about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



Finding Time For Mom.

For the past four months, I’ve pretty much been living one day at a time.  Sometimes even one hour at a time.  I’ve mentioned it here before, but it has not been easy transitioning to life as parents with our family being so far away.  I knew it would be hard to not have help when we made the decision to come out here.  Still, I never knew that a thirty year old could miss her mom so much. 

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So when my mom came to Seattle for my birthday last weekend, I took advantage of having two extra hands in the house.  It was a win-win for me, as it allowed me to do some things I had put off for months, all the while knowing that Cullen was being snuggled by someone who loves him to pieces. 

I spent most of the weekend just hanging out with my mom and talking, while she rocked, cuddled, and soothed my little teething baby.  In my typical day to day (hour to hour) survival mode, I don’t think I realized just how much I try to juggle on my own.  Suddenly with extra hands on deck, I realized what a difference a little help can make. 

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My mom suggested that while she was there, Casey and I go do something we never get to do together anymore.  And the first thing that popped into my mind was one of the things I have missed the most since October – going to the gym.  I hadn’t gone in five long months, and I have been really missing my former strength and muscles.  This was the perfect opportunity to get back to it!

While I was there, I talked to the front desk lady about bringing Cullen into their Kids Klub (he is just now old enough).  Knowing he was safe and sound at home with Grandma, I hit the treadmill for an hour of running followed by a light weight set – OUCH.  It left me sore for days, but it also left me with something else – the realization that I need to start taking time for myself. 

I don’t want to sound like a victim or martyr or anything even close, because I absolutely love my life as a mom.  But as I’ve learned to navigate my new role, I’ve kept my head afloat by focusing on the needs of those around me.  Each day I make sure Cullen is taken care of, my work is done, my dogs are fed and exercised, my house is picked up and relatively clean, and I get a bit of free time to hang out with Casey.  Add in the fact that Cullen still won’t take a bottle, and it doesn’t really leave me with any time for – well, me

Being at the gym running and working my body again, I felt a burst of energy that I haven’t felt in so long.  I realized how much I miss the satisfaction that comes from a great, hard workout.  Right then I made up my mind that I would make my triumphant (solo) return to the gym this week, and that Cullen would have his first experience with childcare.

After taking care of Cullen alone these past two days, along with taking care of poor sick Casey, I was more than ready for a break this morning.  I laced up my gym shoes, packed Cullen up with a full belly and some favorite toys, and we headed over to the gym.

I signed up for the Kids Klub program, and checked him in with the very young and very sleepy childcare worker.  I did my best to not be a ridiculous overprotective mom, and limited myself to only telling her a few small details.  On my way out the door she asked, “does he like watching TV…?”  Somewhat surprised, I reminded her that he is four months old.  I wasn’t expecting child educators to be working at the gym or any such thing, but I did think they would at least have general experience with babies.

Determined to not be crazy and judgmental, I handed him over and hopped on a treadmill.  I felt liberated.  This was it!  This was what I needed – a solution to finding that “me time” for just a few short hours each week, that would leave me recharged and help me get back in shape.

As I plodded along, I kept seeing people pass me in the corner of my eye.  And as each person approached, I assumed it would be the childcare girl coming to get me because Cullen was melting down.  But of course, people continued to pass and Cullen was just fine.  I told myself to relax and just enjoy the time alone and focus on my run.

Just after mile two, a familiar face popped up next to my treadmill.  The childcare girl, informing me that Cullen had been crying the whole time and she didn’t know what to do.  And just like that, my plan unraveled. 

I hopped off and ran back to the Kids Klub, where I found Cullen whimpering and falling asleep in another girl’s arms.  She said something like “I think he’s tired, he’s falling asleep now,” as she handed him over to me.  I felt frustrated that three childcare workers (and he was the only kid there) weren’t able to soothe a baby to sleep.  But at the same time, I guess it’s not fair to expect them to know his individual cues and signals.

By the time we got to the car, he was sound asleep. 

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He snoozed peacefully while I drove home frustrated, barely sweaty, and totally defeated.  I’m determined not to give up though.  I know that Cullen needs to be willing to separate from me, just as much as I need a bit of time to myself here and there.  I don’t really have a plan yet, but I’m going to go back to my gym and try again.  I refuse to quit after one bad experience.  I’m thinking I might try leaving next time while he is napping, so that he’s most likely to be happy when he wakes up and easy to please.

If necessary, I’ll consider looking for a different gym with a childcare system better suited for babies (this one seemed more geared toward older children).  I feel like I know what I need to do to give myself a break, but every time I try to make it happen I get knocked back down.  The whole bottle refusal thing really makes things tricky. 

He sure is lucky he’s so damn cute.

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154 Comments so far
Leave a comment

amy     at 9:49 pm

great post. im only 13 weeks pregnant so i have a long way to go but its good/scary to see how your life really does change after a baby. im so excited (obviously) but also scared (again, obviously). im sure it felt great for u just to get some exercise and alone time in. oh and he is damn cute :)

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Jennifer H     at 10:08 pm

I’ve been following your trials as a new mom and have to say that you are not alone. I have a son who is now 4. I felt very much like you…I needed time for me. It’s hard to find the balance but just keep trying and don’t think of it as a failure but as a hiccup. As for the bottle…my boy would only take these: http://www.amazon.com/Playtex-Drop-Ins-NaturaLatch-Latex-Nipple/dp/B0009XAHZQ/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_i/ They’re latex so they felt more like a breast. These were the only ones he took. Believe me I tried at least 10 others. Good luck and keep trying.

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Emily Malone Reply:

We tried those this weekend. My my brought some and was convinced they would work. No dice. :/

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Jenny     at 10:09 pm

ok seriously?! I have 15 years of childcare experience, including a bunch of years working as a nanny for babies/toddlers. I went back to school to get my teaching credential, and tried to get a part time job at a childcare center in a gym. They didn’t call me back. What the heck?! I totally could’ve held it together with Cullen. AND I know babies don’t watch tv. Sigh….

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Emily Malone Reply:

How frustrating!! I would much prefer to leave him with you! :)

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Rachel     at 10:12 pm

If you’re worried about him getting sick (in reference to your last post), I would advise staying away from daycare facilities at least until after RSV season (google CDC RSV for state by state surveillance). RSV in little guys can be terrible.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh geez, don’t tell me that! I’m trying to work up the courage to try again. :) I know RSV is very serious – scary!

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Louise Reply:

Kids can get RSV from a trip to the grocery store. You don’t have to take them to daycare to get it. My child has it right now. It stinks, but that’s life. I can’t live in a bubble. You need a break. Give yourself one.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Hope your little one feels better soon!

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Sana     at 10:14 pm

You are not alone, I see tons of mom’s rushing out of classes to pick up kids at the gym. I think you are awesome for not giving up! Good luck!

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Bridget     at 10:16 pm

I feel your pain. My children are 3 and 14 months. My three year old never took a bottler (BOO!!) and until he ate solids, we were inseparable. But I still didn’t bring him to our Y until he was almost a year. Silly me. We brought my daughter MUCH younger than that. They have good days. They have bad days (teething stinks!). But now my son asks to go to “Y school”, and my daughter has favorite staff members.
Months ago, when my son had been begging to go and I NEEDED to exercise, my poor daughter was a teething crotchety mess, and would have nothing to do with a room full of strangers. Fortunately, my Y has an indoor track, so I threw her into the emergency umbrella stroller we keep in the trunk of the car, and walked her around the track while my son got in some “Y school” time.
It’s good for both of you ( but difficult) to begin occasional separations. Cullen’s with you constantly,so this is an adjustment. But he, and you, will get used to having time apart. And as soon as you say “always” or “never” (he ALWAYS cries when I drop him off, or he NEVER cries when I drop him off), he’ll prove you wrong. It’s what kids do. lol
May your next visit to the gym be more productive. =-)

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Emily Malone Reply:

How great that you can take them on an indoor track when you need to!

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Lucia     at 10:21 pm

Hang in there, it will get better. And yes, you do need this time for yourself. Isaac used to cry when I left him and I too would be looking out for the caretaker to come get me but now he enjoys his time in the kid center so much he doesn’t want to leave. This day will come for you as well. Hopefully along the same time as Cullen’s ability to take the bottle. That will be a huge relief.

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Emily     at 10:28 pm

wonderful post, Emily. I’m by no stretch of the imagination ready to be a mom (I’m only 16), but I can sort of relate – it often seems like my schoolwork is taking over my life and strangling every bit of fun out of it. But tonight I went to yoga for the first time in about two weeks (a long time by my standards!), and for a glorious 90 minutes, I forgot all about my various homework assignments and tests and all that jazz. It’s crazy how often I forget to take time to care for myself. You need to do that, too! It’s not selfish at all, it’s just a human necessity. Here’s hoping you find a childcare system that works for you, and that you get your “me time in.” :)

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Robyn @ Blueberries and Oats     at 10:31 pm

Don’t give up, Emily! Good for you for taking some time for you!

