Save. Spend. Splurge.

Round Two: More Observations of a Growing Baby as a New Mother and Parent

Just to remind everyone that this is my first experience with a baby. I have never babysat, held a baby more than 15 minutes or watched one in my life until I had my own.

Everything I learned about babies, has come from the internet, from books and from listening to other people’s (sometimes) misguided but well-meaning advice.

Again, my disclaimer is that this post will be NOT INTERESTING TO ANYONE who is not a parent or thinking about becoming a parent and want to be completely turned off from having children.

So here’s my original: Initial Observations of a New Mother and Parent


Sometimes, Mommy needs a treat to calm down her nerves and pat herself on the back (in the belly?) for a successful job well done, avoiding a crying meltdown from trying to get her baby to sleep.

For instance, this raspberry pistachio tart does the trick every time.




I’ve noticed that when I eat a lot of fat, my milk production increases. I get about 4 ounces more than I normally would, and the milk flows easily.

Without fat, my milk production stalls and I can literally see in the bottle the separation of a very thin layer of fat, and the rest being almost translucent and watery, meaning there isn’t enough fat in there to be milk, it’s mostly water.

The only horrible thing about all of this fat-eating, is that my skin breaks out.

My body does not process fat very well but I need it to produce milk.


The good news is that I get to eat smoked meat sandwiches with liver pate and not feel (as) guilty because I’m helping increase my milk production:




Onyx belt level.

SO BLACK it’s blacker than black.

I can get in and out of a room without making any noise.

I have even perfected the art of not moving too fast so that it creates a wind, breeze, or a draft that will float over and wake him up.

The trick?

Toes down then the heel. Don’t try and walk flat footed.

Move slowly.

Don’t make noises.

Don’t turn on any lights.

Don’t think.

Don’t breathe. Too loudly.

Don’t blink.

Don’t exude any fear. They can smell it, and it’s like a signal to wake up.

Then when the baby is finally drowsy, scream at your partner for doing the dishes and banging them around while the baby is trying to get to sleep. (OK so that one was a one-time thing)

You too, once you have a baby, may learn how to become a Parent Ninja.

That’s not to say he can’t sleep through ANY noise. I don’t want to raise a kid that can’t sleep through any kind of little noise.

He can.. but only once he’s actually asleep, not while he’s TRYING to sleep. Once he’s asleep, you can go into the room, grab stuff and not wake him, but doing it while he’s trying to sleep is just asking for trouble.



It’s all worth it when you see his gummy smile or make him giggle.

He usually giggles as he’s peeing on me or trying to get out of getting his diaper changed, but that’s another story.

It’s also really gratifying to come into the room, have him search out with his eyes for you, find you, and give a huge huge grin because you’re one of his favourite people.

I love trying to get him to giggle and smile. I’ll pretty much do anything to keep it going.


I know all babies get it, but he hadn’t had a SINGLE BOUT of diaper rash for 5 full months until we moved.

I suspect my diet has something to do with it, so I stopped drinking citrus juices to avoid giving him alkaline pee, which may be very irritating and the cause for his diaper rash.

In the meantime, creams from the doctor (the first one being hydrocortisone which sort of worked but then it came back), and this new anti-fungal one (with Canesten), seem to be working on his butt.

I change his cloth diapers every single time he pees.

Sometimes I change him three times an hour.

For disposable diapers, I change him at least every 2 hours unless he’s sleeping, then I leave the diaper on for 12 hours… I’m sure that doesn’t help his diaper rash but I am too exhausted to deal with a baby who wakes up from a diaper change, so I just pray it doesn’t affect him too much.


Yep. He has it.

He gets it from me and BF’s side (his family members have it, but he doesn’t).

I hope he grows out of it and doesn’t end up having it like I did as a kid.

It’s the worst thing to have as a kid. I know it firsthand.

Now, I am moisturizing him every night with a baby massage and a light layer of hydrocortisone until the rash disappears. It’s almost gone (it’s been almost a week), and then I’ll stop using hydrocortisone and just rub heavy moisturizer onto his body every night.


We moved.

As a result, he started sleeping only 5 hours again, waking every 3 hours, crying for milk.

