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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

79 Days (or so) To Go...

As most of you know, we're having a baby this year. She's due on Christmas, in fact.

This is, occasionally, a fact that I forget. I'm sure you wonder what kind of moron can forget that they're pregnant...but that's this kind of moron for you. Today, I was putting on a light jacket to go and find some fall leaves in the yard. I put it on, and then worked to zip it up. I couldn't figure out why it was really tight around my middle...until I looked down and remembered my somewhat massive belly. "Oh yeah...there's a baby in there."

This isn't the most regular occurance. She kicks me often enough to remind me that she's there, hanging out and waiting for Christmas to come. I think sometimes it's more of a mental coping type thing. The reality that we're having a baby is really difficult for me to actually grasp. How different our lives will be in just a few months! I'm excited, terrified, and pretty clueless. Whenever I tell someone this, I'm always given the same response--"Don't worry, you'll figure it out soon enough." While I am sure that this is true, I would love to hear some anecdotal stories, advice, anything.

Hopefully, this is where you can help me out. I know that a lot of you out there are moms, or know moms, or know everything about children for one reason or another. I am soliciting advice from anyone who'd like to leave it. I'm sure lots of people refrain from offering such advice in the interest of not being overbearing. I would love for you to overbear! You can even leave an anonymous comment on my blog if you'd like to. I'd love your thoughts on cloth diapers v. disposable, baby products you can't (or couldn't) live without, or that you found were a royal waste of money, things you wished you'd known in the first few weeks of baby life, anything! I know that I can find much of this information on the internet...and I've read a lot about most of these topics already--I would just like to hear more from people that I've at least vaguely associated with (and I'm pretty sure that I at least know of almost all the people who read this blog regularly).

Thanks in advance. If you're really not comfortable commenting in public, but you'd love to give me some advice--email me (kobylka at gmail dot com). I would love to hear from you.


  1. Hi! I'm BJ's wife. So yeah, we vaguely know each other. :) He told me I should read your blog and comment on cloth diapers because, well, we cloth diaper. Though, let's be honest, I could talk forever on this topic. Which is really long for a comment. So, you should send me an email or add me on gmail chat. tiannahomer at gmail. I'll be happy to tell you my experiences, good and bad, and how to save a bunch of money on cloth diapers. It'll be fun. Plus, I'm sure I'll end up telling you some other baby tales, because I talk a lot, so stories just happen. :)

    As for something I couldn't live without? A wrap. You can make one (if you have even the most basic sewing knowledge… or even if you don't) for a LOT cheaper than you can buy one. Kessa couldn't fall asleep without me wearing it for awhile, and even now that she's falling asleep on her own, it's nice to have for when I need to hands but she wants to be held. Like, vacuuming. Or laundry. Or delivering dinner to a new mom a few doors down.

    Also, a nursing cover with a plastic band so you can see the baby. Also can be made, though I've never done it. But the one I have was made and given to me by BJ's aunt and I think I could duplicate it. But you can also buy them online. Try uddercovers.com to see what I'm talking about. But, I like my homemade one better.

    Already getting too long for a comment… send me an email or a chat and I'll go into more detail.

  2. Here's just a few...
    1) Sleep when your baby sleeps.
    2) When the baby sleeps during the day, put her in a room with sunlight. That way she gets use to day and night and won't be up all night and asleep all day!
    3) Don't rock her to sleep every night. She'll figure out a way to put herself to sleep.
    4) Get her use to a bottle so you can have some free time every now and then.
    5) Have Nate take a turn in the middle of the night!
    6) Disposable diapers!!!!!!!

    You will be the BEST mom ever!! I love you!

    Mom M

  3. Not really advice, but I was born on Christmas Eve. My mom's water broke at 6am that day, and she refused to go to the hospital until she opened all her presents!
    As for advice on being a new mom, trust your instincts. You will get to know your baby better than anyone else, so trust yourself.