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Laura     at 10:33 pm

I took my little girl to our local gym when she was 6 months old, twice in fact. I got a bad vibe and took her to another gym in the same chain that was a bit further away. World of difference. All the ladies had worked there for 5+ years and were unfazed with kids of any age. Keep it up, so worthwhile, I now love going to the gym for my time out and I feel re-energized afterwards, more buzz than pre-baby actually!
good luck!

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Lauren @ Sassy Molassy     at 10:35 pm

So true that your personal time is important. I would hope that the gym daycare would have staff equipped to handle a child of any age, but I guess not. Hope you can find a system that allows you to get a little workout in with Cullen being happy as a clam.

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Emily     at 10:42 pm

I’ve had a lot of experience with children of all ages: I volunteered at the maternity wing of a hospital, worked as a live-in nanny, and was camp counselor to kids ages 7-17. Not including all the babysitting in my past.

I tell you this because what I’m going to say next will very likely upset you…but I don’t mean it to. It goes against the very grain of being a mother. I recognize this. But it works with no detriment to the children. Promise.

Kids eat when they are hungry. Think of when you were younger and you didn’t want to eat the meal that was prepared for you and (in my case) your mother said that she had already made one meal, she wasn’t making another one. It was this food or no food. A couple hours later you’d sneak out to the kitchen to find a plate that your mother left out for you. And you’d scarf it down.

You can translate that to a baby. You pump the milk. It is in a bottle with a nipple. You leave Cullen with your husband, and you go do something. For awhile. Go to the gym. Then go get a manicure. Eat a sandwich at your local sandwich joint. He’ll get hungry, be able to smell the milk in the bottle, and will figure it out. When he gets hungry, he will take the bottle.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I actually talked to my pediatrician on Tuesday and he told me the same thing. :) We tried a sippy cup tonight, and that didn’t work either. So our next plan is exactly what you said – leaving him with dad and they are going to have to figure it out!

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Sarah Reply:

this is a great post. Cullen is used to the world being centered around him for the past four months; every whine and whimper has been heard and learned and catered to. Emily is a great mum. But he is now learning to make his own decisions, and mum needs to toughen up a bit to his cries. We can’t let baby decide how he is going to live (or how mum will live, for that matter). When this happens, we need to teach them, and teaching them may mean they cry, or scream, or not like the fact that dinner now comes from a bottle, but that’s the healthy way to be. He will learn and be fine with it soon enough. We can’t let children make the decisions in life; the world really does not revolve around any one person. Emily and Casey are great parents. This is a difficult thing to do for any parent, esp. first time parents.

Have you thought about finding a mom’s group? If you can’t find one, start one? A group of women, with babies around the same age, that can help each other out, say watch their little ones for a few hours, and then they reciprocate? this is a great way to socialize babies, and their mums, and trust in who you are leaving your little one with.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Sarah. I’m actually pretty tough to the cries these days – I let him go a lot longer than I ever thought I would. I’m really wanting to get him better at self-soothing and learning a little patience! And my friend and I actually did start a new mom’s group! It’s a great way to get Cullen around other babies and moms, and it’s a high point in my week. I love it!

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Michaela Reply:

I was like Cullen as a baby and hated bottles. My parents tried the same method and left me with my dad and a bottle. Guess what, I did not take it, even though I was clearly hungry, but instead cried myself to sleep. I am not saying that all kids are the same, but my mum just had to breastfeed me ;)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I hear a lot of feedback on this, and while many people tell me that HE WILL eat eventually, I’m just not convinced. We HAVE tried leaving him, and he screams and flails and just won’t even consider latching onto the bottle. We’re not giving up, and we keep trying, but I do think it’s possible that some babies just wont’ do it.

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Michaela Reply:

I keep my fingers crossed for you guys!!

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Kerry Reply:

My kids, now 4 and 7, both dumped the bottle at three months. In fact, when my daughter stopped the bottle I was in dental school and couldn’t leave to go feed her. She would wait seven hours until I could come home to feed her. So no, they won’t necessarily take the bottle if they get hungry enough. I know from experience exactly how this feels. This too will pass and in a few short weeks he can have some rice cereal while you are gone! It will feel heaven sent! Go easy on yourself!

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Robin Reply:

Emily (& Emily),

That is exactly what happened with my youngest daughter. She insisted on being breastfed. If I left her with Dad, Grandparents, anyone, she would just cry herself to sleep rather than take a bottle. The dear grandmother-like daycare workers gently told me that she would eat when she gets hungry, and not to worry. The first day she didn’t take one bottle. Day two… she gave in! It only took 24 hours and very sweet daycare workers. Hang in there!

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Christina Reply:

Just to add to all of this: I am adopted. I was abandoned when I was two days old and bla bla bla…My point is, as far as I know, or as anyone knows, I was never even breastfed. Maybe I never knew better because I had nothing to compare it to, but I like everyone else has said- when babies are truly hungry, they will take a bottle- and to little ill effect. :) Babies are abandoned and put up for adoption every day, and whether or not they detest taking a bottle- they absolutely will when it is necessary.

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Carly     at 10:59 pm

This was a great post. Im not a mom but I was at book club tonight and two of my friends were talking about the bottle refusal. One of them suggested that her sister had the same issue and someone suggested to buy the same brand bottle as the pacifier. It totally worked! So simple-makes so much sense! Hopefully that will help.

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Maija     at 11:02 pm

I worked at a YMCA all throughout high school (at the front desk) and can definitely relate to those experiences at the Child watch. Next time you go to the gym, maybe ask the front desk staff about the childcare staff and try and find out if there are any older or more experienced employees? The Y had a few young high school girls but also some older & awesome moms that worked pretty regular hours. Maybe there’s a total gem that just had that day off? Hopefully!! (p.s. you probably totally thought of this and I hope you’re not offended by the unsolicited advice!) :)

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Amber Reply:

I agree with this! I WAS one of those high school child care/front desk workers at my local gym. It definitely depends on the time of day. For example, we had an older lady work the morning shift because all the high school kids were in school. Then I came in after school and worked the early evening shift. Don’t give up, after enough time the staff will learn what he likes and doesn’t like.

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Finnlee     at 11:29 pm

This is such a tough stage. At the risk of sounding recommending something cheesy, would you consider a workout video? My oldest daughter could NOT do childcare. It was futile. Getting some workout videos were my saving grace during naptimes. At the time, I would have rather left the house to workout but the gym just wasn’t an option. Videos helped my sanity and there are some really great workouts out there! Just a thought. Good luck!

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Samantha     at 11:49 pm

You should really find a new gym. He is not going to be ready for “big kid” child care for years. And I hate to tell you, but the separation anxiety will get a lot worse as he nears 2. You need a place where they are equipped to deal with it. If they couldn’t soothe a four month old to sleep, there is no way they’ll be able to deal with him properly when he is 18 months, 2, 2.5. You need gym time, and you need to be able to focus and not worry about what’s happening in the daycare. Good luck!!

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Michelle Reply:

Just to chime in, this is SO TRUE. I babysit a lot, and separation anxiety gets much more intense as babies near the age of 2. So its definitely a good idea to start getting him comfortable with childcare now as waiting will only make it more difficult for him (and you!).

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Kelly     at 12:29 am

This is a great post, and I think you are right to try again with the childcare, but also consider trying a new place if you need to. I know my friend brought her daughters to the Y babysitting fairly often and they learned to love some of the staff members and my friend planned her gym time around when they would be there.

I wonder if it might make sense for you to find a regular babysitter that comes to your home and takes care of Cullen once or twice a week for just maybe and hour or two. That would leave you time to go the gym and/or just do some errands or something you need on your own every week. Since you don’t have family to help it might be nice to have a regular planned babysitter. Sittercity.com and care.com are great places to find people and I bet you could find someone with experience. Of course you’ll have to pay them but if you did let’s say 4 hours a week, it probably would not be that much and it might be worth it to have some me time. You could try to plan it at a time he is often napping anyway, but it would allow you to get out of the house during that time. Just a thought! Hope your next plan for Cullen to take a bottle works :)

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Katheryn     at 12:46 am

It’s definitely difficult to find time for yourself when you’re a mom, but also so important. I’m currently pregnant with #3. Something I’ve done from the beginning is get up early to exercise. My babies would typically wake up around 5am so I could fill up their bellies and would then head off to the gym for my time.

