastfeeding journey.

Katie’s Breastfeeding Struggles

I think the two big struggles one, he is small, so his mouth is very small, so even if he has a full latch and everything looks great, we still get a lipstick nipple, especially on the right side. And I was getting kind of a chapped nipple, but that resolved itself. Now, the thing that’s probably ongoing is my left side produces a lot more than my right side. So even when I’m pumping I can pump for the same amount of time on either side and I get twice as much on the left side as my right side.

So when you’re thinking about feeding and you’re like, OK, well, I know he’s going to take twice as long on the right side, can I just do the left side. Again, I think that’s just annoying. And when you’re trying to think of scheduling and how long it’s going to take for him to eat, it’s going to take a while on the right side.

Rania’s Breastfeeding Struggles

  1. What are your struggles?
    1. I breastfed my 39-week son for 2 years, so I figured I would be prepared for what was to come…not so much.  My biggest struggle is the transition from NICU to home and getting my lpt baby to latch. The second is managing my oversupply of milk with what she takes at the breast. After a lot of work she can take up to 2.5 oz (but with struggles)  and I pump 12 oz per feed. I never have a sense of how much she takes as I’m always uncomfortable.
  2. What would you tell a new mom about breastfeeding?
    1. No one has it easy.  Balancing supply, demand and troubleshooting with your anatomy, baby’s anatomy is challenging.  I strongly recommend home lactation assistance regardless of your struggles.

Samantha’s Breastfeeding Struggles

  1. What are your struggles?
    1. OK, so I guess the first thing I feel like, they don’t really tell you a whole lot from the get go, like it’s not like a very talked about thing, what you think it would be, considering that’s part of pregnancy and part of, just, you know, taking care of a child in the first place, you know, but I feel like they don’t really, go into it too much. I was always told, just like basic information, like, oh, well, they eat every two hours. You have to get them to latch right stuff like that, but they don’t tell you about things like, oh, well, there’s cluster feeding or tongue ties or all the other complications that you can have with just starting in general. My first son, he just would not latch, like he would scream bloody murder the whole time that I was trying to get on the latch and it was just so frustrating for both of us.I think my second son I was going into it with a little bit more knowledge. And like I got him to latch and it was all right. And they also don’t talk about the pain that comes along with it. Like bleeding and just like crying, because I was like so much pain and he had a Tongue Tie, we had gotten that corrected, but by that time it just seemed like it was almost too late. He did a lot of cluster feeding, but I wasn’t really educated in cluster feeding, I was told like all the time like oh, they eat every two hours or they should eat every two to three hours.So it’s like, oh, my God, there’s something wrong. Like, I’m not making enough. He’s constantly hungry. So that’s when we started supplementing. And then just from there, it seemed like my supply went down. He wanted to have the bottle more and then eventually he just didn’t want to breastfeed anymore. And it was just more of a struggle than anything. So we had to just go to formula after that. I’d say it was difficult, but it was also a little bit relieving in a way, just to not be so stressed about that one extra thing, you know.
  2. What would you tell a new mom about breastfeeding?
    1. I think basically just I would look up like, oh, cluster feeding and like get more like lactation support. Find a good lactation consultant. That is helpful and can help you with your latch and is understanding, because I think that’s also something I lacked with both of my sons was just the lack of information, I guess, but also the lack of the support that you need.

