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Saturday, 24 March 2012

A Rant

I recently came across a guest post on a parenting website, entitled "5 reasons not to let your child sleep with you". Intrigued, I clicked on it, to see what insights the author had that I was unaware of. Holy garbage! The entire post was full of inaccuracies, untruths, and outright lies. Clearly, the author is against co-sleeping, which is fine, to each their own. However, one should be able to make their point without resorting to deception and scare tactics. 

Here is a summary of the author's arguments (her exact words are in orange). 

Reason #1: Co-sleeping is bad for yours (and baby's) sleep

"Having your baby sleep with you could severely interrupt your sleep pattern and needs. Most parents find themselves constantly waking up to check on the child lying next to them. Not only could it affect your sleep but your child’s sleep. Babies complete a sleep cycle every 50-60 minutes and slight movement or noise coming from you could disturb that. It is best for both you and your child’s sleep habits that you sleep separately."

Seriously? Don't babies spend 9 months surrounded by movement and sound? Do they not routinely fall asleep in cars and swings, precisely because of the movement? Surely both mom's and baby's sleep is less disrupted when neither one has to wake fully for feedings. And if baby does wake more often because of "slight movement or noise", then she gets to top up on milk before drifting back to sleep. Mommy is less engorged, and baby has a full belly. Win-win.

Reason #2: Co-sleeping hurts your relationship with your partner

"Most new parents don’t realize how much change between you and your partner once you have your first child. Everything changes. A way to keep constant with your partner is to keep the bedroom your private sanctuary. Inviting your child in to your bed will slowly push you and your partner further from each other. Pillow talk and intimacy disappear when you have a child sleeping between you." 

The bedroom is not supposed to be a "private sanctuary" The baby is supposed to sleep in the parents' bedroom for at least the first 6 months. Whether she's in the bed or in a bassinet, baby's going to witness whatever goes down between her parents. Furthermore, the baby should not be between you, as the authors suggests. Safe co-sleeping involves the baby sleeping beside mom, leaving plenty of room for snuggles and pillow talk between the adults. Problem solved. 

Reason #3: Co-sleeping leads to wimpy, dependent kids

"Parents want their children to grow up to be independent and self-sufficient; allowing your child sleep with you, makes that difficult for the child to attain. A child gets accustomed to the fact they only way to fall asleep is to be next to Mom and Dad. Your child should be able to fall asleep without any aid. These issues will carry into other parts of your child’s life, school, team sports and friends." 

Again, utter nonsense. This same argument could be used against children sleeping with a mobile, with a favourite blanket, or with music. I love how she refers to a sleep routine as an "issue", as though it were something that needed to be remedied, and that might carry into "other parts of your child's life". I really don't see how having a routine of any kind can be  automatically considered to be dysfunctional. I have yet to meet an adult who still sleeps with mommy and daddy. In fact, I have yet to meet an 8-year-old who still sleeps with their parents. Or maybe everyone I know was just fortunate enough to overcome their "issues"...  

Reason #4: There might come a time when baby isn't able to co-sleep, and they will become anxious

"Just like any daily routine your child becomes accustomed to a certain way and when that routine is interrupted they don’t respond well. Sleeping in Mom and Dad’s bed every night will make vacations, visiting grandmother’s and sleepovers miserable for your child and you. Not to mention school naps." 

This point doesn't even warrant a discussion, but here goes...What if baby stays at Grammie and Grampie's house and they don't have Count Chocula like at home? Or they use blue towels instead of yellow? Apparently any small deviation in the child's daily routine will be devastating to them. Maybe we should give our kids a little more credit. 

Reason #5: Co-sleeping is unsafe. Why would you want to hurt your child?

"the chances of something happening to your child increase when they are in bed with you. There have been reports of deaths caused by suffocation and strangulation. Scary but it is a fact. Parents can accidently roll over their child during their sleep, or the child can fall and get stuck between the headboard and mattress. Just be careful and aware of the possible harm that can happen."

