Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Moby Wrap, AKA The Piece of Fabric That Made Me Want To Jump Off a Bridge

Who would have thought that one piece of fabric could make you feel like an insane person? That a chocolate brown sliver of 100% organic cotton could actually reduce a 40 year-old woman to spewing words that her newborn son shouldn't hear from his mother's mouth, uncontrollable sobbing, and lead to a hundred thoughts of why she's not suited for motherhood?

Ahh, the Moby Wrap. Torturers everywhere should have one of these in their bag of tricks. Making their prisoner wrap it and attempt to put a squirming baby in it over and over again will surely make them fess up to who they're working for. It's at least as effective as a litany of sharp objects.

Here are the instructions. All kinds of great ways to "wear" your baby. Cool, right? And it looks simple, right? Easy to follow. You shouldn't need an advanced degree to figure it out. Note: I have one...and it's worthless when it comes to the Cocoa Jersey Nightmare. There are even video instructions all over the web to make it easier. Although none of the ones that I watched address how to make the %#*$ing kangaroo pouch part tighter!

Anyway, after many tries, many tears, much envy (after seeing a woman in Top Pot with her perfectly Moby Wrapped bundle of joy), and tons of help from my adorable husband, I think I've finally sort of mastered it. This morning was a huge accomplishment. I was able to wrap it and wrangle Nathaniel into it while Drew was still sleeping. Downstairs. In another room. And I did it on the first try! Nathaniel was cuddly and happy and fell asleep quickly against my chest. It felt SUPER AWESOME to have him that close and be able to kiss the top of his sweet smelling baby head whenever I wanted. Plus, I could write this blog entry easily. Double bonus.

Bottom line: Even though it might make you turn into a freaking lunatic, learning to conquer the beast will be worth it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE having him in this thing!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

BabyCenter Blog Post: What would you tell your pre-mom self?

Ran across a tweet linking to this post during a feeding last night. Good advice.

Friday, September 3, 2010

FREE: Adorable, Well-Mannered Baby Boy, Wardrobe Included


Okay, so I'm not really going to give you my baby, but there have been times during the past few weeks when I may have given the proposal fleeting mild consideration.

Lack of sleep. It seems like that's all people really talk about when they find out you're having a baby. "You'd better sleep now," they chant when you're pregnant. What they don't tell you is that you'd better make a list of all the things you like to do, notes about your personality, and reminders of your hopes and dreams because you actually forget who you are during the first few weeks of living with and caring for a newborn.

This is what I'm learning about motherhood so far...and it's only been four weeks. In no particular order:
  • Full-time, stay-at-home moms have one of the hardest jobs on the planet. My husband works at home and can lend a hand during the day when necessary (e.g., I can take a shower uninterrupted every day) and taking care of a newborn all day (and the household chores that go along with it) can still be overwhelming.
  • Feeling like you'd do anything to get away from your baby one minute, then 10 minutes later be absolutely dying to hold him is "normal." And this pattern can repeat itself several times in one day...or one hour.
  • It is possible, although not preferable, to (somewhat) function on four hours of sleep.
  • Sometimes you can feel so much love for your baby that staring into his sweet face will make you cry.
  • Sometimes you miss your pre-baby life. This doesn't mean that you're a bad mother or that you don't love or want your baby.
  • Sometimes you look forward to your maternity leave being over and going back to work. This doesn't mean that you're a bad mother or that you don't love or want your baby.
  • Other times you never want your maternity leave to end, you wish you didn't have to work, and it makes you sick and upset that someone else has to take care of your baby. 
  • Other times you just want to run away from it all and live in Paris.
  • Fussiness at 2:00 AM can transform the cutest baby in the world into uncute.
  • Changing a baby in a public restroom is difficult. So is washing your hands while holding a newborn.
  • Being alone with your baby can bring on some of the most peaceful feelings in the world.
  • When you have a newborn, you can miss your husband even if he's sitting in the same room as you are.
  • When you have a newborn, you can miss your TV even if it's sitting in the same room as you are.
  • If you want to leave home with your baby, you have to carry a lot of shit with you.
  • Strollers and car seats can be tricky to operate and may cause you to say things in front of your baby that he shouldn't hear.
  • If your husband/partner/friend/family member offers to take care of your baby and give you a couple of hours to yourself to go to a coffee shop and write, take them up on it. Free time and sanity can be hard to come by.
Okay. That's what I've learned so far...that I can remember, anyway. More from the trenches later.

P.S. My laptop battery is low and I'm missing my adorable son. He and his father should be strolling over here any time now and I can't wait to see the little munchkin. And his handsome father. :) Sigh.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Problem: Breastfeeding Sucks

I mentioned earlier that I had some breastfeeding issues after Nathaniel was born. I just wanted to write a little bit about that here just in case some poor woman is crying and searching the web at 2:30 AM looking for someone who understands what she's going through.

For the first ten days of his life, my baby wasn't getting enough to eat. Not nearly enough...meaning about 1/2 ounce per feeding when he should have been getting two to three ounces. We went in for a weight check and the poor kid had only gained 1/2 an ounce in nearly a week. He should have been gaining that much, minimum, per day.

Obviously, this isn't something that we knew on day one, but something that required much pain and turmoil (for all of us) to learn. We read stuff online. We consulted with pediatricians, a nurse, and a lactation consultant. I started taking fenugreek. I tried a more powerful hospital grade breast pump. We tried a horrific feeding routine that included feed on the right breast for 10 minutes, feed on the left breast for 10 minutes, supplement with two ounces of formula, and pump both breasts for 15 minutes. This entire process took nearly an hour to finish, then had to be repeated again about an hour following its completion. Between the hormones and the sleep deprivation, I was only able to keep this up for about four days without going completely insane. But I came really close. 

I cried a lot. I hated my life. I talked to a couple of friends. One of them recommended MOBI Motherhood International, which seemed like a good resource. In the end, breastfeeding didn't work out for us. My milk supply wasn't changing at all and the toll it was taking on my sanity and our lives didn't warrant trying for longer just to see if it would potentially change. Note: My pediatrician said that it most likely would not. In 1996 I had a needle biopsy of my left breast (which was my worst milk producer), and the lactation consultant mentioned that it's possible that some of my milk ducts were damaged during the procedure. She encouraged me to keep up the jump-off-a-bridge inducing feeding routine for a couple of more weeks to see if there was any change, but I just couldn't do it. I also read about women who continued to partially breastfeed their babies even when their bodies didn't produce enough milk, but I didn't feel like that was the right option for us.

Even though I couldn't physically produce nearly enough milk to feed my baby and I'd given it a decent try, I still felt guilty. It seems like there's a lot of pressure to breastfeed, no matter the cost. But I can understand that. Breastfeeding is better for your baby than formula. Yes, even the organic formula that we decided to go with. I'd been planning to breastfeed Nathaniel for at least six months with a stretch goal of one year. Now, he'd only be getting two weeks worth of the good immune boosting stuff I could pass on to him, and I felt horrible about it.

Plus, I was sad that I was going to miss out on the bonding that comes with breastfeeding. Sure, most of the time I was doing it with him I would have rather had someone give me 500 paper cuts then drench me with a flesh burning substance, but I'm thinking about the idyllic relationship we could have had without the problems. I'm really sad that I'm not going to get to experience it that way.

We've been solely formula feeding for almost two weeks now and I have to say that life has been easier. My husband and I can switch off on feedings and get a relatively good amount of sleep each night. And the biggie...our son is gaining weight and he is healthy. And that's what is most important. If you're a mother who is going through something like this and experiencing similar feelings, just remind yourself of that and surround yourself with people who'll do the same. It helps.