Nyia’s Breastfeeding Struggles

  1. What are your struggles?
    1. One of the struggles that I’ve had with breastfeeding would definitely have to be my family and being comfortable with me publicly breastfeeding. I have been very adamant and a huge advocate for making sure that breastfeeding my child isn’t sexualized. And a lot of times with family and them being old school, it can be really difficult to accept. And of course, even being out in public, maybe at dinner, it can be even more difficult to have your family support you when you need to breastfeed your child, and it’s not necessarily something that they agree with. The second struggle that I’ve had definitely has to be my relationship with pumping. I do work. I originally was full time after I had my son. However, I decided to go part-time and just pumping and making sure that I have a good supply back at home and just working up enough supply while I’m at work is very difficult for me. It’s difficult pumping just as it is, but it can be even more frustrating when you are at work and you’re in a small space that may not be clean or you may not have pictures of your baby, so that can be really difficult. It’s also kind of frustrating sometimes because you may not have all the resources that you need when pumping. You may forget to charge your pump some days. If you have a one that plugs in, you may have to sit there and hold it to yourself the entire time. I know I’m very lucky to have time set aside where I can pump for, you know, 15 to 20 minutes and I have time to clean out everything before my next use, which is awesome.
  2. What would you tell a new mom about breastfeeding?
    1. One thing I would tell to new Mamas is just to stick it out. It can be very difficult sometimes and very frustrating, but it is so worth it in the end. Just a connection that you have with your baby emotionally is just beautiful. That’s something that you can give to them that no one else can, which is just like it’s a gift that no one can describe. And, you know, the many health benefits into just as well for Mamas and for babies is just it’s a huge list. So I definitely say stick it out, you know, muscle through it. You are capable of this and you were built to be a mother. You were built for all of these things. You brought your baby Earth side. So it’s all meant to happen in your favor. And don’t get down on yourself. Everything that you feel you literally feed your baby.

Emily & Michael’s Breastfeeding Struggles

  1. What are your struggles?
    1. Emily: So I think the biggest challenge is actually right after Jonathan was delivered and I came out of my C section, I really had a really pretty rough time of it, actually. And so had, I think, some sedation at some point. And so Michael, my husband, actually and a nurse got him to watch. And I think that for me, it wasn’t necessarily challenge, but for me, it was a challenge, maybe for for you as the dad or the husband. But I think we’ve been very fortunate, but now the feeding has gone pretty well. But that was kind of moment of is it going to work or is it not?
    2. Michael: For me, just the uncertainty of going in and then from the training classes, trying to apply what you learn, like leading with the chin, nipple to nose and just have him naturally do it. And I think the biggest thing was just relying on his instinct to kind of kick in at the same time, but just put him in a position where he could find it and at the same time, with your complications, just massaging and helping everything kind of come through and form the breast. So it’s easier for his mouth, but a lot of uncertainty. But I think it just I think repetition makes it easier, right. That’s the biggest thing. You get more comfortable with it. And know it’s not going to be easy right away. But, you know, in time, fortunately, he did take to it more naturally, and it’s been a lot easier since then. But that was probably the biggest thing I could say initially.
  2. Michael, what was your viewpoint on the whole breastfeeding relationship? Like, how did you feel like you did fit in or didn’t fit in?
    1. I mean, with our scenario, the C section and the complications, I mean, kind of took it as the baby needed to feed so she was still kind of sedate and a little bit out of it. So it was time walk over and kind of play my role and kind of play mom, right. I mean, it was your breast, but kind of coming over and getting it massaging and getting him and getting the breast ready and then feeding him. But even now, I think we don’t have the traditional roles. Like, here’s your schedule, like you’re going to go feed, and then I don’t have to worry about it. Like we partner on everything. So I still kind of help get him out of the crib. She kind of gets ready, I bring them over. She does the feeding. I usually will burp, and then either set him down, or we’ll switch to the other side, because usually after he burps, he’s a little bit more lively for the second set. Dinner and dessert, I guess you could say, but it’s really just I think it’s made it easier for both of us to be both a part to it. Now, obviously, I’m not producing the milk, but when she’s feeding and pumping on maybe the other side, my job is to make sure that I’m counting that throwing it in the freezer tracking date, what we have in the refrigerator and recycling all that. It’s really not her task or my task. I think it’s just something that every time he feeds, we both have our roles to play, and I think that makes it easier, so it’s quicker. And I don’t know, I think it’s just you’re involved. And that’s the other thing. Like, I didn’t want to just be the diaper changer in the feed and hand to mom and I get to bond and kind of burp, and I get that skin to skin time while she’s feeding him. Like, right after that, I think you just have to look at a bonding experience, not a chore, right? I mean, it’s just something that we get to do, and he sleeps so much. So this is a lot of his waking hours is doing this.

