Super Dad

When I was a little girl, my dad changed my diapers, fed me (even in the middle of the night), got me ready for school, made sure I took my Flinstone vitamins, helped me with my homework and class projects and once, he even made a mini-me doll from scratch for me. She looked exactly like me. Kind of.

Fast forward to today. My husband is eagerly stepping into his role as a ‘daddy.’ And what I’m realizing in the process is that one should never underestimate the role a father plays.

Perhaps, a long time ago, people perceived dads to be the person who brings home the ‘bacon’ and moms to be the one to raise the children. But with education and social progression, these outdated stereotypes have gone out the window.

The distinctions between mom and dad are slowly fading. And it’s beautiful. No longer is it Mommy versus Daddy. Mommy and Daddy are becoming synonymous.

I’m glad to see so many fathers doing just as much as moms nowadays if not more for their children. In certain cultures or places, people may scoff at the men who do dishes, cook, and change diapers. But I think it takes a real man to step up to do whatever it takes to provide for his family – even if it means doing nighttime feeds for baby on a work night.

Super Dads have always existed. But we’re noticing them more now. I see them at the library during Baby Storytime. I see them at Toddler Gym Classes. I see them at parks teaching their kids how to ride a bike. Some are stay-at-home dads and some are working dads. I get so happy when I see them because they remind me of my dad who was juggling being a new dentist while taking care of me in my baby-days/nights. They remind me of my husband who cherishes every chance he gets to spend with our daughter, to the point that he comes home for lunch during his work days just to squeeze in those extra minutes with family.

Dads, you are amazing. And you make a difference.

There’s a saying – “Be the type of man you would want your daughter to be with.” Because of the example my dad set for me, I was able to land a man I am thankful to call my husband and the father of our child.

Dads, you are role models to your children.

When my dad helped my mom at home, I saw them tackling everything from cooking to yard work together as a team… he was showing me gender equality. He was teaching me what respect looks like. He was teaching me about love.

We had a family friend over recently. She’s an older generation mom and she saw my husband washing the dishes while I was taking care of our 1-year old. She told me she had a lot of resentment because her husband didn’t help much with the home or her daughter. It makes me sad to think some dads might miss out on one of the most out-of-this-world experiences one can have.

Dads, you can set the bar high.

Maybe your dad couldn’t be as involved with raising you but don’t let that stop you from being the Super Dad that you are.

I didn’t fully understand the role my father played in raising me until I became a parent myself. It makes me so thankful and appreciative of all dads everywhere…moms do a lot, but let’s never discount our dads! Every dad has a Super Dad inside of him…and amazing things happen when he lets that side out 🙂

My Super Dad

My Super Dad

My Daughter's Super Dad

My Daughter’s Super Dad

 

Flying *Without* Baby

I had not realized how much my life has changed post-baby until recently.

My daughter Amaani is about to turn 1-year old. It was only after doing 14 flights with Amaani and then flying once by myself that it hit me.

I took a day trip for work. I anticipated it being exhausting because I knew I would have to wake up super early in the morning and that I would be coming home late. But it was cake, given what my normal days are like.

The first thing that amazed me was how fast I could get through the airport. I had already checked in online and had a mobile boarding pass. I cruised through security and made it to my gate within 5 minutes.

I had totally forgotten what it’s like to travel without carrying diaper bags and suitcases that had mostly baby stuff and maybe a little bit of my own. I had forgotten what it’s like not to have to dismantle Amaani’s carseat and stroller while carrying her through security. I had forgotten what it’s like not having to worry about changing diapers and feeding baby before and after takeoff. I had forgotten what it’s like not to spend the entire plane ride trying to keep my active daughter in my lap and hopefully not kissing the passenger seats and windows or grabbing people’s food off the tray tables (or in one case, a man’s headphones)

To be completely honest – I felt like I was playing hooky on this day. Hooky from being a mom. I knew my daughter was in great hands so I was carefree, in that sense, about going away for the day.

When I reached my destination, again, I was surprised. I actually had time to do my hair and makeup and I could take my time choosing which dress to put on. Usually, everything I do is interrupted. I tend to getting Amaani ready first and then rush getting ready myself. On this day, I got to take my time. And I did. I even spent time matching my jewelry.

I didn’t have any spit up on me. I didn’t have to clean up any food spills. I didn’t have to worry about my daughter. All of this felt really strange.

