While we were expecting Mike and I made some decisions about how we would go about this parenting gig. Luckily, we agreed on nearly everything. We have had the opportunity to watch lots sisters and friends head down this path before us, we took lots of mental notes what we like, what we don’t and came up with a few things.
1. No co-sleeping
2. Breastfeed at any and all cost
From the first night we were home with Nathan he has slept in his crib. This is something I am proud of because it has been hard. I know I would have slept longer and better had I not been in his room rocking him to sleep, over, and over, and over. But, I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of him in our bed for several reasons. One, safety. I don’t think he’d actually fall out or either of us would roll over on him but you never know, and that slight possibility was enough to keep rocking. Two, attachment issues from both me and him. I know that attachment parenting is a big trend right now but its not for me. I don’t want this kid in my bed for 5 years because he’s suffering from separation anxiety in the next room. (don’t blast me if your into this, thats fine if it works for you, its just not for us) Our Christmas vacation made this so hard. We slept in 7 locations over our 18 day trip, he slept cribs in a B&B and a hotel, two different pack n’ plays on a futon all in the same room as us (with the exception of the futon) he is loud and grunty and squirmy. Also, I fed him in bed since there wasn’t a rocking chair so laying down to feed and dozing off would have been so easy, and sweet. But, I didn’t. I sat up to feed, rocked on the bed, placed him back down. He didn’t do well, he realized we were not at home and wasn’t himself when it came time to sleep, we didn’t sleep much and a few times Mike intervened and held him while he slept. Now that we are home and hes back in his room, I’m so darn glad that this is one decision we have stuck with. He is back in his room where he can grunt and kick and talk in his sleep all he wants while Mom and Dad are resting in peace.
Breastfeeding, my holy hell this is a touchy topic. I wanted to b-f Nathan because I have boobs. It’s that simple, I went thru the trouble of carrying him for 38 weeks, why not finish up what I started and destroy them as well? Ha! But in all seriousness, this was and is very important to me. I was terrified, out of 3 sisters (1 mine 2 Mikes) 2 of them didn’t have the supply needed and moved to formula, I knew this could be a reality so I went in with a come hell or high water attitude. Honestly, I got lucky. Nathan was born on Saturday and my milk was in Monday morning, and boy was there plenty of it. I realize this now, the first 2 weeks I would have thrown in the towel and paid a wet nurse if there were such thing anymore. It was beyond hard. In fact, I am more proud of breastfeeding than I am of giving birth. The pain you have to endure is much more than just the obvious, there is shooting and radiating pain thru your shoulders, back and arms. I felt dizzy and nauseous during every feeding, I cried almost everytime. Shook my fist at the universe, why is this so hard. But, I stuck with it, ate well and drank gallons and gallons of water and it worked. This commitment is insane, it owns you but after a while you get the hang of it and can actually get out of the house once and a while, and, if your baby will take a bottle and the boob? Then your set, sort of. You can leave the house but can you hold the bottle for the baby in the back seat while driving? It’s all hard. I won’t even get started on the pain that is a clogged duct which happens after you think you are in the clear, supply established and good to go. Or so you though. The good news is once your skin gets used to it its wonderful. It’s great, it’s just you and your baby bonding just like everyone promises and now we both really enjoy it. It wasn’t natural at first but we got there and it was worth the work.
Last was the Relax bit. If you have been reading this crap for anytime at all you know that I am a control freak. I over analyze, over research, beat the dead horse, all of it! I decided to chill a bit and use my head not a book when it came to how we deal with this baby business. I do have What to expect the first year, but thats it. One book. 1! I bought about 10 pregnancy books and read them all, cover to cover. I learned a lot, but I got confused a lot too. Information over load, conflicting advise and total burnout. We are just doing what feels right and works for us and for Nathan. I have consulted Moxie a few times to see what is going on and learned when to expect growth spurts and other things that I hadn’t considered. Now, I’m not saying that I won’t eventually go out and buy another book, but I’m just not interested in one way of doing things, not all attachment, or all crying it out, or all insert-newest-parenting-trend-here. We just want to enjoy this and go with what makes since to us. So far, its working but I’m not such a hard ass that I won’t find help or suggestions when we need them, I just don’t want some book telling me what to do or how to do it. I want to trust my gut, if that fails then we go from there.
So, 3 things we decided and 3 things we have stuck to. None of which have been easy, not by a long shot but I am so proud that the hard work is taking. Nathan is happy and thriving and just the most social and sweet baby you could ever hope for. I’d like to think that comes from the Relax part, who knows. I do know that a happy and now well rested baby makes very happy sort of rested parents. Just look at the payoff…