Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Things They Don't Tell You About Caring for an Infant, Part 4

The final installment of the series:

There are plenty of things to learn about caring for an infant, but the things you need to know most are in this post.  Please read it!

1) You're never going to know exactly how to handle each situation that arises.  You can research, ask your friends, or ask your mom, but the most important thing is that you do what feels right to you.

2) Each child is different. Your first baby probably won't behave, sleep, eat or be comforted in the same way your second child will.  Part of being a good parent is recognizing that and observing what does work for each child.

3) Cherish the time that your baby is an infant.  It's hard at times (like when you're up in the middle of the night for a third feeding), but before long your "baby" will be two and you'll long for the days where all she wanted was for you to hold her. 

4) Take pictures at every opportunity.  You'll be amazed at how quickly they change and how quickly you forget what they were like before they changed. 

5) When all else fails and you're at wit's end, put the baby in the crib or in a safe place and go to another room.  Take deep breaths, take a shower, read the Bible, pray.  Do whatever you need to do to calm yourself down and refocus on your purpose.  It may seem cruel to leave baby to cry, but he'll be better off if you go away and return as a happier, calmer Mommy. 

6) When you have an infant, your house will probably be a mess, the laundry will probably be piled up and you may not have showered in a day or two.  This is part of being a good mom.  The laundry and the cleaning can wait.  Spending time with your baby and taking care of her needs are what is most important.  He won't be so needy forever and the time you spend with him helps teach him that he is loved and that you can be trusted.

7) Spend time praying for your child(ren) and for your ability to be a good mom.  It's amazing how prayer can help keep your head together and keep you focused on the good things.  Being a mom isn't as easy as some people make it look!

8) Spend time talking to other moms and reading blogs written by moms who will be real about being a mommy.  It will help you remember that you're not the only one!

9) Once baby is old enough that you can get away for an hour or two, do it! Having some time away will make you love your baby even more when you return, will help keep you from being depressed from being stuck in the house all the time and will help you find an identity for yourself other than "Mommy."

10) Remember that you aren't perfect.  You're not supposed to be.  Even when you're a "seasoned" mom, you will still make mistakes.  We're human.  The redeeming factor, however, is that God is full of grace and mercy. He's constantly making us into the person/mommy we're supposed to be. Don't give up on yourself; God hasn't!

22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
-Lamentations 3:22-23

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Things They Don't Tell You About Caring for an Infant, Part Three

The Things They Don't Tell You About Caring for an Infant, Part 3...FINALLY!

Part one focused on the early days with baby, part two focused on breastfeeding and part three will focus on sleep! My sleep experiences with my two kids have been vastly different, so hopefully I'll be able to encourage you that your kid is normal too:)

1) The first six weeks are generally the worst, but every kid is different. After the first six weeks, Kate was waking less frequently to eat. Four and five hour stretches felt amazing. Then around 2 to 2 1/2 months, she was sleeping a full 10-12 hours at night. Jackson has had a few nights where he's slept 8-10 hours, but even at 8 months old he's still getting up once or twice at night. Some of this is due to growth spurts and teething, but he's so different than Kate that I can't help but be frustrated by it at times. Another possible reason behind this is the difference between formula fed Kate and breastfed Jack. Breast milk is digested easier and quicker, leading to hungry bellies faster. Just a fact.

2) Putting a baby down to sleep or nap early is better than letting baby get too tired. Eventually, you'll be able to notice baby's sleep cues early enough to catch him at the right time. For Jack, an hour and fifteen minutes after he wakes up is when he needs to go down for his morning nap. If I wait too long, he will cry forever before falling asleep.

3) Unless you're planning to co-sleep, the baby will sleep better in her own bed. We moved Kate to her own bed around 8 weeks and Jackson around 5 months. Their sleeping improved dramatically. It's still important to keep baby close when she's up eating constantly in the night, but those days won't last forever. There are also studies that show the risk of SIDS is lowered when baby is sleeping in the same room as Mom and Dad, though. I know I just contradicted myself in a way, but you need to know the facts before you decide what's best for you.

4) You may have heard it before, but it really is best to put baby down awake at nap and bed times. Sometimes that might mean baby cries, but trust me--he'll sleep better because of it.

5) Babies often sleep better with a source of constant noise--like a fan, humidifier or noise machine.

6) Babies love to know that Mommy is near. Sleep with their favorite blanket for a couple nights or swaddle baby in the t-shirt you wore during the day. Your scent will help comfort her.

7) With your first, you really can sleep when baby sleeps. If you have more than one, it's not so easy. Don't be afraid to ask someone to come sit with your kids so you can sleep. Don't be afraid to let Daddy watch them for an hour in the evening so you can get some zzz's. Sleep will help you be a better Mommy. Trust me.

8) If you are comfortable co-sleeping, your baby may sleep for longer periods of time because she is near you. Co-sleeping is especially easier for breastfed babies, if baby will nurse while lying down.

9) Swaddling definitely helps little babies sleep better. Once baby is big enough to squirm out of a swaddle, though, sleep sacks are very helpful in keeping baby a little more snug and keeping him warm.

10) Room darkening curtains that block out the sunlight are a huge help in encouraging baby to sleep--especially if you don't want to be awake as soon as the sun rises!

Part four will hopefully be around next week, where I'll discuss issues such as teething and illness! See you then!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We're back: An update on the kids!

Well, I'm finally back this time. It's been a crazy couple weeks, and I'm thankful that this one should be normal.
Last Sunday, Jack turned 8 months old. I feel like the months are flying by. So, quick update on Jack:
  • He's crawling like it's his job.
  • He's decided crawling up the stairs is fun. Yikes.
  • He's eating everything. Last week, for example, he had smashed potatoes, tilapia and asparagus for dinner one night, then spaghetti the next. Sunday after church, he ate more of Kate's mac and cheese than she did. He's still nursing well, though, which is great.
  • He had his first ear infection last week:(
  • He weighed 19lbs 12 oz (50th percentile) yesterday at his very late 6 month check up. He was 28 1/2 inches long (75th) and his head circumference was 95th percentile. Still growing great--right on track for a breastfed baby.
  • He's cruising around everything he can pull himself up on.
  • He says Ma-ma and Da-da, but not on demand of course!
  • He prefers to steal his sister's sippy cup than use his own.
  • He loves playing with little trucks and cars.
  • His hair is looking increasingly red as it continues to come in. I'm thrilled:)
  • When he's feeling well, he'll sleep through the night. Yay!
He's a sweetie:)
Kate is doing well, too. She has the attitude of a teenager, which is turning my hair gray. We're learning to recognize our letters and numbers and she's doing great. Her favorite food is still Chipotle. This was the first Easter that she understood more of what is going on. She keeps saying, "Jesus died so we could go to heaven?" Anytime she hears a song about heaven, she gets all excited and yells, "We're going to heaven!" It's very sweet. She loves her baby brother and he loves her. They play so well together at this stage that I couldn't be happier. I hope they continue to love each other like they do now!
Later this week, I'm hoping to finally post part three of the current series. No promises, however, with the way the last couple weeks have been! Hope you're all doing well:)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Oh technology!

I'm so sorry about the lack of posting! We've had issues on our computer that prevented me from accessing blogger. Turned out to be a google virus. Kraig "restored the computer to factory settings" last night, and it seems to have done the job. I'm so thankful to have everything back to normal. I don't have time to continue the current series today, but I promise it will happen before the end of the week! We're all doing well and hope you are too!

See you soon!