Posted in Parenting

Note To Self

1.  You are not perfect, but you are perfectly capable of taking care of your son.

2.  Parenting life is like a bouncy ball: what goes up, must come down…and back up again!

3.  You are allowed to cry.  In fact, you will cry.  Embrace the tears when they come instead of holding them back.

4.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength.

5.  Life would be boring if your son was happy 24/7 😛

6.  If you’re tired, TAKE A NAP if your son is napping.  Screw the chores!

7.  Parenting can be the most thankless job in the world.  Thankfully, it can also be the best job in the world.

8.  Get out of the house.

9.  Just because you can’t see the sun on a rainy day, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

10.  By all means read up on parenting, but keep listening to your heart.

11.  You love your son, unconditionally and he loves you in the same way.  That’s all that matters.

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Posted in Infant, Parenting

Yup, I’m Thinking About It: Baby-Led Weaning!

Step 1: Give the baby milk.

Step 2: Give the baby cereal.

Step 3: Give the baby smooth purées.

Step 4: Give the baby lumpy purées.

Step 5: Give the baby finger foods.

Seriously?  As if there weren’t enough steps that went into raising a child.  Not that I mind, but wouldn’t it be simpler if we could just skip the cereal and texture-less, tasteless purées?

Well, with baby-led weaning (BLW) you can!

What is BLW?

Baby Led Weaning, quite simply, means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning. […] * re ‘wean’. This is meant in the Brit sense, not the American. In the UK, ‘weaning’ means ‘adding complementary foods’, whereas in the States it means ‘giving up breastfeeding’.

http://www.babyledweaning.com/

Basically, you give your child adequately-sized pieces  of food (a stick size that is long enough to protrude from your baby’s closed fist or chip size) and allow them to learn to grab it, put it in their mouth, gum (or bite) down on it, chew it, and swallow it.  The basic idea behind BLW is that if your child is able to do all this, then it is a surefire sign that s/he is developmentally ready to eat that particular food.

We are told that it is important to follow our children’s cues.  So why wouldn’t we take the same approach with solids?  You see, BLW enthusiasts argue that since we trust our little ones to roll over, crawl, walk when ready that it goes to reason that we should also trust them to eat when ready because playing airplane to force a loaded spoon into a baby’s mouth  hardly seems like following a baby’s cues.

Advantages and Disadvantages

According to Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, authors of Baby-Led Weaning, The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods and Helping Your Baby to Grop Up a Happy and Confident Eater, there are many advantages to using this approach (pages 20-28):

  • Learning to eat safely: by allowing your child to explore the food with their hands before it goes in their mouths allows them to judge size and texture and may contribute in lowering the chances for him/her to choke once it is in their mouth.
  • Learning about his/her world: when the food is being manipulated by your baby, it becomes a learning tool that exploits all five senses.  For instance, your baby can see the white and yellow part of a banana, can feel how easily it can be squished and how slippery the inside of it is, can smell its odor and taste its flavor and hear that there is no crunch.
  • Trusting food: It would seem that BLW babies may be less reluctant to try out new foods because they are ultimately in control of what they put in their mouths.  Quite amazingly, it has happened in many instances that a baby would reject a certain food (ie: not even trying it or trying it once but not wanting to touch it again) and his/her parents would learn later on that their little one had an allergy or intolerance to the particular food.
  • Appetite control: Because your baby is in charge of what s/he wants to eat, s/he is also in control of how much s/he want to eat.  In BLW, there is no forcing a child to eat “just another bite”.  Because they are allowed to decide when they are done eating, it allows them to listen to their body’s cues and can be a contributing factor to reducing the risk of overeating and obesity in adulthood.
  • Easier, less complicated meals: With BLW, there is no need to prepare purées in advance or heat them.  Since your baby is included in mealtimes and their food doesn’t have to be reduced to mush, they can eat  what the rest of the family is eating (plus, their food doesn’t have to be bland, it can be seasoned!).  Because of this, eating out is easier as well.

As for the disadvantages, well, it would seem that BLW is a very messy process, especially at first when your baby is still exploring and hasn’t figured out that these new ‘toys’ actually serve to fill up his/her belly.

