Posts tagged with infant:
I’ve been struggling this week with feeling like I can’t keep up. This happens every now and then, usually lasts a few days to a week and it really weighs on me. Call it the disease of Mom Proficiency Comparison or call it trying to do it all and failing or being too hard on myself or all three or something else entirely, but it’s THERE and it feels real to me. Working from home can be my worst enemy when I’m like this because I’m sitting and facing things I just can’t seem to get my arms around. Stupid stuff. Keeping up with grocery shopping. Laundry. Tidying up the toys and random baby detritus that accumulates in every room. Brandon and I try to split these tasks equally, but he often works late and it wouldn’t be fair of me to be like HEY IT’S 9 PM HOW ABOUT THOSE DISHES. So we collapse into bed and hope that tomorrow we can feel like functional adults.
This whole thing really came to a head for me last night because I told myself at about 4 pm or so that I was going to make a legit dinner for Isobel and I (Brandon was working late) instead of what I usually do, which is make her dinner and just sit there and keep her company so I can eat later with Brandon. I’m thinking about bedtime and I’m thinking about running to the grocery store to get a few things with Isobel after picking her up from daycare and I’m all I GOT THIS and I kind of did at first. Isobel was playing, I was in the kitchen cooking our little mom/daughter dinner that we could enjoy together sitting at the table. Isobel kept signing HUNGRY HUNGRY to me so I hustled and phew—7:20-ish or so we sat down. A little late, no big deal. And then she didn’t want any food I gave her. She had maybe 6 bites and then everything was getting handed to the dog (lovely) and I sat there at the table staring at her throw fistfuls of food onto the floor and I just said (out loud) “I’m not a good mother. I can’t do anything right.” Whenever I say these things out loud to myself it usually just happens—emotional word vomit—and then I sit there kind of shocked because it feels so real then. At this point every misstep that crosses my mind is transformed into a major personal failing and this is probably the moment when my angst becomes wholly unproductive. But it still eats away at me and is hard to shake.
I put Isobel to bed and cleaned things up and when Brandon got home at 9:30 PM, I was sweating while furiously scrubbing the bathroom and he was like, “Why don’t I finish that for you?” And I couldn’t stop. Like this bathroom floor is a symbol of my worth as a parent now, Brandon. Don’t you see that?
I wish I could end this post by tying things up in a bow and saying that I had a revelation as I rocked Isobel to sleep last night (as she was nestled in my arms like an infant—something she refuses to do at any time except for bedtime now) that all of my personal feelings about competency or self-worth were insignificant. But I can’t end this post that way. Because as I sang Isobel her lullabies, I scanned her room and thought, “I really need to empty the Diaper Genie. Be sure to write it in your planner so you don’t forget to do it tomorrow.”
Question. Love your "Baby Product Hall of Fame" posts and have passed along to several preggo friends. Now, I'm not a mom, but will be soon attending my fair share of baby showers in the coming months and want to get great gifts. What you prefer gift wise: super practical swaddles, onesies and diapers? Or, something you may not normally buy yourself like cute little baby Uggs and pricier (special occasion) outfits?
Here are the rest of the Hall of Fame product posts:
This post is a little different than the ones above. It’s the Womp Womp stuff. Stuff we tried to use and hated. There may be lots of parents that really love some of the products below, but they just didn’t work out for us. And even though these things didn’t work for us, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad products. If you had your heart set on something, give it a try!
- BOPPY - I tried to use this as a breastfeeding pillow but it just really didn’t work for me. It wasn’t comfortable or high enough for me to use it for nursing. It was, however, a wonderful baby lounge chair.
- DREFT LAUNDRY DETERGENT - Dreft is the biggest crock of shit. No need for this overpriced madness. Any free and clear detergent is fine for starters and then look for natural/nontoxic ones from there if you want. I use Honest and Method (the least expensive option I’ve used).
- MEDELA BOTTLES - I pumped directly into Medela bottles and a few times I got lazy/curious and wondered if Isobel would take the Medela bottle. (She was already taking the Playtex bottles at this point.) The answer was no. She would not take the Medela bottles. Not at all.