  4. Hi Nate and Nicole!
    I haven't had a baby in over 25 years...but I still have some advice. First DISPOSABLE DIAPERS. Our first two kids had cloth diapers. They are a pain for you and for the baby. Disposable diapers pull the wetness away from the baby and keep them comfortable. The very first time the baby wets a cloth diaper, it stays wet, soaking wet, against their skin until you change them. So uncomfortable, so much more diaper rash, etc. Not to mention the "cleaning out" of the diaper after #2!!! Gross. And then the diaper pail...oh my! You can always smell it no matter what precautions you take to make it more pleasant.

    Beyond diapers, I have no advice. You guys are going to be wonderful parents. You have had very good examples to learn from (I don't know your parents, Nicole, but I know Nate has the MOST WONDERFUL PARENTS EVER and I'm sure you do, too!)

    We are excited for you!
    Love you!

  5. Hi Nicole!

    First of all, I'm a new mommy, and this is just what has worked for us, and we have a pretty easy going little one, so it might be a little skewed... but here are some things that have been helpful:

    1)disposable diapers! I've heard horror stories on the cloth, and Costco brand is the best we've found, Huggies just leaks, all the time
    2)We just use the sink for bath time, we've used the little tub 3 times maybe. The sink works just fine, and we didn't have the best sink either
    3)A little bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse/diaper bag is great. One sitting inside the carseat is good too, especially with lots of sick people around.
    4)Get up as soon as you can, and move around! The sooner you do, the faster you recover from labor.
    5)The book "On Becoming Babywise" has been AWESOME and a life saver, James now goes down for naps when I say, eats when I say, and sleeps at night from 11:30pm until 8:30am, and has been now for about 3 weeks, and he is only 11 weeks old. Read it, buy it, live by it, it works!
    6)Diaper rash can be treated with warm, soapy water, you don't need any creams. Also, we've used classical conditioning with James, he gets a little bath each night before his last feeding. He thus knows it's bed time, and it keeps him squeaky clean. I got the warm, soapy water trick from my MIL, and it works, no diaper rash at all!
    7)Look into it, but your insurance may pay for a pump, at least part of it, so you can get a good one, I recommend that so that you can have the option of bottle too. That comes in handy when you want to have a date, or go to the temple before the kid is like 9 months old.

    Anyway, they say "oh, you just get the hang of it", and you do, but the first month is so much harder than they ever tell you. Your body just has to get used to less sleep for a little bit, and I even wondered if we'd have another, but with the theories and implementation of "Babywise", life has been great, and I love being a mommy. I know you will too :) We'll see you when you come to Utah! Miss you:)

  6. I know this is really delayed, but I've been trying to think of what the best advice I have is. Eventually I just decided to say whatever I could think of, and let you decide which parts are the best. Ready, set, go!

    If you have the chance now, before you have the baby, sleep whenever you can. This will probably not be an option if you have more kids - you'll always have this sweet little girl wanting (and needing) attention, so enjoy the opportunity to snooze a little bit extra.

    I echo everyone else: sleep when your baby sleeps. This was nearly impossible for me at first. I was so worried about something happening to the Bwun that I'd just nervously watch him sleep, or try to surreptitiously check if he was breathing. Newborns breathe VERY quietly. I'm a natural-born worrier, so it was hard to resist the urge to make sure he was ok all the time. Luckily, motherhood has toned down my worrying an unbelievable amount. I think Jarom is shocked at home much I've calmed down and learned that I can't control everything. But back to the point, try to relax and trust the Lord to keep an eye on your sleeping baby.

    The Bwun wouldn't sleep without being held for the first couple weeks, which again made it hard for me to nap. I know everyone says DON'T CO-SLEEP! which really is good advice, since there would be no way of coping with it if you accidentally smothered your baby. I confess, I learned to fall asleep holding the Bwun next to me in bed. It was the only way I could get either of us to sleep after my mom left. I just kept my arm around in such a way that it would have hurt enough to wake me up if I tried to roll over. And somehow my body knew not to roll over. I was always conscious enough of him being there. I tried to put him in his bassinet as much as possible during the day - it took a while for him to get used to not being held. In the end it was a bouncer that helped him stay asleep, and after a few weeks of that I was able to put him in his own room in his crib. Heavenly!

