Advice from the trenches

advanved maternal age, babies, baby advice, first pregnancy, first time moms, infant, mom advice, motherhood, newborn

1. Do not buy any baby clothes that you have to pull over their heads. They hate getting dressed. Having shit jammed over their big noggins must remind them of trying to descend the birth canal…just don’t do it to them. Buy ONLY kimono style things that SNAP or ZIP.

2. All shirts MUST HAVE MITTEN FOLD OVER THINGS attached!!!! Those little nails are terrifying, the separate mittens do not stay on. This is huge. You don’t want to worry about them clawing their face in the middle of the night. Or your boob.

3. Your going to be tempted to tear the tags off of every cute thing that people buy you. People are going to love to buy you onesies and adorable newborn things. My baby was wearing 3 month old clothes by day 10 of his life. And so much of the stuff we bought or received are cute and studly, but TOTALLY STUPID! BABY CLOTHES DESIGNERS WHAT ARE YOU THINKING 89% OF THE TIME?!? I wish we could take back half the stuff we bought, and we ended up rush ordering a bunch of Baby Soy/Loved Baby clothing 5 days into his life once we learned what actually works.

4. Buy a few really nicely made items and do more laundry. Those cheap packs of onesies that pull over the head with the long sleeve arms that you bought about 10 of from Target? You will dread putting those on over his head and trying to jam his locked up chicken arms into those little sleeves. FORGET IT.

5. Get a prescription for COMPOUND ALL PURPOSE NIPPLE OINTMENT now. Before you deliver. I don’t know why it took a $200 lactation consultation for someone to tell me about this stuff. Ask you doctor, or doctor’s nurse to get you a prescription, find a specialty pharmacy that makes compounds, and have it on hand immediately. It’s the best $50 I’ve ever spent.

6. The ugly undies they have for you at the hospital? Grab as many pairs as you can. The ones they had for me are like boy shorts, super comfy, go up high so they don’t irrate my c-section incision, and I’m still walking around in them 2 weeks later.

7. If you are planning on a c-section or have had one, C-panties will be your best friend. The high waisted ones. Again, I wish I hadn’t waited a week post-surgery to discover them.

8. Why on earth do they make nursing bras out of lycra and icky material?!?!?!? I only have two cotton nursing bras and am obsessed with them because they are SOFT. DUH!!!

9. Pooping. It’s an issue. Especially with a c-section and the pain killers that cause constipation, but I’ve had other friends go through agony from vaginal tearing as well. So again: KIWIS. Try and eat two kiwis a day. One first thing in the morning, and one at night. I skipped the stool softeners they wanted me to get because I felt like I had enough drugs in my system…and kiwi plus an avocado a day, with lots of H20 and warm teas kept everything running smoothly. Trust me on this.

10. Schedule a session with a lactation consultant a couple weeks out. Once you’ve been at it for a while. Even if things are going well, it’s great to know that you’re not just winging it, get all your crazy questions answered, have someone stare at your nipples and make sure everything looks good. I was on the fence about this because I knew the baby was packing on the ounces in a serious way…but I did have soreness that I wasn’t sure was “normal”, and the peace of mind from the consultation is worth every penny.

11. You can’t have enough cross over shirts, tank-tops and cardigans. Regular crew-neck shirts will not work when you have to be able to take out your boob every couple of hours. So farewell lululemon yoga tops that I loved all throughout my pregnancy. Hello criss cross nursing shirts that I can pull down.

12. The belly band is nice. It worked for me. My tummy shrank a lot faster when I started wearing it a few hours a day.

13. If you use a pacifier at the hospital, get multiple pacifiers of the same brand. Our hospital used an Advent Soothie and that’s the only one the baby will allow in his mouth now.

14. As much as we wanted (and still want) to use eco friendly diapers, the Huggies with the indicator strip that they used at the hospital have been a life saver in the middle of the night (and in general). My husband really appreciates the lack of guess work.

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The new arrival

advanved maternal age, babies, boys, change, first pregnancy, first time dads, first time moms, motherhood

Where. To. Start.

The fact that I’m writing this while leaning over the kitchen counter soaking my nipples in warm salt water?
Or that the 17 day old baby boy is sleeping and I have maybe 2 precious hours to get myself back to feeling like a person?
Or that after 60 hours in labor I ended up having a c-section and the whole ordeal had me PTSD crying almost every day for a week after?
Or that I finally saw my incision, slightly crooked and cut longer on the right side than the left because his little shoulder was lodged in a weird way on my right side, and felt like some science experiment?

No one told me that having a newborn would reduce my being to a pure physical vessel…my only purpose to feed and care for a helpless being. Or that caring for a newborn is a one way street, giving everything to this little life who cares not that you have layers of stitches crossing the bikini line, or that your mammary glands are freaking out, swollen and sore, or that your uterus is shrinking and cramping, that there will be vicodin and stool softeners and more people wondering about your gastrointestinal functions than you ever thought possible, that you would replay the events of your labor over and over again with your husband and cry over the pain and trauma of it all, that he will see and do things for you that you never imagined (involving blood and vomit and maxi pads and helping you walk and do ANYTHING).

But I was warned how wonderful it would be, how I would fall in love like never before, how all the pain would go away once that little babe was in my arms.

Readers, moms to be, new moms, professional moms…I have to say this wasn’t 100% true for me. It is there. It comes and goes. It is profoundly present when he smiles in his slumber, when his little fuzzy head nuzzles into my neck and he falls asleep, cooing and making the sweetest sounds, when he sees my face now or hears my voice and I think I can truly see some sort of recognition, when I’ve learned what soothes him and can calm those cries with a song, or a rocking chair session, or my milk. Still, it’s a liiiiittle more like a blind date than love at first sight…we are getting to know each other. Sussing out what we are in store for us with this union. Learning what we can tolerate, let go of, give, what we love about each other, what doesn’t work. There’s the fear of commitment and enormous responability mixed with an eternal love that can’t be explained.

And remember how afraid I was of losing my relationship with my husband? Well I’ve never loved him more. Our household has been a constant (and VERY welcome) stream of help and family and visitors, so we haven’t had a lot of alone time, but holy moley…he has become the head of our household, a caretaker like I’ve never seen, and although we were committed to co-sleeping, we now start the baby in a bassinet and the half hour we have together, in bed, side by side, has become one of the best parts of my day.

The baby was feed and changed and asleep last night at 10pm, my husband’s mom was in town and we were feeling ambitious, so we decided to surprise my husband and show up at his work. When he saw us, his family, he teared up.

Because it’s finally hitting us. This is our family. We are family.

I looked up “family” and the defintion is pretty sterile:
: a group of people who are related to each other

: a person’s children

: a group of related people including people who lived in the past

I suppose this cardboard definition is necessary and the best dictionary.com can do with the “traditional” sense of the word. But what a shame. If you are reading this, you probably understand how little justice these definitions do the word.

I am formimg my own definition and will share it soon as I learn more from this little boy and the big man in my life. It’s bubbling inside me, this deep feeling of awe and confusion and love and sense of forever…