- HOT SLINGS - I tried two separate slings with Isobel a few times each and then I gave up. I don’t know why I was so sling-impaired, but they felt unsafe to me and I thought Isobel looked too compressed and uncomfortable. (She was a BIG baby.) It was awkward getting her into it and once she was bigger, it really put a lot of strain on my back the few times I tried to use them again. I love the idea of slings and like how simple they are, but if we ever had another kid, I wouldn’t try again. I’d give wraps a go instead.
- COOLING TEETHING RINGS - We had several different varieties of these and Isobel NEVER liked them. Even during the worst of her teething, when she was getting 3-4 teeth at once, she refused to so much as nibble on these. Things she did like: wooden teethers and frozen fruit in the mesh feeder.
- TIE CHAIR - I ordered this from Zulily on a whim. Shit. show. I think it would work better now that Isobel is older but I hated the damn thing so much that I refuse to try again. If you’re looking for a good mobile high chair option, try this one.
- MEDELA HARMONY MANUAL BREAST PUMP - This may have been helpful during the first two months when I was still getting engorged. But that’s not when I got it. I actually forgot my electric pump on a long weekend trip when Isobel was about five months old and I was all panicky and decided to buy this and see if it could work. -___- I think I got 0.25 oz. And I was full enough to pump too. It was also tiring to use. For you to operate this thing manually long enough to pump anything of worth would probably give you carpel tunnel. In a pinch, it’s worth a try, but I learned my lesson: NEVER LEAVE THE ELECTRIC PUMP BEHIND.
- DR. BROWNS SPATULA SPOONS - When Isobel started taking solids, I bought several different brands of spoons to try them out. These were…not good. I mean, they worked great for scraping the excess from around her mouth, but as for their INTENDED PURPOSE of feeding, it was not a win. The spoon portion didn’t hold food well enough, especially runnier purees, and it seemed hard for Isobel to eat off the flatter surface. All was not lost though: she loved to hold these and bang them around and chew on them. Not a total loss!
- BABY JEANS - Baby jeans are cute for outings I suppose, but they never seem to fit well over diapers and honestly, if I were a baby, I’d be pissed if someone put me in jeans and then set me down for a nap or whatever. I don’t like wearing jeans when I’m at home relaxing so why would Isobel? I’m raising her strictly in the way of the slug life and that means comfortable, stretchy things are usually on the menu. The closest I usually get to jeans for her are these Old Navy jeggings.
- TARGET UP&UP DIAPERS - We received a lot of diapers at our baby shower and they lasted us almost 6 months! It was amazing. In the period after we ran out of those diapers and before we received our Honest order, we bought some Up&Up diapers to see us through. They are a great deal but they are terrible diapers. Just terrible. They blow out if the baby even thinks about farting. Leaks. Broken tabs. Weird gaps around the legs. Just bad. For what it’s worth, I’ve heard Costco diapers are similarly priced but have much better quality/performance.
- SUMMER INFANT COSLEEPER - I really wanted this to work. It fit fine on our bed (we have a king) and I was excited to start using it, but oh sweet baby jesus—Isobel screamed like something out of the Exorcist whenever I set her in it. So, I’d move it away and just lay her on the bed. She’d fall asleep. I’d gently lift her back into the cosleeper. SOMUCHRAGE. I dunno. She was a ridiculous baby sometimes. I can’t even say anything about this as a product because we only used it for seconds at a time.
- GROCERY CART COVER - I totally get why these are great. But I never used one. Basically they were one more thing I had to carry and then wrangle onto a cart by myself with Isobel squirming over my shoulder like a crazed inchworm and I did a quick cost vs. benefit analysis and came up with SORRY COVER NOPE. I just wipe down the cart and off we go.
- DOOR FRAME JUMPER - I thought Isobel would love this. I saw another baby Isobel’s age at the time playing in one and this baby was happy as a lark, laughing and jumping and eating his hands and generally enjoying life. I thought, “Hey, that could be Isobel. Isobel could enjoy life in one of these.” I failed to acknowledge the—ahh—temperament of my child, however, and once she was placed into this contraption simply stood there and stared at me like, “What the actual hell am I supposed to do with this.” The jumperoo was more successful.
