Sleep.

On sleep:

Starting Sleep Training

You must start teaching your baby to sleep as soon as he comes home from the hospital, except that there is no way to teach a baby how to sleep before 8 weeks, 4 months, or 6 months. Learning good sleep habits starts as early as possible and there is definitely no way to spoil a baby, except for when you’re spoiling your baby by responding to him at every noise. Never pick the baby up until you have paused the baby so he learns how to soothe himself back to sleep, except when you should pick the baby up immediately because something is definitely wrong and he can’t learn how to soothe himself back to sleep yet.

Day/Night Confusion

Day/night confusion doesn’t exist, so you shouldn’t worry about it until your baby confuses daytime and nighttime. Make sure to wake your baby up if he’s sleeping too long during the day so he learns the difference between daytime and nighttime, but never wake a sleeping baby up because it will only frustrate you both and won’t actually help him figure out the difference between daytime and nighttime. The baby will eventually figure out the difference between day and night on his own, but definitely do help him figure out the difference by keeping the rooms bright during the day and making sure to put the baby in a very dark place for naps.

Nursing

Remember that no baby has ever needed to nurse himself to sleep in his college dorm room so don’t worry about nursing your baby to sleep, but be aware that if you nurse your baby to sleep now they will become overindulged babies, children, adolescents and adults who can never truly sleep well. However, nursing your baby to sleep is natural and shouldn’t be ignored and if you don’t nurse the baby to sleep he will become afraid of abandonment his whole life and will never trust, love, or feel like anything is actually ever right in his life.

Changing

Never change a baby in the night unless he has a poopy diaper, but definitely change him whenever he’s upset so that way you’re setting yourself up for successful potty training later. Don’t buy overnight diapers because they lead to diaper rash; but definitely buy the overnight diapers so that way the baby will be able to stay asleep even if he has a wet diaper in the night. Only ever use cloth diapers at night. Only ever use disposable diapers at night. A wipes heater is a waste of money, but it’s the only thing that will help keep your baby semi-sleeping while you change him. Never talk to the baby when you’re changing him in the night so he knows that it’s not a time for play, but definitely talk and soothe him so he’s not confused and scared during the changing time.

Bedtime

Put your baby to bed as early as humanly possible, but be sure to keep them up late enough so they can sleep until you want them to sleep in their crib to avoid a too early wakeup. Don’t keep them awake in the evenings, but listen to their cues if they’re tired and let them sleep whenever they’re exhausted no matter what time of day it is.

Quiet

Never keep the baby in an artificially and abnormally quiet place to sleep, but make sure the room is noiseless and pitch black every time the baby is sleeping so he can learn to sleep. Definitely don’t use a noise machine or lullaby player, but those contraptions certainly help with routine and can be a trigger to help the baby sleep.

Putting the baby in the crib

You should definitely have the baby sleep in the crib from the first day home from the hospital, from 2 weeks on, from 8 weeks on, and from 6 months on, but never sooner. Putting a baby in the crib is cruel and he feels abandoned, but don’t worry about putting your baby in the crib because it is a good habit early that you will never have to break later. Never cosleep with your baby because it fosters too much dependence, but cosleeping allows for unparalleled bonding with your child and babies will eventually sleep in their own bed when they’re ready. Never have your baby in your room because that is your space and place except for the first two weeks, month, or 12 weeks when the baby is in the bassinet next to your bed.

Be sure to put the baby in the crib while he’s still drowsy but awake so he learns how to fall asleep on his own. Never rock him to sleep, but definitely be sure to rock him to sleep so he feels secure and loved. If the baby falls asleep in your arms don’t worry about waking him up to fall asleep, but definitely wake him up before you put him down so he can put himself to sleep.

Naps

Your baby will never sleep well during the night unless he naps during the day, but don’t worry about naps; they will fall into place once the nighttime sleep comes together. Only allow the baby to nap in the crib. Only allow the baby to nap while not moving; it doesn’t matter where the baby sleeps during naps. Never allow the baby to be put to sleep by a stroller, swing, vibrating chair, or car, but you can definitely use a stroller, swing, vibrating chair, or car to get the baby to sleep if that’s what works. A nap only counts if it is taken while stationary. A nap is a nap, no matter where and how the baby gets to sleep. Be sure to only have the baby nap in a dark, quiet room, but be sure to keep the baby napping in brightness without making it too quiet in the house so he doesn’t confuse day and night.

Swaddling

You should absolutely swaddle your baby to help him feel like he’s back in the womb, but swaddling your baby might kill him, so definitely don’t do that. Swaddle the baby with his arms out in case he rolls over and needs to reposition. Swaddle the baby with his arms in so he feels more secure and wrapped up, like he was in the womb. Only use a specific swaddle blanket in case it comes undone. Don’t bother with the specially made swaddle blankets and use blankets like they do in the hospital. Never swaddle the baby because he already does know that he’s no longer in the womb since that’s the point of birth and existence. If your baby hates being swaddled swaddle him anyway. If your baby hates being swaddled never swaddle him.

