Friday, April 13, 2012

What I've Learned as a New Mommy

Denver just passed the 3 month mark.  I know it's cliche, but he is growing so fast! Ian made a good point, that 3 months is a big milestone.  It's a dividing line in development and clothes! ...well, for our looong boy, we hit 3-6 month clothes a while ago! Anyway, I thought that even though I am no expert and I still have plenty to learn, this would be a good time to write about some of the things that I have learned so far.

  • All babies really are different.  You read all of the books, magazines, websites, community boards and you wonder if you're baby is normal, ahead, or behind.  I am finally realizing, with a baby in 6-9 month clothes (because of length, not weight!) that I can't compare him to anyone else.
  • It's okay not to breastfeed I was devastated when I stopped trying.  Everyone talks about how there is no closer bond and how it's the most beautiful thing in the world, yada yada yada. Those things weighed heavy on my mind when I was ready to give up. Denver hated it! He would scream mercilessly, to the point where he was almost choking and hyperventilating. I couldn't do it anymore, especially when we were both at the point of exhaustion.  And it has been okay! He still has unconditional love for me. I am still the one who settles him down. We still have those special moments where we stare into each others eyes.  No regrets. Here is a blog that supports other mommies who struggle with breastfeeding.
  • Tri-fold cloth diapers are the best burp cloths.  That's it.
  • Babies don't have to hate belly time! Many do because they sleep on their backs. Denver screamed when we would try to put him on his belly to exercise his neck muscles.  Then we tried laying on our backs and laying him on his belly, on our chests so that he could see our faces.  It took a couple of weeks...first he screamed, then the screams turns to cries, the cries turned to squeals, the squeals turned to whines, and now he actually smiles and laughs because as he lifts his head, he sees us smiling and encouraging him.  This has become a great game.

  • There is no such thing as a schedule. Sure, they may sleep through the nit eventually and patterns may develop, but each at is different. Take today for example.  Denver usually takes a nap 2 hours after he wakes up, for about 30 minutes, then a longer nap anytime from 11am-2pm, and then another around 4 before he goes to bed at 6:30ish.  I had all kinds of plans today based on that pattern and the little man only took three 20 minute naps at odd times.  So much for my to-do list.
  • You can't really get babies into a routine, try as you might.  It will just happen.  I researched and read all about how to help baby sleep through the night. You can read more about that here. I tried lots of things to help him get to this milestone, but one night, he just did it.  Maybe my hard work accumulated and had some influence, but Denver was ready. Lesson learned: don't try so hard.
  • Take lots of pictures! Even in 3 short months, they grow so much. Without pictures, I would have no way to see Denver's incredible growth. He's a little boy, now.  It's hard to remember what he looked like in his earlier weeks. I even take a weekly picture every Sunday so that one day I can make a collage or some sort of timeline.  Already, it's amazing to see his changes week to week.
  • Sleepers are comfy and awesome...not the sleep sacks, though they're nice, too. But I love the footed pajamas. However, there are those that snap and those that zip. Go with the zip! Makes those 3am diaper changes less challenging.
  • Bottle warmer, shmottle shwarmer.  I thought we needed a bottle warmer to avoid hot spots, so we got one. More often, I just use the microwave.  Takes about 1/8 the time.
  • You really can interpret cries. I wasn't sure about this at first, but then I read something online that helped me crack the code. Long drown out cries, sometimes even fake, mean hungry.  Whiny, squeaky cries are gas...often associated with stiffening body and jerky legs.  Unexplainable, indistinguishable cried means wet diaper. If you are playing and the baby looks away, they are done and want to be left alone. Sounds crazy, but thanks to these tips, Denver rarely has crying fits. 
  • Trust your instincts.  This is a tough one as a new mom because I've never had motherly instincts. It's strange to have a feeling and just know. You are the mom, you really do know best...not because you're the boss or all-knowing, but because you know your baby, better than even you realize. It's not a just do! 

  • Dust if you must. My mom taught me this.  I was feeling kind of guilty because I am home and Ian has to work, so I was trying to be mother and wife of the meals, clean house, clean laundry. I managed, but I was exhausted.  Worse than that, I found myself hoping Denver would sleep so that I could do everything on my to-do list. Then I realized that when I go back to work in September, I would look back and regret nt spending every possible minute with him.  That's when I started letting things go.  It's okay.  The house is still clean, we still eat, and we wear clean clothes.
  • Go outside. My mom told me the my nana said, even if it is only for a few minutes, you should take your baby outside everyday.  And that's what we've done! Denver loves the fresh air, and the sites and sounds. In fact, if he's having a meltdown, all I have to do is step outside, and all is right in his world.  

  • Don't let others tell you what to do. Only weeks after I was home, people were pressuring me to get out of the house, take a break, get some me time. I didn't want any of that. I just wanted to take in every possible minute with my son. I listened to them, though. I left the house...and I hated it. I found myself resenting the people who were trying to help. I just wasn't ready...and that's ok. Now, Denver is 3 months old and I leave him with other people. I have been for weeks. I go out and get me time, and now it's right.  I'm ready. Don't let other people, even if they are well-intentioned, force you to do things you don't want to do. They mean well, but move at your own pace.
  • Thermos...genius! Ok, I'm not claiming to be the mother of this brain child, but in all of the books, magazines, websites, and discussion boards that I have read, I have never seen this.  I have been struggling with how to manage bottles on long day trips.  I have a car warmer, but it takes a while and it's hard to get the temperature just right. I could ask restaurants to heat up a bottle, but what if there's no restaurant? Then I thought to myself, there must be a way to carry warm water so I can mix a bottle when I need one. Surely, something must exist that can help me with this. DUH! Thermos. Well actually, my first thought was to put warm water in a travel coffee mug. Longer day trip??? Thermos! If anyone has a better idea, please share! I should market this.

3 months isn't just a milestone for Denver, but also for Ian and me. As parents, we are more confidant. As husband and wife, we are finding our balance, which has been tough since we went from two to three. We still have so much to learn, and I'm sure there are things that I am leaving out, so this will be Part 1. To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled across your blog by Googling for a paper pattern - and I'm truly enjoying it! I also happen to have a 3 month old baby (girl) who is the light of my life and an interesting adjustment for my husband :) He loves kids, but is a bit mystified by babies. I had to abandon the idea of breastfeeding recently, so your tip about the thermos is brilliant and will be put to good use. I love photography, but somehow managed to take less than 10 photos in the first few weeks of my baby's life - I already regret this. I wish I'd been a bit better organized, but I suspect that feeling will be an ongoing trend!