Ana Tells Her Delivery Story

DSC01332-anas-storyI don’t make it a habit of having guest writers on the blog but for my wife I’ll make an exception, not only for her but for everyone out there who might be expecting, to get an inside look into least one woman’s head. Obviously everyone is different and has a different experience but here’s how her day played out. Ana, the floor is yours.

On June 12th 2015 at 14:00 my water broke with a splash, just like in the movies. As much as hospital people tell you it doesn’t happen like in the movies, sometimes it can happen. What I didn’t know was that it doesn’t stop. It keeps leaking, refilling and leaking until you finally have the baby. From the shower I checked that Emil was packing everything that we needed (electronically speaking). We called a taxi and at 15:15 we were already in the delivery room. Continue reading

Self Soothing – A Dangerous Myth For Lazy Parenting

selfsoothingEan has been quite restless and fussy the last couple of days. Complaining and crying when not in our arms and in need of stimulation, closeness and entertainment. Why not try to sit him up and enjoy his constantly developing eyesight? Oh he loved it! Obviously he’s too young for his spine and head to support him longer than a few minutes but it gives our arms a break and right now it’s just too hot to wear the wrap for longer durations of time. But it’s okay, pretty soon we’re going to be longing for those sweet simple days when every problem could be fixed with food, diapers or cuddles. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t feel that holding my child a few hours per day is worse than the consequence of the so called “self soothing” approach.

Whatever you’ve read or heard about self soothing or the idea of letting baby’s cry themselves to sleep… it’s not an approach I appreciate. I strongly believe that it teaches the child abandonment at an early and fundamental stage in life. A person this young does not have ulterior motives for crying, it’s primal. So whether it’s diaper change, food, heat, cold or closeness that is desired, I feel it’s detrimental to his health to leave him unsatisfied and in disharmony. Continue reading

Visual Stimulation for Newborns

225A4576-screen-faceweb

One of the most entertaining things to do when you have a newborn is to see how they develop and change from one day to the next. It truly is incredible how much is going on in that tiny body.

I’d like to talk a bit about the eyes today. As you might know, when we are born we can’t really see a lot or very far for that matter. What we can see, is seen in black and white. This is because the eyes simply have not fully developed. From birth and over the next couple of months, the eyes go from being relatively primitive to something quite amazing. Like all other aspects of our bodies, even the eyes can be trained.

Continue reading

Ean’s First Dip In The Mediterranean Sea

The three of us went for a sunrise walk together. Ana was going for her first post baby delivery swim which she had been looking forward to for six weeks. I was holding Ean while she was in the water when all of a sudden, he let it rip and crapped all over himself and me.

We were planning to dip him after he had gotten his shots but come on, it’s the sea, not a stinky swimming pool and so I couldn’t resist. If you’re wondering about the “wiiii” sound I made, it’s what I do when we shower when I’m about to put his head under the water stream. I have no evidence of its relevance but it felt like a good idea to continue with it as we gradually are going to get him more and more into the water and eventually submerge him completely (just for a second, relax!).

He did tense up a bit of course, partial blindness and loud waves would do that to anyone for the first time but he didn’t dislike it, for sure! Pretty soon we’ll be bubbling away under the sea.

Fatherologist becomes a Father – The Movie

On June 12th 2015, her water broke and I panicked more than she did… in fact, she was quite calm about it. The first thing I did was to grab the camera and start shooting. What followed was the more bizarre and wonderful experience of my life to this day. I wanted to edit and release this video as soon as possible but I didn’t feel “it”. I’ve been in a daze after Ean’s birth, both because the incredible occasion that is birth, getting used to the idea of being a father, but equally due to sleep deprivation.

Today it’s been five weeks since Ean’s birth and a dear friend of ours had her first baby today (congratulations!) and so it felt like a good time to dig into my footage from our delivery day. Enough time has passed for the surreal feeling to pass and to catch my breath again, I don’t think I’d be able to even look at the footage until today. So without further delay, please enjoy.

1 Month Check Point – Diapers, Sleep, Normalcy and Wraps

one-month-laterIt’s getting easier to read his needs before he bursts into tears. I’m discovering more nuances between stomach cramps and burps, sleepiness and hunger etc. I believe in the idea of keeping a baby happy and avoid him starting to cry at all. Then there are moments when he’s just fussy and I really need to go change my own diaper and I guess it’s no big deal to leave him crying for a minute or two. The important thing is to give an overall sense of security so he never feels abandoned or ignored. I think things like that only cause bigger and worse problems for all of us later on.

Last week we introduced the bottle for the first time, which has worked wonders on our sleeping habits. We’ve worked out a pattern where I go to bed as I usually do around midnight and by then Ana and Ean are usually already sleeping. If he wakes up (which he does after 3-5 hours) she feeds and changes him and goes back to sleep if possible (sometimes he doesn’t want to sleep and then it’s just cozy and cuddle time… which one should really enjoy while they last because they grow, FAST). At around 5-7 am she wakes me up and she goes back to bed. Usually he stays in bed with me for some cuddles and Zzz and eventually when he gets hungry we have extracted breast milk in the fridge which I give him. This little change enables Ana to get another 2-3 hours of sleep and since she’s Spanish… she also likes to squeeze in an afternoon nap on top of that if possible. I run just fine on 6 hours of sleep.

