Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Handy Tips # 1

Let me tell you what I’ve been doing for two days, sorting socks, teeny socks, not so teeny socks, toddler socks, socks, socks, socks. Get it? I’m so sick of going through socks, matching them up and trying to figure out who’s wearing what, when and where that I’m tempted to just throw out the whole lot and make the kids go around sockless. Unfortunately, it’ll start snowing soon, and that’ll be considered child endangerment or something so I really can’t. So, I came up with a solution, it’s not the most practical solution in the world, but it’ll keep you from finding yourself where I am right now, going crazy with socks. I went and got me some iron-on clothing tape and a clothing marker and I’m going to iron-on little tags with the damn sizes of the socks on them. Why on earth would I want to do this, you ask? Because, when you have one child and he outgrows the socks, who cares, you just put them away with the rest of the outgrown clothes you’re saving for the next kid and go on with your life. Fast forward a few years and you have your second kid, out come the old socks, and all the socks your first born is using right now and when they’re folded you realize YOU CAN’T TELL THEM APART. So you occasionally find your toddler with teeny socks on his huge feet or your baby with socks that come up mid thigh. Or, you know, this is what happens to me. So what I suggest is write down the sizes on your baby’s socks right away, ideally before the baby is born and keep doing it as you go along because when number two comes along and half your socks have shrunk and faded you don’t want to find yourself looking at four pairs of slightly different dark blue socks and wondering who the hell they belong to.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To sleep or... well, not to actually

Okay, let’s get this out of the way right away so we can start again with a clean slate, sleeping when you have a baby just doesn’t happen. People who tell you their babies sleep through the night at five weeks are either: a) lying; b) delusional from lack of sleep; c) the exception to the rule; or d) one of those people who consider sleeping through the night as sleeping between four and five hours in a row.
I, on the other hand, am none of these things, so I will tell you how it is (or, in any case, how it’s been for me). I used to love sleeping, if I didn’t get my full eight hours, no interruptions, a night I was one grouchy gal. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in almost three years. The most I’ve managed to sleep uninterrupted is five hours. Now, I know that some people sleep five hours a night and are perfectly happy and totally functional, that, however, is not and has never been my case. It’s all relative, you see. If you’re one of these people, you can stop reading now, this post does not apply to you.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I stopped sleeping three years ago, cause I was in my third trimester and peeing every thirty minutes, then my first baby, the Boy, was born. He ate twice a night for the entire first year of his life, he then reduced it to just once a night until he was 18 months, by then I was in my third trimester again with the Girl and peeing… well you know how it goes. But I’m not writing a negative, poor little ole me post, I want to give you hope, because you see, I may not be sleeping much, but nothing terrible has happened. I tire a little more easily, sure, I’m not as reactive as I once was, not as quick on my toes, my memory can be a little foggy, but I’m fine and the kids are fine. A little lack of sleep never killed anyone, parents have been raising kids on very little sleep for a very long time and here we all are, the human race, healthy and thriving as can be.
The other thing I’ve come to realize is where children are concerned nothing lasts, nothing is writ in stone. And this heartens me to no end, because I know, I know that sooner or later I’ll start sleeping again. In fact, I know that sooner or later I’m  going to be the one waking them up and that is going to give me so much pleasure! In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret, sometimes when one or the other wakes up crying and I’m nursing or prepping a bottle or changing a diaper at 3am I fantasize about the day when I’m going to wake them by crying for pancakes in the middle of the night, and they damn well better come with melted butter and maple syrup.
So the point of this post is, be prepared, resign yourself to the fact that the first few years you won’t be getting much sleep but that’s ok cause you’ll survive and that first full night’s sleep you get, that first night when no one wakes you, not even your own overly neurotic brain that wants to make sure the kids are ok since they haven’t made a peep yet, that first night will be magical, glorious, fabulous. It gives me hope and I am so looking forward to it…

