Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Two weeks later... a few thoughts from the front line of motherhood

No one tells you how hard parenthood is going to be. I think it is a secret to ensure that we continue to have children. Sunday, Jonathan turned 2 weeks old. It has been the longest two weeks of my life. I am not sure I even remember our life before July 9th that clearly anymore. It could just be the sleep deprivation talking. I am surprised at what I have learned in the past couple weeks. You spend your whole like learning how to be good at something, through school, work, etc, but then you become a parent and realize you really know nothing when it comes to raising a child. It is a huge shock to know that you are completely clueless about something so important. A few other things I never knew about motherhood:
  1. Tiredness completely takes over your life. You need to feed your baby every 2.5 to 3 hours - round-the-clock. I read this while I was pregnant, but I had no idea that it took an hour to feed him, leaving you about 1.5 to 2 hours to live your life, sleep and do all of the things you need to finish. So after spending 8+ hours a day feeding, there is little time for anything else.
  2. Nothing is as stressful as when your baby cries for seemingly no reason. Jonathan has reflux, so his tummy feels bad almost all the time. So he cries, arches his back and turns red from the discomfort. I would do anything to take away his pain, but there is not that much I can do, and that is a bad feeling.
  3. Everyone has an opinion about how your raise your child. My father was lobbying for us to give him a bath every night (even before the cord fell off) because that is why Jonathan was fussy. My mom tells me that I should feed him more and forget pumping if it is hard just use formula. One lactation consultant suggested that I get a sling and hold him close all day so he cries less. While someone else said that maybe I was not trying hard enough to feed him at the breast (I pump and bottle feed since the hospital stay). This is all so confusing. You would think by now we can map the human genome, so we would have also cracked the code for raising babies.
  4. You are never sure if you are doing the right thing. There is a study about everything, many if conflicting opinions from the experts. If you let your child watch TV before age 2, he has a higher chance of being ADHD (study). But then again maybe not (study). Use a pacifier to prevent SIDS, but maybe you should not if you breastfeed (study). Attachment parents or scheduled feedings to have a happy, healthy baby? (study) Or maybe the authors of Freakonomics are right when they say, "Parenting technique is highly overrated. When it comes to early test scores, it's not so much what you do as a parent, it's who you are. and what parents do is less important than who they are. " (reprint) So what is a modern loving parent to do?
  5. You never can figure out how you lived before your child came along. I resisted motherhood for years because I was not sure how it would affect us, but watching Jonathan sit in front of me sleeping as I type, I feel a level of love and adoration I could never have imagined. The pain and stress of the past couple weeks seem completely worth it. :)


Blogger Jane said...

What a beautiful baby!!!! You must be so proud!

7/26/2006 05:23:00 AM  
Blogger Shirley said...

GIANT HUGS, D! At least you have a longer window - Hayley was every 2 hours on the dot! For months! Do what works for YOU! As for the reflux, is he too young for medicine? I know that several friend's babies had it and after they started on the meds, life got so much easier! And like I said before, it's a racket. You tend to forget about all the "bad" stuff as your "baby" gets older and then you wake up one morning finding that you want another baby. And so it continues.... ;) Besides, you know that you want another one! :)

7/26/2006 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger Adrienne " A little dramatic at times" said...

Awwwwwwwwww, BEAUTIFUL! And I LOVE the MAYA ROAD T-Shirt!

7/26/2006 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger Angie said...

Don't worry too much about it! Everything will work itself out! When my son was born, I spent 4 months struggling with him trying to breastfeed. He was clearly hungry but had such a hard time latching on, and when he finally did, he would let go. For FOUR months! He was also very uncomfortably gassy and was on mylicon constantly. Finally, after 4 months I gave up nursing and tried formula. He threw it all up quite violently. That's when I learned he is allergic to milk, even my own! So we switched to soy formula, and suddenly we had a happy healthy baby boy! I was like, 4 months? Duh! Why did it take me so long to figure that out?

7/26/2006 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger AshleyS said...

welcome to motherhood--so ironic that a little person can cause so much stress and love at the same time!!

7/26/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger cass said...

okay deb...this is a 6 week new gramma, cass from papertales
all of this will pass and you will eventually get some sleep, i promise :D
talk to the dr about his upset stomach...i think you can use gas drops or "gripe water" at any age...gripe water has been around for 60 + years and helps soothe their tummies....but most of all trust your instincts...hold him, rock him, love him...

7/26/2006 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Joanna Bolick said...

I say just go with your instict! Believe you're a good mom and trust yourself!

7/26/2006 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger Lorrie said...

You're baby is beautiful. If I can offer some possible help. My dd cried like that for 2 months straigt. I nursed her exclusively. Found out at 2 months her tummy couldn't break down the proteins in milk. I went TOTALLY dairy free in my diet and within 2-3 days I saw results! She wasn't lactose intolerant, she just couldn't break down the proteins, her tummy was too sensitive. I was angry the doctors took soooo long to have me try cutting out the dairy. I tried everything else first... wheat, sugar, caffeine, etc etc. But the dairy was the magic key. I hope you find what works for you. The doctor tole me that if the baby is having a hard time with breastmilk, than formula would be worse.. Hang in there, it will all work out. Blessings!!!!

7/27/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger jonesephus said...

Not that you want or need anymore advice, but here's 2 cents from a tummy-troubled 6 week old:
-she loves the gripe water-- she will suck on the syringe-- seems to help best when she is fussy an hour or more after feeding
-gas drops do help-- use them RIGHT after feeding.
Erin is only moderately fussy, but I know a baby who sounds a lot like Jonathan-- they went through TONS of gas drops and even put the boy on baby Zantac, which did do the trick. She swore by that and have him sleep on an incline (the baby actually slept in his car seat for the first 6 weeks!)
Hope that helps-- and I promise it will get easier. I was going crazy with the feeding every two hours (and I totally agree that NO ONE tells you that it takes an hour!!!) but now, for the past three nights, she has actually slept 6 hours!!! We just swaddle the heck out of her, and we are all good.
Hang in there!

7/27/2006 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger ~Jamie said...

oh I remember the pumping and the bottle feeding! We did the SAME thing... haha I felt like my ENTIRE life revolved around feeding my babe! I am sure you have it worked out now... but I just read it and laughed out loud at my own misery!

9/10/2006 11:43:00 PM  

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