Archive | July 2014

Mom’s Night Out

Mommyhood can be lonely and overwhelming if you stay at home all day and every day. That’s why I try to get out and about as much as I can!

This week, I went to a Mommy and Me class, a Mom’s Night Out, and a Baby Sign Language Class. Sounds busy? It is. But I love it!

The first couple weeks after my daughter was born, I remember thinking that I understood why people tend to think their life is over after a child- you can’t sleep, eat or do anything you want when you want. And you can’t really entertain friends the way you once could unless they don’t mind the inevitable interruptions- having to nurse baby, change baby, rock baby to sleep, etc.

You life changes after a baby no doubt; but in no way is it “over.” It’s a new adventure everyday!

I started taking my daughter out and about shortly after she was born. And once she hit the 4-week mark, I started going to Mommy and Me classes (now called Babies and Their Grown Ups) once a week.  The first time I went, I felt as if I had  climbed a mountain! Ok, that’s exaggerating a bit but I really did feel like I accomplished something big.

I was apprehensive about taking her out all by myself. I hadn’t even carried her in the car seat up until that point because I was recovering from the delivery. Needless to say there were some hiccups on the road. First off, moms don’t really have to lift weights because lugging around a diaper bag, purse, baby in car seat and baby’s stuff (up and down the stairs) is quite a muscle-building experience. And if you have a bulky stroller like mine, it adds to the exercise.

Once I got on-site, I had to call my husband to figure out how to take our baby’s car seat out of the stroller!  Luckily he picked up the phone because I was scared my baby would end up sitting in the stroller for the whole class.  Awkward. Anyway, my baby was the only one who cried during that particular class. In her defense, she was also the youngest newborn/infant there. But as a first time mom who is not used to holding a baby wailing at the top of her lungs while everyone nearby turns to look at you…I felt less put together than all the moms around me. Still, when I got home that day I felt like I had just had my first bout of independence after baby…and with it, came the realization that I could do it. I was no longer afraid of venturing out in the world with her. I had gained some confidence in my new role as a mother.

I gradually got the hang of packing up the baby’s things (burp cloths, swaddle blankets, diapers, wash cloths, extra onesie, bottle, toy, etc) and putting her in the car seat and going out with her. And my daughter also got a routine down. Things are much smoother now and continue to get easier each day. I also learned the other moms in the class are not as put together as I thought in the mind…many of them are just like me, figuring things out along the way or making it up as they go. I realized that no matter how many classes you go to or how many books you read…no parent knows it all.

But the best way to learn is to talk to other moms.

With that in mind, I also joined the MOMS CLUB. Moms Offering Moms Support, or MOMS CLUB, is an international organization with local chapters everywhere. For new moms or stay at home moms, this group is even more special. The club offers play dates, field trips, holiday parties, Mom’s Nights Out, Book Clubs, Cooking Clubs, etc for almost every day of the month! Check out this story I did on them for more information.

I recently went to a local Moms Night Out. I haven’t had the chance to get close to anyone in the MOMS Club so wasn’t sure what to expect. I ended up having a great time! It was just what I needed. Put a bunch of moms together in a room and it doesn’t even matter if you know anyone or not- it’s an instant sisterhood. These are women who get you, who understand why you might smell like spit up or why staying home with baby all day feels like more work than a full time job. They also understand why despite what it may sound like, it’s such a magical experience that we would do it all over again. We chatted and laughed for hours over some dessert fondue. And the best part- I learned so much more about parenting and babies from these moms in a few hours than I would have on google or by reading (which I don’t have much time to do).

I also discovered our local library has a weekly Story Time just for babies! They offer Baby Sign Language classes on days when they don’t do story-time. This was another fun experience to see 30+ parents out with their babies and singing along to baby songs while our little ones watched and played on their floor mats.

So…mommyhood doesn’t have to be lonely. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are so many fun classes, clubs, and activities you can participate in with your child along with the support of other moms. Parenthood is an adventure of a lifetime (if you let it be)! And while you’re on this ride you form a bond unlike any other with your child(ren) and that in itself is priceless.

Getting used to the car seat rides :-)

Getting used to the car seat rides 🙂

Movie Recommendation: Moms Night Out (released May 2014)

Sample topics in “Mommy and Me” Classes:

Infant CPR, Fitness for New Parents, Infant Massage, Colds and Flu, Stroller Hikes, etc.