He’s finally working back towards sleeping 7 hours in a stretch, or sometimes 5 hours, a little milk, then another 5 hours.. but this is 3 weeks later and him getting used to his new environment/surroundings.

Any change will make your child want to be comforted / nursed more.

Plus.. I can feel like he grew within the past few weeks.

His head is markedly bigger / fatter than before. How do I know this? I regularly palm my baby’s head.

No joke, I actually do this… and my palm used to be able to cover his entire face and almost go around his entire head, and now it barely covers his face.


He is also refusing to sleep after 2 p.m. I am at my wit’s end.

I am going to start packing him into my Chimparoo carrier and forcing him to nap at least an hour so that he sleeps later at night and wakes up later.


He stopped growing (I know this because he stopped feeding so damn much), and now is sleeping a tiny bit better because I am not letting him sleep past 1.5 hours.

I tried letting him sleep as much as he wanted (sometimes up to 3 hours) because you should never wake a sleeping baby (or so they say), but it totally messed with his night sleep.

The theory behind not waking up a baby from a nap is that if they sleep well during the day, they sleep well at night. This is true, but in Baby Bun’s case, if he naps for only 30 minutes, he’s cranky and needs another nap earlier than normal, like within the hour or so.

If he naps about an hour, he’s fine for another nap in about 2 hours.

If he naps for an hour and a half, he’s good to nap in 2.5 hours or so.

Any longer than 2 hours for a nap, and he refuses to sleep for at least another 3 hours (crying all the way), and his night sleep is totally effed up, waking up every 3 hours, half awake, not even sleepy, crying for milk or just to be patted back to sleep.

If he sleeps TOO well during the day, his night sleeping is just awful, he wakes up at 2 a.m. – 4 a.m. and wants to play even though he has only slept about 7 hours in total for the night and needs somewhere between 11 – 12 hours.

I wake him up every 1.5 – 2 hours now, and I am moving his bed time to be later and later, right now we’re around 8 p.m. for bedtime which is ideal, as he then wakes up around 5 a.m. sometimes 6 a.m.


My partner made the grave, GRAVE, SERIOUS mistake the other day of saying to me in anger:

I am changing his diaper to help you out, and you…

..before I cut him off and let him have it.

My response was something along the lines of:

Help ME OUT?


Changing your SON’S DIAPER is NOT helping me out.


It’s being a parent. It’s being a father.

It’s learning how to be a parent so that you can take care of him.

This isn’t helping ME.

It’s for HIM.

You can’t just go around your life thinking that you can just play with him an hour or two a day when you get home and it being sufficient to be called a parent.

You need to do all the tough stuff of being a parent too — changing his diaper, feeding him, getting him to nap. THESE ARE ALL THINGS a parent does, not just a mother.

When you watch him, you aren’t BABYSITTING or helping me out.

You are watching YOUR CHILD and taking care of him, not HELPING ME.

I was so furious that I pumped milk for half an hour to get rid of the buildup, and then told him curtly I was going out.


I left him short instructions of when the baby last ate, when he should eat, and when he should nap.

I came back two hours later, a little more relaxed, but more importantly, I came back to a partner who I think finally realized that he had to start stepping up to take care of him a bit more rather than leaving it all to me.

I’m going to start leaving him alone when need be, like when I go get my driver’s license or to the dentist. Baby Bun has to learn that his father is also a caregiver.

Mothers are not the only ones who can take care of a child.

I’m admittedly not very maternal, no matter what people think, but I try my best so that I am a good mother, so I expect the same from his father.

Not only that, I don’t want him expecting me to always be the one to take care of him. I don’t want to be the defaulted parent 100% of the time.

I don’t mind taking care of Baby Bun now since I am not working and he is, but when the roles are reversed he has to be able to step up to the plate and take over.

Particularly since that I am going to go back to work soon (I hope) he has to learn how to take care of him without me being around all the time, and there is no better way to learn than to be throw into the deep end of parenthood like I was.

I get that he can’t do things like rock Baby Bun to sleep, which brings me to my next point of sleep training, but he has to learn like all other fathers should learn, how to take care of a child without the crutch of relying on the mother.

