Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Baby Days

The 'baby' days of Bo are dwindling right before me. Each day, my baby inches closer to being a little boy. While it's bittersweet, I do not take for granted the blessing that I have in watching him grow. I've loved each stage of Bo's babyhood, some more than others, but loved them all, nonetheless.

I may be crazy, but, I *think* my favorite part of babyhood was the newborn stage. (0-2 months in my book.) The tininess, the smells, the sounds, the clothes, the cuddles, THE NAPS. Bo, as a newborn, was a piece of cake. He nursed like a champ, he slept pretty well for a breastfed boy, and he didn't have any reflux or complications. We bonded immediately. The moment he was handed to me, my world started turning in a different direction. Words can't describe the kind of love that encompassed my whole heart those first moments and how that love continues to grow bigger and bigger I can't explain. (Because my heart was on the verge of bursting that very first minute with him!)

I know I held Bo a lot more than I had to. I wanted to. I wanted to soak up every ounce of this new being that had stolen my heart. I wanted to get to know this sweet boy who had lived inside me for 9 months. (And figure out how life was ever life without him in it!) Sometimes I'd lay him down and then lay next to him staring. And I'm so glad I "wasted," so much time doing that. I didn't worry about cleaning, supper, dishes, laundry. I drank up my baby. (I know this will be different the 2nd go round, because I'll have Colby, Bo AND new baby.)

I didn't try to set a schedule, not those first 8 weeks. When he was hungry, he ate. When he was sleepy, he slept. I loved that part of newborn-hood. No schedule. No fighting through sleepiness until the deemed nap time. No convincing baby to just *try* the peas. Just let baby be.

Not that it was always easy. It wasn't. There were times I didn't know what to do; how to calm him. As a mom, like all other things, learning is best done with trial and error. You know how you figure out what works and what doesn't? You try 10 different things and take note. When Bo was making the switch from breast milk to formula, he started causing a big fuss about drinking his bottle. He was having nothing of the bottle he had happily drank his breast milk from for the previous 8 weeks. Was it the bottle? The nipple? Was the milk to warm? Was it his tummy? Maybe he wasn't ready to eat? I tossed the bottle and tried nursing him. That worked. So he was hungry and his tummy didn't seem to be hurting. Milk temp seemed just fine. I put breast milk in the bottle and tried that again. Yep, sucked it dry. Guess what? It was the formula! I had been using liquid formula but switched to the powder kind. He knew it, and he hated it. And yep, there was an ingredient or two that was different in the powder. From then on, we used the concentrated liquid formula and never looked back.

As a newborn mom, I'll admit I was a little nutty. I got *really* nervous when Bo was in the arms of others (not immediate family, but yes, friends, and visitors) or if someone would take him out of my sight. I just didn't like it. At all. I read a post on facebook not long ago about rules for visiting a newborn, and I agreed with every rule listed. The one that spoke to me most was, 'When baby cries, hand baby back to mom or dad. Don't try to be a superhero. Baby is crying for mama, not for you.' Listen, this happened so many times. Visitors would come and be holding Bo and he would eventually start fussing. Many times, I would end up having to say, 'Hey, I'll take him.' People wouldn't offer him back. And I mean no will to anyone in saying this, but I didn't like it.

While in the hospital, as in, the day after I had my c-section, the nurse had just brought Bo back to me from being checked out by the pediatrician. He was a little fussy and I'd just calmed him down. There were visitors in the room and someone asked if I was gonna share him (jokingly). And you know what? I (seriously) said, "No." Nope, my baby, who was born yesterday, just came back from being examined by a stranger, and he's content with his mama right now. Rules I made for visiting new moms in the hospital after my experience?

1. I will only visit family and very close friends in the hospital after giving birth.

2. I will never walk in a hospital room and ask to hold the baby. I will wait until Mama Bear offers.

3. I will stay no longer than 30 minutes.

After I had Bo, I felt so sorry for every mama dog that I'd ever owned, because now I knew what it was like when people would come in and hold your baby while you sat there nervous and whining til they handed him back to you. (I think I can say this part of my nuttiness calmed down as Bo got bigger, but it still rears it's head every now and again).

Looking back, I may have had a touch of separation anxiety, but you know what? I'll probably be the same with my next newborn and I won't apologize for it then, either. MY BABY, MY RULES. :)

*New mamas, soon to be mamas, thinking-about-it-mamas, this was MY experience with MY baby, yours won't be the same and that's okay, because it will be YOURS. Embrace it for what it is.

Doesn't matter if you feed your baby with breast milk or formula...just as long as you feed him. Doesn't matter if you set a schedule at 6 weeks or never try...as long as you and baby are content. Doesn't matter where you sleep...just sleep. Survive. And try to enjoy that tiny baby-ness as much as you can, because in the blink of an eye, your baby won't be such a baby anymore. You aren't going to do it perfectly because you aren't Jesus, but you'll do just fine.

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