Thursday, June 21, 2012

Some reflections

Ayan will be six months in a couple of weeks! How time just flew! It seems that I had just found out I was pregnant, that I had just gotten admitted to the hospital and that he had just come into the world at the bellowing of the thunder and rain.

First things first! I managed a natural birth WITHOUT an epidural! Those who know me know what a low threshhold of pain I have. So ladies, if I can do it, ANYONE can! Of course, I could have punched my doctor to continue to poke me even after Ayan was born and it is ironic how someone telling you to breathe can make you want to kill yourself:P I remember asking the doctors where my pain relief was and they kept stalling. The funniest was Parth asking me, "should I ask them to do an operation?" In hindsight I am happy that I did not take it, it just exponentially increases your desperation in pushing the baby out!

Here is what else helped: some months of yoga, knowing what is happening to me, constant supply of glucose water, soothing music in the background, discussing some work problem to solve and the BEST, a calm birth partner who would not leave your side even to pee or your hand to wipe his bucket of sweat off!

Looking back at these months and having read ooldes of literature on babies, we realise now there were so many different type of choices to think about. My sister's one liner on parenting: life onwards with a baby will be about making choices and decisions as small as picking a sweater to deciding what school to send them to..and you can never shake of that feeling of uncertainty and confusion on whether you made the right choice! While some we had thought about and were clear about what to do, others we came to along the way...
  • to use a bottle for feeding or a spoon or a cup: I never really gave this a second thought, just assumed bottles it was. But it took Ayan's repeated rejection of my milk for a few weeks for course correction! The literature I read also said that the muscle development and oral hygiene also trump the decision against the bottle. Now he happily takes milk with a spoon and we do not have to worry about kicking the habit of the bottle.
  • to use formula or my milk: Ayan took formula maybe 3 times till now. The first time was at the hospital when he just would not stop crying even after I kept feeding him! Later it was when I was sick and the third I had to go to a wedding and I could not express milk just before I left! But I decided later that I would stock up atleast one expressed feed in the fridge for emergencies and no more formula. Aim is to feed Ayan my milk as long as it works for both of us.
  • to use nappies or diapers: Given he was a winter baby, diapers it was! But I also bought as assortment of cloth nappies and from about April onwards we tried using different things at different times. My nanny is already trying to get him to pee in the basin atleast few times a day! (warning: initial use of diapers did make us become a bit lazy to start cloth nappies..the assurance of no wetness was bliss!)
  • should Ayan sleep with us or in the cot: we had decided that Ayan would sleep in the cot from the beginning because we wanted to have him get used to sleeping on his own (the "real" reason: we were too scared that we would crush him should he sleep with us) 
  • carry the baby in our hand or wear a sling: I read about attachment parenting much later and it was interesting to read how "babywearing" had become a fad in the West after they had observed how Eastern babies were raised so naturally while being "worn" with their mother! At the same time, we let Ayan play a lot on his own from day 1, so he loves to stretch and flail his arms and legs!
  • feed on demand or on a schedule: We let Ayan lead the way here..initially he would feed often and even now its not always every three hours..but he has standardized at 6-7 feeds in 24 hours
  • use a pacifier or continue comfort sucking: Oh how close I came to giving him a pacifier! Some of the literature I read praised its use and said it was no so bad given you used it in a certain way! But in the end, we managed without.
  • sleep train the baby or allow the rational sleeping pattern to emerge spontaneously: some parents begin sleep training at a few weeks while it is recommended to start at about 4 months. The most interesting thing I discovered in my research: the no of professional sleep consultants in US:p
  • etc.....
We don't know whether we made the right choices yet, but the good news is that even with wrong choices, like with the bottle, baby's habits can be changed! And across the board this was the bottomline: babies are babies only for a year. Love them, snuggle them, hold them as much as you and they like. Key takeaway for me from the research: the best I could do for Ayan is to understand his temperament, his needs and behaviour and and respond to him accordingly. The rest would be ok! 

1 comment:

Chic Side Girl said...

mana, watching you the past year has been really awe-inspiring. you've taken all these difficult decisions and many more with such aplomb!:) you rock!