Beth’s Breastfeeding Struggles

  1. What are your struggles?
    1. And luckily, my oldest daughter, she was able to latch on, and I didn’t have to worry about it too much. It was kind of more of the just getting started process that was really challenging. For the first time around. I feel like no one ever really told me about how engorged I would be and how to handle that early and then just all the different positions and how to get comfortable and help to be able to rest at the same time. And so that was my learning curve, and that went well.And then my son, actually, my next three all had tongue tie, lip ties, cheek ties. And so it was a much different scenario with my son. He was three days old, and I already knew that something was kind of off. And I called the midwife, and luckily, she had already kind of noticed it and was kind of waiting to see how things went. But I called her on day three, and I said something’s not right. It feels like he’s not able to stay latched it’s not comfortable.

      It’s hurting. And my milk doesn’t feel like it’s coming in at all. So we were able to just kind of work with his frenulum in the front and clip that. And he didn’t have any nursing issues after that. It was like that same day, he was able to latch on, and he ended up being just like a super chunky baby. So that was nice. And I was really grateful. We had the resources to just be able to know what it was and what was going on.

      So my one year old, Rafael, he had a really tight lip and a really short frenulum underneath. And that was a much different story with him. We actually thought he was latching on okay. And then day five, we found out he had lost a lot of weight and he was not happy. He was very upset and crying a lot. And so it was challenging. At that point. We had to get donor milk and supplement him. I didn’t want to give him the bottle. I had very strong feelings about formula, about the bottle.

      And I didn’t want to give him a nipple to get him confused because it still felt early on for that. So we were doing a little medicine cup or a syringe, and I felt like we were wasting a ton of the donor milk. And then also, it was just really hard for him to get any in, and he would spit it out. I mean, we were just up in the middle of the night trying to get him to eat anything. And he was upset. And we found a doctor in Denver who uses, like, a cold laser at the base of their tongue.

      And so when we went there, we felt like we need to do something. And we were grateful that he had some answers. But to be honest, that was really, really challenging. And it didn’t feel right to me. It just felt very invasive. And then the recovery was really, really hard for him. He didn’t want to nurse at all for three or four days. And then once he was nursing, it just was still really tight. It ended up reattaching also, which I really felt like we didn’t get the guidance we needed in order to kind of do all the exercises with him.

      And then for a while, he took the bottle, and then he wouldn’t. And so I was actually wearing one of those SNS systems that you can kind of get extra milk when they’re nursing. And that was kind of a nightmare to keep clean and full when he needed it. And he still was really struggling gaining weight. So it was a journey. I mean, I really wanted to to be nursing him all the time. And I wanted to have that nursing relationship I had with my older two.

      And I nursed my older two till they were like three and four actually tandem nurse them. My daughter had stopped nursing, and then she started nursing when my son was born. And so it was really special to me. And it felt really important and to not have that was really challenging. And I really kind of questioned my mothering to some degree of like, why can’t I do this? Why aren’t we figuring this out? Why is this so difficult? Everyone had a different answer for me. I talked to all these breastfeeding specialists, and there wasn’t just, like, a recipe for here’s what you do.

      And then he started gaining weight. It was really just kind of up to me to figure out when to supplement and when not to. And we ended up doing a goat milk formula because he was allergic to dairy, too. And it turns out I ended up getting pregnant. And again, pretty soon after. So then my supply really went down. And so my son nurse kind of more for comfort and more sporadically, but we kind of switched over to the bottle. And ultimately, I’m so happy because eventually he started really gaining weight.

      It took probably two months to get him to take the bottle, which was its own journey of going to OTS and Cranial Sacral and all of that. But he’s healthy and happy now. I do wonder if he’s going to start nursing. My daughter did, because he knows now I have milk and he’s aware that the baby is getting something and he’s interested. So we’ll see what happens. But one thing I was reflecting on yesterday is just my kind of attachment parenting style with my older kids.

