(I want to move some of my non-knitting posts from my other blog to here, so I'm cut and pasting them. Is there a better way?)
August 18, 2006
Not El Nino (although for Megan, it would be El Nina I think). Nine In, Nine Out. It's an organization/movement promoting a calm, baby-led transition from womb to world. Fuelled by the Attachment Parenting beliefs of Dr. Sears and The Happiest Baby on the Block guru, Dr. Harvey Karp, NINO is sort of the public side of attachment parenting (AP). Babywearing and breastfeeding are the two biggies. We flunked at co-sleeping.
Megan is now 9 months old. Although she is (mostly) an 'easy' baby, she is impatient. She (still) has reflux. She got 5 teeth in under two weeks. She nurses every two hours...at night only. It has been a very challenging 9 months. If she were my only baby, it wouldn't have been too bad. But she's the baby of the troop and the other soldiers want to commit a mutiny.
When you're young, say, in university, sleeplessness is no issue. Two weeks of exams and all nighters? No problem, you've got lots of time to sleep in. But the sleeplessness of a baby is different. This type of sleeplessness is so invasive to your daily life. My eyes hurt. I pour water in my mug...and see I forgot to put in the Nescafe Frothy mix first. I cook dinner and realize I forgot the veggies. I walk into things (more than usual), I can't add, or multiply (so important for knitting), and working the microwave suddenly needs a university degree.
Five hours of sleep may be enough when it happens all at once, but when it happens in 90 minute chunks, your body starts to complain. Despite not having grown (height wise) in over 20 years, growth hormones are still released while you sleep, to fix the miniscule muscle tears of daily living. But, these hormones are released during the deep sleep portion of the night, which cycles about every 90 minutes. Do I need to say more?
Then, after the 3rd or 4th time of getting up, you go into insomnia mode. Your body, so exhausted, has forgotton how to hit the off button and go to sleep. You lay there thinking "I've GOT to get to sleep" but your brain is thinking "What luck that Classic Merino IS the same dye lot as last year's purchase. Enough to make that basketweave sweater from IK a few years back...but you don't want to hand wash something like that and you have no gentle cycle on the washer in the new house and he won't wear a knit sweater anyway and you don't know any other man you'd handknit something like that for maybe a pair of socks but before you start more socks you've got to finish the ones you've already started and perhaps finish the alligator you started LAST Aug and what colour are you going to paint your toenails cause you can't go to your cousin's weddding looking like a momma of 3, one who only sleeps two hours at the most and are you going to make meatballs or meatloaf with that 2lb beef tube in the fridge oh there's no evap. milk for meatloaf so it's meatballs or a casserole but it's nice out so you should bbq but ground beef falls through the grill and do you think anyone would take the Blue Cheese Hamburgers if I offer them on Freecycle..."
How do you know if you've been successful at the NINO principles? Where' s the check list? Do we get a cap and gown? Obviously, we're still nursing, cause getting up to make bottles during the night sucks (making bottles at anytime, sucks). We've started having some bottles now that she's on 'real' food. There's no way I'd ever WANT to feed my babies bovine breastmilk (formula) as their primary source of nutrition. Last I checked, I gave birth to a human, so I fed her human milk. But since she's eating just about anything (including orange beads, tree leaves, and cherry stems), then I'm okay with some formula. But not soy! Oy! Banned in Britain, should be banned here. We're still babywearing....the collection of carriers has grown...with more in the planning stages. So convenient when we go out, great at home when she's cranky. When she was a newborn, I couldn't understand how parents could leave their awake babies laying in bassinettes, playpens, etc when they're not even old enough to hold a rattle. Sure, a few minutes in the bouncy chair (the most basic one, no toy bar even) here and there...but most of the time she was in her pouch, quietly observing the world within the safe confines of fleece. I swear it helped make her my most social child (any baby could be more social than Lucy was). We don't swaddle anymore, but still do the shushing noise and swaying. I've been swaying so long I don't know if it ever leaves your subconscious. You SEE a baby and start to sway.
One benefit of babywearing that I don't think NINO or Dr. Sears promotes is weight loss. At delivery, you instantly lose about 11-13 lbs of baby, placenta, and fluids. So that leaves another 10-15lbs of increased blood supply, edema, increased uterine muscle and pregnancy fluff. But...strap on a 7lb baby, and your body says "Oh, we suddenly weigh more. We've got to burn more calories!" A couple weeks later, you might have 8 lbs of pregnancy fluff to lose. You put the baby on, and suddenly you weigh 10lbs more and your body says "BURN those calories!". As the weeks go on, you might carry her a little less as she gets more adjusted to the world, so your body is surprised one morning when you strap on an extra 14lbs. You keep surprising your body with an increased weight load, even as your own body mass goes down. Add to that the need for perfect posture when picking things up while you babywear...squats galore! Lunge to the side instead of up and down! Step back and lunge! Feel the burn as you work that butt that usually just provides your cushion as you surf or nurse! Before you know it, you're at pre-pregnancy weight with great buns! But don't stop there....babywearing while exercising (or just babywearing FOR exercise) is fun, socializing, and incredibly effective!!
Has Megan adjusted calmly and favourably to the outside world? All I want is to curl up and not join the outside world for a few more months, LOL. But until I can knit while I sleep, I guess I'll get by somehow.