Wednesday, October 12, 2016

And a Piece for Gretchen Wieners

gretchen wieners, mean girls, mean moms, mom judgement, mom blog, mom blogger, parenting, breastfeeding

A few days ago, as I was scrolling though my Facebook Newsfeed, a friend and fellow Mom's status caught my attention. She was asking other Moms for advice on pacifiers and bottles to supplement with because she had yet to find one that worked for her daughter. I empathized because I knew the feeling. Sam would only take one specific type of each, and the paci battle was definitely a struggle initially. Seeing as I completely understood what she was dealing with, I wanted to offer my advice, but some of the other comments are what really caught my attention. Instead of offering advice, or even a simple kind word, the majority of them were so full of judgement.

"You shouldn't supplement, breast is best!" "I promise if you let her nurse often enough your milk will come in?" "Make lactation cookies!" or "Drink dark beer!" and my absolute favorite... "Don't give up!"

But wait y'all. Who said she was "giving up"? This Mama was in a similar situation to mine where she had an actual reason for no longer breastfeeding that no damn dark beer or special cookie recipe was going to be able to fix. But even if she was "giving up" and even if she could breastfeed, should it have even mattered?! She was inquiring and asking a simple question so that she could be sure her baby was healthy and happy. And isn't that all that really matters? She didn't ask how to increase her milk supply or what she could do to continue. She only asked a simple question that mainly brought her more judgement than any Mom should ever have to deal with. Without asking for it, we already deal with more than enough rolling eyes and condescending stares with each daily decision we make.

Just to be clear, there are women who can't breastfeed (myself included, no matter how hard I fought for it) and it may actually break their heart. Or it may not and that's OKAY, too! But judging them based solely on something that has worked so well for YOU is only more hurtful. I can tell you from experience that the majority of advice I've received as a mother on breastfeeding, sleep, and every other topic, has not worked for us. Because obviously my baby is my baby and what works for one may not work for another.

Mom judgement happens way too often. I get it quite often for Sam's sleep habits. Even from women who don't have children which, I can't lie, makes me giggle a little. Until you've been in someone else's exact situation, especially a mother's, you have no idea. Yes, I still hold Sam for naps and he legit has no clue how to self soothe, but people don't realize it has all stemmed from a ridiculous amount of issues with reflux and gas that made it really difficult for my baby to settle on his own. It's unfortunate and we're dealing with it but the judgement I receive on the subject every single time I ask for advice can be really discouraging.

I'm so grateful for every bit of heart felt and non judgemental advice I've been given since becoming a Mom, because Lord knows I've needed it, but parenting is hard, and there is no one right way. I've said it 1,000, times but Mamas please remember that what works best for you and your baby is all that matters. Health and happiness are all we can aim for.

Tell someone they're a good Mom today. Encourage each other. We are all one tribe of kick ass women who work hard each day to be the best we can be. Remember how amazing you are for doing what only you can do. Wear your Mama crown with honor, and maybe pull a Cady Heron and break off a piece for everyone else in the crowd. I'm breaking off one for each of you today, and praying you'll always know your worth and value to your sweet babies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

How We Survived the First 4 Months as New Parents

Ohhh man. Grab some popcorn and/or a glass of wine, this is gonna be a long one. First let me start off by saying there is no magic "one size fits all" to parenting the tiny humans. Your life as a new parent will play out largely in part to your baby's (born with and in no way formed by your actions) temperament. Sam has had a big personality since day one. The number one comments we received from the very first hospital visitors and on were "He's so alert!" and "He's so active!" and those statements are still just as true 4 months later. This kid wiggles like a maniac and is distracted by the tiniest thing! He's very strong willed but also sweet as pie, so take what I say with a grain of salt. As a matter of fact, you should always take what I saw with a grain of salt. But anyway, if you luck up and have a super laid back baby like the majority of my Mama friends seem to, I promise this will still be helpful.

 1. Accept help. (Wherever you can get it!)

This was something I struggled with. I don't know why, but just watching other people hold Sam when he was tiny and brand new, gave me the worst anxiety. Honestly, I hated it. It didn't last long but my gah, it was the worst feeling. Even if you feel as ridiculous as I felt, take the help. I promise you aren't a bad mother for it. In fact, you'll be a better one with a little rest.

 2. Leave the house.

This was my number one rule before I had Sam. And then of course, the kid throws me a curve ball and wants to nurse every 30 minutes the first two weeks of his life. It was exhausting, so even if he did give me a break, I used it to sleep. He also hates his car seat. But I love to get out of the house so we just get over it. Luckily, he doesn't seem to hate his stroller as much but he definitely refuses to let me wear him. 90% of the time you'll catch me redneck carrying this sweet ball of control issues on my hip through Target. Hey, whatever works!