Of course, as with any method, there are always two sides to the proverbial coin.  As such, some caution against using this method.

But, won’t my baby choke?

^^This, is the first thing that popped into my mind when I first started reading up on solids and came across the world of BLW.  However, from what I’ve read (mind you, from the biased point of view of those who actually do BLW), the risk of choking is smaller than it is for babies who were fed purées.

But why?

Well, in a nutshell, babies who are fed purées learn to swallow before they learn to chew, whereas in BLW babies, it is the opposite.  Furthermore, since the gag reflex is triggered further down the mouth as our little ones grow, they will have less time to push out a piece of food that is too large than a younger child..

But BLW enthusiasts warn that your baby will gag as s/he learns to move food from the front of his/her mouth to the back of his/her mouth.  They also say that though it is alarming at first, that it is important to not panic and to allow your child to get the food out of their mouth themselves.  It is also important to keep in mind that your baby has to be in control at all times because if an adult (or ‘helpful’ toddler) tries to feed your baby by bringing the food to their mouth for them, then the potential for chocking is multiplied (think about how you’d react is another person tried to shove a piece of food in your mouth).

This all makes sense to me and so I decided that this is the approach I wanted to go with.

When do I know that my baby is ready?

  • Though some pediatricians give parents the green light to start solids when their baby is 4 months old, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization caution against the introduction to solids (ie: anything other than breastmilk or formula) before the age of 6 months.  Before 6 months, it would seem, the stomach just isn’t ready to process solids.

Furthermore, your baby should:

  • Be able to sit up well without support
  • Have lost the tongue-thrust reflex
  • Attempt to grab food and put it in his/her mouth
  • Be able to reach out, grab things and bring them to his/her mouth quickly and accurately

What do you think about BLW?  Have you tried it, do you plan to?  How did introducing solids with your children go?

Related posts

Little Foodie (theamazingmoores.wordpress.com)

Drink (and food!) (stumblingthroughparenting.wordpress.com)

Posted in Infant

Bawling Bedtime Brawl

I’m an insomniac.  I’ve been fighting to fall asleep ever since my early teens.  I’ve had some good periods, periods that have given me a shard of hope that I may have finally gotten over the insomnia.  But it was not to be.  In the days following the arrival of my son, I was so sleep-deprived and exhausted that I had no issues falling asleep.  But it did not last.  Gone are the days where I could fall asleep quickly when I went to bed and fall back asleep without issue after a middle of the night nursing session despite my “non-snoring” boyfriend”s seamless imitation of some type of motor.

As for my son, well, he does not fight to fall asleep.  No, he battles sleep.  He seems to do everything in his power to remain awake and, when my partner or I are finally able to help him fall asleep, it is only to have him wake up and fuss as soon as he hits the mattress of his crib.  I love the little bugger, but after two weeks of this, he is very quickly eroding any sanity and self-confidence I have left.

You might recall that I started my son on E.A.S.Y. when he turned seven weeks.  Simultaneously, I started swaddling him again.  I had a new baby, on that would give me three 90 minute naps and one 45 minute nap per day.  It was great!  He was in an awesome mood.  Both of our lives had become more predictable and I found it easier to manage motherhood with a three hour schedule.   Life was good.

And then, about two days before he turned three months old, all hell broke loose.  I’ve already posted on his three month growth spurt, so I won’t detail it again here.  Suffices to say, he didn’t sleep much.  I naively thought that when he would get back to normal when he finished his spurt; I had forgotten that my son made a point of changing things up each time I figured him out.  Well, now, he’s gone from being a great napper to being a crap-napper cat-napper. For the past week, I can consider that I’m having a good day when he naps for two hours total.

The E.A.S.Y. routine has worked so well that now he knows exactly when he’s going down for a nap or for bedtime.  As soon as he starts yawning and rubbing his eyes, I bring him to his room.  As soon as we are in his room, he starts crying his head off.  And we’re not talking about a small whimper cry.  Oh no!  We’re talking full-blown-red-faced-scream-myself-hoarse cry.  Of course, the same is true for bedtime.  He’ll go from fussy at the breast for his last nursing session, to calm and smiling while I undress him and his father runs his bath, to happy while he’s in the bath and then BAM as soon as his father takes him out of the tub, he starts screaming his head off.  Holy, am I glad to not be in an apartment building anymore; I’m sure the neighbors would call child services!

