Not My Baby

So when you get pregnant and have a baby, everyone you know suddenly has a ton of totally well-meaning advice that they lovingly heap upon you (whether you’ve asked for it or not). I received my favorite bit of pre-baby advice from a dear friend, who told me to “ignore all the advice and just listen to that baby.” Ahh, my lovely lady; she spoke directly to my rebellious, boy mom heart with those sweet words, and it’s the advice I’ve most often heeded, because my baby boy is the mother loving exception to every mother loving baby rule there is.

One sure fire way of calming and soothing baby is to swaddle him tight and pop in a pacifier. Babies enjoy the comfort of a tight swaddle because it reminds them of the tightly packed womb. Babies also have an automatic sucking reflex, so sucking a pacifier keeps baby calm. Except, not my baby. My baby hates being swaddled, preferring instead to let his arms fly high day and night, startle reflex be damned. Try to swaddle my kid and he screams bloody murder until you unwrap him, then he smiles and coos. Try to give my baby a paci and he scrunches his nose and spits, as if to scoff “that is not leaking milk at me, mom.” True son, true. I like to think his aversion to these typical baby-soothers means he’s simply an advanced specimen who can’t be tricked by non-womb and a non-milk-giving substitutes.

Baby’s belly will grow in the first several weeks of life, and at around 5-6 weeks, baby’s tum can hold up to five ounces of milk at a time! Baby therefore will begin to eat more in one sitting, and will go longer between feedings by approximately 2 months of age. Except, of course, for my baby. From birth to five weeks my baby eats approximately 1-1.5 ounces every hour, around the clock. Around five weeks old, my baby begins to eat anywhere from 1-2 ounces at a time, and at 2 months of age he has stretched out to 2-2.5 ounces per feeding, eating every hour and a half (sometimes every 2 hours at night!!). I am very tired. I like to think my baby is simply keeping trim by enjoying several small meals throughout the day, as all the best trainers and nutritionists advise. Well done, baby. (Haha jk, he’s huge.)

Once baby begins to eat more, he’ll sleep longer stretches. Nope! K to be fair, my baby doesn’t eat more than 2.5 ounces in one sitting, so I have no idea if he would sleep longer if he ate the 4+ ounces common for other babes his age. And no amount of begging, praying, or dream feeding gets the kid to eat more, so all of this is the sort of advice that makes me burn with a fiery hatred.

Formula takes longer to digest, so formula fed babies stay full longer and, consequently, sleep longer. Except my guy. My babe eats pumped breastmilk pretty exclusively, but there have been a few times when he gobbled up food (an ounce at a time) faster than I could pump it out, so I’ve supplemented with formula. Baby boy sucks down an ounce or two of formula (and no more, despite my aforementioned efforts), and an hour and a half later, day or night, he’s asking for more. I like to think he just wants to hang out with mom and dad all the time because we are super cool. You’re cool too little bud! But please sleep.

Put baby to bed in his own crib, awake but drowsy. Ha ha ha yea. If that actually works for your two month old, I hate you with the aforementioned fiery burning. But please tell me your secrets.

You can’t spoil a newborn and you can’t create any habits during the newborn period. You can’t spoil a newborn, that my boy and I agree with. Love up that squishy babe all you can!! But “you can’t create habits through the newborn stage” does not apply to my baby. My baby boy got in the habit of 1) being rocked the eff to sleep, and 2) napping in my lap, which means I now rock my 16 pound boy to sleep for each of his seventy-eight daily naps, and once that cherub love finally does sleep, I can’t put him down anywhere but on my lap, lest he wake up and we have to start all over again. I like to think he just loves me too much to sleep anywhere else, and my lord it’s cute to have my little love curled up in my lap, but it is not fun when my butt falls asleep. Every time. I heard this wonderful “no habits are forming” advice from multiple sources, and I blame them all equally. Fie!

Your baby should always eat, then play, then go to sleep, and when he wakes up you should repeat that cycle. This follows baby’s natural pattern of wanting to eat when he wakes. Hardy har har, not my baby. My baby wakes up, stretches, giggles at the ceiling, coos at mama until I get up, smiles, and spits at the bottle the second it gets near his face. If I do manage to get the bottle into my guy’s mouth, he chews on it while staring at the ceiling fan, but he does not eat. No amount of begging, praying, or forcing gets the kid to eat, play, then sleep. So I have given up, and I just feed babe when he’s hungry.

