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Becoming Mom

by - Saturday, January 09, 2010

I hope you all don't mind if I do a little mom talk this post. Renovators, feel free to skip this one :)

Wednesday night was a momentous occasion in the HandyLuster household. We now have a bona fide crawler in the house! Things are about to get interesting around here. Heck, they've been really interesting over the last two weeks. In that time, Chloe has hit some of the milestones in rapid succession. She's learned to go from tummy to sitting, started to clap, started to wave bye-bye, popped a tooth, and even pooped on the toilet (sorry if that's too much information, ha!). And last night she crawled. I know these are all normal achievements for a baby her age, but when you actually see the little one observe and process and practice and then finally "get" something, it really does make you say 'Wow! That's the miracle of life, right there in front of me.' Amazing.

Has it really been only 8 months and 23 days since my world turned topsy-turvy? I look at Chloe and realize that she has become a baby, soon a toddler, and right alongside her, I've become a mom. I couldn't have imagined myself being the mom that I am. I say that in all seriousness. I look in the mirror sometimes and wonder how I got here -- who is this breastfeeding, baby-wearing, baby-led-weaning woman? Save for the breastfeeding, there's so many things I never knew about, let alone thought I would put into practice. It amazes me that there are so many things you need to study or take tests for... getting your driver's license, graduating from high school, becoming a citizen... but having a baby -- pop one out, here you go, baby's all yours, do with her what you will.

The proverb is right... it does take a village to raise a child. Lucky for me, I had a mom, sister, aunts, cousins, and friends ready to pass on their motherly wisdom to me. I had a virtual village too, finding information on chat boards, websites, and blogs. And since I know some of my readers will be moms too soon, I thought I'd pass on some of the things I've learned along my journey. These are just ideas and concepts that worked for HandyMan and me. You should do what works for you; after all, there is no one 'right' way to parenting :)

Hypnobirthing: When I was pregnant, I bought this book. The book proposes that birth can be a relaxing, comfortable, and pain-free experience (yes, sign me up for that please!). Using a variety of relaxation, breathing, visualization and physical exercises, you become well prepared for a much more natural and stress-free birth. While my own birthing experience didn't go exactly to plan (do they ever?), the techniques I learned really did help me to relax, focus and even enjoy the experience.

Doula: We had a doula help us before, during, and after the birth. Think of a doula as a labour coach. While the doctor/obstetrician is focused on the baby during childbirth, the doula is focused more on the mother. Although HandyMan and I had attended pre-natal classes, I knew there would be no way either one of us would remember all the techniques and positions when it actually came down to crunch time. It would be the first time either of us would be going through an experience like this, so why not get a helping hand? My doula Kristi was great. She met with us before the birth to give us nutritional tips and exercises. She was there to help me walk the halls while HandyMan grabbed a much needed nap. When I had complications because Chloe decided to come out sunny-side up, she was there to explain what was going on and what my options were. And she was there a week later to give me breastfeeding and swaddling tips.

Baby Wearing: Can I tell you how much HandyMan and I love to wear Chloe in a carrier? In the early days, Chloe would sleep for hours as I carried her and I could actually get things done around the house. HandyMan loves to walk over to Home Depot with Chloe strapped on. I love my Moby Wrap while HandyMan prefers the BabyHawk.

Baby Led Weaning: BLW, or self-feeding, is something I've written about before here and here. I can't recommend this approach detailed in this book enough! It has made mealtimes around here fun and easy. Chloe is a pro now at feeding herself and will eat just about anything. I'm really hoping her lack of pickiness now (her faves are zucchini, broccoli, and naan bread!) will last as she gets older.

Elimination Communication: Though I'd heard of Elimination Communication, its not something I ever thought I would do. I thought when the time came for toilet training, I'd be just another one of those parents... running after my little one as she screams "I don't want to go on the potty!"... or sitting there waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting while she goes... or pleading with her that she's a big girl and she doesn't need a diaper anymore. But something funny happened... one day, Chloe gave me "that look" and I decided to run her to the bathroom and sit her on the toilet. And it worked! Job done, no muss, no fuss, easy as could be. I've been continuing trying to read her signals for the past week and it is going well and really, anything that helps avoid a few dirty diapers is something I can get on board with :)

Sidecar the crib: We are a cosleeping family. That means that most nights, Chloe will end up in bed with me and HandyMan at some point. Some people don't agree with co-sleeping, but we enjoy the benefits it brings: baby and parents sleep better, longer, and deeper; its easier for night time feeds; and it reduces the risk of SIDS. But here's the issue: I need my space! I like to stretch out when I sleep. I need room to roll over and change positions - and Chloe seems to be the same way (she will push me away sometimes if I'm napping too close to her!). So we've sidecarred her crib next to the bed as shown on this site. Not only does this make it really easy to breastfeed her at night, but after nursing, we can both have our space and get a good night's sleep.

