14 Weeks: A Roundup

December 25, 2015

Dear Baby,

I’ll be honest, I don’t have a ton of new milestone-y things to tell you about your week. You have been continuing to do all the wonderful things that you have been doing; making me laugh with your laugh, rolling around, being a straight up bad ass baby.

I’ll tell you this- breastfeeding you has been a total pleasure. I NEVER thought I would be able to say those 7 words in a sentence but lo and behold, we have really gotten the hang of it and feeding you is a total breeze.

Our relationship between you and my boobs had a rocky start. Was it a bad latch? A milk supply issue? Was it the fact that no one tells you that having someone aggressively suck a super sensitive area of your body 4 million times per day is bound to cause chafing at minimum? Who knows.

I could not believe that not only was breastfeeding something that happened ALL DAY EVERYDAY for months but that people all around the world in all different walks of life for years and years did it. Did no one else feel the stinging pain of burning nipples? Did no mom before me feel like their boobs might just fall off if they had to feed one more time?

I thought about feeding you formula a million times in those first few weeks. I cried in the shower when the hot water burned my poor boobs. I mourned the days of having boobs that I never thought about. I sought out tank tops in fabrics that brushed my boobs in a way that didn’t feel like sandpaper. I Googled (obvi) ways to help make breastfeeding easier. I bought every single cream that was ever made for nipples.

Blood sweat and tears, Baby. Literally.

I even caved at one point and hired a lactation consultant who basically shamed me and told me that you were too alert a baby. She warned me about letting you go more than 2-3 hours without feeding, she warned me about having a baby that didn’t sleep every time they were not eating (you were pretty into being awake), and she warned me to NEVER let you sleep through the night for fear of losing my milk supply. She left my house taking with her $250 dollars and all of my confidence.

But then something amazing happened.

I took what she said and threw it right out the window. I stopped Googling, I stopped crying, I stopped stressing and VERY slowly, things got better.

Maybe I learned how to latch you better or maybe you learned it. Maybe my boobs became impervious to pain. Maybe being relaxed made more milk. Again, who knows but needless to say, the other night when I was feeding you I couldn’t help but think about how long it has been since feeding you was something I dreaded with every fibre of my being.

I can’t pinpoint the moment things changed for us but I can tell you that I’m glad I never threw the towel in and gave up on trying (side note- there is nothing wrong with formula feeding, breastfeeding was the personal decision I made about how I wanted to feed you- I don’t give two fucks about how other people feed their babies).

So on the occasion of your 14th week of life, I wanted to tell you that I am so happy that we worked it out and that our nursing relationship has grown and thrived. I think it is a lesson to try and stick with things and see them through.

Baby, not everything will go your way and sometimes, you will give up and walk away but the more you can try to see things through and the more you can persevere, the better you will be for it (even though your boobs may never be the same…)

xo

Mom

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14 Weeks: A Roundup

Merry Christmas, Baby

December 24, 2015

Dear Baby,

I am obsessed with Christmas. Probably because I don’t actually celebrate it and therefore live vicariously through those that do and enjoy it without the pressures of family obligations and financial woes.

We were invited to celebrate Christmas dinner with some friends and we decided to bring you with. This, of course, brought a whole set of challenges.

We have this whole routine we do with you for “bedtime.” We started it a few weeks ago and swore up and down that we would not let it have us subscribe to a schedule. You see Baby, your dad and I are so anti-schedule. In theory. In theory, we are free-loving bohemian parents who don’t give a fuck about anything. In practice, our bedtime routine has become the schedule we rejected and deviating from it involves planning- even though it shouldn’t.

So when dinner was called for 8pm (your bedtime), we had to wrap our heads around what to do. We thought about cancelling, we thought about putting you to sleep at your grandparents, the thought about BRINGING YOUR BASSINET AND THE STAND TO SOMEONES HOUSE, and then we took a chill pill and just went.

Like you always do, you totally impressed up with your resiliency and the way you give zero fuck about anything. Sitting in your bucket to sleep instead of your bed- zero fucks given. No “sounds of rainfall” white noise- NO FUCKS. No bathtime/massage routine- No fucks given. Not one. You slept just as you always do- woke up when we left to come home and slept the remainder of the night as you usually do.

All the “what ifs” were for not and you were fine.