Monday, October 18, 2010

Breastfeeding is f***ing hard

Breastfeeding, every new mother’s nightmare. From the day you start telling people that you’re pregnant you’re going to be talking about little else, and everyone has an opinion. Hell, you probably have an opinion right now too. Most subjects relating to babies and parenting are hot button subjects, generally it’s an either you agree with me or you’re totally wrong approach, and nowhere is this truer than for breastfeeding. Now, I really, truly, honestly don’t care what you do. I’m just sharing my own personal, no judgment about what anybody else does, views and I’d appreciate it if the same courtesy was extended to me, thank you very much.
When I was pregnant with my first child, the Boy, I wasn’t all too sure about the whole breastfeeding lark, I mean, I was bottle-fed and I turned out just fine. (Yes, I was born in the 70’s, the dark ages of breastfeeding – so was the Husband, this’ll be relevant in future posts.) Then I bought the La Leche League book “The Womanly art of Breastfeeding” and started thinking that maybe breastfeeding wasn’t so bad after all and I might just give it a try. Basically, I had a pretty laissez faire attitude about the whole thing, sure I’d like to nurse my baby, but if I can’t for whatever reason it’s no big deal, and I certainly won’t be doing it for over six months.
Though for some reason whenever someone started in on me with a “you must breastfeed or you’re a horrible mother” attitude, I would find myself being totally contrary and telling them I was too busy, plus I liked my boobs north-facing and why don’t you just mind your damn business already. Anyway, during my first pregnancy I did my homework, thought I had figured out what position the baby was supposed to be in for optimum nursing, memorized the pictures of what a proper latch-on was supposed to look like, I even got a cream to prep my nipples and reduce the chance of pain. Ha, ha, ha. Sorry, but seriously, new mothers are so na├»ve!
So I birth the boy, (and that’s a story for another post) and full of hope and optimism I put him to the boob. OW! Oh, right, the book says that if it hurts it means you’re not doing it correctly, let’s try again. OOOOOWWWW! Oh, ok, he’s not opening his mouth enough, and the chin isn’t positioned right… hellllooooo, he’s a newborn, he’s busy doing this new cool thing called breathing air, and what’s with all the light, he does NOT want to have to figure out how to latch on without hurting mommy he just wants the damn milk already. You know the saying, start as you mean to go? Yep, that’s what happened here, two months of pain, frustration, weigh ins, top up bottles, frustration, crying (both of us), and oh, did I mention the frustration? And then, VICTORY, month three and I was solely breastfeeding, no more bottles. Of course, it didn’t last, by month four he decided he did NOT WANT TO WAIT FOR THE STUPID MILK TO LET DOWN and we went back to mixed feeding. At that point though breastfeeding him had become such an obsession that I wasn’t doing the smart, practical thing (i.e. giving him formula in those two bottles he had a day), no, I was expressing so he only had breast milk.  By the end of month five I threw in the towel and switched to formula. My heart broke. I felt like such a huge failure. Look at me, I can’t even feed my baby.
So the next year, when the Girl was born, I was gung ho about the breastfeeding, no bottles, no pacifiers, just the boob, anytime, anywhere. This time it went fine, of course, so fine in fact that now that I want her to stop breastfeeding, I CAN’T GET HER OFF THE DAMN BOOB. But the point of this post is this:
Breastfeeding is hard. Sometimes a feeding takes forever, cause the baby is a slow eater, or your milk takes a while to let down (and how do you even know it has let down), or he keeps falling asleep. My life got marginally better when I realized “a feeding” was nowhere near the 15 minutes per side that the nurses in the hospital had told me about, but fell much, much closer to 40 minutes per side. Actually just enough time for two shows on tv or a shortish movie. And at first it hurts. Yes, even if the kid latches on properly. Put it this way, a newborn is on the boob a LOT, I promise you, your boobs have never seen so much action, your nipples are going to get sore. How sore depends on a lot of things, let me just say that I got cracked, bloody nipples with baby number 2 and I KNEW how to latch her on properly by then. But, she woke up every two hours to nurse, day and night, so my boobs hurt. Though to make you feel better I can tell you this, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, in parenting is a phase and it will pass. I used nipple shields for a few days and my sore boobs got better, and now, ten months on my baby has teeth and it phases me not one bit.
All this to say that breastfeeding is hard, it takes a lot of commitment and it takes a lot of time, something not everyone has the luxury of having. It’s incredibly fulfilling, for some of us, but not for all of us. So if you want to breastfeed, good for you, and if you don’t, good for you too. All that matters is that you’re feeding your baby and loving her and nurturing him.
This is my first post on Moomser Baby, I chose it because it seems like it’s a difficult topic for a lot of women, it’s certainly all I could talk about those first few months, but it definitely won’t be the last post on the subject! Now, tell me about your experience, the best thing when you’re a new mom is to know that you’re not alone. Really, you’re not alone. Oh, and if you do decide to breastfeed, know that sooner or later your boobs will once again be your own, though they probably won’t be facing north anymore…

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Setting up

Still setting up here, sorry!
Check back in, in just a few days, and we should be up and running! THANKS