Baths

A bath is the only thing that will help start your bedtime routine correctly, so make sure to start every bedtime routine with a bath. Only bathe the baby every few days so he doesn’t get dry skin. Babies don’t get dirty so you just need to use warm water. Babies get dirty, so definitely use baby soap.

Crying it out

Never, ever, ever let the baby cry it out because it’s cruel and ineffective, and crying it out is the only thing that actually finally works. Your baby can learn to fall asleep without crying, but will never learn to fall asleep without some amount of fussiness because crying is his only form of expression and learning new things like sleeping on his own is difficult. Your baby can self soothe in some way at birth, at 2 weeks, at 8 weeks, at 4 months, at 6 months, but never sooner. The baby can’t learn anything if he’s crying after 5 minutes, but make sure to give him up to 15 minutes to see if he’ll fall asleep on his own. Never go in to soothe the baby during your cry it out training, but go in to soothe at set intervals to make sure he knows you’re still there. Offer the baby a pacifier and make quieting noises only and never pick the baby up, but don’t go in at all and definitely go pick the baby up if he’s upset.

When people ask you about how you’re sleeping

Do not tell them truth because caring friends and relatives might worry about you when you start sobbing uncontrollably, but definitely make sure to have some people with whom you can confide how exhausted you are. Smile politely and say in an unnaturally high-pitched voice, “we’re working on it!” while on the inside think, “my soul is being crushed in the middle of the night by a 12-pound miniature human being,” but don’t actually think that because that makes you an ungrateful person and because it’s not actually true.

Sleep problems will eventually all sort themselves out, except for the ones that never sort themselves out without intervention, which is all of them.

This.too.will.pass.

Godspeed.

IMG_3424

Two Months In Review

I made a mistake and blinked and suddenly my baby turned two months old. From what I hear the next time I blink he’ll be going off to college.

Here’s hoping he can sleep through the night by then.

(I kid, I kid. But, seriously, child. Sleep at night is awesome. You should try it some time*.)

Before that next blink happens I thought I would take stock of these past two months and see what I can remember about them. Here are the headlines from what I remember.

The first two weeks gave me a false sense of security

sleeping babyHere’s what happens to your baby the first two weeks of existence:

The baby sleeps. All the time. Better yet: the baby sleeps anywhere. Through anything. True story: my best friend/sisterfromanothermother Kaleen came to visit us and we walked to a restaurant nearby when Connor was a week old and we sat outside on the patio. In the middle of lunch a fire engine pulled out of the station across the street, engines blaring. It was deafening. I looked over at the baby, terrified that our amazing lunch was about to be babyscreamed only to see Wee Connor completely oblivious to the noise. My husband, apparently still unaware that almost anything he said at this point could send a hormone-raging new mom into a worry spiral made a joke about him being deaf. My eyes immediately bugged out and I — of course — fell into a hormone-raging new mom worry spiral and then the entire rest of lunch was spent with me periodically trying to make little noises by Wee Connor’s ears, only to have him disdainfully kind of rouse and wonder why the heck these silly parentpeople were snapping by his ears, then fall right back into a baby coma. This is what the first two weeks are like.

Because the baby is sleeping so much you can do things like laundry or sleep or the dishes and you think, “Wow! What is so hard about this?” I must have the best baby ever.

And then all of a sudden, like Skynet, the baby becomes self aware. Madness ensues. The baby realizes that he has actually been expelled into the world and this is not only a permanent situation but an undesirable one at that. This is when the real crying, fussiness, “witching hour” in the evenings, everything you hear about that is hard about baby-rearing comes to fruition.

Maybe someone told me about this magical first few weeks, but if they did I can’t remember hearing about it.

You may choose two: shower, nap, lunch.

Choose wisely.

Motherhood Pick Two (2)

Let it be known I will never, ever take these two things during the newborn stage for granted:

IMG_35031. Knowing that when I put the baby somewhere he will stay there
2. Being able to put ridiculous clothes and outfits of my choosing on him

I still have no how one tiny little human being can produce so much laundry.

Cloth diaper moms, I don’t know how you do it. I commend not only your fortitude but your washing machine; you both must be exhausted. I cannot imagine a single more load of laundry, let alone the laundry it takes for cloth diapers.

And here’s the thing: we have been beyond blessed to receive an absolute abundance of clothes for Wee Connor so that he can go weeks (WEEKS!) probably without needing to do laundry for his clothes**. However, there is still so much laundry. Changing pad covers, sheets, blankets, spitup cloths, footie pajamas that are easy to take on and off, the play mat…it all has to be washed fairly regularly because of the varying types of liquids that leak out of the varying orifices on my baby’s body.

Once the initial two week coma passed and my baby became a real baby I don’t think I have gotten more than 5 loads of parentpeople laundry done yet.

The child weighs just over 11 pounds. How can he have this much stuff associated with him to wash?

Baby socks.

