The Happiest Mom on The Block

Can I just say reading and books are amazing? In my last post I was fretting about feeling under-prepared to be a Mom, and about the fears associated with, you know, giving birth to and parenting another human being – a CHILD version of one at that, with an immature brain and lots of primal needs that are communicated through oodles of crying. But rather than continuing to be consumed with worry, I resolved to start educating myself so as to better “prepare” for this life changing event that is coming in just 7-weeks. 7 weeks (hopefully)!

A friend, who once also blogged about her struggles with infertility, but who is now happily consumed with mothering her 3-month old son, sent me a book that she wished she had read sooner, Dr. Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block. I procrastinated reading it at first, but when I finally started I finished in a few days. It was an excellent, reassuring, and excitement inducing read (seriously). I believe it has helped prepare me to be the best mother I can be to my little baby Daphne in her “4th Trimester” or the 3-4 months that proceed birth. Because to be honest, the thing I was most afraid of, am most afraid of, is a screaming baby I won’t be able to comfort, especially given my lack of experience with infants!

Dr. Karp’s book teaches parents techniques to settle a “colicky” infant during their most fragile time. Those techniques are rolled into the 5 S’s, or Swaddling, Side/Stomach position (but not during sleep), Shushing, Swinging, and Sucking (did you know pacifier use after the first month when a baby is used to breastfeeding, can reduce the risk of SIDS? Obvi, I didn’t know any such thing!).

Now after reading this awesome book, I can’t wait to swaddle the #$%T out of little Daphne. I can’t wait to rise to the challenge of meeting her needs. I can’t wait to help ease her transition from the warm wiggly womb into the big cold, but beautiful world. It feels good to be excited, because as I’m sure you could tell I was feeling more nervous than anything before I started to get into this mom mindset.

Moms to be, are there any books you’re reading to prepare for child birth and infant care? Veteran moms, any you recommend? The more I can educate myself the better!

In between reading The Happiest Baby, watching Constitutional Law lecture videos, and continuing the arduous, but fun task of settling into our new home, we’ve been working on Daphne’s nursery. Even though we plan to co-sleep with either a bassinet/co-sleeper by the bed or the protective cocoon that goes between both parents until the end of 4-months, I’m thrilled we’ll have a place for all her baby goodies. You’ll see by the pictures that the room is still not 100% ready (we need a glider, a changing table, and a crib mattress), but we’re getting there. You’ll also see that I’ve strayed away from the traditional girly colors in favor of a more gender neutral theme, though I didn’t try to be “gender neutral” on purpose. I just personally only like pink in moderation, meaning I know she’ll be wearing lots of pink for the first year of her life and so a wall to wall pink palace might be a little too much for both of us! BUT I am a little disappointed at how light the paint color looks in my photos below. That’s something I’ve been learning a lot about in decorating my new home, playing it safe isn’t always the best route, especially in large spaces.

Before I leave you with our nursery photos, I have a confession. At my last doctor’s appointment I supposedly gained 9 lbs in two weeks! This puts my total weight gain at 35 lbs with 7 weeks to go. Now it was a very hot day and I felt like I was retaining water (denial anyone) so I’m hoping I’ll stabilize by the next appointment. As my doctor so eloquently put it, “stop eating so much!” Yeah. I’m going to make a concentrated effort to avoid eating a desert after every meal, but I’m just SO HUNGRY (for carbs, especially for sugar and carbs). And thank God for the daily hour long walks or I’d be a hippo by now. Here’s my 33 week photo. My arms are thicker. My ass is bigger. But I just really don’t care that much. I still feel strong and energetic and fit. Besides Daphne’s fattening up right now and doesn’t need me to be on a diet. Supposedly she’s to gain 1/2 a pound every week for the next 7 weeks.

For having gained SO  MUCH so fast, I really don't feel THAT large yet.
For having gained SO MUCH so fast, I really don’t feel THAT large yet.
We were a little nervous about the block letters above the crib in earthquake country, but plan to further secure them with Museum Putty.
We were a little nervous about the block letters above the crib in earthquake country, but plan to further secure them with Museum Putty.
It's hard to tell because I'm not the world's best photographer, but the walls are a light tourquoise. The pictures say "Make the Day a Sweet One," and "It's going to be a bright sun shiny day."
It’s hard to tell because I’m not the world’s best photographer and we’re still working on lighting in her room, but the walls are a pale turquoise (I’m considering some decals or a darker accent wall to spice it up!). The pictures say “Make the Day a Sweet One,” and “It’s going to be a bright sun shiny day” and will be hung above the changing table. Sometimes quote pics are cheesy, but I loved these.
The piggy bank was gift from my Mom, the butterfly something I got in Malaysia, the blue jar was my great grandmother's, and the elephant was 50 cents at a yard sale. And isn't the owl lamp cute? Gotta love Home Goods.
The piggy bank was a gift from my Mom to Daphne, the butterfly something I got in Malaysia, the blue jar was my great grandmother’s, and the elephant was 50 cents at a yard sale. And isn’t the owl lamp cute? Gotta love Home Goods.
This trolly picture was hanging in the guest room at our condo, but I always knew I'd use it in our future baby's room. See the little red headed girl? I have a strange hunch that Daphne may have red hair! But if she doesn't, at least she'll learn to love one of my favorite cities - San Francisco!
This trolly picture was hanging in the guest room at our condo, but I always knew I’d use it in our future baby’s room. See the little red headed girl? I have a strange hunch that Daphne may have red hair! Regardless, at least she’ll learn to love one of my favorite cities – San Francisco!
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21 comments

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  1. Kimberly

    You look tiny! Don’t let that doctor bully you – the baby needs to gain weight now fast! You look like you have a great figure and will be able to lose it fast! Rooms looks adorable!!

