Monday, September 29, 2008

Real Daddies Love Diapers!

If you are a new mom, then you probably feel like no one can take care of your baby as good as you.  I don't know if it's a "if you want something done right, do it yourself" mentality, or just a mother's instinct, or something else - but it's there.  

There is no one I trust in the world with Davie more than my husband Steven.  I mean, we've made all our decisions involving her together, so he knows everything.  The only thing he is lacking is "motherly instincts" . . . AKA - what seems like common sense to a woman.  But that sure seems like a lot sometimes.  The GREAT thing is that I have a husband that wants to be as involved as possible.

I got some great advice from one of my student's mothers a few days before I went into labor.  By the way, I respect this woman immensely because her daughter was angelic in every category of life.  You could tell she was raised right.  Her darling mother asked who would be watching Davie when I returned to work, and I told her that fortunately my husband worked from home during the weekdays and he would be taking care of her.  She thought this was spectacular.  She said, "Let him do as much as possible with her.  So many moms just do everything themselves and don't let the father's actually care for the baby."

I read that it's important for dads to change diapers, help with feeding, give baths, pack diaper bags, etc.  This is more for the father's sense of bonding than the babies.  If the dad takes care of the baby (not just holds and plays with) when they are little, they will feel more responsible for them as they grow up and be more involved throughout their life.  VITAL!  

I go back to school (to answer Amanda's question) on October 20th.  So, as hard as it is, I have the added motivation of knowing that in 3 short weeks, whether I like it or not, Davie and Daddy are on their own for at least 9 hours a day, 5 days a week.  

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Miraculous Body of a Mother

I realized this morning, I have a brand new respect for my body.  This respect is obviously not for the physical beauty that motherhood has brought me.  It's because it is the body of a chronic survivor.  You will do things you did not think possible.  For example, anyone that knows me KNOWS that I do not function on less than 7 hours of sleep.  I've always been that way.  Even as a giddy junior high girl at church camp . . . I was the one shushing everyone else so I could get some shuteye.  

The other night I got much less sleep than what I require - and I survived.  I was a little beat the next day, but I got a little more sleep last night and now I feel almost as good as new.  

You wake up countless times to feed or change or burp your baby, and you feel soooo groggy, like you cannot possibly get out of bed.  Then once you are standing there over your baby's crib, you are invigorated . . . you even smile!  At 3AM!!!  

Anyways, being a mother puts you so intensely in focus, that you can do anything - especially when it involves your child.  

Now, having said that, Steven and I are seriously discussing whether I will continue pumping once I go back to school.  You see, I have always used every last minute of every allowed break to work on stuff for school.  I never just sit around and chat with other teachers or surf the web on my breaks.  I grade, plan, and make copies.  So, now if I am spending that time pumping, then I will have to go early or stay late . . . and I already go an hour early and stay at least 15 minutes after.  When will I see my baby?!  And when I do, what state will I be in?  Anyways, we are thinking about it.  What is best?  That Davie gets the best possible nutrients in her body, or that she gets the best possible version of me when she sees me?  I think the latter . . . but hopefully she can have both.  

Also, she has got that crazy newborn rash that looks so awful and painful, but everyone keeps saying that it's normal.  It still makes me sad.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is this typical?

Last night was like one of those nights you watch on a movie, read about, or hear other people tell stories about - a stereotypical night in the house of a newborn.  Yikes.

Davie was NOT happy with us.  Neither Steven nor I had seen her like this.  We were a little freaked out.  Finally after an hour or so, she tolerated me walk/bouncing around the house.  I managed to change her diaper somehow.  She seemed somewhat calm, and so I put her to bed.  After she woke up 3 more times, I decided to move this party to the living room.  I put her in her swing and rested my eyes on the couch.  By 3am, I had slept maybe 2 hours (very unrestful sleep), so I thought it was Steven's turn.  Thankfully, she did better after that for Steven, and I got to sleep for 3 or 4 hours until it was my turn again.  

It was rough.  I feel bad for the people that have these nights every evening.  How do they do it?

I did have an epiphany though.  Even though I drastically reduced my caffeine-intake, I still have a Dr. Pepper every once in awhile.  I think I see a pattern if I'm remembering correctly.  Each time I pump after I have a Dr. Pepper . . . Davie seems a little fussier than usual after she eats.  

So - no more Dr. Pepper for us.

I should go take a nap now.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

She's growing up so fast!

Last night I gave Steven the night off.  He went out with some friends from out of town and Davie and I had a quiet evening at home . . . semi-quiet.  We went to bed around 8:15pm, I in my queen-size bed, she in her laundry basket beside me.  This is usually her "fussy time" so I was a little worried.  Indeed it was her fussy time this evening, no exception just because Dad is not there to walk her around the house until she is sleeping soundly.  Every time my eyes drifted shut, she would start crying.  I'd wait a few minutes and when she got louder and more frantic, I picked her up and calmed her down.  I even gave her a pacifier a few times, but each time it fell out while she was sleeping she'd wake up crying again.  