It begged the question – did I love my present life or did I miss my old life?

It was a very interesting question. Getting around is definitely faster and easier without a baby. You don’t have to worry about putting her in a carseat or carrying toys that will entertain her.

But when I was on the plane, do you know what I was doing? I was looking at my daughter’s pictures and videos, hearing the sound of her laughter and recordings of her saying “mama.” I was missing my travel buddy who may be a handful but she makes the plane rides go by fast. And she helps me forget about turbulence.

I realized there used to be days when she was a newborn that I would miss my former care-free life where I could do things I wanted, whenever I wanted. But now, a year later, I am so entrenched in my journey as a mom that I have not only forgotten how different life was before (for the most part) but I am also in love with my life now.

I may not get around or travel as fast as I once could… but I am no longer traveling alone. I carry a beautiful part of me and my husband’s love everywhere I go (and I wouldn’t want it any other way!)

Travel Buddy

Christmas Presents and Gift Wrapping for Babies

My daughter is 7 months old this holiday season. She’s crawling at the speed of a rabbit. She wants to stand all the time. She’s teething. I had to really think about what to get her for Christmas and just how to wrap it in a way that she could open it. I wanted her gifts to be safe, fun and educational.

Here is what I came up with it:

  •  Cloth Books – she loves to read and the cloth books are really nice because she can’t tear out the pages or poke herself in the eye with any hard edges. They also make crinkling sounds which she loves. And some cloth books are designed as natural teethers for babies. I’ve also noticed that these books are easy to take with you everywhere so if you’re waiting for a doctor’s appointment or something, you can hold baby’s attention in your lap with these books. And if he or she decides to throw it down on the floor…at least it won’t make a loud noise 🙂

    Reading her cloth book on the plane.

    Reading her cloth book on the plane.

  •  Cloth Dolls – You’ll notice the word “cloth” keeps coming up. That’s because as Amaani tries to stand, she often ends up falling. I try to keep plastic toys away because they can hurt her when she lands on them. And like most babies, she wants to put everything in her mouth. I feel better about her putting the washable materials in her mouth than her plastic toys (which are sometimes too heavy to bring to her mouth anyway but that doesn’t stop her from trying!) I also got her a cloth doll to sleep train her with – a companion in the crib that she won’t be in danger of suffocating on.
  •  The Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Love to Play Puppy – this is a good example of an educational toy that can also be fun and safe to play with. We’re all about introducing her to the alphabet, numbers and colors as much we can. We have her whole play area floor covered by an alphabet puzzle mat and colorful baby gates. We also have cloth blocks with numbers and letters. She loves it!

    Alphabet Puzzle Play Mat and Colorful Baby Gates

    Alphabet Puzzle Play Mat and Colorful Baby Gates

  •  Remote Control – Not all of Amaani’s toys are made out of cloth. We just take make sure we don’t leave her unattended with any toy that she could accidentally hurt herself with. For some reason, babies love remote controls so we got Amaani a Click and Learn Remote.
  •  Colorful Teething Blanket – can never have enough teething toys!
  • Donate Toys – We feel very blessed that we have a child, one who we are able to buy such presents for. As a gift to ourselves, we donated toys to Toys for Tots and are looking into donating some at our local hospital once the season is over (the hospitals get a lot of toys this season but needs help throughout the year)

These are just a few ideas but there’s so much one can get for a baby that’s both fun and practical – jumpers, high chairs, baby piano, etc. I had to think about how I was going to wrap everything though. I really want Amaani to open her own gifts so here’s what I did:

  •  Swaddle blanket– I wrapped some of her toys in a swaddle blanket – it’s safe, she can still open it, and she can put the blanket in her mouth without concern.
  •  Gift Bag – She loves gift bags. In fact, she might be more fascinated by the bags than the toys. She loves to teethe on the handles of the gift bag. I thought, this way, she would have fun with the bag and she could knock it down to get to her toys.
  •  Gift-wrap paper – we only used gift wrap paper for one small toy. Our concern with wrapping everything the traditional way was that she might not be able to open her gifts and that she might start eating the wrapping paper (babies put EVERYTHING in their mouth – it’s how they explore the world)

We’re excited about Amaani’s 1st Christmas and know it will be special with or without the presents…. wishing everyone a happy holiday season from our family to yours!