I don’t know what to think right now.  What I do know is that he seems to be going through a transition phase.  He is at a point where he cannot be swaddled anymore because he breaks out of it all the time.  He seems to want to learn to self-soothe because he is always spitting out his pacifier and sucking on his hands.  However, we need to put mitts on his hands when he goes to bed because otherwise he’ll scratch his face up pretty badly even though I trim and file down the darned things every other day.

What to do, what to do?

Posted in Infant, Newborn

Is it a Dog? Is it a Burglar? No Honey, it’s Just the Baby.

Something amusing happened this morning.  Though I’m not sure my boyfriend will be all too pleased, I thought I would share it with you.

I woke up for seemingly no reason this morning at 5:30 am.  Though I couldn’t hear anything, I knew that it was the baby who had woken me up.  After all, he hadn’t nursed since half-past midnight so he was most likely hungry.  I was about to get out of bed when I noticed that my significant other was getting out himself.  I figured he was going to get the baby for me so that I could nurse in bed.  However, that’s not exactly what happened.  Not right away anyways.

– Him (half-awake): Did you hear that?

-Me (calmly): It was probably the baby.  He’s likely hungry.

-Him (with certainty): No, it sounded like a dog.

-Me (confused): A dog?

-Me (matter-of-factly): No, it was the baby.

-Him (bravely): I’m going to go check.

Upon these words he shuffles out of the room and goes in the direction opposite to the baby’s room.  A short while later, he comes back in to the room.

-Him (somewhat confused): I don’t know what it is.

-Me (getting exasperated): I was the baby.  He’s hungry.

He leaves the room again and goes into the baby’s room.

-Him (relieved) : Oh!  It’s the baby, he’s awake.  Hang on, let me bring him to you.

-Me: *eyeroll* Ok.

Remember how I said in a previous post that my boyfriend can sleep through the night even if my son was crying his heart out, but that he would wake up if he heard an unusual noise, even if it wasn’t all that loud?  Well, what you need to understand is that my son has graduated from outright crying.  In fact, he hasn’t woken me up by crying for weeks now.  Now, he starts off by cooing.  If I don’t come after a little bit, he’ll go into whiny-coo mode.  After that, he’ll let out a couple of short loud screams.  Only after going through all that will he burst out into an all out cry.  I’m thinking that this morning he bellowed a few of those screams and that my boyfriend, in his half-awake state, though they were dog barks.  Of course, he quieted down as soon as my boyfriend got out of bed as he knew that someone was up and would come and pick him up.  Smart baby.

Posted in Infant, Newborn

Baby Schedule Made E.A.S.Y.

I’ve never thought of myself as the type that would want to enforce a schedule for her baby.  I mean, I’m a pretty easy-going go-with-the-flow kind of gal.  When I first came home with my son and started reading feverishly on the web any tidbit of information that could help me out with understanding how to adjust to my new life with a newborn, I was amazed at the sheer quantity of information there was.  Of course, on different subjects, different people have different points of view.  One such subject concerned sleep.  Some say that it’s important to initiate a well-organized routine as soon as possible.  Others believe in living your life around the routine your baby sets.  And, of course, there’s everything in between.

At first, I let my newborn lead my life.  He slept when he was tired.  He ate when he was hungry.  Period.  But, as time went by and he got older (ok, so he’s just past seven weeks old, but he’s already changed a lot), I started to wonder whether I should try to ease him into a schedule.  I realized that I needed some more predictability in my life, especially since my boyfriend was back to work.  I also figured that my baby would probably be comforted by more predictability.  So I read and read and read about sleep and came across one baby whisperer’s take on putting a baby on a schedule.  She calls it E.A.S.Y.

E.A.S.Y. is an acronym (duh!) for Eat, Activity, Sleep, Your time.  It is devilishly simple to remember and to implement.  It is based on a baby’s need to sleep, play and eat and on a parent’s need to have some time of their own.  The method takes into account the baby’s age and so is adapted to consider that a four week old, for instance, will not only need to eat more often than a five month old but will also need more daily nap time hours than a five month old.

