From Bean to Sprout

a first time mom's forray into parenthood

Parenting 101 January 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — frombeantosprout @ 11:50 am

I wish they had offered this course in high school. Yes, we did the flour baby thing but that was more of a fun game and didn’t involve so many decisions aside from “do I leave this in my locker or in my backpack”.

I had a sudden panic attack the other day after speaking with my mom on the phone. She was talking to me about all these issues she had with breastfeeding and colic issues when i was a baby and that’s when I realized, I may have read the ins and outs of pregnancy and even of labor, but after that, I know next to nothing.

Yes, I know the big issues/concepts like breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, however the extent of my knowledge on the subject is “experts say it’s best to breastfeed”. I don’t exactly know HOW to breastfeed, or how to know if I’m doing it right or not and if I can’t breastfeed for some reason, I know virtually nothing about bottle feeding a baby aside from “liquid goes in mouth”. What temperature? What angle? How much? How often? AACK!!

So now I’m reading a book called “the Mother of all baby books” that my sister Steph lent me back in July (and which I’m only cracking open now). It seems to have something on everything in there. I’ve only read the first 70 pages and already have been faced with major decisions such as:

1- Do we want a “babymoon” which is basically asking people to leave us alone with Mr. Bean for a few days so that we can adjust to being new parents without being bombarded by well wishing visitors. This was something that had never even crossed my mind. It seems like a logical thing to do but at the same time, there’s that social pressure to be “on” right away with people who want to come see the baby.

2- What are your cord blood plans? Yes, now you can store cord blood for all those rich stem cells for possible future use. Chris and I saw a few of these cord blood banks at the Ottawa Baby Show and weren’t very impressed with their sales tactics. It seems their method of sales fell in the “fear mongering” category. Such as “do you want to run the risk of your baby having leukemia and you having done nothing to prevent it…” That whole thing turned us off completely of paying large sums of money to store cord blood, however that doesn’t mean we’re not interested in donating it to research or those in need. It’s very useful blood and it bothers me knowing that the majority of it gets tossed aside with medical waste. We’ll have to do more research on that one.

3- Cloth vs Disposable diapers. This one was a no brainer for us and we’re going cloth all the way. We’ve already signed up for a diaper service which I read was actually more environmentally friendly than laundering cloth diapers yourself.

4- everything else. So now that I have those issues to ponder, others I’m worried about are “how will I bathe my child without drowning him” or “how will I change my baby without his head lolling backwards” or even “how will I know if he’s too hot or too cold”. So many questions for which I don’t feel as comfortable “winging it” like I did for my flour baby back in high school.

What I find even funnier is that with all these expert books out there on everything about parenting in the past 20 years or so, it makes me wonder how the hell we survived as a civilization up until now. I have this image in my head of a tired and angry cave woman pacing back and forth with her baby (who’s screaming his head off) while her partner is frantically flipping through the pages of “what to expect in baby’s first year” and yelling “I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!! I CAN’T FIND ANYTHING IN THIS STUPID THING!!”


5 Responses to “Parenting 101”

  1. Gillian Says:

    MELINA!!! Stop reading those books. Right now. They make you crazy. You’ll become one of those competitive parents who are so obnoxious to be around. Just trust that you will figure things out when you need to through common sense and the support of people you trust and the occasional Google search. Seriously. Stop reading the books.

  2. Gill’s right. The Baby Whisperer really made me a basket case and made me resentful when Kate wasn’t falling in line with what it prescribed.

    In terms of some of your specific concerns:
    1) Babies, for the most part, are born knowing how to suck. The hospital staff will help you with the rest. Some women aren’t able to breastfeed and everything you need to know about formula is written on the package. Breastfeeding is often a wonderful experience but it also puts a bit of the burden on you as the one with the breasts. If you have difficulty breastfeeding but you gave it your best shot don’t let anyone make you feel like crap if you need to turn to formula.
    2) I would plan for the babymoon but if you feel awesome after delivery and you want to show the baby off you can always change your mind. I think it would be more difficult to make everyone feel welcome and then feel like you want them to all go away and leave you alone. No matter how swimmingly your delivery goes you will be exhausted for the first long while and you don’t need to feel like you have to be a star hostess during that period. If you do decide to have people over you can request that they bring food that you can all eat together.
    3) We didn’t have a blood cord plan and were never asked about it.
    4) If you need specific recommendations about what cloth diapers worked for us, let me know.
    5) You will be plagued with doubt for the first few weeks. You will feel like a totally clueless idiot and that is TOTALLY NORMAL. You will figure it out and if you don’t call your mom / sister / friend / public health nurse / Telehealth / Google. There are 14 year olds out there who do this without killing their infants so you can definitely handle it.

    • I think Amy’s got a point. If kids on “Teen Mom” can do it without killing their babies, then I have no doubt that someone as smart, caring and awesome as you will do great.


      • micheline Clairoux Says:

        Context, it’s all about context… Young mothers nowadays have so much information about the birthing/mothering experience at their fingertips, that I guess it can and does become overwhelming in it’s abundance.
        On the other hand when I had you, my information came from my mother and older sister, who unfortunately for you and me, were in Europe when you were born, so we were on our own. We did however have the bible on child rearing in those days, good old Dr. Spock’s book dating from the 50’s.
        Nevertheless we did OK, hé! As you will, I know. You taught me very quickly as a newborn what you liked and didn’t like, and it wasn’t always what I liked, but we improvised and compromised then got better at this mothering baby thing along the way. The love was always such a strong bond from the very beginning that it made sleepless nights worth it just for a smile, even if it was sometimes just gas. Yeah and you had that, a lot with colic. I don’t know if they have invented a “cure” for colic, I sure hope so, even then it doesn’t last long in the scheme of things, and your mom has a few tricks up her sleeve for that. You will do great I just know it.
        Love, Mom

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