Old Wives Tales

oldwivesAngel has this competition, with prizes going on right now. (A set of five autographed “No-Cry” books by Elizabeth Pantley and a mystery gift)

Her instructions?

Anyone can enter, and to enter I would like you to write a blog post about an old-wives tale that has to do with raising a child, and whether or not you think it has any relevance today (you can find some here if you’re stuck for ideas).

Link to this post so I can find the posts of course and spread the word. I’ll post the books to the winner no matter where in the world they are.

And I will send something special- and not necessarily parenting related- to the person who refers the most people here, so be sure others know to tell me where they came from ;). Competition closes a week from today on October 29th.”

So here’s my entry. And I have a few things I’d like to talk about:

1. Heartburn means your baby will have lots of hair. I’d say this one’s pretty much true. I had heartburn (not bad either) maybe twice in my pregnancy. My Kid was born practically bald and it took him about two years to grow a full head of hair. He has very fine, blond hair, like me.

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2. If you crave sweets while you’re pregnant it’s going to be a girl. Absolute trollop. At least for me, mother to a boy. I had another reason for craving sweets. Because my morning sickness was SO bad nothing would stay in my stomach for longer than 2 minutes.

Eventually I discovered that I could stomach wine gums and jelly babies and it was all I craved. Why? Because they were digested so quickly, there was nothing that my body could push the eject button on, and I was getting some nutrients and sugar from the sweets, so they stayed.

3. Breastfeeding is easy, simple and natural. I dont know how many times I heard/read that while pregnant. What breastfeeding actually turned out to be was a whole other difficult and time-consuming mess.

Feeds could sometimes take up to an hour. I was always thirsty, tired and hungry and cranky. Bottle-feeding turned out to be so much easier, and so much less traumatic than I’d expected.

4. If your new baby is constantly crying and seems hungry your milk is too weak. I have only one word for this, and I wish I’d remembered it when people were telling me this: “Bullshit”. It means your baby is going through a growth spurt and is demanding more milk, and that your milk supply will soon adjust, if you’re patient enough. Drink as much liquids as you can, and try persist, if breastfeeding is your thing.

5. A baby should learn to soothe itself without a pacifier/dummy. I say nay, and say . Better to be a dummy sucker than a thumb sucker, I say. I know some grown ups who still suck their thumbs, but I dont know any grown ups who still suck a dummy, do you?

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Now, at the ripe old age of nearly two, we’re firmly on our way to ditching the dummy successfully. We reached a point where he accepted that dummies were only for sleeping. Then we reached a point where he no longer asked for his dummy during the day at all. And now, we’re on our way to not needing the dummy at night either.

Despite old wives tales, despite having not followed the rules, and despite having been a rather bad mommy, I don’t think I’ve done a bad job thus far. Why? Because I listened to the most important wives tale of all.

Trust your maternal instinct. If it feels wrong, don’t do it. If it feels right, do it.

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Photo Credit: ‘Old Wives Tales’: CafeMama on Flickr.

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A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

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Well, this picture doesn’t have that many words, but here’s some to go with it. I was tagged by Jenty, in the ‘4×4 meme‘. Here are the rules:

Here are the rules…

1. Go to your pictures file.
2. Go to the 4th file.
3. Go to the 4th picture.
4. Post it and tell the story.
5. Tag 4 more people.

So, up there somewhere is my fourth picture in my pictures folder. The story from that picture?

I remember that day very clearly. It was probably two or three after The Kid was born. I still had one assignment outstanding for a broadcasting law course I was doing as part of my masters’ degree. A 5000 word assignment. I was breastfeeding, and battling with it. It seemed like my baby always wanted a tit in his mouth. Constantly hungry, constantly crying. It was hot, and we were both miserable.

I had to do the assignment, nonetheless. Picture trying to research and read up and type out a 5000 word essay on broadcasting law, while you have a kid latched on your sore nipple. It was tough. I typed with one hand while my other hand supported my breast-attachment. In between feeds, I would put The Kid down for short naps on the couch in my office. And every now and again I would take a break from the furious typing, and gaze lovingly at my sleeping newborn. Still to this day, I think I love my kid the most when he’s asleep. When he’s beautiful and quiet.

One particular time that I gazed over at him, I saw him sleeping like this, and just had to take a picture. Even though he had a sticky-eye, and it wasn’t very pretty, this is still one of my favourite pictures.

Okay, story time over, I tag:

1. Jen R – because she’ll have fun with this one, I just know.
2. Dobeman – I’ve never tagged a daddy before, this should be cool.
3. Sweet on the Outside – I’m new to her blog, and would like to see more of her mommy stuff.
4. The Jackson Files – tagged her once, tagged her twice, and now here’s a third one for ya, doll.