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Katheryn Reply:

Oh, and neither one of my babies ever took a bottle, so it was just me. Thankfully, like you, I didn’t have to leave them to go to work. Work was at home. They didn’t seem to want the bottle, and I didn’t want to battle. We all survived happy and healthy, and I got back in running shape in no time thanks to getting up early.

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Maya     at 12:53 am

My daughter is the same age. Running is absolutely my sanity break and has been since pretty soon after she was born. I only run 3 days a week (doing the Run Less, Run Faster Intermediate 5K plan, so it still feels pretty hard core!) and I leave her with my husband, which works well for us… she definitely cried a lot of the time at first but I figured it’s really good to give my husband a chance to figure out strategies to calm her. (She hasn’t taken a bottle either!) Today I came back from a 50-min run to find a sleeping baby! I also did intervals this week by pushing her in the jogging stroller for the slow intervals, and for the fast intervals I sat the stroller in a spot where I could see her the whole time. I’d love to have a gym with daycare (I don’t know that we have that here in Israel) but I would also totally share your nervousness about it… good luck! You’ll figure out something that works for you!

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Kortn Rupprecht     at 2:08 am

Hey there Emily! SO sorry to hear that the first gym/daycare experience went so bad! My son who is now almost 2 went to the 24 hour fitness child watch ONCE when he was about 6 months old and I refused to ever bring him back there, for reasons similar to yours! I then tried the YMCA since they were also right down the road from me and MAN was that a huge difference! All of the childcare staff were knowledgable and caring. My son, even at 6 months had a favorite girl there and we tried going in mostly on days she worked. If you have a “Y” in your area I HIGHLY reccommend them! Good luck!

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Christa     at 2:14 am

Emily,

Hi, I love your blog and I have reading for almost a year and I am currently 30 weeks pregnant with my first child a little boy. I have been following your blog even more closely since the beginning of my pregnancy and it has been very helpful for me so I thought I may help you. I have been working with young children for about 10 years and just graduated with a Master degree in Developmental Psych last spring. In that time I have worked for and consulted for many childcare agencies and companies as well as worked with parents, children, and future teachers. First of all don’t be to hard youself I tell parents that transition from home to even part time childcare can take at least a month or two before everyone including the provider feels totally comfortable. Also I tell parents to spend a little time in the environment with the child so they can observe you interacting with the cc providers. Maybe at your next two work out sessions only plan to stay about 20 t0 25 minutes and return to Cullen. Each time extending your time. Cullen will begin to trust these individuals when you trust them and that of course takes lots of time but it will be worth it because despite his young age he does need interactions with other individuals or your first steps into playgroups or other childcare activities will be stressful. Hope this helps

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Tricia     at 2:51 am

Yeah, I’d try again at either a different gym or at a different time (with different people working). Our gym sometimes will have young people working and you’re right – they have NO clue on what to do with a baby. I would think they’d have more experienced people working there from time to time too. Just keep checking and trying! You’ll find the time right time and balance eventually!

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Kim @ girlevolving     at 2:57 am

I’m really sorry it was such a hard and frustrating first experience. But you’re right – time for yourself is something you need. I’m glad you’re wanting to make it work so that you have that. You’re a fantastic mom. Keep trying – one of these times it’ll work and Cullen will be happy and you’ll have peace of mind.

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Kristen @ Change of Pace     at 3:46 am

I love our kid care at my gym but both of my kids cried at the beginning too. Both around the age 6 months. I watched so many moms just dump there kids off in there for an hour at a time in the beginning and thought that wasn’t fair. So I started dropping my daughter off for 10 minutes at a time. I’d drop her off, set the treadmill for 10 minutes, and go get her. I did this for 5 days straight. I know it sounds like a waste of time but it only seemed fair to let her get used to the kid care workers. Then the next week I bumped it to 15 minutes. The next 20 minutes and so on. I also went during a time where there were hardly any kids in there so they could give my child one on one care.

I think once they realized it was in their routine because we went everyday and they knew I was coming back they were fine. Now my kids go 5 days a week for over an hour at a time. They are attached to the ladies in there and love going. I know it’s hard for you to watch him cry but 10 minutes of crying is ok.

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erin     at 3:59 am

Hi emily!
Thanks for your post. I was in the same boat with my son. Have you tried the breastflow bottle by firstyears? You can get it on amazon. Only bottle my son would take. Good luck with your work outs!

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Kristin     at 4:08 am

I love the honesty in this post – thank you for sharing some of the struggle along with the good :)

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Sarah     at 4:08 am

Hi Emily-

I can totally relate! I have a 6 month old beautiful baby girl who refuses a bottle as well! I recently HAD to start leaving her to finish my 3rd year of law school at night, and even leaving her then, knowing she would refuse a bottle and be crabby for her dad was HARD. I know how you feel- it almost feels selfish wanting to spend an hour at the gym or just take some time to yourself but it does feel SO good once you can. Thanks for giving me another push to make more of an effort to take some “me” time. It’s so nice knowing that other moms have the same struggles – especially with the bottle!

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Sarah     at 4:13 am

My 5 month old twins have been refusing bottles too. This past Sunday my husband and I had tickets to a play we’ve had for months.. I left 2 bottles with my in-laws and they actually took them! I think with my being no where around and being hungry they had no choice. Cullen may be more willing if you are completely out of the picture for a while.

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Marta     at 4:15 am

Go tomorrow too, he will get adjusted, he is just not us to, you will see that after two or three day he will be fine

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Emily     at 4:34 am

I agree with the commenter that said when he gets hungry he’ll eat, but before that you might try to offer the bottle everyday at a consistent time. I would also pick a bottle you like and stick with it that was its something consistent. They say it can take up to 20 times for a baby/kid to accept something new. If you are consistent about it he’ll realize it’s. Now just part of
The routine. Good luck!

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Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life)     at 5:06 am

Oh, that’s so frustrating!! I’m amazed that better childcare isn’t provided in more places. Taking Hailey t the gym has been my saving grace. I always go after she wakes up from a nap and I feed her. This way I know she’s bound to be rested, full and happy for at least 1.5-2 hours. It’s worked like a charm for us so far.
Also, an added bonus is that feeding her befoe working out means my boobs are at least a pound lighter- haha!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I am always so jealous when I read about your gym trips, and remembered your story of the older lady rocking her when you picked her up. I was so hoping for something similar! My gym just had a few pack n plays set up for babies…not really what I was looking for.

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Lyn @ Life Lyn Style     at 5:06 am

Hi Emily,
I’ll start by saying that I am lucky at our gym. We have 4 regular care takers and most of them have been there as long as my son. In 3-4 years of using the service, they have come to get me twice. My kids are 2 and 4 now, but I was still breastfeeding when my daughter started to go. I’d get to the gym, feed her and then let her play/sleep while I worked out. She could always at least last an hour. Don’t give up! Childcare will be good for Cullen and you both. The socialization of meeting some other gym moms will be good for you too! You may ask about the qualifications of the workers. At a minimum, they should have first aid and CPR. 2 of ours used to be nurses and the other two are great with kids. If the childcare is an issue, find another gym. Also, experiment with the time of day. The staff may be better at certain times. Good luck.

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Holly     at 5:09 am

I would definitely recomend seeking out other opinions on the child care at local gyms and frankly just interviewing them. Find out what the background is for the care providers, their ages, experience, etc.

It may only be an hour but it will give both you and Cullen more peace of mind knowing he is in good hands. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to take a vested interest in the care workers too, similiar to having a babysitter you might hire at your home eventually.

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Joanna     at 5:13 am

Hey Emily,
I know you have probably gotten 1 million suggestions on the whole bottle thing but I thought I would chime in since we went through something similar. My babe is three weeks younger than Cullen and we tried at the 3-4 week mark to introduce the bottle. No luck. We had the Tommy Tippee one that looks a lot like a boob so we thought it would do the trick. After a few more unsuccessful tries, what finally worked was me starting him off with the bottle, cozied up like we would be breastfeeding,milk from a pumping that happened just before he became hungry and the bottle nipple warmed under the tap. About half way through this successful bottle feeding I handed him to my husband and Neil was so wrapped up in wanting more to eat he didn’t notice that I had handed him off to his father.
After a few more similar feedings I have slowly been able to escape a bit earlier and earlier and now much husband and mother can both feed him no problem after they squirt a little milk into his mouth to get him to realize what glorious food awaits him! I definitely agree with the poster who said to try this when they get really hungry. I knew a feeding was coming and made sure I had fresh pumped milk for those first precarious feedings and now he takes frozen milk, warmed up just fine.

I really love you blog and your posts on babble! You have a refreshing, honest take on new motherhood and since our babies are so close together you have been a VERY valuable resource for me!! Best of luck with sweet Cullen!