    The one thing I don’t like about Karps approach is that it suggests you can always calm and soothe a baby. Sometimes you can’t. Sometimes they just cry and cry because that is normal at their age. I worry people will think they are a failure or that something is wrong with their baby if their can’t soothe them. That being said a lot of the techniques work great a lot of the time!

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    • Steph Mignon

      I’m actually really glad you mentioned that! The book created the illusion that I’ll be able to rise to the challenge every time. It’s good for me to hear that it won’t always work – that sometimes they just cry to cry despite all that you do!

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  2. cassiedash

    You look beautiful! And so does the nursery! I haven’t found any parenting books that I’m in love with (though I do whole-heartedly believe in swaddling — we just weaned little Skittle from it at 4 months old), but I have tons of childbirth books I could recommend, especially if you’re planning a natural birth. Have you talked about your birthing plans in a post that I missed? Or are you still undecided?

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    • Steph Mignon

      Cassie, because of my history with endometriosis I plan to have an epidural if I need one. I do, however, have a doula who will be assisting in my birth. Is there a page on your blog about books your recommend? Otherwise, I’m happy to hear about any you have liked!

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      • cassiedash

        Totally understandable! (For the record, even though I believe in the merits of a natural birth, I’m not anti-epidural. I had one with my first child and it was the right thing for me at that time.)

        On my blog, I have a “Resources” tab at the top where I list all my favorite books. I just updated it with my favorites for childbirth. They all definitely lean towards advocating for a natural birth, but have amazing information and useful coping mechanisms for the pain, no matter what stage of labor you’re in. And they could definitely be helpful in being more informed and making mindful decisions as you approach the birth of your precious Daphne.

        Wishing you lots of luck in achieving the delivery you want — whatever that may be!

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  3. hopingonhope

    My son cannot be swaddled even at 14 days. He burst out of it at day 7 and now if I even attempt to swaddle him, he has a screaming fest. I have to leave his hands out and soon he wiggles out. Also, we co-sleep with our son, he sometimes side sleeps and I am not comfortable with him side sleeping in the crib. We had to buy a really hard bed and put away all the pillows and blankets.

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    • Steph Mignon

      Very interesting and a bit frustrating. The book mentioned a little about that and said that after swaddling them tightly I guess you’re supposed to jiggle them, shush them (or use white noise machine turned on high), and then, if breastfeeding is established, give them a pacifier. But I’m happy to hear from you because of course I was reading all this with no infant to practice on! Things may go very differently with my own baby as you’ve demonstrated. Good luck and I hope to read more about how baby care is going for you!

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      • hopingonhope

        Each child is different. In my case breast feeding just got established, it takes a week to find a good rhythm for both. And also as a mom somehow you just learn/ know. I have no previous experience either but it just comes naturally.

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  4. bloggerkuwait

    Omg! You are the cutest little pregnant lady! Your body looks phenomenal while pregnant! Gorgeous! And that nursery? Love it, and I’m sure daphne will too! Yay for 7 weeks to go, can’t wait to meet her soon xo

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  5. lydiaseeks

    I doubt you are in danger of gaining a troublesome amount of weight. If you are nervous, cut back on dessert, but I say eat anything else you want! There’s no reason to be hungry, your body knows what it needs, weight-gain charts be damned.

    I love the nursery! I am not a fan of all pink soaked nurseries either for the exact reason you stated, little girls wear SO much pink already. 7 weeks! Wow, time flies.

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  6. josamarie

    You look incredible, I agree that you can’t let your doctor bully you.I have the opposite issue, I am struggling to put on weight (but I wasn’t as tiny as you pre-pregnancy, so had a little extra cushion), and I was really worried about baby not getting enough, but our doctor told us “the weight gain recommendations are just guidelines, every body is different and every baby is different so it’s pretty hard to predict even a range of “acceptable” weight gain.” It was super reassuring!

    I really enjoyed “Bringing up Bebe” by Pamela Druckerman… it’s not so much a parenting book as her personal observations about the difference between French and American parenting, which I found fascinating. I lived in Europe for most of my college years and my first job was in London, it’s always interested me how European kids are raised a little differently than we were, and I got a lot of compelling ideas from the French ideals… whether I put them into practice on baby Max is yet to be seen!

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  7. jesselyn6585

    Awesome choice in reading material. I have print outs of Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s and DUDU swaddle technique for my new parents. Bringing up Bebe is a wonderful book to mentally prepare as well. I really like that one.

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  8. biowoman29@yahoo.com

    I am so glad you love the book! That makes me so happy.

    When you said you look forward to swaddling the sh*t out of Daphne, that made me laugh. When Everett goes on a crying binge, I ask him in a sweet voice if he needs Mommy to swaddle his ass. (We also call it the baby strait jacket.)

    Your nursery looks so pretty and serene! I love all the meaningful pieces and the fact that you kept it simple. And you look adorable!

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  9. Lauren

    After reading your post, I went out and bought the book! LOL. Hopefully, we can both have soothed babies 🙂 You are looking fabulous still, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently!

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