Trying out my first link up post today! With "Toddle Along Tuesday" over at Growing Up Geeky:
#1 - I'd never co-sleep or let my baby sleep anywhere other than on her back in her crib - It wasn't that I was against the concept - I was just TERRIFIED .. TERRIFIED .. of SIDS or of squashing my baby in my sleep. Around 3 months old this went out the window. The sh*t hit the fan and her sleep at night was TERRIBLE. The last straw was one particular night where I spent 2 hours trying to get her to go down for the night, only to have her wake up less than 15 minutes later upset and impossible to re-settle! That night I brought her into the bed with me and never looked back. I half-heartedly believe the toxic mattress offgassing theory as a cause of SIDS so that night I debated pulling her Naturepedic Organic Cradle Mattress into the bed with me and laying her on top of it. I settled for swaddling her as usual and then laying her on top of the comforter - usually a co-sleeping no-no because it can be too fluffy - and curling my body around her. (I believe one of the reasons for her poor sleep is that she gets very itchy from her eczema and I have to pretty much pin her legs down at night between my legs. She also still has to be swaddled, even at almost 7 months of age.)
I wish I hadn't been so afraid in the beginning - I could have gotten more sleep if I had been willing to bring her into bed with me, or at least let her sleep in the swing or the carseat. Some nights I would get very close to putting her in the swing to sleep and then thoughts of SIDS would petrify me and I would stay up with her half the night instead - a small price to pay for a safe baby! - I told myself. I was doing OK with the lack of sleep and was too paranoid to let her sleep any other way but where the advice said to! I even hauled the cradle downstairs when she was about a month old, and spent a week sleeping on the couch where I could watch TV instead of teasing myself with a warm and comfortable bed that I couldn't sleep in. I was determined to help her to sleep in the cradle instead of only in my arms - and after a week of this - it worked! For a few months she would sleep decently - sleeping anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours - and I didn't mind having to get up and nurse her because she would let me put her down fairly easily. From time to time I would google about babies sleeping on their tummies safely, and babies sleeping in their car seat safely, but would find one little story about someone's neice or neighbor that passed from SIDS that way and I would scurry back to the safety of my "flat on her back, in the cradle" method. I got to memorize the middle of the night TV land schedule, and would spend hours reading mommy blogs & CafeMom on my iTouch while she finished nursing and fell asleep. Looking back - it is crazy to say - I do miss those times. You don't believe it when they say it - but I really do!
But once I went back to work I could no longer function on 2 hours of sleep, or nap to catch up during the day. This is the same exact time that her wake up times went from maybe every 1-2 hours to every 45 minutes at least. And it was taking forever to get her to stay asleep in the cradle after I set her down (she would fall asleep nursing and often wake up once she was set down). Our strategy was no longer working. I experimented with the pick up - put down method & the sshhhh - pat method. None of those things really worked. She was already swaddled, and we already had white noise on. She just wouldn't sleep soundly and I felt so terrible - and tired! I even attempted "supervised" CIO a few times where I didn't leave the room - but it just didn't feel right. Nothing really worked until we started bed-sharing. There are times when I wish that she would sleep in the cradle or crib - in fact I tried again last night out of curiousity - and it ALMOST worked - she was half asleep - but then she got frustrated and I laid her down next to me and she was so content to be snuggled up against me that I just thought to myself "why didn't I want this?" Now I won't lie - there are times when she is so squirmy and won't go to sleep - and I need to put her in the carseat and have my husband rock her to sleep in that so I can get a break and stretch out my limbs! (The position I have to sleep in, curled around her with her legs between mine so she doesn't wake herself up, is not very comfortable after many hours stuck that way) But for the most part bedtime is not a battle anymore. Nursing at night is so much easier once you master the side-lying position - another thing I thought I would never be able to do! That leads us in to number 2..