He does a lot of stuff that helps me out like cook (and do the dishes), or organize, do his own laundry, and do grocery shopping but all of that is not comparable to taking care of a child 24/7 which includes diaper changes, naps, feedings and playtime.

All of that stuff is easy to do without a baby on your back or to think of because once you’re at home, all of those errands and chores are done… but a baby is 24/7 and it doesn’t stop.

Hell, I’d love to go out and do all the grocery shopping without a baby and to leave him at home with someone. It’s so much easier without a kid to tote around, but that’s not what parenthood is all about.

I credit this book (thank you, reader who suggested it!) to helping me see that I was enabling him to NOT help me out more often because I wasn’t asking him to do things.

If I had someone who cleaned, washed, changed and fed the baby, then just handed him to me to play for an hour or two a day, I’d love it too… which is exactly what I was doing and not letting him be a father.



So in my initial observations as a new mother, I noted that I finally resorted to Method #3: Mommy’s Back Hurts method, where I lay him down on his belly and patting his butt to sleep.

(By the way, I only lay him down on his belly to sleep because he does it automatically anyway. He flips himself over at night and refuses to sleep on his back now. Who am I to force him to sleep on his back if he doesn’t want to? SIDS* BE DAMNED!!

SIDS = Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; although I am being facetious because he sleeps on his belly because he has learned how to roll over, and how to roll back on his own.)

I’ve modified my Mommys Back Hurts method because I want to cut out rocking him to sleep completely.

The original method:

The Mommy’s Back Hurts Original method:

Essentially, I walk very slowly with him in my arms, patting his butt while singing a lullaby.

I lull him to sleep and once I see him turn his head into my chest (a sign of sleepiness), I gently lay him down on his bed, and basically pat him until he sleeps.

The NEW MBH (Mommy’s Back Hurts) Method, Modified To Remove Rocking/Lullabies

I no longer walk with him and pat his butt while singing a lullaby. He has to go into a daycare soon, and his father is unable to walk and rock him because he has a horrible back and will throw it out at the slightest twitch.

He is also getting heavier and fatter. It’s not that I can’t carry him for a long period of time, it’s more that I don’t want to.

My arms get tired, I get frustrated, my back twinges, and sometimes he just keeps screaming because he can’t get comfortable in my arms but he also doesn’t want to be laid down to sleep by himself… it’s a whole bundle of WTF-ness.

My new method, is I simply check for his sleepy signs: fussiness, whiny behaviour, rubbing his eyes, yawning…. and I check / change his diaper, and lay him into his bed on his belly and start patting his butt.


The first nap was horrible. 45 minutes of screaming and crying until he turned purple in the face and had to be held for 15 minutes while sobs wracked his little body and he calmed down from his screaming/crying. I felt AWFUL… but my ears also hurt.

I made a note to myself to grab some earplugs for the next round.


Earplugs IN PLACE!

It’s much easier to talk in a soothing voice and tone if you don’t have a baby screaming bloody murder in your ear. My ears were ringing after the first nap and I wasn’t about to repeat the experience.

I saw the signs of sleepiness, changed his diaper, and placed him belly down (it’s his preferred sleeping position now), and started patting his butt to get him to sleep while saying things like:

  • You’re a big baby now. You have to learn to go to sleep on your own, okay?
  • Mommy has to go back to work soon. Mommy can’t carry you and rock you to sleep any more, okay?
  • Mommy’s back is hurting. You’re getting too big for Mommy to rock you all the time.

I know it sounds totally ridiculous when you read it out loud but talking in a soothing manner seems to help.

He actually stops and seems to listen to me. No frickin’ clue if he understands me, but at least he’s not screaming and he’s listening to me.

After he calmed down and I wiped his tears away, I laid him back down on his belly and patted his butt furiously for the next 30 minutes until he gave little whimpers and finally laid his head down to rest.


I was prepared again with earplugs and boy did I need them this time around.

See, I had fed him 2 hours ago, and apparently Baby Bun is growing so much, he NEEDS to feed every 2 hours now instead of 3.

I TOTALLY missed the cues that he was hungry and not necessarily tired (yet), and I didn’t get a bottle into his mouth until he was purple in the face with frustration and rage, huge rivers of tears coming down his cheeks and out of his eyes and screaming bloody murder.