With regards to my son, he typically eats every three hours (except when he is going through a growth spurt) so I use a three-hour rotating schedule.  Here is an example:

(E) 7:00 – Wake, nurse, burp

(A) 7:30 – Diaper change / change out of pyjamas and into clothing / various activities such as tummy time or playing with his foot piano.

(S) 8:30 – Whisper to him that he is tired and that it is nap time, go into room, wrap him up in his blankets, rock him, put him into his crib sleepy but not sleeping (ideally).

(Y) As soon as he is asleep – My time (nap and/or shower and/or do some chores…)

(E) 10:00 – Wake up, nurse, burp…

Please note that the hours that I jotted down are only there as examples.  I do not wake him at 7am so that we can start the schedule at exactly that hour.  Also, though I prefer to put him down for naps after active play so that he doesn’t associate nursing with sleep and NEED to nurse to fall asleep in the long run, I don’t force him to stay awake if he can’t keep his eyes open after being nursed, burped and changed.  Furthermore, if, for instance, he ate at 7 and by 9 he looks hungry, I don’t force him to wait an hour before nursing just because he is “supposed” to eat every three hours nor do I force him to nap if he clearly isn’t tired.  I use this schedule in a flexible way based on his cues.  However, it does have some predictability to it.

Honestly *knock on wood*, with regards to naps, it has been going rather well now that I’ve started using this method with my son.  I was actually surprised that he was able to fall asleep after active play rather than after nursing so quickly (just last week I would still put him down after he nursed).  I’ve been able to get him to take about four 1 to 2 hour naps per day for the past three days and so I think that he understands the daytime routine.

I am now gradually implementing the nighttime routine which would look something like this:

(E) 19:00 – Wake, nurse, burp

(A) 19:30 – Bath (with daddy!), change into pyjamas

(S) 20:00 – Whisper to him that it is time for sleep, mom and dad give him a kiss goodnight and either one of us brings him to his room, wraps him up into his blanket, turns on the white noise, sings a lullaby and attempts to rocks him to sleep.

Now this part of the routine isn’t integrated yet.  My son isn’t used to taking his bath every night and so, I think, hasn’t associated the bath with bedtime.  Furthermore, I think he just doesn’t like the dark (this despite the fact that there are two nightlights in his room) because he will generally start to fuss as soon as the lights in his room are turned off.  If within about a quarter-hour, my little one still isn’t sleeping, well, I get out of the rocking chair, get him out of his blankets, , turn off the white noise and bring him back into the living room with his father and I to wait for his next “I’m sleepy” cue (the eye rubbing and yawning usually gives it away).  I’ll keep you posted on how are nights are doing in a couple of weeks.

Of course, not everyone would agree with this method.  I mean, there are several parenting experts out there and thus several ways of seeing child-rearing.  I’m a fan of reading on different methods and then picking and choosing from each one what works best for me.  I am a firm believer that there are as many methods as there are children in the world as no two individuals are alike and so no single copy-pasted method can work for two children.

On the note of different opinions, there is one subject that I haven’t made up my mind on yet: waking a baby to feed.  Though I do wake him during the day to make sure he eats every three hours max, I am inclined to let him sleep at night…up to a certain point.  Last night, I awoke at half past midnight.  My mommy brain knew that my son hadn’t eaten for a little over three hours.  Now, usually, when this happens, I will get out of bed and get my son out of his crib to feed him (waking him in the process).  Last night, however, I forced myself back to sleep (after getting up, going into my son’s room to make sure he actually still had his eyes closed and he was still breathing).  I woke up two hours later, my mommy brain worried because my wonderful son hadn’t eaten in a little over five hours.  This time, I did get out of bed to nurse him even though he was still sleeping peacefully.  I guess I still think my son is much to little, at seven weeks young, to be going so long without eating.

I wonder though, what would you have done?

Posted in Infant, Newborn

Who Are You And What Have You Done With My Son?

Just when I thought I was getting the hang of things….

