I’ve always had a weakness for russian dolls… they are a fun symbol of maternity and I thought they would make the perfect party favor to embody the close bond I share with my two daughters whose initials are featured on the medium and small dolls. On the large doll I chose to feature a bouquet as my daughters’ names are floral. Those Matryoshkas are also pretty cosmopolitan themselves as they were designed in the US (per my guidance), the wooden dolls were made in Russia (by Golden Cockerel), while the packaging (the printed boxes and stickers) were made in Lebanon (by DELF / Dar El Founoun).
While waiting for the real deal to flow, the first milk a breastfed baby would savor for a couple of days after birth is the colostrum. Colostrum is a thick yellow-orange fluid with creamy texture, concentrated and not very abundant. Highly packed with so many goodies (proteins, vitamins, minerals and antibodies that boost your infant’s immune system), it protects your baby from disease and gives baby everything he/she needs. It’s the best way to start your baby’s nutrition, nothing else comes close. This incredible substance acts as a natural vaccine and has certainly contributed to protecting my tiny little baby from the harsh flu I got shortly after my delivery, even though baby and me are practically glued 24/7! (of course a protective mask for mommy and other sanitary precautions around the house are also imperative to minimize the likelihood of baby catching the virus)
- Start breastfeeding right away, even in the delivery room! Nursing in the next hour or so of your baby’s birth is very important to stimulate milk production. You won’t be too sad to learn that you might be asked to do away with the lovely hospital gown for your first breastfeeding, as skin-to-skin contact between mommy and baby is recommended to jump start the natural bond and breastfeeding.
- Avoid or minimize bottle or pacifier use, as it can get in the way of developing a good breastfeeding routine.
- Have your baby in your room the first few weeks so you can nurse more often and on demand, this will help improve your baby’s sucking which in turn will build up your milk supply.
- At least 3 comfy and well-fit nursing bras
- Nursing pads
- Nursing pillow
- Lanolin (nipple cream)
- Breast milk pump
- Nightgown, pajamas or other clothes that button or snap down from the front
- Hand sanitizer
- Burp cloths
- Sterilized milk bottles for when you need to pump your milk (either buy a sterilizing machine for the bottles or you can just boil them for a couple of minutes in hot water)
- Make sure your washer and dryer are in good condition because they will probably be running non-stop!
- Wait until the colostrum phase is over to introduce your favorite onesies as the stains it creates are much harder to wash off.
- Train another person to burp your baby after each feed (so you can take turns) and this way you can get some extra time for rest between feeds.
Easter Sunday had more in store for us than predicted and baby # 2 hatched out of her egg shortly after the beginning of the 39th week. My labor was quick, no complications and we were out of the hospital with our Easter baby shortly after the mandatory 24h waiting period.
It was now time to adjust to the delicate balance of taking care of the fragile newborn while making sure that my soon-to-be 3-year-old wasn’t feeling alienated. Of course it didn’t start very well, as my first daughter seemed to think we brought home a new doll toy for her to play with and got upset that we wouldn’t hand it to her. On the first day, she would follow me around the house with her toy milk bottle and didn’t seem to understand why I was so attached to this doll. It didn’t take too long however for her to figure out that this doll was different: it moved, made a lot of noise and was getting much more of my attention than any other doll… which prompted her telling me two memorable (and heartbreaking) things: “Maman arrête avec le bébé!” (ENG: “Mom stop it with the baby!”) and “Je ne veux plus acheter un bébé!” (ENG: “I don’t want to buy a baby anymore!”)
My first priority was to orchestrate a system whereby between my husband and I, we can still give our eldest the same degree of attention she had prior to her sister’s arrival while making sure that our newborn’s needs are attended to on time. It has been a challenge (despite both grandmas joining the effort), mainly because the newborn’s sleeping and eating hours are unpredictable at this stage and my eldest was acting out and trying to grab our attention in many creative manners (such as jumping on couches she would not have dreamt of stepping on before and screaming at new high pitches).
I had learned from my first post-pregnancy experience that it is better to have a plan and sway from it, as newborn demands, than not having one to start with. Today my eldest spontaneously hugged and kissed the baby and said “7ayeteh bébé!” (ENG: “My darling baby!”) It’s making me feel that maybe we are on the right track… As for baby, she just seems to be oblivious to the power struggle and anything else happening around her… she is exclusively interested in sleeping and breastfeeding, whenever it pleases her!
Walking towards you my baby… 2 more months…
Since NYC has become an icebox in the past few days and because the 3rd trimester is looming on the horizon and promising to be quite a rollercoaster with discomfort making its big comeback and a long list of preparations in anticipation for the big baby # 2 day, it was time for one last sunny Hooray! Hello Babymoon!
My Babymoon Planning Checklist:
• Consult with OB prior to booking to make sure it is safe to travel and because some destinations require prior vaccination
• Timing: 2nd trimester (week 18 to 24) is the safest time for pregnant women to travel
– Would like South Africa but need relaxation more than adventure at the moment so –> any amazing beach
– Short travel time is ideal but will not compromise on the beach
– Somewhere with good medical facilities
• Result: Hawaii (I know I’m pushing it a bit with the 11hour flight time!)
On the plane:
• Wear compression socks, comfortable clothes and layers to account for the various temperatures during transit
• Keep feet elevated if possible and don’t cross legs to help prevent leg swelling
• Get up and walk around every hour or so to aid blood circulation
• Keep hydrated
My Beach Packing List (I’ll only share the essentials here…I’m not a light packer!):
• Don’t forget the prenatal vitamins
• Plenty of sunscreen to avoid dark pregnancy patches in the sun
• Hand gel sanitizer and sanitizing wipes
• Fill iPhone with the latest hit tunes and delete all pictures to make space for new ones
• Lots of bikinis
• Jelly sandals
• Light flowy clothes
This year I’m thankful for being able to bear baby # 2! While it is my second experience, I am still dazzled by the miraculous and transformative process of pregnancy. I’m thankful for the fruit of my first experience that enchants me every minute of everyday. My only wish is that the baby turns-out healthy and never experiences real pain.
Whether having kids is a selfless or a selfish act has been hotly debated and perhaps more so lately as there has been a growing wave of people choosing not to have kids at all, arguing that such a choice is no more selfish than the decision to have kids. Despite all the sacrifice parents do for their kids, the argument is that having a child should still be considered a selfish act meant to bring to life a creature that will provide you a lot of happiness or even as a self-love act since a child is an extension of his maker.
Let’s be honest here, they do have a point and I do think that we should not judge people that make this choice. Having a kid should be a choice. Whether we like it or not, human beings act for the most part out of pure self-interest, therefore, I wouldn’t contest the underlying idea that there is major selfish element in deciding to have a child, however is that necessarily a bad thing? I think there should be a distinction between harmful selfishness (the kind that overreaches to harm others and usually is the type that creates conflict and leads on a greater scale to crises, wars and inequalities) and harmless selfishness (the kind that reflects self-interested behavior but does not negatively affect the greater good).
My heart goes to those deprived from this gift of childbearing whether it’s because of health reasons, social or financial circumstances or any other impediment but I am also thankful for the scientific and medical advances in the fertility and reproductive field that give some people the hope of fulfilling this dream.
Enjoy this upcoming Thanksgiving (the prep, the dinner and the therapeutic power of giving thanks!)
Oh and Thank YOU for checking my blog!
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