#2 - I'd never breastfeed in public - Simply put, I was scared to: people can be nasty. And fumbling around with a stupid cover can be annoying. It took me until Mia was about 5 months old to get up the nerve to breastfeed in public for the first time. Someone gave me an apron style nursing cover and I used it once at a mommy meetup at someone's house, as I saw other mamas doing the same and I felt more comfortable. But the apron cover was awful - it didn't cover anything and was hard to adjust baby and latch on - especially since I use a shield. The first time we were actually, really, truly in PUBLIC We were at an Easter brunch at BJ's and I had found the *PERFECT* cover. The Covillow - (Covillow - Breastfeeding Cover & Pillow In One) which not only covers around the sides, front, and back but also has a built-in pillow. Why aren't all nursing covers like this?? Why are they all apron style?? That is super annoying. But anyway, I digress. I've since nursed in public (with cover) at the zoo, the mall, a vineyard, and at home when my brother-in-law is visiting. Twice have I nursed WITHOUT the cover - at an outdoor mommy & me yoga meetup where other moms were doing so and I felt more comfortable - and at an outdoor LLL meeting. This is something I hope to get more comfortable with - both with or without the cover - as time goes on. It is much more freeing than having to worry about pumping beforehand, or nursing in the car, the dressing room, or regrettably - even once in the bathroom (at a car dealership while waiting to finish the sale).
#3 - I'd never use regular diapers - Ok this one I got halfway accomplished! When I was pregnant I set out on a mission to use cloth diapers for Mia. Everyone told me I was crazy and the laundry would be too much extra work. I didn't mind, and it still sounded like the better option for my baby. I did HOURS of research and selected the system I thought would work best for me. (Thirsties Snap Duo covers) and prefolds. When baby actually came however, she HATED diaper changes and would scream the entire time. The husband and I would struggle with the 2-part system and how to properly put it on her. I felt awful. When we did manage to get them on her correctly they were way too big on her and looked very uncomfortable. She couldn't even sit in the carseat correctly. So we scrapped that plan for the time being and stocked up on the next best thing I could find - Seventh Generation diapers. Fast forward about a month and I decided to try again - but no matter how I tried it - they leaked! And if you know anything about cloth diapers they are NOT supposed to leak. Frustrated, I scrapped the whole project once again. I probably would have picked it back up by now and tried some other systems like pocket diapers or AIOs but then this whole eczema thing popped up, and then I went back to work, and the time to try a new system has just never happened yet. I still have hope though! And we do use washcloths in place of baby wipes and have to do THAT laundry all the time anyway, so adding the diapers in wouldn't be a huge leap.
#4 - I'd never be one of THOSE parents that thought it was cute to give a baby an iPad Umm.. seriously what was I thinking? In the survival mode of the first few weeks & months I found myself using my fairly new iPod Touch which I had never really had a use for before. It was great for checking e-mail, Facebook, and reading blogs & news articles while nursing and staying up all night with a newborn baby! Slowly however, we started to realize it was great for Mia to use as well! She can watch Baby Enstein on it, play with a Baby Piano app on it, and we can play music videos for her on it. In fact that Baby Piano app will calm her down when NOTHING else will. It's gotten us through many a car ride home where she is screaming her head off and wants OUT that SECOND. As long as I keep pressing the piano keys she is mesmorized. That and she has a certain Youtube music video that she will stare at for hours - even though the picture is just of a green dinosaur and the song is a Skrillex dubstep mix! I don't know what it is about that song/dinosaur picture but she loves it so much we are considering having pink dinosaurs be her 1st Birthday theme! That and the fascination with the Baby Piano app make me wonder if I have a future musician on my hands! We now have a (Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Apptivity Case for the iPod) so that she can satisfy her urge to put EVERTHING in her mouth the very SECOND she lays hands on it! They make them for the iPad too but we don't have one of those yet. My SIL has one though and reports that Mia is similarly fascinated with the flying space cat that just sings "meow meow meow" over and over again. So yeah. IPods & IPads for babies & toddlers? I'm now a believer..
Ok now for a few things that I DID accomplish that I said I would!
- #1 - Have a totally natural birth and labor mostly at home (check!)
- #2 - Breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months (check! and still going strong)
- #3 - Keep my baby's chemical exposure to a minimum (check! even more so due to her eczema)