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Emily Malone Reply:

We have tommee tippee too! Those are his pacifiers as well. I just bought the TT sippy cup transitioner to see if maybe that works instead, since he likes to grab onto things and bring them to his mouth now. Not going to give up! :)

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Dina     at 5:18 am

Hi Emily – I’ve been reading your blog for a while but never commented before. My daughter was born just a few days after Cullen, and I’m having the same problem – she took a bottle great when we introduced it to her at around 4 weeks, then I stopped giving it to her, and now she’s refusing it! This is made worse by the fact that I have to return to work in a month. We’ve had a little bit of success recently with a sippy cup or even just a regular cup (tilted into her mouth – a little messy). One other thing to think of – are you giving him freshly pumped milk, or milk that’s been sitting in the fridge/freezer? If the latter, it’s possible you have an excess lipase issue and your milk is turning sour. It’s rare, but apparently I have this problem, and I’m in the process of experimenting with how long it takes my milk to turn sour, and scalding it to prevent this from happening. You can read more about it on kellymom.com. Good luck!

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Robin Reply:

Dina,

I had the same problem with excess lipase. I had months worth of milk frozen, only to realize when I thawed it that it was sour. I cried as I dumped it all down the drain. Once I realized what the problem was, I began scalding it. It makes me feel better to know it’s not just me.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I have never heard of this, and will definitely check out the frozen/cold milk! Thanks for the suggestion!

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Robin Reply:

After thawing the frozen milk, it looked ‘curdled’, or separated. If shaken or stirred, it wouldn’t mix back together. Essentially, it looked like spoiled milk. I never ran into a problem with refrigerated milk, because I typically sent bottles to daycare that had either been pumped that morning or less than 24 hours prior. I guess I was so heartbroken that I had to dump so much milk that I didn’t want to risk losing any more by experimenting with it.

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Emily Malone Reply:

We just bought a sippy cup to try too! Hoping that works a bit better. I’m going to consider this lipase issue – I’ve never heard of that before. Thanks for letting me know!

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Dina Reply:

Robin – I’m so sorry! I cried too when I found out, I have about 70oz of milk sitting in my freezer. You’re not alone!

Emily – I’m glad I could help, the problem is rare so I hope you don’t have it! Also, my daughter still won’t take a bottle even of fresh milk, so I’m going to try and get her to take that (or regularly take a sippy cup of fresh milk) first. If I succeed (hopefully) I’m going to try mixing fresh milk half-and-half with the soured milk, because there’s supposed to be nothing nutritionally wrong with the soured milk, it’s just the taste that bothers some babies. The thought of throwing away all the milk makes me so sad!

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Lee     at 5:21 am

What about trying a different branch of your gym? Can you go to more than one? I would think that the child care situation is really dependent on who they have hired at each particular gym. But if no gym in your chain seems to work, I definitely think it would be worth it to see about joining a different one.

Hang in there!

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Rachelle     at 5:24 am

I have some free weights at home, and while not much, at least I keep my muscles sort of it working order.
I am so sorry to hear you had a poor time :-( Another gym might be perfect. There is an awesome one near me that does babies great (so wish we could afford it). Remember, it may just take him time to get used to the environment and new hands. I know it is so hard to give him to others, but it is really good for him developmentally too. Parenting is sssooo hard. Lots of hugs!

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ashley rebekah     at 5:38 am

i am so proud of your resilience and your declaration that you will try again. cullen will certainly adapt to a new schedule and new care givers; it will just take some sweet time. having the insight-to-self to know that you need some time for you will make you an even more amazing mom than you already are. you go, girl!

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ashley rebekah Reply:

sorry, one other thought – you have the treadmill at home, right? i’m not sure if cullen is at the stage of using an exosaucer or a swing, or some other sort of self-entertaining “containment device”… but maybe you could plop him down in his exo/swing right near the treadmill and you’d probably get at least 20-30 minutes out of him. just a thought!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I just ordered a Jumperoo! If he likes it, I might be able to pop it next to the treadmill here and there. Crossing fingers!

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ashley rebekah Reply:

it was my life saver with the twins. best of luck to you! he looks great in it, btw (referencing today’s post).

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Ann     at 5:48 am

I feel the same way! I manage to keep my house clean and organized, all of us fed and clothed, but not much else. I’d love to find a way to even run on the treadmill downstairs, but I haven’t managed quite yet. A little exercise makes a world of difference in my mood and health, though, so I need to make it work!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yep, we have a treadmill at home too, but Casey’s hours are really long these days and he isn’t able to watch C very often so that I can run. That’s why I thought the gym would be a good solution!

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HRCK the Herald     at 5:54 am

I’m not a mom, but this would frustrate me hugely as well. I’m glad you’re going to keep trying!

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Beth     at 6:07 am

You are so strong and amazing! Not taking a bottle is so hard…we had no choice as I had to go back to work in an office three times a week and our little girl took either as she just wanted to eat. It sounds like you are trying everything.

My only “me” time outside of work is 35 minutes in the morning where I work out in our home gym while Jeff looks after Livie. Just those 35 minutes make a huge difference in my mood and how I feel throughout the day. I know you are looking for a gym, but at home working out is a great alternative and then running when hubby is home on the weekends. You will figure out what works for you! Keep up the good work, momma!!

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Sarah     at 6:12 am

I’m not a mom, but I noticed a few people mentioned the YMCA and I think that might be worth a try as well, if you have one nearby. When I was in school and would go to early morning classes, there were a lot of young moms there that were thrilled with the childcare. I only ever saw one mom leave a class early to pick up her child. There is just more of a community feel there since it’s a Y.

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Silvia @ skinny jeans food     at 6:13 am

Maybe, you can bring him when he is about to sleep? And he sleeps right through your gym time?

Even if you don’t want to take Cullen to daycare, it might be good to find neighborhood (paid) playgroups from him once or twice a week for 3h each. It would be great for him to socialize (without you) and give you some time for you.

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Emily Malone Reply:

We’re going to try nap time next time! :) We actually DO do a weekly playgroup with a few other moms, and he loves it. I’m trying to get him around other people and kids as much as I can.

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers     at 6:20 am

Ahhhh, you make me miss my Mom, she lives on the East Coast and I’m on the West. I’m lucky if I see her once a year. I think I’ll call my Mom today.

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Coco     at 6:21 am

I can only imagine how nice it must have felt to have a little alone time.. I know that I need my sweat sessions to feel normal for sure- and you are always tackling so much… Keep your head up- things will get easier and if you want something bad enough (which clearly you do!) You will find a way to make it happen. Your inspirational Emily!!! Keep rockin it! Maybe you could also check out bodyrock.tv for some quick- and definitely sweaty- home workouts.. You need minimal equipment and you might be able to squeeze it in when Cullen naps.. I know it’s not quite the same- but maybe a good supplement for now..

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Lynne     at 6:22 am

My 19 year old son works in a Kids Klub during summers and school breaks. He loves those kids, they love him, and he is wonderful with them. Please don’t let this one experience lead to an assumption that this isn’t workable. After all, it was probably Cullen’s first time left alone with someone he didn’t know.

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Chase - the CHASE project     at 6:28 am

As a long-time gym employee (and someone who has filled in child care in a pinch) please complain to the management. The 3 (three!!) childcare workers (with no other children) needed to find a way to occupy Cullen while you work out. They may not know exactly what to do to soothe him, but they need to try and at the very least, tolerate him crying. In my experience, it is not acceptable to come get you 20 minutes after you’ve started your workout. They may be young and inexperienced, but the gym management needs to train them in how to manage a 4 month old. If they offer childcare to 4 month olds, they need to be able to work with them (knowing that they’re potenially teething!)

I’m totally 100% behind you finding time for yourself, especially given that it sounded like it’s been the week from hell! Cullen will adapt to the childcare at the gym and it will soon be a part of your daily routine. Hang in there!!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yeah I was a bit surprised to find three of them when I got back. And honestly, none of them really seemed to care once they handed him back to me. This wasn’t a free service either – I had to sign up for a paid membership! Oh well, I have since read Yelp reviews that confirm how I felt, so I’ll probably just move on and look for a new gym.

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Autumn     at 6:34 am

I have three kids…ages 5, 3, and almost 2. I have gone through this same thing. I know others have suggested it but really the thing that has worked best for me is exercising at home. I would usually prefer to use nap time. First thing in the morning (before baby is up) never worked for me because of the abundance of milk. The great thing about home is that you aren’t wasting that time getting to gym, dropping him off, etc. That may not seem like a lot of time, but when you’re breastfeeding and you have this limited amount of time to work out in between feedings, it kind of is. Also, just try to recognize that you’re a great mom who puts her baby first and that’s why this is a struggle.

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Emily Malone Reply:

We have a treadmill that I can use here and there, but my husband’s work hours are pretty rough right now, so I don’t have anyone to watch him. Plus, it’s nice for me to get OUT of the house here and there! :) Thanks for the support!