      I really see how it doesn’t have to be that way. I really able to create that bond and that attachment with my son, even if I’m offering him the bottle, which is something that was maybe hard for me to see before we kind of went through this journey together. But he really is getting what he needs, and we get that time together. And this is the way that works best for him. And it’s okay. And I’m really grateful he was able to nurse for as long as he did that.

      He still got a lot of the good stuff. And I feel like I’ve learned a lot of just not trying to force something to be a certain way. I really am kind of letting it be just our journey together. And this is what he needed. And this is what we needed to go through. But, yeah, I feel like this time around now, with the last three week old with the tongue tie, we were able to find you and Dr. Patel, and she was able to help us by just clipping the frenulum underneath and just in front.

      And so the recovery was more like my older son and Celesta is doing really awesome. And I was worried when she was born because she had the very tight chin and it was a pretty good time as far as I could go. But, yeah, I’m just so grateful that she’s gaining weight and she’s able to latch on. And it feels like she’s kind of reconditioning her tongue and herself to kind of suck in a different rhythm and use her tongue in a different way. But it feels like we’re on the right track or on a good track.

    2. What would you tell a new mom about breastfeeding?
      1. You know, I think there is like a wisdom that babies have too, like they really know what they need to do. And I think the more we can kind of get out of the way and just be calm and take care of ourselves as moms, everything tends to go better because I know when I’m able to just nourish myself and rest, and I’m so much more likely to be successful in whatever challenge that we’re trying to face and trusting that my baby also needs the same thing and that together we’re going to figure it out.I would also say don’t give up because there’s so many resources and I feel grateful. I live in an area where there are a lot of practitioners and support and home visiting practitioners, and so I feel like I had to kind of search for the right person, but eventually I have always found the person that can be of support or kind of give me the little piece of information that maybe I was missing. But more than anything, I think staying balanced in myself and staying hydrated and nourished and all of those things that are so basic that we take for granted, but really they have to be in place in order to kind of keep the stress down, to really use your senses and your intuition to figure out like, okay, what what’s really going on here.

Recently on the NayaCare Blog

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Resources

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Resources

While October is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, these resources are needed throughout the year. Parental mental health is a priority for the NayaCare team and access to care and support through loss is a critical aspect of parental care. The...

read more
Partnering up with Midwives

Partnering up with Midwives

National Midwifery Week, created by American College of Nurse-Midwives, is October 3-9.  This week celebrates midwives and midwife-led care. Visit www.midwife.org to learn more. We, here at NayaCare, want to recognize our community midwives and their support in...

read more
Going Back to Work: A Dad’s Perspective

Going Back to Work: A Dad’s Perspective

We recently sat down Santiago Ongay to talk about going back to work after having a new baby. He offered his perspective as a dad going through the process. You can listen to the interview or read it below. https://youtu.be/g0K6834muQ0 Sonal Patel Hi, guys. And...

read more

A Mom’s Perspective: Changes in the Breastfeeding Dyad

A Mom’s Perspective: Changes in the Breastfeeding Dyad

With a wave like flick of my daughter’s wrist and the “eh” noise in the tone I know so well I know it is time for milk. We have taught my daughter the sign for milk, but in her frantic hangry baby state of mind it has become this super urgent wave instead of the squeezing motion that she has been taught for milk. Sometimes the wave and the “eh” are followed by a pull at the shirt and sometimes even a direct chomp on my chest with her lovely little teeth.  Our once calm breastfeeding relationship is now a full-on Olympic sport complete with acrobatic poses of all sorts and a gold medal to mommy if I make it out of each feeding without having a nipple ripped off.

While I know how lucky I am to have made it past the year mark of breastfeeding, I can’t help but long for those earlier days. Now, I am not going to say our early days of breastfeeding weren’t without there challenges like  engorgement, cracked nipples, positioning, and adjusting to the demand it placed on my time and my body. I miss my calm little newborn though some days. I miss the way she snuggled into my chest nursing so sweet and calm and eventually dozing off where I would snuggle her for hours- I suppose a part of me just misses how little and dependent she was.

