Friday, 29 August 2014

Don't Stay Home

How much easier would life with an infant be if you always stayed at home? You'd have everything you need within arms reach and you'd never find yourself in the back of Winners sitting on an uncomfortable bench with a baby spitting up sour milk all over herself and you, as you frantically trying to wipe it off before the smell sets in, while only accomplishing to rub the spit up deeper into the fibers of your shirt. Another bonus of not finding yourself in this scenario, is that you wouldn't have to catch a glimpse of yourself in those incredibly unforgiving mirrors under fluorescent lighting, where all your new wrinkles, your hair that you told yourself looked like a fashionable messy bun, but really just looks messy, your dark circles, your boobs that are lopsided because one is engorged and your terrible outfit that you wore because it was the only clean one you had that fit your new body shape stare back at you despite your best efforts to avoid those mirrors altogether and avert your eyes to the state you find yourself in at the end of a rough day as a new Mom.

As shitty as this day sounds, I don't think you should just stay home. Life wouldn't be easier.

You don't look as bad as you think you do. Pack some extra shirts for yourself in your diaper bag so you can change after baby inevitably spits up on you. No one can tell your boobs are lopsided. Your hair looks fine. We all have bad days, before and after baby. When you get home, you can change your clothes, crawl into bed for some extra baby cuddles, take a deep breath and be proud of yourself for everything you've accomplished as a new Mom. Your baby is happy & healthy, you're doing a great job.

We took Paloma to her first music festival when she was 3 weeks old. Andino's band was playing at a Folk Festival a few hours away. It was during that newborn fussy period when the baby cries all the time and you really feel like you want to stay locked inside your house forever. Preferably topless, so you don't have to fumble with unhooking a nursing bra with one hand as you cradle a screaming, red-in-the-face infant with the other. But I forced myself to go because I love to watch Andino play and I wanted to enjoy my first summer as a Mom and create family memories. So we packed a diaper bag and a wrap and off we went. This was during the time when I was staying at my sister's house because my house was flooded and Andino and I were both at our wits end with stress. I knew getting out and going to an outdoor music festival was just what we needed to let go of the tension. We drove up there in the pouring rain and we were running late because when you have a newborn you're always running late because you forgot to pack something or the baby took 45 minutes to nurse and you can't get a burp out. But on this particular occasion we were running late because Paloma's nose was really stuffed up and I thought that if I could just get all her boogies out she would calm down. Those bulb syringes are incredibly inefficient at getting the boogies out so we stopped at the drug store and got a nasal aspirator. (I have to say, it was one of the best purchases we made for baby). We made it to the festival just in the nick of time for Andino to take the stage. Paloma did amazing and hardly cried at all (because I had her in the wrap the whole time). We sat under the shade of a huge tree and watched the show and I was so happy. Andino told the crowd that his wife and brand new baby were in the audience and so many people gave us big smiles and congratulated me. I nursed her on a bench overlooking a river. It was a great day and a nice memory, and I would have missed out on it if I hadn't forced myself to just pack up and go.

Sometimes it's hard when you are in the thick of things at home to force yourself out the door. I remember one occasion when Paloma had been fussy all morning and it was really starting to get to me. One of my girlfriends stopped by to drop something off and I think she could feel my stress so she asked if I wanted to go for a little walk around the neighbourhood with her and her baby. She had her stroller in the car and a little free time. I couldn't get out the door fast enough. I don't think my friend got a word in edgewise that day as I spent the better part of an hour telling her all about the challenges I was having. I can't tell you how many times Paloma would be having a rough day inside the house and I'd pop her in my wrap and go for a walk and she would instantly calm down. The newborn period was made infinitely easier because of my wrap and the women in my life.

Our strategy has been to give Paloma the benefit of the doubt. There were many occasions in the beginning when I was nervous to take her to a public place because I was sure she'd cry the whole time and she never did. As long as I had my wrap, a full boob and a pacifier, Paloma could do anything. At 13 weeks old, we took our first plane trip as a family of 3 to visit my family in Nova Scotia. Paloma did amazing. Not one cry-fest in more than 7 hours of travelling. The only problem we had was when I overfed her and she spit up everywhere. I felt bad for whoever had to sit in my seat next.




So if you ever find yourself on the fence between whether or not to go out and do something or stay home, I hope you choose to go out. Maybe your baby will surprise you and be on her best behaviour!

8 comments:

  1. I agree! I tried to get out as much as possible- even if it was just running to the grocery store- but having Izzy during the polar vortex when it was negative temps outside every day made it a bit more difficult. We couldn't take walks but I could at least drive somewhere as I knew she would be fine with the short walk from the car to wherever we were going.

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  2. I'm going to try to remember this post about 9 months from now, but in case I don't, I'll be requiring that you send me daily emails to kick my ass out the door!

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  3. Amen sister! I find going out keeps my sanity.

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  4. Yes, I agree! Keegan and I were out quite a bit during the few days he was at home after the birth of Kieran, but when he went back to work, going out by myself with baby scared me. Thankfully I had an OB appointment that forced me out of the house and Kieran was absolutely perfect, no crying whatsoever. I definitely feel better on the days that we go out than when we stay cooped up in the house.

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  5. Yes absolutely. I promised myself I would go out every single day with Yu, and so far we have done it... even with rain. We have taken her on 2 airplane trips, train rides, city hikes, visiting with friends. We want her to grow to be flexible and adaptable (while respecting her routine) and I think it is working. Also, going outside is keeping mom sane and happy too. And I have met friends that way! So yes to going out.

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  6. Such good advise! I admit that I am one that tends to hibernate at home. It's a lot of work packing up two babies! I also think that it's partly because we've had so many doctor appointments and physical therapy appointments, that sometimes it's just nice to stay home. We do have a weekly playdate with another set of twins though. I'm so glad that Paloma is such an awesome little traveler! 7 hours is a long travel day but it sounds like she was a rock star!

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  7. I know sometimes for me it just seems too daunting to go anywhere with twins, and in the beginning we stayed home A LOT, but we do get out now and are always so glad we did. Even traveling (whether by car or plane) went way better than we anticipated. It was hard work, but the girls have been amazing travelers. We often get comments from strangers about what great,calm babies they are so I don't know why I'm worried they will throw some sort of fit in public. They never have. And if they do, well, they're babies and people will have to get over it. They love getting out and seeing new things. It's good for all of us!

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  8. This is (more) great advice that I will keep in mind when baby is born and the season turns toward winter. I know isolation is bad for me but that I also can take the easy way out and spend hours at home, so it's good to read your perspective.

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