Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Breaking "The" Rules

When I was pregnant I had a certain mind set of how life with baby was going to be. There were going to be things that I just knew I would not compromise on. For example:

1. She was going to be strictly breastfeed for at least six months.
2. No sleeping with the us IN the bed or on her stomach.
3. No "spoiling" her by constant holding (by myself or family members).
4. No pacifiers

The list could go on and on. However, I can now humbly say that I honestly had no idea what I was talking about. I thought that by reading all these articles, blogs, and baby books that I was prepared for my little River. HA! While yes, I was "prepared" for her to some extent, I most certainly wasn't prepared for how exhausting a newborn baby can be, and how by the second week you're willing to do just about anything to get her little butt to sleep for at least four hours straight during the night.

Well, here we are almost into week three and I have successfully broken all (probably) of my rules.

1. Breastfeeding went out the window in the first week.

2. By week two, River was taking naps on her tummy (although I still put her on her back at night just to be safe). I'm also guilty of letting her catnap with me in the bed during the day.

3. Have YOU ever tried to tell a new grandma to put the baby down so she won't be spoiled? Or would you rather keep your mouth shut (like me) and tip toe quietly into your bedroom so you can get some quick shut eye while she's fawning over your little love? Yeah, that's what I thought.

4. Psh. Second night into the world, River had a binkie in her mouth and I haven't looked back since.

Like I said, every new mommy rule I had made pre-birth has been broken or proven to be obsolete for us. And the real kicker? I don't feel guilty or bad over it. Because I'm finding out that only you as their parent truly knows what's best for your baby. Does this mean I don't take advice? Heck no. I constantly ask my own mother a million questions a day. But I pick and choose what I want to follow or what I think will work best for us. 

And with letting go of all of my "rules" I've become more relaxed and able to just enjoy being a new mom. Because that's really what it's supposed to be about right now- simply soaking up every ounce of time I get to spend with her and love on her. I'll never get this time back, so why waste it on a rigid schedule and crazy ideas that don't really work for us anyway?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a little munchkin to cuddle up with and read to.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Being a New Mom: Formula, Insomnia, and Baby Blues!

Well, River (and my husband and I for that matter) have survived the first two weeks of her coming into the world!

It's been an amazing two weeks. I'm so in love with her, and the more time that passes, the more comfortable I feel in my new role as a Mom. In fact, I don't think I have ever felt more comfortable in any role in my entire life as I do with this one. After the first week, something inside of me just snapped into place that made me realize I was going to be awesome at this. Hopefully ;)

But, there has definitely been some surprises and melt-downs (because I'm not a cyborg and every new parent out there is entitled to MULTIPLE melt-downs). First off, there was the whole breast-feeding fiasco. Pre-birth I was so "devoted" to breast-feeding. There was no way my sweet baby was going on formula. Period. Because everyone knows breast is best, right? Well, turns out it wasn't right for us. River had the worst time latching on for several different reasons. The second night in the hospital that she was screaming crying (and not sleeping), I caved and asked for a bottle. I was completely torn because I did not want to go to formula, but at the same time, my baby was hungry and I felt like she needed to eat. It was the first time I threw out the "rules" and went with my mommy instinct. And guess what? She slept peacefully for a good four + solid hours. When we came home, I was still trying to breast-feed, but after a few days (of constant crying and not sleeping) it just got to the point where I was an emotional mess. I was still trying to recover from giving birth and having some major baby blues, top all that off with being the only source of food for a newborn and I just crashed into major stress land. Finally, I decided that breast was not best for either of us. She could tell that I was a basket case and it was causing her tension. When I switched over to formula completely, things became so much simpler for us. She slept ten times better because she was actually getting enough food. Not only that, but my husband could now split feedings with me so that I could get some rest and be a better parent for her, and he got to bond with her over feedings (because there is nothing more sweet than your baby looking up into your eyes when your feeding them). Of course, I still felt some mommy guilt over it (how could I not when almost everyone out there talks about how amazing breast-feeding is for your baby), but in the end I realized that the only two people who knew what was best for River ultimately was my husband and me. After that, things got better.

Being sleep deprived was another challenge for us, but at least that one was expected. In all honesty though, I think we kind of lucked out on this one- at least for now. From day one of bringing her home we set River into a bedtime routine. Around 9:40 she gets a bath (or in the beginning a sponge bath), gets a bottle, and then we all snuggle up in bed to read a story. After that she gets swaddled up and placed in her bassinet (complete with ocean sounds blasting) beside the bed by 11:00 pm and is asleep until 2:00 or 3:00 am. Zack gets up for these middle of the night feedings where he changes her diaper, gives her a bottle, and then puts her straight back to bed. She's not up again until 6:30 am. I mean, don't get me wrong, I miss having a full nights sleep, but at this point I'm not jumping up at every little noise she makes anymore, and I feel like I'm getting enough rest to function during the day.

Despite going on formula, the sleep deprivation, and of course, the baby blues, things have been wonderful for us. It's amazing to see River growing every day and I have never felt more empowered in my life. I gave birth to this beautiful human being who is growing into a real person. It's mind blowing.

This coming up week though, I hope to be able to actually go out on a date with my husband and leave River with one of her grandparents for a few hours. I don't know if it's going to happen or not, because I'm still struggling with the idea of not being with her 24/7, but I know it needs to happen. And, it would be really nice for the hubs and I to have a date night and reward ourselves for bringing our awesome little human into the world.

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