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Sunday, May 29, 2011

never say never

Sometimes the best plans are the ones you didn't make.
I feel like someone said that quote, but right now I can't recall (mommy brain, you'll know about that soon if you don't already).

Seriously though, I am sure you have all kinds of ideas, plans, tasks you think you will definitely do or not do when your baby is here. Things like swearing by not using a certain item or never having your baby in dirty clothes or leaving a baby in a diaper a little too long. Things like getting yourself out of maternity clothes within a couple of weeks of delivery, and like keeping up with the laundry. It is wonderful to have goals, plans. I'm glad you are reading up on what it's going to be like to be a mom. However, don't read or plan too much. You never know how your baby is going to be or what will change your mind once you see how tired you will be and reality sets in.

A few things I said I'd never do or planned to do that did not work out as I imagined:

1. Nursing-
I planned to breastfeed my son, hands down, no matter what. I read 3 books on the subject, researched every Web site I could find, talked to other moms, registered for every Lansinoh and Medela nursing item at Babies-R-Us, and even took a Breastfeeding 101 class (with Jared! Oh my, he was nervous. When we walked in and he was the only guy there he whispered to me, "If I'm the only guy when this thing starts, I'm outta here!").
However, it didn't work as planned for me. For three days I tried and tried to nurse, every hour in the hospital. Owen did not latch correctly due to a shortened tongue, a term they called tongue tied. It was very painful for me and even more so for my husband to watch our newborn baby cry so much because he was so hungry. We had to supplement with formula. They have all kinds of tricks to try to do that (straws, droppers, tubes, spoons, etc.). It was crazy, and totally against what I set out to do. I felt defeated, like I'd failed. I'll write another post about my breastfeeding story later, so I won't go into details here. The bottom line is that I planned to do one thing - nurse - and it just didn't turn out that way. It was a lot harder than I ever imagined or than anyone had told me it would be.
So I supplemented with formula for about two weeks while I pumped breastmilk. Eventually I was only providing breastmilk, just not feeding straight from the source but instead from a bottle.
This is one topic I feel so passionately about. If you want to nurse, great for you and I truly hope it works as you plan. If you aren't interested in nursing, I totally understand that, too, and formula is NOT a bad thing. My son supplemented with formula at the start and end of his first year and he's doing great! We grew up on formula, so I'm sure it's not that bad for us!

2. Using a pacifier- I swore I did not want my kid using a pacifier. I thought it would hurt his speech someday. I thought he'd become so used to it that we'd never be able to take it away and he'd be that 4 year old still not talking much due to always sucking on the binky.
Then my 3 day old son had a circumcision. And according to my husband who accompanied him on this procedure, it appeared to hurt so the doctor gave Owen a Soothie pacifier to help and we were told to allow him to have it that first day of the circumcision, for comfort. The rest is history, as they say. I could not fight my husband on this one. It was his first big Dad decision and he felt strongly that Owen needed it after "what he went through."
My son also came out of me sucking his thumb. I have a picture of him in my arms, an hour old, sucking the same thumb he still sucks now. The doctor said he must have done it in my stomach while pregnant. So, my son likes to suck. It's a soothing, comforting feeling to him. How could we deny him of that?
So yes, we allowed a pacifier. In the beginning it was as much as he wanted it. Then as he was getting to be a few months old we tried to limit it to in the car and for naps.
By the time my son was six months old, which is when doctors suggest you give up the habit of the pacifier, Owen was no longer using it. We slowly took it away and replaced it with his Sophie the Giraffe to suck on, his thumb to suck on, and his blanket in the crib. It was about 3 days of a little sadness on his part, but then he was completely fine without it.
I 100 percent believe Owen was a better baby, happier, less crying, better at riding in the car, a better sleeper due to having that small bit of comfort whenever he needed it as an infant. I did not at all predict thinking this way before I had him. I swore we'd never use a pacifier, and now I think it's one of the contributing factors to my son's - and his parent's! - happiness those first few difficult months.
It's all up to you and your child. Now when I see a 3 year old still sucking on a pacifier I think differently. I don't judge. I think, "Well, that little guy must really need this comfort for some reason, so be it." Each baby is different, as are each of their parents. We must respect that.

