Biggest Surprise: Nanny Issues
I only took two weeks off of school after I had Baby M. My first two weeks back I had help from family. But with Will working full time this semester instead of having a more flexible schedule with classes, we knew we would need child care. We used care.com and interviewed lots of candidates (phone and in person interviews) and ran background checks and finally hired a nanny to help part-time 4 days per week. Just enough to cover my class and group project meeting times. We didn’t need her for spring break so she had been with us for about 4 weeks. It’s so hard to leave your baby with someone you don’t know very well, but we had a nanny cam (see below) so we could check in and make sure everything was going well while we were away. So one morning I fed Baby M when the nanny got there at 9:30 and, as per our pediatricians instructions at our two-month check-up, I reminded the nanny that we were waiting 2 hours between feedings and that I would be home at noon, but she could have a bottle at 11:30 if needed. I had already unthawed a bag of milk from the freezer so it was in the fridge ready to go. I had been building up a little bit of a supply in the freezer from pumping and had all the bags labeled with dates so there were about 10 bags in the freezer. Will happened to have the day off work so he took me to class and then took the opportunity to run a few errands while we had a babysitter. At 10:30 he checked the camera and noticed that the nanny was giving Baby M a bottle. So he let me know and I figured that when we got home, the nanny would say that Baby M was upset and couldn’t wait (which wasn’t really true because as soon as she woke up from her morning nap and fussed she was given the bottle without any attempt to soothe her). But I was planning to just say ok and show the nanny some of the techniques that I use to soothe the baby when she is fussy and to ask her to try these things first before giving a bottle. But when we got home she said that Baby M hadn’t eaten since I fed her at 9:30 and that she had just put the milk in the bottle and was about to give it to her when we got home. I was puzzled by this, but I thought well maybe she started to give her the bottle at 10:30 and put it back in the fridge after she didn’t take it. So the nanny went home and we went back and watched the camera. Nope, at 10:30 she had a full bottle – no milk left. So where did the milk in the bottle in the fridge come from? Also, there was only one bag in the trash… But I checked the freezer and we were missing the bag from March 30. I couldn’t believe that she flat out lied to us! And then, Will looked deeper in the trash and hidden inside of a Panera bag – there was the empty milk bag labeled March 30. So not only had she lied, but she tried to cover it up. About something so silly too! Sure enough, checked the camera again and saw her thaw the second bag of milk to make the bottle – and she even went to the front door in the middle of it and looked out like she was making sure nobody was coming. Part of me wondered if she was trying to get fired – it was just so strange! Anyway, there was no way that I was going to leave my baby with someone who would lie to my face – even about a small thing like that – so I called and told her that she didn’t need to come back next week and explained that we knew she lied to us. She actually said to me on the phone, “oh that’s my bad I forgot to tell you that I fed her.” No, you did not forget when you specifically told me that she hadn’t been fed since I breastfed her (and if you did forget in the time period of 10:30 to noon then I don’t want you watching my child for other reasons). So this was a very long story to tell you that we don’t have a nanny anymore. There are only a few more weeks of school left so I will figure something out, but it makes me very nervous about leaving her with anyone that I don’t know and trust. Like I said, we did background checks and called references and everything. I am generally a very trusting person because I believe that most people are honest – I hope this hasn’t spooked me from any babysitters that aren’t relatives. Have you ever had to deal with anything like this? Please let me know in the comments if you have any advice.
Biggest Challenge: New Feeding Schedule
Our two month checkup was this week and everything was great except she had gone from 30th percentile in weight at 2 weeks old to 20th percentile at 2 months. After discussing her eating and sleeping habits with me the doctor said that it didn’t sound like a supply problem as much as a snacking problem. Lil’ M loved to snack – and use me as a pacifier. Occaisionally she would have a longer feeding and then go for a 2.5-3 hour stretch, but she really liked to eat every 1.5-2 hours – and just a little bit at a time. Sometimes she would only take an ounce from a bottle. And at night a three hour stretch was the exception – mostly it was every 2 hours up to feed. The doctor said that by 2 months she should be able to get at least 3 ounces per feeding and that a 3 hour plus stretch at night should be the norm, not the exception so she asked me to make her wait at least two hours between feedings and then to gradually stretch this out to longer time periods. That way she would get hungry and take a full meal instead of just snacking until satisfied. She said it would be less exhausting for me and would help Baby M put on some weight. Sooo we have been doing that. And it is going well so far. She was a little cranky at first but after a couple of days she seemed to adjust really well (It probably helps that we don’t have a nanny forcing a bottle on her everytime she makes a noise). The only problem now is that she takes a really long time to eat when I feed her (like 20 min per side sometimes). Oh and I am having to retrain the girls – I was having letdown every 1.5 hours like clockwork – so thank goodness for nursing pads lol. We will go back for a weight check in a few weeks and fingers crossed this works so we don’t have to supplement with formula.
Best Baby Care Item: MamaRoo Infant Seat
You’ve probably noticed it in a few pictures (check out the collages from weeks 2, 6, and 8). We love our MamaRoo. Will and I first heard of the MamaRoo way before we were even thinking of babies because Richard Ayoade featured it on an episode of Gadget Man (have I mentioned that Will and I love strange British TV?). Since he is brilliant and funny and more entertaining than I am, I will just leave you with this episode.
Best Mommy Care Item: Drop Cam
Will and I got a Drop Cam last fall when we were preparing for Baby M’s arrival to test out as a baby monitor. We started using it as a way to check in on the house while we were out (and it probably saved us from coming home to a big mess of trash one day when I forgot to close the baby gate all the way and Tesla got out). It is super easy to set-up and you can check on things on your phone. Live viewing is free through the app and there are subscriptions for if you want to save the footage for various lengths of time (1 week, 1 month, 1 year I believe). You can even have it send you notifications when movement is detected in certain zones (how we caught Tesla) and when loud noises occur. It definitely came in handy this week and provides some piece of mind if you have to leave your child with a baby sitter.
Favorite Memory: First Trip to Campus with Mom
Now that flu season is winding down and we have had our two-month shots, I am more comfortable having Baby M out and about. It helps that spring is here too, so taking the stroller for a walk to campus is pretty fun – lots to see and narrate to Baby M and a great way to get our Vitamin D :)
Other Thoughts to Share: Finding Ways for Dad to Help
I am really lucky to have such a great partner in raising our little one. Will has always been very eager to help – but it did take us a few weeks to figure out how he could best help me out. One of the best things about the way we are working together now is that we have figured out that we both have strengths and weaknesses and we can use these to our advantage. For instance, Will isn’t great at staying up late at night, but he is really good at being able to get up and go right back to sleep. Whereas I can get by on less sleep and stay up even when I am tired, but if I have to get all the way up in the middle of the night it takes me longer to fall back to sleep. So we have worked out a system where Will goes to bed before the baby and I, but then for middle of the night feedings and diaper changes, I feed her but stay in bed and he takes her for the diaper change and then brings her back for her second side. It made such a big difference to me when we started doing this! It sounds like a little thing, but you would be surprised how much better I felt. My advice to new parents is be willing to be flexible in the beginning. Hopefully dad will be like my Will and be willing to try out lots of ways to help so that you can find what works best for your team. Don’t think that you have to have all your routines set up and everything figured out in the first couple of weeks.