Okay this is going to be a long-ish post about all things baby – year one! That is if I can remember. I keep putting this off, but I fear the longer I do, the less I'll remember. That seems to be a trend because when I was pregnant and asking friends about the first year they were all, "um…." So here goes, I hope this is helpful to someone out there, if not just future me!
My favorite book was definitely Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Can't recommend this enough. I loved all the positive birth stories! Speaking of positive stories I am a big proponent of only telling pregnant woman uplifting and positive stories. Even if you had an unwanted C-section maybe just focus on the positive when talking to a pregnant woman? Like how your partner was there, or getting to hold the baby for the first time, how quick it went – positive. I made it known when I was pregnant that I only wanted the positive stories and I got them!
Things I loved for me: lots of baths (don't worry you'd have to sit in a pretty hot one to hurt the baby), prenatal massage, Old Navy maternity yoga pants (though I was sick of them in the end!), Bj's long sleeved shirts, maternity underwear (I know! I got to a point where I didn't want to stretch out my good ones). I wore long tank tops under my regular shirts for a long time paired with a skirt below the belly. Prenatal yoga was so great, and I met a very dear friend there, it's wonderful to have due date buddies!
Read about it here. We loved our Bradley class – totally worth the hour drive to the closest teacher. We told all our family and friends ahead of time that we wanted the first 24 hours for us. I am so glad we did this, I maintain that one of the reasons Bj was so wonderful right from the beginning is because while I was recovering he jumped in there and did almost everything. He has such a bond with Tuesday and this is just one of the reasons, but it was really important to us to have that time.
I was pretty darn sure I was going to breastfeed my baby and was ready for all kinds of trouble, as it seemed that's all I heard (things like: "didn't have enough milk, baby wouldn't latch, slow weight gain, etc.). Tuesday was slow to gain her weight back (it's common for babies to loose a little of their birthweight, but she took three weeks to get it back). My practitioner (for her first two months my midwife was also the one who did well baby check ups) was very encouraging. I did have to feed her every two hours for a while until she gained, but we were never worried. I did/do on demand feeding, and we don't have a set schedule. We never really have and that sometimes drove me crazy! I found this app for my iPhone to be really helpful. I still use it just because I'm the kind of person who likes data, but if your baby has the right amount of wet/poopy diapers they are getting enough milk.
I liked this book, this one was a bit dated for my taste (oh I see it's updated, I read an older version from the library), and this one wasn't out yet, but looks good. My BrestFriend was and is my favorite thing. I use it all the time, and it's the reason I multitasked so well in the beginning (knitting while nursing, check!). I basically let Tuesday use me as a pacifier since she wouldn't take any imitation nipple and didn't nap, so she would nurse for 45 minutes while resting on that, and then I could also rest. I did pump a little to have emergency back up milk. I have a little hand pump that works well, and I've even used it in the back seat of car when out thrifting with Sciarrino to get through the morning! I also got a double electric since I am a terrible pumper. If I based how much milk I make off of pumping you would think I was starving my child. This is a huge misconception. Pumping is different, babies get the milk out a lot better, and partly because they are there and you have all these wonderful feelings about them (even now when Tuesday latches it's a sort of mini high, the feeling is just so wonderful). Tuesday did not take well to bottles. She will take one now, but has probably had ten total. I used the rest of the frozen milk (froze it in these and then transferred to ziplocs) to mix with food for her. I never had to give her formula, it may sound like bragging, but it's a lot of work and I'm proud of it!
Mama gear: I like these nursing bras, they don't make you look like you have uni-boob, they make a tank that is wonderful and the built in bra is NOT a shelf bra, but a real one, built in! I use cloth nursing pads, various kinds. I lived in these nursing gowns at the beginning and still wear one every night – they are so comfortable!! In terms of covering while nursing what I do is wear a tank under a shirt, pull the tank down and the shirt up – I'm more worried about someone seeing my post baby flab after all! I never did use the cute nursing cover I got as a gift, I am ve
ry pro breastfeeding and while discrete I don't believe a woman should have to cover while feeding her baby. Hopefully breastfeeding will become a normal site and bottles will on the decline.
Teeth – in case you're wondering… if a baby is latching on correctly you can't feel them. I have never had Tuesday bite me and I can't feel them at all when she nurses.
Other – if you can get your baby to learn to nurse while you are laying down next to her it's so nice. We never did it much when she was very little, but are doing it more now and it is very peaceful for both of us.
