Everyone knows that sleep is important. If I don’t get a good night sleep, I am a total grumpy witch. My husband is even worse. Thankfully, Alex has pretty good sleep habits. He could sleep through an explosion. Dennis on the other hand has a serious problem with sleep. You may have read about the Indigo Dreams Sleep CD we use to try to help him fall asleep. I think maybe I have finally realized his sleep issues started at birth.
We used to live in Florida by the beach. When I was ready to give birth to my first son Alex, the hospital my husband and I chose in which to deliver him had a nice birthing suite that had a view of the ocean. We thought that would be a wonderful, calming atmosphere for our child to be when he first entered this world. And it was.
When it was time for Dennis to bless us with his presence we tried to get the same birthing suite. However, it was being remodeled due to the damage it had sustained when we got blasted by three hurricanes in one year. So we had to settle for one of the suites on the other side of the hall. Dennis was a planned c-section so it was going to be a lot less stressful than the first time around. He was delivered in the afternoon and there were no complications afterward, so once he and I were checked out and got the “all clear” from my doctor, we were able to go back to our room. The whole experience was of course exhausting, so we all just wanted to get some rest that night.
My husband slept on a fold out bed which was like some torture device and since I had just been filleted like a fish had a c-section it was obviously going to be tough to sleep to begin with, but we all finally dozed off. Minutes after we began our slumber, the nurses started coming in to check on me, take my blood pressure, give me pain meds, etc. which naturally woke all three of us up. That was okay though since it had to be done. The nurse left and we all fell back to sleep shortly thereafter. Until…a screeching, blaring siren that sounded like a fire alarm woke us all up AGAIN while simultaneously scaring the crap out of us since we were all in a dead sleep. Then another nurse came into our room to assure us that everything was “fine.” Annoyed, we all managed to fall back to sleep anyway.
But not for long.
We are awakened yet AGAIN by the familiar “beep, beep, beep” sound of delivery trucks backing up. Evidently, hospitals get deliveries at all hours of the night (like 3 AM) and instead of enjoying the view of the ocean, we were graced with the noises (and view) of a loading dock. Wonderful.
Minutes after that, we were awakened by the siren again. The nurse came in again to let us know that everything was still “fine” but this time, we asked what the siren was for. It turns out it was the baby Lo-jack system (those ankle bracelets that keep strangers from walking off with babies in the hospital). The room at the end of the hall was right next to the exit door and if the people in that room had their baby too close to the door it sets the alarm off. Great design, huh?
So here is the cherry on the sundae.
By this time it was probably around 6 AM. We had not had more than an hour of consecutive sleep. There was a knock on the door. A woman walks in and asks if she woke us up. Let me think. It’s six o’clock in the morning, the room is dark and it’s quiet. What do you think Genius? Uh, yeah you did wake us up biotch!
“Hi. I’m so and so, the Head of Housekeeping. I just wanted to let you know that later today, we will have someone come in and clean your room and if there is anything you need you can call me. Here is my card.”
Huh? Are you freakin’ kidding me? I’m in a hospital and you WOKE ME UP at SIX’ O’CLOCK in the MORNING to tell me that someone is going to clean my room?!?! I just had a baby for Pete’s sake! I’m exhausted, in pain, I have been up ALL night listening to sirens and delivery trucks, I’ve been poked and prodded by nurses around the clock and my friggin boobs are sore and feel like they are going to explode. I could give two $%&*$ who you are and that someone is going to come in later today to clean my hospital room!!! Honestly. How asinine could this woman be to wake me up just to tell me she was having one of her staff members come to clean my room? If it was policy to let the current occupant of the room know they are going to clean it, then tape a note to my door since hello??? I JUST had a baby and I’m SLEEPING!!!
After that whole scene I was beyond irritated. I told my hubby that I didn’t care if he had to fold me in half at the seam, but to just get us the frig out of there so I could go home. If I couldn’t get a good night sleep at least I’d prefer to do it in my own bed. When my doctor came to check on me that day I explained everything that happened and how miserable and exhausted we were staying in the hospital. Ironic since the hospital stay is supposed to help you REST and RECOVER and provide round the clock help that you wouldn’t get at home. NOT my experience AT ALL.
