I'm alive and all is well with my little family. I'm going to be making a return to the blog (I promise) but I want to do some updating around here. I want to work on the design as well as the content. On that note, if you would be so kind as to take the survey below it would be a HUGE help to me as I get Lazy Lady back up and running!
Ah, convention season is upon us! If you are going to your first convention this year, here are some helpful tips so you can make the most of your experience! Remember, be safe and have fun!
1. Map it out
If you aren’t familiar with the convention center, be sure to use maps and ask for help finding things. Most conventions are held in large convention centers and you could be walking for a very long time in the wrong direction if you aren't careful.
2. Plan ahead
Use the conventions program to plan your day(s) before you even hit the convention floor. Know what events are being held where and when; as well as, celebrity meet & greets' what panels are going on and which ones you'd like to attend; and parties, opening and closing ceremonies, etc. Having a map of the convention will come in handy for this, as well, since a lot of the time panels can be found on separate floors from the main convention. Also, just know that lines for panels and screenings can get long, so you'll want to plan to some line-time to make sure you get a good seat (or a seat at all!).
3. Get there early…
…because you don't want to waste precious time in line to get your admittance badge! The lines to get your badge can get super long, especially on opening day; and then, you have to get in line to enter the convention itself. So, plan to be there pretty early before doors open so you don't waste a minute more than you have to on this step.
4.Bring a camera but ask permission before snapping pictures
Cosplayers want to show off their hard work, and many don't mind the photo opts; however, you need to ask permission. They may not want to have their photo taken at that moment, and they are well within their rights to tell you "no." However, you are going to see some amazing things at the con and you will regret not having a means to document it all.
5. Keep your phone charged
Don't have a camera? No problem as these days every cellphone comes equipped with one. However, you are going to want to make sure you keep it charged! Pack a charger to take into the convention with you and when you want to sit down and take a break, find an outlet to sit by and charge up!
6. Hit up the ATM before you go
There may not be an ATM at the convention, plus if there is, you'll probably have to pay ridiculous fees to use it. Bring your cash with you, just be mindful of how you carry it on your person. Also, check to see if the vendors accept credit/debit cards. More and more of them are using Square Readers to make transactions easier.
7. Don't waste money on the first day
If you are going to be going to multiple days, don't spend all your money on the first day. If you are only there for one day, then wait until the last hour or two before you go to spend that cash. Make your rounds at the merchants and check out the goods, and be sure to check out the Artist Alley (my favorite place to be at a convention!) and make mental notes to yourself about what you want to buy. Then, prioritize and spend accordingly. Keep in mind, you can get some great deals on the last day of a convention as sellers and artists start to discount their wares.
8. Eat good food and drink plenty of water
You need to keep your energy up because you are going to be doing A LOT OF WALKING. Drink plenty of water during the convention, even bringing in your own (if the convention allows it, be sure to check the rules). Also, while it is tempting to just throw a bag of chips and some candy in your bag, you are going to need actual nourishment. Bring food to your hotel and eat there when you can to save money. Convention food is expensive and not very good for you. Have some healthy snacks to help you (and your tummy) make it through the con.
9. Don't be "the stinky kid (adult)"
Shower. Every day. Even if you don't shower every day at home, do it while you are going to the convention. You're probably walking a lot more than usual and are in a crowded place. You need to be clean. Also, wear deodorant. Please. For the sake of everyone else within a three foot radius of you, just put some on. I actually recommend bring some with you in your bag because if you are going to be there all day, and if it is a hot day, you're going to want it. Trust me.
10. Wear the right footwear
Like I've said, you are going to be walking. A lot. Wear shoes that you know you will be comfortable in and will provide you with the support you need for all this wear-and-tear. Even if you are cosplaying, keep in mind that you will be doing a lot walking too, so bring some back up shoes.
During my pregnancy, I had done my research, gone to the classes and knew that I wanted to breastfeed. Everyone says "breast is best" and I wouldn't have to pay for formula (on top of the medical bills, diapers, child care expenses, etc.) so I was all about that decision. I knew I'd be pumping once back at work, so I got a breast pump free through my insurance (and I got the best pump I could, as close the medical grade as possible!) for when those days arrived.
All throughout my pregnancy, mothers in my life told me of their struggle to breastfeed. From infections, to latch problems and just not producing enough milk, I heard it all. While I took in these women's experiences, in the back of my mind I was determined to breastfeed and I just knew I could do it.
Now let's skip ahead to after Lazy Baby's birth. I met with the lactation nurse and she worked with me to get her latched. It hurt like Hell to which the nurse told me that because I am a red head, it's just going to hurt worse. Just days after she was born she had a very high bilirubin count (in other words, she had a mild case of jaundice). I had to pump because she was on a special UV blanket and I couldn't hold her to feed her. Also, she had to have at least 30mL of food and I wasn't pumping that, so they gave us some supplement to get her to poop out the bilirubin in her system. When we went home, they sent us with supplement for her until her test results came back with a lower bilirubin count. My milk never really came in much more.
I tried to breastfeed once her pediatrician told us that she was all good, plus the doctor told me that I was producing enough for Lazy Baby's need. Instead of adjusting to breastfeeding, I got an almost constantly screaming baby, bleeding nipples, and my sanity slowly draining from me. Mr. LL was doing his best to keep me from completely losing it, but I was miserable. I tried, I researched, I just knew that if I could figure out how to breastfeed better I'd nail it. After all, that's how I approach all my problems. Research, try new tactics and find the way that works! I could do that with breastfeeding, right? I started pumping again – to give my nipples a break and to see just how much I was producing. I was lucky to produce an ounce. This reality hit me hard, I was failing at motherhood's most primal task: feeding my baby.
I gave up on breastfeeding, because I needed to know that she was getting enough to eat. I would pump and then give her supplement till she was full. Now, Lazy Baby is just about 6 weeks old, and I still only pump about an ounce of breastmilk every time, sometimes I get two ounces. However, she eats 3-4 ounces at every feeding.
I scoured the internet almost daily trying to figure out how to increase my supply, but almost every resource I could find was for breastfeeding mothers who also pumped, and the advice didn't meet my needs. I've tried the lactation cookies, taking Fenugreek and Power Pumping (which is when you pump 10 minutes then wait 10 minutes, and repeat for an hour). On top of it all, I was still struggling with coming to terms with my body's inability to provide for my baby along with the added guilt of having medical professionals insisting that I should be able to do just that by now. It is hard enough to be a new mom and heal, not to mention the baby blues hit me hard those first couple of weeks. I didn't need the guilt trip.
I'm finally coming to terms with what my body can provide. I give her as much breast milk as I can at each feeding and then she gets formula. Do I still wish I could provide all she needs? Of course. However, the important thing is she is healthy and doesn't go hungry. I will continue to pump until she is six months or my supply dries out. I also keep reminding myself, with every bad pumping session (the ones where I only get half an ounce total) that I, myself, was never breastfed. I didn't get a drop of breastmilk and I survived just fine.
If you are struggling, just remember, you are not alone and from the women who are in my life, you aren't in the minority either.