Unleashing the Baby Talk - AKA - My advice to Mamas.
There have been a lot of babies born lately. I have quite a few friends who are pregnant, expecting, or have itty bitty babies. There’s a lot of baby talk going on and my mind is often ruminating on all the choices given to moms. It makes me think about my choices and why I made them. In navigating the hormone fraught waters of mommyhood sometimes I wonder if I’m saying too much or sharing too little. I think back over conversations and wonder if my comments and suggestions were helpful or overwhelming. So I decided to write down all of the “advice” I would give to moms. If I had the chance to just sit down and blather about my own decisions and challenges I’ve had with Kadon without fear of offending anyone, because hey! You don’t have to read this. J And you can take what you read with a grain of salt and either agree or disagree – it matters not!
I’ve discovered I am passionate about breastfeeding. Whenever it comes up in conversation I can feel myself getting fired up. I have been on both sides. I have had an awesome milk supply and easy feeding baby. I’ve also had a sleepy/premie baby who took (what felt like) a long time to learn to nurse. I’ve had my milk supply almost disappear due to sickness and had to rely on formula while I was in the hospital during surgery and recovery. I had to nurse, pump, and supplement, whilst drinking oceans of water and taking supplements to get my milk supply back. I know what it is like to sit and wonder if your baby is getting enough. I think it is one of the biggest myths of our age. It’s as if it is engrained in our heads to wonder if our bodies are truly capable of sustaining our children. Why do we think we need to rely on outside sources? “If this doesn’t work, we can always just use formula…” I’m not saying there are not real issues that make formula necessary. I’m not saying breastfeeding is always easy. I’m saying if you want to breastfeed, then please, please do. It takes time and commitment. It can be uncomfortable and daunting. But it is so, so worth it. Do the research. The majority of women can breastfeed, so please don’t shortchange yourself and your child. Get educated, get support, and believe God made your body to best suit your child’s needs. (Interested in reading about all the myths regarding breastfeeding? http://www.nbci.ca/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=27%3Amyths-of-breastfeeding&catid=5%3Aarticles&Itemid=17)
If you do decide to breastfeed, nursing bras are a necessity. Nursing shirts are also very nice to have. A lot of maternity shirts double as nursing shirts. My favorite maternity store is Thyme.
Cloth diapering isn’t that hard. I was a little afraid of my own decision when I decided to cloth diaper. But they have come a long way. And we do laundry anyway. Cloth diapers save money, save the environment, and gives your baby a really cute fluffy bum. So if you are interested, go for it! I love my cloth diapers. On the other hand, when we are out and about sometimes I do throw him in a disposable, and you know what? They work great too. If you do decide to go with disposable, I’ve found the Kirkland brand at Costco is cheap and works great.
Remember, it’s not a competition. Who has the biggest baby, whose baby has the most hair, whose baby cries the least, whose baby is rolling, crawling, talking at what age… which mama fits into her old jeans the quickest, which mama gained the least amount of weight during pregnancy… it doesn’t matter. Guidelines, projections, percentiles are good in their own way. You want to make sure you are aware if you actually do have an underweight, overweight, or undeveloped baby so you can take the necessary steps to help them thrive, but at the same time just remember the expectations are so varied.
You can have a healthy smaller baby who doesn’t start to crawl until a year. (I would know! J) Babies can start walking and talking at nine months – or fifteen. They may be labeled as delayed, but really, so long as your child is walking, talking, eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, smiling, loving, laughing, and playing by two – you are golden. If your baby is one of the babies who develop faster – great! For those babies who stay babies a little longer – great! Enjoy them while you can, because no matter how fast or slow they seem to grow, it will always be too fast.
“Well back in my day we did _______ and our kids survived just fine!” You may hear this a lot from the older generation regarding when to introduce foods, which foods to introduce, breastfeeding, medicines, and car seats and a slew of other topics. I don’t want to disrespect the older generation – they raised some pretty fantastic kids! I think they did the best they could with what they had and knew. I just think we should also do the best we can with what we have and know. Research and medical practices have come a long, long way in twenty years. They made their decisions based on the data and experience they had, and we can do the same. While the older generation can pass on invaluable hands on experience, we also need to take into consideration the new knowledge that has been accumulated. For example, it may be harder to convince others of the importance of proper car seat safety. It wasn’t that long ago car seats were rarely used. However, we are driving in different times. There are more vehicles, more drivers, faster drivers on more twinned highways, more distracted ,texting drivers, and the research and development of car seats has come a long way. I have been researching car seats myself, and I very much encourage all mothers to take a peek into car seat safety. The statistics of improperly used car seats are staggering. Did you know the Pediatric Society of America recommends you rearface your child until at least age two? Do your research and find out why. I’m so happy I did.
Don’t say you’re a bad mom. Ever. Not to your child. Not to your friends. Not to yourself. If you feel bad you over reacted, had a meltdown, didn’t know how to handle a situation, freaked out, waited too long to change a diaper ect. – if you feel bad and are worried about your reaction that in itself proves you are NOT a bad mom. Bad moms do exist. Bad moms are selfish, neglect their children, and feel no remorse or guilt about making harmful decisions. Chances are, if you are reading this blog talking about babies, you are not a bad mom. If you tell yourself something often enough you could start to believe it. Don’t let your babies grow up hearing you berating yourself for being a bad mom – because what if they grow up to believe it, too?
You don’t have to enjoy every single minute of every single day with your baby. I remember telling people I was exhausted, baby wasn’t sleeping well, or we were going through a difficult transition and they’d come back with, “Oh, just enjoy the stages while you can! They go too fast.”
Uhm, no. I doubt they enjoyed poo – tsunamis, gassy babies who wouldn’t burp, crying for no reason, flailing temper tantrums, bonked heads, postpartum soreness, and endless interrupted nights. Some things take all of your patience just to get through – so don’t feel like you have to enjoy it too. There are plenty of precious moments to enjoy – so do enjoy those. And just smile and nod at silly people who remember their baby days through rose colored glasses. (I totally agree with this lady and she inspired this paragraph! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/glennon-melton/dont-carpe-diem_b_1206346.html)
Mothers aren’t mind readers. You may find you get asked a lot about why your baby is behaving a certain way, or what your child is thinking. I’m not sure why people ask this, or why they expect you to know. Just know, it’s not just you. There are times other mothers have no idea why their baby is crying, has the hiccups, or blinks three times in a row and then sneezes. Probably a lot of times.