 3. Sleep when the baby sleeps.

 Everyone says it. It's not rocket science, people. See number one. SLEEP. All newborns do is sleep, even if it is in smaller increments, so take advantage of it! Sam still wakes up all night long but it does get better. For us, it gets better in the sense that I have adjusted to running off of little sleep. Also, if you're pregnant, don't complain about the lack of sleep you're getting. THAT does get worse without getting better. You can no longer take those glorious naps and sleep whenever you want once that (1,000 percent worth it) little nugget makes its way into your life. I'm just sayin', I don't know about you, but I "Mama" better with a little sleep.

 4. Make noise.

Turn all the TVs on. Talk loud. Play loud music. Do whatever you have to do to get your baby used to noise. Again, this is something we intended on doing but failed on. Initially Sam slept with Grey's Anatomy on because he nursed for so long I needed distraction but when he basically stopped wanting to nap, it took a dark quiet room to get him to sleep, so parent fail there. But again, you do what you have to do for sleep!

5. Listen to your gut.

Like I mentioned before, what you do does absolutely matter, but every single baby is different. Your baby's temperament is your baby's temperament no matter what. I promise you, Sam was born with his and while he may look just like his Daddy, his personality is very much like his Mamas. I also promise you that it's okay to not be perfect. Your baby will not remember you crying at 3am screaming to Jesus that all you want is him to sleep. But you will need to remember that you are a good Mama. You do know what's best for your baby, just don't forget what's best for you. Mommin' ain't easy, friends. But there is no other crown I would rather wear.

6. Remember: "This Too Shall Pass"

Unless you're a saint, there will be the rare occasion where you think to yourself "oh what have I gotten myself into?!". The first 4 months are tough, but I promise they get easier. They have been especially hard on Matt and me, but we both agree that in the first 4 months the only thing you can do is let your baby just be a baby. It does get better, you will sleep again, and your love will grow stronger every single day. One day you'll think you've reached capacity, and then the next day you realize your heart grew bigger overnight. 

 Must Haves:

Keep in mind some of these are things I wish I would have purchased, so take what I say with a grain of salt but also know that I can tell you everything under the sun not to do and buy. I mean, I'm still bouncing a 16lb. baby to sleep and holding him for all of his naps.... in a dark room. Someone come teach this baby how to self soothe. Lord, help me.


(Or any other co-sleeper of your choice.) Y'all. This is something I'm kicking myself for not buying. One of the reasons I love the idea of the DockATot is because you can move it. You can put it in your bed or in the bassinet next to your bed and eventually in the crib, making the transition much easier. Sam still sleeps in his RockN'Play (and I'm obsessed The Jonathan Adler version, btw), which we have loved because it saved us when he was refusing to sleep flat, the transition to his crib has been super difficult. Between being held for naps and sleeping in the RNP at night, he's so used to being cuddled and sleeping inclined. Praying for a shift in luck soon!


Oh the swaddle. Babies have this silly thing called the Moro Reflex that causes them to startle like spastic crazy people falling off of bridges. Sam's was horrible. We used the Halo Sleepsack but I think next time we will try the Miracle Blanket. Unfortunately, we thought he hated it so it took us a while to implement it. The thing is, most babies will fight it... at first. But all it takes is a few seconds and it calms fussy little ones, and allows everyone to get a few extra zzz's, because his little arms aren't flailing and waking him up. I remember the first night we used the Sleepsack on Sam. He went from sleeping 3 hours to 6 hours and it was glorious. Now, I don't remember the last time he slept 6 hours straight.  Sadly, Sam is now in a transition Zipadee Zip, but man I miss those swaddled sleepful nights. (P.S.-If you ever plan on purchasing a Zipadee Zip, buy two. Sam's smells after two days because he sucks on his hands through them so much! Ew.)

Noise Maker.

 I've heard great things about this one but we've ended up just using a plain old box fan. We live in a split level home and it gets warm upstairs so they were already running anyways. Next time, I think we will invest in a Baby Shusher. I shush this baby so much it's gotta be worth it for baby number two, right?

Owlet Monitor.

The Owlet is a little sock that you monitors your baby's heart rate and oxygen levels. Should anything go below what it should, it alerts you on your phone. Sam rolled over in his bassinet in the hospital. I now know this was normal but it gave Matt and I both anxiety. Every time we put him down, there he went. I spent the first week holding him asleep and watching him sleep anywhere else. Had I purchased the Owlet, I would have felt so much better. And I definitely would have gotten more sleep.

Baby Wrap or Carrier. 

Sam and I both loved my Solly Baby Wrap but he eventually outgrew that love and now refuses the ergo. We're hoping to try something similar soon with better results. I've heard great things about the Tula and the Lillebaby. If you're looking for a less expensive alternative, the Infantino has great reviews, too.

A Good Diaper Pail.

Y'all, this is crucial. I know everyone usually ends up with something like the Diaper Genie but I love my Tommee Tippee. The company sent it to me to try while I was pregnant and it's much easier to use and masks the smell just as well, if not better, than the Diaper Genie.

All the breastfeeding accessories a Mama could have.

 I'll go into more detail in a separate post all about what I think you need and our tumultuous breastfeeding journey soon.

What are some of your must haves for surviving parenthood? Anything I should know about for the rest of Baby Sam's first year? Please share!


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