While pregnant with my first, I read the basic books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting and the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. Because of these, I felt prepared and ready to welcome Wildman into the world. (HA) I also had some pretty unrealistic-for-me expectations on how I’d do things once he arrived. I wanted to do everything on my own, with as little help as possible. Why? Because I thought that’s what moms do. It doesn’t end there, though….
Expectation for Breastfeeding:
Sure, I read that it can be uncomfortable, but I thought it’d be easy to catch on for both me and our little man. After all, women have been doing this since the beginning of time, right?
Wildman was slow to latch and dropped more weight than doc’s were comfortable with during his first few days of life. Then, once he got the hang of it, the pain came. Holy seventh circle of hell – no one warned me about the pain! I’d have to psych myself up to feed him every two hours, sucking in a deep breath and waiting for the pinching pain to stop radiated through my raw, cracked nipples. It took six long weeks to acclimate to exclusive breastfeeding.
Expectation for the Bottle
I’d do a mix of breastfeeding and bottle feeding to allow for some downtime for me. In case Wildman had colic or gas, we were equipped with Dr. Brown’s bottles, which I read were really great!
Wildman only accepted bottles for his first month or two before he decided he hated them. I tried Dr. Browns, Avent and Playtex, each time failing miserably. I’d leave the room and have someone else try to bottle feed him – no luck. We introduced all sorts of sippy cups early to see if he’d accept breast milk from those – no thanks, he screamed. The kid only wanted the boob.
Until he could be satisfied with solids, I felt like I couldn’t leave him with anyone for longer than 2-3 hours.
Expectation for Solid Food
Our pediatrician gave us the OK to introduce solids at four months, starting with rice cereal then moving on to puréed fruits, veggies and meat.
“Fun!” I thought, “I’ll just purée everything we eat and give it to him.”
I did this for awhile. I even made baby food in bulk. Puréed carrots, homemade apple sauce and green beans and peas were frozen into little ice cubes for serving later.
Have you ever tried to purée peas, then strain out the shells? It’s time-consuming and the yield isn’t that much.
There was also the issue of offering Wildman foods we didn’t regularly buy or that weren’t easily accessible at our grocery store, like prunes, mangos, plums and beets.
It took a couple months, but I accepted the fact that pouches and pre-made food were so much easier. Sure, it can be more expensive than making your own food, but they were easy to travel with, convenient to serve and gave me more time to snuggle and play with my little one (or sneak a nap in while he slept).
Expectation for Crib Sleeping
We moved Wildman from his co-sleeper in our room to his crib at two months. He started sleeping through the night at 12 weeks, so I thought we were clear of any major roadblocks. I planned on keeping him in his crib through any sleep regressions, because that’s just what you do, right?
Around 20 weeks, he was up every two to three hours again. I was exhausted. My body hurt. The days seemed longer.
I pulled him into our bed, so I could just roll over and breastfeed him every time he woke. That’s how our 6-month stint in co-sleeping began. He still woke two to three times per night, but we were both able to fall asleep as he fed. My poor husband, on the other hand, didn’t sleep so well with a squirmy infant between us.
Expectation for Sleep Training
I knew about the Cry it Out method and heard there were others. I figured, we’d have a night or two of fussing when we eventually transferred Wildman to his room again, but that it’d be tolerable overall.
Cry It Out did not work for us. Wildman would get so worked up that he’d poop, leaving us no choice but to pick him up to change him and start all over. I was up half the night.
A friend in a similar situation recommended the Sleep Lady Shuffle and loaned me her copy of The Sleep Lady®’s Good Night, Sleep Tight. This was a game changer. Was it easy? No.
I slept on an air mattress on Wildman’s floor for the first three or four nights of sleep training. It broke my heart to see and hear him crying for mama, reaching his little hands between the crib rails for me. I cringed each time he stood, as it just meant that I’d have to lay him back down against his will.
After one week, he got the hang of it. As he grew accustom to his room and crib, I moved closer and closer to the door each night. By two weeks, I could leave the room while he was drowsy.
Now that I’m “seasoned” and “wiser,” I find myself pulling together my ideals once again for baby girl. After all, I’ve learned a thing or two. (Real talk – I still fee like I have no idea what I’m doing).
This time, I’m going easier on myself. The most important thing I’ve learned with Wildman – do what feels right for you and baby.
With that in mind, I’ve shortened my list of expectations and come up with three main goals:
- No co-sleeping after baby is moved from our room to crib
- Consistently give 2-3 bottles a day between breastfeeding, so that she can take both
- Accept any help offered
Wish us luck! May 24 will come fast.