Our little one, the Wee Slav, is six months old. Whoa. Where did the time go?
In the past six months, I’ve learned a lot. It’s been quite the adventure – both challenging and rewarding. It’s been amazing, distressing, frightening, joyous, and everything in between. Below are the six biggest things I’ve learned as a new mother:
Lesson 1: Breastfeeding is f–king hard. If anything, it has been the most challenging part of motherhood. You can read more about our struggles here. I learned that breastfeeding can be a wonderful and joyous experience, and at times, our breastfeeding relationship was amazing. It was also horrible. We were never able to breastfeed exclusively, because our baby never gained a sufficient amount of weight on breast milk, alone. Yes, we tried everything – IBCLCs, domperidone, lactation teas, lactation cookies, pumping, nursing more frequently. At five months of age, our son refused the breast, and for the last few weeks, I’ve been exclusively pumping (moo…) and providing approx. 50% of his calories via breast milk. I’m proud of my perseverance – feeding some breast milk is important to me.
But, formula is peachy keen, and fed is best. Period.
Lesson 2: Sleep training is a-okay. Listen, we opted to sleep train. The lack of sleep was unbearable. The 4-month sleep regression hit our family like a tonne of bricks. The baby screamed until 1 AM most nights, and he was so overtired that he couldn’t even. We tried to co-sleep, but it didn’t work for our family. This whole ordeal was also having a negative effect on our relationship, and for everyone’s sanity, we hired a consultant from SleepWell Baby. In a few weeks, our little one was happily sleeping in his room, in his crib. Recent research shows that sleep training has no detrimental effects on the small humans, so shove your sanctimony up your bum.
Lesson 3: Mommy groups are the worst. Okay, I have found a couple of groups that maintain some semblance of sanity, but if you ever want to feel like a giant pile of shit, join a random mommy group on Facebook. It’s a treasure trove of breastfeeding and babywearing zealotry, with a healthy dollop of pseudoscience and shaming. And, speaking of babywearing…
Lesson 4: Some babies strongly dislike being worn. Our son is one of these babies. We tried a Moby Wrap, and he hated it. We tried a ring sling, and he hated it. We purchased a Líllébaby All Seasons, and he still tolerates it, but only barely. He’s just not the baby that cries to be pressed up against a parental unit. He’s much happier bouncing in his Jolly Jumper or playing on his activity mat.
And, to be honest, I’m not crazy about babywearing. I have a soft, structured carrier (mentioned above) and a mei tai, and I barely use them. Maybe, once our baby stops using his bucket seat, we’ll have more use for the carriers, but we’re not a devoted babywearing household. We all prefer using the stroller.
Lesson 5: Baby poop smells like poop. All those warnings I received about baby poop smelling like a dead skunk that’s been rotting underneath your porch for the last decade were wholly unnecessary. Perhaps, I have extremely tolerant nostrils and/or a shitty sense of smell, but baby poop smells exactly like I expected it to smell – like poop. Besides, nothing is worse than whatever comes out of our dog’s butt.
Lesson 6: Nobody know what the f–k they’re talking about, and your baby is perfect. Follow your heart. Also, please vaccinate your children.
There were more lessons and difficulties – everything from deciding which formula to purchase to cleaning a catastrophic diaper blow-out. More adventures await, especially as we begin to introduce solids and become more mobile. It’s going to be a wild ride. Better start baby proofing the house, amirite?
SleepWell Baby provides sleep consultations for babies, toddlers, and children. They can be found at http://www.sleepwellbaby.ca.