Baby Post #1

It’s been 8 months so now I’m going to share some of the things we’ve learned:

Labor/Delivery:

  • We used a Doula, she was amazing, handled a lot of the breathing coaching and helped during delivery. I cannot recommend using one more
  • If you know you are getting an epidural, get your pick line in early and don’t wait to tough it out.  It can take up to an hour for the anesthesiologist to even get to your room, you don’t want to be in pain that long
  • If you choose the epidural, before you’re fully dilated you’ll be in a place where you can sleep and still breathe through contractions. Definitely do that, and also make sure your partner (if you have one) also sleeps during that time.  Labor for us took 16 hours and was mentally exhausting
  • In our hospital, the kitchen closed at 8:30 and we had an overnight labor so we ordered a bunch of food at 7:30 pm including some juice type nutrition drink (which was all she could consume after the epidural)
  • I did almost everything during our 2 days in post-partum, this was by design because we had an entire nursing staff for assistance and my wife needed time to heal
  • Don’t feel guilty if you don’t do much except feeding for the first couple days, as I told my wife “if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of the baby”

First Weeks:

  • We had a NICU nurse at our house for the jaundice treatment and she really opened our eyes towards breastfeeding and bottle feeding. She said and I quote “I don’t believe in nipple confusion, we teach 4 month old NICU babies who have never touched their mother to breastfeed.  You just have to make sure you try for even just 5 minutes at every feeding.”  This changed everything for us, and allowed me to take some overnight shifts which made a huge difference in her general sanity
  • She also told us to use a preemie nipple on any bottle we used. One of the issues is that bottle tends to have too high of a flow so babies doing both bottle and breast will be “lazy” on the breast because they don’t actually have to suck to drink from the bottle. We used this Kiinde set which we love https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CXTWJAA/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 The “active latch” nipple doesn’t actually leak any milk even when it’s upside down, this meant she had to work to get milk, which made her better at latching for breastfeeding. Also the pouches you can squeeze all of the air out of which means less chance of sucking in air while the baby feeds
  • When bottle feeding, keep your baby as upright as possible and the bottle as horizontal as possible. This also contributes to the “work factor” which makes sure that they don’t get lazy during breastfeeding
  • Early stages everyone is exhausted because even if they don’t on their own you have to wake the baby every 2 hours to feed, 24 hours a day. Because we used the bottle early I was able to take the 10, midnight, 2 am shift and let my wife get 6 hours of sleep before the hand off around 2:30.  This is a gold mine strategy
  • If you breastfeed, your baby may only feed in a certain position(s) and those might be different for each side. This is 100% normal

Tips:

Things Nobody talks about:

  • They tell you initially that the baby should be up every two hours.  that number is a lie.  it’s 2 hours from the start of one feed to eh start of another.  By the time you add in burps, changes, and other miscellaneous thing you’ll be lucky to get 90 minutes of “down time”
  • Babies suck you into a time vortex, make sure you take time to eat and drink a lot of water, sometimes that means letting the baby cry so you can get some food.
  • Being at home with your baby can get very, very lonely. Especially early on when there’s nothing but feeding every 2 hours and changing diapers
  • Accept help, people will ask to help, bring you things. We started by saying no, then a friend had a baby and we knew they needed some help and they said no to us and we realized that we have to be better about saying yes
  • Establish your boundaries early, after saying above I will say we let nobody around for 2 weeks so we could figure out our schedule and how we can work taking care of the baby in our space with our stuff
  • Take time to do something for yourself. We prioritize giving each other “selfish time” at least every 2 weeks.  You’d be surprised how a trip to target without the baby can be so valuable for you
  • It’s hard, our baby is easy and we’re super thankful but it’s still damn hard
  • There’s no such thing as too much cuddling, they grow so fast, last weekend I was folding laundry and I folded the onesie that we brought her home in, knowing she would never wear it again because she’s grown out of it. It made me very sad “The nights are long, but the years are so short”
  • Remember to communicate, having a baby is the hardest thing you will ever do, it’s also incredibly rewarding.  But talk to your partner, you will both be exhausted but you can make it work and it’ll be much easier if you are both communicating

A few extras we did:

  • We made an email address for our baby, we send emails, share pictures and anecdotes.  When she is old enough, we will give her the login and she we will get to read all about her life thus far
  • We used the app Kinedu to help us come up with activities to do with our baby, it’s important to remember every baby develops differently, but this helped us understand where she might be “behind” and focus on activities to help her overall development
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