Yep, bad things can and do happen. Unfortunately they also happen when baby sleeps in a crib. When the proper precautions are taken, co-sleeping is very safe.

Aargh! What a frustrating article! Is it so hard to do a little research before writing on a topic that you're obviously grossly unfamiliar with!?

You can read the full post here.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Introducing Solids

I have a confession: I'm a planner. I like to know well in advance what is happening from one day to the next. I don't like surprises. I like knowing what's for supper before breakfast is even over with. And I like to plan for my baby's future, both short and long-term.

Recently I turned my obsession with planning to learning all I could about the weaning process, and introducing solids to a baby. I really didn't know much about it before I looked into it; I had just assumed that everyone started their baby on cereal at 6+ months of age. Much to my surprise, I found that there was an entire community out there who believe that babies should be fed real food, and learn to choose for themselves what they will eat, eating a variety of foods of differing textures, rather than cereal and purees. Right away, this idea appealed to me. I like the idea of giving McKenna some choice in what she eats, and letting her choose what she wants to try. I like the idea of waiting until she feels that she is ready to put something in her mouth, rather than rushing the process by putting her food in for her before she is ready. I even like thinking about how silly and messy it will be for the first little while. Imagine giving a 6-month-old a piece of pineapple or watermelon, and expecting them to actually get the majority of it in their mouth. Of course it's going to end up all over them, you, the floor, and anything else within a three-foot radius. While she's only 3 months old now, it won't be long before she'll be paying more attention to my food, and trying to swipe things from my plate. And I guess I'll take my cue from her...

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Don't Call me Doctor

At the beginning of every term, I introduce myself to my students, tell them a bit about myself and my research, and then stress that I would prefer that they call me Melody. Not Professor, not Miss, and certainly not Dr. Sorenson. I am not a Doctor, although I hope to be within the next year or so. I am also not a professor (although again, I hope to be very soon). For right now, I am just me.

Inevitably, especially in the beginning, some students will continue to call me Dr. Sorenson, and for whatever reason, it grates on me. I always hated having to refer to my undergraduate professors by such formal titles. It just felt so stuffy and pretentious that I would avoid addressing them it if at all possible, because I found it to be so awkward. In all seriousness, if I needed to speak to them, I would go up to the front of the class, or their office, or wherever they happened to be, and wait until they noticed me. All to avoid having to say the dreaded words "Dr" or "Professor". Ridiculous, really. However, I'm sure that I'm not the only one who finds these titles a bit silly. Are they necessary in order to gain the students' respect? I would hope not. I have yet to have a problem with disrespect in my classes, and nobody calls me doctor. Okay, some do, but I certainly don't endorse it. Do these titles promote and highlight an obvious power differential? Absolutely. I have complete control over my students' grades. I control the content and structure of the lectures and exams. I am the "expert" (I use this term VERY loosely) and they are the "novices" or the "learners". But is this really necessary? Would all hell break loose if we treated our students like equals? I think not. This isn't high school. We don't need to demand respect from students by requiring them to address us with silly titles.

Baby Sign Language

I toyed with the idea of teaching McKenna sign language almost from the moment I knew I was pregnant. It just seemed like a win-win situation to me - I could teach my daughter how to communicate with me, and she would learn a valuable skill that she would be able to use well into adulthood.

Last week, I made the decision to start learning some signs myself, and to introduce her to the ones that are most important for her right now. "Milk" was an obvious choice. Although I find the gesture somewhat awkward (it literally looks like you are milking a cow), this is probably the most important word in her life right now. Plus, I would prefer she make the sign than scream out "boobies!" in public. In addition to "milk", I have added "more", "mommy", "daddy" and "finished/all done" to my repertoire. It's actually pretty fun. McKenna loves the silly gestures right now, but hopefully she will eventually come to associate them with the action they are being paired with. If not, well at least I've made my daughter smile.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Turning into my Mother

There are many things that we, as kids, used to give my Mom a hard time about. Some of them I now find myself doing with McKenna. Oh, the horror! To give you an example, Mom always had to have a vehicle in the yard. It didn't matter if she was home sick with pneumonia, she wanted that car parked and ready.