I guess HandyMan and I fall on the attachment parenting side of the spectrum, and our choices reflect that. No matter what approaches you take though, I'm sure we're all striving for the same thing - to love our children and raise them to be happy and healthy individuals. That's really all that matters.

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  1. congratulations on having a crawler! I love the idea of co-sleeping, but in reality I want my husband to sleep in the same room with the baby and me in my own room surrounded by blankets. They are so loud. This doesn't actually happen though.

  2. I'm really enjoyed reading this post - thank you so much for taking the time to write these all out in such wonderful detail. I hadn't heard of Baby Led Weaning or Elimination Communication before, so I'm marking these down as things to remember for when our Junebug arrives. ;)

  3. You guys can walk to Home Depot? So jealous!

  4. janaemadsen - lol! Some nights, the thought of sleeping in my own bed is very appealing to me too!

    Lindsay - I didn't know about those things either. There's so many options out there, isn't there!

    vez - Yes, we can walk to Home Depot - and stop for a double double at Tim Horton's along the way too, ha!

  5. Yikes! She's mobile! Nothing will ever be the same again! :)

    I'm so glad you mentioned hypnobirthing. We used hypnobabies for Alex's home birth, and I really feel that it helped tremendously with my labor! If we ever had to go the hospital route again for birth, we'd definitely hire a doula, but for now, we're firmly in the midwife/home birth camp.


  6. Thanks for sharing, I will be book marking this post for some time in the future ;)

  7. Wow, how do you find all these things out? It seems like learning parenting techniques is harder than any home renovation! Thanks for sharing.

  8. McGee - I would have loved to use a midwife. Their level of care is so helpful. Maybe with the next one ;)

    VidaModa - did you know there was a blogger baby boom going on? ;)

    Sara - Its amazing what you can find on YouTube and blogs, ha! Now if only Chloe would learn to use a hammer, we'd be all set. That kid's a slacker, I tell you ;)

  9. great recommendations! what a cutie you're little one is!


  10. thanks so much for your sweet comment!!! so glad to have found your blog as well. can't wait to catch up on it! xo grace

  11. I loved this post. Thanks for sharing. I recently found out I am pregnant and I love all this information coming from a real mom.


  12. My little guy is 6 1/2 months old and I can tell when he is getting ready to poop-he gets that look on his face-does elimination communication really work-I mean by the time I can get the diaper off is it too late if he has already started his business..I have tried the baby led weaning-but I am afraid he'll choke-what were the best foods that you were comfortable with??

  13. V - congratulations!! Enjoy the wonderful journey.

    tracylynne - EC works really well! It helps when their poops are a bit more you a few extra seconds to get the diaper off and the baby onto the potty before they start doing their business ;) As for BLW, I found broccoli and banana great starter foods. Steam the broccoli so its soft, but not too soft, and the baby will hold the stem and get bites off the top. With banana, cut off a two inch piece from the stalk. Then cut back one inch of the skin so that part of the banana is visible and the other half is still covered with the skin. The banana is good because its soft and will just mush in the baby's mouth. I recommend you read the BLW book by Gill Rapley. She talks in depth about choking and really addresses any concerns you would have. Good luck!

  14. Sometimes the expression that you don't recognize the person that you've become can be a GREAT thing. :)

  15. Anonymous11:29 AM

    This was such a lovely post. You sound so relaxed and confident, and it's clear that you and Handyman are loving and caring parents. Good for you. (And Chloe!)


  16. I just stumbled upon your blog and I've gotta tell ya... not only do your projects rock, but your breastfeeding & attachment parenting make this IBCLC proud! :)
    God's blessings on your sweet family,
    Sarah :D


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