Friday, August 9, 2013

Dear Sister Part 2: Post Baby

Welcome back to Dear Sister. In the second part I wanted to talk about the little gems of baby wisdom that have come from the past (almost) 9 months of being at home with this utterly fantastic sweet baby child.

By all means if you have pearls of wisdom to share please do.
But on that note:

1. Appreciate advice
It doesn't mean you have to follow it. It was their way and their experience. Sometimes you will receive advice and it may not be the way of the world anymore. For example, using whiskey to soothe achy teeth, thankfully not advice I've been given (only in jest) but you never know what people might pull out of memory lane. 

A lot of it is nice to keep in the back of your mind in case your way ceases to work anymore. That is the nature of a growing babe, they are always changing.

2. Go with the flow
The first couple months of your lives together won't be very structured. Some people might tell you that you should schedule the crap out of your baby. It may have worked for them. But I know you and I don't think you are capable of letting your little sweet Gerard cry it out to conform to your schedule. I personally think the cry it out method, if used, should be used later in life and only if they haven't created their own schedule that works for them. Go to your baby when he cries. If you do, he will learn to trust you.

3. Don't be afraid
Of breaking him, to take him to hospital, to call 911, to call me, to call Mom, to tell the Dr. how you're feeling, to walk away, to let SOMEONE know you need a break, to pass him off to shower and to wake Gerry up at 3 AM because you're about to lose your shit. No one is going to be upset.

4. Use Self Talk
Sometimes I (we) still have those days where its just hard. Everything is so god damn hard. Usually when I haven't slept enough and there is stuff that can't be put off.

When I have to rock her to sleep for an hour and go back and do it again 3 or 4 times I find myself clenching my jaw and just getting too upset. So I sit there and I talk to myself (in my head). I say things like "this upset won't last forever" "you love being home with her" "she is teething" "she is upset" "you love the crap out of her." Stuff like that and it calms me down. Which leads me to...

5. When you are calm, he will be too.
Eventually, at least. When you aren't, it will take longer for him to relax. I think sickness and colic are exempt from this. Regardless, try to be calm. If you can't be and there will be those times, pass him off, walk away and take some deeeep breaaaaths.

Use some self talk. If you find that its too much and you're sad all the time because of it, talk to the Dr. Baby blues and PPD can and will happen especially in those first few weeks when you're a hormonal nutcase. It can start up until around 6 months so don't dismiss those feelings.

6. Breast feeding will likely be hard
Which I know you know already because you saw me wince and carry on during those first 6 weeks. Go see a specialist, ask the Dr. for the information. I'm pretty sure its in the same building.

For Gerry: take a day off to take her there. With a new baby its much less stressful to go to appointments with another person.

 It honestly took 6 weeks but it was SO worth it because now its incredibly easy. She always has food that is the right temperature, its comforting, it helps her sleep, she gained weight like a champ (which felt super awesome), it helps her get over being sick, antibodies, so on and so forth. HOWEVER.

7. Do not let anyone make you feel guilty
About not breastfeeding, about co-sleeping, how you put him to sleep, when you start solids. So on and so forth. Sometimes breastfeeding makes PPD worse and sometimes they aren't gaining weight or they aren't latching properly. There are several reasons why people decide to switch to formula when BFing was their plan. Such is life. Don't dwell and don't feel guilty.

8. If you need advice, google it.
Not to say that you can't go to someone. I found that if I googled it and went on all those baby forums I could find someone with the advice that I wanted to hear. Their experiences were similar and they did what I am doing and they said it worked and that its OK.

This sounds kind of contrary to seeking advice but you will develop a way you want to do things and you might just need some confirmation that it works for others. Other times you may really be in the dark and haven't been set in your ways, search the comments until you find someones experience that jives with you and your baby.

9. He will be the gosh darn bees knees.
It isn't like anything you've ever experienced and it will change you.
Its pretty darn awesome most days.

10. He is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen.
Even all aliened, cone headed, old man-ish,covered in gross stuff, making a poop face, screaming his head off, and scrunchy faced. He will only become more absolutely beautiful as time passes and when you look back on his first pictures you'll go "woah, he was weird looking." You will forever have rose tinted glasses. I'm pretty sure this is evolutionary and prevented our mother from tossing us out the window.

Look at this beautiful funny face. You're gonna be done-for.
11. Be Happy
Be as happy as you possibly can be with him. It's not always easy but its not always that hard either. It will pay off because he will mirror your happiness. Again, colic and sickness and the like are exempt from this so don't feel bad if he is miserable when you are aren't.
 Sometimes she manages to be smiley even when she is upset.

12. Become a baby expert. 
Don't just guess. Find out. Look into strange things and new behaviors. From the concerning to the amusing. I did this A LOT her first couple of months. Breastfeeding takes a long time at the beginning so I always had my smart phone on me just finding stuff out.

13. Do what you gotta do
Sometimes its about surviving and thats ok. Download some baby entertaining apps, put the TV on, take hot showers, read a book, watch a movie, see a friend, go to the mall, get outside, go out for a little something everyday when Gerry gets home. Do whatever you gotta do to remain sane and happy. I still struggle with the day to day after 9 months of practice and being a parent is about as far from being perfect as it could possibly be.
This has become my child rearing philosophy and its saved me some stress.

14. Don't try to put a non-tired baby down for a nap.
He will break your spirit if you try. He will always win. Similarly, don't try to keep a sleepy baby awake. Again, he will always win.

15. You will love every age
and then be both sad and happy when they move on from it. I think I said every month how much I loved this age and that I wish she would never get older. I'm still saying that and probably will for awhile yet. Above all, appreciate your time with him as you go through his baby stages together. It's gonna be wonderful (for the most part).

16. You are going to do wonderfully.
'Nuff said. 
You are an amazing aunt and will be a fantastic mother.

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