Thursday, May 13, 2010

Issues You May Encounter: Newborns and 1-year-olds

There’s nothing like a screaming one-year-old to make me feel loved. No really – because he’s screaming to be close to me, his one-and-only Mom. On the other hand, I can’t get much done these days. My little guy has been suffering from separation anxiety the last couple months. Certainly no strangers can hold him without a meltdown. Come to think of it, close friends and relatives are out too, even Grandma J. For some reason Grandma D is fine. Maybe because of blood relation to Mom or that she’s watched him weekly since he was small. Even Dad is questionable in the evening when he’s tired.

His anxiety is worst when he’s tired. Some evenings I can’t even set him down without eliciting sobs. And I certainly cannot put him to bed. In an effort to get him to fall asleep in his crib, I’ve taken to reading a fun book to him after I lay him down, then staying within his line of site until he falls asleep. Better have the laptop or a book handy in case it takes a while. If I walk away and the screaming begins, it won’t stop. If left to his screaming, it will quickly escalate in intensity, resulting in vomiting. The only option at that point is to try to get him to calm in Dad’s arms while I quickly brush my teeth and take out my contacts so I can lie in my bed with him for the night. Half the time he ends up in our bed anyway because he wakes up screaming in the night. I debated just starting him out there, but decided to maintain his ritual of falling asleep in his crib at least most nights.

After 2 months of this, thing are actually starting to get better just this week. There have been nights I snuck out of the room while he was still awake and he remained calm until falling asleep. He also decided Grandma J is a-ok once again. He still gets ridiculously excited when I get home from work, and if Dad’s holding him near me he reaches for me. Not so much annoying as completely adorable!

The 13 month mark brought other changes to scream about – scream for joy that is. Last weekend, our little guy got his first haircut. We took him to my friend the hairstylist who works at a very chic salon, and she gave him a trendy Mohawk! Very punk rock when styled, and actually looks good un-styled too. He looks like such a little man now.
As if the haircut were the doorway to toddlerhood, he cut his first tooth the very next day. It wasn’t there in the morning, and was that night – a sharp, white sliver like a crescent moon on his lower gums. Not enough to start eating steak, but it’s a start.


At this time last year, I wasn’t yet convinced having a baby was a GOOD thing. But I had made it over the first month hurdle, began to adjust to less sleep and no longer felt like I was going to die! Some days I even started to think being a mom wasn’t so bad. Other days I still had to just tell myself that. Except for a couple of minor irritations, baby was healthy, and that was the important part.
The minor irritations consisted of cradle cap and a slight navel hernia. Of course, we brought him into the doctor at the drop of a hat we were such worried, inexperienced parents. The cradle cap was really nothing to worry about. It’s just a sort of acne on the baby’s face and head easily treated with baby oil. Hernias can be more serious, but his was not. His belly button had suddenly changed from an inny to very-much-outy. Hernias in any other spot are a medical emergency, but the doctor looked at his navel and said it would probably heal on its own within a year (which it did). Just looked funny.

Here's a picture that shows the hernia at 3 months, as I didn't snap one when he first got it:
Despite our paranoia, all the visits to the doctor resulted in little more than peace of mind. At the two and six week checkups baby was gaining weight well. He had started nursing excessively, to the point he ate too much and spit up regularly. So the doctor declared my breastfeeding “established” and approve the introduction of a pacifier. She also approved an occasional bottle. I started pumping once a day and letting hubby give a bottle or two so I could sleep for 4 hours in a row, or go to the gym for an hour.

At my own 6-week checkup, the doctor had released me back to working out. I was pleasantly shocked to have dropped 20 pounds by this visit. She poked me in the abs and said my muscles were healed enough to graduate from daily strolls with the baby to whatever I wanted. I still took it really slow at the gym. I only made it there twice a week anyway.

I wish I would have enjoyed my time at home more. Little did I know how badly I would want to be home with baby just two months later when I had to return to work. I should have ignored Kaiser’s orders not to take baby out of the house for 2 months and gone to all the Mommy and Me groups I could. I think it would have helped me in those early months to connect with other moms and have more fun with baby, so that’s my advice to new moms in the first two months.