 

 

 

Colic Baby?

We were convinced our baby had colic during the first two weeks of her life. I had not even heard of the word ‘colic’ until after she was born but I was convinced she had it.

Her fussy crying spells began our first night at the hospital post-delivery. She seemed inconsolable… we checked her diaper, we fed her, burped her, tried putting her to sleep, we held her, rocked her, but nothing worked! The nurse on duty eventually paged a pediatrician because our baby wasn’t calming down. The pediatrician suggested giving her formula since it was possible she wasn’t getting enough milk right away. We thought…whew that’s over!

But the crying spells happened almost every night those first ten days or so. And my husband and I were operating on almost no sleep which didn’t help. We were worried something was wrong…that it’s not normal for a baby to cry so much.

I talked to other moms and practiced their suggestions. Some told me to do warm massages on her tummy, others told me to use gas drops, and that gripe water would do the trick once she was two weeks old. I hadn’t even heard of gripe water before but I was willing to try anything that would help my baby.

I remember it was the fourth night of her life when she seemed inconsolable for 9.5 straight hours all night long. The best thing we did was visit her pediatrician that morning. She taught us how to soothe our baby and assured us the crying was normal. In fact, the more we talked to other parents…the more we were assured. Apparently, we were not alone.

Here is what I learned: A baby is usually termed colic if he or she cries at least 3 hours a day…three days a week…three weeks in a row. Colic usually starts at 2 weeks and peaks at 6 weeks. It lasts about three months. Colic is typically worse in the evening hours.

Our baby obviously had not reached the 2-week stage when we were thinking she had colic. We also thought she might have gas or reflux but since she only cried at night we leaned more toward colic. (apparently many of us parents settle for this label when we can’t think of anything else it could be)

At the doctor’s office we learned about horror stories of babies crying for three plus hours every single day for 3 months. We thought, oh no…is that what we’re in for?

But things got better when we started practicing The 5 S’s:
Swaddling (wrapping baby tightly), Shushing (saying SHHHHHH loudly in her ear while rocking her and/or playing loud white noise), Swinging (rocking her), Side (laying her on her side), Sucking (giving her the pacifier- although they tell you to wait a month some babies are natural suckers and unless you want to breast feed all day this is a great help)

Apparently, we were swaddling baby all wrong and doing the shhhhh technique incorrectly as well. Believe it or now, unless you do these things the right way they’re not really effective. And usually a combination of these will calm a fussy or crying baby given you have already satisfied baby’s basic needs (fed her, changed her, held her, burped her, bundled her)

Other things that help calm our baby:

  • putting her in a car seat and driving around (this was great the first couple of weeks)
  • burping her properly and keeping her upright for about half an hour after feeding
  • perhaps the best $17 investment we made was buying a bouncy exercise ball. We have been using that every day to rock her to sleep and when nothing else works, that always calms her down. We just hold her in our arms and bounce or move on the exercise ball a little (great easy way for moms to burn calories too!)
  • the Ergo with the Infant Carrier also tends to usually rock our baby to sleep. Simply wearing it whether we’re indoors or outdoors does the trick
  • When it comes to Pacifiers, our nurses told us not to use the Orthodontic ones we had picked up from Babies R Us. At the hospital they gave us a huge green circular pacifier. We thought it was ugly and picked up some pretty ones. But what ended up working for our baby is the big circular newborn pacifiers with a straight nipple (the same green one we got at the hospital). I’ve now bought a bunch of them and she won’t take any other kind. I’ve learned when it comes to baby…comfort matters most.

So did our baby really have colic? I’m not sure because the fussy crying spells stopped after about two weeks. She even sleep-trained herself at 5 weeks. Perhaps, she was just new to the world and we were learning the ropes as new parents. Maybe we both just needed time to learn about each other. I know my husband and I took all the classes, we’ve both been working with kids for years, but nothing prepared us for the actual experience of taking care of a newborn child 24/7 until we had to.

Exercise Ball- great for bouncing and rocking baby to sleep

Exercise Ball- great for bouncing and rocking baby to sleep

Pacifier- sucking helps baby soothe herself

Pacifier- sucking helps baby soothe herself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a book I wish I had read before my delivery: “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Harvey Karp. It reviews the 5 S’s in depth and teaches you how to better understand and take care of baby.