P15

 

The Irony of Motherhood

You find yourself restless at night counting days until your little one will be born… but soon after you find yourself wishing you were able to squeeze in a few more restful nights before the nighttime feedings began.

You want them to fall asleep so you can catch a break… but when they do, you miss them so much you wish they would wake up.

You want them to be surrounded by a village of cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles… but you also don’t want them to get spoiled or in the case of babies- be held for too long because then they’ll always want to be held.

You will do anything and everything to make sure they have no reason to cry… but then you let them “cry it out.”

You always said you would never do what “those” parents did… but then you find yourself doing just that and you’re grateful you did.

You tirelessly try to teach them how to crawl and walk… but then you tire of baby proofing the house and chasing them around.

You want your house to be clean at all times… but you also want your kids to fully enjoy playing and growing up in their home.

You want them to learn to play independently… but you also want them to be social and play well with other kids.

You wish you could have the body you had before the extra pounds and stretch marks… but if it meant choosing that or your child, you would welcome your post-pregnancy body with open arms.

You monitor their weight carefully, making sure they are always growing… but after awhile you begin to wish they were small again and easy to hold and cuddle.

You want them to hurry up and grow older so you don’t have to rock them to sleep or change their diapers or spoon-feed them anymore… but just when they graduate from their entire dependence on you and are beyond the baby/toddler stage, you decide you miss it all too much and want to have another one.  And some of us do just that.

Joining the Parenthood Fraternity

If becoming parents for the first time is like joining a sorority or fraternity, then taking care of your newborn the first three months is the initiation.

The magic number here is 3 months. During that time, remind yourself frequently that it will get easier (in some ways!).

If you had met me during the first few weeks after my daughter was born chances are I made a comment along the lines of, “it’s hard…I had no idea it was this hard!”

I remember wondering why none of the parents I knew warned me just how much life would dramatically change. But after some time I realized even if they had, I wouldn’t have understood. I don’t think one can understand until they become parents. In fact, I now recall some of my friends commenting, “We used to say, what did we do?” And “The first three months are the hardest.” They might have warned me but I was too focused on their beautiful baby and clueless about their sleep-deprived lives.

The good news is once you get past those first few months, you enjoy your baby so much that you consider doing it all over again!

But here’s what life might look like in the meantime:

  • You might not get a proper night’s sleep for the first 3-4 months at all.
  • You will be feeding the baby every two hours day and night. And that’s not 2 hours from the time you stopped. It’s 2 hours from the time you started your last feed.
  • You might have your first testing moments with your spouse because you are both utterly exhausted.
  • If your baby has colic and is having inconsolable crying spells lasting hours… know that colic can try even the most patient person but luckily it will pass, usually by the 4-month mark.
  • As much as you crave to bond with your bundle of joy…You might be taken aback when he or she doesn’t smile or respond to your interactions right off the bat. The first 3 months are basically the baby’s fourth trimester. The interactions you are craving will come soon but, until then, you will most likely feel like a feeding machine.
  • Breastfeeding might come with it’s own challenges.
  • You might find it hard to get the most simple tasks done. Baby is literally a 24/7 job.

Those first 3 months it’s all about survival mode. I remember looking at other moms and wondering how could they handle more than one child.

But once your baby settles into his or her new world, those priceless moments you’ve been waiting for come to fruition.

Being a mom or dad is one of the most AMAZING and fulfilling experiences in the world. Your child’s laugh is music you’ll want to play over and over again. Their curiosity for life and relentless efforts to explore the world around them while on all fours will keep you entertained for hours on end every day.

I turned my head for less than a minute the other day and my daughter had crawled to the front door and had her daddy’s shoe in her mouth. (We baby-proofed our place immediately after)

Once you join the parenthood fraternity, you will suddenly be bonding with people you might not otherwise hang out with- simply because you share the thread of motherhood and fatherhood. And surprisingly, you will feel closest to these people with whom you can casually discuss baby’s poop color or sleep training methods.

And your social calendar will fill up fast. In the past week, my newly turned 6 month-old daughter Amaani has had play dates, story time, swimming lessons, baby gym class, and I went on a Mom’s Night Out. Amaani is also starting a Rhythm and Wiggle class this week. We are enjoying every moment!