I know that you will not always be like this- one day, whether we boho-parent or not, you will need a more structured day. One day you may not be as portable as you are now- you may not sleep on the go and you may need certain comforts but for the here and now, it was a good reminder to us that we can be flexible and we can be open to trying new things with you.

So that’s the Christmas lesson for you, Baby. Be flexible. I have touched on this before- the idea of being open to change and amiable to different things but I will stress it again here. When you open yourself up to trying new things and allow yourself some flexibility, you allow a world of new experiences to come your way.

Like your parents celebrating Christmas- if we weren’t open to another cultural experience and religious holiday we would never know the joys of stockings to open and sweet-ass fruit cake.

Merry Merry

xo

Mom

Merry Christmas, Baby

An Impartial Ear to Talk About Baby

December 23, 2015

Dear Baby,

Being your mom is the bomb. Seriously. I love being your mom, I love being a mom, I love you and I love our life together.

Being a mom is also really hard. I cry a lot, I get really frustrated a lot (not at you, just at the nuances of parenting) and I feel like an emotional wreck any time I think of something sad or scary.

For whatever reasons, I have been really nervous about the idea of postpartum depression and scared that I might fall into a depressed state and no one will know to catch me. This is a pretty unfounded fear but nonetheless, one that I have been really conscious of.

It is for that reason that I went to see the doctor today to talk about some of the ways I have been feeling. To be reassured that they are normal or to be flagged as being concerning. Just to have peace of mind about my peace of mind.

The thing about all of this is that I have few benchmarks to measure against. NO ONE TALKS ABOUT ANYTHING and it is SO hard to know if what you are going through is what everyone is going through or if it really is, as it feels like it is, just you.

So here are some things that I have been experiencing that did not raise concerns to my doctor but have nonetheless been a bit taxing on my experience. You should know that these feelings seem to be pretty normal and anytime I do reveal them to a fellow mom friend, I am met with a like-story.

  1. I feel really fucking annoyed with your dad. A lot. It is totally unfounded most of the time. Sometimes, I get mad at him for looking at me the wrong way. Sometimes it is because he does something actually stupid. I HATE being annoyed with him because he is the best person ever. The contradiction between hating on him and hating myself for hating on him is just the cherry on top of my hate-o-rade sundae.
  2. Everything is horrible at 2am. I have never been a good person when it comes to being woken up. I have learned to live with our “routine” overnight wakeup times but when you go and deviate from that and wake me up earlier… lets just say that you are lucky that you are so damn cute.
  3. Seriously, sleeplessness sucks. I can’t say it enough. It makes everything harder.
  4. Hello identity crisis. I vacillate between wanting to re-establish my career/think about what is next for me as a person and a burning desire to stay at home and just be your mom forever.
  5. Dear anxiety, Baby be thy name. Was I ever one to look 2000000000 ways before crossing the street? Not until you came along. Now I look 2000000001 ways and it never feels enough.
  6. Everything is touching. Everything is emotional. Everything makes me cry. You don’t sleep, I cry. A commercial for Coke comes on, I cry. I think about you growing up, I fucking bawl.
  7. It is basically impossible for me to feel “good enough” at being a mom. If you so much as look at me the wrong way I can’t help but wonder if I have failed you in some prolific way.
  8. I HATE my post baby body. I know that I am supposed to teach you how to be a strong and confident girl and to love yourself and love your body but I would lying to you if I said that it doesn’t feel super weird to be living in a body that I don’t really know. Pregnancy changes everything about a body and it is hard to get to know a new you after being the same you for so long plus, WHY IS CELLULITE EVERYWHERE???? (PS. sorry about that, Baby. It’s genetic and never goes away)

I am sure there is more. Life is full of things that seem daunting or hard or overwhelming or sad but the above is a good summary of most of it.

The thing to know, Baby is that YOU HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT.

All of it. The good, but especially the bad. You are never alone and the more you can express yourself and how you feel, the more you will help people understand you. The more people understand you, the more they can support you and hold you up.

You will find out that it is ok (within reason) to lean on the person you love even if it means snapping at them from time to time (or a lot during especially hairy times), that people are happy to help you get some rest and take over other shit that you don’t need to worry about when you need them to. You will see that even though you may not know exactly who you are, you are so loved and that your fears and anxieties are ok to have but unfounded. You will feel the support when you have shoulders to cry on (even about Coke commercials) and even more support when you get to hear the words you are longing for- “good job.” And you will understand that your ass may not be the same, but you are even more beautiful with flaws.