I hate it when this happens.  For the past  week, things have been going really well.  I mean, despite Christmas coming around (which meant family parties), we’d been getting into a rather predictable routine of waking, eating, playing, napping and bedtime.  But, of course, things were going too well.

For the past two evenings and nights, my little tyke is giving me grief.  His last feedings of the day have been hellish as he’s been going through them fussing, squirming, screaming and crying.  He moves around so much that he loses his latch or just plain hurts me by flipping out and remaining stuck to my breast.  His arms flay about either allowing him to grab and hold on (tightly) to some loose locks of hair (two words: haircut time) or punching, pushing against or clawing at (have I ever mentioned how hard it is to trim a baby’s nails?) the hollow right above the spot where my two collarbones meet with his little fist.  Of course, when I put him up to burp him during and after a feeding, he tenses up, pushing against my thighs with his legs and he straightening his back, holding his head up high and refuses to burp.

 

This, of course, affects both his sleep and mine.  You see, because he gets so worked up, he is nearly impossible to put down for a nap or for the night.  He ends up falling asleep from pure exhaustion around 10:30.  If it were only that, it wouldn’t be so bad, but his nighttime feedings are seldom better.  Oh, he doesn’t squirm around or anything, but after his (around) 3am nursing session, I can’t get him back into his crib.  He’ll fall asleep un my arms, but as soon as I put him down, he wakes up, fists clenched and grunting.  So I rub his tummy, turn on his white noise, but there’s nothing to do, he just starts panicking.  And so I pick him up again and he calms down and falls back to sleep in a matter of seconds.

Meanwhile, I, am going crazy and so I’ve been reviewing the likely culprits.

1.  Overstimulated/overtired: his grandparents came during the day and there is never any shortage of stimulation when they are with the baby and he is awake.  Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, an overstimulated baby usually leads to a cranky overtired baby especially when the baby in question fights off sleep.  But you know, even as I write these lines, I know that overstimulation is not this evening’s problem.

2.  Milk flow issues: I can’t help but wonder, when my son is squirming and screaming at the breast, if the problem might be with my milk.  Do I have too little?  Is the milk flow too slow?  Is it too fast?  Is he getting too much foremilk and is eager to get to the rich creamy stuff?  However, I know that this evening the problem isn’t in the quantity or flow of the milk.  After all, we are changing many wet diapers a day.  He’s gaining weight nicely (his clothing and my arm muscles can attest to that).   I’ve taken care of the foremilk/hindmilk imbalance by feeding from the same breast twice before switching to the next.  Plus, he’s not coughing and spluttering as  he’s drinking.

3.  Gas:  You’ll notice I’ve kept this for last.  Fact is, I know that this is the real problem.  When he’s in my arms, not only can I feel the gas bubbles in his tummy but I can hear them as well.  When I put him down in his crib, I know he is awoken by the gas as I can hear the farts resounding as he clenches his fists and works hard  to push out the bubbles that are causing him so much discomfort.

It’s frustrating because I feel like there’s nothing I can do about it but hold him.  I mean, when he started having tummy issues a few weeks back, I started burping him after every nursing session.  Then, I started doing it mid-session too.  I’ve cut out certain foods from my diet,  I’ve done tummy massages, I’ve used a magic bag, I “bicycle” his legs…it seems like nothing is working.  It’s frustrating because this nighttime problem started out of the blue.  He’s always had gas, but he’s always fallen back asleep quickly during the night.  Right now, I’m eager for the 22nd of January to come up; not only will he be two months old, but he’s seeing his pediatrician.  I just hope the problem resolves itself before then.  If not, I hope I can at least keep a handle on my sanity; there is no way I can be even remotely close to functioning with the little sleep I’ve been getting these past two nights.

6:40 am.  It’s as good a time as any to try for the umpteenth time to get him (and myself( to bed I suppose.

Wish me luck…

Posted in Uncategorized

The Ten Hardest Things About Being A New Mom

I’ve been reflecting lately about how motherhood has changed my life completely.  Among all the joy and high notes, there are some really hard parts.  Listed below are what I consider to be the ten most difficult aspects of motherhood.