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Christy     at 6:37 am

I don’t know if someone already mentioned this but have you considered Stroller Strides where you take your kids in the stroller? My neighbor used to teach it and they would do all kinds of exercises while having the little ones with them in the stroller. My son is 18 months and I need to exercise to stay sane! The solution that worked for me is getting up early (always been an early bird) and going to the gym before my husband goes to work. I come home, shower and eat breakfast while my husband feeds our son and plays with him til work time. It’s a win-win for all of us!

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Emily Malone Reply:

We do have Stroller Strides here! I’ll probably consider something like that when it warms up and our rainy season is over.

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Lindsay     at 6:42 am

Maybe I’m crazy, but I think 2 miles is pretty good for a first attempt! I know it must have been frustrating to be pulled away when you were kind of just getting started, but 2 miles is still a great accomplishment and hopefully it will only get better from there :)

PS – I was in body pump the other day and a woman was pulled out by gym staff, just to come in a minute later with her baby on her hip, having to grab all her stuff. So you are definitely not alone!

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Bliss     at 6:45 am

I used to be one of those child care workers at a gym…I probably wasn’t any more experienced with small babies (I had a lot of babysitting experience, but with kids older than 2!). Definitely don’t give up trying! Especially if you can go around the same time each day, they’ll get better at reading Cullen’s cues and know how to comfort him, Cullen will get more familiar with them and the surroundings, and you’ll (eventually) get that workout in!

It also might help if you gave them a time limit for how long to let him cry. If you know that he’ll cry for 20minutes and fall asleep, you can let them know that and say not to get you unless he’s cried for longer. When I worked at a gym, I was terrified of disturbing the parents for less than emergent reasons. I found it really helpful when parents let you know when they wanted to be notified. Good luck!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I did tell her that if he was really upset, obviously she could come get me, so perhaps she took that more literally than I meant it. I was just surprised it was so quick!

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Lauren     at 6:48 am

I am currently in the midst of trying to get my toddler adjusted to gym child care and you are so smart to start early. It’s been rough since he’s rarely had babysitters and, like you, we don’t have family nearby. but the caregivers told me there is a 5-7 day adjustment period for young babies and 5-10 for older babies and toddlers. Today will be my 5th day of increasing separation and I’m so hoping he feels comfortable soon. It’s truly an exercise in patience for me.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I think that makes sense. Hope your 5th day went well!! Good luck to you!

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Leatitia @ The Sweetest Year     at 6:58 am

Working out is a massive failed here. I haven’t run for over 2 months now and my last yoga session happened over a month ago. I’m very out of shaped and I feared I’ll gain weight if I don’t start working out again. Being a single mom and juggle so many things, I find it hard to take the time to work out when I have to take care of many other things.

I think I’ll check to see if I can find a gym with childcare in my city. My baby boy is old enough now (8mo) to be able to spend a few hours without me. He refuses bottles but now nurses only every 4 hours. Long enough for a massive workout! ;)

Thanks for the inspiration.

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Emily Malone Reply:

You are most welcome! I also find it really hard to make the time to workout when there is so much else to do, but I know it makes me feel so good, not to mention being good for me. Hope you find a good solution in your city!

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Angie K     at 7:00 am

Give it time. My little guy will be the big o-n-e at the end of May. It will be an adjustment for your little guy to have someone else soothing him and interacting with him when he is used to you. But in the end, with the right caregivers he will be fine. And in 24hrs you need to take 1 or 2 of those for yourself. I know I always feel guilty if I beg my mother in-law to watch him just so I can take a nap or pick up the house. But I have learned that it is OK, if I am happy he is happy.

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Katie@PopCultureCuisine     at 5:29 pm

That is super annoying that they could console your little guy. You would think that a “childcare” area should be able to do just that, figure out how to care for your child. I agree getting some mommy time is so important for just mental well being, so hopefully you are able to figure out a way to do so!

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Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More     at 5:59 pm

Well that stinks! May do a reoccurring trade with one of the other new moms in your group?

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Sarah     at 6:27 pm

Emily, I am not a mother (yet!) but I have to say bravo! For such a what I’m sure it now seems like such a hindsight, introspective approach to giving yourself well-deserved YOU time as well as introducing Cullen to Childcare. Of course it will take BOTH of you time to get used to but you will bot get there! It is very realistic of you to realize you need to feel good about your body and take time for yourself. Because you know what, I believe any mother that takes the time to take care of themselves with of course having their children #1 like you, are better mothers. You will feel happy, energized and your son will be better acclimated to all the the people in this world! in any case, I may not be speaking from experience, but I know I would feel the same as you. You are an excellent Mother Emily and taking tome for yourself to be fit and energized is so beneficial not only for you but sweet little Cullen as well!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Sarah! :)

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Lissa     at 6:45 pm

Taking time for you is so, so important!! Once Maya began going to bed regularly at 7 and waking at 7 (around 3 mths), we started trading off nights at the gym so my husband and I could each get our fitness/me time in. Both of us are happier when we exercise and morning workouts are totally unrealistic now with a dog, a baby, and two of us needing to be at work by 8. So we do what we can, and I applaud you for giving it another go. I think it will also be comforting for you to know he can comfortably be with someone else for a while — that will help enormously. Also, I can TOTALLY relate to you needing your mom … my parents live in NJ and we live in Michigan. I just spent last weekend with them and miss them SO much. There’s something just so awesome about having family close by … and we miss out on that. :(

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Emily Malone Reply:

I think once Cullen’s sleep schedule is a bit more predictable that might be an option for us! Right now he’s still waking up in the 4-5am range (kill me), but if we can stretch that out I can get up and run early!

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Kate     at 7:27 pm

I’m not a mom, so I’m sure it would be hard to leave your baby for the first time. That being said– I work at a Kid’s Klub here in California. I’ve worked there for over three years, and I love my job. More often than not, I can get a baby to go to sleep, comfort a 4 year old that’s scared of being in a strange new place for the first time, and check in new kids- all at once. While I do think it was weird that they tried to stick Cullen in front of the TV, you can’t expect that Cullen will feel comfortable right away when he’s there for the first time. It’s important for him and you to get a little time apart from each other, but at 4 months old, he’s still adjusting to new sights, new sounds, and being away from you, which is probably why he didn’t want to sleep there. There are some kids that I watch that happily conk out as soon as I put them in the swing. Some love to sleep in their car seats. If it’s slow and a baby will only fall asleep if I hold them? You better believe I will hold that baby the whole time they’re asleep to make them comfortable. Did you go around Cullen’s naptime? If so (and especially if he has a hard time falling asleep, even at home) it’s not a surprise that he didn’t want to sleep at the Kid’s Klub. He’s probably scared, surrounded by three new faces, and way overstimulated. Give it time- he’ll get to used to it. While he’s adjusting, talk to the employees there and let him know what he likes- it makes it easier on everyone involved. Trust me, I would rather have a parent say, “Please don’t put him in the swing, he’ll scream his head off” than them not tell me and find out the hard way.

All babies (and older kids!) experience separation anxiety to some degree when they come in for the first time. My best piece of advice? Try just staying for fifteen minutes a day for the first week or two. I’m sure you would love to work out longer, but you don’t want Cullen to freak out if you try to leave him there for too long the first few times. (I’m not accusing you of doing this, but I see this happen a lot- people will drop their kids off for the first time and the kid will scream bloody murder for two hours while I’m frantically trying to find the parents- more often than not, they’re at the Starbucks next door. Sigh.)

Also, perhaps it’s because I’m a 22 year old working with a 50 something grandmother, but noting that the childcare workers were young kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I’m a little sensitive because there are SO many parents that have been bringing their kid in for the three years I’ve been working there and they never try to talk to me or even learn my name- while they automatically trust my older co-worker. Yes, I am young and childless, but your 3 year old that I’ve been watching since they were an infant love and trust me, and I wish the parents would too.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Hey Kate! You sound like exactly the type of person I would love to leave Cullen with. :) Sorry if my “young” comment came off wrong – I didn’t mean it that way. My sister is 21 and she’s one of my favorite people in the world – I absolutely realize that young does not mean irresponsible. This girl in particular just didn’t seem very interested in her job – texting while she checked me in, asking about watching tv (which in general is fine, but weird to ask about a baby), and pretty much giving up after 15 minutes. I will try again and try to keep him used to new faces and places! I know it’s good for all of us.

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Sarah G     at 7:51 pm

I didn’t read the other 72 comments, so not sure if this has been mentioned…. Mommy and me workouts. I tried several times to leave my first baby, and never was able to do it. She’s three now and I still don’t leave her at any gym (although she is in “school” now)…. I’ve accepted that’s who I am with my second baby and doubt I’ll even try since I know it goes against my style. What worked for me to get a good workout was Mom and Baby YOGA. So fun!! Worth a try if the gym doesn’t pan out for you. Good luck.

