Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Motherhood The "Never" Ending Learning Curve

One of my pet peeves before getting pregnant or becoming a mom was the warnings other moms would give you to "never say never." I really got upset when a mom would say that her baby wouldn't sleep in her bed and then another mom would say, "Oh you just wait!"

Even though I'm on the other side of motherhood now, those things still bother me. I think that as moms we need to respect and encourage moms to be with their plans and support them if they need us as they don't turn out later on. I'm so grateful for the people who supported me through my breastfeeding journey and helped me keep at it. They helped me stay true to what I had always planned on. On the flipside, though, I am grateful to those who didn't pass judgement or supported me as I changed my thoughts on baby sleep and brought my daughter to our bed--something I never thought I would do.


Whitney and I are both new moms and we are in this world together. We share a lot of the same passions--we love our husbands, our babies, the gospel, and books. Whitney lives in Georgia--my in-laws live there so I have a bit of a passion for the South and so does she--obviously.


We're both sharing some of our thoughts on a few hot motherhood topics during the first year..as we've both had different experiences.




Eating

Whitney--At the hospital the nurses would check in on me as I nursed my son, bragging over what a great eater he would be! Things changed when we got home for the worst, research before his birth introduced me to many moms who pumped for their babies. When he refused me over and over again, breaking my heart in two, I decided to exclusively pump. We later found out he was tongue tied and that kept him from nursing, but I can say I successfully fed him for a full 6 months before switching to formula. As well an introducing formula, we started solids. I did a mix of Baby Led Weaning and baby purees. It was really whatever was around, I’m a pretty laid back mom. As long as the bites were mushy, that’s all that mattered to me! My son was a great eater, he loved all sorts of flavors. I gave him a little bit of everything and still do to this day. We try foods over and over again, more recently fruit has been his favorite (of course). He’s now ONE (sob) and drinks whole milk, which I mix with a little bit of formula to give him a milkshake type drink, haha, has fruits or blueberry pancakes for breakfast (minus the butter and syrup), he likes to eat throughout the day but eats whatever I’m eating so it makes this mama make healthier choices!!


Sharlee--JaiseAnn was breastfed from birth. A few hiccups meant that we supplemented for the first few weeks and then JaiseAnn gave us a run for our money with a bottle strike that lasted until she was a year old. At six months we introduced solids via Baby Led Weaning, but she didn't care for them too much. Around 7 1/2 months, she picked up on eating solids. Now she is still nursing, drinks whole milk from a sippy cup, eats three meals a day (usually veggies first), and loves snack time.  I had planned to go these routes all along but we nearly threw the towel in on nursing and when JaiseAnn's sleep got disrupted, I went ahead and tried to feed her solids in any form--cereal, purees, etc. I was desperate, but she wasn't having any of it. We eventually got there. 




Sleeping

Whitney--My son decided to join our family 2 weeks overdue (ouch) read his birth story here. I contribute his amazing sleep skills to being overdue. The first 4 months he slept in our bed in a co-sleeper. It was the best thing for everybody, my husband and I both loved having him so close. We have a king size bed, there was plenty of room. It was easier to feed him, diaper him, and we ALL got better sleep. The transition to his crib was simple, we placed him inside the sleeper he was already familiar with into his crib and later removed it all together. We’ve never had to cry it out, the longest he’s ever cried before passing out is 5 minutes, anything after that and I’ll reassess (diaper, bottle, rocking) and try again. Now at one he sleeps 10-11 hours at night, and takes a 2 hr nap in the morning and a shorter nap in the afternoon!


Sharlee- I could write a novel on our sleep situation. I started out thinking that JaiseAnn would sleep in our room until she was three months old, and then we'd move to a crib. I never was a big fan of sleep training so I told myself I'd just put her down for all of her sleeping from the beginning. Surely that would help solve a multitude of sleep problems. Well, she came and you couldn't get her out of my arms. She napped on me for three straight months pretty much. When the three months hit, I wasn't ready to move her out of my room. Eventually her sleep blew up in our faces and we decided to bring her to bed with us. I have a love/hate relationship with co-sleeping, but now that things have slowly improved, I'm leaning more toward loving it. It's not for everyone, but it does actually work for us.


