Tough Subjects 3
When I first found out I was pregnant with my second child I was ecstatic. And then I was terrified. How would a new baby change our family dynamic? How would my daughter accept the new baby? Raising one kid is hard enough, am I able to raise TWO responsible human beings? Some articles/friends/blogs will tell you that once the baby was born, love took over and all of that fear melted away. I’m not that person. I’m here to tell you that all of those fears were valid, and now, at five months in, I’m experiencing how hard these changes actually are. Don’t get me wrong, there’s love, but with that there is challenge.
I realized that my fears were not unfounded the very first day he was born. We were at the hospital, revelling in the fact that our son was here, but also missing our daughter, who was staying with her grandparents. She came to visit daily, to meet the baby and to get some Mommy and Daddy time in, but already it was different. Things were different. Luckily she accepted and loved him right away (after getting over the fact that he wasn’t a girl) and never once asked to send him back. Once I got home from the hospital and began recovering from my c-section, again, challenges arose. I could carry the baby but I couldn’t carry her. I could breastfeed the baby, but not her. I wasn’t able to drive so I couldn’t take her to places we had gone just the week before. This was hard on both of us.
Sleep deprivation was the next hurdle. You go through those crazy newborn days with your first, and then your promptly block them out of your mind forever. I forgot that newborns scream when you change their diaper, when they ride in the car, when they wake up, when they go to sleep, just about around the clock when they are awake. And even though they nap a lot, your first child no longer does so there is little time to “sleep when they sleep.” But, eventually that newborn settles a bit, you power through, you curse a lot, and although you don’t completely get over it, you get used to it.
I’m a person that thrives on routine and have consequently created a daughter who is the same. One thing I can tell you for sure about your baby; he won’t care about your schedule, and my son was no exception. This has taken a lot of adjusting (and relaxing) to just go with the flow when we can. But some things (like school drop off and pick up) are not flexible, and working in sleep around these hard deadlines has also been taxing. The golden rule to ‘never wake a sleeping baby’ has been broken many times already, sleep often has to happen on the go, and sometimes we all pay the price. This is still a challenge for me every day, but the best way I’ve learned to deal with it is to ask for help. It truly takes a village and right now my tribe is picking my kid up from school while the baby naps.
In general, most things about our family dynamic have changed, which, is really to be expected since our family itself has changed. Dinner time is often disrupted by the need to rock or put the babyto sleep, and many times I miss out on eating with my family altogether. Bedtime with my first has changed and revolves around when the baby falls asleep and whether or not he stays asleep. Arms are always full, and you forget what it is like to do things with two hands. Weekend outings and activities are shortened or skipped because it will run into nap time(s) so our family time together is definitely different. There is more screen time and less lap time, more chicken nuggets and less organic vegetables, more netflix nights than date nights.
But, just when I’m ready to call it quits, to give up on motherhood and curl in a ball, something shifts- be it perspective, sleeping patterns, developmental leaps- change happens. And it becomes easier. And you start to settle into this new normal, this new dynamic. And even though the hard times are still hard, the good times come more often and the love continues to multiply. And the realization comes that this new dynamic will continue to shift and change, there will be peaks and valleys, but in the end, you’ll forget about what you used to be, just like you forgot about those nightmare newborn days. And you’ll hold on with your full arms and your full heart and wait for it to all change again.
Katie is a new mom of two and will be sharing her experiences in parenting a toddler and a newborn though this series “New with Two”.
Hi all, I wanted to know more about the Earth Mama Angel Baby line of products, so I invited Dr. Jordan Robertson here from Earth Mama Angel Baby to educate me (and our readers) a bit more. You’ll see her third blog post below. -Sarah
While your body heals, your baby’s body is ready for – you guessed it – milk! Your birth experience and previous breast-feeding experience will affect how long it takes for your milk to come in. Be patient, babies are designed to wait while your body gets ready to nourish them. For breastfeeding support, herbs such as fenugreek, blessed thistle, milk thistle, nettles and raspberry have all been shown to increase milk supply. The Milkmaid Tea by Earth Mama Angel Baby incorporates some of these herbs, and can be useful to boost your milk production. Remember you have many support systems to get your breastfeeding off on the right foot – if you are having trouble, make sure you access them. Breastfeeding also helps your uterus return to normal size and assists with postpartum weight loss, so don’t give up without getting the support you need.