I hope that whatever struggles you have and whatever strange milestones come your way that you have a voice and a venue to express how you feel with no shame.

xo

Mom

An Impartial Ear to Talk About Baby

That time I Googled “how to have a baby”

December 20, 2015

Dear Baby,

From the day I found out I was pregnant with you, I have been able to find out anything I needed/wanted to know by Googling it.

Symptoms of pregnancy? Google

Am I going to ruin my unborn baby if I eat too much cake? Google

Can you do squats in your third trimester? Google

What do you do with a week old baby? How do you help a baby sleep? Why are my boobs bleeding? How can I function on no sleep? What is a typical schedule for a 3 month old? Does a 3 month old have a schedule??? Why is everyone so obsessed with schedules?

Literally, if I can imagine it, I can Google it and the access to answers is driving me fucking bananas.

Baby, one time I thought your upper lip looked weird and I actually Googled “weird upper lip on newborn baby.” What the fuck can the internet tell me there that can help me? Dr. WebMD just proceeded to scare the shit out of me and I ended up panicking about nothing- your upper lip was fine, it was just a weird shadow. I scared myself with your shadow. Good for me.

I think the obvious problem with looking everything up is that if there was one definitive answer to how to have and raise a perfect baby, everyone would be doing it. You wouldn’t have a Dr. Sears telling you to keep attached and a Baby Whisperer telling you to let them cry. There would be no articles on sleep, wakefulness, breastfeeding, bottle feeding- everything would be one standardized set of rules and we would all follow them.

So there I am Googling every little thing you do and relying on a panel of “experts” that live in my computer.

When the “expert” articles fall short, there are also these amazing online forums for new moms. New moms/ any moms should be banned from online forums because they are crazy. Here’s a sample of what you can find when you Google “when should I start putting my baby down for the night on a schedule”:

  • The over-attached parents. “Schedules- never, babies should only be with you or on you all the time and a well-adjusted baby will never thrive on a schedule.” (You should be taking your baby to the bathroom with you. Every. time.)
  • The overly rigid parents. “Schedules start beginning at birth. babies need schedules immediately to properly thrive and develop good habits.” (Did you miss a day? you have RUINED your baby.)
  • The neurotic parents who have no clue. “They put their baby on a schedule right away but the baby never stays on schedule- do we think there is something wrong with their baby? Is it sleep regression? Is the baby doomed for a life of sleeplessness? Should they contact another sleep consultant? Yes, they definitely need a sleep consultant. Which one? Did letting their baby cry it out for 5 minutes ruin their lives? Should they have let the baby cry more? (Did they ask too many fucking questions????)
  • The judging parent who will happily preach. “Every baby is different, you shouldn’t be worrying about a schedule and you should focus on enjoying your baby” (now go hang your head in fucking shame because you have spent 10 minutes thinking about schedules and not about your baby and EVERY moment is precious)
  • The mom who wants to use your every concern as a venue to brag about her baby. “I think getting the baby to sleep early is important, my baby went to bed at 6pm every night from BIRTH and slept 12 hours straight.” (I’ll bet he did. He probably never takes smelly shits and already can walk and talk at 3 months. Tell me ALL about it.)
  • The supportive moms who don’t answer your damn questions. “You go mama”- insert emoticons of stars and fairy dust. (BUT YOU DIDNT ANSWER MY QUESTION. And where do you get crazy blinky star dust emoticons from anyways?)

Anyways, the point here is that you can basically find anything and anyone to validate what you want to them to. I can promise you this Baby- all of us are just trying to do the best we can with what we have. No one is out to fuck their kids up intentionally and everyone just wants to feel good about the various decisions they make for themselves and their families.

So Baby, while Google may be a limitless resource for information the key is to always take the information you read with a grain of salt. Trust yourself and your own instincts and question everything. I never want you to do something because some random article that you found online said to.