- FLEECE RECEIVING BLANKETS - We have a million fleece receiving blankets and used one or two of them a handful of times. This is mostly because I’m incapable of any swaddle that does not involve velcro or Miracle Blanket-type cheats. A few aden + anais blankets and some cloth diapers are more useful than a lot of fleece receiving blankets.
Any products that didn’t work for you?
Oof. This is a scary post to write. I mean, I posted pictures of my stretch marks before and my deflated body about a week postpartum but talking numbers is a little more daunting. Julie inspired me, what can I say?
(This post—she’s a long one, so more after the break.)
Anyway, some back story. I’ve been 6 feet tall since I was about 13 and I have no idea what I weighed then. I don’t remember. By the end of high school, I was in the upper 130’s. And I was skinny. It’s so funny looking back at high school photos now because at the time I know I was fussing about this body part or that body part, but then I see pictures and want to punch my 17-year-old self in the face. I gained some muscle during my last year of high school and the summer after from doing lots of cycling and when I went to college, I weighed about 140-150 and stayed within 145-160 for the next four years.
The mid-20’s are a rude awakening. It’s like your body giving you a little taste of how things are gonna go for the next 20 years or so. A gradually slowing metabolism. A general thickening that doesn’t go away unless it’s worked off or dieted off. No longer could I eat crap and write it off the same way I used to be able to and that was a sad realization. Having a significant other who eats like a racehorse and thinks three Zebra Cakes is a pretty fun breakfast didn’t help either. From the time I graduated to when I got pregnant, it was a slow, steady gain.
My highest weight (other than while pregnant) was actually about six months or so before I found out I was pregnant. I had stopped working out regularly and was generally enjoying the slug life. I think I was in denial, thinking that at some point the 21-year-old metabolism might kick back in. About three months before I discovered I was pregnant, I took a pretty drastic measure and started dieting. (The Dukan Diet.) If you’re wondering if it works, it does. I think I lost 7 pounds in two weeks or something like that. I don’t think I’d ever do it again, but it did show me just how little protein I was getting prior to the diet. Brandon and I were both raised vegetarian and rarely cooked meat at home and it was/is easy for us to fall into a carb-heavy routine. My highest weight before starting the diet was 175—the highest weight I’d been to date. (Here’s a photo.) When I found out I was pregnant, after dieting for just over two months, my weight was 160. I’d also been working out during that time more than I had in a couple years. As in, I was actually working out. Here’s a photo for reference—I was pregnant here but didn’t know it yet. You get the idea.
So, here’s where things get crazy. My weight gain was pretty normal throughout my pregnancy. Then, in the last 10 or so weeks, it started getting out of control. I was retaining a lot of water and was really swollen and bloated. Thank god it wasn’t July. December was bad enough. My weight gain got so rapid that my midwife would double check my blood pressure (it was always excellent) and they had me redo the glucose test a couple times (was always normal) because she didn’t believe that I couldn’t have preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. By 30 weeks pregnant I was too uncomfortable to continue with the low-impact cardio I’d been doing, so my exercise routine did drop off. I was still doing yoga and I walked about 2-3 miles a day. Didn’t matter! I looked like a sausage.
I’ve said before that I gained about 50 pounds while pregnant. You do the math. Guess how much I weighed 40 hours before Isobel was born?
The first time I saw a “2” in front of my weight at the midwife clinic, I didn’t want to tell her what it was. They had us weigh ourselves privately and then tell them the number. Sure, that’s fine—less embarrassing in a way. But then I still had to tell her the number! Imagine me standing on that scale. It was an old-school scale, the one with the sliders. I tinkered with those sliders for a good five minutes. Brandon was out in the waiting room and after our appointment, he asked me what I had been doing with the scale because all he heard was “Clink! CLINK! Clink clink” coming from the bathroom as I frantically tried to salvage my wracked body image. I was like, okay, don’t panic. You’re wearing heavy shoes. I took off my shoes. Wait, I haven’t peed yet! I am storing AT LEAST 30 POUNDS OF URINE, YES?