I finally clued in that maybe.. just MAYBE he might be hungry (babies digest milk in 90 minutes but can eat every 2 – 3 hours), and I grabbed a bottle.

I fed him the entire bottle of milk and he was dozing off as he was eating. Sensing victory, I popped him onto the bed on his belly, gave a few pats and quickly Mommy Ninja’d my way out of the room like a stealthy cat burglar.

Half an hour later, he woke up with a terrified scream.

I ran back in and didn’t pick him up (half an hour is NOT A NAP), and patted his butt back to sleep again.

10 minutes later, a little whimpering and he was back to sleep and slept another hour and a half.

I am basically nursing him to sleep in these cases because.. well. I am not knocking what works.

No skin off my back if he has to nurse to sleep. He only drinks from the bottle anyway.. ANYONE can “nurse him to sleep”.

No need for Mommy here.

Plus, I think at least if he nurses to sleep, he won’t wake up in half an hour because he’s a little hungry. He’ll wake up because he has had a better nap.


So far it seems to be working. It just varies how long and how much bum-petting it takes to get him to stop yowling and sleep already.

Sometimes he goes straight to sleep after being nursed, other times, no such luck, he stares up at you with big eyes, gives a big gummy smile, starts kicking his feet like he’s cycling and acts like nothing is wrong.

If it’s before 2 hours, I pick him up and hold him a little while longer. If it’s been 2 hours already, I try desperately to make him nap because if he stays awake past 2 hours without a nap, I am in for a ROUGH, ROUGH night of hearing him wake up every 3 hours.


He is sleeping longer because of this and his naps have improved somewhat. Sometimes he still only sleeps 30 minutes or so but when he gets into a good nap, he can go up to 3 hours without waking up.

I think it’s because he is getting himself to go to sleep (even though I am still patting his butt to sleep as he is self-soothing), and when he wakes up after 45 minutes he drops right back into another 45 minute nap because he KNOWS where he is.

Before, he was sleeping even before I laid him down on the bed, and when he woke up after his first 45 minute cycle, my arms were gone and he was alone in his bed, which made him wake up and wonder where I was!

His napping was just terrible as a result. He was only napping 20-45 minutes at a time and driving me bonkers.

Now, he’s starting to nap about 2-3 hours at a time on and off (not consistently). I am going to start experimenting with only letting him nap 1.5 hours – 2 hours at a time because his night sleep is getting affected, and he’s waking up at 4 a.m.

I let him nap for 3 hours, and he woke up at 4 a.m. and wanted to play until 5 a.m.

I woke up him at 2 hours instead of letting him continue, and while he still woke up at 4 a.m., he fell back asleep pretty quickly.

I’m going to try 1.5 hours…

I think it’s helping that I am there, patting his butt furiously, going “shhh shhh shhh”, and he knows I am there even though I won’t pick him up. It makes me feel a bit better about this CIO (Cry It Out) method because I haven’t left him alone. I am still there, but not holding him or rocking him.


.. sex may hurt for the first couple of times, no matter how long ago you gave birth.


But I went through a C-section and I didn’t think I’d be affected er.. down there.. but I was.

It was very painful, even after my scar had a good 5 months to heal.


  • Revanche

    It just burns me up when any parent says they are babysitting their kids, though I notice it predominantly happens with men. I’m sorry, you’re WHAT? You didn’t have a part in creating this child? In that case, you’re babysitting. If that child has your genes or if you took on the parent name then you’re a damn parent and you’re not BABYSITTING. *grrr*

    PiC, luckily, hasn’t yet made that faux pas and is still both willing and eager to do more than his fair share to help out since he know it’s going to be physically taxing for me in all ways. It’ll still be a shock to his system (I know how much work they are generally from a lot of babysitting experience), but it’s cute how he’s been trying to learn with his nieces/nephews over the years, just in case. I think both learning how to help me when I needed it b/c of the chronic crap and having Doggle was really a huge eye opener for him in sharing parenting responsibilities: we both had to do a lot and pitch in for each other as possible and keeping score of what he had to give up to do that or what I had to do never did anything but hurt the situation.