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Emily Malone Reply:

There is a mommy and me yoga class here in Seattle one day a week that I might check out!

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crystal     at 7:57 pm

I hope you figure out something that works for you. I can relate b/c my two never took a bottle. It does get easier and even if you can’t leave him now he won’t be little for ever. /end trite parenting sayings

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Emily Malone Reply:

:) Thanks Crystal!

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The Healthy Hostess     at 8:08 pm

Keep it up girl! It takes so much time and energy and just when they start getting it, they go through a phase of not wanting to be left. Anna is almost 2 and I still struggle with taking her sometimes. I teach 6 fitness classes a week so I still find other arrangements for some of the classes. Maybe see if you can get someone to come watch him for 1 morning a week and you can be garunteed that one day and see what else you can squeeze it. It’s so hard to get all packed and have to return home with no workout and a lot of stress and exhaustion. i know exactly how you feel! Keep trying!! Any day that works is a success!

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Kathi     at 8:17 pm

Don’t give up Emily! Yes you definitely need the time for you, it makes so much difference in how you feel. When my daughter was about 10, before she was old enough to babysit, she was a “mother’s helper” for people in their home so mom could get a few things done at home, and my daughter would play/occupy the baby. It worked out great for everyone. You will get there, one day at a time! ;-)

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Amy     at 8:28 pm

I definitely understand your frustration! My daughter is almost 2 and her separation anxiety has only gotten worse, not better. I work from home and especially for the first year, tried to take care of everyone and everything, except myself. I was running around like a crazy person all day every day. I ended up completely stressed out and exhausted. You will burn out if you don’t take some time for yourself. My daughter won’t do the gym childcare – I gave up after several times of not getting more than 5 minutes into my work out before I was interrupted by the child care workers. I have relied solely on the jogging stroller and work out dvds to keep my sanity. We live in Hawaii and have absolutely NO family to help out and I also breastfeed for 18 months. So I really can sympathize with what you are going through. Basically my only advice is that it WILL get easier. Somehow you will settle into a routine that allows you to sneak away here and there. One thing that helped me immensely was finding a baby sitter to come over a few times a week and allow me to work interrupted or even sneak in a work out. It was fantastic because since I was home, I could still feed her when she was hungry (she didn’t take bottles either) and keep an eye on everything that was going on. If you have it in the budget, it really can be a lifesaver! You are doing a great job and as I’m sure you are quickly finding out – with babies nothing stays the same for long so it will get better!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks for letting me know it’s not just me! The routine is definitely getting easier as he gets older. I’m working now to find a babysitter/nanny to help out a few days a week – it would make a HUGE difference!

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Megan     at 9:27 pm

You go, Emily! Here’s hoping that next time or new solutions will bring you much deserved personal time.

I am not a mom yet, but I often resort to complaining about not having time to fit in my workouts – and that’s without a little one relying on me! I can’t even imagine how hard it must be emotionally and functionally as a new mom. But, what a great post you’ve shared for moms and future moms. I think in every faze of life it’s often easy to lose site of the importance of time for self – especially for women. It’s often a rough and uneasy road to create time to do the things we need to to take care of ourselves – but it’s worth it.

Keep it up! :)

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Robin     at 9:49 pm

You definitely need more “me” time! Between taking care of sweet Cullen, updating the blogs, the volunteer work, cooking with/for Casey and the environmental advocacy work, carving out some time to devote to your health and fitness is so important!

Quick aside: It’s expensive, but have you considered buying a treadmill and some hand weights for your home? You probably won’t be able to fit in a two hour workout everyday, but you could carve out a shorter run/strength workout most days.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Your sarcasm is not lost on me…

To answer your question, we actually do have a treadmill. The problem is that Cullen is old enough now that he’s not going to sit and be content while I run, and Casey works very long hours these days, so he’s not usually available to watch him while I run either. I don’t expect (or want) to workout for two hours a day – just some short runs and weights here and there. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

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Jacquelyn     at 10:15 pm

Emily,

I wanted to suggest a book for you to read, in case you haven’t already, it is called “Baby Wise” by Dr. Gary Ezzo and Dr. Robert Bucknam. It is all about getting your baby on a scheduled routine. I’ve read your blog for sometime off and on and I know that you got Cullen on a bedtime routine but do you have him on a daily routine with his feedings and naps? If so, then your best bet is to go to the gym during one of those scheduled nap times. My son is just over a month younger than yours and we had to deal with the same issues, except our gym doesn’t have child care, they have a “Mommy” work out room that we watch our own children while working out. (We live in Germany, and it is the best I can get) Anyway, this book really helped me with being able to plan my day around breast feeding and making sure that not only is my son getting the things he needs but that I am taking care of myself too.

I hope this helps.

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Emily Malone Reply:

We are working on getting into a better nap routine now! I’m reading Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child, but I have Babywise on my list as well. :) I would LOVE to have a mommy workout room!! Although I don’t think he would sit still long enough for me to really get a good workout in. That’s why I have a hard time using our treadmill at home!

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Karina     at 12:18 am

“Does he like watching TV” :D!!! I am a child care educator myself, so I do understand the importance of easing children into day care for 1-2 weeks… but your kiddo is only 4 months old, he should not yet be in the stranger anxiety phase. He probably just had a bad day (or the child care people really do not know how to take care of babies…). Just keep trying :)! Also you should consider getting an au pair ;)! Or if this doesn’t work – get a part time au pair (share the costs with another family). I was an au pair a few years ago and loved it (so much it is know my full time profession!). I looked after baby twins, and their mother used the time to get back into the gym like you, grocery shopping, meeting up with friends and for date nights – honestly it was sooo good for her to have extra help, she was a new person after a few months of alone-time!

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama     at 5:09 am

I’ve heard this situation is pretty common with gym childcare. I’ve had lots of friends go through that. I decided to leave my gym once I had kids due to numerous reasons. One that they charged a ridiculous amount for 2 kids. Two – I knew my workout would probably be interrupted numerous times. My kids do go to daycare and it took some time for them to adjust to the new situation. I workout at home on my treadmill or on the weekends I go to a yoga studio. It works much better and I don’t have to deal with the added stress of wondering if my kids are being cared for the right way while I workout! Good luck!

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JC     at 5:57 am

Your blog is so beautiful. Thank you Emily for gifting us with glimpses of your sweet and honest life. Both of my little guys struggled to transition to bottles. I found using a nipple shield (a very thin latex nipple you put over your own) while breastfeeding helped ease their eventual acceptance of the bottle. I believe Medela makes them. Good luck!!

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Tammy R     at 6:31 am

Hi Emily,
I can only imagine how hard this is. I am 6 months pregnant and I have no family nearby either. I’m not sure if this if feasible for you, but you might want to consider finding a nanny/babysitter who can come to your house one or more days per week, if only for a few hours. I work from home and have to hire a nanny (I do not want her in day care that young) and it is expensive but there is no other choice. In your situation even having some help one day a week would be a relief. Anyhow, I use care.com and have interviewed nannies already — one works as a doula and was a school teacher, CPR certified, etc. You can find some good nannies on the site and you can also place an ad and specify your needs. Then, nannies will reach out to you. I also out a price cap at $15/hr. This seems reasonable for where I live.

Just a thought…

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Emily Malone Reply:

Congrats on your pregnancy! I’m actually in the process of looking for a part-time babysitter/nanny as we speak. It’s just hard to even know where to start in a new city, but I’m working on it. I will check out care.com – thanks!

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Laura     at 6:42 am

I worked at a childcare gym for 3 years and we were trained to deal with babies/infants and only the oldest women and most mature young adults were allowed to care for the children in the nursery. The people you are describing sound like they should be with older children. But i would not settle for the services provided, i would actually complain about the quality and probably switch gyms. We had a policy for dealing with crying babies and when to call mothers and it was nothing like the protocol they followed. At times we had 10 babies for 3 staff and were able to calm them all.

I am sorry you had such a terrible experience, but i would urge you not to settle and not to assume that that is what all gym childcare programs are like.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I think I’m just going to look around for some different options. I’ve read some bad reviews on the place I go to, so it seems my experience was not necessarily unique. I have no doubt there are great options out there, and he can do just fine in a daycare setting.

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Brittany     at 7:39 am

I think it’s great that you are trying to get some “you” time. I think it will be very healthy not only for you but for Cullen. He’s with you non-stop all day long. You are his safe person. He will eventually need to learn to be consoled by other people (not just you and your husband) in order to grow up and have healthy attachments. It clearly sounds like you did not have the best childcare workers out there and that they did not have the best understanding of child development, but it’s not always the worker’s fault. Some babies, especially those with stay at home parents, have not learned to be soothed or comforted by complete strangers.

