It has been 5 weeks now since Baby Hope joined our family earthside. Today also marks my first full 5-day work week flying solo (during the day) as a mom of 5 kids. Five is apparently the number of the day. Seems fitting to do a “5 things” post for the occasion.
Thing #1: New Camera
For years I have been a wannabe photographer. I have made the best with the inexpensive cameras we had, but all the while salivating over the higher-quality cameras many of my friends and family were using. So last month my husband sneakily consulted some of our photo-savvy family members, checked out the Craigslist listings, and surprised me with a Nikon DSLR when we got home from the birth center and finally opened our presents Christmas evening. I LOVE it. A lot. Too bad we didn’t have it with us for the birth. ;-) Needless to say I’m enjoying photographing my new model. I put together this digital birth announcement a couple of days ago with some of the pics I’ve taken.
Thing #2: One Month Checkup
Today I took Baby Hope in for her one-month checkup. I wasn’t surprised to find out that she had soared to the higher percentiles on the growth chart. And it wasn’t the first time a doctor has said, “You must have really good breast milk,” to me. I dunno how good it is, but it’s definitely good at chunking-up newborn babies. All of my kids have gained weight fast in the beginning. Hope is now 10 lbs, 1 oz and 22″ long. It boggles my mind that she has grown three inches in a month. Her little legs are starting to get adorable fat rolls too.
Thing #3: Probiotics
Baby Hope has probably been my most fussy newborn so far. I wouldn’t call it full-fledged colic, but it has definitely been stressful. As long as she is in my arms or in a baby carrier and bouncing or asleep, she is relatively calm. The birth ball I bought seven years ago has never gotten more use. Thank heaven for this giant gray orb of goodness.
Anyway, a friend of mine told me that after giving her fussy 4th baby probiotics, she became her easiest newborn. So I’ve been giving Hope probiotic powder mixed with a bit of breastmilk for about a week and some L. reuteri probiotic drops for a couple of days. I have also been taking L. reuteri probiotic capsules myself. This particular strain of beneficial bacteria occurs naturally in breast milk, but not for all women. Gabriela Sinkiewicz, a Swedish researcher, has said that “the prevalence of L. reuteri in breast milk is important, as it helps the infant’s intestinal system to mature and its immune defense to develop. She also maintains that it affects the risk of developing allergies” (from Science Daily).
Studies in several different countries have shown promising results treating infant colic with L. reuteri. One recent study out of Canada found that this probiotic strain “significantly improved colic symptoms by reducing crying and fussing times in breastfed Canadian infants with colic” (Source). I figured it was worth a try. It has only been a short time, but I do think Hope is spending more of her alert time feeling more content. Even if the probiotics aren’t the cause, they’re probably doing good things regardless.
Thing #4: Parum Pum Pum Pum
My friend Felice came to visit after Hope was born. One of the days she was here she brought out her gong and her drum and we played both for the baby. A friend, seeing a picture of my kids drumming for Hope, said it reminded her of the Little Drummer Boy. She said it had always seemed like a horrible idea to play a drum for a baby until seeing those pictures of my kids. In the past, we had both always pictured the little drummer boy with a snare drum or something more jarring. Not anymore. The right kind of drumming can be very relaxing. Drumming for Baby Jesus (or any baby for that matter) now seems like a phenomenal idea.
After playing Felice’s drum, I wanted one of my own. So I ordered a kit (horse skin on a round willow oak frame), and we made one. It’s still “birthing” its sound, but I think we’re going to love having a drum in the house.
Thing #5: Dying Every Day
Most of the time I feel good, despite caring for a fussy baby, homeschooling, and losing sleep. But there have been several days lately where the overwhelm moved beyond ordinary and into the realm of anxious. If you’ve ever suffered from anxiety then you know what I’m talking about. It’s one thing to feel “stressed out” or worried, and it’s an entirely other thing to have anxiety. When my anxiety is kicking up, there isn’t usually a “reason.” For me it can show up without much warning. I’ll start noticing little things… my “signs” that my brain and body have been high-jacked. And then I usually have a sort of PTSD response on top of it all. That’s when I utilize the tools that have helped me in the past… breathing, mantras, baths with magnesium flakes, etc. And that’s also when I text my sister and friends and they remind me that it won’t last and that I’m going to be OK. Yesterday I told Felice about a weird panic attack I had a couple of days ago. I told her, “I felt like I was dying.” She said:
I like that. Feels like poetry.