My Early Parenting Actions/Observations
I’ve had a few people ask me about day to day life with Baby MPB. I didn’t write about it while we were away because honestly, day-to-day life in a hotel without a kitchen and laundry while under the direct control of our agency meant that life simply wasn’t normal.
But, now that we are settling in at home I’ve started to think more about what parenting has really been like.
Truthfully, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t that it’s amazing or awesome, which of course it is and I’m determined to never take a moment for granted.
What actually comes to mind is that it’s nothing like I expected. Everyone told me parenting is full of surprises. Well, as a first time mom, let me tell you, they were right!! Every day (and night) is like a new little adventure.
Here are things I am doing/have done since our son was born.
- I smell his bum. And I do so on a very regular basis.
- I poke my him when he sleeps. If he does not move, I poke again, and harder. From what I’m told many people just watch to make sure a babies chest is rising to ensure they are breathing – that isn’t a good enough strategy in the MPB household.
- There are about 10 thousand different ways to burp a baby. None seem to work well for him so cheer him on when he burps. The louder and bigger the burp, the better. (Truth be told, I also cheer him on for pooing too).
- Formula feeding is frustrating because no-one seems to be able to answer any sort of question or provide any decent information other then breast is best.
- I nearly cry when he cries and I cannot solve the problem. In fact, I get so upset that I’ve had to hand him to Mr. MPB. I cannot bare the idea of him suffering, it breaks my heart.
- I record everything! When he eats, how much he eats, how long he eats for, when we change his diaper, what is in his diaper, etc. Thank goodness for modern technology and apps that make this stuff relatively simple to track.
- People visit all the time. Which is awesome, I’m so excited for Baby MPB to meet his circle of family and friends and to be showered with so much love. But, everyone has an opinion on everything. I’m mastering the smile and nod, but sometimes the odd eye roll just cannot be helped.
- After reading about pregnancy and it never working out for us, I decided to boycott all parenting books. I’ve quickly realized that just like everyone having an opinion, so does every author. Do not wonder into the parenting book section at your local book store. It’s overwhelming. And I quickly realized that I might just be the most unprepared mother ever.
- I am too afraid to switch to powdered formula – what if I mix it wrong and kill him?! So, he’s still on the expensive pre-made formula and will probably stay on it for the foreseeable future.
- Working and parenting an infant is hard. Both Mr. MPB and I are working nearly full time now that we are home (and we even worked a bit remotely while in the USA). It means we working at all hours of the day so that one of us is with Baby MPB while the other works. It’s probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I’m guilt ridden and exhausted.
- I love baby snuggles! I simply cannot get enough.
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Such an honest glimpse into life with a newborn! Ahhh I related to many of these things! Yes visitors…ugh everyone does have an opinion and I have flat out had to tell some people that I do not need theirs. I’m realizing this is making me anxious so I’m trying the “nod and smile” thing too. It still pisses me off! The breathing thing is so hard to let go of! I literally felt like I had a SIDS complex for the first two weeks of Lukes life. I guess sleep deprivation kicked in and I realized I had to sleep when he sleeps. And yes…I have cried when Luke has gone through fussy periods (which sometimes seem like they last forever). I read or heard from somewhere that it’s apparently a hormonal thing. I also think adults (or at least me) perceive their crying to mean that they are in extreme pain…I mean if we were wailing like that we would seriously be hurting. But thankfully they aren’t hurting like we think they are. Luke went through one night of crying and I was so worried that I called the nurses line and went to the doctor the next AM. I have sense learned that babies are sometimes just fussy and it’s really me that has to learn how to deal. Just remember everything is a phase….the crying will end and unfortunately so will those babe snuggles. I know we will both soak them up!
So the first thing that caught my eye was the “poke”. Recently we got placed and I do the exact same thing but he usually makes a sound the very first poke. Also sometimes I don’t watch the chest, just put your hand over the belly. I am so excited for you, I haven’t been online much so I feel like I missed everything with what is going on, but I am here now and have some catching up to do. Also, don’t worry we started out on the premade formula and switched to powder. It really easy to read – ours is 2oz of water for every scoop of powder. Impossible for you to mess up, I also make them for the day in advance so that I can put them in the bottle warmer a few minutes before feeding time and they are perfect. That way I only measure once. I am so happy for you again : )
If you have any questions about formula feeding, I’ve exclusively formula fed both my children from day one! 🙂 We’ve tried a ton of different formulas until we found the right ones for each of my sons.