Fast forward 15 years or so, and I woke up one morning to find that Greg had taken the Escape to work. We have two vehicles, but only one has a car seat base (the Escape). I immediately texted him, saying `you took my freedom!` For some reason he was confused as to what I was referring to, so I explained that he had taken the wrong vehicle. He immediately apologized and asked if I needed to go anywhere. I replied no, I didn`t have any plans really, but I would like the truck...get this...JUST IN CASE. In case of what? A flash flood? A zombie invasion? A sudden case of head lice? case of panic. On days when I am home alone with the baby and without a vehicle, I find myself feeling trapped. More often than not, I don't have anywhere that I need to be, no errands that absolutely must be completed. Heck, even when I do have a vehicle, I usually don't go anywhere. But I like to have the option. Because sometimes I do need to get out of the house, and even though I have no agenda and no real reason to pack up the baby and go, I need to. Because sometimes it can feel very lonely to be home with a baby all day, with no adults to talk to. Because sometimes I need a reason to get out of my pyjamas. So he brought home the truck for me, and it never left the driveway all afternoon. But that`s not the point.

Baby Goes to the Office

I had yet to bring McKenna with me to the office, other than to show her off a few weeks after she was born. On days when I have to go into work, McKenna usually goes to work with Greg. But this past Friday I had no other choice but to bring her to work with me. I had meetings with students that afternoon, and could not find anyone last-minute to watch her. All of my students know that I am a new mother, so I knew it would not be any great shock to them to see her in my office. I could only hope and pray that she would choose that 2-hour period to sleep.

Alas, it was not to be. We got to the office just in time for my first meeting. After spending a couple of minutes chatting about the baby (of course), it was time to get to the real purpose for the meeting - to go over the student's midterm grade. Roughly 45 seconds into it, we hear this loud "pphhssssh" sound. I turned around to see McKenna grinning ear-to-ear, and I knew immediately that a true disaster awaited me in that tiny diaper of hers. If that liquidy, squishy sound wasn't enough, the smile gives it away every time. The student assured me that it was all good, and I should go ahead and change her there in the office. So, I dug out my trusty blanket, and a clean diaper and lifted McKenna from her carseat. Immediately I could tell that this was not going to be a simple diaper change. She had leaked through her pants, and clear up the back of her shirt. Fortunately I had another change of clothes for her, but there was no way I was going to get her onesie off without covering the rest of her in yellow goo. Thinking quickly, and thanking my lucky stars that I hadn't dressed her in a nicer outfit, I grabbed pair of scissors and cut the shirt off of her.

With a clean bum, she should have been ready to lie down and go to sleep. I spread a blanket on the floor for her, put her sookie in her mouth, and waited. And waited. And waited. Those little blue eyes just stared back at me, as if to say "you can't make me". And she was absolutely right. There were other people trying to get work done, so I had to keep her happy and quiet. So I picked her up, found some YouTube Sesame Street songs, and settles in for a long 2 hours. And so it was. A very cute, but long, 2 hours. Next time I will just re-schedule my meetings.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Things We Love

In our house, we have certain products that we just can't live without; that make our lives easier and keep baby happy. Here are some of these products (more to be added as they become necessary).

1) Natursutten Orthodontic Pacifier
Made from pure, natural rubber. BPA-free. 

Oh Natursutten, you make a hideous product. But it works. McKenna loves this soother more than any other. Heaven forbid we leave the house without it...

Something had to be done about these ugly Natursutten pacifiers...keeps baby's sookie close and draws attention away from the ugly thing in their mouth. 

3) Ovol

In our house, also known as "baby crack". 

Makes it possible to get household chores done, run errands and get outside on crappy days, while still meeting baby's need to be close to you. 

5) A good bottle of wine

For "those days".

6) Lecithin Supplements
Lecithin has been a god-send in eliminating blocked ducts. Before lecithin, I was getting a block at least once a week, lasting 3-4 days. Since starting lecithin, I have had none.