3. Not being totally stuck to a schedule. - I never understood those parents who left a party early or didn't show at all due to their kid's nap schedule. After only a couple of days of adjusting my son's nap time due to outings I got the picture. It's just not fun for you as the parent or for your child when you mess with the child's routine, schedule and of course naps. Babies are creatures of habit. They like what they like and don't like it being messed with. Owen is definitely on a schedule - and it works for him and for us. So, I no longer judge people who arrange play dates around a nap time. I'm one of those moms now, too. It just works!

4. Not only talking to my friends about my child. - It used to drive me nuts when all my mom friends would talk about was their kids. I used to wonder, "Don't they have anything else going on in their lives that they could talk about?" The answer, now that I have figured it out, is sadly, nope, they don't have anything else going on, at least nothing else as important or time consuming. Kids consume us, in many good ways, it's just how it is. Plus they are challenging and interesting. You are finding your way as a new parent, so you are naturally curious and wondering what others think and experience themselves. So, yes, we moms talk about our kids non-stop. It's OK, and in fact I believe it's probably one of the main things that helps us survive the tough times.

5. Change my profile picture on Facebook to a picture of my son. - HA A big laugh out loud on this one! I used to get silently annoyed when people would change their profile pictures to be pics of their kids. I don't really know why this bugged me, it just did. I think it had something to do with the fact that I was this independent woman who just did not think it was cool to lose my identity just because I became a parent. Or maybe it was my fear that I would become that person who lost her identity because she became a mom. Regardless, it was a matter of weeks before I posted the first picture of my son. It's not a bad thing to do. In fact, it's a gesture of pride and happiness. Why wouldn't you want to show off your little bundle of joy? It's totally OK and now I get why parents do it.

6. Sit in the backseat of the car with the baby on the ride home from the hospital. - I swore by this one to Jared before Owen was born. I told him I did not want this baby changing us or our relationship. I said, "The baby will sleep anyway, he or she won't even know I'm in the car anyway so why do I have to sit in the back?" Jared just nodded and said nothing, probably knowing I'd change my mind once my newborn was strapped into the car seat for the first time. He was right. I did indeed sit in the back seat that first car ride home. It was no question, without hesitation, I practically jumped in despite my C-section incisions. Again, I think this one was out of fear, fear that my relationship was going to drastically change because baby entered into it, right down to it changing my place in the car. However, I did sit back there. I couldn't not sit back there. After carrying this thing for 9 (TEN!) months, I had to be back there with him. I needed to be sure he was OK. I knew my husband was OK, so it just felt right to sit back there with the baby. It's silly to talk it out this way, but for me it was another one of those things I swore I would not do that I ended up doing and now believe is totally normal either way.

7. Won't put Crocs on your baby's feet, ever. - This one just came up for me. Owen's feet are large on the tops of his feet. Most shoes don't fit him well. Now that it's summer it's time for shoes that can get dirty and wet and that can easily slip on and off. So, Crocs it is! I swore when they came out that I'd never buy a pair myself or put them on any kid I had in the future. And now here we are and my son has two pairs - that we LOVE! They just make our life easier, simpler, less crazy. So the question is why not? And sorry to admit, they are kinda cute on my son. So there. We are a Croc-wearing family. Actually, no, I take that back. I am not a Croc-wearing person, just my toddler is!

8. Be so distracted when talking to people while my child was around. - Ever talk to a friend who is a mom and whose baby is crawling or walking around near you while you talk? It's pretty much pointless. Moms are SO distracted by their children. It's a fact of life. I used to get a little annoyed around my mom friends because I felt like they were never listening or we weren't really ever having a good conversation together like we used to. Now that I'm a mom I understand this completely. I think I got it before I became a mom, I didn't judge them because of it, but now I REALLY get it. It's so hard to focus when you're a mom and your kid is around. You are responsible for this being. So that fact is of course paramount to whatever your friend is talking about. It's just how it is. I pray that my friends cut me a little slack for having to cut them off mid-sentence by saying, "No, Owen, put that down, come over here, Owen, hold on a second he needs a diaper change..."

There are probably more things I swore by before I became a mom that now I've changed after being hit with reality. One thing I know for sure is that parenting is difficult as it is, we don't need to be judging one another. So please know that no matter what you decide to do or not do as a parent, I am behind you 100 percent. I support you and admire you and know that you are doing your best. That is the greatest gift we moms can give to one another, unconditional support and encouragement.

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