Tuesday, February 26, 2008

For my kiddos...

Ok, I've got 10 minutes that I'm going to spend blogging here, let's see if I can finish the thought I've been having...

I've been thinking that several women who I would assume feel comfortable with children do, in fact, not. I assumed they would because they have adult children. I have no idea how they managed, given the level of discomfort they display now.

I've also been surprised by how much other women forget about when they had children. I ask questions about cloth diapering or whatnot, thinking they would know, and I'm sure they did at one time, but the memory has faded.

So now I'm thinking I better leave some notes, or my kiddos will be asking me questions and I'll have forgotten, and it will be a shame, because the baby phase is one part of mothering I feel I'm very good at.

With that in mind, Notes to self regarding the first three months:

The whole goal for these months is to learn to eat and sleep. If you end up feeding formula for some reason, then the eating thing has probably gone well. Breastfeeding is trickier. I will assume that La Leche will be there for my daughters and daughter-in-laws, and leave the advice giving to them, with the caveat that it isn't supposed to hurt much, and if it does, seek help fast before it gets worse.

Burping isn't half as necessary as some people seem to think it is, but it does work wonders if you've got a spit-upper. Simply laying the kiddo down and setting them up, putting them face down on your knees and patting them, or putting them high on your shoulder for the patting works when the usual method doesn't seem to be accomplishing anything. If they don't burp, they fart, much to the hilarity of the adults present.

As for the sleeping- if you can teach your kiddo to sleep when it's dark, and to (mostly) put themselves to sleep by the three month mark, you're doing well. I recommend having the baby sleep in your room, although not necessarily in the bed. You want them to be close enough that you can keep an ear out for them, and so that you don't have to go to far when they want to nurse. Of course you'll bring them to bed to nurse, but the trick is to put them back in their own spot when you're through so they learn they don't need you in order to sleep. Swaddling is good, and so is rocking or swinging or bouncing. Of course, these are crutches your kiddo will be using to sleep, but I think if you're careful it doesn't have to be a big deal. For example, I put the Bug down for her naps by swaddling her and putting her in the bouncy seat. I give her a pacie if she fusses. I only bounce her to sleep if she's really fussy or it's really crucial to me that she sleep Now- like if she wakes up at two in the morning. Other babies like different things- the Bug likes me to stroke her face above her eyes, but the Bean likes to lay on her belly and get her butt patted (which, in a younger kid, means you have to roll them over onto their back after they go to sleep...)
As for "Sleeping through the night"... all most people mean by that is their baby lets them sleep 5 hours at a stretch, and your baby will do that once a night when they grow enough that they can skip a feeding. Alas and alack, some kids wake up every night till they're six, others sleep for an eight hour stretch at two months old. You have to go with the flow, to a certain extent, but a five hour stretch by three or four months of age is a good goal.
I let all my kiddos into the bed with me when they need to be comforted, but I kick them back out when the crisis has passed (or the b00b emptied). It works the best for us. Back when I was a single mom I let the Boy stay in bed with me more than I let the girls, but even he had a crib that he started the night in.

Wow. Ok. That was poorly written, but at least it's down. If I get the chance I can always rewrite, right? In the meantime I've got things to do...

Off to scale Mt Laundry,