The ShortList of my online and printed mommyhood lifelines!

My husband commented that I’m on my smartphone a lot more these days, and he’s right. I think I check my online forums at least three times a day. You never know when you’ll read a tidbit of wisdom. So for those of you out there who feel a little lost right now about something going on with your baby or something happening postpartum…. I have to share my mommyhood lifelines. There is so much support out there is you find the right places!

My go-to online resources are:

My Birth Club on babycenter.com: I’ve heard that my birthclub (March 2012) is full of expecially helpful FTMs and BTDT moms. Sometimes, people from other birthclubs/forums will actually post to mine because we are such a responsive, supportive group of parents. I can’t even say moms because there are actually a number of dads on the forum as well. I follow my birthclub because 1) I can see when new milestones, sleep hurdles, etc. are coming soon from watching the moms with older “Marchies” posting in a panic. For example, around 4-6 months of age, sleep starts changing for a lot of babies, and sure enough, during June-July, the forum was flooded with “help! my baby won’t nap anymore…” threads. The current thread du jour is about solids and constipation. I read those avidly to learn tips like give your baby foods that begin with “p”‘ cuz those foods help them poo…pears, prunes, peaches, etc. Learn something new every day 🙂 Doesn’t matter what you’re dealing with, if you post on my birthclub, someone else has experienced it too. Anything from baby questions, pregnancy questions, postpartum questions and even OT (off-topic) stuff like sex and job interviews (typically not in the same thread mind you! We’re not that kind of club!)

www.babywhisperforums.com is my next favorite online resources. These ladies are serious devotees of Tracy Hogg, the Baby Whisperer. I’ll be honest. I read her book a few times and it didn’t sink in or help me out much, but this forum is awesome! There are several different boards including breastfeeding, bottle feeding, EASY sleep schedules, Naps, Night Wakings, etc. And what I love about this forum is that you can post your baby’s schedule or issue and there are moderators who will respond with suggestions on how to tweak your schedule to solve whatever issue you are dealing with. You do need to know what an EASY schedule is, but once you’ve figured that out, these ladies are very responsive and supportive. It’s also a great website to search although the actual search function on the site is broken, so you have to do google searchs. Just type in the phrase you are thinking of and add babywhisperforums to the phrase.

My go-to books:

Healthy sleep habits, Healthy Child by Mark Weissbluth. I read parts of this book at least once month. It’s amazing how quickly a baby’s sleep schedule changes in the first year of life. We’ve gone from napping on demand/on the go to napping three times a day to now two. And at some point in the next three months we’ll probably be down to one nap! We’ve also gone from a 10:30 bedtime to 8pm to currently 6-6:30. Crazy right? But it’s all in the hopes of maintaining the “perfect night”. What we mommies calling SSTN (sleeping through the night). We are obsessed with this idea and personally, I will do whatever it takes to get as many of those nights as possible. Cuz hell, even when we have those nights, I’m still getting up at 6 or 7 in the morning. And I used to get up at 9-10. Sigh. Anyway, I’ve read Ferber, Hogg, the sleep shuffle lady, the no cry sleep solution lady and in the end Weissbluth is my dude.

The Wonder Weeks: You can also get a decent amount of information online about the Wonder Weeks. This little gem helps predict when your baby will go through developmental milestones and how to help them develop these new skills more quickly.  Here’s a tantalizing excerpt: It’s not your imagination– all babies go through a difficult period around the same age. Research has shown that babies make 10 major, predictable, age-linked changes – or leaps – during their first 20 months of their lives.  During this time, they will learn more than in any other time.  With each leap comes a drastic change in your baby’s mental development, which affects not only his mood, but also his health, intelligence, sleeping patterns and the “three C’s” (crying, clinging and crankiness). Read more. It’s real people. I’m a believer!

 

 

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Things I wish I had known about about breastfeeding before I had a baby

Introducing a bottle early is good. Some books say to wait 6-8 weeks or more to introduce a bottle so that nipple confusion does not occur. The downside is that if you wait too long, some babies will never accept a bottle. Breastfeeding is great but being able to give a bottle is pretty great too. In the early days, you may be nursing every hour or two and even at month 9, you may be nursing every 3-4 hours. Being able to give a bottle allows you to have some flexibility and freedom. Also, one lady I knew had terrible mastitis issues and her baby refused a bottle. As a result, she was in terrible pain and exhausted but had to nurse her baby through it. Ouch!

We followed our pediatrician’s recommendation to introduce a bottle in the first two weeks and then to give a bottle every week or so moving forward. Plus, giving bottles is a great bonding experience for daddies!

Nurse on demand for the first 3-4 weeks. Some of the baby books and pediatricians out there will say that once your baby is gaining weight, baby should be able to go every 3 hours between bottle or nursing session. Totally true and getting on a schedule can be nice but what they don’t say is that it can take several weeks and even months for your supply to build up and regulate. Nursing triggers your breasts to produce more milk, so if you want to get a good supply going, you should nurse more often.

Visit a Breastfeeding support group before you have your first baby. It may sound weird to those who have not been indoctrinated into the society of breastfeeding clubs, but clubs are really helpful and supportive!! I wish I had gone to a club before Bailey was born because I had never seen a baby actually breastfeed. So when he was laid on my chest the day he was born, I had no idea what to do and was completely dependant on receiving help from the nurses. Every nurse told me to do it a different way and some of them were pretty pushy about their opinions and frankly pretty physical about getting the baby on the boob. Maybe if I had actually seen a baby doing it before, I would have been a better partner in the situation. Instead, I kind of felt like a CPR dummy.

