WORK/LIFE BALANCE FROM A MOM AND NURSE PRACTITIONER

What I would do if I did it over again

10/20/15
 
 


When I was pregnant with my son, I had a lot of anxiety over what to expect and how to prepare for a new baby. I didn’t have any babies in my immediate family, and only had handful of friends with kids, who were scattered across the country. I attempted to get info from blogs, my friends or coworkers who had had babies to ease my mind and prepare. Now that my son is over a year old, I look back and think if and when I have another baby what I would do the different and what I would do the same.

Different:

Limit Visitors Until the Baby is One Month

Everyone is so excited to see the baby, and I did get a lot of visitors. Several people advised me to wait until the baby was a month old to 1) get used to being parents 2) wait until the baby’s immunity has built up. One friend told me in her culture they limit visitors until one month and then throw a party and invite people over. I wish I had taken this advice, simply because it’s completely overwhelming having visitors when you and your baby are recovering and trying to get the hang of breastfeeding and your sleep is next to none.

Ask for Help

I wanted to be polite, and after coming home from the hospital I did not ask for help from friends and family with the day to day stuff that I needed. I did not receive the freezer meals or casseroles from friends or family, or other little things like laundry. In my breastfeeding class I took while I was pregnant, they also advised, if someone comes to visit after the baby is born have them do a chore, laundry, cook, or bring a meal because learning to breastfeeding takes up so much time and energy. This advice I also did not take, but I sorely wish I had.

Keep Tags on Baby Clothes

We received more baby clothes as presents than we knew what to do with. I was thrilled about all the clothes and during a nesting frenzy I prewashed all the clothes, organized them and packed newborn-sized clothes into the hospital bag. Little did I know my son would be 10 lbs 2 oz and would not even fit the newborn clothes! Don’t get me wrong, it was wonderful to have so many clothes, especially when the baby is constantly spitting up, pooping or messing up his clothes, but I could have returned or exchanged a lot of the clothes we did not use.  

Supplement With Formula

The first month is tough with breastfeeding, and there were days when my supply was probably not enough for my baby. The pediatrician at his first visit even advised that to keep him from losing weight supplementing with formula would not be a bad thing. I refused to heed this advice because I did not want to introduce formula unless I absolutely had to. Looking back, my baby probably would have slept better and been better nourished if I had given him formula on the days my supply was low. He was still receiving the benefits of breastmilk, and the formula would not have hurt him at all.

Get a Travel System

 A travel system is one of those car seat carriers that snaps in and out of your car and onto a stroller. My husband convinced me not to buy one because the baby would outgrow it in a matter of six months. Instead we bought two convertible car seats that are usable until your child outgrows car seats. Financially speaking, this was the more sound way to go. From a practical perspective, the car seats we bought were hell. Every time the baby fell sound asleep in his car seat and it was time to get out of the car, I would have to pry him out wake him up from his slumber crying and screaming and stuff him into the carrier or stroller. If I had had the travel system I could simply have snapped him out of the car seat without pulling him out of the seat and he could continue sleeping peacefully.

Establish a Nap and Feeding Routine Before Returning to Work

I put my baby in daycare at 8 weeks. Granted it was only two days a week, but it was still much earlier than I would have liked. I was in my last semester of grad school, and the only conceivable option for finishing was to put him in daycare. At this age the importance of establishing a routine with napping and feeding is so vital. It took him a very long time to sleep through the night, and I attribute this to not getting a daytime routine set at an early age.

Get the Epidiural

My baby was a week overdue, and thus I had to be induced. I first received cervadil, to soften the cervix. The contractions became so painful I began shaking uncontrollably. After the first six or eight hours of labor I chose to get the epidural. It was effective in managing the pain, however my legs were paralyzed and heavy, which lead me to panic. I requested the epidural off and thus felt everything while I was pushing for two and half hours out a 10 lb 2oz baby. Needless to say, the feeling of paralysis and heavy legs would have been much preferred.

Don’t Use Dr. Brown’s Bottles

I don’t know who Dr. Brown is, but he must be a rich man. When reading online about baby products I was told these bottles were the best and they prevented colic and gas. I would buy anything that promised that my baby wouldn’t cry. Honestly these bottles are overpriced and not that useful and a pain to clean. There are 5 different parts to these bottles you have to assemble and disassemble to clean. By the time he was using a bottle, it was past the stage of colic anyway.

 

The Same

Take Excessive Numbers of Pictures

The time does really fly by, and honestly I look back at the baby pictures and barely recall that time and remember him looking that way. It’s so amazing to look at the transformations and special moments.

Use the Crib Early

We started putting the baby in the crib at six or seven weeks in his own room. It was a little bit of a difficult transition, but man was it worth it. He sleeps really well in his own crib in his own room now. He puts himself down for naps in his crib easily, and never sleeps in our bed.

Putting Good Books to Read on Kindle or Iphone

During the months of overnight breastfeeding sessions I would end up in the rocker with my baby in my arms. I would often be there for 30-45 minutes, and during this time I would read on my iphone. I had several good books, which made the time fly by. I also would not have to turn on any lights or disturb anyone while reading.

 Get Dressed Up and Go Out

 After being cooped up at home with spit up breastmilk on me for a month, I was anxious to get out of the house. My husband and I left my son with family just three weeks after having given birth and went to a wedding. I had been pumping at this time and left milk for him. It was nice to put on a dress and make-up and feel like a human being for a small amount of time.

Pump Early

Although I was told in my breastfeeding class not to pump until 5 or six weeks, I did not follow this and started pumping at about 1-2 weeks. This was a good decision, because it left me a supply if I ever left the house for a few hours my husband could feed him. It allowed me some freedom, and it also boosted my supply. I also started freezing milk early, which I used when he started daycare.

Do Jillian Michaels Work Out Videos

I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy, and was eager to lose it fast. Unfortunately having a newborn is not conducive to going to the gym or workouts. I discovered the Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred , which was a lifesaver. It’s a 3 level 20 minute work out video that does cardio, strength and abs.  20 minutes is just the amount of heart rate elevation needed to start fat burning, and it’s perfect amount of time to squeeze in a workout when the baby is taking a nap.

Stop Pacifier Use Early

We started using a pacifier at 3 or four weeks, mostly for getting our baby to sleep. I was warned, by a dentist to wean off the pacifier before teething. We stopped at 3 or 4 months, and now he never uses one or needs it.

 

That is all I can think of. What would you do different/the same?



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