I’m so glad ya’ll are able to fall into a routine – it’s amazing how much your life changes once you have a little one around! I have literally CAUGHT poop in my hands on several occasions! We do what we have to do! 🙂 I am SO happy for you guys.
I love hearing about how it’s going! Shoot me an email when you get a chance with your formula questions, I’ve been formula feeding babies for years so I’m happy to help with any questions! Also…switch to the powdered, it’s impossible to screw up. 1 scoop of powder for every 2 oz of water. Shake it up good and feed! 🙂
You’re so right, you can’t know what to expect until you get there. And I’ve read numerous parenting/twin/sleep books, but you know what? I do whatever I feel is best for the babies at any given moment, and very little of it comes from advice I’ve read or anyone else has given me. It’s all instinct, and I know you have that same maternal instinct for baby MPB – trust it! I’ll give you one important tip on formula that you can take or leave, but it was helpful for me to feel comfortable using powdered formula to supplement when needed. Powdered formula is not sterile, and it’s normally okay for full-term, healthy infants. I was worried about potential contamination, and a lactation consultant gave me a really good tip. She said a lot of people think they need to use sterile water to mix the formula (to avoid contaminants in tap water), so they’ll buy special formula or boil the water ahead of time and then mix it when it cools down. When what you want to do for non-sterile powdered formula is boil the water and mix the formula while the water is very hot or just below boiling temperature, then let it cool down in the fridge or ice water if you need to serve it right away – it takes a while to cool off, though. We use one of those protein powder/shake mixers to mix up batches of formula ahead of time when we need it. You can get them at the grocery store or vitamin store, they have the little wire wisk ball in them, hopefully that makes sense. You can make up all the formula you’ll need for the day like this first thing in the morning and store it in a pitcher in the refrigerator. You have to toss it out within 24 hours, but this is a pretty practical solution. Anyway, that’s what works for us when we need to supplement. Hope that’s helpful info. 🙂
*This method kills any bacterial contaminants that may exist in the formula. My babes were preemies, so probably why I was more paranoid about this kind of thing.
Dr Browns have a very inexpensive mixing jug which I use to make up formula for my twins. I can get almost 40oz prepped in one go! It’s brilliant! I also use piping hot water then just leave it in the fridge overnight till we need it the next day.
I also don’t read parenting books. There are so many out there with different ideas telling you to do different things and it’s just madness. Follow your intuition and you’ll be fine!
I hope you can hire a nanny to help you manage the work/parenting stuff. You must be sooooo tired, you poor thing!
I gave up parenting books forever ago. You’re doing great! 🙂
Obviously, you know from my blog that I’m not a parent but I was a nanny for 10 years so hopefully that makes me a little less like the non-parents that think they know everything. I don’t know everything by any means but I had a few thoughts on your post…
#2 – Have you heard of the AngelCare Monitor? It alerts you if the baby stops breathing in their sleep. It has to be used in conjunction with a crib so if you’re cosleeping it might not be an option (maybe the Owlet then?) but it might give you some peace of mind and let you sleep. My best friend has one and loves it. I definitely want one when the time comes.
#5 – I know it is easier said than done but the best thing you can do if a baby is crying is to stay super calm. Not just outwardly calm, but like, make sure your heartbeat is steady, your blood pressure low, your posture/muscles aren’t tensed. The baby picks up on all of these subtle cues. People think I’m some kind of baby whisperer because 90% of the time a crying baby will stop within a minute or two of me picking it up. I’m not, I just become very zen as soon as I hear a baby crying and babies respond to it. It’s counter intuitive and is especially hard to do if the crying has been going on for a while but, if you can manage it, it works. Babies also love the butt pat. When you’re rocking/bouncing them to try to sooth them, add in a firm, rhythmic butt pat. I don’t know why but it works and is especially effective with newborns.
#9 – Like the previous commenters mentioned, you can’t mess up formula. If you can make coffee, you can make formula. And the proportions are right there on the can so you can always check it before you make every bottle if you’re nervous. You can do it!
It sounds like you are a great mom, which won’t surprise anyone that’s been following your journey. The most important thing to remember is not to be too hard on yourself! You love Baby MPB, you are doing your best, it will be enough. Hang in there!
I stopped reading parenting books almost immediately. For one I am a single mom and you cannot imagine how many parenting books still say “you and/or your husband” over and over and over. Also I decided to use my motherly intuition which I think kicks the crap out anyone else’s opinion about parenting. 🙂 and the odd call to grandma! 😉
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What a ride! Thanks for the glimpse into your new life with baby. I can totally relate to being paranoid about the breathing while sleeping. It does get better, and it just makes you normal! Wish you could get a little more rest and time for processing and sleeping, but all a part of your exciting new adventure. Thanks for including us!
