Things I am so grateful I did: (all controversial)
Unmedicated/Natural Birth: Both of my boys were born with no drugs in their system. Again, no judgment on the majority who choose or need drugs to get through labor. It just wasn't for me or (luckily) for Tayo's Birth Mother. And I am grateful that it worked out that way. If I were to get pregnant again, I would still choose no medication. We are stronger than we think we are. And it is amazing to be fully present for the birth of your child. Again, no judgment on those that choose differently. I am just happy this is how I decided to go.
Limit shots at birth: Hartly was a homebirth so he had no shots. Tayo was a hospital birth and an adoption so, while he had no (which is standard in hospital births but we opted out) triple dye for umbilical cord, no hep B vaccine and no circumcision. He did, however, due to it being an adoption, have a vitamin K and eye ointment. Our feelings are, the less, the better. We happen to be very fortunate in that our Pediatrician is amazing and open minded and supportive. She lets us know when she feels very strongly, but is also a firm believer in less is more.
No circumcision: We feel very strongly on this and know we are in the minority so, to keep it brief, we feel there is no medical reason for cutting off a piece of the body at birth. If more interested because you are debating the issue internally and trying to make an informed decision before baby is born, we would be more than happy to discuss it. You should also Google the topic, as some liken it to binding feet or other baby m... ok I will stop. (that last bit was written by Frank). Me again - Most importantly, do the research. This is your baby. Please don't just do stuff because it was done to you or because it is what has become routine or standard (or profitable) in hospitals and in the public. Just because certain things were done to us and we ended up "okay" does not, for Frank and me at least, mean that is good enough for our children. Once you are informed, if you find you disagree, by all means, do what feels right to you.
Co-sleeping: Many nay sayers, but again, no arguments that we felt were sound enough to outweigh the benefits. If you are obese or smoke or get drunk, do not co-sleep with your baby. Otherwise, there is no reason not to and a million reasons to, in our opinion. Again, this is only if you want to. Certainly, do not do it if it does not sound appealing to you. We loved it. But, we also only did it the first 4 months. Then, for us, sleep outweighed the benefits of co-sleeping (but first three months you need to be up a number of times for feeding anyway, so it works).
With Hartly, for nightime sleeping, we did use a co-sleeper bumper (not in one pictured, ours was much smaller but they do not make it anymore) for a few weeks. We quickly realized that we were not going to roll over on baby and took that away too. He slept right in between us and it was awesome. For us, we were not scared of hurting him. If you are scared, my guess is don't do it or use an attachment to make you feel better (like this co-sleeper or the earlier one). To us, the co-sleepers got in the way of snuggling and the good parts of co-sleeping. With Tayo, we were not worried at all and from first night home he was in our arms in bed. Let me tell you (and I know Frank agrees), there is nothing like the feel of your sleeping baby fast asleep against you. It is pure bliss.
And, while we moved our boys into their own room and crib at four months, now that Hartly is older, he will occasionally sleep with us and it is awesome. I will never say no to snuggles. He only asks every once and awhile and I think it is great bonding and wonderful. He especially wanted to the first few months with the arrival of Tayo. Most nights, initially, Frank would take one of the boys and I would take the other and then we would switch. Sometimes one of us would have both.
With Hartly, Frank, Hart, and I all shared same bed. Now, with baby number two, we slept in separate rooms, the first few months, so that one parent could get a good, uninterupted sleep (remember with number two, harder to sleep when baby sleeps during the day so nightime sleep is very important - refer to: Things I wish I had done differently raising our babies (2/6 in first 4 months series))
|Hartly pretending to sleep with Tayo|
|Papi & Taye|
|snuggles with Bitty (so fun!)|
|co-sleeping with big one|
|crashed out on Papi|
|Mommy and her biggest|
|Mommy and her bitty|
|co-sleeping with both my boys|
|hazards of co-sleeping|
Rough Schedule after 3 months: As strongly as we felt about no schedule for fourth trimester, I'm just as happy I did create a schedule, for both boys, after first three months. It was much easier with Hartly because, as a stay-at-home Mama, I had nowhere to be but with him most days. I could work around him. With Tayo, we have similar schedule that Hartly had but Tayo often has to have one of his naps while being worn, rather than in his crib in his room. I like having a strong foundation so that then I can decide where I can change it up and switch it around. It is easier, I find, as strange as it may sound, to be flexible and make exceptions if you have a routine to start. CAVEAT FOR SCHEDULE: Frank and I heard, all too often, before we had babies that people couldn't come to parties because of nap schedules or that they couldn't go out because of babies bedtime... we decided we didn't want having a baby to mean that we had to miss all of the fun. So, when there is a birthday party or event that we want to be a part of, we go and baby's schedule gets shooken up a little. He misses nap or it's shorter or later than normal. He often sleeps on us and not in his crib. And we might pay for it that night with a wake up that doesn't usually happen or he wakes up a smidge earlier, but we decided that was worth it to us. We do, however, try not to have consecutive days in a row of exceptions when possible.
|Around 9pm on our pontoon boat. See Tayo rubbing eyes? He fell asleep on me minutes after this photo and then woke up 30 minutes later, on his own, to enjoy the fireworks.|
Most recent example is The 4th of July. We live on the water. Our house is on a lake and we have a boat and our neighborhood does awesome fireworks that you can see perfectly from the middle of the lake... the start time is 9pm (meaning they usually start at 9:30) and go for a good 40 minutes... and then with back up of all boats clustered together, we get back to our house around 10:45pm. Is this, normally, too late for a 3 year old and 6 month old? Absolutely. Do we skip the fireworks out on the boat? Absolutely not! This was Hartly's 4th 4th of July. We went out when he was just 16 days old, 1 year old, 2 years old and this year as a 3 year old. He has always loved them. And this was Tayo's first year, and we couldn't have been happier. Tayo fell asleep on me (Beco Gemini) for lots of little cat naps. When he was awake, he was happy and social. When he got tired, he reached for me and I tucked him inside the carrier and he happily dozed. When the fireworks started, Tayo woke up and the look of awe on his face was priceless. He tracked them from ground to air and was completely amazed and spellbound and not frightened at all. About 30 minutes in, he got tired and I tucked him away again and he slept through the remaining 10-15 minutes worth. Today he woke up a half hour later (Hartly woke 2 hours later than normal) and, while a little tired, they have been happy most of the day. I will make sure that tonight and tomorrow are fairly chill and routine. Life. Is. Awesome.