Month: December 2013

#3: It’s not cheating

When I was pregnant, I was adamant about doing everything naturally.  A natural delivery was only part of this plan.  We were going to swaddle!  No Boppy Pillow on this girl’s registry!  Our baby would be toted in a sling!  Cloth diapers only for this munchkin!  After all, old school mommies are the best mommies.  Guess how many of those we accomplished?

Zero.

As I watched my intentions vanish into the distance while my life became simultaneously easier, I felt as though I were cheating.  If mothers had been doing these things for centuries, why couldn’t I?  Giving in and using modern developments like the Halo and baby carriers meant I just wasn’t trying hard enough.

Eventually I realized I was.  I tried to deliver naturally.  I tried to swaddle my baby.  None of these things worked.  Recently I received a Summer Infant Swaddleme from another mom.  I commented on how I couldn’t have enough of these because Lily spits up on them at night.  Her response?  “I felt like I was cheating, but these are great.”  Hallelujah!  Guess what?  She had tried swaddling first, too.  We weren’t cheating.  We were doing what was best for our babies.  Cheating is scheduling a C-section without medical reason, or bringing a nanny along on your lunch dates.  So here’s my bit on how I realized that “giving up” on each of these things I felt so strongly about really wasn’t giving up at all.

#1:  Cloth diapering: We were all stocked up on Best Bottoms.  They were supposed to be easy to use, even for the reluctant caregiver or family member.  And they are.  However, they are simply too big for even hefty newborns like my own.  She was swimming in them when we tried at about 2 weeks. Thankfully my sister in law anticipated this and had gifted us an Honest Company diaper cake.  We used those for about 3 weeks, but now we are all cloth, all the time.

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I make pooping in your pants look adorbs.

#2:  Swaddling:  Around month 7 of my pregnancy, Ryan and I watched a video on swaddling (the baby whisperer one).  We were really into this concept, and excited we were going to do the right thing–the thing everyone in every non-Western culture knew was best–and swaddle our baby.  We would not be using that Halo sleep sack the hospital gave us!  Guess what I’m using all those expensive Aiden and Anais swaddle blankets for?  Burp cloths.  I ripped into that sleep sack before even leaving the hospital.  She just likes to flail her arms around and breaks out of a swaddle.  Plus her hands keep her entertained when she’s awake at night, and sometimes she can stick them in her mouth.

#3:  Boppy Pillow:  Pre-nursing, I thought Boppy Pillows were a sign of weakness.  Now I know they’re the same as the regular bed pillows our fore-mothers used, just shaped differently.  Side note:  I have a Mobo, which is a less expensive Boppy and it has a vibrating thing inside.

#4:  Slings:  I had visions of myself walking with Lily in a sling through parks and down village streets, catching the approving and jealous eyes of onlookers.  Riiiiight.  Lily hated the sling.  You know what she loves?  Carriers.  She screamed when I stuck her in the sling, and fell right asleep in the carrier.

#5:  Natural Deliveries:  Ryan and I planned on having an epidural-free delivery.  His aunt did Lamaze classes with us.  I listened to hypnosis apps (that’s a lie–I never made it all the way through without falling asleep).  Simply having been an athlete and running through pain made me feel prepared.  We discussed my plans to take Nubain if I felt I needed it.  I didn’t make a rigid birth plan because I wanted to make sure that after the fact I could love on my baby and not be hung up on my delivery not going exactly my way.  I got induced and a few hours later things started picking up pretty quickly.  I decided to get Nubain at 5pm, when I was 3cm dilated.  The Nubain didn’t touch the pain or help me relax, but it did make me dilate 4cm in two hours.  My contractions were abnormally long with extended peaks, and I had less than a 10 second break between each one.  Two contractions after I saw fear spread across my notoriously calm husband’s face, I asked for an epidural.  My nurse, who had been very supportive of me not getting an IV or extensive pain meds, agreed it was time.  When my nurse from the previous night came in afterwards, she said “This is what epidurals are for.  They’re not for those women who come in and have two contractions and give up.”  She was referring to the fact that the Pitocin had made my delivery completely “unnatural”.  This helped me realize that having a natural birth in very unnatural circumstances isn’t necessarily realistic.  Would I have an epidural again?  Probably not.  But that’s because I don’t plan on getting induced ever again.

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Can’t feel my legs, but I can feel that little girl.

