Last year, I heard a lot of people say to me how hard it must be being a new mom during these times. I really had no frame of reference as I didn't know what it was like being a new mom during "normal" times. I imagine, no matter the time, particularly those first couple of months is hard for any new mom. Pandemic or no pandemic, I had to learn to correct a bad latch so that I could nurse my son without excruciating pain. Pandemic or no pandemic, it was still lonely going through my unique situation. And by unique, I don't mean I was in any exceptional circumstance, but just that even though many of us experience generally the similar things, we each have varying factors that affect each of our situations differently. So at first, yes it was hard, but I was also lucky. If not for moving in with my parents, I'm not sure what my husband and I would've eaten at times.
Ask me now how things are being a mom in a pandemic, and it's a different story...
We were ordering from a restaurant recently, when we were asked if we wanted a kid's menu for my son. It suddenly hit me...why do kids have separate menus? There's this notion that kids are really picky eaters, and they either can or only want really simple foods--I'm not really sure which, maybe both? But ever since our son started eating solids, aside from making food the right softness for him and avoiding honey and cow's milk his first year, our son has pretty much eaten everything we eat. So I'm wondering... are some kids really picky eaters or do we just think they are? Have we conditioned them to be picky eaters?
Some babies can sleep through the night as early as a couple months old, or maybe even younger! Some babies never sleep through the night. Our baby is one of those that has slept "through" the night maybe just a handful of times if even that. Though we dabbled with some sleep training, we didn't keep it up and I've learned a lot throughout the process that I'm incredibly grateful for.
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.