Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What the Books Don't Tell You


The other night I was sitting in the living room "biting" Ian's nails and realized that this was one of the many things that all of the books I read did not cover.  I thought it might be helpful to write down of few of those "learn as you go" moments with you all- especially those of you who are expecting a new little one in the near future.

Peel or bite your baby's nails.  All grooming kits come with the little nail clipper which is supposed to be made for those tiny little fingers.  Not so!  When Addie was an infant, I clipped her nails and got a little piece of her skin at the same time.  I never clipped her nails again until a few months ago.  What is easier and less stressful for Mom is to peel or gently bite your baby's nail and then peel the long part of the nail off so your little one doesn't scratch him/herself. This tends to work better if you are holding them while they sleep.

Boys have great aim.  There is no trick that I have heard of except for being quick to the draw when it comes to changing diapers if you do not want a shower from your little guy. A couple of weekends ago, his aim was perfect two days in a row.  The first time was during bath time.  I had just finished cleaning the house (including the huge bathroom mirror).  Ian's bathtub was on the counter next to my big bathroom mirror.  Suddenly there was a huge arch of wetness streaming down my big bathroom mirror! 

The next day, as I was changing his diaper I got the surprise of my life! Not only did his changing table get soaked, but he also managed to get the carpet in our bedroom and some of his little toiletries.  He ended up in the tub (again), but I knew my bathroom mirror was safe because he had just sprayed my room. Thank God for Brian and carpet cleaner!

Nursing hurts for the first month.  The books I read about nursing said that if you are doing it right, nursing would not hurt.  What they failed to mention was that for the first month to month and a half, the initial latch on hurts like crazy!  You can forget about seeing stars.  I saw complete galaxies!  Once the five seconds of latch on pain was over with, the rest of the nursing time was a breeze.  After the first month or so, the latch on pain goes away (you literally toughen up) and nursing becomes the wonderful experience for you and your baby that you dreamed it would be.
Not all baby gear will suit your child.  Addie loved the swing.  Ian hates it.  Addie didn't mind the baby carrier (the one you wear).  Ian hates it.  Addie loved drinking from the bottle.  Ian hates it.  (I pumped the other day so we could take a trip to Busch Gardens.  Ian screamed his little heart out as I tried feeding him in the car with the bottle.)  Just because something works for someone else's child, or one of your other children, doesn't mean your child (or this child) will enjoy it.  Learn your own child's likes and dislikes.

What do you do when you have a cold and an infant?  I had to learn this on my own (with a lot of God given mother's intuition).  Recently, colds have gone through this house like there is no tomorrow!  And, unfortunately, I caught one of them (not fun when you are extremely limited to what you can take if you are nursing).  My greatest concern was Ian since babies are limited to what can be done for them (I had gotten my cold from Addie so I knew she couldn't get it back, and Brian can take medicine if he gets sick).  Anytime I nursed, I made sure that I draped a sheet over Ian so he would not be in direct line with my breathing.  I also limited my holding of him to nursing and his extreme fussing/crying.  During those times, I kept him up over my shoulder so I could not breathe on him.

I also found out something fascinating that left me in even more awe of our God.  If Mommy gets sick, her body makes antibodies which are consumed by the baby through her milk raising their immunity to catching her cold.  Ian was being, in a sense, vaccinated to my cold through my milk!   

Mother-in-laws (and mothers, if you are blessed to have yours) are also extremely helpful during times like this.  One afternoon, the cold hit me the hardest, and I was incapable of doing much of anything.  I called Mom's house and asked my father-in-law if I could borrow her for an hour or two.  She came and held and played with Ian so I could take a nap in between his feedings.  I felt a lot better after resting a bit.

Books are very helpful and definitely have their place, but sometimes the best information is passed from Mom to Mom.  If you have a piece of "Mom info" you would like to share, feel free to leave your tidbit in the comments. (All comments are moderated for content.)

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