Top Tips for a Happy Baby

9:06 AM

So here I am, feeling overwhelmed with how much I've been blessed. Just off the top of my head, the things I'm so thankful for include: a quick, uncomplicated, very happy birth; no problems with jaundice, or colic, or crying at any length at all; rapid, healthy weight gain coming from successful breastfeeding; a very happy sleeping arrangement and a post-pregnancy body that feels pretty darn good if I do say so myself. No diaper rash, no mastitis, no depression, doesn't spit up. It's as though I've gotten the best of every situation.

So I don't want to sound like an expert, or imply that all babies are alike and respond well to the same things, but I've read a lot of books and tried a lot of things and I'd love to share some tips that have been helpful to me with enjoying a happy baby:

1. Prayer. I can't help but start off the list with the thing I credit all these gifts to the most. Prayer by me, by Calvin, and from our family and friends. We pray for our son often, and something tells me we get prayed for a lot too.

2. A healthy pregnancy. This means more than nutrition. Some people now believe that the 9 months your child spends in your womb is much more important than we think. I think my positive, relaxed attitude helped Oliver to feel content (yes, stress hormones cross the placenta). Use this time to totally abuse your public library and get as much information as you can. End your healthy, natural pregnancy with a healthy, natural birth if possible. I will be blogging more about midwifery in the future.

3. Breastfeeding. I probably shouldn't even get started or I won't be able to stop, but breastfeeding is the most amazing gift you can give to your child and yourself. It's so important to be ready for it so read some books (The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League) and even meet up with a lactation consultant or group. (Watch youtube videos - they're so helpful! And that way I feel better about the massive amounts of hits they get - I mean 3 million views on "how to hand express breast milk"? That just screams pervert...)

4. Attachment parenting. This includes baby wearing (invest in an awesome wrap, sling or snugly and keep your baby on you everywhere you go) and co-sleeping. The first period of your baby's life is almost like a 4th trimester, they need you around all the time. Read anything by Dr. Sears.

5. Reading baby's cues. First of all, I don't believe in "cry it out" - a baby's needs and wants are the same thing. They don't know how to manipulate - only communicate. A baby can't be spoiled. We rarely hear Oliver cry because we try to understand his needs before he gets hysterical. From trying to understand him I've come up with this:

Hungry: his cry starts with an "n" sound. It's an obvious one. He also opens his mouth, roots around and will suck on anything. N-ahhhhhh!
Uncomfortable: his noise starts with an "h" sound. Almost like the awkward noise you make when someone offers you something you don't want but you pretend to want it anyway. ("Hey, I heard you really like Tim Hortons coffee - so here you go - double double!" "Hehh...")
Trapped gas: a yell with an "a" sound, and lower than the others. Pretty much the same sound adults make when they have digestive problems, like auughhh. Possibly like the sound you'd make if you were punched in the stomach. Sometimes there's nothing I can do about this one but I give him a back or tummy massage anyways.
Needs a burp: kind of an "e" sound, although this one's rare cause I often feed him upstairs and when we bounce back down to the main floor we get it all out, ha ha.

Tired: starts with an "o", more like an owwww sound. Sometimes this means mom gets a nap too! Yay!
Lonely: this just sounds like one quick yell. It's really obvious to me that he's just saying "Hello! I'm still here! Put down your knitting and come hang out with me!"

6. Take care of yourself too. It's the oxygen mask theory: They always tell you on a plane to put your mask on before helping others with theirs. If you aren't taken care of you aren't able to take care of others. So I make sure to eat 3 meals a day and some snacks, if I don't get a full night's sleep I take naps and if I'm frustrated or lonely I tell someone right away. Moms don't need to be these crazy, sleep deprived zombies stuck at home and unhappy. I'm happy as a clam!

Enjoy these tips and ask me about anything you're unsure about or need more information on. Again, I only have 5 weeks experience (Happy 5 Week Birthday Oliver Wolfe!) but I'm really happy with the results these things have had.

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