Posts tagged ‘Life with a Newborn’

July 19, 2011

That Baby Smell

Sometimes you just gotta stop and smell the baby.

 

Before I had a baby, I wasn’t really sure what the “baby smell” was.  In Jacob’s first few days, some of the scents we were experiencing weren’t what I’d call pleasant.  John and I were amazed at the power that could come from such a small person, and jokingly figured we were really in for it.

 

Quickly—and fortunately—the really gross stuff faded away, and we were left with a little dark-haired bundle that people simply loved to smell.  Where was the scent coming from, I wondered.  We didn’t use baby powder or lotion on him.  Balmex may have been part of the equation, but it wasn’t the main ingredient in his signature scent. Ultimately, I’ve determined that the “baby smell” simply radiates from little ones, no matter what product you use on them.

 

The only common denominator I’ve noticed when people comment on Jacob’s yummy smell is time.  More often than not, when someone calls out the “baby smell” on Jacob, it’s after I haven’t given him a bath in a day or two.  Like a good wine, I guess the baby scent needs to age in order to really be fine.  After twelve hours or so, the dribs and drabs of milk on his clothes, in his hair, and maybe even a slightly wet diaper (it’s gross, but if you’re a parent, you know it’s true), combine to make a sweet, gentle scent that just makes you want to snuggle in for a nap.  The “baby smell” truly is a very powerful thing.

 

Lately, I think Jacob has starting to grow out of the baby-baby smell.  Now he pretty much just smells like Cheerios all day, every day.  While I wouldn’t boil it down, bottle it, and spray it on myself, on him it sure can make me do a mommy-swoon.

 

July 5, 2011

Can You Ever Really Be Prepared? Maybe.

Maybe it’s because I wasn’t a scout growing up that I didn’t fully appreciate the saying “Be prepared” until yesterday.

 

John, Jacob, and I were enjoying a sunny summer holiday in the park when John’s phone rang.  Our friend, whose wife was due with their first child that day, was on the other end of the line.  John and I both figured he was calling to see if we had plans for dinner.  I started to calculate how many burgers we could get out of the beef we’d purchased earlier in the day, but quickly realized that wasn’t necessary (and good thing, because we had enough meat, but too few rolls!).  Their little baby girl had been born just a few hours before, and he was calling to share the good news!  Hooray!

 

He offered us the opportunity to visit, and we started packing up the instant John hung up the phone. We were so excited that I barely even thought about what we had on hand.  We were in the subway station in about seven minutes.  Because of other gallivanting around Brooklyn over the weekend, it turns out we had a really well packed stroller.  It was rewarding to realize how much of the right stuff we had with us.

 

In the course of our trip into Manhattan, we managed to feed Jacob twice, nurse him once, and change his diaper, without even making a pit stop at home first.  And when we did get home, because he’d had dinner on the subway, we were already halfway through our bedtime routine.  It was nice to feel like I’d won the “Good Mom Award” for the day.

 

On the other hand, in considering how prepared one can be, I don’t think you can ever really prepare for the experience of being in the presence of an hours-old baby.   This one is a perfect little girl—tiny, beautiful, and incredibly loved.  When I had the chance to hold her, I didn’t want to let her go.  I’ve waited so long to meet this little one, and it was such an honor to finally see her face to face.

 

Blessings can be great—like holding a little miracle in your arms—or small—like having a squeeze pack of puréed fruit and a spoon in a baggie in the pocket of your stroller.  Whether we’re prepared for them or not, it’s good to see the many ways God is with us each day.

June 9, 2011

On Nursing

On the days when I was feeling sleep-deprived while carrying Jacob, my view on pregnancy looked something like this:

A little person is living inside of me, stealing my food, zapping my energy, and kicking me to boot.  Once it’s born—a process I don’t even want to think about—it will continue to feed off of me, relegating me to the sad life of a 24/7 cafeteria.

I haven’t seen the movie Aliens, but I was pretty sure I was living it.

Yes, pregnancy is exhausting, and labor and delivery are not the most comfortable situations a woman can find herself in, but there are joys in these experiences all the same.  Likewise, there are joys in nursing.  It may have taken me eight months to really appreciate them, and some of that may have to do with the imminent, though still distant issue of weaning, but finally I am here.

For someone who has always been physically modest and who has never had any serious medical conditions, using one’s body to sustain another life is rather overwhelming.  In my view, our society focuses on our minds, and sometimes our souls, as the defining characteristics of who we are.  Our bodies are simply vehicles to get us here or there, something practical but impartial to take us on the ride.

Becoming a mother has forced me to understand and appreciate my body in new ways.  I respect all that it is able to do, or rather all the fascinating capacities God has built in to it.  I find that when I get dressed and check to see how flat (or not so flat) my tummy looks post-partum, I am reminded that something so much more has happened there, and I’m not so critical anymore.

The same goes for nursing.  What was before a mysterious process that involved partially disrobing several times a day is now a special time to chill out, relax, and refocus.  I’ve read that there is a relaxing hormone that is released when a mother is nursing her child and I’ve definitely felt it.  In the first few weeks, that sometimes even made me feel lightheaded at the start of a nursing session.

Now, although my mind still does ramble sometimes, and it can be frustrating when I want to feed Jacob before we head out somewhere and he doesn’t want to eat, I appreciate these quiet times that we share.  Especially in the evenings, when he’s sleepy and clean from a bath, it’s as close as we get to snuggling.  I sing to him and gaze at his face, memorizing every detail so that I can think about him later in the evening when I’m still awake and starting to miss him.

Like so many things God has created, nursing—and pregnancy, and labor & delivery—seems like a crazy idea at first.  But with time, trust, and the right perspective, it turns out to be one of the most rewarding, encouraging, and literally life-giving things I could have ever imagined.

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