And any one else who loves a meme too, is welcome to meme-ify!

And….just in the spirit of all things ‘four’ – here’s three more pics from that same day to bring the total up to 4!

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More sleeping on the couch…dscn0100Sleeping on my lap, while I work on my assignment.

dscn0104sleeping on a pillow next to my desk.

Ten Things No One Tells A New Mom

So you were pregnant, and couldn’t wait for your baby to arrive. Couldn’t wait to meet the little person that had been growing inside you for the last 40 or so weeks. Once the baby was here, was it everything you hoped for, and more?

No? Well you’re not alone. Many new moms say that there is definitely a shroud of secrecy over motherhood and its not-so-glamorous challenges. Educational child psychologist Lisa Michaelson agrees. “

New parents wouldn’t feel so isolated if more aspects of parenthood – both negative and positive – were discussed openly.”

1. Bonding isn’t instant. So dont feel bad if you look at your baby, and still have mixed feelings. Even though you were probably told, while you were pregnant, that you will ‘take one look at your new baby and fall in love’. If you’re lucky, it happens. If you’re normal, like me, you’ll look at your child and think ‘oh my god, that is the weirdest looking creature I’ve ever seen. How’s that NOSE?!’

Like any other relationship you have with another person, bonding takes time. A bond is a strange thing, it’s either there instantly, or it can be worked on.

What do do? Spend as much time as possible with your newborn. Once you get to know how he/she works, and how to best soothe/feed this little human, things will get much better. Once you’re more confident with your skills, it seems easier to focus on the connection between the two of you.

2. Homecoming is scary.

Did you look forward to bringing your new bundle of joy home from the hospital, and picture yourself gazing over the edge of the crib as baby sleeps peacfully? Well, homecoming with a newborn is nothing like this. Being in hospital with your baby is like being in an artificial enviroment. People bring you food, make your bed, help you breasfeed and take the baby away when you want to sleep.

These things dont happen at home, (unless you’re lucky or live in a hotel) plus by this stage your body is pumping out  emotion-producing hormones, leaving you feel teary, overwhelmed and frustrated.

Dr Erik Fangel Poulsen, a gynaecologist who writes for Netdoctor.co.uk says:

“Most new moms will experience a period when they feel insecure, vulnerable, sad or anxious. The enormous responsibility of suddenly having a baby to care for can make a new mother feel afraid and inadequate.”

What to do? Try to relax. Your baby senses your tension, and becomes tense himself, which can turn into a vicious tension cycle. Try Rescue Remedy. It’s also safe for infants. Take things one step at a time, prioritise. Focus on you and baby, dont worry about the house and cleaning and cooking. Ask for help if you need it. Dont be ashamed. Everything new takes a little time to adjust, and soon enough, you will have discovered your baby has a routine, and it becomes easier to fit everything around that.

3. Breastfeeding isn’t easy.

So baby latches in the hospital, and drinks small amounts frequently, and you think to yourself ‘wow, this is easy. okay, I can do this‘. Then you get home, and your baby just seems to be hungry ALL the time, and it seems that your body just isn’t producing enough milk, and you’re crying, and baby’s crying, and daddy’s getting upset because there’s nothing he can do to help.

What to do? Decide whether you’re going to breastfeed exclusively, or whether it is acceptable to do top-up bottle feeds. But be aware that the chances are that baby will eventually come to prefer bottle, as it’s easier to get sustenance from a bottle than from a breast. So make sure you choose a good formula. I recommend Isomil (milk and lactose free – it is soy based). And make sure you choose the right feeding equipment – I reccomend NUK bottles and a Bambino microwave steriliser.

Although breast feeding is indeed best, it sometimes isn’t always the most practical. Although it is free, which is great. If you’ve managed to breast feed for, say, 8 weeks (like I did) you’ve managed to give your child the vital immunities he or she needs for the first few months of life. So congratulate yourself, and feel no guilt if you have to move on to bottle feeding. Just think of it this way – bottle feeding means other people can help. Bottle feeding means that grandparents or helpful family members can take baby for a whole night, while you get some sleep!

If you decide to breastfeed exclusively, know that you will need a lot of patience, time and good books or magazines to read. It’s important to eat a balanced healthy diet, and to replenish what breastfeeding drains from you. And it is draining. You will find yourself constantly thirsty. Here’s a good recipe for a drink that will help stimulate your breastmilk.

Just be patient, and remember that it’s all about ‘supply and demand’ – your body will adjust to the demand your baby makes, but it will take a little time!

4. Daddy takes credit, but is really just a bystander.

You imagine a happy threesome. With a helpful daddy who changes diapers, baths baby and generally fits into the role of Mr Mommy better than you could have hoped for. A new father has the broadest chest and the widest smile in the world – that’s until he realises that all his newborn baby does is eat, poo and sleep and generates quite a bit of extra work. Then he’s nowhere to be found, and you’re left feeling you might as well be a single parent.