I say these words all the time because ohmygoodnessbabysocks. Not only are they impossibly small but I am constantly baffled as to why newborn socks all have rubber grippy things on the bottom of them. It is not like the baby is going anywhere without a parentperson. They don’t need the traction. Why do they all have rubber traction grippy bottoms?

The mysteries of baby socks are neverending to me.***

It’s still totally worth it

smiling montageI love admitting it: I love my job now. Motherhood may be confusing, but it quite simply rocks. I may remember labor, get much less sleep than I used to, be fascinated by things like baby socks instead of world events, and be confused on how to wear winter layers and still breastfeed (any suggestions???), but I love it. Every minute.

Every. Minute.


 

*We’re working on it. Blog post on its success or (hopefully not!) lack thereof is forthcoming.

**Only a slight exaggeration

***Maybe I should just label this section: the things that suddenly amaze you when you are only sleeping 4 hour stretches at a time would peel paint they are so boring to the outside world. Noted.

The guide to the different kinds of baby clothes

Have you ever wondered why there are so many configurations of baby clothes out there? It seems the combinations are neverending: snaps, zippers, buttons, snapping at the bottom, down the front and side, three snaps at the bottom, zippers down one side and so on and so forth?

I always thought it was to pander to people’s personal preferences until I realized the different configurations of baby clothes are entirely based on what you want to happen to them once you put them on the baby. It has nothing to do with ease of use, logic, personal preference, or cuteness. No, friends, there are powerful karmic elements at play when you dress and subsequently undress your child.

Allow me to explain what the different types of clothing configurations will mean in real-life terms.

Onesies that you pull over the baby’s head and have three snaps at the bottom

onesie napYou know the ones. These are the bread and butter of the baby world. The simple snaps at the bottom mechanism mean that your life while the baby is in the outfit is pretty much gravy. Changing is a snap (pun intended, because I’m a cheesy mom who makes cheesy mom jokes now). However, babies aren’t too thrilled at the whole “pulling clothes over their heads” thing. This fuss you will receive thrown in your face is your payment for future ease of use; it evens out. There is a reason these outfits are the ones you see on babies all the time. They are the only ones that are karmically even in the universe.

ALSO, I just learned something about these onesies. You know how they have that envelope fold over the shoulders? Well, it turns out that’s so you can take the onesie off down, instead of pulling it up in case of extreme…circumstances. Don’t say you never learned anything here.

Here’s a video explaining what I’m talking about. Try to not let your head explode.


“Wow, there sure are a lot of snaps to get this outfit closed!” 

Your baby will suddenly now go through more diapers than you could have ever imagined. I am convinced the true cure for baby constipation is a complicated onesie with a lot of snaps on the lower half of the outfit. Your reward, however, is that the outfit will stay on for a very long time.


“This zipper down the front sure does make it easy to get the baby into the outfit and to change him in the middle of the night!”

Spit up. Lots of spit up. Immediately. On the bright side, the zipper that makes the outfit so easy to get into also makes it super easy to take off.


“This is the most adorable outfit I’ve ever seen! Squeee!”

Please note the buttons at the neck area are not fully buttoned. However, I literally cannot put this sweater on my child without literally saying the word "SQUEEEEEE!" multiple times. Because seriously: SQUEE!

Please note the buttons at the neck area are not fully buttoned. However, I literally cannot put this sweater on my child without literally saying the word “SQUEEEEEE!” multiple times. Because seriously: SQUEE!

This is harder to predict, but this sentiment means one or both of the following two things:

  1. The outfit is almost impossible to put on. It is your penance if you would like the outfit to stay on. I apologize for this.
  2. You will never get out of the house with it on.

Also, the more adorable you find an outfit is exactly how unlikely it is that people will comment on how flipping adorable the outfit on the baby is if you do manage to make it out of the house. There have been times where I have all but screamed, “BUTTONS, PEOPLE. I MANAGED TO USE BUTTONS ON A SQUIRMING NEWBORN AND NOBODY IS COMMENTING ON HOW OUTRAGEOUSLY ADORABLE AND OBVIOUSLY WORTH IT THE BUTTONS ARE.” Clearly this isn’t an often occurrence because buttons on a newborn outfit are actually Satan’s handiwork quite difficult.


“Wow, this outfit is SO adorable AND SO easy to put on AND change the baby in!”

Admire this outfit from the changing table, friend, since that’s as far as that outfit is getting. Prepare yourself for every possible liquid exuding from the baby simultaneously and there is simply no way that any diaper is going to hold in the blowout you’re about to witness. Sorry.


So there you have it. These are pretty much all the occurrences I can think of while dressing a child and what the outfits spell out for the immediate future. The fact of the matter is this: babies are messy. They kind of just drip various liquids from different areas of their tiny little bodies all the time. The key I have found is to just remember to take it in stride and that a good stain remover (I like Dreft, the baby laundry detergent maker) handy by the changing table.

And to take pictures as quickly as humanly possible of the cute outfits because, again, I can assure you they won’t be on long.