    A cousin told me once that she combated diaper rash by doing mostly naked time when they were home: she’d keep track of when pee was likely going to happen and stuck her kid’s butt under the sink any time she peed and patted dry instead of using wipes and diapering up. Interesting technique… not totally sure if I would use it for very long (they get heavy!) but it worked well for them.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      EXACTLY! Which is why I am nipping this one in the bud.

      He will be really surprised if he has never handled a baby before. I found it pretty exhausting and mentally draining due to the constant supervision and fatigue.

      Hmm.. naked time huh? I am not sure I want to keep him naked all the time though.. I think I’ll stick to cloth and change him constantly. It seems to be helping. And shea butter to waterproof his skin.

  • anna

    LOL at mommy ninja!! Do you notice a decrease/increase with diaper rash when it comes to cloth versus regular diaper? My friend swears by the former, and that there have been no rashes as a result. I’d be pretty furious with the ‘helping out’ comment, as well – my husband already does that when it comes to putting away dishes, and I set the record straight really quickly. I’m glad Baby Bun is getting better rest – thank you so incredibly much for all the amazing tips!

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I find that with cloth diapers because I have to change him more often (easier to see when he is wet), I had ZERO diaper rash for the first 4 months. It was not until we moved and I started getting lazier and using more disposables that I saw the rashes.

      Also, I stopped drinking citrus juices like lemonade which I read made his pee more alkaline and maybe more probe to a rash. This seems to have helped.

      I think cloth is much better if you can hack it but when you go out, trying to change a baby 3-4 times an hour or even hourly can be difficult especially with one who pees a lot like Baby Bun. It is hard to find washrooms with baby change tables and then it is another mess to pack those used cloth diapers into a plastic bag, have it smell, etc.

      You’re welcome!

  • The Asian Pear

    I had a fit of laughter when I read this:

    “Don’t blink. Don’t exude any fear. They can smell it, and it’s like a signal to wake up.”


  • Frances

    So many truths in this post, great one! Although I am on my third (boy!) I still am no expert but I know that eating beef and oatmeal helps boost my milk productivity. Also, Sudocrem has worked great for diaper rashes in this household. It is an antiseptic as well so I think it helps 🙂

  • Alexis

    My friend is about to have her baby and I will be living with her during the first few months of the baby being born. Pretty crazy and I can’t wait to see what the experience will be like.

  • Morgaine

    Thanks again for these posts, they are so insightful! Glad to hear baby bun is getting used to his new surroundings. I will definitely have to remember to pick up that book, when the time comes 🙂

  • debt debs

    Love reading your stories about parenthood, Certified Mommy Ninja lol. My daughter is very strict about our grandson’s bedtime routine, so much so that they don’t even come to dinner anymore unless it’s early or a lunch. They normally eat at 5, bath at 6, then story time and feeding and bed by 7. It works well and we’ve been successful getting him to sleep with this routine (he may cry a little doing the bum rock on his tummy in his crib) when babysitting. He has been flipping to his tummy for awhile too.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Yes, that’s what I am noticing too. He HAS to be at home by 6 p.m., in bed by 7 p.m. otherwise he screams bloody murder. He needs to be in a routine or else he’s all thrown off.

      Baby Bun does the same bum rock on his tummy… I call it “shaking your butt at Mommy”. 🙂

  • NZ Muse

    Not to be a total freak but I love your physical TMIs. Stuff I would never think to research but good to know. I think I’m going to be 90% grossed out and 10% fascinated by all of those bodily changes when that time comes.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Oh good. *phew* I thought it would be a little too TMI for some people, but .. no one ever told me that and I didn’t really read anything about it online particularly with C-Sections.

      (It is worth it though. I love him so much..)

      • sabrina

        @save. spend. splurge.: hi! i love your fashion posts, started browsing around a bit and here i am. i know this is an old post, but… intercourse after having a baby, whether vaginally or surgically, can be painful because of low estrogen which makes vaginal tissues thinner and drier. it doesn’t matter which way baby came out!