I think the biggest change for me at this point is the feeling of going back to normal, somewhat anyway. I have the bottle to thank for that.

On the subject of growing, he grows about 1.5 cm and 400 grams per week! I’ve met mothers with 6 months old babies who swear they can barely remember when their baby was as small as Ean is right now. That’s why I say, enjoy and savour it.

I don’t know if the numbers are accurate that I find online but when I check development times, this guy is all over the place. He already keeps his head up (for some time), smiles and can even turn over from back to belly (or if it was the opposite). Some of these things aren’t supposed to happen until 3-4 months into development. I don’t know if that means anything for his future development, but it’s a funny observation.

I think the biggest change for me at this point is the feeling of going back to normal, somewhat anyway. I have the bottle to thank for that (no not you Tequila, not this time) to a great extent because it gives me and the Missus more time apart, which means I have more time to get some actual work done. For her I guess it’s great because she can catch up on some much needed sleep on a daily basis and start to feel more human again.

I have no intention of being fanatic about it just because I want to make a general wise choice for him and the planet.

Challenges? None really, it’s pretty smooth sailing. He’s a solid kid, very calm and curious, only shouts for food and clean diaper. As you may now we went with cloth diapers and it does get a bit messy at times due to the liquid consistency of the poop but it’s in such small amounts and washes right off so it’s no big deal. It feels like doing a good deed every time we use a cloth diaper and whatever disgust you might feel in the beginning, it goes away after a week or two. Full disclosure, at night we prefer to use regular diapers to give both him and us solid sleep. Sure we could double up on the inserts of the cloth diapers but he’s so small that almost all cloth diapers look like fat suits on him. I have no intention of being fanatic about it just because I want to make a general wise choice for him and the planet, for now this will do.

IMG_2225I’m still not sure how I feel about how people view me when I’m out with my son, showing him love and affection. I feel a bit stared at but not in a negative way necessarily, it’s just as if they haven’t seen it before. In Malta, things are pretty backwards as far as gender rolls and equality so to see a man with his child in his arms, held closely might not be the most usual thing. Don’t get me wrong, I get a lot of smiles and I smile back at their “aaaaws” when uttered and those moments are nice, feels like I’m both being a good father and a role model and all without that pesky negativity I see Stay At Home Dads ooze with their self righteous t-shirts. If anyone disagrees with my parenting, that’s for them to deal with, I choose to focus on the smiles and awes. In fact, today we were at a restaurant and Ean had to be changed so I took him and the stroller bag and walked towards the bathrooms and a guy who was having lunch looked up at me and nodded, as if “I see you bro, I see you”, ha ha! Could all be in my head, no, that was totally it. It was!

This week I received a wrap from Oscha Slings. If you’ve never heard of wraps and slings, it’s basically fabric that you tie around yourself into a carrier for the baby. It keeps the kid close and cozy all while giving you free hands to work with, or to pinch his cheeks, which is my main hobby. It also does wonders for aching backs and arms from carrying and soothing the baby.

Whatever goes on, we just talk about it, complain about it and sort it out. What’s the expression? Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Today I tried it for the first time and it does require some practice in setup and execution but it is undeniably comfortable and cozy. We live in Malta, which means day temperatures of about 30 degrees (C) right now. I put him in a front wrap cross configuration which basically means he’s laying on his stomach against my stomach, in a frog like position. He fell asleep straight away and I loved to just slowly pace around the house with small bouncy effortless steps. It didn’t feel that hot to be honest, but when I put him down 30 minutes later, both he and I were quite sweaty. He didn’t seem to mind it, neither did I really because sweating is a part of summer in Malta but probably not great for prolonged stay during hot days.

FullSizeRender 4Against advice I tried a different configuration while he was awake, to put him in a cradle position which normally is by far the most strenuous position for the back and arms so I really wanted to try it. The advice against it is based on the risk of suffocation when the head tilts forward and touches the chest, making it hard to breath. But in my case, I just left his head out and held it with my hand or arm all while his body weight was supported by the wrap. This was also less sweaty as our bodies are not in as much contact. He loved this when he was awake because he is really curious and always wants to see what’s going on around. Anyway, I’ll write a proper review on the subject very soon.

I think that concludes my first month impressions of this thing called parenthood. There have been some disagreements at home due to a combination of all the changes and lack of sleep but I’ve found that as long as I’m not too selfish and remain generous… I receive a lot. Whatever goes on, we just talk about it, complain about it and sort it out. What’s the expression? Don’t sweat the small stuff. This is true and in the grand scheme of things, the conflicts we are having in the morning are already forgotten by lunch.

One last piece of advice, whatever hobby or thing you liked to do together before the baby. Make sure you still do that, or a version of it because it will work wonders on your closeness, affection and communication, to not forget who you were before the baby and who you will have more time to be over the next year and as time rolls by. That’s it, don’t be selfish and stay connected and you’ll be fine.

Hard To Parent a Newborn? It’s A Lie.

11707890_10152847394921090_3762469888563235742_oYou know how the story goes, every parent has always told you that it’s hard to be a parent to a baby and your whole life changes. Well, they are lying. I always said I didn’t believe this idea and I still don’t. I can’t speak about parenting as a whole for the entire duration from birth to adolescence but as far as a newborn baby goes, it’s really not that hard. You change dirty diapers, keep him clean, feed him when he’s hungry and comfort him when he needs safety and closeness. That’s it. Continue reading