    (continued below)

  7. No matter how small your house is, you'll probably feel most at ease if you have a baby monitor. We have this monitor that has worked splendidly. It's on the much cheaper end of monitors, which meant I could actually afford it, and I really like the way it lights up to show just how loud the Bwun is being. I also like that both the receiver and transmitter plug in, so it doesn't use up batteries (although it does have a battery option).

    I also love my Itzbeen, and I wish I'd had it in those early days. It really helped me be able to see the Bwun's routine and adjust it where I needed to.

    If you plan to nurse, I cannot over-recommend getting a pump BEFORE you have the baby. SO MUCH.

    Emotions are weird things. I'd heard women talk about falling in love with their babies at first sight, and others say it took a while. Honestly, I didn't feel the same connection to the Bwun once he was born as I had while I was pregnant. I still think of 2 different babies - the one I was pregnant with, and the one I have now. It's hard for me to connect them. I felt disappointed at first because it seemed like it ought to have been such an amazing, emotional, spiritual time - holding my first child for the first time. But I was hungry and tired and thirsty and maybe expecting that the Bwun would already adore me. I thought he'd know I was his mother and want to cuddle. Ok, I was ignorant. Newborns are hungry and tired too. And they don't know ANYTHING, not even how to nurse. But about 2am that night I woke Jarom up because I was crying about how the Bwun would grow up and move away and then he would be gone. Jarom, of course, thought I was completely ridiculous and maybe drugged (both true). Those hormones are seriously intense. So just expect that you may say and do overly emotional things (even compared to when you were pregnant). But it's ok if those emotions aren't "I love this baby so much" right at the beginning.

    One of Jarom's aunts told me that it was ok if I didn't adore my baby every second of every day. Of course, at the time I thought she must be an unfeeling mother, and that I would always think the Bwun was #1 Best Baby Ever. For the most part, he is. Lack of sleep does funny things, though. I've been blessed with an exceptionally mellow baby who started sleeping through the night at a month and a half. But for the first 6 weeks, there were nights when I thought I'd made the dumbest mistake in deciding to have a baby. Babies were inconvenient and noisy and tiring and I just wanted the Bwun to stop crying and go to sleep! Some moments I definitely did not adore him. There are still times like that. And it is ok. I'm around the Bwun, on average, 24 hours a day, so I'm bound to have moments where I just want a break, right?

    (continued below)

  8. I'm so glad that we got the Bwun to take a pacifier. The one the hospital gave us was the green round thing I think is called a Soothie? He hated it. The kind we have now is by Avent and it's a different shape. Try a couple shapes until you find one your baby likes. So, so worth it.

    I understand the reasons for doing cloth diapers. I also understand that I value my time too much to boil a pot of poopy diapers on my stove. I will therefore always use disposable.

    The biggest lesson I have learned so far from motherhood is that I can't be perfect in every way all at once. I know they try to teach you this in seminary and Sunday School and pretty much everywhere, but I didn't understand it until recently.

    Take tons of pictures! I'm not kidding how quickly babies change. I looked at some photos from when the Bwun was 1-2 months and I hardly recognize him. And make sure Nate takes pictures of you and the baby. We don't have many of the Bwun and me.

    Find other moms if you can. Staying home all day, every day, with a baby (especially in winter) will make you lonely and probably kind of stir-crazy.

    That may be all I have to say for now. I might come back with another comment when I remember all of my other wisdom. Echoing everyone else again, you'll learn quickly. After a few months it will honestly be difficult to remember NOT having a baby, and not knowing what to do with one!

