Now that I’ve been a mommy for a whopping two months, I have a great amount of wisdom to pass on to other moms who are anxiety prone. Actually, I wouldn’t call it wisdom, but rather tips from a mother that’s prone to anxiety and desperate to do it right. I can’t tell you how many times I worry that Jelly Bean isn’t going to survive the day because of me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed, “Lord, please save her from my stupidity.”
God has proved over and over again that He is great and merciful, and has provided me with a huge support network of friends and family members who’ve got my back. Still, here are a few items in the nursery that have kept me from hyperventilating as much as I might have otherwise, things I wish I’d known before Jelly Bean was born. They would have saved me a lot of stress if I had.
I decided to use an old iPod for Jelly Bean that would contain only music for her. (Let’s face it, not all good music is appropriate for a two-year-old. I like a little ACDC now and then, but she doesn’t really need to hear that until she gets a bit older.) Thanks to a generous gift from a relative, I was able to buy her dozens of new songs for her iPod.
Being an educator, I carefully selected music from every genre that I thought she was sure to need. She’s got songs from the classical masters, such as Beethoven, Bach, and Tchaikovsky. She’s got relaxing piano music from the soundtrack of UP. She’s got a gazillion hymns from my favorite groups like Indelible Grace and the Gettys. Wee Sing Folk Songs and Wee Sing Bible Songs will help her memorize pieces of our American culture, as well as basic Bible facts. She’s even got some Owl City on there for days when we just need to dance around the house.
What I didn’t count on, however, was her lack of sleep. My parents think it’s uproariously funny that she doesn’t like to sleep. (My parents swear I gave birth to myself.) Desperate, I took the advice from our pastor’s wife and tried white noise.
Oh. My. Goodness.
The white noise is now part of our bedtime routine. Certain white noise sounds like static make me uncomfortable, but I found a great hour-long album on iTunes of basic water noises like rain and rivers. While it’s not solely responsible for her finally nodding off to sleep every night, I can tell you that times when we’ve considered skipping it haven’t worked nearly as well in the whole “sleep” part of sleeping.
I personally dislike the dark. Jelly Bean needs darkness to sleep, however. I’ve tried everything from leaving her door cracked to a traditional nightlight in her room, and they’ve all presented their own problems. Leaving the door cracked means hearing noise from outside the nursery and having a bright beam of light in the baby’s face when we rock far enough in her rocker. The nightlight was even worse about the bright, direct beam.
I’d used this ceiling projector in a preschool class I substituted for last year and fell in love with it. It’s super inexpensive, and uses AA batteries instead of a plug, which means you can move it anywhere you like. The light is blue, so it’s not the kind of light that will keep your little one awake like a bright wall light might. It turns on and off by simply pushing the top down, like a huge button, and it makes the room bright enough you can see the entire nursery (and not stub your toe on the corner of the crib) without waking the baby. It also has a 30 minute time out, which means it turns itself off. The stars and moon that project onto the entire room are relaxing and clear. This is something you’ll be able to use long into your baby’s childhood.
My baby doesn’t have colic all the time, but she sometimes just gets too tired and frustrated for her own good. This means she’s nearly inconsolable at times. We took the advice of many family members and friends and started swaddling her. It really helped, but there was just one problem. In order to decrease the danger of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), where the baby can get smothered in a loosened blanket at night, we had to unwrap the little burrito every time we put her to bed.
Have you ever tried to unwrap a sleeping newborn? It’s super nerve wracking, especially when you’ve just spent two hours trying to get her to sleep. These blankets are wearable, meaning they won’t come loose while the child sleeps. You don’t have to worry about the blanket smothering her, and you don’t have to unwrap her. These blankets have seriously been lifesavers!
I was one of those cynics who shook her head at the new baby monitors. I mean, my parents didn’t use video monitors that cost hundreds of dollars! Really, all the baby monitors back then were simply glorified walkie-talkies. Still, I listened to the urgings of my friends with babies and grudgingly registered for some of the video baby monitors that did not cost $200 each. My old church from Las Vegas bought me two, much to my great surprise, and now I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them.
You don’t think it will be an issue, but as a new anxious mother, one of my biggest worries has been, “Has she stopped breathing?” Don’t ask me why, but the concern is there. Using this monitor allows me to see and hear Jelly Bean. The cameras are mountable on the wall, and they even have night vision so I can see everything my baby does or doesn’t do. These monitors are really the reason I got any sleep the first month of her life. I literally sleep with the monitor on my bed, where I can see and hear the first sign that something has changed.
5. No Crib Bumper
Okay, this isn’t something you need, but rather something you should avoid. I’m really not sure why they even still make bumpers, but doctors now say that babies should not have bumpers on their cribs. Yes, they’re cute and all, but babies can push their faces up against them and smother. The CNN article, “Get bumpers out of cribs, doctor group urges,” says, “According to the AAP, there is no evidence that crib bumpers protect against injury, but they do carry a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment because infants lack the motor skills or strength to turn their heads should they roll into something that obstructs their breathing.”
Believe me, if you’re an anxious mom like me, don’t even put them up to take pictures. In your sleep-deprived state, you’ll be up at 3 A.M. wondering if you took it off. Just avoid them altogether.
Lately they’ve had articles out in the paper about certain pacifiers coming apart and choking babies. Given, it’s not likely, but it’s something that scares the life out of me. It’s not a huge deal for us, as our baby has decided she doesn’t like binkies, but if she does one day, I’m prepared. Instead of sitting in my room and wondering if her pacifier has come apart, like some of them did in these pacifier recalls, we’ve got a one-piece pacifier that she can’t choke on no matter how hard she tries. Is it a likely event? No, but having these safer pacifiers will give me peace of mind, and I’ll take all of that that I can get!
When we first came home from the hospital, my milk hadn’t come in. 12 hours later, our daughter still hadn’t had a dirty diaper that day. She cried a lot, and kept trying to breastfeed, but she seemed to get nothing. Yes, I know everyone tells you you’ll produce enough if you keep breastfeeding them, but in my experience, that builds up future milk…not immediate milk.
Sometimes, I just don’t produce enough milk. And when I don’t produce enough milk, my baby gets dehydrated. I consider it a worthy sacrifice to give up my “breastfeeding only” label in order to take care of my baby. If she’s not getting enough to drink NOW, then I need to find her something to drink NOW. These little bottles are just the thing.
They come in a pack of 8. We don’t use them much. In fact, we’re down to less than one a week now that my milk has come in. We keep them, however, in case of an emergence. If Hubby has the baby and I’m not there, he needs something to feed her. If she has nights like tonight, where I just can’t keep up with her appetite, I need something that will satisfy her. These are a great fallback to give you one less thing to worry about.
You’re not a bad parent if you don’t choose to do as I did. I’m all for the idea that no child is alike, therefore no parenting style should be exactly alike, even for siblings. I just wanted to share certain things that have helped me feel like my baby’s a little safer. Since I struggle with chronic anxiety anyhow, I’m doing my best to keep the stress levels down about the little things. If making some of these choices will lower your stress levels, why not make them?
Do you have any products you’d like to share? If so, please help your fellow parents by commenting in the Comment Box below. I’m all for new ideas! And if you haven’t signed up for my bi-monthly newsletter, you can do that here. I try not to spam you constantly (I’m too busy to do that.), but I do try to send out some helpful external links every once in a while, things you might be interested if you’re interested in posts like this. As always, thanks for reading, and keep checking in!