In less than a month, I will be a parent. This being said, I have been actively seeking advice from any parent that will pay attention to me (in real-life and online.) I’m also reading books and taking classes, but I prefer to hear what worked for REAL people. With REAL human babies. Which I assume I will give birth to very soon. Although, if I have a litter of cats, I would know exactly what to do.
Here are a few examples of the advice (solicited and unsolicited) that I am getting from some wonderful moms and dads:
- Take the epidural. Drugs are your friend. Don’t try to prove anything. Natural birth is crazy.
- Definitely go for a natural birth. It is best for you and baby. Swim with dolphins during birth if you have to. Do chanting and light candles. Hospitals are evil.
- Breastfeeding is really hard. You have to be a saint to do it and some babies just won’t feed from mom. Supplementing or formula feeding is just fine. So-and-so grew up on formula and he is a brilliant scientist Olympian who rescues sea turtles.
- You have to breastfeed. There is no other choice. And you have to do it within an hour of the birth. Breast is best. You should be comfortable enough to breastfeed in the nude on public transportation if you have to. It’s your right. If you have to supplement or use formula you should feel like a horrible mom. Good luck, you will be great!
- Babies are loud sleepers. Put him down to sleep in the crib from day one or you will be sorry. And you will never sleep again.
- You must co-sleep with your baby. Or with a bassinet near your bed. It makes night feedings so much easier. Or you will be sorry. And you will never sleep again.
- Make sure your mom is there right after the birth for at least a week. And don’t leave your bed. Friends and family will feed you, clean your house and take care of the baby in the first weeks. Don’t try to do too much or you will burn out and fall into post-partum depression.
- Make sure you and your husband have alone time with the baby in the first weeks to help with bonding. Limit visitors. If you don’t, he will be over-stimulated and confused as to who his parents are. The family unit will crumble and then you will probably get divorced.
Maybe I am exaggerating a wee bit on some of these. Most advice I’ve received has been well-meaning. And I do like to hear about what worked and what didn’t from parents that have been through it already.
Obviously there are different styles of parenting. Most people think they know best, which is probably true for their family. In fact, I’m sure that it’s near impossible for them not to do what they think best for their baby. But knowing what is right for my family? We will find out on our own when we get there. At least I know my options. Right and wrong can only be decided by Mom and Dad. Not by a neighbor, friend, grandparent, coworker, or woman on the street who is interested in my birth plan.
HOWEVER, there is one piece of advice nearly everyone has given me.
On the Home Stretch:
- Get as much sleep as possible before the baby arrives. Nap, sleep in, sleep at work, sleep, sleep, SLEEP.
CURSES! I suck at this. I have never had a problem sleeping until pregnancy. But now, when I am supposed to be taking advantage of sleeping in, I wake up with the stupid sun every morning in between 5 and 6. At least I am good with napping. Although napping at work is surely frowned upon.
An advantage to waking up this early is quietly watching the sun rise with one Schween Boley.
Although it is gorgeous, this does become a tiresome way to start the day at 9 months pregnant when I should be “taking advantage of sleep” as they say.
Speaking of skies, we have had a billion thunderstorms in the Chicago area recently. This has made for some incredibly beautiful and dangerous looking skies. Last week, there were tornado warnings followed by a rainbow and some golden/amber colored light. My mom was driving WITH THE STORM from Chicago through northwest Indiana and into Michigan. Probably the worst time to drive ever. She’s fine by the way.
I really need to break down and get a tripod so I can take a photo that isn’t grainy. I stitched this rainbow together from some shots taken towards the east off of our balcony. Click any of these to view full size…and full grain
Seriously, the sky was glowing. I didn’t change the color of that photo. See, here is what Alma captured in Oak Park.
And this next shot shows the storm from its backside. It was looming over northwest Indiana as my mom drove through, while most people were in their basements. Pretty, eh? But yikes for sure.