For example: I’m a social worker and run a parental education group on Wednesday nights. Myself and 5 other social worker’s were working with the children. We all have Master’s Degrees, have taken years of child development courses, we have all been working with children and families for years, many of us were mothers of children, and many of us were nannies, babysitters, and childcare workers to put ourselves through school. Despite this wealth of information, on Wednesday night we had a 6 month old baby who cried the ENTIRE night. She was absolutely inconsolable. Non of our tried and true tricks of the trade worked. She did not stop crying until her father came to pick her up that evening. She was simply not used to being away from her “safe people”. Think about it this way: even when you hand Cullen over to someone who may be a new person to him, you or Casey are still present or at least nearby. He can still sense your presence, and still feels safe. This is something that will just take time and adjustment on everyone’s part. But even if you try out every single gym in the area with the most experienced staff ever, there is always the possibility that he will still cry when he’s left. After reading some of the previous comments, I just don’t want your take away message to be that it’s always the childcare worker’s fault.

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Emily Malone Reply:

No I totally agree. I think it’s really important that he start feeling comfortable around other people as well. That’s a big part of why I wanted to go to the gym vs. having Casey watch him while I run on the treadmill. And the reason I want to perhaps look for another gym or option is that I know there are great places for kids – perhaps this just wasn’t one of them. And I know he needs to toughen up a bit too! I was honestly willing to let him fuss a bit – I was surprised they came to get me so quickly.

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Brittany Reply:

Yeah, I’m really surprised by that too! You’d think they would have tried to soothe him a little longer before rushing off to get mom. Especially since it’s their job! Do you think maybe you could suggest to them how long to attempt to soothe him before they come get you? Because obviously you wouldn’t want him to cry the whole time you were there, because then he’d become terrified of the place. But at the same time, if he’d stop crying or fall asleep after a certain amount of time that might ease the worker’s fear. Just a thought!

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Kamila     at 8:10 am

Maybe it’s worth having a nanny come to your house for a couple hours a day or a couple times a week… For you to run errands, go to the gym, etc.

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Shamima     at 9:59 am

My friend works from home while taking care of her 12 month old and she hired a nanny to come once a week for a couple of hours and also a girl who is working on her early childhood development degree to play with her son for a couple of hours while she gets some work done. She says it is working out really well because she can accomplish a lot while still at home knowing her son is downstairs. I think something like this may work well for you. It may be a hard adjustment to be with new people and in a completely different environment but if Cullen is home with a nanny/babysitter he might be a lot more comfortable.

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Jessica @ The Process of Healing     at 10:43 am

I can imagine how frustrating that must be… maybe you should find a gym better suited to your childcare needs? Or try to get to know the child care workers, trust will make you feel a lot more relaxed!

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Emily     at 10:53 am

I haven’t read all the comments so probably repeating what’s been said.

I had some friends whose little one would not take a bottle. Mom went back to work and dad was home with her for awhile. I think they ended up going to a sippy cup really early and sort of letting the milk dribble in. They got it to work well enough to get her fed. Just something else to experiment with if you want.

Good luck with the gym, it is so hard but worth it. I would keep trying, it may take awhile. I didn’t go back til my son was around 9 months old. 9 months is not a great time because the sep anxiety hits so I think it’s great to get it going now when he is still little. Different situation, but for us it took a good 3 months til he didn’t cry when I left him. Right around his birthday he finally would toddle off and play and be happy there.

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Raewyn (My Spare Oom)     at 11:45 am

That is definitely frustrating! I can completely sympathize…I’m the oldest of six, so things get crazy around here. Between school (now, I realize it’s NOTHING compared to a baby), chores, CCD classes, doctor appointments, and homework, it can be really hard to make it to the gym. You are one busy mama who needs and deserves her “me” time. Don’t get discouraged!! You already seem to be handling the situation much better than I would. :)

Checking out different gyms sounds like a good idea – that’s terrible that three workers couldn’t calm a baby down!

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Amber K     at 12:14 pm

That must have been so frustrating! You definitely need “me” time and I would hope that the child care workers would be more professional. At the same time, I work in child care and sometimes we can try and try and try to calm a crying child and nothing works. It’s weird that they would come for you so quickly, but it definitely happens.

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Alex @ Raw Recovery     at 1:08 pm

I’m sorry to hear things didn’t turn out as well as you had hoped with the childcare at the gym. That’s really unfortunate and I can’t believe someone asked if a 4 month old liked to watch tv. Really? Wow. I hope that things turn out better and good for you for trying to fit time in for yourself. I can imagine that would be difficult.

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Rofomom     at 3:27 pm

Good for you!! You’ll get the hang of it and soon, he’ll be looking forward to the gym just as much as you! I had 3 babies and nursed them all. None of them took bottles despite my best efforts. They all went through some sort of babysitting at the gym. You’ll figure it out and dont give up. All your ideas are great and you have a good attitude, too!!

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STUFT Mama     at 4:07 pm

My boys are two and I still live one day at a time. :) Oh… playcare. I just discovered it last month. I don’t know what took me so long. It’s like an hour of freedom. SO glad it worked out for you! Hnag in there Emily. Yeah, he IS lucky he’s so darn cute. :)

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amy     at 5:40 pm

You will find a solution that works!!! I’m a week away from having my third little guy, and with both of my other two it was a bit of a learning process to carve out workout time – but you will for sure get there!

I wanted to mention, you might have luck with a part time nanny from SPU or UW … I went to UW (years ago!) and nannied 6-8 hours a week for an alum of my sorority. Calling SPU might be the place to start since it’s closer to Fremont. :)

Good luck – we are rooting for you!!

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Tamara     at 6:31 pm

Hi Emily! Have you ever thought of finding someone to look after Cullen who will go to the gym with you? The caregiver can put him in a carrier and take a walk outside while you work out. I know it might be an added expense but well worth it for the peace of mind you will have knowing he is being WELL looked after. :)

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AshleySegner     at 6:58 pm

Sorry to hear your first experience with the childcare at your gym wasn’t great. I started going back to the gym the day my daughter turned 3 months, that’s the soonest they start taking them. Thankfully she would take a bottle but for 3 months they came back and got me EVERY single time. There was one lady there that my daughter really liked and finally we got into a groove. Now she is 25 mos and my son is 3 months, the thought of packing both kids up in the middle of winter sounds horrible. Don’t give up!

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Sarah     at 7:39 pm

That is weird about the girl asking if he liked to watch TV, since he’s so young… but didn’t you say in this post (http://www.dailygarnish.com/2012/01/wintery-weekend.html) that he actually does enjoy watching television?

At any rate, Cullen is quite possibly one of the cutest babies I have ever seen, and he only seems to get cuter with age. Pretty damn cute indeed :)

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Stephanie Creech     at 9:21 am

Hey Emily,
I had almost the exact same experience when I took Mya to the gym (when she was teething). I had taken her once before, at which time she was content to just watch the other kids in the Kid’s Room. The second time I took her, she was teething and started crying the minute I exited the doorway. I got to work out 30 minutes when someone came to get me. The caregiver said that Mya had been crying the entire 30 minutes and that she’d tried everything. I had to pack her up and take her home and I haven’t tried again since. I’m too chicken! The clingy-ness that goes hand in hand with teething can be extremely frustrating, but I guess we can’t let it rule our lives. Easier said than done, I guess.

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Abby     at 4:27 pm

Emily, I haven’t read through the comments so it’s likely someone else has already said these things. I just have a quick thought though: I took a year off and worked as a nanny after undergrad. The family found me on a website called http://www.sittercity.com. They did background/reference checks and everything to make sure I was trained with newborns & not a psycho. Perhaps you could use that to find a (safe) sitter in Seattle. Another great resource for sitters is Mommy Mixer. Maybe just having someone come a few times a week for an hour or two would help you get your head above water. Good luck- I’m sure the gym situation will work out soon! :)

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Ky G     at 5:16 pm

Emily…as a first time mom to a 4 week old son (he’ll be 4 weeks tomorrow…WOW) I just want to say thank you so much for your honesty and openness! With your weekly (now monthly) development updates, it has helped me with a guide of what’s to come.

And you have definitely made me feel that I am not alone in raising my first away from family. My husband also works non-typical hours so it’s definitely been an adjustment in that area as well with the little one being with only me most of the day.

I work from home for a major company so I have to send him to daycare 3days a week when he turns 3 months…we’ll both be out of maternity/parental leave. I’m hoping this will help with him being around someone other than me and the hubby 24/7 and separation anxiety as well.

