Above is a picture of me and my long-time friend, Kimiko. This was graduation day, May 2006- one of the best days ever! Kimiko just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named MacKenzie Belle- Congratulations, girl!! :) You can show her some love at this website. Anyhow, Kimiko mentioned that she'd been reading my past blog entries for any first-year tips for new moms. So, I thought I'd put a list of the top things that saved my life through Aaron's first (and so far, second) year. This is for you Kimiko (and all you other new mommy's and mommy's to be out there).
- "Breast is best," but Formula is not the enemy either. (Refer to this post.) To make a long story short, I switched to Formula after exactly a month of Breastfeeding because (a) I wasn't producing enough milk, and (b) Aaron was not gaining like he should. It was an incredibly hard decision, and I literally spent a whole weekend crying about it, but in the end it was the best decision for both of us. Aaron is a thriving, healthy, happy baby boy and he's been on Similac Formula since he was 2 months old. Yes, I have acquired a lot of Breastfeeding information since then, and definitely plan to breastfeed my second child; however, I am no longer beating myself up about my inability to do this as long as I wanted to with Aaron. So, if you're having trouble (and feeling majorly guilty) about switching to Formula, DON'T! You're still a fantastic mommy, and yes, your child will be just fine.
- I believe in the power of a SCHEDULE- for both of you. Aaron was sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, and I really do believe it was because he was on a proper schedule. No it was not a harsh, strictly parent-led schedule; I just paid attention to the signs he gave me. He ate every 3 hours, and slept every 2 hours. My friend, Michelle, gave me the best advice one day and I used this word daily: HAWT. I know you're laughing, but here's the breakdown: H- Hungry; A- Angry; W- Wet; T- Tired/Tummy Ache. Every time Aaron was fussy, I would just go through my little mental check list, and 98% of the time this hilarious word led me to my answer.
- Nap time is sacred. Naps are required: they produce growth hormones, they build brain cells, and they all-around make for a much happier baby. Nap time is so important. I paid attention to Aaron's sleepy signs and as soon as I saw: an eye rub, an ear pull, a yawn, or even irritable behavior I put him in the bed. Fast-forward to now, Aaron naps about 3 hours a day. The best book (in my opinion) for napping: The No Cry Nap Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.
- Uhhh, this one is hard, and you're probably going to think I'm harsh, but I also believe in the power of "letting them cry it out" or better known as The Ferber Method. After Aaron reached a certain age (I think around 6 months) he would put up a fight every time we laid him down for the night or even for a nap. After using this method for a week, Aaron was finally going to bed with the comfort of his stuffed bunny, and his pacifier with no issue. Sometimes (on particularly fussy days) we still use this approach and it works.
- I believe in a good attitude. Trust me, some days I feel that there is just no way I feel like I can muster much more than a smile. I've learned that when I'm happy, Aaron's happy, when I'm mad, anxious, nervous, he follows suit. When I'm sad, he's laughing. The more comfortable I am, the more comfortable he is.
- Last, but definitely not least: don't ever feel that your child is in competition with the child that was born 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, or etc. before or after him/her. Lots of parents like to compare children, and it's wrong and ridiculous. Your little prince (or princess) is perfect just the way they are. It doesn't matter that the child born a week before (or after) yours has their first tooth by 3 months, is drinking out of a sippy cup at 5 months, is crawling at 6 months, and walking at 9 months. It doesn't matter because your child is yours and he/she is perfect. And by God, they'll reach all of these milestones when they're ready!
- Dr. Brown Bottles- the best bottles for babies that have gas problems and/or colic
- MAM pacifiers
- Mylicon- OMG- Mylicon is a lifesaver! Instantly soothes your bambino's lil' aching belly.
- A humidifier AKA Noise Machine. This little machine not only soothes Aaron when he's congested, but also provides the perfect "white noise" for baby's (and your) sleep.
- Hyland's Teething Gel: Immediately eases those red and swollen little gums. Works like a charm!
- The Nosefrida AKA The Snot Sucker: Read about this here.
- Colloidal Oatmeal Lotion: Perfect for skin rashes/irritations on their super sensitive skin.
- Johnson's Soothing Vapor Bath- Helped with the horrible congestion that colds bring.
- Munchkin Sippy Cups- the perfect soft nipple makes a great transition from the bottle.
- Fenugreek Capsules for breastfeeding. As I said above, I didn't breastfeed long due to low milk supply. Had I known about these magic little capsules before giving BF the boot, I would have stocked up on a 6 month supply! Heard they worked like a charm.....
- The Halo Sleep Sack AND Angelcare Baby Monitor. These made it so much easier for me to actually have a restful night of sleep without having to worry about SIDS and all of the other things new momma's worry about. Read about them here and here.