Thankfully, my doctor was extremely sympathetic and understanding about our horrible experience and she agreed that we could be discharged that day if I felt up to it. I practically sprinted out of bed and packed up my baby and my belongings. I could not get out of that place fast enough!
I still have that lady’s business card to remind me how stupid that was - not that I will EVER forget it anyway.
Ya know, after thinking about that time again I am starting to believe that both of my boys’ current sleeping habits have a direct correlation to their birthing stories. Recounting this whole thing just made me realize… Alex is very calm and serene, just like the experience in his room was. Dennis is like a wild banshee, just like the experience in his room was. Maybe that explains it.
So, if by some chance (though slim or none) I ever decide to go ahead and have another baby, I think I will seriously consider a home birth…just in case!
Do you ever think back to how far you’ve come as a Mom? Remember the FIRST time you were pregnant? I remember vividly.
I was a neurotic mess.
“Can I eat this? Wait, it’s soft cheese. I’m not supposed to eat that. Oh I can have tuna fish. Oh yeah. Can’t have that either.”
“I really want a cup of coffee. Wait. Caffeine isn’t good for the baby.”
“Maybe I’ll ride my bike so I don’t think about what I can’t eat. Oh right. The doctor advised me not to do that in case I lose my balance and fall off of it.”
“Okay then I’ll just go and get those things down from the attic that I’ve been meaning to go through and organize. Crap. Can’t do that either. I might fall down the stairs or lift something too heavy.”
“Man an ice cold beer sounds really good to me right now. Damn! No alcohol allowed when you’re pregnant.” (which is too bad since I’m starting to get depressed over all the things I’m not supposed to do and a drink might take the edge off!)
“Geez what in the hell can I do then?”
“You know what? My butt is getting bigger by the second so screw it. I’ll just eat. And eat. And eat.”
Nine months and fifty-five pounds later, I delivered a healthy, beautiful baby boy. And yes. It was ALL worth it.
It’s almost funny really. When you are pregnant with your first baby, you are over the moon and want to do everything “by the book.” But if and when the time comes that you are ready to give your first child a sibling, chances are that you will approach your second pregnancy much differently. Well at least I did.
Having already been through it, I knew what to expect so my second pregnancy was actually much easier and less stressful on me (and everyone else that was close enough to me that had to put up with my raging pregnancy hormones). I didn’t freak out over every little thing like I did the first time. In fact, since I already had a little one to take care of, I sometimes even forgot that I was pregnant believe it or not.
So I have a question for you: If you could give any new or expectant mother advice on anything, what would it be? Obviously there are tons of books available relating to pregnancy, child birth and parenting but I’m talking about things you wouldn’t get from a book. Things that you would only learn from having a first-hand experience.
I’ll go first.
I say Forget the books on the growth and development of your baby-let your OB take care of that. Read the books on how to get your baby on a good sleep schedule. That was my BIGGEST problem with my first son. Maybe if I had a plan in place it wouldn’t have been as difficult for me. I talk about that more here.
Okay. Your Turn. New and expectant moms out there are counting on us!
Becoming a new mom is like starting a new job with no prior experience. But, you’ve accepted the position so now you have to go in and give it your all, “winging” it if necessary. Although you have no prior experience, lucky for you, there are plenty of more seasoned moms that do. Who better to seek out for advice, tips, ideas, and suggestions to make your transition into motherhood as smooth as possible, than other mothers who have already walked in your shoes and been where you are now-clueless. Talking to other moms can be the most valuable resource you have to help make the first year of your new “job” the most satisfying and rewarding position you have ever had. Here is the list of must-haves that I gathered for myself when I was “hired”. If you’ve ever wondered “What are the best items for new babies?”, here is my list to help get you started.