What to do? If nagging doesn’t work, try bribery. Also point out the fact that fathers that are more involved in the daily work of looking after a baby generally have better sex lives. Why? It leaves mom with a little more energy, she’s feeling more grateful, and is more likely to respond positively to dad’s bedroom eyes.

Encouragement works, but dont tell him what to do. He wont like being bossed around. He’ll have his own methods, they might not be as efficient as yours, but the job will get done. Just let him figure things out for himself.

5. You still have nothing to wear.

Unless you’re some kind of freak, you’re not going to be able to wear your pre-pregnancy clothes home from the hospital. Perhaps not even three months later. You’ll have a mummy-tummy, bigger boobs, and generally more curves than you had before. Perhaps your feet have even gone up one shoe size.

What to do? Try eating healthy, when you’re hungry. Pregnancy probably taught you some bad eating habits, what with that whole ‘you’re eating for two’ fallacy. Exercise moderately. Only exercise 6 weeks after birth. Join a women-only gym.

If all else fails, grab daddy’s credit card and hit the shops. Retail therapy works wonders.

6. Mommies are competitive.

Beyond description. It’s always ‘my baby did this, and my baby did that’. It gets a bit tiresome, especially when all you want to do is brag about your own baby. This kind of competitiveness can be stressful, can lead you to wonder if your child is developing on par with others, can lead to anxiety about your adequacy as a mother. And it’s annoying if someone else’s child does something before your own.

Furthermore, the idea of a ‘super-mommy’ does not exist in the real world. Dont compare yourselves to other mothers. You have no idea what goes on behind closed doors, or just how close that ‘perfect mommy’ might be to having a nervous breakdown.

What to do? Consult the experts for reassurance about milestones and other concerns. Parenting books, magazines and professionals will all tell you that your child will develop at his or her own pace, and that trying to rush things only places unnecessary stress on both mother and child. Dont compare yourself to other mothers either. Do the best you can, in that moment. Day by day. And dont feel guilty.

7. The real cost of a baby.

Yes, we all know having a baby is expensive. But having a baby is not the only part. There’s the hospital bills, clothing, feeding, entertaining, educating and housing expenses as well. Once the reality of the bills sets in, sometimes you’re left wondering if this was all really worth it.

What to do? If you haven’t already had a baby, it’s never too early to start saving. Just a little bit each month in a fixed account will help. Be practical – ask for practical gifts for your baby shower, such as disposable nappies, diaper bins, formula, clothing in sizes other than newborn and car seats and prams. These gifts can also be bought as ‘group gifts’ – everyone attending your shower chips in a little bit of cash.

Budgeting – work out what you spend on what, and where you can cut corners and save. Hard work, but it helps to see where you spend the most money…

8. Your life changes – completely and forever.

Some mothers dont bat an eyelid at the change in lifestyle. Others are wiped out by sleep deprivation, and not being able to go out and party all night like they used to be able to. Sometimes, the good step you’ve taken towards starting a family and being a family seems outweighed by the parenthood trap. You might also feel that your relationship with your partner is no longer the same.

What to do? Accept that life has changed. Accept it. Really, you have to. Communicate with your partner. Spend time together. Be this after baby is in bed, or whenever you can manage. Plan things together. Have ‘date nights’. Arrange for a babysitter occasionally, so you can go out and party all night, if you want. Join groups of other mommies, so you have others who know how you feel.

9. You lose friends.

It’s sad, but true. Friends without babies dont feel they relate to you anymore, or get irritated by the fact that you can no longer go out for dinner or partying at the drop of a hat.

What to do? If you really still want those friends, keep them appeased by seeing them on your ‘baby sitter’ nights, and minimise the ‘potty talk’ around them. Or, find new friends – new friends with kids, who you can arrange play dates with, can have child-friendly social gatherings, and who you can relate to better. Just remember – there is still social life after children!

10. How repetitive it all is.

Feed, burp, change diaper, sleep, change diaper, feed, entertain, bath etc etc. It’s the same thing, over and over. It’s the same games that delight, it’s the same food that satisfies, it’s the same shitty nappies every day, all day. It gets a bit much some time.

What to do? Make sure your partner is involved, to take some of the stress of repetitiveness off you. Get out the house, socialise with other moms. Go for a walk, take a long bath, or hire a babysitter or recruit an unsuspecting family member.

Each mother experiences motherhood differently and even the common complaints may not be as severe for one mother as they are for another. But when your friends ask you what they can expect from motherhood, it’s a good idea to tell the truth – good and bad. Gently, but firmly. No frills.

Adapted from: Women24