Before I became a mom, I never would have imagined myself breastfeeding  and once I did, I never would have thought I would make it this far. I have always been the type to be prepared, but this has been a journey that I could not fully prepare for. I can honestly understand why some mothers choose not to or are not able to continue  for whatever reason. Breastfeeding is a full-time responsibility added onto  the responsibility of raising a kid(s), taking care of a household, and in most instances working a job. Somedays it is flat-out exhausting and will leave you “touched out”. I remember in the early days I felt so much pressure because I knew my daughter depended on me for ALL of her nourishment. This meant I had to maintain my supply and had to be mindful of what I was consuming. I quickly realized that although I had given birth and thought that I had my body back, my body was still not mine. It was crazy that before I was a mom my breasts were considered a sexual object that must be hidden. But now? All modesty  is out the  window. I mean, I don’t know I will ever see  them as a sexual entity for the  remainder of my breastfeeding  time, if ever again. They have taken on such a different and profound purpose that only I was able to provide my daughter and to me that is so special. This is just one of the many ways that breastfeeding changes a woman. We go from being our own people to essentially being owned by this little person- and with good cause.

Can we just touch on all the nursing clothes out there? Nursing bras can be a pain. I was a bigger chested woman before I had my daughter and proceeded to get larger after I had her. Over a year into our breastfeeding relationship and I still cannot find a bra that fits, supports, and is accessible all at the same time. Not that it really matters we spend so much time hooking  and unhooking, adjusting, adding  padding and so on. Let’s be honest, it is so much easier to ditch the bra all together, especially if you are home. I eventually  gave up on all the nursing clothes as well. They all were given and “A+” for accessibility but did nothing overall to flatter my body or not feel like I was wearing and awkward number of layers. Maybe I just never found the right nursing clothes, but this has been one of my biggest peeves about nursing.

Anymore, as eventful as our breastfeeding relationship dynamic is it has just became normal to me. I just sit on the floor in my living room and instinctively lift my shirt, and if I am wearing one, I unhook my poorly supportive nursing bra and  prepare for attack. We have gone beyond being able to nurse off one side each feeding, a  full-on meltdown will ensue if both breasts are not free for her consumption. So, I sit there, no modesty left as the acrobatic feeding ensues. Sometimes she will turn her head to see her favorite show nearly yanking my nipples off with every turn while others she will turn upside down as she climbs me like a jungle gym.  Some days its crazy to me to think that the same  little baby that cracked my nipples because her latch was not right, can now put on a three-ring circus act all while maintaining a proper latch. In all honesty, I  am so use to  it all that I don’t even notice it until my husband or my mom who visits comments on the show that my daughter puts on while breastfeeding. Its almost became like a badge of honor to breastfeed through all the craziness.

As crazy as our daily breast-feeding sessions are, I absolutely love our first thing in the morning session. This is the session that makes the crazy day sessions worth it and makes me hold on to our breastfeeding relationship tightly. It is rough to try to peel my eyes open when I hear my daughter awake on the monitor, but it is made easier when I get to start the favorite part of our day. I go into her bedroom that is adjacent from mine with the same routine. She shows  me where her paci and wubby are and then hands me her lovey and whatever animal she has in the crib. We then head back to my bed where we snuggle and side nurse.  This may sound all pretty basic, but it is our one special time throughout the day. It’s the one time of day that neither of us are distracted by the many distractions that surround us. We can just snuggle, and I can talk to her and just really be in the moment with my baby girl. I can just cherish this precious, fleeting time with her.

Breastfeeding has had its lows and times where I absolutely considered throwing in the towel. The highs though have made every low worth it.  I have been so blessed to have maintained this relationship with my daughter and know the day we end this journey will be bittersweet.


Recently on the NayaCare Blog