10.  A shower?  Hum, doesn’t ring a bell.  

I wouldn’t swear it on my son’s head, but I’m pretty sure I’ve had less showers in the past five weeks (gosh, time flies!) than my son has had baths.  Where showering used to be a necessity, it has now become a luxury.  But it’s ok, my baby doesn’t mind a stinky milk-covered mommy.

9.  Diaper bag?  Check.  Car seat?  Check.

It used to be that going out of the house was as easy as getting dressed and getting out.  Nowadays, I have to remember to get the diaper bag (and remember to check it is stocked up), grab the car seat, strap my son in, dress him and cover him up (it’s winter here, folks!), get dressed quickly so he doesn’t get too hot and lug him out the door as I fish the keys out of my pocket and juggle with everything while crossing my fingers that I haven’t forgotten anything.

8.  “Sleep when he sleeps” is good advice, in theory…

What about the sanity-keeping “me time”?  What about the meals (because my partner and I definitely do not live on breast milk)?  What about the dishes?  And the laundry?  And the… (you get the picture!).

7.  Oh s***, it all over his back!

Who knew putting a diaper correctly was such a challenging affair?  I’ve stopped counting the number of times we’ve had to change the clothes with the diaper because it wasn’t attached snugly enough and my son’s #2 ended up everywhere except his diaper.

6.  Didn’t I just wash that?

It’s amazing how much laundry the little guy can produce.  I swear, he’s worse than a teenaged girl on boosted hormones (there was a time where my little sister could change four times in a day and obviously, she would place her hardly dirty clothes in the laundry basket).  Of course, throw in some washable diapers (because they’re eco. friendly, less costly in the long run and just dang cute) and you get even more laundry!

5.  The first week: where pain meets motherhood

Besides being completely exhausted from the actual delivery, from being up seemingly constantly to nurse (or feed) your baby and (let’s be honest here) from spending the time your newborn actually sleeps by fondly looking at him and marveling at the fact that he came out of you, your southern parts are probably rather tender.  When going to the washroom seems like a near-impossible feat because the word “stool” sounds like the scariest word in the world and you’re swollen and tender from the (likely) sutures that make sitting down and getting out of bed seem like activities worthy of the Olympics, it’s a hard time to be a mother.

4.  The three-hour window

Three hours may seem like a long time, but when this laps of time represents the window of time between your baby’s initial feeding and the next time he’ll be hungry, it’s short.  Timing is everything when you have to go out or take care of some housework.  But you get used to it after a while.

3.  You’ve met Dr. Jeckyl, now meet Mr. Hyde

I’ve talked about this in another post before, but it seems that just as you think you’ve got a handle on your baby’s needs and can predict how he will be during the day, he throws a curve ball at you and you have to relearn what makes him tick.

2.  Ok so he said…  But now she says…

In the world wide web is tangled a sea of information on child rearing and baby care.  Of course, everyone is entitled to their (professional or personal) opinion, but the perfectionist in me finds it almost unbearably frustrating that one specialist/parent always seems to contradict the next.  “Let him sleep, he’ll wake on his own if he’s hungry”, “Make sure you feed him every three hours even if it means waking him”, “At one month of age, your newborn becomes an infant”, “Actually it’s at six weeks”, “A newborn becomes an infant at three months”… So confusing!

1.  Baby translator broken

Sometimes, when my son’s crying his heart out and I can’t seem to do anything about it, I look at him and ask him where he put the instruction manual.  Though he rarely (read: never) laughs at the bad joke, asking him out loud helps to remind me that babies just don’t come with a user’s guide. 

I did, however come across a blogger that talked about a woman who had learned to understand the universal language (5 “words”) babies spoke.  Now, I know that “Neh” means hunger, “Eh” means “I need to burp” and “Eairh” means “my tummy hurts” (we hear these three a lot) and that “Heh” means I’m uncomfortable and “Ow” means “I’m tired”.  Though the first three are easy enough to hear and distinguish on their own (ie. when you baby isn’t crying his heart out), the cries unfortunately don’t typically come in neat little packages.  I mean, what’s a mother to do when he baby is mixing up a few “words” together (think: EairhEairhNehEhEairhNehNeh!).

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How about you, what would be in your top ten?