  • Anonymous

    So many things to say!
    1) Shea butter is great for babies. I know you like “clean” products. It works wonders for baby eczema and preventing diaper rash. Worked well for preventing stretch marks during pregnancy. Coconut oil is great for baby cradle cap or anything that hints at skin fungus like cradle cap.
    2) Ergobaby has a great baby carrier, for people who have bad backs.
    3) Parents need to share responsibility. Totally agree. Moms need breaks.
    4) Being a first time mommy is hard! You are doing a great job!
    5) Finally, I want to tell you that you are awesome. I am so glad I randomly found your new blog. Used to read your previous one all the time. I’m very shy so forgive my anonymity. Someday I’ll get over it. Love your budget posts, love how you balance saving with enjoying life, love your fashion posts (quality over quantity!) love your food posts (yum), and love your sense of humor. If we were in the same town, we would be friends. I’m on the same page with you about other things like “clean” products and family dynamics.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      How very fortunate you found me and thank you for all the nice things you’re saying! I’m also glad you’re commenting. I like hearing from new/veteran readers.

      (how did you find me?!? 🙂 )

      I am going to buy some Shea butter tomorrow I think. I had half a shell left but I couldn’t transport it easily without it possibly melting in the car all over everything.

      Would coconut oil work for diaper rash too?? If it is anti fungal….

      My partner is thankfully much better now. He changes and grabs Baby Bun in the morning…

      • Anonymous

        @save. spend. splurge.: Yes, coconut oil has great anti-fungal properties. Unfortunately, its melting point is much lower than shea butter so it will be runnier. Shea will stick to baby’s bottom better than coconut oil. Bare baby bottom time (so cute!) also helps to prevent diaper rash. So Bare if you Dare!

        I stumbled upon your new blog while reading The Asian Pear’s blog. Something about the way she described your blog rang a bell; when I started reading this blog, I instantly recognized your writing style. I initially found your previous blog when researching minimalism and budgeting (two of my great passions).

        Re: insisting on Daddy’s involvement, I say a resounding “Good for you!” Dads and babies need to give moms “Mommy Time (MT).” MT is good for daddies, babies AND mommies. The best gift parents can give child(ren) is a good relationship between the parents. One key component of that is MT.

        I, like you, am career-oriented as well as baby-oriented. Being a first-time mommy can be very challenging yet incredibly rewarding. For me, being at home on maternity leave and returning to work BOTH held unique challenges. I found strength and solidarity in the mommy “community,” so feel free to PM me if you ever have questions or just need to vent.

        • save. spend. splurge.

          Okay 🙂 I will definitely find some shea butter and rub it on his butt. We’re cloth diapering too, so we need to make sure we really wash off the shea butter off the cloths with hot water and soap.

          I will definitely bare his butt but he keeps crawling everywhere which makes me feel like he’ll just spray all over the place..

          Oh thank you 🙂 That’s so nice that you found me through one of my friends! Haha.. My writing style is pretty distinctive I guess. That’s nice to know.

          As for MT.. I need MT. I am thinking of getting some serious MT once Daddy is off work and is more at home. I just need time to go out by myself, recharge, get stuff done without a baby strapped to my chest. Having to constantly not be able to eat when I am hungry because he’s fussy, or to be ALONE without a baby is really trying. He’s going to figure that out when I go back to work and Baby Bun will be his responsibility during the day.

          I love love love being a Mommy for sure. I’m even reminiscing or getting sentimental over when he was a newborn. A tiny little thing. Don’t miss the sleepless nights, mind you.. but I do miss how tiny he was (I look back at photos).

          • Helen

            Also, hydrocortisone use will weaken the skin over time. I read that factoid while researching how to deal with my winter eczema. Unless you’re curing a disease, pharmaceuticals do more harm to the body than good, so I seek out alternative natural options.

            So, definitely switch to shea butter for Baby Bun’s diaper rash and eczema. For the itch, I recommend DermaMed’s All-Purpose Ointment, or Zoe Organic’s Cream (formerly Extreme Cream).

            Really, nothing is too TMI when it comes to being a mother. Round two was awesome to read.

            • save. spend. splurge.

              Thank you! I’ve stopped the use of hydrocortisone until it cleared up. I’m rubbing lotion on him nightly..

              I’ll look into Zoe’s cream, and buy some shea butter.. today.. or tomorrow.

              Haha 🙂 I’m glad to hear TMI is not an awful thing for everyone. I sometimes hesitate as to how honest I should be.

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