So, as a formula feeding mama, I found the same thing that you’re finding–impossible to get advice on how much/when/how often to feed A. He’s a healthy eater, so I always felt like I was overfeeding him. Check with your pediatrician, but they kept telling me you can’t really over feed babies–they spit up what they can’t hold in their stomach–and eventually they’ll get on a schedule. But I totally get how frustrating it is to try to get advice on formula feeding. If you switch to the powered version of formula (we did powder from the get go and it’s been fine). If you’re on your city’s water (as opposed to well water) it’s completely fine. It’s 1 scoop per 2 oz of water. But, get this very inexpensive formula mixer http://www.amazon.com/Dr-Browns-Formula-Mixing-Pitcher/dp/B001I481LM/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=baby-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1457021631&sr=1-1&keywords=dr+brown%27s+formula+mixing+pitcher (Dr. Brown’s formula mixing pitcher). It works great, it mixes the formula, leaves few clumps, it’s saved our formula feeding lives. Formula lasts 24 hours, so you make a pitcher in the morning (or evening) and it will last until the next day. So, so, much easier. I also have thoughts about bottle warmers if you’re interested (we currently have the cuisinart bottle warmer $40, our Boon bottle warmer broke after 7 months).
I can talk formula if you need to talk formula! We use the powder. Try not to stress yourself out about it. There’s really nothing to it! I just mix up whatever we need in the morning and stick it in the fridge for the day. We use the cheap Munchkin brand bottle warmer and it’s been great. I don’t know what brand you’re using, but depending on the brand, you can usually sign up on their web site and they send you coupons. We use Similac because it’s the only thing she will drink, and the more coupons you use, the more they send you.
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I found myself smiling and nodding at many of these. 🙂
Hi mommy! I was a poker sleep time stalker as well and ended up buying the snuza which clips to the diaper and sounds an alarm if he stopped breathing. We formula feed my son so I am happy to answer and formula questions you have! You know my email address – ask away! So glad you’re home and settling into your own routine xo
You are my hero for working and mothering full time. Sounds like you are doing everything just great! Xo
Oh nelly, working full time with a newborn! I’m tired for you! From my observations, the nice thing about formula is that most of those babies sleep better then breastfed babies. This isn’t an exact science but I rarely hear about a terrible sleeping formula fed baby 😊
I was cautioned by both of my pediatricians when formula was a discussion point that you can in Fact over feed a formula fed baby. You cannot over feed a nursing breastfed baby. But in my opinion, when they’re that little, let them eat as much as they will. Babies are amazing little creatures and can self regulate pretty well. I’ve talked to two pediatric dietitians and both have said the same thing (on a different discussion re: sugar consumption). Knowing that we’re both Canucks, apparently Costco formula is great! But when I did buy formula to have on hand, just in case, I bought the premixed as well. Less cleaning, less time, you’re working…I say do whatever is truly the easiest right now.
Soak up all those cuddles! Oh my uterus is aching, newborn baby snuggles are the best 😊
I’m still doing most of the things on this list, though I did trade the poke (at night at least) for flashing my cell phone light at her eyes, which always elicits an eye flutter or movement to try to get it out of her face (but not as risky for wake-ups as poking). I also do “life checks” when she’s been in the car seat/mamaroo quietly for longer than like, 20 minutes.
And I have to say, the BEST parenting decision I have made is not reading any parenting books or downloading any parenting apps. All my mom friends have those apps and spend so much more time talking about their baby being fussy because of the “leap” or “growth spurt” they “should” be in because the app says most 8 week olds are or something. I have noooo clue when Amora is supposed to have spurts or be fussy and so the days that she is I just consider the rare off day and not the start of some week(s) long trend. So far it’s keeping me more relaxed and she’s ridiculously happy so it’s working for us!!
Such a fun post to read! What apps are you using to track everything? I would love to know which ones are good. Xo
Oh how I can relate!! I actually bought the angel care SIDS monitor for Levi because my anxiety got so bad. It was easier with tru because he woke up alllll night. I used the monitor with Levi until around 6 months and loved it.
I never read parenting books. Too many confusing and conflicting opinions. I just do what comes natural and hope it’s the right thing.
And also, I wrote down everything with tru at first too but not with Levi. Second kid syndrome?