Snuggle Nest: The Snuggle Nest is like a little bassinet for your bed. In the early months, most new moms want their baby right next to them or at least in the same room. Having the Snuggle Nest will let you have that option and is also a great way to co-sleep with your baby without the fear of rolling over on him. It also helps keep your baby properly positioned. It is a bit pricey and does not last very long since your baby will outgrow it quickly, but again, a good investment for your piece of mind. A bonus is that it has a removable LED nightlight, which isn’t bright enough to wake the baby, but is bright enough to turn on if you need to check your baby in the middle of the night which you’ll probably do often. It folds up for easy storage and provides an incline if your baby does not like to lie flat or has acid reflux.
Swaddle Blanket: After you give birth, typically you have help from the wonderful nurses assigned to you during your hospital stay. They will help you with feeding your baby whether you choose to nurse or bottle feed, show you how to properly bathe him, clean his (or her) “private” parts, care for and clean the umbilical cord, change diapers, and swaddle him. If you are new to the whole swaddling thing like I was, this can prove to be an extremely difficult feat when you are recovering from birthing your baby and realizing what the true meaning of sleep deprivation is. I’m here to tell you…unless you know what you’re doing, swaddling can really stress you out when your new bundle of joy is screaming his head off after surviving your first attempt at diaper change (which can seem like a 10 minute process in itself). His screaming then gets louder and longer while you are wrestling with the blanket trying to swaddle him again after one of your nurses did it previously and made it look so darn easy. NOT!
Trust me on this-I know what I’m talking about…go get yourself a couple of the SwaddleMe blankets BEFORE your baby is born and bring them to the hospital with you. They take all of the guesswork and unnecessary stress out of what could be a swaddling nightmare disaster for you. All you have to do is put your baby’s feet right there in the pre-made pocket where they go, and fold over the other two side to meet the Velcro. Voila! You have a nicely swaddled baby with no crying…yours or his! Get one! They come in sizes large, small, and preemie and are available in a variety of colors.
Video Baby Monitor: Summer Infant Deluxe Day & Night Handheld Color Video Monitor was a lifesaver for me. I only wish I had it when when my first son was born. The first monitor I had was just a regular one where if you could hear past the constant static it put out, you might have been able to actually hear your baby if he needed you. Plus I couldn’t see my baby so I wasn’t completely satisfied unless I went into his room to see him and not just hear him. When I had my second son, I got this video monitor and I LOVED it! What a huge difference for my piece of mind. It is in color, has a 2.5 inch screen, has great reception and best of all, you can buy another camera for it and use it with the same monitor! I put a camera in my new baby’s room and another camera in my older son’s room and by sliding the switch on the monitor, I was able to see both babies sleeping…or not, and I didn’t even have to leave my own bed! It has night vision and works incredibly well in the dark as any little available light will help make a difference in the picture clarity. The closer you can place it to your baby the better, but it works well even from across the room. I HIGHLY recommend this monitor. We got years of use out of it and the ability to add another camera really makes it worthwhile if you have more than one little one. It is on the top of my list of MUST HAVES!
Baby Sling: What would I have ever done without my Over the Shoulder Baby Holder? Definitely a MUST HAVE! This sling saved me time and again. I had an extremely colicky baby who always wanted to be held and my Over the Shoulder Baby Holder made it easy on the baby and my back! It was great to often be able to do things and have both hands available while I was still carrying my baby. An added bonus is that you can nurse discreetly while wearing your baby which I loved. Wearing this sling enabled me to keep my baby calm, cozy and close to me in the natural position that he was used to being in for the 9 months he was growing inside me. To this day I still don’t “get” those other baby carriers where the baby’s legs just hang out. To me, it just looks very uncomfortable. With this sling, there are a number of different ways you can use it to carry your baby and it comes with a video to show you how to use it. There are now several different types of slings on the market, but this one has a lot of padding which makes it more comfortable on both you and your baby so keep that in mind if you look at other slings.
It comes in a ton of different colors and patterns to choose from too so you aren’t limited to just one. Various online retailers carry different patterns so you should look to find one you like. We had a good experience with SlingBaby.com and I’m sure there are many others out there. Just make sure it is an actual Over the Shoulder Baby Holder sling. Love, love, love this sling! In fact, I was sad when my kids outgrew it.