Drink electrolyte drinks (like Gatorade, coconut water, etc.) Producing milk can be very dehyrdrating. I drink 3-4 Nalgene bottles a day and usually put some sort of electrolyte mix into them because it’s more hydrating than straight-up water.

Maybe wait to buy a lot of bottles. I ended up liking the Tommee Tippee 5 oz. bottles because 1) the shape and action of the bottle is more like the actual human breast and 2) He never drinks more than 4-5oz at a time. We bought several other brands and sizes of bottle before settling on these bottles. P.s. free bunch of random bottles if you’re interested…

Build up an emergency freezer stash. If you use your freezer stash in place of a nursing or pumping session, you are telling your body to produce less milk. So, the work to create a freezer stash seemed kind of pointless to me. Here are three reasons why having a back up stash is good. 1) You pump a bottle, and your husband drops it on the floor as he is trying to heat it up. And no, Lee has never done that. Seriously! I’m just sayin’ that a frozen bag of milk will help you out. 2) You get the stomach flu or your period and your supply dips resulting in less pumped milk to send to daycare. In this case, you would keep pumping the same number of times you normally would. In fact, you might add in an extra session but if you’re still not producing enough, you use the frozen stash to make up the difference until your supply comes back. 3) You are starting to wean baby off the breast but still want to give breastmilk. Voila, you could stockpile months’ worth of milk if you wanted (if you had the supply to do it).

Some of the challenges to building a freezer stash are that 1) at first, you never have the time to pump because you are always nursing. 2) If you go back to work and start pumping you may have to pump extra to build a stash and extra pumping is time-consuming. 3) You have to rotate out your frozen milk because it does expire, and as the baby gets older your breastmilk changes so it’s not optimal to feed a ton of milk from early on to a baby that is much older.

And to conclude, we have this amazing stuff called formula, which you shouldn’t feel afraid or guilty to use. Breastfeeding and especially pumping can become this bizarrely stressful obsession, so try to lighten up. I tell myself that every week. Still waiting for it to sink in…

The sweetest moments and the most heartbreaking…

Where has the time gone. I have so many things to write about and yet I haven’t been able to find the time. So here is a really short post about milestones in the last few months.

Somewhere between month 6 and month 7, Bailey started holding on when you carry him. As the days went on, his grip would get stronger and more sincere. And then he started reaching out his arms to be held. He had already done it a little bit, but around month 7, he started reaching out his arms and when you picked him up, he would swoop his arms around you in a hug. What a sweet feeling that is. Truly the huggable stage has begun.

Of course, I already mentioned that he began to army crawl, so in addition to the huggable phase, we also have entered the baby-on-the-loose phase. This kid can really get around with his odd sea turtle-like moves across the floor. He still prefers to drag his legs behind him and shows no interest in pulling himself up to sit. Once you have him sitting, he can sit like a champ, and he can pull himself forward from sitting to his knees but then he drops his belly on to the floor and drags himself over from point A to B. Oh, he can also pull himself up to standing on his knees and then sit back, silly boy!

Somewhere in his 7th month, Bailey got his first two teeth – bottom, middle front teeth. He also got his first ear infection accompanied by a high fever (104.8!) and a trip to urgent care on a Saturday afternoon.

Super sick baby flashing his two new teeth.
Super sick baby flashing his two new teeth.

p.s. yes, I know that high fevers don’t cause brain damage and that fever is good for the body – thanks Dr (current pediatrician’s name goes here), but did you know that high fevers are really freaking uncomfortable!! And when your baby is crying and screaming inconsolably for hours, and then limp and lethargic, and then panting for breath, you kinda want to help them out. Hell, if it was me, I would want some help so this isn’t about being a first-time (wussy) parent. It’s called symptom relief!!! Ok. I’ll save the rest of that rant for another post…. 🙂

In his 8th month he became a lot more vocal. Lots of mamas and dadas – very indiscriminately used I might add, so no, I don’t think he is calling me mama. He also started trying to pull himself up to standing by grabbing your hands and then sticking his butt up in the air and slowly scooting his feet underneath him.

In mid-November, I looked away from him for about 30 seconds and when I turned back, he was standing up in his bathtub holding on to the edge. Eek! He is pretty careful about trying to stand up at least, and so far he hasn’t taken any nosedives…yet. He also became intensely interested in trying to feed himself food. So we thought, why not, let’s give it a try. Now, he is eating little pieces of sweet potato, banana, avocado, scrambled eggs… actually he is very excited to shovel any food you give him into his mouth. He doesn’t always do the best job of chewing and swallowing said food, so if you’re not careful, he ends up with cheeks full of food – kind of like a squirrel.

In fact, if you look closely at the picture below, that’s food in his mouth not a strange set of teeth!

Look Ma, I can crawl to the bathroom from my room and pull myself on the diaper pail!
Look Ma, I can crawl to the bathroom from my room and pull myself on the diaper pail!

I can’t believe how much he is changed in the last two to three months.

Just last week, he started waving at people and saying hi when they wave at him and say hi. Also, if you are in another room and call out “where’s Bailey?,” he will get all excited and come find you – you might even get a wave and a hi once he gets to you. Now, that truly is adorable if I do say so myself.

And he turned 9 months yesterday!

p.s. one of his canines is about to pop through any day now – I might end up with a little fanged vampire baby before the month is out! And yes, for those of you who are wondering, we are still breastfeeding…