It was a bad day. My very first thought after we left that appointment (and after I’d told Brandon to shut up when he asked me about the scale) was that I would never, ever fit into anything in my closet ever again. No way. I was done for. I berated myself. How could I have let it reach this level? My weight gain had been normal and honestly, I hadn’t cared seeing the numbers tick up. I had loved being able to wear tight clothes and bikinis through the summer and fall without caring if I was sucking my stomach in or what my thighs looked like. The weight gain hadn’t mattered until that moment on the scale. Granted, I did give birth to a week-early baby who was nearly 10 pounds. But that’s 10 pounds out of 52.
After Isobel was born, the “weight” came off fast. I say “weight” QUOTEUNQUOTE because a lot of it was water weight and that wasn’t the problem. The problem was deflating too fast. It looked like my body was the equivalent of someone sighing as they sink into a really comfortable chair. Everything was saggy and mushy. I’ve compared it before to looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy from my neck to my knees. (Read here for more on this.)
By my six week postpartum appointment, I was thoroughly terrified to step on the Scale of Doom, but I did and my weight was 171. 41 pounds gone! The midwife congratulated me. Brandon said, “Good job! Isn’t that the weight you were before the diet?”
The six week appointment was a reckoning. I knew that whatever weight remained at that point would have to be scraped off my body through sweaty realness and I was wholly unprepared for that kind of fitness commitment. Plus, I was breastfeeding and so I put aside working out for a while since I knew my supply suffered if I dared to take even a brisk walk. (P.S. Breastfeeding helping you lose baby weight is not exactly a real thing. Or at least, not real in the way you think it is from reading US Magazine and stupid celebrity interviews. It may help some in the first month or two, but then it makes your body hoard all the fat pockets as little milk reserves in case you decide to start starving yourself. ETA: I also had this tendency to eat like a freight train while breastfeeding and may or may not have justified certain treats because THE BABY WANTED IT OKAY, so I may not be the best one to speak about breastfeeding/weight loss going hand in hand or not.)
Once Isobel had weaned, I started working out, but then life got in the way and I thought I looked so good in comparison to OverstuffedPregnantFest 2011 that I got pretty complacent. That’s the real trick of postpartum weight loss. It’s easy to start thinking that you’ve gotten back to square one when the current number on the scale looks pretty damn impressive compared to the number you saw in your 40th week of pregnancy. (Or the 2nd week postpartum or the 6th week postpartum.) But I was really just kidding myself. I had lost a lot of muscle tone, especially through my midsection and on my arms, and my skin elasticity was shot to hell. I had work—HARD WORK—to do and I didn’t want to face it.
Everything came to a head for me one night when my mom cleaned out some storage and gave me my wedding dress. Brandon said, “You should try it on!” I was all hell no, but it taunted me from the corner. I was so stupid. I should not have done it. But I did. Of course it wouldn’t zip. I stared in the mirror and hated everything about my reflection. I mean, a visceral hate. I took the dress off and quietly walked downstairs to the kitchen. Brandon was taking a shower. I cried sitting in the corner of the kitchen for almost an hour. Brandon never knew. It seems so petty—to cry over your body, of all things. But that moment—seeing the proof that I was not the same as I had been on one of the happiest days of my life—really knocked me down. I had lost the baby weight, congratulations to me blah blah blah, but the reality was that my body was not the same body and I had to get it to a place that worked for me in the present. I had to stop thinking about how I looked pre-pregnancy or how I looked in college or in my early 20’s or in high school or on my wedding day.
So, I started working hard. And I’ve been working really hard the past 8 months. I’ve been spinning at least 3 times a week (usually 4) and have been doing yoga about 3 times a week too. This is not easy for me. I haven’t worked out this much since I was in college. But, if I don’t do it, I get a little crazy. I need exercise to keep me sane, frankly. My stress and anxiety can get out of control without regular exercise, even if it’s just a 20 minute walk. I’m not a healthy living/fitness blogger and I don’t like fitness challenges and I hate running with a burning passion and I eat Doritos on the regular, but I do have to sweat at some point each week so I don’t turn into a psycho. Oh, and I’m not going to lie and say that I’m doing this exercise solely for my mental health. No. Vanity plays a part, sure. I started being very regimented about my fitness primarily to fit into things that I hadn’t worn in 8+ years.
