Now that I’ve got a whopping 24 days under my belt as a mother, I thought I’d write a little bit about what’s been working and what hasn’t for us in terms of the plans that we set out for raising our child.
Cloth Nappies: Success! Luella started out as a fairly big bub so we were able to use the 6 newborn sized nappies and a few one size fits all that were a little leaky in the first two weeks, but now fit her just great. The only downside is it’s a little harder to tell when she’s wet. But the laundry isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be – we just do a daily load, which is fine considering we always need washers and clothes that get spit up on. If we didn’t have our own washer/dryer it would be a pain, but for us this has been totally manageable.
Breastfeeding: Success! I’ve been really lucky that Luella learned how to latch quickly and has a voracious appetite and we didn’t have too many bumps with this. I’m feeding “on demand” rather than on any kind of schedule. I found trying to keep it scheduled too stressful and her patterns change so much from day to day that it doesn’t really seem possible. So this has mostly worked, though she tends to like to “snack” a lot in the evening. Our biggest issue is that she manages to take in a lot of air when she feeds which can leave her really cranky and gassy as she hates being burped. I never expected to be watching a YouTube video at 3am on how to help your baby fart, but life works in mysterious ways.
Baby-wearing: Success! I’m not super comfortable with the Sleepy Wrap yet because I have trouble getting her in it on my own and don’t always feel like her head is well-supported. But Jim really likes it and it definitely settles her. I was surprised to love my Mei Tai carrier instead. I’ve learned to take it off and on quickly and she feels really secure in it. Heading out of the house I’ve never felt like we needed a pram but maybe when she starts getting heavier I’ll want a minimal stroller.
Cooking Vegan Meals: Success so far. We’ve done pretty well with not relying too much on takeaway and cooking our own healthy meals and making batches big enough to last for lunch or store in the freezer. I’m also really proud that we’ve been eating healthy enough that I’m less than 3 kilos away from my pre-baby weight!
Living in a 1BR Apartment: Very mixed. At first this highly stressed me out. I worried the neighbours would have us evicted. I stressed that there was nowhere I could take her when she cried to give Jim some quiet time to sleep. But like everything, we’re slowly adapting to make it work. And the cosiness has its benefits. It’s too small to ever get *really* messy so we can do a 20-minute power clean and the place looks good. You’re never too far away from a towel for all the little cleanups, or too far away to attend to her quickly when she cries. And the biggest reason of course is that we’re saving money for when we do need to upgrade to a 2BR.
Co-Sleeping: Mixed Results. We never found a way to make our sidecar crib work right so we ended up hiring a rental bassinet. This worked for the first week or two but Luella does not like being put down in it anymore particularly at night. As a result we’ve started bringing her into our bed more. I feel confident we’re sleeping safely with her, but in our Queen size bed we’re quickly running out of space, and that gassy baby sure does grunt a lot.
Sleeping in general has definitely been the biggest challenge. And once Jim goes back to work I’m a tad worried I’ll constantly have a baby in my hands and won’t be able to keep up with cooking. But perhaps baby-wearing around the house will help with that. I never planned to be an “attachment parent” but we just happened to have a baby for whom a lot of these practices work.
Though the number one lesson I’ve learned is that with an infant, everything on this list could change tomorrow!