Buggy Bagg: If you’re a shopper then this is a MUST HAVE for you! It keeps your baby cozy and clean from germ infested shopping carts. Since I got my first Buggy Bagg Shopping Cart Cover 6 years ago there have been a number of other shopping cart liners that have become available but in my opinion, none of them can compare. I will say that it is a little pricey but this is an instance where you really do get what you pay for. It is extremely well made, is very padded, and comes with a detachable pillow that most other shopping cart liners do not have. It fits great on any shopping cart as well as the larger carts from Costco, BJ’s or Sams Club. The pillow is a good addition too because at 4 months (the recommended age for use of the BB) you can actually lay your baby horizontally inside the Buggy Bagg while in the front seat of the cart and have his head rest on the pillow while his body fits perfectly across the seat. My babies have often fallen asleep in there too which was very nice because I could get my shopping done and not have to worry about how I was going to fit all of my items in the bottom of my stroller! Another added bonus of the BB is that you can also use it to line the inside of restaurant high chairs which we all know can be extremely dirty and disgusting! Like the sling, the Buggy Bagg also comes in a variety of patterns and colors to choose from. I know that Babies ‘R Us carries at least one pattern but there are others out there you can find online.
Snap and Go Stroller: Oh how I loved this stroller! Although it won’t be your only stroller once your baby outgrows his infant car seat, it is well worth the $60! IF you are using an infant car seat that doubles as a carrier, than the Baby Trend Single Snap N’ Go Stroller is a MUST HAVE! It makes life so much easier because there is no need to transfer your baby from his car seat to a stroller-especially if he’s sleeping! In the early months, being able to do this is a huge plus for you and for baby! Oh and let me not forget to mention how incredibly light the Snap N’ Go Stroller is! Once you place the car seat back in its base, the only thing to pick up and put in the trunk is the frame which IS the Snap N’ Go Stroller. So so light and easy to transport and even better…SMALL! It takes up very little room in the trunk so you have plenty of space left. Did I mention how much I loved this stroller? Another item I was sad to see go when my babies outgrew their infant car seat.
Cloth Diapers: I know what you’re thinking…I’m not going to spend all my time washing cloth diapers, not to mention dealing with the hassle of trying to put them on my baby and keep them on. Well, I agree! I’m sure the tree huggers out there say they are better for the environment and will prevent cluttering our landfills, but they just weren’t going to be an option for us. So why am I recommending them? We bought a couple of packs of these cloth diapers because they have a million uses around the house for when you have a baby, and well after your babies have grown. We’re still using them 6+ years later. They are very soft, padded (make sure you get padded ones) and absorbent so you can use them as burp cloths, changing pads, wiping dirty faces and noses, cleaning spit up, wiping diaper rashed bottoms, etc. It’s also a good idea to keep one or two in the car for the same reasons. You can’t have enough of these things lying around. Once you start using them, you’ll be amazed how many different things you can use them for and you’ll be washing them constantly to make sure you have clean ones available.
Boppy Nursing Pillow: The Boppyis a great item for nursing/feeding your baby and also for sitting or lounging around the house. It helps support your baby while you are feeding him which makes it easier for both of you. It also helps to support him while he is learning to sit up. It makes it easy to put your baby on the floor in the middle of the room so you can keep an eye on him. The Boppy comes in a variety of patterns and the covers are washable. You can buy a Bare Naked Boppy (just the pillow itself) and then purchase the slipcover(s) separately if you desire to have different patterns or more than one so you can wash one and still have one available to use. Their website Boppy.com has a lot of information on the different ways to use it and pictures of the many different patterns available.
These were some of the best baby items I used with my kids and I hope you’ll find some of them as useful as I did!
Today is a sad sad day for me ladies. March 20th not only marks the first day of Spring (which is a beautiful thing after a long winter), but it also will go down in the baby book as the day my 6 year old lost his very first tooth. Boo hoo waaaaah!!!! I cried like a friggin baby! Is there something wrong with me? Seriously, I really did cry. A lot. I was no longer looking at my son as my “little boy” but he was suddenly a “big kid”. All because of a darn tooth falling out? Yep…and I’ll tell you why.