Last night Brandon bought a scale because our other one broke and we had never replaced it. I am really nervous about scales. I don’t like them and they don’t like me. Brandon weighed himself. We weighed Isobel. “Mommy’s turn!” Brandon said. “Let me just take it over in the corner so you can’t see,” I said and tried to make a run for it. “We all had to do it!” He replied, smiling because he knows how much I hate scales. He knows. But whatever. FINE. YOU WIN. I stepped on.
I still have some work to do. Even though I haven’t weighed 152 since I was 20, my body now isn’t the body I had then. I need more flexibility and I need to do more toning. But I know one thing I won’t do.
I won’t go near that fucking wedding dress.
See PART 1 - GEAR here.
Time for the fun stuff!
- SOPHIE THE GIRAFFE - Brandon called this an overpriced dog toy (because it squeaks) but Isobel sure loved it!
- WOODEN IPHONE TEETHER - This was so great. It’s safe for babies to chew and is, duh, adorable. You can personalize it too.
- GREEN TOYS MY FIRST STACKER - Love that these are made from recycled milk jugs!
- BABY EINSTEIN TAKE ALONG TUNES - Isobel was completely obsessed with this. She’d start crying if it stopped playing or fell or I took it away.
- FRED M-CUPS - So…these are actually measuring cups. But they’re great for stacking and nesting.
- MANHATTAN TOY SKWISH - This crazy little toy is still a favorite, but was one of the first things Isobel was able to hold and chew by herself. It was easy for her to grip and move around.
- BABY EINSTEIN NEPTUNE ACTIVITY MAT - THIS MAT. We loved it. Isobel loved it. The music still haunts me.
- TEN APPLES UP ON TOP BY DR. SEUSS
- MITTENS BY CLARE TURLAY NEWBERRY - Isobel is in a hardcore cat-loving phase right now (that I hope never ends) and this is one of her favorite books.
- MELISSA & DOUG COLORING PAD - This is such a great coloring pad. I love how big it is.
- WEE LITTLE BUNNY AND WEE LITTLE LAMB BY LAUREN THOMPSON - I think we’re on the cusp of the major animal-loving toddler phase so these books get a lot of attention.
- I AM A BUNNY BY OLE RISOM AND RICHARD SCARRY - Her all-time favorite book since she was pretty small. She still loves it more than any other. I don’t blame her. It’s so sweet.
- MELISSA & DOUG 60-PIECE BLOCKS - This is pricey for blocks, but on the bright side, we’ll never need to buy another block set again.
- FISHER PRICE MUSICAL ACTIVITY WALKER - Isobel was never really into this for the walking function. She actually loved the little music buttons and toys on the front.
- MELISSA & DOUG ANIMAL RESCUE TRUCK - She’s REALLY obsessed with this toy right now. Put all the animals in the truck. Take them all out. Repeat for the next 25 minutes or so.
- MELISSA & DOUG JUMBO KNOB PUZZLE - Can you tell we like Melissa & Doug toys? Anyway, this puzzle is good for little hands since it’s easy for Iz to pick up the pieces.
- PLAN TOY SOLID WOOD DRUM - Oh, this little drum is great! And it actually sounds quite pleasant.
- PLAYSKOOL BUSY BALL POPPER - This toy drives me batshit crazy. The music is from the “demented circus” collection and the balls pop out the top and fly immediately to some godforsaken corner of the room. But Isobel loves it. Of course she does.
- PLAYSKOOL ROCKTIVITY SIT TO STAND TABLE - This thing is really great. I love that you can remove the legs so younger kids can use it. It was great for building Iz’s leg muscles/stability when she was on the cusp of walking. She also danced for the first time to the music on it.
Next up are some books/apps that I found helpful during pregnancy and beyond!