I recently met a new mom who was carrying her 5-month old and she said, “I wish someone had told me everything magically gets better after 3 months.” Well…. now you know!

P.S. I typed this entire post on my cell phone while simultaneously feeding, burping and putting my baby to sleep …. the parenthood fraternity molds you into a multi-tasker 🙂

Exploring the world on all fours.

Exploring the world on all fours.

Swimming lessons.

Swimming lessons.

Our Children’s Choices and their Consequences

From the moment you become a parent, you realize how vulnerable you truly are. Fears that never existed before are suddenly magnified. You read or hear about accidents, hit and runs, rapes, illnesses and crimes that you feverishly hope your child is never a victim of.

The thing is- there is no guarantee of how life is going to unfold. But there are many steps we as parents take to protect our children from the ‘dangers’ of the outside world. Whether it be shielding them from certain TV programs or educating them about stranger danger, teaching them self defense or telling them to wash their hands to keep illnesses at bay.

But what about educating them about the dangers they themselves could invite into their own lives?

Do our children know that using drugs like marijuana even once can trigger a chemical imbalance in the brain and result in a mental break? Sure, it doesn’t happen that way with everybody but why take the chance that you could be that person? The cannabis sold today is not the same used in the ‘60s. The intoxicating chemical in marijuana known as THC is being found at higher levels and leading to addiction, disorientation, anxiety and psychotic symptoms.

Do our children know alcohol is a depressant? Sure, it doesn’t have a negative effect on everybody but it too alters your brain chemistry, and can greatly impact your moods, lead to depression and account for poor judgment like getting behind the wheel while drunk.

As a reporter, I cannot count how many times I have interviewed devastated moms- the mom whose son had a mental break after trying drugs and carried that mental illness for the rest of his life…or the mom who kept her son’s ashes in an urn in her living room after he was killed by a drunk driver (an accident that was 100% preventable).

And not just mothers. There have been so many stories involving teens and young adults. I recall a story I did on a 22-year old who was sentenced to prison for driving over a well-known doctor while drunk. A decision that had devastating implications for the rest of her life. This heart-wrenching story thankfully was only a simulation of what happens every few minutes in the United States: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfC13CT1hu0

Every time I have done a report on a sad tragedy like the ones mentioned above, I have gone home and thought that I cannot even fathom how I would feel if I were the parent getting that knock on the door that you hope you never get.

I think the scariest part is we often think it won’t happen to us.

But with sex, drugs and alcohol being glorified on television and social media, I think our job as parents is even more challenging. The childhood stars our children loved and grew up watching on TV like Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan today are being seen going in and out of rehab, getting charged for hit and runs, and driving drunk. Television shows like “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” are exalting teenage pregnancies. What’s the message being sent to our future generation? And how do we combat that message at home?

It’s a daily conversation that starts at home. Life can get busy. We can’t protect ourselves from every hardship. But I think the key, as parents, is to keep the conversation going at home with our spouses and our children. However you may want to talk about it. We may not be able to prevent someone we know from being the victim of a drunk driving accident but we can do our best to make sure our child isn’t the one behind the wheel.

 

Traveling with Baby

My daughter Amaani traveled on 4 flights before her 3-month birthday.

We were a little nervous about taking her on a plane and didn’t really know what to expect. Traveling in the car with her isn’t always easy because she’s not a fan of the car seat but we were hoping flying would be smoother since we could at least hold her on the plane.

As a backup plan, we thought about carrying “apology” goody bags with candies and treats in them to pass out to nearby passengers in case she became fussy or started crying loudly.

Turns out flying with babies is probably better than flying with toddlers who are constantly trying to grab things and get out of their seats. Amaani had smooth flights. We had a great time and here’s why-

RED EYE– One of our flights was a cross-country red-eye flight. I booked it on purpose this way thinking that if we were lucky, our baby would stick to her routine bed time and sleep through the night. It worked like a charm. She slept the entire way (of course, she did feed a couple times in route) The thing about a red-eye is you might not get much sleep as a parent but baby is more likely to keep a low profile on the long plane ride so you won’t have to be nervous about her disturbing passengers or making the ride difficult for you.

I also want to mention that although we traveled to different time zones…to keep our baby’s sleep routine intact; we actually stuck to her “home” time zone bedtime throughout the trip.

