Archives for the month of: August, 2009

chair_sm.jpgYears ago, I attended a baby shower.  Between eating tiny sandwiches, making guesses at the circumference of the guest of honor’s belly and cooing over the baby clothes, the other ladies in attendance talked about their war stories.  I remember thinking, “wow, all they talk about is their boobs.”  At the time, I didn’t have any babies, plans for babies, pets and just one house plant that was hanging on for dear life.  In order to participate in the conversation, I could only think back and muse about myself as an infant.  It was a lame party.

But, here I am.  I’m one of them now.  Last weekend, we went to our dear friends’ house and I found myself talking about my boobs.  How the left boob is an under-producer and how “Righty” was like a geyser.   I even breastfed the little guy right on the family couch with every one coming in and out – something I never thought I would be able to do.

Yesterday, I bragged to my family that I was able to keep my infant alive for over a month now with nothing but my own mammary glands to thank.  No one was as impressed as I am.  Since having to give up most of everything I used to identify myself with – work, hobbies, exercise, etc. – having this accomplishment under my belt has become my new source of self confidence.  If Ryder and I had been left in the woods instead of here in San Elijo Hills, he would have made it this far.   I guess I would have to hunt for rabbits or something to keep myself alive.

I am a researcher.  Whenever I am about to embark on a new journey, I arm myself with as much internet fodder on the subject as possible.  This parenthood thing is no exception.  One thing I read over and over again was that seemingly well meaning family members will attempt to thwart a new mother’s efforts to feed her baby as she chooses.  In my prenatal days, I couldn’t fathom how this could be or where it would even come up in conversation.  I had no idea that my own mother would be the culprit (sorry, Mom.  The truth has to be told.)

You see, one of the hallmarks of a breastfeeding mother is complaining about it.  I mean, come on.  You have a tiny little person constantly sucking on your bits – and not just any bits.  Bits that have never so much as seen the sun up until recently.  Delicate bits.  So, it comes with the territory to whine about it.  My mom only wants me to be happy and not whining.  “You know, you could supplement with formula.  There’s nothing wrong with it.  I fed you with formula and you think you turned out pretty well.”

After a couple of weeks of this, I had to ask her to stop mentioning the formula.  I told her that breastfeeding was a choice that I made for the soul benefit of my baby and it’s way too easy to give it up.  I needed to have everyone’s support in my decision.  She admitted that she was suggesting formula so that she could spend more alone time with the baby. Noble enough.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that it is getting easier.  Ryder and I are both getting the hang of this and losing my modesty has definitely helped.  I am proud of myself for sticking with something that hurts and is time consuming  that doesn’t benefit me at all – just my baby.  I think this is maturity. 

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As of last Wednesday, we have officially survived our first month of parenthood.  Here’s what I have learned so far:

1) Caring for human babies is quite different than caring for puppies.  The most notable difference is that human babies need milk and puppies can eat Puppy Chow.  You can buy the human equivalent of Puppy Chow for your baby (formula) but all modern medical literature will make you feel like an utter failure as a mother if you succumb to using it to feed your infant. 

The second most notable difference – human babies have no teeth.

2) You can leave the house with a newborn baby and have a somewhat normal life.  You just have to bring a lot of stuff with you to do so.  The one thing you forget to bring that day (wipes, change of outfit, blanket, etc.) will be the one thing that you need more than anything.

3) While it is pretty much accepted that breast milk is the best possible food for babies, it is almost impossible to find a public place where you can comfortably feed your baby.  So far, Nordstroms and Babies R Us are the only two places I have found that have a nice set-up.  Macy’s had a little converted storage closet for the job.  Most places don’t so much as have a chair let alone a nice, quite comfortable place.

So, you need to get real used to breastfeeding in public if you plan on feeding your little one that way.  And yes, people stare.

4) Human babies come out of the womb very hungry (well, at least mine did.) When Ryder cries, it’s because he’s hungry.  When Ryder wakes up, he’s hungry.  He eats all the time.  Luckily, he’s really cute when he’s hungry.  He does this little baby bird face where he waves his head around with his mouth open looking for something to stick in it.  It’s adorable! 

So basically, as his mom, my primary job for the last month has been feeding him.  Everyone else in the family, runs back-up and supporting roles to feeding him.  I went the whole first week without changing a single diaper.  I think everyone sort of feels sorry for me because I spend so much time in bed feeding this little guy.

5) We have drawers and drawers full of baby clothes but we only dress Ryder in outfits that are easy to get on.  Why do they make so many baby clothes that piss babies off when you attempt to put them on?  Baby pants are just silly – they’re hard to get on, fall off way too easily and when you need to change a diaper, they need to be pulled off every time.  Dumb.

6) Swaddling isn’t just a nice thing to do and a cute word.  It is a necessity so it’s a good idea to practice it a lot and get good at it.  It’s the baby equivalent to a straight jacket for the mentally ill.  Babies have no control over their extremities and when they get worked up, they wave them in the air like crazy – which just works them up even more.  If you can get a good swaddle going, you can lock everything down and he will go to sleep.  A bad swaddle is like no swaddle – baby will fight his way out of it in no time.

Ok… I have learned more than this but Milky is hungry so I got to go.  More later.