The one piece of advice I have gotten that does work for my baby is playing white noise during naps and at bed time! Turning the noise on immediately calms my bubba, and he sleeps soundly despite the neighbor’s leaf blower or that dog who always barks. I have, however, recently been told that I definitely, definitely shouldn’t use a white noise machine to help my baby sleep, because when he grows up he’ll be a super light sleeper, which will suck. Again with the fiery burning hatred.

So, obviously I do everything wrong. If you’re a really good boy mom like me, please take heart and allow me to give you some advice (whether you want it or not): go with your gut, because every baby is different. Especially my baby.

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Mom Brain

There is this thing that happens to some postpartum women where their brains go a bit fuzzy, so words and ideas and thoughts are vague or buried or missing altogether, and this makes these women feel dumb. This phenomenon is often times referred to as Mom Brain, and I have it big time. I can’t do much about the vague ideas I have, or my thoughts getting buried, but, luckily, I am a really good boy mom, so I am able to come up with replacements for the words that go missing from my brain, and I have become pretty damn creative.

For example, bubba recently finished a feeding with a big healthy burp and a grin. We laughed and blew zerbers at each other as he laid on his back for a change. I sat him back up and nuzzled his nose with mine, and he barfed all over my face. I screamed and husband laughed, so I shouted at him to shut up and grab me a… uh… one of those… you wrap the baby up… a startle stopper!!! Which is a swaddle blanket.

Another good example: since my boy loves music, and mama loves dancing, we often sway to Disney songs or booty shake to some Beyoncé. Recently we were listening to a kids Pandora station, and a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” began to play, which I love, so I swooped my little puppy boy up into my arms and cuddled him to the tune. My mind immediately and violently flashed forward to a vision of my son, a head taller than I, clad in a dark suit as we danced at his wedding. Irrational as it may be, I of course began to sob, so I handed baby off to a bewildered daddy. I explained myself to Husband as heavy tears and snot dripped down my face, then I asked if he had washed those… uh… my things… the boob guys… the milk suckers?!?! Which are breast pump flanges.

I have a million, and not all of them are baby related.

Need another chair? “Babe, can you bring in an extra… uh… So we can have more people at the table? You know? One of those… a sitting spot!”

Baby needs a change? “Oh ma gawd that’s the most poo I’ve ever seen! Babe!! I’m out of… can you open a new box of… those things for the poo… a baby bathroom thing…a poop catcher!!!” (That’s technically 2 very creative and descriptive word-replacement phrases. Feel free to use if needed. No charge.)

Looking for your car keys? “Baby have you seen my… jingley… little… starter things?”(Best when used with a “turning the ignition” hand motion.)

Sports bra? Booby tightener. “You know, for work outs?”

Bottle brush? Baby cup scrubby washer.

Deodorant? Stink stick.

Fork? Food stabby.

Decent night’s sleep? Ha Ha yea right.


I could go on, but my Mom Brain is kicking in, and I can’t remember the talky sayings that have gone missing from my head organ, let alone the creative instead-users I’ve come up with. This mama needs some energy-making bitter water and some yum wafers before the baby wakes from his nap. (No creativity needed there – all hail nap time.)

Top 10 Effects of Staying Up All Night With Your Newborn

During the newborn period the days and weeks fly by you in a whirlwind, but the nights are painfully slow and sleep deprived. Below, I’ve compiled a list of stuff to look forward to now that you’re staying up all night. You’re welcome!

   

1. First off, because you’re co-sleeping and because baby likes to snuggle, “all night” begins at (minimum) 7pm, so you get really friendly on social media in the evenings.

2. Late at night you get super creative ideas for products to launch and movie scripts to write. (Currently working on a prototype of a flat breast pump flange that siphons milk into bottles over on the counter so I stop spilling on my bed. Also brainstorming superhero movie ideas. I have something about a cow-woman hybrid. She can milk herself and hoof bad guys, but she tips over easily when sleeping. It’s a work in progress.)

3. Since your infant must sleep cradled in your lap, you have at least one hand free to dominate Candy Crush on your phone. (Holla at ya girl, level 126)

4. In the stillness you begin to hear odd noises throughout your house. Something shifts in the shadows; your eyes dart to the spot, and your pulse quickens. You look at husband and blink hard, willing his darkened features into focus, shuttering at the twisted grimace you think you see on his face. You do mental math trying to determine the time; 3am is the witching hour and you swear you just felt something touch your foot. Scenes from horror films flash in your mind so you squeeze your eyes shut and sing songs from The Sound of Music in your head. The hairs on your butt and back and arms stand on end, and when baby hiccups in his sleep you jump with a start and wake him up and have to get up and bounce him so he settles back down, and your pulse races, and you’ve just thought of another movie idea.