Diapering


Whitney--I had to laugh when I read Sharlee’s remarks here and hang my head in shame! We planned on cloth diapering as well, I was ALL about it. I think I needed someone to “show me their ways” because now we are disposables only and I have no idea how to even begin with cloth diapering. In our defense, I am hard core into recycling!!


Sharlee--We planned to cloth diaper JaiseAnn from the beginning, but we didn't have the money to invest upfront in the diapers while I was pregnant. JaiseAnn wore disposables for the first three months and then when I finally felt good about the brand/style/amount of diapers I would need I ordered them. JaiseAnn wears Bum Genius 4.0 one size diapers. We have about 18 diapers and we do laundry usually every 2 or 3 days. She wears disposable diapers at night--we never encountered problems, we just always kept her in disposable diapers at night. We use cloth wipes, with our own wipes solution, and we use coconut oil as a cream. 


Baby Gear




Whitney--We struggled with infertility before having my son (read those posts here) and for a long time I was bitter, resentful, angry. Then I had my son and the family and friends who had babies before me suddenly had all this baby gear to give us. It has been an amazing blessing in our lives financially. We want to live a minimalistic lifestyle and reduce, reuse, recycle is SO hard in the baby world. Never turn your nose up if somebody offers baby gear!! One of my favorite baby items is our baby carrier, I used the Baby K'tan till 5 months, then after that our Ergobaby, we love baby wearing!


Sharlee We tried to be minimalists about baby gear, but we wound up with a few things--a borrowed Rock n Play, a bouncer seat, and a swing. We also have a crib and a rocking chair. We used the Rock n Play a ton and the swing only once. I quickly learned how quickly babies outgrow their gear and if they don't like it, they really don't have time to learn. A lot of our supplies were wasted. It's hard to decide now if we wait around holding onto this gear for baby two. We have tried to maintain a minimalist approach to toys in our home, but it is often hard to get family members on board. 




Marriage 


Whitney--When our son was born, my husband was a full time college student and I was working full time. He was also living in another town an hour and a half away and commuting as much as possible. Communication, openness, and forgiveness were huge during that time in our lives. My husband is now fully employed, lives with us (oh yea), and I work part time! In marriage, there are good times and bad, but they never last forever. Being supportive and encouraging are the best tips I can give for marriage. I’m glad we didn’t give up on each other when times when hard, there has been so much joy since having our family!


Sharlee--Marriage after a baby was a big adjustment for us. We had some rough moments for sure. I am so proud of where we are now. Between me learning to be more upfront about asking for help and my husband knowing better how to help, we've been able to reduce the frustration in our home significantly. JaiseAnn's improved sleep really helped as she woke up every 20-40 minutes for several months. Zach and I never had a good chunk of uninterrupted time, but we finally have been able to enjoy our time together for longer periods and it has been so good for us. 


Body Image After Baby


Whitney--OUCH, Sharlee do we have to go here?! Ok, ok. Let’s not all bond over self hate ladies. I wrote a post about the dos and don’ts of post partum and body image was a huge part of that. Nobody told me what to expect, so I’ll try to tell you now. The first week home, I made the mistake of weighing myself and looking in the mirror naked (the horror). It doesn’t last forever, I promise. I wish somebody had told me that back then, I was terrified. My stretchmarks still exist, but they have faded, and they show the amazing baby I helped create! I’ve always been into exercise, while pregnant I walked 4-6 miles 5 times a week and tried to eat healthy, I still indulged with ice cream, chicken, and lots of French fries. I’m not close to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I’m mama strong and the scale is moving down, that’s what matters. Around 6 months I started home workouts and at 9 months I began my gym routine of exercise classes and cardio again. Now I have a gym and walking buddy, it’s the best!


Sharlee I was convinced that between breastfeeding and my plans to start exercising once I was okayed for it, that I would lose the weight. I had plans to be back in my pre-pregnancy clothes by my birthday which was almost nine months later to the day. I am still working on getting back into those clothes. I am proud of myself for not giving up, but it's been hard. Breastfeeding did not help me lose the weight and I'm sure our struggles with sleep haven't helped either. I made some poor eating choices for the first year and really have tried to cut back and do better after completing my first Whole30 in February. I have been working on balancing having a healthy body image right now and working toward improving myself. I am still trying to learn how to truly love and embrace my body and how to maintain moderation in eating--things that I think will be very valuable for my daughter to witness.



What plans did you have that you've been able to stick to and which ones have definitely been a "never say never" situation?



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