When our kids are infants they grow in various stages or milestones right? Well, a baby getting his first tooth is a big deal for the baby and the parents. After months of drooling and fussiness, some in pure agony from the pain of teething, and bottles of Motrin or Tylenol, the first tooth pops out at around 6 months old and it is a BIG deal! You and your hubby are sooo excited to see that little white nub coming through the gum that you practically throw a party. And when the tooth finally does come all the way through, it’s like a little saw. Who knew how strong that one little razor sharp tooth would be and how much pain it would inflict on the nearest adult finger….OUCH! So yes, the first tooth and the rest that follow are big news.
Remember calling your parents and telling them that little Johnny got his first tooth? Shoot you would tell anyone who would listen right? Again…it’s a BIG deal! Another milestone in a baby’s life. Well guess what? It’s the same thing when your child LOSES that first tooth…only you’re not excited. You’re sad. You’re sad because your child is now 6 years old and not 6 months old and this first tooth loss is almost like a rite of passage into bigkiddom. You know what I mean. Your “baby” is no longer a baby anymore and losing that first baby tooth is proof of this fact. It’s sort of a reality check of how time does really fly by and you wonder how, when, and why did this happen? It must have been obvious to my son that I was upset about his loose tooth (perhaps my crying clued him in?) because he immediately came over to me and said “I’m so sorry I’m growing up Mommy.” Can you guess what happened next?
I cried more! It was then that I realized how truly grown up my son is becoming to be so sensitive and insightful at such a young age. It was also at that moment when I realized that I must be doing something right. Sometimes I forget that he is only 6 years old. He amazes me every day with things that he says or does and I believe that he is definitely wise beyond his years. So now since I’ve had this realization, I have decided that I just need to get over myself and keep doing what I’m doing because it’s working…so far. That said, it is now time for the Tooth Fairy to make her grand entrance! What IS the going rate for the Tooth Fairy these days anyway?
If you’re a mom, then you probably already know that once you have kids, life as you once knew it is OVER! Unfortunately…that includes SLEEP. It has been over six years since the “Sandman” last visited me. I say over six because not only am I including the years of my oldest child, but let’s be honest…a solid night’s sleep went out the window the minute the stick turned pink.
You all know what I’m talking about. Having to pee every 5 minutes during the day. Well HELLO….that continues all through the night as well. I’m referring to the part of the night when you are supposed to be SLEEPING! So at the beginning you’ve got the frequent trips to the bathroom but then as your baby inside you grows bigger, you can no longer sleep in your favorite position because it becomes too uncomfortable. Side or back are the only choices so if you are a stomach sleeper sorry ’bout your luck!
So pregnancy is over and the beautiful baby that you have been preparing for is finally here. By preparing I mean reading all the best baby books out there like What to Expect When You’re Expecting (a given read for pregnant women), Your Pregnancy Week by Week, The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning by Dr. William Sears (if you’re planning on nursing your baby) and maybe you subscribed to a pregnancy website like Babycenter.com to get weekly updates on your baby’s growth and development each week. I bet you even subscribed to Parents and/or Parenting magazine to read while you wait and prepare for the birth of your baby (OK…I did).
It’s true that all of those resources are wonderful and can be extremely helpful with a lot of things. However, what people don’t tell you is that instead of reading and researching things on what to expect while you are pregnant, what you SHOULD be reading are books and articles about how to get your baby to sleep - and sleep through the night! WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME THAT??? Well I AM telling YOU. Forget all the other stuff. Let your doctor worry about your baby’s growth and development. If you are curious about it, go rent or by the DVD The Miracle of Life and that is all you’ll need because I am here to tell you…it’s ALL about the SLEEP!!! I have an entire library of how to get your baby to sleep through the night. In fact, check back for books I recommend on that very topic. Now if only I had read them BEFORE I had the baby, maybe my current sleep habits/schedule would be very different. Translation…I’d actually get some sleep! Trust me on this, I really DO know of what I speak. Read the “sleep” books and skip everything else and a good night’s sleep will be yours for the taking…hopefully.