Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fourth Trimester

I am a parent hippie. I'm not ashamed to admit it now, I've been doing a lot of reading on the subject of the 'fourth trimester.' Harvey Karp of UCLA did research on tribes in south Africa where babies hardly cry.

Here, babies cry all the time, why is it different in our culture? Karp's response is that when working women have babies, they recreate life in the womb for the baby. Often, women wear their babies in slings across their body and nurse them 50 times during the day. The wearing brings newborns close to the heartbeat, allows them to listen to the mothers breathing and use their body temperature to regulate, and the walking and swaying is just like walking with a fetus inside.

That is why I have become a parent hippie. I got a wrap and I can wear her around the house, and today I wore my baby to the mall. I can't explain how many looks I got, and how people jumped out of the way when I came walking through. And instead of screaming her head off sitting in the carseat, Z was happy and alert just walking around with me.

I hadn't intended on becoming this kind of mom, but so far its working out pretty well. Z doesn't sleep in her own bed, but we are getting a sidecar type deal for our bed to give her a 'nest' separate from us but not far away. The bassinet is too open and she drops too far and it wakes her up when we put her down. And she sleeps on my chest tummy to tummy. Not condusive to cuddling with the BF, but better for baby.

I hear a lot of criticism from people about baby wearing, holding her all day, and co sleeping. "How is she supposed to learn independence, you should let her cry it out and self soothe," they say. I'm sorry, but until 3 months after her next growth spurt, no. I'm going to pick her up when she cries because she needs me, she wants to be held, rocked and talked to. When she has more reasoning skills and cognitive maturity, then I'll put her down.

Until then, I am a baby wearing, cosleeping, breastfeeding hippie.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

One Month and Counting

What have I learned in the past month? What great wisdom can I impart to those without child(ren)? Well, my baby girl is a month old tomorrow. She lifts her head up on her own, she eats every hour during the day, and sleeps for about three hour shifts at night. She managed a growth spurt and some of her clothes no longer fit.

I have learned that just diapering and feeding is not enough for my child. She likes to be held, to bounce on my exercise ball with me and a few days ago she started smiling when she sees my face.

This baby has completely changed my life, not necessarily my cactus-like personality, but I facking baby talk like it is my job. I can pick up this kid and get her to stop crying by just holding her and talking to her. And I've discovered that I am a radical parent. I'm not normally a by-the-book kind of person, but the way I do things with my baby is different.

First, I breastfeed exclusively. We just introduced one bottle a night for feeding, and she won't take a pacifier. In fact this past afternoon she wouldn't even take a bottle.

Second, we co-sleep with the baby. That means that she has a bassinet in our bedroom, but normally she sleeps in bed with us. No nursery, no separated bedrooms. Which is a lot easier when she wakes up at night to eat or get changed. The crying is reduced, and normally it's right back to sleep for everyone. Most people don't co-sleep, because if a parent is too tired/not sober it is potentially harmful to baby. But we don't smoke/drink, so having her in bed with us isn't an issue.

I haven't been updating the blog as often, mostly because Z takes up all my time and energy. But hey, she's a baby, she needs me and her dad to take care of her.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Seventeen Days of Baby

I have had a baby in my life for seventeen days. That is seventeen straight nights that I have either a) not slept, or b) slept in 2-3 hour intervals. I'm frustrated and annoyed.

But went to an appointment today for Z and I. She is above her birth weight! 7lbs and 10oz and she's now 19 1/4 inches long. She's growing. I'm not sure how long she's going to stay so little I can sleep with her on my chest.

Me? Well, I managed to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight. That's right, no sleep and not eating makes you lose weight like crazy.

I'll have to update with all the issues I've been having with my BFs family. But I'm just too tired at the moment.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Things I didn't realize I missed

1) My bladder holds an enormous amount of liquid.
2) I can wait to pee if I want
3) Sleeping on my stomach is amazing
4) I can sit any way I want to

Stationery card

Floral Contour Pink Birth Announcement
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Boobies, Parenting, and 4am Bedtimes

Yes, another post about my second base issues. Mostly because I am exclusively breastfeeding Z until I go back to work. And also because I have a lot of things to say about breast feeding.

I go to a support group for breastfeeding moms. Its pretty much the best thing ever, a bunch of moms with infants, all with similar struggles with latching, milk production, milk over production, public issues, intimacy issues, and relationship struggles. It's been a nice place to just get out and take Z because I can just feed her when she's hungry, and get help from a lactation consultant. Also, I get to bond with other moms in the area, and share their stories and triumphs and issues.

Also, I bought something for me and the baby. It's called a 'brest friend' and it's this pillow/intertube/thing that I snap around my body and can put Z in the right place for feeding. Because my back hurts sometimes, and my arms are fatigued and she doesn't like to latch on right away. It's more stable than the boppy I had been using, and gives back support.

My boobs have totally hulked out now. I'm sitting at a DD. I've never been a DD. I don't know how I feel about it. They are freaking huge, and leak all over, and I accidentally sprayed my baby in the face while trying to get her to latch this morning at 4am after we went to the store because she wasn't fucking sleeping.

In fact, I didn't realize that breast feeding was such a big deal. Mostly because it was the only way to feed children for thousands and thousands of years. Until the 1950s when formula was introduced, breast feeding was passed from mother to daughter, grand mother to granddaughter, aunts and sisters all learning and teaching together. I don't understand why some women don't breastfeed. First off - it's cheap. I don't want to sound like the 99% or the just living below the poverty line person that I am, but cost effective. Second, studies all show that breast milk is the best thing for babies. It always comes out the right temperature, the right mixture, and the right amount (when baby is latched and sucking correctly).

Formula was never an option in my mind. Never. My mother breastfed me and my sister, all my cousins were breastfed, I don't understand why anyone wouldn't. Or why they wouldn't try.

Side note - had the strangest conversation with my aunt-in-baby (kind of like an aunt-in-law, only the BF and I aren't married, you get the jist) asked if we were going to change Z's diaper every time she peed. Because apparently, we "are going to go through a lot of diapers really quickly."

Um, of course we are. Dry diaper = happy baby. Dry diaper = no diaper rash, no infection.

You don't change a diaper on someone you work for (ie any of my consumers) that's a recipient's rights violation, it's neglect.

Not changing a wet diaper for a baby is child abuse.

But the chances of me taking a lot of parenting advice from that pair is slim to none, because oh wait - she didn't breastfeed in the hospital because she'd "have to go down to the NICU every three hours," and she still smoked her entire pregnancy, and still does! I'm sorry, that kind of role modeling, no thanks. I may be a young new mom, this may be my first child, but at least I can make the right decisions when it comes to Z.

I don't smoke, I didn't my entire pregnancy. I took good care of myself, didn't gain too much weight, and I'm eating pretty ok right now (sure it will get better after the holiday season is over...).

And you know what? I'm remaining sober while I breastfeed. Why? Because it's too much damn work to plan out drinking, and I suck at remembering shit like that. Maybe I'll just adopt a sober lifestyle - probably do me some good. I'm liking sober me pretty well these days.

I can make the right decisions for my child and my family - why is it so hard for other people?