Yesterday I received a wonderful complement from my step-dad. He said that after watching us feed Tuesday he, "wonders why anyone buys pre-made baby food." It's true we have never had to. I do feel we were lucky enough to have Tuesday start solids at the end of the summer and had lots of fresh stuff at our disposal. Plus I work from home, so it's easier for me to bake some squash or something for an hour while I'm doing things, I recognize not everyone has that luxury. We didn't start Tuesday on solids until she was over seven months old and we felt really ready. We didn't start with rice cereal. I think her first thing was avocado. Common sense and this book helped a lot. One thing I did do that was probably over kill was toast and grind my own rice (and other grains) cereal. She never really like rice cereal anyway. It wasn't terribly hard to make, but the instant stuff is so simple and doesn't even need to be cooked!
When ever I made something I just made extra and froze it in either these or these (I think the latter are my favorite – the lids stay on better). I don't have a ton of containers, when they are all full I put the cubes in ziplocs and label.
She uses a small ceramic cup (our pediatrician recommend not getting her hooked on sippy cups, as it would just be another thing to wean her off of). Fancy little cups like this are not necessary, but we love them. The weight seems to be just right for her, we don't leave it on the high chair tray, but hand it to her only when she wants a drink. She has a small wooden bowl and when she eats something mushy or runny (that we spoon feed her) we just put that in a custard cup. We haven't bought any utensils for her, someone gave us a set of spoons with her initial on them and we also use little tiny serving spoons (like for dip or something).
Now she eats a lot of what we eat, this has been a good way for us to eat healthier. I love Burger King. There, I said it. But I don't want my kid begging for fries so we are working hard to change our really ingrained habits. Tonight we had left over split pea soup I made. The only thing she can't handle well are bits of ham, but she just spits them out if the piece is too big. Bj usually cooks, I feel I should point this out – he also does dishes. I love him very much 🙂
We cloth diaper Tuesday, here is an old post about it. We have moved up to Kissaluvs size 1 and Small Thirsties covers (we also use a few other kinds, like these and these), but mostly Thirsties. Now that she has "real" poop we also use liners. If she poops we take the liner and the poo out, toss in the toilet and flush (we moved changing to the bathroom around the beginning of real poo). No dipping the diaper. We do have a sprayer, but don't use it much. At night I triple stuff various one size pocket diapers (these, these and these) with a combo of hemp, cotton and microfiber doublers. I don't like the microfiber much, but it comes with many of the diapers so we use it (it holds in stink). Those kind of diaper with that many doublers let her go all night with out a change or any leak at all. I have just realized that I should probably use less soap (we use country save) in our front loader. I did a sanitize (super hot with extra water) load at my moms to really strip the soap out of her diapers. She has a terrible rash right now (spaghetti caused, we think) and is in disposables for the third time (the first being my trip to Vermont, and second our trip to Hawaii). I was afraid the strong cream we have on her right now would ruin the cloth.
We love using cloth. It's really not hard. We are never running to the store for diapers. We go out with them, and on (most) trips with them. The only time I haven't is a week long trip in Hawaii (no access to washing machine) and a trip to Vermont (by myself, so I was tight on space). If I went to Vermont now I'd take them, she uses far fewer diapers than she used to.
Toys and other baby activity stuff:
We are a battery free toy zone and are trying not to over do it with the toys in general, but gosh there is so much cute stuff out there! In the beginning the Ikea baby gym was great, and she still plays with it, but standing at it now. This little wooden toy from Sarah was her first favorite. Of course we love Sophie. The Merry Muscles continues to be used, and we have a Johnny Jump Up from a garage sale that we use upstairs. Tuesday loves books – SAMi and That's Not My _________ are favorites. She can't be left alone with them because she eats the spines (yes even on board books). So soft books (the kind you sew up from panels at the fabric store) and ones like this you can put pictures in are great for car rides. This rattle was an early favorite, as was this cute squeaker (one like it). Recently she's loving push toys (this one from Ikea and her new shopping cart) and dollies (Pinky and Lee Lee).
These teething tablets really seemed to help little Tutu with bouts of bad teething pain.
We never let her cry it out. Ok we did try it for a week. It killed me, I felt like she was a different baby during the day after, it just felt wrong to us. She still nurses at least once in the night. Guess what? I'm starting to get sentimental about when that is going to go. We didn't ever have a set schedule, despite my trying a lot at the beginning. Tuesday has recently decided she likes to nap…. in her crib… for three hours at a time. Babies are crazy, they do their own thing, we just go with it.
So there you have it. That is some of the stuff that worked for us. It might not work for you, but hey hopefully someone got some good info out of it! Let me know if you have any questions, I'll answer them in the comments.