Nov 13, 2012

Parenthood, week 4

Wow....what an amazingly special and emotional 3 weeks it's been! Having a baby is by far the most rewarding experience of my life, but it should also be said that it's not an easy job ;) I have always admired parents who seem to be on top of everything, but that admiration is nothing compared to the one I feel now, knowing what they are dealing with and, (oh my!), some even have twins or triplets instead of that one, first baby! 

The first week was a bit of a mess.....both practically and emotionally speaking. 
Biggest challenge: How do you get to know someone when you're not able to talk to each other? Especially for someone like me with zero baby experience. 
Well believe it or not, but you do get to know each other... Slowly but surely, you get to know the different expressions and little noises and you learn to tell the difference between the "Mommy, give me food", the "Mommy, pick me up and cuddle me", the "Mommy, nappy change!!" or "Mommy I think I ate too fast and I have to let some back up soon...." -noises. Thankfully, I also had my mom and stepdad here, helping us out while we were getting our heads around all of this.

Now in week 4, we are finally having some routines and things start to feel very natural! I am however far away from the advanced mommying-techniques I've heard about, such as "breastfeeding while cooking" (wow!). I have however progressed from "holding my baby firmly with both hands AND using my legs + the breastfeeding pillow to stabilize her in my arms while breastfeeding" to "having a cup of coffee and watching some TV while breast feeding". I have also managed to (now many advanced mommies will have forgotten what the first few weeks were like and will likely think I'm from another planet) shower while my baby is sleeping AND painted my own toe nails for the first time since pregnancy month 7. Whooooooooo!

All pregnancies, babies and mommies are different, no doubt.......and I'm also faaaaar away from advanced parenting skills, so if you are a new mom or just becoming one, I'm not sure if you will recognize this or will find it useful.....but here are some things I wish I would have known before becoming a mommy:

- Do not take your baby home from the hospital in the evening. 
Oh my, how naive it was to think that she'd feel right at home just because I did. She was so nervous and refused to even consider to sleep. Too many new impressions. Take your baby home in the morning to give her time to adjust to the new environment....that would probably have been a useful hint to receive ;))

- Some babies cry for a few seconds right before falling asleep
Ooops! I didn't know this....and as a new mom, her crying breaks my heart so when she starts to cry after I have put her down to sleep, I rushed there to check on her, not realizing that what I was actually doing was not soothing her, but rather waking her up ;)) Now I can hear the difference from this "I'm just about to fall asleep" cry compared to the real cry, when she actually needs something from me.

- Babies love to be warm
In Sweden, we are taught to be careful not to overheat babies! What I didn't know though is that this is about room temperatures (it should be between 18-20 degrees C) and not clothes.... Our baby was not comfy the first two days at home as I was trying to avoid overheating her by not overdressing her. She was very cranky and we had no idea why. Then the midwife came and put one extra layer of clothes on her + swaddled her in the baby blanket and the difference was enormous! Like a new baby - all happy and cosy ;)) The swaddling technique has worked wonders for us. Looking back, this makes me feel really stupid and it all seems very natural now....after all, she was in my belly for such a long time and in there, it's definitely very warm!

- Sometimes, babies just like to suck on something.
Hmmm....not sure from where, but I had heard that pacifiers should be avoided for all kinds of reasons! Dental health, not to spoil the baby, not to confuse the baby, etc. etc.
Well, this is true until the breast feeding starts to work, but after that, they actually recommend using pacifiers for naps and sleep time as it helps to prevent SID's. Our baby was sometimes very cranky from what I thought was hunger. So some days I spent more or less constantly trying to feed her until the best invention ever came into play - The pacifier!! Wow...again....mind blowing difference! Now she can even sleep in her own bed, which was not possible before the introduction of the pacifier.

- Babies sometimes sleep with their eyes open!
Oh my lord......our baby scared the....let's say hoot....out of me when she was looking at me, rolling and twitching her eyes while weirdly smiling!! Little did I know in that moment, that she was asleep and dreaming ;)) She looked like a psych patient and I got so nervous that I had to film it and show it to the midwife, convinced she probably had some neurological disorder. Well guess what? Like so many other things I worried about, this is completely normal.

- Babies need routines (and so do you, mommy ;))
The advise from our midwife (we have a fantastic one, from the UK) was: "Before putting your baby to bed for the night, do not overstimulate her". Oh gosh.....sooo much harder than it sounds! When you're a new parent all you want to do is cuddle with her, smile at her and give her aaaaaall of that love you feel inside, right? Well of course, but since we don't excessively do this anymore during night time, she sleeps so much faster and better. At night, I just feed her and kiss her on the forehead before putting her back down to sleep, while before I was talking to her, cuddling her, kissing her, smiling and laughing at her, so for sure she didn't know the difference between night and day. It took her 30 minutes to 1 hour before she fell back asleep after a feeding. Now she falls asleep right after and stays asleep until the next feeding at least 8 times out of 10.
We also learned that babies should feed every 3-4 hours and that during the day, it's better to wake them up to keep this routine while at night, we should let her sleep and feed her "on demand". Having done this for a while, we have a very good rhythm (she wakes up for food every 3-4 hours) now and hope it will last for a while. I am finally feeling that I get enough sleep and can manage the days really well. 

...and as for the pregnancy itself, I'm not going to say that this cream will prevent stretch marks for sure. All I can say is that I used it from the moment I found out I was pregnant, once per day after showering and I came out of this pregnancy with zero stretch marks. So if you're pregnant and you care about these things, it could be worth trying ;))

.....and then this thing about going into labor. I was wondering so much about this! "How will I know?!" Hey, if you are having contractions, wondering "Is this the real thing?", then it's probably not! I had weeks and weeks of false labor, wondering if that was it but when the time really came - I KNEW INSTANTLY that that was it ;)))

...and then for the actual giving birth: If you are scared of the pain or just don't want to feel it, the Epidural is a slice of heaven! I had to use it because of my back problem and I might have been very lucky, but I barely felt a thing after it was injected and this doesn't make me feel cheated out the giving birth experience and it doesn't make me love my baby less, I assure you. It did slow the process of the delivery down however! How you want to give birth is very individual, but for me, feeling the pain of the actual birth was never something I was desiring. I did however feel lots of pain after the Epidural wore off ;))

That's it for now.....but maybe in a couple of weeks, I will be back here begging you for advise ;p


1 comment:

  1. Linda you are doing great! I am not a Mum so I am very ignorant still, but I really think that the parenting experience is absolutely fabulous. Enjoy it and share it. I am sending your post to one of my friends, who is a new Mum. She will sure appreciate it.


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