I had read that 15-20 minutes of crying isn't going to scar a baby for life . . . I just wasn't sure if I was going to be able to lay there right beside her for that long listening to her sad little cry for 15-20 minutes . . . or 5 minutes for that matter.  So, I took her basket to her room and put it in her crib and turned on the monitor and went back to my bed.  A bit later the crying started.  I lowered the volume on the monitor slightly and waited.  After five minutes, she was asleep . . . without a pacifier.  (I had also read that sometimes babies need to exert that energy through crying to sleep soundly, and when you keep picking them up, you rob them of that).  

She stayed in her room the WHOLE night, like a big girl.  It was good for us as parents because when she slept right beside the bed anytime she made a peep, we'd pat her, or pick her up, or stick a pacifier in her mouth.  But when you hear her little whimpers through the monitor, and your only decision is to wait it out or to get out of bed and walk to her room at 2am, it makes it a little easier to wait.  And she has never slept so well . . . after the earlier episode that is.  

Now the question is when the crying lasts for longer than 5 minutes . . . what do we do?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Panic Attack Avoided

Today we took a family trip to Wal-mart.  As I rode in the passenger seat, I allowed my mind to wander.  I started thinking about the implications of having a dependent.  They are "dependent" on you . . . completely.  I started thinking about my past life of carefree frivolity . . . and then I thought about how many minutes it took to pack up Davie and all of her belongings and the thought process it took to make sure we aren't going to be out when she needs to eat, etc.  THEN I thought about how everyday for the next I don't know how long, this is how it will be.  

I started to feel faint, literally.  My heart beat fast, my face got warm, and I started to feel pretty ill.  Then I turned around and looked at my baby sleeping in the back seat.  Panic attack avoided.  I love her so much.  

What's strange is she doesn't DO anything for me.  She (most likely) doesn't have the capacity to "love" me back.  But I love her.  It is the most selfless love I have for her . . . and this may be my only chance to experience that from this point of view (as love-er, instead of love-ee).  One day, hopefully, she will love me as her mother.  But for now, it's my honor to love her and take care of her.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

If you read ONE book . . .

. . . it should be "On Becoming Babywise".  I give all (okay, most) of the glory of my lovely, predictable newborn to the principles I learned in this book.  Here is my summary for all of you who are cutting it close to your due dates and don't have time to read it yet (although you should still buy it or check it out from the library and read it as soon as you can).

Principles from Babywise (in no particular order):

-  Do everything within your power to give your baby a full feeding every time you feed him/her.  This is usually only difficult because babies like to fall asleep while eating.  WAKE THEM!  If you don't, they will wake up mad and hungry way too soon.  Plus, if you are breastfeeding they need to feed long enough to get the nutritious hindmilk.  So, change their diapers, their clothes, dab them with a warm wet cloth, etc.  

-  Try to stick to a 2.5 - 3 hour schedule with feeding, during the day.  This means if you start to feed the baby at 8am, the next time you will feed them will be at 11am.  This is what I stick to.

-  After the first week, try to set a first feeding time and stick to it.  Ours is 8am.  Today we had to change that up a bit, it's okay to be flexible.  Try to be fairly consistent though.

-  During the day, you should have 3 things happen with baby.  Feeding time (about 30 minutes), Wake time (about 15-20 minutes after feeding), Naptime (until you wake them for next feeding.  At night, however, you will just let them sleep (not longer than 4-5 hours) and then when they start to stir and show hunger cues, get them up and feed them (change their diaper probably afterwards) and put them right back down.

-  If you stick to those 3 things pretty consistently during the day, the baby will not likely get their days and nights mixed up.  Also, do not think that if the baby stays awake longer during the day, that she/he will sleep better at night.  It just gets them overstimulated and then they have a hard time settling down.  

-  Oh, and a new lesson we learned, newborns cry sometimes . . . and it's okay.  We just recently have been letting Davie put herself to sleep for naps.  After she's awake for awhile, we swaddle her up nice and tight, put her in her basket, turn on the monitor and wait.  Sometimes she fusses a little bit, but you can tell it's a sleepy whiny cry and not a PAIN cry.  If you hear that he/she is distraught (or after 15 minutes is still fussing), then try to go calm the baby down.  They might need to burp . . . or just to be held.  But if you can suffer through a little crying now, you'll be glad later when they know what to expect.  Babies learn SO fast.  

Try to put these in to practice (again, flexibility is okay) as soon as possible.  It is really nice to have a predictable baby . . . what with the anxiety you WILL experience anyways.  Again, if there is ONE book to read in preparation for baby, it should be this one.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2008



    As many of you know, I became an official mother on August 27, 2008 at 12:06am.  Since that day, I started a journey.  This journey is one of insecurity, but also tenacity to do whatever I have to do for this child.  

    It seems like I am one of the first of MANY in a row to have a baby.  Truthfully, I have never known more pregnant people in my whole life.  I have a friend or two (or three) having a baby every month from now until February.  One of the most helpful and encouraging things to me since bringing home Davie has been online forums.  When I was feeling SO discouraged about breastfeeding or my "new life", it was so lovely to go find other new moms who are dealing with or have dealt with the same thing.  It got me to thinking about all of you.  How could we help each other out on our journeys?  

    So I wanted to try setting up our own sort of "forum", where we can ask questions, tell our stories, voice our frustrations, etc.  I've had some GREAT conversations with some of you about pregnancy, labor, and the first days home from the hospital.  I hope we can make these conversations more public for my many round-bellied friends.  So, any topics you want to discuss with the group, post them!