Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dear Abby

Oh, the things I wish I'd known. Well, wonder no more...
  • Sleep: white noise, man. We leave it on all night (not on a timer) so if he wakes he can put himself back to sleep (babies need consistent conditions to do this). Music might work, too, but the musical stylings of Fisher Price through the monitor all night might get old. We try to put Jackson down for bedtime and naps while he's still a little awake so he gets used to putting himself to sleep. So far, it's been successful. Also, we chose a bedtime we liked (early enough to have adult time) but that coincides with his sleepy/hungry patterns. We picked 8PM and usually get him in the bedtime routine between 7-8PM without any shenanigans. We had 2-3 hour wakings like clockwork until recently, when we worked very hard to "sleep train" him to skip a nighttime feeding. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't a cry-it-out experience (that I am leery of) and he picked it up quickly. So, the first stretch is 5-8 hours (variable) and then he usually sleeps 2-3 hour stretches until morning. Not bad. I'm still getting up at least once, and sometimes as many as 4 times, each night, but he's not hard to put back down after feeding and changing. Yay for that.
  • Food: you won't scar your child for life if you refuse to wait until he's, like, 10 years old to introduce a bottle. We had to supplement with formula his first week to treat jaundice and weight loss, and he's had no problems with nipple confusion. He seems to correctly identify mine as the ones attached to me, every time! If you pump and bottle feed once or twice a day, you also get a much-needed break. We include a bottle from Daddy in our bedtime routine, which was a good starter for transitioning to more bottles (as full-time daycare looms).
  • Bathing: I love, love, love the Puj tub. It has no bells or whistles, but fits perfectly in the kitchen sink and hangs flat to dry. We don't bathe more often than once per week, since it's bone dry in the winter here in Michigan and the little man has delicate skin. If you have to deal with dry skin or rashes, I have seen miracles performed before my very eyes by using calendula cream (sold under the brand name California Baby) -- the heat rash rearranged to form the image of the blessed Virgin Mary on his chest. It cleared up his infant acne, dry patches on elbows and in creases, and any signs of heat rash from sweating. Miracle cream. Amen.
  • Medicine: no matter what benign medical terms you enter into the search field, Dr. Google will return the following results -- "your behbeh is on fire and dying and ohmahgawd go to the ER." It's hard coming away from years of infertility searches on The Google (which always returned the result -- "your uterus is a feral cave of doom and on fire and ohmahgawd you are barren") and going cold turkey with the pediatric concerns. But seriously, just call your pediatrician instead or find a single, solitary trusted site to consult for minor stuff. I searched for info on infant colds (because my little man and me, we haz it) and started to wonder if we should both be put in an iron lung to treat our raging consumption. Turns out, only time and Kleenex will heal.
  • Clothing: people love to gift "outfits," and you'll be tempted to buy some yourself, but there's no practical reason to dress the baby in anything besides footie onesies for at least the first 7 years of life. I plan to send Jackson off to college with them. Pants and socks are stupid, and baby sweatshirts and sweaters (with all those tiny stupid buttons) are crazy. Zip-up footie pajamas (also called sleep-and-plays) are handy for frequent diaper changes, but I actually prefer snap-ups for nighttime. If you swaddle, I have found that the velcro cheater-swaddles, as we call them (from Kidopotamus), allow for diaper changes without unraveling most of the swaddle -- just slip his feet out of the middle "pocket" to unsnap/change/re-snap, and leave his arms velcroed together like an asylum patient. A groggy, freshly diapered asylum patient. I don't know if that description adequately distinguishes a baby from an actual asylum patient.
  • Diapering: this may fall into the "Pure Coincidence" bucket, but I use sensitive skin versions of everything for laundering, lotioning, and diapering and we have not had any episodes of diaper rash to date. I also use diaper ointment (Aquaphor, Desitin, etc.; nothing special) with every dirty diaper change. Oh, and as your sweet sugar-scented baby gets older, his poops will become more ripe and foul, so consider abandoning all hope of using the diaper pail for those diapers and instead remove them from the living spaces of your home tout de suite. We take the shitbombs to the garbage in the garage and use the diaper pail for wet diapers only. (The poop rate seems to slow down as the digestive tract and the baby it lives in matures, so you won't necessarily be making a dozen daily pilgrimages to the garage.)
  • Assvice: notwithstanding my own here, I just hum a little tune in my head as relatives, neighbors, random strangers, and grocery store clerks tell me how to raise my behbeh. Yankee Doodle Dandy is a fine song.
Naturally, I am speaking from personal experience only with a three-month-old, so as for what comes after this, shit, search me. Also, I will concede that I have a relatively (not always, but usually) easy baby and so -- despite the standard issue struggles with breastfeeding, napping, nighttime feedings, and now our first cold -- well, my greatest assvice is to experiment and do whatever seems to work. That's what I credit for our good fortune with Jackson thus far. Also, if you try any of this and your baby is still an asshole, it's because my baby is just that much more super awesome. Heh.


bunny said...

*takes notes* Have you tried the miracle cream on yourself? I have some acne that I'd love to see in the shape of the Virgin Mary's face. Seriously, though, this stuff is solid gold for anyone who's becoming hip to the reality that after pregnancy often comes a baby. Keep it comin'!

Once Upon A Time said...

So funny... we ONLY use the diaper genie for poops. The wet ones just go in our main garbage because they don't smell. 'Course, we go thorugh twice the dirty diapers around here, and my two are pros at pooping more frequently than the average baby their age. It is so interesting to read what works for one baby/family and how that can be so different for another though.

Kelly said...

I need to bookmark this post for a future date....very future date. Love it.

hope4joy said...

Love the info. hope my baby isn't to much of an asshole.....lol, perfect!