Now that we've reached the 4 month mark, I finally feel like the fog has lifted and I've had a chance to reflect. Here are a few things I've learned along the way.
Don't read all the baby books.
Reading the book is one thing...trying what they say is another. Feeling like a complete failure when it doesn't work just like the book promises, well, take it from me...it's just not worth it. Do what works best for your situation.
For example: "Put your baby in his/her crib when sleepy/drowsy not asleep. Don't let him/her fall asleep on the breast/bottle, your lap, swing, etc. Start this from the beginning." Oh, how this gave me the most anxiety.
Around 2 months I started this with Jackson and he HATED going down in his crib. He would cry, scream, arch his back. I'm pretty sure there were a few nights when both of us were crying. All I wanted him to do was fall asleep in his crib. After all, that's what the book said to do. They should fall asleep and wake up in the same place...THEIR CRIB. The book promises that if you start this early it will payoff later. I agonized over this. So many nights I hovered over the crib just trying everything I could to get him to fall asleep. Pat, sing, ssshhh. I tried a noise machine. Trent tried. Many, many nights of him crying and then I would give in and rock him to sleep, then feel guilty about not doing what the book said to do. I felt like such a failure for not getting my kid to go to sleep in his crib.
Now, that we've hit the 4 month mark, I can lay Jackson down in his crib when he is drowsy and off to sleep he goes. Don't get me wrong, there are some nights I have to rock him to sleep, but bedtime continues to get better and easier. I realize not every child is the same so who knows, maybe your kid is text book...mine are not!
No blankets in the bed.
My kids just do better wrapped in a blanket. I let their arms free, but wrap their legs tight. Otherwise, they wake themselves up when their legs go jumping. I figure as long as they are swaddled and the blankets aren't loose, they won't get in their face. But now that Brooks is rolling over, if I put a blanket on him I take it off before I go to bed since he rolls all over the crib. Most mornings he is facing the opposite directions of where I placed him.
To Pacifier or Not To Pacifier.
I totally believe in the pacifier. Some say you should take the pacifier away around 3 months because they have short term memory and will never remember it. Yada, Yada, Yada. Brooks loves his pacifier and Jackson sometimes wants it and sometimes doesn't. But when it comes time for bed or they are having a fussy moment, the pacifier saves the day. I figure I'll deal with the consequences of my child having a pacifier later, but until then it makes my life a little easier and quieter!
Sleep deprivation takes a hold of your mood, mind and spirit like nothing I've ever experienced before. However, the beauty is that you are able to push through. Even when you think you can't hold your eyes open one more minute, when you hear your baby cry, you jump to your feet and take care of their needs. It's amazing. Yes, sleep deprivation is taxing, but nothing you can't handle for several months.
I give my babies generic formula. Yes, knock me if you may, but I talked to my pediatrician about it and he said it is perfectly fine. I probably wouldn't have tried it if a Doctor friend hadn't given me a couple weeks supply to try. One look at Brooks and you know he is getting plenty to eat!
I'm a devout Pampers user. I tried Huggies early on and remember not liking them, now I'm not sure of my reasoning. I received a lot of Pampers as gifts and have stuck with them. See my post on diapers for cost saving tips.
I have snap front sleepers and zip-up sleepers. Only go with the zip-up sleepers. Generally, they aren't as cute as the snap front ones, but at 3 AM who cares about cute. The zip-ups are easy and quick. We used fleece ones in the winter and are now wearing the thinner cotton ones. I love the Child of Mine by Carters with the elastic on the feet. Otherwise their feet have a tendency to get lost up in the legs.
Their finger nails grow like crazy. I only wish mine grew that fast. In the beginning I used an emery board, but it didn't get them short enough. Now, I use baby fingernail clippers. I've found that it's best to do it while they are eating (this takes two people, one to feed and the other to trim) or while they are taking a bath. They are very calm in the bath seat, which sits perfectly in my kitchen sink. The "book" says to trim them while they are sleeping, but who wants to risk waking them up!
Baby Shower Gifts
If you are giving clothing as a gift, please also include a necessary item. While its fun to buy and give baby clothes (they are just so darn cute), a shower is to help the parents ramp up for the baby. I know, baby bottles and pacifiers are not that fun to buy, but something everyone needs. Diapers are always a great gift. If you don't know what size to get, go a little big like a size 1 or 2.
Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things and one of the best gifts you can give your child. However, all good things must come to an end and I truly believe the hardest part about stopping is just making the decision to stop. I did it for 3 months, 3 long months. With twins, it was tough, plus my body didn't make enough for two. If I just had one baby, I would have had a freezer full, but with two little mouths to feed, I couldn't handle the demand. Once I gave it up, I felt free, happier (I had a little more of my life back). Kudos to those working Moms that pump at work. I did for a month and that was tough.
So, if you are reading this and you've had your hair in a ponytail for several weeks/months, you're not sure the day of the week, possibly haven't showered in a few days, have spit up all over your clothes, your house is a mess and laundry is piled high, just know that it will get better. Much better. Take it from me, a mother of twins...the fog will soon lift!
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