#2: Keep the tags on

Sound like a boring topic?  Okay, maybe it is, but knowing this is SUPER useful.  This is for two reasons:

1.  You may get too many of the same type of outfit (or, if you’re like me, 3 of the same outfit all in the same size)

2.  If you’re like me, your friends and loved ones will only buy your baby 3 month clothes.

At first I was mad because literally no one gave me gift receipts* and I had all of this stuff that just wasn’t what I needed.  I had anticipated needing to exchange a few items, but when it turned out to be nearly half the adorable wardrobe I received I nearly had a panic attack.  What were people thinking?!  What was I supposed to do with this huge pile of 3 month clothing when my 2 month old started outgrowing it and I still hadn’t gotten out of the house (a totally unfounded fear)?!Image

But there are those people who will get you adorable baby leisure suits like this one.

Then my mother in law told me you could bring anything back to Carters as long as it had a tag on, even without a receipt.  And it turns out you have an entire year to do so.  Gold.  Mine. In the Buffalo area, everyone buys their baby clothes at Carters (and for good reason–more on this in another post).  Now here is the bit of advice I wish I myself had followed: If you’re having more than one shower, wait until after the second one to exchange all of the things.  My second shower was held back home where there are literally no baby stores.  As such, the baby clothes I received came from various places so I was stuck with most of the stuff I got.

On a side note, I wish there were some really polite way to ask people not to get you newborn clothing if, like me, you know you are going to birth a toddler (Lily was actually only 8lbs 7.7 oz but she inherited her dad’s absurdly long torso).  One of my aunts gave me soooo much newborn clothing all pinned to a clothes line which was then placed inside a basket–best shower idea ever–and I felt terrible because I couldn’t use any of it (not even the hats).

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Clothes are overrated anyway.

*Note to all readers: Please provide your mommy friends with gift receipts.  Receiving one more item they can’t use while they still need a lot of other stuff they just might have included on their registries might be the thing that sends them over the edge.

#1: You are NOT going bald (at least not because you just had a baby)

Today’s post is dedicated to the topic that prompted me to change the direction of this blog: post-natal hair loss.  I’m sure a lot of readers out there were completely prepared for this, having been forewarned by mommy friends or what to expect, or could put two and two together and realize all that extra volume their locks gained during pregnancy was going to disappear at some point.  This latter crew has nannies.  Two and two is not a concept newborns can grasp, therefor those of us without nannies cannot come to this conclusion.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about: you are going to lose that nice voluminous bounce your hair took on during pregnancy.  In other words:

ALL OF THE HAIR WILL FALL OUT.

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What?!!

After clogging our tub and littering all surfaces of the house (including our baby’s butt) with shedded strands of hair, I was on the verge of Googling what this phenomena could mean (after all, that’s how I figured out I was pregnant).  Did I have Lupus?  Some illness I could be passing on through my breast milk?  Then when I was nursing thesweetestbabyintheworld, I happened to pick up Baby magazine.  I didn’t purchase this—my mom brought it home from the hospital waiting room.  I vowed never to buy certain publications after reading the following in Parents magazine, which is supposed to be a good solution when your toddler gets upset that you tried to put the straw in her juice box instead of letting her do it:

“Stomp the ground and say ‘Mommy moved the straw and Zoe got mad.  Big mad!’  Reassure her you won’t do it again.  Then grab some tape—seriously.  Tape works wonders on all kinds of things that go wrong…From your toddler’s perspective, you acknowledged a problem and made way for a do-over.”

A DO OVER?!  There are no do-overs!  This is real life, tiny munchkins, and it isn’t always going to go your way.  My problem with this solution is that it was offered as a first line of defense, instead of a last-straw-your-wee-one-got-up-at-3-am-and-didn’t-nap kind of solution.  (Also, “big mad”?  Come on, mommies.)

Anyway.

So I was reading Baby and lo and behold, they address hair loss like it is something everyone knows is going to happen.  After getting over my initial relief I was annoyed that no one had mentioned this to me. Like, say, my DOCTOR.  I would have had to have read every issue of every pregnancy/baby/parenting magazine from the past decade to stumble upon that–you know it’s bad when it isn’t even mentioned in What to Expect.  Thus came the inspiration for this blog.  Simple posts revealing some pregnancy-, labor-, or parenting-related phenomena either so obscure or so blatantly obvious you’ve never even considered it.  Yes, I know some readers will see some topics and think I am a neglectful parent for not being more informed, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find something in here that will make you glad you looked.

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Like photos of this cute baby.