I look forward to more Cullen adventures in the future ;-)

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Rachel     at 5:39 pm

Hey, don’t give up on the gym! My son is now 3.5 years old and he’s been going to the Kids’ Club since he was 3 months old. The first few months my husband and I took turns going to console him when the childcare staff would come get us. Eventually the baby gets used to it and the staff gets used to the baby (at least ours did), now my son loves going and all the girls know him by name. I’d say the last 2 years they haven’t had to come get us during a workout, so it’s worth putting in the time now. Good luck!

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Lauren @ Fun, Fit and Fabulous!     at 7:22 pm

I’m so sorry the gym Kids Klub wasn’t a good experience! Like you said, you can’t give up! You’ll find a way to make it work, and all babies need a little adjusting time! :) Sending lots of positive thoughts your way!

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Barbara     at 7:51 pm

This sure brings back a lot of memories! You will figure it out and then there will be a new challenge–that’s the way it goes. In the grand scheme of things, Cullen will be more grown up before you know it and you will have more time for yourself. I had 3 sons, all breastfed and NONE of them would take a bottle. I biked with a baby seat, walked with a sports stroller, did DVD workouts when they napped. I’m sure I was the one with separation anxiety! But we stayed together day and night until they finally ate and took sippy cups from Daddy. Anyway, they are all great kids-grew up healthy and are quite socially adjusted. You will figure out what works best for you–and then the second one will come along….

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Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed     at 5:06 am

Good for you, realizing you need to take some time for yourself. Good luck going back to the gym, hopefully Cullen will cooperate soon.

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Allison K     at 5:46 am

Aaahhh….I am 31 weeks pregnant with my first and we just moved to a new state where we have no family. I know we will work it all out, but its a little scary! Thanks for such an honest post.

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Traci     at 6:39 am

Love, love, love reading your posts as a mom. It does seem to all work itself out in time. And even though the days seem long (especially when you can’t get in a workout), the weeks are so short. My “Cullen” is now almost 6 years old and it seems like yesterday that I was in your shoes. You are awesome!!!

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Jen     at 7:55 am

I’m not sure if someone already suggested this but I always nurse my baby right before I hand her off to the very young Childcare sitter! That usually works better because she’s well-fed and content. Keep trying! It’ll work eventually and you’ll be a better mom for it!

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Nikki     at 8:04 am

I feel your pain! We’re from Pennsylvania, originally, but were living in LA when we found out I was pregnant, far far away from friends and family. We moved to Seattle when our son was 5 weeks old – my parents came out to visit when they could, but going at it alone was HELLISH. I have joked that I would only consider having a second baby if my parents moved out here. Otherwise, no way. LOL (But seriously…) It took me a year to start getting out to yoga again. Babysitters get expensive!

Now he’s a little over two years old and things have finally settled in to an easy routine. We just started him in preschool two days a week (because I could sense that he needed more activity and stimulation than he was getting at home.) I love being a mom, I LOVE being a stay at home mom and I cried for weeks before his first day at preschool. Then I cried the morning I dropped him off (last week) and now I’m excited for tomorrow. 6 whole hours to myself. It is really, really hard when you’re going at it alone (just the three of you and no family support system!)

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Andrea     at 8:10 am

Oh Emily it WILL get better. I had the same thing happen when I dropped my son Sam off at daycare for the first time. I was actually in a meeting when the daycare provider called and said he had been hysterical most of the day. He woke up from his nap shaking and wouldn’t let anyone touch him…hello…he was only a few months old. But….it got better and it got better fast. The sooner they get into a routine and comfortable around others, the better it will be. It could help to go when there are other kids there….my son LOVED to watch other kids…especially older ones. Good luck!!!

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Brit     at 1:24 pm

As a childcare worker, myself, sometimes you can try everything to help comfort a child (even have other childcare workers help) and what it boils down to at the end of the it all is that they just wanted mom or dad :)

Glad you got the quality time for yourself though :)

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Brit Reply:

I dont think parents OR childcare workers should be judged in every instance. It happens because we are human, of course, but we need to empower parents and workers :) Childcare and parenthood is a hard job! Best wishes to both!!!!

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Stephanie Abbott     at 7:06 pm

Hi! I’m a new reader and I love your blog :) This is my first time commenting, but I felt like I had to say something since I worked in a gym day care when I was 16.

Let me just say that a sleepy daycare attendant is probably going to be VERY typical at a gym. Some things to consider: why might these young teens be working there (do they just *love* kids or do they want the free gym membership…my bet is on the latter). Also, not that I am vouching for your bummer first experience, but it’s really tough to want to give your “all” to a screaming baby that you don’t even know, from a mom who is going to workout when she could be at home watching her own child (these are probably the thoughts in their head, not reality). BUT what those young teens don’t realize is how necessary the workout is to you and how important their job is to you. I remember moms thanking me over and over for just smiling when they dropped their kiddos off and being friendly when they came to pick them up. My co-workers were never even close to friendly and I could always see the tension in the moms faces when they came to pick up.

It’s not fair that you didn’t get good (or even acceptable) service at the gym day care, but what I’m trying to say is that I wouldn’t really try to expect much more. There are just too many kiddos that go in and out all day long, lack of motivation on the employees part (again, probably at the job for the benefits and not the job itself), and the lack of connection that the workers have to the child. I think my suggestion would be to kill the workers with kindness AND persistence. SHOW them that just because he cried the first, second, third, fourth and maybe even fifth time that you’re NOT going to stop trying. It’ll force them to actually start to try to work with Cullen, because you’ll be so darn nice to them that they’ll have more of an investment in him AND they’ll know that no matter what you’ll keep handin’ him over!

Also, some moms were really awesome with explaining that they wanted to give *tough love*. They said to wait as long as they possibly could to come get them if their little one was crying. Not only did their children get used to the fact that mom wasn’t going to run to their rescue every time they cried, but it really proved to us workers that the moms really wanted to get their work-out in and didn’t mind if their kiddo was cranky…because a lot of the time, I would get moms because I was scared they would be mad if they knew I let their child wail for an hour. Just make sure than any “special instructions” are said with a lot of courtesy and respect for the workers because they deal with moms all day long that emphasize the importance and well being of their little one, but what they might not realize is that EVERY mom thinks that way (and it loses it’s meaning)!

Hope this helps and feel free to email me if you have any more questions :) good luck and DONT give up!!!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Such a great comment – thank you! Very good to hear that perspective, and it makes perfect sense. :)

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Ashley @ Cooking for John     at 2:49 pm

I work time at a childcare center in a gym. also named Kids Klub! All of my co-workers, as well as myself, have prior experience with children. We have a dedicated baby room with swings, saucers, bouncy chairs, the works. We have had an inconsolable baby a few times,but we never let them go longer than 15 minutes before paging or getting the parent.

I’m sure it was quite the adjustment for Cullen, just as it was for you! I’m glad to hear you will try again, and maybe a different gym would be a better fit.

Good luck!

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Dee     at 3:23 pm

I wonder if you could get a mother’s helper type of arrangement? Someone who is with you, but watching your baby while you focus on other things.

When I was a college I “babysat” in this way for mothers like you, who didn’t need or want f/t childcare but sometimes had errands to run, or wanted to work out. It’s a really cheap way to get two hours to yourself, and you can of course select someone who has had babysitting experience and can provide references.

The advantage is that you get someone who gets to know your baby, and a college student doesn’t have the need for more hours (necessarily). Unlike regular babysitters who need at least part-time worth of hours. I spent about 4 hrs per week per family. You might also consider using the person for a few hours while you are at home, maybe getting work done. One family brought me over occasionally to play in the backyard with their twins, so that they could stay inside and focus on certain projects, including doing their taxes.

It was fun for me, and easy way to earn some movie money. On the parents’ side, you don’t have to “leave” your kid to have that extra pair of hands.

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Lexi @ Cura Personalis Foodie     at 6:38 pm

Awww sad to hear this didn’t work out! At least you got those few miles in. Plus, he’s so darn cute :)

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jen     at 6:46 pm

my kid has been going to the gym with me since he was 3 months old. now there are days when i don’t want to go and he makes me so he can see his gym friends (he is six now). when he started school full time he really missed going almost 5 days a week. if i wasn’t at the gym with him we were out running. i will be honest because he is in school now i miss doing these things with him too. we recently donated the jogging stroller and it was hard on both of us as wee had such an emotional attachement to it.

i too have a treadmill at home but with my kid around even at 6 it is easier to be at the gym. less distractions. the other day when i was at home he kept bugging me and it turned into me saying unless he needed to call 911 it wasn’t urgent enough for me to stop (30 entire mins i was trying to run took about 45 mins).

sorry your gym daycare experience wasn’t the best but i am sure you will find another option.

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