Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oh my goodness, I've become my mother . . . and other ramblings.

Yes, it is true - the other day I unwittingly became my mother. I was sitting with Micah, and he had all this crap around his mouth. I didn't hesitate - in fact, I didn't even think about it - I licked my thumb and used it to wipe the schmutz off his face. I was horrified! I immediately called my mom and confessed, but as of the other day . . . I'm one of "those" moms - and I'm now MY mom.

It is funny how we do what is familiar - I find myself saying things I know my mother said to me. Not the stuff I swore I'd never say, but the comforting things I also remember from my childhood. Some of it I haven't thought of in years, and I never realized it could still buried in the recesses of my mind. But, somehow, the phrases are there . . . and they just naturally roll off of my tongue.

I'm kind of feeling like writing another "things I've learned" post and "things I don't want to forget." So, I think I will.

  • Poop can blow out every end of the diaper . . . simultaneously. Always have a spare outfit in the diaper bag, and lots of wipes.
  • At a minimum, a diaper bag should contain: 3-5 diapers, a change of clothes, desitin (or balmex or butt paste), a receiving blanket (or other blanket for your LO to play on or get wrapped in when needed), plastic bags (preferably the biodegradable ones) for wrapping up dirty diapers when you can't throw them out, extra formula/bottles with water OR a hooter hider if you breastfeed, a bib, an extra pacifier if you have a paci-sucker, a portable changing pad, and wipes. If your child takes medicine (like for acid reflux) always have a dose on hand, just in case! As they get older, snacks and toys should be added to the list. Let me know if you have any other "must" haves!
  • You have to experiment with the swaddle - sometimes babies like them tight, sometimes they like them loose, sometimes they learn to escape. With persistence, you can try to continually outsmart their efforts at becoming the next Houdini.
  • It is so important to get out there and connect with other mommies. Breastfeeding support groups, Mommy & Me classes, story hours, exercise classes . . . whatever you can find. I recommend checking out community centers, libraries, hospital programs, churches/synagogues, and Gymborees to find the right programs for you. Once you connect with one or two people, it is amazing how many more things you will learn - the "hot" spots to take kids, products you should try, places to play, mommy-friendly locations, daycare advice . . . and most of all, other people who are going through the same thing and just *get* it. I learned that many breastfeeding women use dressing rooms in clothing stores to go breastfeed their children. I never would have thought of that! And Nordstrom's apparently has a baby play area - I've heard people spend hours there.
  • Get out of the house. Often, and sometimes alone. It can all be overwhelming when you relegate yourself to the house.
  • Be flexible. Babies are not likely to be scheduled. It is okay if they don't do what you think they "should" be doing . . . like napping in a crib. It is more important to find a system that works for you than to do it the way it is written in a book. Set very loose goals (like making sure there is enough napping so that the baby is not over-tired) and worry less about how you are achieving them.
  • Keep trying new things. Sometimes, repeat old things that didn't work the first time. You just never know.
  • Listen . . . to all kinds of advice . . . but take it all with a grain of salt. Sometimes, what works for some people will not work for you. But sometimes it will. Try what feels right, discard the rest.
  • Try to enjoy the time you have - it is precious, and it does pass so quickly.
  • Trust your instincts . . . you KNOW when there is something wrong, and if you get a crazy idea that you think might work, it just might.
  • Don't be afraid to call for help . . . doctors, friends, support groups, lactation consultants, family. Sometimes you just need a break. Sometimes things that SHOULD be intuitive aren't.
  • If you are breastfeeding, giving a pacifier or a bottle will not destroy your baby or ruin breastfeeding . . . babies are amazingly flexible if you train them to be.
  • If breastfeeding is challenging, you have 2 choices . . . . switch to bottle-feeding (and there is NOTHING wrong with that option) or push through it and it SHOULD get easier. Whatever you pick, the decision will be right for you.
  • Routines are important. . . for bedtime, for napping, etc. Routines are NOT the same as schedules. Start a bedtime routine relatively early. We started around 8 weeks. We have a baby who sleeps through the night and has since 8 weeks. Not all babies WILL sleep through the night, no matter what you do. Just keep trying. For us, I found frequent day feedings (every 2 - 2 1/2 hours) helped. We started regular feeds throughout the day, and then (once he hit his birth weight) started letting him go as long as he wanted during 1 nighttime period. We slowly started doing that for 2 stretches at night.
  • If you have a lot of evening fussiness, and feeding it away doesn't work . . . consider that maybe your baby is tired. That was a totally eye-opening experience for us.
  • It is normal to feel like you are doing a bad job . . . to feel like you don't know how to play with your little one, and to have days when all you want to do is give them to someone else for a little while.
  • How he sits and stares at himself in the mirror - and laughs and giggles.
  • The way he smiles bigger for me than anyone else.
  • The way his eyes light up when he smiles . . . and the small dimple emerging on his cheek when he laughs.
  • How he kicks and bobs in the swaddle as he slides down his incline sleeper . . . and the ways he can Houdini out of the swaddle.
  • His surprise when he sees something that interests him.
  • The way he smells . . . just sort of fresh and sweet.
  • The cooing sounds that make my heart melt.
  • How he grabs my hands so tightly and holds on.
  • They way he grabs my hair when I'm breastfeeding him.
  • The way he tightly curls his hands up.
  • The way he kicks and fights and shrieks when he is angry or wants something.
  • The worried expression on his face sometimes when he is getting upset.
  • How he snuggles up on me as he is going to bed.
  • How he calms down when I start singing to him.

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