Rock A Bye Baby

Another afternoon at Day One Center means more baby info rattling around in my brain….

Today Max and I went to the “Let’s Talk About Sleep” class. Yes. Let’s.

It was led by a Baby Whisperer Expert, who we will refer to as BWE. BWE has turned her sleep skills into a full-time business, and she is now a sleep consultant. For babies. BWE has lots of swanky clients in lots of swanky places, who she constantly referred to in her lecture. I now know that she works primarily in places like the Oakland Hills, Walnut Creek, and Danville. Do you know how else I know? Because she made sure to include “nannies and other caregivers” when she talked about caring for your newborn. I fully admit that I got perverse pleasure out of her reminding us that the swankified socialite mamas also have babies who never sleep and spit up on them too. BWE also liked to talk about mamas who bottle feed. She had lots to say about monitoring how much your baby was eating each day, and seemed to feel that the primary method of feeding your baby was of course to use formula. Perhaps most of her clients don’t want to ruin their perfect boob jobs. That’s why I’M not nursing. Again, sheer delight at the ruffled feathers on the nursing moms in the class, who were huffing and puffing about how on earth they would feed their babies on a schedule and how in hell would they ever know how much their baby was getting at a time. Her response to them? Rent a calibrated scale and weigh your baby before and after each feeding, for a full 24 hours. Well, the SHOCK and utter inconvenience of having to do such a thing REALLY pissed them off. The deep sighs that followed about how much easier formula would be because THOSE MOMS can at least read the side of the bottle to see how many ounces Jr. got were tempered with whispers about how they couldn’t WAIT until Breastfeeding Support Group when they could tell the lactation consultant about BWE and her ridiculous rules. Hah! Now you know how I feel after spending a couple hundred dollars on a breastpump, herbal supplements, heated boob pads and a pricey pumping bra ladies!

Hah! Hah! Take that La Leche League…finally a class that isn’t biased towards breastfeeding moms! Let’s not be appalled that not everyone nurses.

Now people, before you continue the phrase that starts with “Wow, Kim is SUCH A…” let me remind you that I wanted to nurse (tried to nurse, started to nurse, worked very hard to nurse) for a very long time (blog posting to follow, and it’s a humdinger of a post). I love moms who nurse their babies. I’m impressed by the “pull the boob out in the middle of the grocery store and nurse your hungry kid in the deli aisle” moms. But what really pisses me off, is when those ladies ask complete strangers if they are nursing too. Yes you, lady in Pottery Barn 2 weeks ago. Because then I have to not only say no, but I feel compelled to launch in to the whole story about how Max had low blood sugar in the hospital, I had to supplement with formula, no one told me to pump, drugged up from C-section, bad advice from one lactation consultant, never produced more than 1-2 oz at a time even though I pumped the hell out myself with a pricey machine for FOUR STRAIGHT WEEKS while still taking time to bottle feed AND nurse and generally care for my screaming baby who was (at that time) only sleeping for one hour at a time. God forbid they should think that I had chosen not to do the most natural, womanly thing in the world for selfish reasons. Like a pricey boob job.

Except now I’m going to tell people exactly that. “Nope, not nursing. I wanted to continue modeling for Playboy”. Just to see their reaction.

BUT I DIGRESS.

BWE started the class by mentioning that for those of us there with babies under 12 weeks old, this information was just for us to observe. Apparently, Max is too little to implement any of these techniques for a while. In other words, BWE gave him permission to sleep (or not sleep), eat whenever he wants, and have a schedule that changes every day…..BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT BABIES 0-3 MONTHS DO. Thank you BWE! So I’m not a horrible mother because sometimes I cuddle him in bed in the morning so that he stays calm and I can close my eyes for 30 more minutes? Or because sometimes in the afternoon he won’t even close his eyes unless he’s in my arms walking laps around the second floor? Apparently that’s NORMAL. Oh, and the bouncing on the exercise ball while holding him until he falls asleep…turns out I did not make that up myself. Many mommies are bouncing away. Or as BWE said “My clients who use the exercise balls to bounce their babies have the flattest tummies!”. No BWE, that’s just a great plastic surgeon.

Someday soon Max will be out of the freebie zone though, and here are some really helpful things that we learned today:

1. Nursery Setting. Temp should be 65-68 degrees. This helps to prevent SIDS. I had read 68-72. Either way, with our crazy A/C, that is going to be COLD. Not sure how this will work, but I can’t imagine that it could be worse then the steady 75 degrees that it’s been since we decided we didn’t want to pay a high electric bill.

White Noise. (Check! Thanks to Patty and Jim, the Sleep Sheep works wonders!) Calming colors in Max’s room (just moved in, haven’t painted yet, but I will nix the tie-dye wall idea). And complete darkness.

2. After 12 weeks, babies should have a STATIONARY place to sleep. That means something that doesn’t move or take batteries to operate. (Either that, or I spelled it wrong and it means notecards and envelopes). No swing? No vibrating bouncy seat? SHIT. And we’re only supposed to have him sleep in one place. Or maybe two, if he sleeps in the same place for a nap every day, and then one other place at night. Which means that we should probably work towards breaking the habit of naps and bedtime being in the swing/co-sleeper/vibrating bouncy chair/our bed/crib/other vibrating bouncy chair/moby wrap/car seat/pack and play…..you get the idea?

3. Babies 3-6 months should get 15+ hours of sleep a day. 10-12 at night and 5 from daily naps. Babies should go to bed between 6 and 8 pm, and will then sleep (eventually) for 12 hours. If you keep them up later, they will not sleep later. Sleep begets sleep.

SIDE NOTE: My baby is not in this age range yet. Which means that it’s really fun to talk about how all of this is going to work, because we’re not THERE YET. So for all of you moms who are reading this and saying “Uh-huh. Yeah right! Whatever!”, I will say to you “let me live in my fantasy world for JUST a little longer”.

4. Babies should eat 2-2.5 oz for every pound they weigh to equal a total daily intake, not to exceed 32 ounces. (This was where the breastfeeding moms started to get squealy). We’ll start counting. Update: I counted. Max weighs 10 pounds now. So he should be getting about 25 oz a day. In the last 24 hours, he had 30.5. Minus a few random ounces that he spit up on me. Oops. Now what?

5. Sleep cues. We need to pay attention to these so that we can pre-empt nap time with “sleepy rituals”. Like a “lovey” blanket. Songs. Baby massage. Bath time. Books.

And that is where I left off writing this post last night…..and then went to bed….where my new “4 hours/wake for 40 minutes/3 hours” little boy surprised us with an “every two hour” night again. Oh well….BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD……siiiiiiiigggghhhh.

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