Lots of familiar things in this list :-). I formula fed two (tried and failed bf), one weaned early and one weaned late. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions – if I could help in any way that would be great. I promise I won’t force any opinions on you! X As for parenting books… Big sigh. I’ve read a LOT simply because my parents didn’t really provide me with much to go on. If you decided to read any, just pick out the bits that make sense to you from each one. I would LOVE to have the knowledge now back when I had my first. But we learn as we go. And we learn fast!! Good luck on this tremendous journey! X
It certainly is a totally different ball game than you expect. Look after yourself and don’t burn out with all the working. I am sure you guys will find the right balance X
Love the part about sniffing his bum… My 2yo is now out of nappies and I kinda miss this ritual, I even catch myself doing it from time to time and he looks at me as if I’ve crazy.
Not sure whether anyone else has mentioned it or whether it’s a Canadian phenomenon or not but I found it invaluable, unlike parenting books and websites that I found totally conflicting but it’s called The Wonder Weeks. No advice just an insight into the developmental leaps baby MPB will be making. It doesn’t tell you how to deal with them but knowing you’re not going mad or there is something ‘wrong’ with him when he’s inconsolably cranky at these points were a lifesaver for me (or my sanity) I didn’t discover this book/app until after Noah’s 6 weeker and really wish I’d been told about it sooner.
I really look forward to your updates. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for someone, that I don’t know, having a baby. Enjoy, they are the longest days but the shortest years. X
Yes, yes, and yes to all of the above. Everything changes. Who knew smelling poo at frequent intervals could also be in the same category as awesome! I am so excited for you three!
The unsolicited opinions still happen so I have also mastered the smile and nod. Lol. But sometimes it is really hard.
We also formula fed from a bottle and went through a million different types of nipples and bottle combos. The pre-made formula is apparently tastier according to our pediatrician. I did not notice a difference.
I thought i was the most unprepared mom too.
Parenting books are overwhelming. I tried to read them because I thought it would help, but it doesn’t. Those people are not in your house dealing with your child and whatever else is happening so you just have to go with your instincts on this parenting stuff. You got this!
Formula – been there. I’m more than happy to share my experiences with you. No reason to be scared about powdered!
Glad things seem to be going well for all of you! I haven’t commented much lately but I am so happy for you and your husband!
Everyone’s given you so much wonderful advice but I’ll throw my two cents in on the formula ;).
My little dude was having a lot of issues with constipation when I switched off breast milk and the ONLY formula that has been awesome for him is HIPP organic combiotic (UK version). I hear you can get it on amazon in Canada! It’s amazing! And I will never use anything else if I’m ever lucky enough to have another kid. Also I pretty much research everything to death before making a single move, so I’m a walking encyclopedia on all things bottles, strollers, formula, car seats, cribs, monitors… Etc.
Oh and I still poke my 4 year old to make sure he’s breathing. 😁
I love following your story and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that you and Mr. MPB are on this amazing journey!
This made me laugh, and think!! I wish there was some way we would have insight into how things will go when we finally have our littles in our lives, but I guess that would take some of the wonder and excitement out of it! I truly hope that work is able to settle down a bit for you soon so that you can have more time with your baby. PS~ I’m feeling deprived of pics!!! 😀
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You need to check out the Snuza Hero! It saved me from being an anxious crazy poking the baby type about 87.34727% of the time!
Costco formula is apparently made by Similac! I swapped my babies to the lactose free version they have at 6m (from the crazy expensive premixed) and I wish I’d used it from the get go! They actually tolerated it way better!
We got a helpful chart from public health about how much and how many feeds a day we should aim for. If you need it I can scan it for you.
Parenting books are crazy makers! Trust yourselves! I’m pretty sure Baby MPB thinks you’re wonderful!
“Guilt ridden and exhausted” pretty much sums up my parenting experience so far, as well!
I put a finger under his nose to feel his breath. I do it all the time especially when he’s in the car seat. I also tracked EVERYTHING, but gave up after about 2 weeks. Trusting that everything was going ok made life less stressful. I actually bought a few parenting books and have yet to read them. Mother’s intuition is an amazing thing. I’ve decided to just go with the flow of knowing what is best for our son, and turning to Google if I have the odd anxious moment of uncertainty.
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Haha! Clearly we all do these living checks! I think it must be a basic parenting thing to help keep us sane. ☺
If it makes you feel any better, I haven’t read a single parenting book either. Who has time for that??? And I use the pre-made formula too now that Nora won’t take my milk, but mostly because I’m lazy and it’s easy to pour into a bottle. You totally got this!