PERFECT PARENTING: OUR APPROACH.
Happy Tuesday!! I don't think you can tell from the photo just how tiny these socks are. They are the tiniest socks I have ever seen. I received them as a gift at my baby shower and at the time I thought they were adorable, but I never could have guessed what they would grow to symbolize and how important they would become to me. See, when we came home from the hospital barely anything we had fit Lillian. Every "newborn" piece we had was still too big, which really surprised me because she wasn't a teeny, tiny baby by any means, but she also was not huge. She was a perfect 7lbs 12oz. The only thing that fit her the first couple of days were the oneises and hats from the hospital and these darling socks, which even in the beginning were still a little spacious.
I have shared a lot on my blog about those first memories and thinking about them now still moves me so much that I can tear up at any moment. Those first hours, days, and weeks were the most special of my entire life. Lillian has been so wonderful to us with her sweet temperament, easy demeanor, and loving soul. I kid you not (okay, I am really starting to tear up now), Lillian has the most beautiful soul- I can already feel it.
Since she has been so wonderful to us, I feel very fortunate to have had the wonderful opportunity to gracefully grow into motherhood. Honestly, I cannot take a lot of credit for my smooth experience because I owe it all to her. She communicates with me and I listen and support her. Then listen and adjust. And adjust. We are constantly growing together.
Wanting to be the best for her has inspired me to learn as much as I can about newborns and the basics. I soaked up all of the information I could from my mom and Caitlin, DayOne Baby, my friend Caroline, The Bump, websites and other moms. I became a sponge and wanted to know how and why for everything.
I have been writing this post in my head for what feels like the past couple of weeks. I receive a lot of emails and texts from friends asking about parenting questions. I absolutely love when these come in because I love sharing advice, tips, and support with other parents. Honestly, I think it is because I have Caitlin who always went through things first and gave me the opportunity to watch her experiences and then the confidence to thrive when the time came for my own experience that I love giving this opportunity to others who do not have older sisters. Having two younger sisters allows me to go through life and then give them guidance on how to do things better.
I have waited on sharing these tips because I do not want to seem like a know-it-all or that I think I am better than others. But honestly, when I look at my Facebook newsfeed and see a new pregnancy announcement status update or a friend posting the joyful news about their little one's new arrival I cannot help but think I have to share this, even if it only helps one person.
So here is an essential brain dump of all of the information I have gathered over the last couple of months:
- Teamwork: Teamwork between partners is essential, ESPECIALLY the first days home from the hospital. Your partner should change every diaper, prepare food, get you what you need. Your job is to feed your baby and process your emotions. Teamwork between your child and you is invaluable. You are lifelong pals and need to work together.
- Five Cries: Knowing this will CHANGE YOUR LIFE! Learn, understand and recognize these cries! No more guessing what is wrong with your baby-- they are communicating with you and you need to address their needs!!
- You cannot spoil a newborn. I repeat, you cannot spoil a newborn. Kiss them, love them, soothe them. You do not let them "cry it out" (if that is your approach) until they are 4-5 months.
- You cannot over-burp a baby. Burping can be hard because it requires patience and perseverance. I was not a great burper in the beginning because those qualities are not my strong suit. Back to point #1- teamwork- Jesse was a pro-burper and would always take the lead on burping Lillian. Especially in the beginning your baby will feed every 2 hours and burping in the middle of the night is essential because they will be up moving around and grunting and you think something is wrong. Back to point #2- learn the cries and you will know if they have "upper wind gas" aka a burp that is stuck.
- Happiest Baby on the Block- Read the book by Harvery Karp. I didn't read all of it but know the basics: swaddling, shushing, sideways holding, swinging, sucking. Read this when you are 38-39 weeks pregnant and are nesting. Get your Pottery Barn swaddle then too!! All babies want to be swaddled-- they might resist around 6-8 weeks- keep swaddling until they roll over by themselves. Between 8-10 weeks they will start "mouthing" and putting their hands in their mouths, let them do it. It is the beginning of self-soothing.
- Baby Whisper- I like this book by Tracey Hogg and suggest it around 2 months old. We have Lillian on an E.A.S.Y schedule. This helps us know that if she is crying she is not hungry.
- Dirty Diapers are good. Weird, right? They let you know that your baby is getting nutrition. I can only speak for exclusively breastfed babies because that has been our experience with Lillian, but the more dirty diapers the better. Breast milk is a laxative, sleep inducer, and healer. We went through 20 diapers a day when she was a newborn.
- Clogged Tear duct- I brought Lillian to the doctor when she was a week old because I thought she had pink eye. It was just a clogged tear duct (extremely common) and just needed to be massaged.
- Witching Hour. I am so grateful I learned about this. Between 8-12 weeks babies will scream their heads off because they are so tired between 6-10pm. Feed them and put them in the carrier. I repeat, put your baby in the carrier. They just need to be soothed. Think of how you feel when you come home from a really long day and you just crash and want to cry and you have a migraine. This is how babies feel. Just soothe them. I would turn off all of the lights in the house, open a window for fresh breeze and play lullabies.
- 90 minutes of wakefulness. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. I am 100% guaranteed that this is why Lillian is so happy. We followed the 90 minute rule of Dr. Marc Weissbluth and never let Lillian stay awake for more than 90 minutes at a time. It eventually starts off as an hour, then she was able to stay awake for 75 minutes, then 90. Yes, it was hard when she was 12-15 weeks but I dedicated myself to this and honestly she sleeps so well because of it. I would often have to take her out of the arms of family members and put her in the carrier and help her fall asleep before 90 minutes. For this to work you have to start 10 minutes before you want your baby to fall asleep- so at 50 minutes, 65 minutes, and 80 minutes.
Okay, I think I have said enough for today. I guess we will have a second installment of this! Email me if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org