I never imagined just how incredibly awful it is to find quality, affordable childcare for a newborn.
Of course, I procrastinated on it, because I was secretly hoping Chris would find a job that would pay enough for me to stay home with her… When I finally realized that wasn’t going to happen, I figured I’d do the next best thing, which is not a group daycare. We went back and forth on the benefits of having someone watch her at our house (less time away from a parent, in her own environment, works better if I ever have to travel) and finding a stay-at-home mom up by Bard (closer to me, means I can nurse at lunch time). After not having much luck with simple word of mouth, I ended up putting postings on the Hudson Valley Parent Forum and *gasp* Craig’s List. Yeah, I was nervous about that one, too, but it was anonymous, so I could just delete the emails. We had a few decent leads, but they weren’t working out for one reason or another (hours didn’t mesh with our, cost was prohibitively expensive). Finally, last Wednesday, we met with someone whom we both like and who we can afford – just in the nick of time!
Tuesday through Friday, Chris will be staying with Karri, a stay-at-home mom. She has two daughters, 4 and 5, and a 13 year old step-son. She watches a few other kids part-time throughout the week, but Nora and her 4 year old will be her only full-time responsibities. She lives in Rhinebeck, only 10 minutes away from Bard so I’ll be going there at lunch to nurse her. Her house is really nice, clean, television free, and very kid friendly, so this should be perfect. She even asked if she could use our Baby Bjorn to carry Nora around.
Tomorrow is my first full-day at Bard and Nora’s first day at Karri’s. We’re going up there early so I can stay for 45 minutes and explain things. She also asked me to write up some information, so Chris and I did that this evening. I thought everyone might be interested in the information as well, so here are Nora’s “Instructions”:
We haven’t really developed a schedule quite yet. We feed Nora on demand as she seems hungry, which can be 2 hours since she has last eaten or 20 minutes. During the days when I’m away and she’s taking bottles, she eats an average of 1.5 oz for every hour. She tends to take little cat naps (20 minutes) throughout the day, unless you go somewhere and she falls asleep in the car seat.
We feed Nora when she’s hungry. She exhibits all the typical signs of hunger before crying: sticking her tongue out, rooting, sucking on her hands, and heavier breathing. When she’s sleeping, she’ll display these signs before she even wakes up. If she gets the hiccups, she’ll want to eat. We also have noticed that she’ll get really smiley and cute in conjunction with sticking her tongue out. We don’t let her get agitated before feeding her.
To warm the bottle, you can place it in a mug of hot water or run it under hot water in the sink. Don’t microwave. It’s normal for breast milk to separate; just shake the bottle before you feed her.
She likes to eat from the bottle sitting almost completely upright, because otherwise it can come out too quickly. You’ll need a bib, and you may need to give her a few breaks during a feeding. We generally burp her in this sitting upright position as well.
All of her bottles are two to three ounces. We don’t combine them to make bigger bottles because once she starts to eat out of it, it can’t be saved. If she still seems hungry after finishing the first bottle, you can offer her a second, smaller bottle. If she only wants a small amount, don’t try to coax her to finish a bottle.
To help you identify the age of the refrigerated milk, I’ll be color-coding it with silicone sleeves, so that bottles pumped at the same time will all have the same color sleeve. The order will be none, yellow, green, blue.
We normally change Nora’s diaper every 1.5 to 2 hours. I always check her before feeding, about 30 minutes after a feeding, and if she’s just woken up from a long nap. The cloth diapers can’t hold as much liquid, so if she pees more than once, they may leak. She has virtually no blow outs if the diapers are on right (this is way better than when she was wearing disposables).
The cloth diapers consist of two parts, cotton diapers and water-proof covers. The cover will hold the diaper in place – no pins are necessary. Unless it gets really dirty, you can reuse the cover when you change her. It’s easiest to fit the diaper inside the cover before you put it on her. This is important: the cover only works if none of the diaper is sticking out! Make sure you check around her legs and at the back to make sure that the diaper is totally inside the cover after you put it on.
Dirty diapers (and covers) can go straight into the purple wet bag for me to pick up at the end of the day. There are two smaller wet bags in her diaper bag for when you go out. I wash diapers every other day; if for some reason you run out of diapers (or covers) we have emergency disposables in her diaper bag.
A note about wipes: At home, we use disposable wipes, because we can just throw them in the trashcan on their own. When we go out, we have some cloth wipes and a spray bottle with water in the diaper bag, because it’s easier to put cloth wipes in the wet bag with her dirty diapers rather than find a trashcan for just a wipe. If the cloth wipes don’t work for you, you can use a disposable and throw it in the wet bag; I can take them out before I do laundry.