Ideals are not so Ideal

I used to be a person of ideals. In all honesty, I still am most of the time. Ideally I like things to be a certain way and I like to gain an understanding for them so I can prepare myself efficiently so as to avoid as many inconveniences as possible. I’ll tell you how well that one works. It doesn’t.

When I first discovered I was pregnant I was so hyped about what baby gear I would need, types of parenting, and how my baby was or wasn’t going to be. I thought I was better prepared than most moms and confidently awaited this new person who was to accompany me in my life journeys. You see, ideally, raising a baby would be an easy thing. I had no other agendas in my life, I had rid myself of my conscious fears, and the whole attachment parenting thing made sense to me. People who had sour babies, in my mind, were sour parents. Probably ones that didn’t give their child enough comfort or who were to busy feeling like their child was an inconvenient obligation. After my first child I thought I could better prepare for the second and have this one be different. The truth is, no matter how much we attempt to prepare we cannot prepare enough for life’s inconveniences. If we were actually prepared it wouldn’t be an inconvenience.

So there are three life lessons I learned in the experience of two (call them what you will) high needs, colicky, fussy babies…

1. Prepare to be unprepared.

2. Get off my damn high horse and don’t judge.

3. Ideals are not so ideal.

5 Reasons to Celebrate Your Toddler’s Neediness

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Usually by ages 12-24 months babies and toddlers go through an independence stage. They want to make decisions, explore, do it by themselves… Yet often still beg to be held, cry when mom leaves briefly and continue to be seemingly indecisive of whether they want our presence or not. While your little one continues to venture their independence and need to check back for guidance and reassurance, here are some reasons to celebrate the process for your own benefit:

Reason #1: These are the last moments that mom is the only thing that matters.
As your child slowly grows to his independence, he learns to think, have desires and interests, and develops his own purpose in life. He will always need your love and support, but the time when mom’s love and attention are the single most important things in life is very short. Embrace this period while it lasts!

Reason #2: They Remind Us of what is Important.
Sometimes we get so caught up in our own drama of life; cleaning, running errands, paying bills, etc. that we forget why we’re doing it all. For most of us, it’s to enjoy life; our hobbies, new experiences, and our loved ones. Your toddler is reminding you not to forget the real reasons you take care of stuff. So enjoy your little loved one, the dishes can wait.

Reason #3: They Bring Us to the Present.
There’s is nothing more difficult that trying to stick to a time frame with a toddler in tote. They have no conception of time nor do they understand why they have to “hurry”. When our toddler demandingly asks for our participation and attention, it takes letting go of time to truly be present with them. Jump into the experience of timelessness with them!

Reason #4: They teach us how to unconditionally love.
The truth is, it can be difficult for most of us to remember that our toddler lives in a different world than us. A world where time and money doesn’t exist, manners and social norms don’t matter, and the only thing logical is to go with the flow of each moment. We demand and expect so much out of them and often get frustrated when they don’t cooperate or understand. If we can remember the beautiful perspective they come from, we can learn to love them and be loving towards them when they track muddy shoes in the house, pull all the eggs out of the fridge, or throw a fit leaving the playground. Unconditional Love: meaning under any condition I will love you and treat you with love.

Reason #5: They teach us to respect and accept differences in others.
As stated in Reason #4, toddlers perceive and experience the world so differently than we do. To discover their personalities, interests, and who they are is much more freeing to both you and your child, rather than to attempt to shape them the way we wish or expect them to be. We liberate ourselves, and the rest of the world, when we accept others for their differences, because we too, view and experience the world differently from one another.

Your children have come here to teach you, not the other way around. Holding them back will only hold you back.

-Marin

Infant Colic & Food Sensitivity

Infant Colic is starting to be more commonly prescribed for infant fussiness and inconsolable behavior. But does your baby really have colic? One of the most common things I feel is overlooked is the infant’s diet. “Well surely they all drink milk!” You say… But proteins as well as allergens can pass through mom’s milk and every baby formula is made different.

But before we get into that, lets talk about how you can feel a little more hopeful about your baby’s colic behavior… One of the things I found myself doing as a first time mom was taking note of everything I could do to make my baby happy: She has to be rocked, nursed and walked, etc. But I didn’t observe the symptoms of my baby’s fussiness carefully. Now as a second time mom, I realize the reason it’s so common for us to misunderstand our infant’s strife is because there are so many cross symptoms for different issues.Ex. Baby is fussy and pulling off breast can mean: super fast let down, super slow let down, baby is hungry, baby is not hungry, food sensitivity, low milk supply, etc.

If that isn’t confusing enough… No one taught us any of this! How the heck are we suppose to know?

One of the things I found to be a stress reliever was observing carefully, as I would web analytics, the symptoms that are causing my baby discomfort. Is she fussing, crying? What’s her body language say? What time of day is it? What was she doing or is doing at the moment?
Once you build a case of consistent symptoms, it’s easy to find a path that may lead to more answers. If anything, you can at least feel like you’re doing something about it even though you can fix the situation instantly.

To help you better reference whether or not you baby has food sensitivity that is causing colic, here is a list of symptoms to look out for:

1. Excessive fussiness, inconsolable at times.

2. Poor sleep patterns. Suddenly waking unhappy, hard to get to sleep and keep asleep.

3. Excessive, uncomfortable, foul smelling spit up.

4. Diarrhea, constipation and most likely alternating between both. L

5. Rash, hives or eczema on the face.

6. Pulling off the breast and shaking head, arching, kicking or excessive/increased nursing. Can be both during different times of the day.

These symptoms compounded are what I found to be true for our breastfed baby who has a food intolerance from my diet. We misdiagnosed the situation as low milk supply, when it was really food sensitivity during a growth spurt. They can look very similar.

No Dairy Soy Wheat

If it seems that your baby may have a food sensitivity, check to see if your diet has dairy, wheat or soy; some of the most common culprits because their proteins can be difficult for newborns’ immature bellies to digest. Also if there is any family history of allergens such as peanuts or shellfish, you may eliminate those from your diet. A lot of people suggest taking one thing out at a time, but because I don’t like stabbing in the dark just to wait 2-3 weeks to find out it’s not the case, I like eliminating it all and slowly adding back it.Whichever you choose to do, make sure you continue to observe your baby’s behavior closely.

If your baby is on formula you can talk to your pediatrician about options for different formulas. Please keep in mind that a milk protein intolerance and lactose intolerance are two completely different things. More likely, if your baby has a protein intolerance, lactose free formulas will not work. Brands such as Nutramigan are dairy based from cow’s milk, but the proteins are broken up to a digestible size. You can also try goats milk (closest to natural breastmilk) or soy milk based formulas. I personally love Nature’s One brand for their clean ingredients and because they don’t use corn syrup/ingredients. If your baby has a dairy and soy intolerance you may need a prescription for Neocate from your doctor.