I was just going back in my blog and reading the post-baby related posts (post-partum body and head to toe baby) I’m laughing because I forgot to re-read them during my last pregnancy, and there were some things I googled this time around when I had blogged about it in the past! For example, my daughter was my first baby to have baby acne so I did lots of googling but I see in my post I had recommendations already from friends who had been through it.

This will be a short post because it’s so late – why am I still awake? Totally going to regret this at 7 am. This post is inspired from a conversation I was in the other day. And by conversation, I mean a group chat on my phone. A friend asked me if I was still sterilizing my daughter’s bottles (I’m not by the way, I stop around 3 months) Another friend in the chat said, sterilize?! What are you talking about?

There is a huge learning curve when you have a baby. Especially with your first baby and then even when you have a second, there are all sorts of new paraphernalia that have come out. There are also new guidelines that come out that you need to be updated on.

Here are the first things that come to my mind that you don’t know about unless someone tells you:

1) Nipple sizes on bottles need to be changed.

When my first son was a baby, I was giving him a bottle when my sister in law said, “He sounds like it’s time to change the nipple size.” I had no clue there were different sizes.

Now, one of the first questions I ask when I speak to someone about their baby and their feeds is if they’ve changed the nipple size. If the baby is still using a level 1 nipple and is ready for the next stage, they are over-working to get the milk, tire faster and end up drinking less. I usually go to the next stage pretty early on… if your baby is making a loud sucking noise that’s typically a sign, of it’s just a matter of trying the next stage and seeing if they’re good with it.

2) Nighttime / Overnight diapers

Once we stop the middle of the night feed, that means we also stop the diaper change. It’s important to use overnight diapers so that your baby can go 12 hours without being changed.

I’ll never forget a good friend telling me I changed her life when I told her about overnight diapers 🙂

3) Once your baby is 3 months old, don’t fear the fever

I know it sucks when your child is sick, and there’s a lot of focus on fevers and the temperature, but a fever is actually their body fighting the infection. I keep this saved in my phone so I will share it here:

 

4) A baby’s hands and feet aren’t indicative if their body is cold

I took a CPR course and the teacher stressed that it’s important not to overheat a baby. She explained that often parents think their babies are cold because their hands are cold. The right place to feel is behind their neck.

On more than one occasion I’ve had people say “her hands are cold she must be freezing!” I touch the back of her neck and it’s warm. Cold hands can be very deceiving – my mom always says, “cold hands, warm heart.”

5) You don’t need to pump in the middle of the night

When I took my first baby to his very first pediatrician appointment, I mentioned that I had a baby nurse giving a bottle for the night feed but that I knew I had to pump to keep up my supply. He said to me, “why would you wake up if you are paying someone to be up?” It didn’t even occur to me that it was an option to sleep. That was the best thing he ever told me. When my nurse left, it was still super helpful because my husband and I could take turns.

I’ve wrote about this before so I will paste it here again, but just to stress – you can teach your body not to produce at night rather to produce extra during the day, but it takes a lot of work if you want your supply to match the demand that is coming from a hungry baby.

Another note I don’t think I mention below, the feeding/pumping schedule changes overtime. In the very beginning to bring your milk in you’ll be feeding often, 24 hours a day and I also pump as often as possible after feeds for about 5 minutes. Once my milk comes in, I stop doing anything in the middle of the night. When I start training and I’m pumping and not nursing, I pump 15-20 minutes a session, and I pump more often than the baby is eating. Usually 5 or 6 times even when baby is only eating 4 times. But as time passes this all shifts: In the beginning, your last feed or pump is close to midnight, and then you’re up feeding again probably around 6 am. As time passes you can stretch that night longer. I first moved the last pump or feed until 11 pm and now I’m at 10 pm. By the time she was 3 months, I pump 4 times a day. At 4 months I’m also laid back about the timing – it’s around 7/8 am, 11 am/noon, 3/4 pm and 10 pm. (I think if I cut the 10 pm my supply would drastically go down, but I have no proof of that.)

{If you are supplementing with formula and not pumping to make up for it, your body will not know that it should be producing at that time. I’m not saying this so that you should feel guilty for supplementing and not pumping, or for giving only formula, I think that is totally great. I’m saying this because IF you do want to nurse and have enough milk for your baby, then you need to be cognizant from day 1, unfortunately when you’re not feeling great.

Side note: If you have a baby nurse, or if your husband is willing to take turns with you at night and you want to be able to sleep during the nights that you’re ‘off’ and give the baby a bottle — which is what I did, you are telling your body not to produce at night. I did that purposely, as I did not want to have to wake up to pump when I had a baby-nurse or when it was my husband’s turn. To do that successfully, and to have enough milk, you NEED to pump extra during the day to make up for the missed feeds. I would nurse the baby on-demand, (sometimes every 1.5 hours), but I made sure to pump as many times as I could during the day — always after the morning feed and always before I went to sleep, and as many more times during the day as I could. I was tricking my body to produce more during the day instead of at night. This way I had enough for during the day, and I had milk in the fridge for at night. Warning: Your milk production is highest at night – cruel, I know. If you make the decision to sleep through the nights that you can and not produce at night, you need to be prepared to work extra during the day and you need to be aware that it’s possible this method that worked for me won’t work for you. Proceed only if you would be okay with that and enjoy your sleep on your nights off}

6) something’s got to give

It really does take a village. There’s no shame in not being able to do it all. Babies are physically hard, toddlers are emotionally exhausting, teenagers I don’t even want to think about!

The trend seems to be to always appear that you have it all together, always look good, take care of your body, your house, etc etc Social media leads us to believe that we all have perfect children who don’t tantrum when you peel the banana the wrong way.

In every situation, there are different struggles. It’s officially way past my bedtime, but before I post I feel I need to say – Number 5 was all about nursing/pumping, but I want to be clear that breastfeeding is not for everyone. A happy, healthy, available mother is more important than breast milk.

To be really honest, if I didn’t have help with washing bottles, help with watching my baby or my kids when I have to pump, was working, I wouldn’t do it. And even with all the support I am blessed to have to be able to do it, I don’t plan on doing it so long and I am not going to feel guilty when I stop.

This post started one way and took a turn… and my proof-readers are sleeping so please excuse the errors.

Lately, life feels a bit like running a marathon. I know I’m not alone in feeling that because I have had friends echo the same thoughts. It’s okay if something has to give. I joked to my friends that 2018 is my year of “No,” but I’m actually trying to implement it. If I find myself feeling obligated to do things that don’t work, this year I’m saying no (politely).

Life throws you curveballs as it definitely did to my family this summer, and it’s made me realize that it’s important I feel that I’m spending my time well. We need to appreciate what we have and be in the moment more.

What one person thinks is important and worthwhile can be different from what you think. Hopefully we can all respectful and not judge each other on our choices we make.

I hope choosing to spend time on my blog/speaking with people individually has made a positive impact because it’s one that I feel adds value to my life. If I can help someone help their baby sleep, or work through some parenting trials, I feel the time is worth it. I’ve said it before but always a good thing to repeat – I’m not a doctor or expert, just a mom sharing what’s worked for me.

 

 

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