Tuesday, July 20, 2010


About 2 months ago, SL forwarded me an announcement for a new position at Wash U. It was non-tenure track, tutoring/advising position that actually sounded right up my alley. I think it was the 26th job I applied for since getting my PhD, and when I didn't hear anything back for several weeks, I assumed that they had given the position to someone else.

Then out of the blue, they called me up and asked me to come in for an interview last Friday. We all went to St. Louis. It was a family affair.

I don't know if I was the only person who applied for the position or not, but they offered me the job!

I accepted today! The Ragfields are moving to St. Louis!

Washington University in St. Louis


Lunch at Forest Park

Forest Park

Ragfields in St. Louis

It is kind of crazy for me to accept this position and move our whole family to another state in the span of a few weeks. And put Will in daycare for the first time ever. He doesn't eat, drink, or sleep when I am not with him. He still nurses 10 zillion times a day. But it would be more crazy to not accept this position. It is in my field, but it is 9:00-5:00 and only 10 months of the year-- so essentially I still get to do what I love, but also have a chance to see my son grow up. I am very excited. And scared. Did I mention scared?

There is so much to take care of in the next couple of weeks. I haven't slept or eaten in days. I was actually below my pre-pregnancy weight for a few seconds there, until my mom showed up with a pan of vegan brownies. (Thanks a lot, mom).

Okay, so here is a very important question for anybody out there who breastfed their kid past 12 months. What do you do if you are working?? Everybody assures me that by this point, you only feed them about twice a day (i.e., morning and night), and you do not need to pump milk and send it to daycare. But Will still nurses umpty zillion times a day right now. (Okay, that is an exaggeration. He actually nurses 5 times). How do I shift him to a twice per day nursing schedule? I've already cut him down to 4 feedings per day, and it is rough because it has totally disrupted his napping system. He goes to sleep when he nurses. So when he isn't nursing, he stays awake and he gets frantic and red-eyed with his need to sleep but inability to do so. Plus, he still doesn't eat solid food very well, so I am worried about him getting enough calories/fat/nutrition. Most everybody tells me that you can give them a sippy cup of milk (as in, cow's milk) by this point instead of nursing them. But recall that I am a vegan. I've recently tried fortified, full-fat soymilk with him. He just took one sip, threw the cup across the room, and didn't care to drink any more. The whole situation is just very stressful.

Our house goes on the market tomorrow, and there is still clutter to tidy up. Got to run.


Cathy said...

With Sam and Chris both, I nursed past 12 months, both hated bottles, but shortly after age 1 figured out straw cups, our therapists have us using the Rubbermaid Juice box straw cups. But Sam took whole cow's milk better than Chris...especially when spiked with chocolate syrup (or now he's on thickened liquids we spike with instant pudding powder). Chris didn't tolerate whole milk or heavy cream as well, for a multitude of reasons. did you try letting him drink thawed breastmilk spiked with the soy, working up to 50/50? Chris is now on a drink called Bright Beginnings Soy, a soy based pedia-sure type drink which we got online, but I think you can find at Walgreen's.

Rixa said...

Ooh, congratulations on this job! Sounds great! So, has your husband found work in St. Louis yet?

Perhaps start offering him a cuddly toy or blanket every time he goes to sleep, so that he has a comfort object associated with sleeping and napping. I did this with Dio and, while I still nurse him before he sleeps, he LOVES to cuddle and snuggle with it now. It might serve as a bridge for learning how to nap without nursing. Could you still try pumping at work? Will he drink breastmilk from a bottle or sippy cup? Another thing you could try doing is mixing breastmilk in with foods he eats, if you're worried about him getting enough calories and nutrition.

What an adventure. Good luck with everything!

Anonymous said...

i'm not sure if this is as much help as it is reassurance or "i've been there," but my daughter just turned 3 and she nursed til she was probably two and a half? we do dairy, but have never been big on glasses of milk and i don't regularly offer it to her. her dad and i split up just before she turned 1, and i only pumped when she was away for a few months after that - then, she just nursed when she was with me, and didn't when she was with someone else. she nursed more often, with me, and my body adjusted to the schedule and rhythm. i guess my point is that i think he'll be okay - he may nurse a ton when he's home with you, and then be fine - just as you'll be fine - you may not even need to pump/send milk. it's one of those things you just have to do and try. if it doesn't work, then you look for an alternate plan.

congrats on the job :)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Melissa! I am so happy for you. :) Ironically, your new St. Louis location may mean that we see each other more often. Jason's sister lives in Columbia, MO, and we fly in and out of St. Louis when we come down to visit. Good luck with everything!

Iva said...

I was going to say something similar as Chelsea did.

My daughter is 14 months (tomorrow), still breastfeeds and when I went back to grad school, she started daycare (good thing is that the nursery is on campus and I could go there during the day, too). But over time, I noticed, that she simply nursed more when we were together and was fine even on days when I couldn't come at lunchtime (eating solids).

Right now we're (usually) at 4 breastfeeding sessions on weekdays: in the morning when she wakes up; when I'm dropping her off at the nursery; when I'm picking her up and before going to bed.

She doesn't like milk from the cup, so I'm not pushing it, but then I'm not worried about the calories, because she's always been on the chunky side of healthy :) so I have no recommendations there.

Helping him learn how to go to sleep without nursing could help you (and the caregivers in daycare) a lot. We didn't even have to look for a comfort object, because Kika liked to hold on to a prefold diaper we used to catch any burps (I guess it reminded her of the milk smell :) ). So when she started in daycare, I always left one with her.

Anyway, I just wanted to say congratulation :)

Karen Joy said...

(Reader/lurker for several months; first time commenter!)

You may want to try another non-dairy milk, or even a different brand of soy. My 21 month old drinks oat milk, which is higher in protein than almond or rice milk (4g/cup), and a bit higher in fat than many other non-dairy milks, but not as high as full-fat soy (2.5g/cup).

Congratulations on the new job!!