NURSING DURING TAKEOFF AND LANDING– I was told nursing during takeoff and landing helps the baby relieve some of that ear pressure. I took it too literally on the first plane ride which was only an hour. So, I ended up feeding her going up and going down (pretty much the whole flight). I learned my lesson. For the other flights I only fed if it was her feed time and gave her a pacifier the other times. The sucking and swallowing motion helps babies relieve pressure during takeoff and descent (around the time when our ears pop).

CARRIERS/STROLLERS/CAR SEATS– I was worried about dropping the baby during the red-eye flight during which I was carrying her in my lap. To relieve this worry I bought the Infantino baby carrier. You can get it for about $18 from Target. We already had the Ergo Infant Carrier for Amaani which we love and believe to be sturdy. But for the plane ride I thought it would be too much to strap her in that. The Infantino worked great since it was more petite, her size and kept her secure.

We have a fancy travel system stroller that is on the bulky side. So, for the purpose of this trip, we bought an infant car seat frame lightweight stroller. It was easy to travel with- all you had to do was plop the car seat in. And my husband taught himself how to install the car seat without a base. We took our own car seat versus using the one provided by our car rental company because we wanted to make sure her car seat was clean and in safe condition.

There are cheaper lightweight strollers you can get for $25 but since airlines allow you to take the car seat and stroller up to the gate and check them in for free it really didn’t matter whether the stroller was lightweight or not.

Some airlines really help make travel easy for families…from TSA Pre-checked security lines to save time, early boarding to baggage friendly requirements. I personally like Southwest and Jetblue since they allow checked in luggage for Free (Southwest even allows you to change/cancel flights without big penalties). When traveling with baby, I like to keep things light. I carry her diaper bags with me on the plane and check everything else in.

Here’s my final Tip- Don’t be afraid to travel just because you have a baby. Many babies will actually love plane rides because of the natural white noise and motion…. Enjoy going places with the little one while they’re still free to fly 🙂

Seasoned Traveler :-)

Seasoned Traveler 🙂

Resting after Vacation

Resting after Vacation

Be Like Baby

My daughter Amaani teaches me something new everyday.

When she was about six weeks old, I decided to go to a Meetup event for moms. I know some people will think that’s too early to go out with a small baby but I just needed an outlet. And my purpose for going was multifold.

I’m new to the area and wanted to meet other moms in the hopes of making friends and building a support system for me and my child. I also wanted to learn things about taking care of newborns from moms who had been there, done that. And I wanted to get my nails done since the meet-up happened to be at a nail salon. I was craving a break and wanted to do something for myself…just one hour of “me” time.

I didn’t want to expose my baby to the salon so I brought along a sitter and parked them at a Starbucks for just an hour. Of course, things don’t always go as planned.

As I was about to park the car, a big red light surfaced on the car dashboard signaling our car had overheated and must not be driven. I went to the nail salon and real quickly introduced myself to the other moms and then dialed AAA. It got chaotic from there.

I don’t have any recollection of getting my nails done. All I know is I was simultaneously talking to the salon lady, the other moms, AAA and my husband. In the middle of it all, I had to leave to tend to my baby who was crying. There was definitely too much going on.

To make a long story short…I was told we can’t drive the car and I was trying to figure out how I would pick my husband up from work since we were sharing a car. Somehow that red light temporarily went away and I managed to get to my husband’s work when the engine overheated.

We ended up walking two miles home with baby in the stroller. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry at all the milestones I had to cross just to go to one Mom’s Meetup Event. My “break” turned out to be more work than I could have imagined.

But I learned something that day. Every time I looked at my child, I saw that she was relaxed and even sleeping through parts of that ordeal. She was going with the flow literally. She didn’t lose her peace.

I thought to myself, I need to be more like baby. She has faith she’s going to get home somehow. She didn’t get upset. She kept her calm and peace. I want to be like her- able to sleep soundly and stay relaxed even when things don’t go my way. I want to be able to trust the universe that things will turn out ok in the end.

Amaani doesn’t stay mad. She doesn’t hold grudges. She’s quick to forget and quick to smile. She welcomes everyone to play with her and she has a beautiful curiosity for life.

Maybe as we grow older we get wiser in some ways….but in other ways, I think babies have the right idea. That blissful innocence and love for everything and everyone is something too special to lose.

Amaani

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.