  9. A lot of random thoughts: I"ve always used walmart's cheap diapers. I can't live w/o my nursing cover. I have directions of how to make one if you want them. Check out (from the library)or buy "The Baby Whisperer." It's got great suggestions of how to get your baby on a routine (and what that routine should be). I didn't follow it for christopher, but I do for Michael and life is much better. I rock my baby for 5ish minutes (either singing all 3 versus of "I am a child of God" or humming the tune, or shshhing in his ear.). Then I lay him down swaddled-(register for one of those blankets that velcros (sp) closed). He smiles and squirms into place. It's cute. Sometimes I don't even need to put the binkie back in. If he seems like he's going to suck his tongue instead, I don't give him the binkie. (cuz he can't lose his tongue:)
    Buy or borrow a swing!! It's a life saver. Also, make sure your rocking chair is really comfortable, cuz you'll be using it alot. I wish I had one in every room.

  10. I know a lot of people are all for disposable and think cloth is gross, but I just wanted to share a little of what my experience with cloth has been.

    I use cloth most of the time, but also use disposable when were out of the house for a while, on vacation, or occasionally just when I'm feeling lazy. I found I like Costco brand and Huggies the same, but Huggies are usually cheaper at Costco. So just to let people know, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing with cloth.

    Maybe some people used to boil poopy diapers on the stove and maybe some still do, but I think most people who cloth today have never done such a thing. Cloth diapering is not much messier than disposables. I use prefold cloth diapers and vinyl diaper covers, which are almost as cheap as you can get, and they take some getting used to, but they work well and I've found they contain messes (especially newborn blowouts) better than disposables. Being a mom you have to deal with spit up, poop, vomit and other gross things, and for me it's not a big deal. You might as well get used to it now.

    After I change a cloth diaper, I put it in a diaper pail with a trash bag liner. When the bag is full, I toss the diapers in the washing machine, let them soak for 30 min or more, then wash. If your baby is only breastfed, you don't need to rinse the poopy diapers beforehand. And after baby starts eating solids, there are a number of ways to deal with getting the poop off the diaper. I've mainly used flushable diaper liners that are convenient and fairly inexpensive.

    It's true cloth diapers don't pull moisture away as much as disposable, so you need to change them more frequently, but that's not a big deal because they're reusable. And my boy has had just as bad diaper rash in disposable as in cloth. Also, I haven't had personal experience with this yet, but the fact that cloth doesn't wick away moisture helps kids recognize how uncomfortable it is to wet themselves and often leads to easier/earlier potty training.

    My main motivation for cloth diapering was that it's cheaper, especially if you buy nice used diapers, and use them for multiple kids. But I wouldn't have continued unless I liked it. I enjoy cloth diapering. I don't think it's much harder than disposables once you get the hang of it.

    Other tips: a baby swing and bouncer seat were so nice to have during the first couple months. I think we used the bouncer more. And I couldn't live without swaddling, a simple big baby blanket worked for a while, then a special swaddling blanket when he got bigger. I recommend having lots of baby blankets and lots of burp cloths! And you don't need a lot of toys. Or shoes. Yeah, they're cute, but my boy would rarely tolerate them, so I usually didn't bother putting them on him. Only now that he's walking do I put shoes on him regularly.

  11. One last thing: If you're considering cloth diapering, I think it would be worth it to try it out for at least 2 months and see how you like it. If you don't, then you can sell your used diapers (or hang on to them and maybe try again later) and you've still saved money and at least given it a chance.

  12. All good advice. Just a couple thoughts--learn to swaddle. Also check out this website: http://thehappiestbaby.com/ . The DVD is listed for sale on Amazon or Ebay. TOTALLY worth it. I also use the techniques in On Becoming Babywise. Works for me, too.

    Don't stress too much about your emotions after the baby comes. Hormones will drag you up and down and around for a couple weeks. Just hang in there.

    Also, I absolutely HAVE to have my Boppy pillow when I nurse at home, or when traveling. It's not as crucial for some people, but it is very useful for me, and more than for nursing.

    If I think of other tidbits, I'll post them. Feel free to disregard any of it, though. Find what works for you and you'll be fine.