5. You have time to read up on the baby “norms” for your child’s age, like sleeping longer and eating more, which your child does not do, so you second guess every boy mom move you’ve made thus far and feel like you’re failing. (#5 is fun)

6. Cuddle sessions with your significant other retain their intensity but not their length. Your wonderful parenting partner feeds and burps baby, and changes him if he needs it, and you sit and pump, and when you both finally settle back in to bed (and at roughly the same time) you are each hit with a wave of deep gratitude, love, and admiration for the other, and you hold one another and love one another in thanks. And after about 2.5 seconds you each let go because the baby is sleeping and you both want to be, too.

7. You are extra ambitious in the wee hours, so your To Do list is now a mile long and includes mundane activities like “go to dmv” and “get groceries,” but also more enthusiastic wants like “learn Spanish” and “become more proficient at Photoshop” and “take singing lessons” and “find a dance instructor” and “write your novel” and so on.

8. Hunger hits hard at 3am, but baby is cuddled by your side so you try to sleep it off. Your tum still rumbles and you end up Pinteresting in the dark, seeking yummy recipes to try, and you add them to your To Do list.

9. You now know all the words to Beyoncé’s new song because it’s stuck in your head and you sing it on repeat all night, even when you wish your brain would just shut off, but damn if that song isn’t catchy! I slay, OK. If he hit it right I might take him on a flight on my chopper! 

10. Possibly because of the chronic sleep deprivation, and certainly because it’s nice to have a friend in the middle of the night, you swear your breast pump is talking to you, so you respond, and the conversation you have in your head is hilarious, and you can’t contain your laughter so you stuff your face into a pillow. (“Apple, Apple” “What’re you still hungry, ya greedy little bitch?” “Hush up, hush up” “Uh excuse me, this is my room, you can gtfo.” “We pump, we pump” “Ah crap, you’re right. My bad, pump” “It’s cool, it’s cool” “Hey you’re pretty cool too!” “Not you, not you.” “Alright ya cheeky ass pump.” “Ha ha, ha ha” “Lololololol!” – No? Just me?)

BONUS: You are cuddled up with a living doll of your very own body’s creation, and it is thrilling and sometimes feels miraculous, so during those early morning hours, despite burning eyes and deep exhaustion, you hug your sweet dollop of baby and breathe in his scent. You memorize the curve of the bridge of the boy’s nose and the way he sucks his bottom lip in his sleep. You silently press your lips to the top of his head and long to touch the soft skin of his baby cheek, but you don’t because your baby’s need for sleep already comes before your desire for closeness. You lie down to watch your boy’s peaceful slumber, your heart sings sweet lullabies, and you beam as you close your eyes in rest because you are a boy mom and these are the moments to cherish.

Vacation

I headed out to my 6-week postpartum check up with Dr. Askari, super chill OBGYN, which, consequently, got me out of the house for more than an hour for the first time since giving birth to the squish. I had nearly forgotten what sunshine was like, and driving felt foreign, but it was doctors orders so on I went. After saying howdy to Dr. Askari (who was sad I hadn’t brought the bub), and getting the OK to bring the sexy back (woohoo), I made the rebellious decision to extend my vacation, and I navigated my well-loved Camry to the rich part of town, stopping only as I reached the fancy grocery store.

Then I went inside:

There’s a Starbucks in here! Hello barista, one grande soy latte please. Oh look, travel mugs. Lids are convenient for not spilling coffee on the bubs. Aww I miss my baby! Omg what am I doing, I should go home, he probably misses me. I should text Husband. What? Did they just call a drink for Shannon? Is that me and they’re just dumb? Yup. Ooh latte, yum yum yum. Maybe I should get a travel mug. Omg I’m so tired. Wait, why am I here? Oh yea, we need wipes. Where are the wipes in this place? OMG the bakery! Yum! I’m getting a cart. Hi there, do you have any fresh samples? Something chocolatey? Holy crap that’s good, what is this? Chocolate chew cookie, never heard of that. Can I get a half – a dozen? No, yea, a dozen, sorry, not half. Great, thanks. Do you know where I can find baby wipes? Awesome, have a great day. This place is fancy! Oh wine. That’s smart, they put the booze by the bakery. What time is it? 11am. Maybe I’ll get some for later. Mmm Cabernet, maybe two bottles. Ugh no, put it back, wine will make me too sleepy. I wonder when my puppy boy will start sleeping through the night. I’m so tired. Oh! I should text husband. Oh my gawd, how cute is that rustic picture frame? What a cute little trinket section this grocery store has! Aw I should put the bubs’ picture in that for Husband’s desk at work. Ohh look at the little teddy bears! So soft, bubs will looove. Oh, I need wipes. Focus! Man, so tired. Ok, canned goods; cereal; yum the coffee aisle smells good; oh right, my latte; frozen stuff; shampoo; baby aisle! Sweet, ok, wipes wipes wipes. No! Ugh they don’t have our brand. Whaaat the eff, fancy store?? What now? Ugh everything is so much more expensive. This was stupid, I should have gone to Target. Oh, I need to text Husband. Whatever, unscented generic for right now. Ooh pacifier clips. Cuuuute. Maybe I’ll get the lion one in case my little man starts liking his pacifier. Omg and then he could self-soothe! Might need it. Omg what am I doing? I’m so tired. I’m basically high. Ok, do we need anything else? Good on feminine hygiene; vitamins, no; I can get some toothpaste just in case. Oh makeup! I need new lip gloss. No I don’t, I never go anywhere. But it will make me feel pretty! Oh, hair dye! No, bad idea. What am I looking for again? I have no idea. Omg, the delirium. Should I get a frozen pizza for dinner? I so don’t feel like cooking. Mm, I want chips. I must be getting hungry. A Coke sounds so good right now. Oh right, latte. Yum, it tastes like Christmas. C’mon caffeine, kick in. How cute is this trinket section! Oh, text Husband! Yuuummm sour Skittles, get in my face this instant. Maybe another pack for later. Ah, get out of the candy aisle! I should bring Husband some beef jerky. Ooh fancy bulk section you have, fancy grocery store! Teriyaki glazed organic beef jerky? Sold. I’m such a good wife. I need to text him; how long have I been gone? It’s ok, it’s self care. I need sleep. Yum, those cookies are amazing. I wonder if they have fancy bread loaves. Oh and cheese! Yum, creamy Brie, you smell so funky. Yup definitely hungry. Crunchy bread? Where are you? No that’s brioche, sandwich bread, rolls, OMG are they out? Yay! French bread. Om nom. OK I have to go. Aw I miss the baby. I hope he’s napping. I want to nap. Ow my boobs are starting to hurt. Oh, hello again Starbucks. Yes snooty check out girl, this is my purchase, shut it. Oh yay, sodas! Maybe I’ll get a magazine, see what JLaw is up to. No way, I’d never have time. Oh gawd, I need to pump. Ah crap I forgot reusable bags. I’ll take paper, thanks. Awwwwwww, I just bought baby wipes! I’m such a mom. A really good boy mom, in fact. Damn the sun is bright. Haha look at my car in this parking lot, the only dirty one. Omg I should have grabbed floss! Dammit!!! Ugh, should I go back in? No, not even. Mah, so tired. I’m hungry. Mmm beef jerky is bomb. Ah, crap I never text Husband.

Then I went home. I shared my cookies with Hubs and lamented the wipes selection at the fancy grocery store. I showed off the stuff from the cute trinket section and cursed myself for forgoing the gossip magazine. I told Husband about the bomb beef jerky that I had bought for him but ate in the car, and I reminded him that I had recently given birth so he couldn’t be mad at me; then I gave him a kiss, and I squeezed our squishy 6-week old, and I saddled up to my breast pump because vacation was over.

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Top 10 Places A Really Good Boy Mom Stashes Her Retainer

1. In her cleavage while grabbing a coffee, a glass of water, and 3-10 “cinnamon bun” flavored Oreo cookies (OMFnom) from downstairs before the baby wakes up.

2. On any relatively crumb-free surface that is not wet.

3. On a wet surface, if the source of the wetness is known.

4. In the vicinity of the breast pump she will strap herself to 8 times in the next 24 hours.

5. In the pocket of the robe or sweatshirt she has been wearing for 3 days.

6. In the crook of her arm for a very short duration, if cleavage is not available.

7. In her armpit, if crook of arm and cleavage are not available.

8. In the bathroom somewhere.

9. Next to the kitchen sink if she has been doing the dishes (unlikely).

10. In her retainer case (hardy har har).

BONUS: Just kidding she lost it/the dog ate it and a new one will cost 200 bucks.

I can already feel my damn teeth moving. Dammit.