I wish someone told me: The First 4 Months

February 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Henry will officially be 4 months old this weekend! This means that we are graduating from what some call “the fourth trimester“. Having made it out alive and still relatively sane, I have compiled my top things that I’d most like to share with new moms:

  • Literally as soon as he’s born, get as much sleep as you can. Even though my labour lasted 35 hours, once Henry popped out, I devoured a bagel, downed a bottle of water, then stayed up to take photos and call my family. I was hopped up on adrenaline and didn’t want to sleep! If you’re in a baby-friendly hospital, the baby will be sleeping in the room with you and guess what? Effective immediately, you’re not sleeping.
  • Once you’re home, give in to the sleeplessness. There’s nothing you can do to make your baby sleep through the night at this point (he needs to eat!) so just enjoy this time. It won’t last forever.
  • Every parent will swear they instantly fell madly in love with their new baby. I contest this. Of course we have always loved Henry, but I think it would be more appropriate to describe these initial feelings towards your tiny newborn as curiosity and fascination.
  • If you’re a busy body, aim to do just one errand a day. Then be proud you actually did it. After all, you’re recovering from labour, getting used to sleep deprivation, and adjusting to a totally different lifestyle.
  • That first growth spurt at 5 or 6 weeks is just brutal. Mainly because it’s the first one and your formerly passive, cuddly, sleepy baby just wants to eat and cry, all day long, for days on end. Just let him eat as much as he wants and get a good book or TV show to watch while you’re waiting for it to end. It will end!
  • Babies are very loud sleepers. They toss and turn and grunt and snort. Then when they finally fall asleep, you’re going to constantly check to see if they’re still breathing.
  • Baby outfits consisting of pants, shirts, hoodies, jackets, shoes and socks are very cute, but a huge pain in the ass. Onesies all day, everyday! Preferably ones with zippers instead of snaps.
  • After you hear or smell the poop happen, wait 5-10 minutes before changing the diaper. You (or the changing table, or the bookcase next to the changing table, or your Mom) will get pooped on. There’s a surprising amount of firepower.
  • Buy nipple shields to use his second week of life. This is a little graphic for non-moms, but learning to breastfeed is like learning to play guitar: you have to build up calluses and then as long as the latch is correct, it won’t hurt anymore. Nipple shields will allow you to nurse through the healing process.
  • Nursing pads are a must!
  • If you don’t have big boobs, you don’t really need a nursing bra. I have spent the last 4 months in tank tops (BOOB Design is especially handy!) and button downs. I occasionally wear soft bras I can easily pull to the side as well.
  • You are going to be HUNGRY! Get lots of healthy snacks and snack all day long. Stock your nursing area with granola bars, nuts, or any one-handed foods for midnight feedings. Also, lots of water.
  • A breast pump = freedom. (Or as much freedom as you’ll get at this point.)
  • Don’t be surprised if your grey hairs multiply like bunnies.
  • Finally, it will get so much easier once they complete their third month of life. Hang in there!

[Disclaimer: thanks to my friend Leah, who is a midwife in Toronto, for reminding me to be careful with the use of nipple shields. Only use them when you really have to so the baby doesn’t become reliant on them and the milk production isn’t affected.]

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Happy Family Day

February 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

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In America, the long weekend is brought to you by President’s Day, but in Canada, today is Family Day. A relatively new holiday, but still a great idea – to have a day off in a dreary winter month to spend time with and celebrate your family.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see my entire family in Canada today, but for the first time, I have one of my own. Coincidentally, it was last year’s Family Day when I found out I was pregnant! Julia and Jay were visiting and Julia was almost finished her first trimester of pregnancy and getting ready to tell the world. Her reaction when I took a positive pregnancy test on their last morning here was priceless – while Jay stood there grinning with happiness for us, she was trapped in the corner of our sectional couch by him and was hitting him saying “move! move!” so she could get to me to give me a hug.

Today we will celebrate with one of our favourite families – the Vastanos – and a tasty lunch date.

International Love

February 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

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I’ve had two different Canadian ladies come to me about being in love with American boys this week – a new record!

With Facebook, Facetime, Skype, and everything else, it’s so easy to meet and fall in love with someone who doesn’t live where you live these days. It makes me wonder if this new trend of long distance love is here to stay.

Perhaps it’s time Canada and the USA come to some sort of true love immigration agreement. I’m happy to have my frustrating immigration experiences to share with those who are about to go through a similar journey (and to warn them about where I went wrong!), but I don’t wish those hard times on anyone else.

What do you guys think – have you ever dated someone who lived far away? How did you keep things going before today’s technical advances? All Nick and I had were old fashioned text messages and phone calls ;)

3 Months with Henry

February 3, 2014 § 2 Comments

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Henry is 3 months old and he’s cuter, more fun, and funnier than ever.

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A lot has happened over the last month. Henry has hung out with his good buddy Rocco V. a few times, and although the 4 month age difference seems big now, soon it’ll be nothing at all. I can’t wait until they can play on the floor together and Kate and I can hang out and watch, while drinking coffee (wine)!

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Henry also earned himself a lovely little tattoo on his Dad. (I spent years earning mine! ;)

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I also had my first extended period of time on my own with Henry in January, while Nick had to travel for work. The travel just so happened to coincide with one of Henry’s “leaps” or growth spurts so he was fussy and didn’t want to sleep for more than an hour at a time all night, every night, for the three nights Nick was away.

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I love spending time with the little guy, but I gotta tell you, it was tough! Thank goodness my third day alone was a Saturday and Annie came over to visit. She even practiced babysitting for an hour so I could go for a walk by myself around the neighbourhood. The next morning, she watched him so I could go to yoga. Thank you, Annie, you were my savior!

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This photo was taken while I was making dinner the night Nick got home. Henry had obviously not slept well and Nick was exhausted from traveling so they just gave in to a little cuddle nap on the couch. It was so sweet that I got choked up!

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I’ve been giving him lots of milk to create more chubby appendages.

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He loves to talk more than ever – so many coos and funny noises! We are so close to a giggle, if only his hiccups wouldn’t get in the way!

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It’s also fun that he likes to play with toys now – he actually has interest in stuffed animals, play mats, his mobile, and a few other little trinkets.

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THAT SMILE.

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After two weeks of bad sleep, Nick and I decided to create and enforce a regular night time routine. It’s been working out pretty well and I actually have about an hour of free time with Nick before I go to bed. Oh, I can’t wait until he sleeps the 16 hours a day he’s supposed to!

As tired as I am most of the time, I keep reminding myself to stop and enjoy these moments. He really has been growing and changing so fast. I need to soak up all of the naps in my arms and on my chest while he’s still so tiny!

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