As for me, I’ll be spending my night resisting the urge to Google “travelling with a baby” in light of our upcoming trip and trusting myself to know what you need. Sorry in advance if I forget anything.

xo

Mom

 

That time I Googled “how to have a baby”

Baby nose, baby toes

December 19, 2015

Dear Baby,

Today you crapped right up your shirt so your afternoon playtime was a naked one. This was fine with me because I had just read an article about how babies your age should be naked often so that they learn more about their own bodies.

It is so weird that you don’t yet know that your body is a whole being. Like, you are just now learning that you control the function and movement of your hands. Things that we, long masters of our hands, take so for granted.

It’s one of the many different things that you will do that I will have to actively look at through your eyes.

It’s a constant battle to remember that you can’t do things that I can and you don’t think the way I do. Like this morning when you couldn’t sleep and work me up 3 times in the span of 3 hours and I was all like “crap, Baby. Go the fuck back to sleep.”

Who swears at their baby? I forget that you have no idea what you are doing. If you were my peer waking me up just to make a fart and squirm and then go back to sleep I would straight up cut you but you have zero idea how precious sleep is yet. All you know is that you have a fart and it needs to come out followed by a quick sooth from mom. Simple.

Or like later this morning when I was trying to reason with you to nap longer. Like, If you nap you will feel so good today, Baby. I’m trying to reason with a person who doesn’t even know that she has hands. So that’s good.

But Baby, this has been a difficulty for me at many times- trying to remember that people don’t think the way I do all the time. It is a daily practice to try and appreciate people for who they are and how they think in their own unique way.

One day when you know that you have hands you will meet a whole array of people who will come from all different walks of life and you will have to navigate all the different personalities with your own unique self.

People will always be learning about their own selves, hands and otherwise, and I hope you practice kindness when you encounter them. The same kindness I am giving you as you learn bout this amazing world around you.

Xo
Mom

Sent from my iPhone

Baby nose, baby toes

Roundup: 3 months

December 18, 2015

Dear Baby,

Happy 3 month birthday to you, my sweet baby girl.

Here is some stuff you did this week.

We started a new baby class and we learned about doing tummy-time on bolsters. You possibly love that even less than regular tummy-time. As a protest, you refuse to roll anymore this week.

You got awesome new sconces for your room (you’ve actually had them for a while but your dad finally installed them). You have the best room in the house, hands down. I am obsessed with it.

We learned that you are super into mobiles. I got you 2.

You fit into your first 3-6 month top.

You have been babbling up a little storm. You love telling us little stories and I LOVE to listen to them.

I can’t believe you have been in my life for 3 whole months. I can’t imagine a better way to spend the time- now, let’s just try and get a little bit more sleep mmmkay?

xo

Mom

 

Roundup: 3 months

Stepping out with my Baby

December 18, 2015

Dear Baby,

Doing new things with a new baby is a scary thing. Like, you never know what might happen and whether you might be asleep the whole time or screaming bloody murder the whole time. Do I need to bring you a hat or are you going to sweat in your bucket? Did I need to bring more diapers? Less diapers? ALL THE DIAPERS??????

And Baby, will I have to change a diaper in public? Will you get hungry? Should I breastfeed you with confidence and just let people deal with their own issues about it? Should I wear one of those booby hiding things? A scarf?? WILL MY NIPPLES SHOW????

And then there is the timing of it all. When did you last feed? What has today been like- are you feeding often? Are you fussy? Are you dressed? AM I DRESSED?????

So we wanted to celebrate your 3 months with a special day dinner- obviously you wouldn’t be eating (or likely awake for it) but it seemed like to much of an occasion to do our usual pizza-in-sweatpants kind of night.

We spent about 30 minutes trying to organize ourselves, walked out the door, came back in to order that pizza and finally just sucked it up and went out for our first family dinner.

And you know what, Baby? It was awesome. You slept perfectly and your dad and I had some much needed laughs over red wine mussels. It was the perfect way to celebrate 3 months of us working at this parenting thing and 3 months of having you- the best thing in the whole world.

So, here is the learning I can share with you today, try new things- even when they are scary. Sure, our night could have gone a million different ways. We might have been forced to flee the restaurant in haste with you screaming, we may have had to change your diaper in a bathroom stall or have pissed off the fellow diners with noise and chaos but we would have never known if we hadn’t just tried.

So try everything. Most of what you do will not work out to plan but I assure you that sometimes it will and you may get the perfect little evening out of it in the end.

xo

Mom

Stepping out with my Baby