Saturday, March 26, 2011

100th Blog Post!

Wow! I guess I'm officially a 'mommy blogger' now! Over the past 14 month I've shared 100 stories, struggles, photos, memories, ups and downs while Caleb changed from a hands-clenched, eyes-glazed tiny baby to the walking, talking, laughing, loving little boy he is today. I thought a fun way to celebrate my 100th post would be to write The Top Ten Things I've Learned about Parenting, so here it goes:

1. Call for daycare the day you find out you are pregnant. No joke.

2. Cloth diapers are not nearly as hard to use or as gross as I thought they might be. I'll write a whole post on using cloth diapers at some point. But for now I'll just say that I've been really happy with them.

3. Books are helpful at times, but nothing beats your own intuition. There were times when Caleb wasn't sleeping much that I found comfort in reading anything I could about improving a baby's sleep habits. Even if it didn't work, which it usually didn't, it made me feel like I had a plan and wasn't completely helpless. In the end, I think it worked best to go at my own pace and do what felt right for Alan and I and for Cale. For a long time that meant not letting him cry one little bit and instead bringing him to bed with me when he would wake up. Eventually that changed and I started to feel ok with letting him cry some, but on the nights when it didn't feel right I wouldn't. Alan and I made our own plan that allowed us to be adaptable to different circumstances but still helped us make steady gains each night.

4. I was shocked at how many other parents were going through similar sleep troubles. Babies who wake up frequently at night is very common. Not just for the first 3 months, but for the first year, often longer. I found this both comforting and a bit scary - if the other moms weren't making progress, would there ever be any hope for us??? In the end, each parent finds what works for them and more and more sleep comes. But I'm glad I knew others going through it, so I didn't feel like a complete failure!

5. At times I've felt that nursing is my only tool to solve Caleb's problems - if he is hurt, waking in the night, cranky...I nurse him. I know this isn't a great approach, especially now that he is older, and I'm consciously trying not to depend on it as much (and I actually don't do it nearly as often as I once did), but I think deep down I'm a bit scared that once he's weaned it will be much harder for me to find other ways to comfort him. Especially at night when I really want to be sleeping.

6. Continuing on the nursing theme, I was really surprised at how all consuming it was for the first 6 months when breastmilk was the only source of food for Caleb. It was also tough for Alan because there were times when he wanted to help out so much, and was so willing to be the one getting up at night, but the job fell solely on me. If I did happen to have a few bags frozen, they were so valuable that I only wanted to use them when it was absolutely necessary. White gold, we'd call it! Because we were feeding on demand, those little bags represented a few hours of freedom. I think next time around, I won't put as much pressure on myself and will allow for a bit of formula if I need a break.

7. After 6 months, when a baby can eat solid food, life gets much, much easier. Crying in the car? No need to pull over, just hand them a piece of banana and the smiles return instantly!

8. Baby cloth sizes make no sense at all. At 14 months, Caleb wears size 24 months. I think there is some sort of conspiracy going on around this issue.

9. The most important step we have made in helping Caleb sleep better is putting him in his crib while he is still awake. He now doesn't even let out one peep and just falls asleep on his own. Magic!

10. I feel like I've truly learned a lot about love, for my son, my husband, myself and my entire family.

Can't wait to see what the next 100 posts will bring! Thanks for reading, everyone.

Musical interlude


Gale said...

Isn't it amazing! Alex called tonight to say he probably would be a school all night, I still love to open his door and see him sleeping in his own bed. Only when you become a Mom do you truly understand. Enjoy every minute. Can't wait to read the next 100 entries!

Emily said...

Love the top ten list! I agree with the cloth diapers, they are easy, and it's not like dealing with all the garbage from disposables is easy! Good news for me is that I can learn from your challenges and try to maybe avoid getting into sleep troubles with Alexis by putting her to bed awake starting now! Thanks for the great posts!