This week my baby turns one and boy has it been a year! I've learned so much about babies, obviously, but also myself and life. So, I thought I'd share a few of those things.
I don't think I've ever met anyone who said sleep training wasn't worth it. Most people say that it sucks and you have to suffer the first week, but then it gets better and it is so worth it. Still, for some reason, I tried avoiding it. I just didn't want to let my baby cry at all and feel any kind of abandonment. However, probably due to our co-sleeping situation, we hit a point at 8 months where I was going to lose my sanity, because he seemed to have regressed so badly that he was up every hour, some times less. Just thinking about it makes me want to cry. So, I did a bunch of research, talked to friends, asked other mommies in Facebook groups, and here's what we ended up doing...
We haven't even hit six months and I'm already worried about screen time. I hear people talk about it all the time like it's a cardinal sin. I definitely don't want my child to be glued to a screen, because that is eventually going to happen, unless he winds up in a trade that doesn't require being on a computer for work. My husband and I both work in industries that are all about screen time--entertainment and social media. Screen time is literally part of our jobs. On top of that, our son was born just before we went into lockdown, and from day one (okay, okay day 5), his main form of communication with the family has been via FaceTime. So, I'm struggling with a bit of Mom Guilt, but I've been thinking and wondering how harmful is a bit of screen time each day, and are their certain types of screen time that might actually be good for baby? Let me explain.
It wasn't so much a decision, but something that just happened. There are a lot of things no one ever tells you about newborns, like the fact that they make pterodactyl sounds all night, and sometimes the sounds of all the animals in the zoo. On our second night in the hospital, when I was struggling to nurse my 2 day old baby, the nurse was trying to help and as soon as she positioned him next to me in such a way that he was snuggled up against Mama, we realized quickly that he wasn't hungry, he just wanted to be next to Mama. So starting around weeks 2 and 3 I realized when I couldn't calm him, I just needed to snuggle with him, let him do skin to skin with me, and that usually calmed him. As he became a noisier sleeper, we tried everything--white noise, swaddling, rocking, nothing kept him calm long enough, except when he was laying next to Mama. Per the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the safest place for baby to sleep in order to prevent SIDS is on baby's back in her/his own bed in the parents' room. However, cosleeping is common around the world and SIDS is low in cosleeping cultures. This article states that SIDS is lowest in Hong Kong where cosleeping is extremely common. While I am not recommending or encouraging cosleeping, I have come to learn that cosleeping isn't the evil that some make it out to be. In fact, there are benefits to cosleeping and it's important to understand these and the risks so you can make the best decision for your family. Many physicians, scientists, and SIDS researchers even disagree with the AAP's recommendation. Let me share with you why and what I've learned.
I’ve always known that people who think having a baby will save their relationship were wrong. However, it wasn’t until I had a newborn that I realized just how wrong. If anything, having a baby is probably more likely to end a relationship.
When I first started looking into cloth diapers (nappies for our Brits), it was confusing and overwhelming. Now that I've figured it out, I figured I'd break it down for you!
Thankfully I've had a number of friends who had kids before me and who were honest about some of the challenges of breastfeeding. It's interesting how something so natural isn't always natural in practice. Even more interesting to me is that I have never heard anyone say that they love breastfeeding. In fact, if anything, most of my friends have not enjoyed breastfeeding. So, I was prepared to potentially face some challenges and sure enough I did. Furthermore, my mother had always told me that when she was pregnant with my brother and I, her doctor told her that formula was now the same as breast milk (this was back in the late 80's and early 90's). When I got pregnant, my only motivation for breastfeeding was free milk. But then I learned how incredible breast milk really is and once I started nursing, I learned so much more. Here are a few of the unexpected things I learned about breastfeeding.
This year on Women's Day, I want to highlight something that women have experienced since the beginning of time, but no one ever talks about: postpartum healing. Thankfully we live in an age of information and now I can google anything I want to know about it. It's also encouraging that more and more women are sharing this information, but it's still not something commonly talked about until you're a pregnant woman learning about everything prenatal, labor, and postpartum. And let me tell you, nothing about pregnancy or childcare scared me (at least nothing out of the ordinary), but when I first read about what really happens during postpartum healing, I was suddenly terrified. And I'm telling you, sex ed would be way more effective if we taught students about post-partum healing, and showed them an actual birthing video.
It seems odd now, but prior to a little more than a year ago, I don't think I knew that cloth diapers still existed--at least not in developed countries. I also didn't realize disposables have only existed since about the 1950's and took off in the 1960's as women entered the workforce. I just hadn't ever thought about that. It wasn't until a couple of my friends were expecting their first baby, and I learned they were going to use cloth diapers, that they entered my radar. Other than trying to wrap my head around how they work, I didn't give them much mind. When I asked them why they were going to use cloth diapers, their response was that my friend's dad wanted them to use it because it was more comfortable for the baby. I'm not sure we ever discussed the environmental impact or cost savings of using cloth diapers. But when I entered my third trimester of pregnancy, I was suddenly hit with an extra urgency to find ways I could adjust my life to live more sustainably, and for some reason the first thing to come to mind was cloth diapers. So, as I researched cloth diapers, I found myself quickly falling love with them--some may even say obsessed and here are the reasons why.
If my 20's taught me anything, it's that life rarely ever goes as planned or envisioned, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Over the holidays, my husband and I moved in with my parents as we prepare to bring our son into the world, and it's certainly not how I ever envisioned growing my family. However, when we found out we were pregnant, we had a lot of discussions about a lot of things, and eventually moving in with my parents made the most sense, not only financially, but also because of the strong support I will have, not just from my parents but friends in the area. I certainly had my reservations and discussed my concerns with friends and my therapist, and the number one thing everyone told me was to set boundaries. Boundaries, in general, are important in every relationship, but how does one set boundaries in a family that knows no boundaries? Asian families, or at least my Asian family, don't have boundaries!