July 31, 2012

Crunchy or Creamy?

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No, I’m not talking about peanut butter, but what kind of mother I’ll be. I knew that I may have an idea of what kind of mother I would want to be before Nicki gets here, but she would also have her own personality and preferences which may be at odds with mine. I’m also a firm believer in “whatever works” and that you never know what will work until you’re actually in the situation, so I tried not to get too hung up on any one ideal. Now that we’re almost a month into things, I’m getting more comfortable in this mom-gig thing. I’m recognizing her cues more, and able to respond to her needs sooner. I can say I’m not crunchy or creamy, but somewhere in the middle.

Sleeping – We co-sleep. Nicki sleeps next to me in her Rock n’ Play. We also have a crib in the nursery that we’ll use when she’s too big for the Rock n’ Play, but for this stage I really love having her close. Being able to look down and see my baby as she sleeps is pretty awesome. Rocking her back to sleep when she stirs in the middle of the night without getting out of bed is pretty great too.

I did also consider bed sharing when we arrived home from the hospital. In those early days it seemed like we would all get more sleep that way. But we didn’t have a specialty bassinet for bed sharing, and our bed didn’t seem safe without one.

Feeding – My goal was to breastfeed, but breastfeeding at the hospital was a big fat failure. We decided to focus first on whether Nicki was getting enough, then about what she was eating (formula or breastmilk) and finally how she was eating (bottle or breast). Luckily for me, Nicki’s preferences are matching mine. She prefers breastmilk over formula, and from the tap over bottled. By the end of the first week we were off formula completely, and by three weeks we were successfully nursing on a regular basis.

We still drink expressed breastmilk from a bottle for some feedings throughout the day. I’m cool with that. It gives Domingo an additional chance to bond with her and provides a break for me. I’d be cool with formula, too, if that’s what we ended up with. Formula is guaranteed to have all the right vitamins. Our health care provider finds most breastfeed babies don’t get enough vitamins, and recommends vitamin drops to breastfeed babies. I am pro-breastmilk for my family primarily for the antibodies, and plan to continue breastfeeding/pumping at least until her immune system kicks in more fully – somewhere between six months to one year. We’ll decide where to go from there once we get there. Some of that will depend on Nicki, and whether she is still interested in nursing/breastmilk.

Diapering – The cheapskate in me loved the idea of cloth diapering. (Not buying new diapers at 35 cents a pop for 10+ changes a day for two years? Sign me up!) But after doing some research I realized disposable diapers may actually have a slightly smaller carbon footprint than cloth. That’s because of the water, energy and detergent needed to clean them. We’re living in a very arid environment, prone to droughts, so I have to believe that’s even more true here. Of course, water, energy and detergent cost something too. So, for us, we decided to stick with disposable diapers.

Baby Wearing – I love it, and, more importantly, she loves it! I wrap Nicki up in the Moby, and she settles down instantly most of the time. She even sleeps in it. It frees up my hands so I can get chores done around the house. We also have an Ergo Baby Carrier for when she gets bigger.

So that’s me. Nicki’s mom. Every day I’m a little better at being Nicki’s mom than the day before.

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