When your nipples get sore, raw and cracked, using a natural nipple ointment can prevent infection and promote healing in-between feeds. Calendula in the EMAB Nipple Butter prevents bacterial infections in the nipple, which are common due to wetness from leaking. Breast milk itself also contains antibacterial agents, so while you’re on the go, spread some milk over dry, cracked areas to fight off infection.
Engorgement is one of the inevitable symptoms of early breastfeeding as your body adjusts to the supply and demand system that nursing creates. Booby Tubes are especially designed to help you ease engorged breasts and find comfort by freezing or heating – depending on your needs. Frozen tubes can be used on engorged breasts in between feeds, or when your baby starts taking longer stretches between feeds. Warm tubes can be used to help increase milk production by stimulating blood flow to the breast.
Although nature intended for us to breastfeed, you may still need support to teach you how, and help you manage the struggles. You are doing amazing things for your baby by committing to breastfeeding. Give yourself at least 12 weeks before you decide what’s best for you and your baby. Nobody’s perfect at anything they have just started trying – you’ll be an ace in no time!
Have you tried any of these products? We’re interested to see how you liked them. Leave a comment below.
October 21 marked the start of Canada’s National Foster Family Week, according to the Canadian Foster Family Association. I wanted to write about this because it is a much-forgotten option for raising children, although not the picture of a white picket fence and 2.5 children that most North Americans grow up with in their minds. It is also quite rare, with only 35,000 foster families in Canada; many people don’t personally know a foster family they can observe and learn from. Those who haven’t had any experience in the Foster Family (we’ll call it FF from here on out) system haven’t had an opportunity to learn how it works. The foster system gets a bit of a bad rap because everyone thinks it’s troubled, misbehaving kids in crowded homes – a picture painted for us by many a movie and TV show over the years. I’ve taken it upon myself to find out, and to handily (you’re welcome) pass this valuable information along.
First, I’ve never been a foster child, and I knew very few when I was little. Okay fine, one. I knew one. A family lived down the street from us and had three daughters – one was my brother’s age, one was my age and one was younger. Then there was a little boy who was even younger. I don’t remember his name and I don’t remember much about him, but at the time, even though I was young and didn’t know really anything about anything, I knew that he wasn’t one of “their” children. But in a way he was. He was a foster child. He was loved just the same as the girls were, and I remember one day I was told that he’d been adopted (by the foster family). I’m sure I shrugged and went right along doing cartwheels onto my bed or gluing construction paper shapes onto random pieces of paper, depending on the stage I was in. But now that I look back on it I obviously can see that so much more was happening there that I didn’t realize. I wonder why this little boy ended up with this family.
Why do children end up in the Foster system? This is the sad part of the post. Children end up in foster families most often because their parents are unfit to care for them, which could mean they are absent or having trouble with drugs, alcohol or abuse.
What does it look like to be a FF? Well, it will look different for each family. Being a foster parent doesn’t have to mean all-but-adopting a child. Some children need somewhere to stay for a few days while their lives are sorted out for them. Some need a slightly more permanent residence while they wait for any manner of things to happen.
Where do the children go afterwards? Many of the children, after they leave your care, will have been adopted by a family. When a family is looking to adopt an ‘older’ child (read: not an infant) through the government, those children who are waiting for a permanent family need to stay somewhere, so they stay with foster families. Some foster children will return to their biological families, or to another relative or legal guardian.
How do people become Foster parents? The process differs province to province, and if you’re one of our out-of-country readers, the process will again be slightly different. For the most part, you contact your local Federation/Association of Foster Families and tell them you’re interested and what you can commit. If you’re also trying for your own children, you will probably have a different commitment level than a retired couple of empty-nesters. First you visit Google to find out how to contact above mentioned group. They’ll do a home visit and a background check on you and perhaps other members of your family, and then you’ll be placed in the system as able to receive a child of xx age for approximately xx length of time. And then you wait for something to happen.
Do you have any experience being a foster parent? I (and our other readers) would love to hear your story in the comments.
Posts You Might Like
- Baby Carriers
- Behind the Bump
- Brand Spotlight
- Car Seat Safety
- Cloth Diapering
- Diaper Bags
- Double Strollers
- Get the Look
- Life With Baby
- Mom Talk
- Nursery Design by Nesting Story
- Nursery Styles
- Potty Training
- Product Feature
- Product Recalls
- Product Reviews
- Save vs Splurge
- Snuggle News
- Staff Spotlight
- The Mom Files
- Tough Subjects
- Winter Gear