Baby’s Firsts

I haven’t written in a while because things have been a little busy here in Baby Land…

Even though Ken was working most of the weekend, Julia and I had a lot of fun!  Saturday morning Julia and I spent the morning at home, playing and enjoying the sun on the porch.  photo

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After a morning nap, we celebrated our friends’ graduation from Medical School!  We got a chance to hang out with Kathleen’s family for lunch and with Liz’s family for dinner.  It’s so funny to think that this was actually Julia’s second time going to the Tulane Med School graduation since she was technically there last year when Ken graduated from Medical School, only she was in my belly at the time!  image

Julia really seems to love social events… while we were with Kathleen’s family, she loved being held by Kathleen’s sister and her boyfriend, and she was so happy to watch the dogs running around the room.  She even laughed when the dogs started barking at someone knocking on the door!

Sunday we went to the zoo with our Mommy & Baby Friends.  It was Julia’s first time going to the zoo!  She slept for a while, and was sleeping when we took this stroller picture of all the babies in front of the Elephant Fountain.   It was really hot and muggy out and I had to put sunscreen on her for the first time, but I’m glad we got a chance to go to the zoo before leaving New Orleans.  I’m definitely excited that Baltimore has a good zoo, since when Julia gets to be a little older, it will be a lot of fun to have a zoo to go to.   image_1

I think she’s still a little too young to appreciate the animals at the zoo, since she was more interested in looking at all the people than she was in looking at the animals, but I had a good time at least, and enjoyed hanging out with the other Moms.  It’s always nice to talk with moms of babies the same age so that you can compare and contrast and talk about things that are working, things that aren’t working, etc.  We ended up talking most of the time about what the babies are eating, how they’re sleeping, what fun tricks they can do, what toys they like to play with, etc.  We also stopped for lunch in one of the cafeterias–it was nice to sit in the AC for a while and it gave us a chance to nurse the babies and then let them play on the table for a little while.  photo

One of the moms also had a really nice camera with her and took some great photos!  image_1

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Monday after work, before picking up Julia, I stopped to visit Baby Leigha.  She is just so precious and teeny tiny.  It’s hard to believe she’s just about the same size that Julia was when she was born.  It’s amazing how many changes they go through in such a short period of time!  Julia looks closer in size to our 20-month old neighbor than she does to Leigha, even though she’s closer in age to Leigha.  image_3

Evan and Jade seem to be doing well with Leigha at home, though of course they are exhausted (they’re supposed to be–they have a newborn!).  It’s nice to feel as though we are a source of information for them since we were just there a few months ago and we understand what they are going through.  It’s always nice to have someone who has the newborn stage fresh in their memory while  you’re going through it so they can remind you that this, too, shall pass.  I also feel like seeing us and Julia is kind of like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for them, since they can see what they have to look forward to!

When I picked Julia up from daycare Monday afternoon, they told me that she had thrown up three times after her last bottle of the day and that she had diarrhea.  This was her first time exhibiting any sort of gastro-intestinal symptoms, so they suggested we keep an eye on her.  I got her home, where she was a bit more fussy than usual, but didn’t seem too sick… but since she did have a bit of a fever, we gave her Tylenol, and then she went to sleep without a problem.  She woke up after an hour, screaming, which is very unlike her, so I went in to check on her.  The minute I sat down to nurse her, she threw up, and her vomit was red from the Tylenol.  After nursing, she went right back to sleep and slept through the night.

Tuesday morning she seemed okay… she nursed fine, didn’t throw up, didn’t have a fever, etc. so I took her to daycare and asked them to call me if there were any problems.  Around 11:30 AM they called to say that Julia had a fever.  I picked her up at about 12:30, by which time her fever had gone down, but she had two little sores on her tongue.  I wasn’t really sure what they were or how I could make them hurt less, so I called the doctor to schedule an appointment for that afternoon.  Julia seemed miserable Tuesday afternoon… her tongue was clearly bothering her–she kept sticking it out, was drooling a lot, and the only thing that seemed to help was nursing and sucking on things–her thumb, her pacifier, toys, etc.

At the doctor, her temperature was about 100 degrees, and it turned out she had an ear infection in one ear.  The doctor said that probably what happened was she got an upper respiratory viral infection, which could have caused the nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and then she developed a secondary ear infection.  The trend amongst pediatricians is to prescribe fewer antibiotics but the doctor said that in a baby as young as she is, she does like to treat ear infections, especially when they are accompanied by a fever.  If she didn’t have the fever, we probably would have just let her clear the infection on her own.  So this is baby’s first ear infection and first course of antibiotics!  I asked the doctor about how contagious she was, and the doctor said that the general rule of thumb is that kids should be on antibiotics for 24 hours before going back to school, so I kept her home Wednesday and took the day off to stay home with her.  When Julia is sick, she sleeps more than usual, and that was what tipped off the folks at daycare that something was not quite right.  Tuesday morning she took a 2 hour nap at daycare.  Then, when we got home, she took a 30-minute nap before we went to the doctor and she took another 45-minute nap when we got home from the doctor.  image_4

Wednesday, we spent most of the day at home, but we did run out to get a few errands done… and Julia went in the grocery cart at Rouse’s for the first time!  She loved it and was smiling the whole time!  I think she liked being able to look around at everything and everyone.  She was making lots of happy cooing noises and lots of people stopped to smile at her!  image_5

Last night was the first night in a while that Julia didn’t sleep through the night.  She woke up at about 2:15 and since she’s sick, we didn’t feel comfortable letting her cry.  Ken went to get her from her crib and I nursed her in bed, which, of course, made her go back to her old ways… she only slept for about a half an hour between 2:15 and 4 AM, at which point I decided to go back into her room to put her to sleep.  I nursed her for about 10 more minutes until she seemed calm and sleepy, and then I put her in her crib with her pacifier and she went back to sleep for about 2 more hours.

When she gets sick, I can’t help but think of it as a blessing and a curse… of course it’s a curse because I don’t like to see her sick.  It breaks my heart when she’s not feeling well or in pain and there’s not much I can do to help her feel better.  She’s also so small, vulnerable and helpless and I can’t explain to her that if she rests, drinks fluids, and takes her medicines, she’ll feel better in a day or two.  She can’t understand what’s happening, which makes it worse.  At the same time, it’s almost a blessing when she’s sick since it means I get to stay home with her… we get extra snuggles and we get to take Mommy & Baby Nap Time together.

Anyway… that’s my story… sorry it was so long, but a lot has happened since I wrote last!  There’s a lot coming up in the next several weeks, too… here’s what I know of so far:

Saturday: Crawfish Boil at Ken’s Masonic Lodge

Monday: Memorial Day (Ken will be working nights so he probably won’t be the best company but hopefully we’ll get to spend a few hours together during the day before he has to go back into the hospital for his Monday night shift).

Next weekend: Goodbye Weekend for our Rabbi & his family at our Synagogue.  We’re getting a babysitter to watch Julia Friday night and Sunday night so we can go to the events at the Shul.  Also next weekend, our friend Caitlin will be in town for a wedding and we will (hopefully) have a chance to see her and introduce her to the baby!

June 3rd: My last day at work!

June 7th: Julia’s 8-month checkup, just a day before she officially turns 8 months old!

June 10th: Packing up our moving truck, and my parents get into town to help with the move!

June 11th: We hit the road for our move to Baltimore!

June 15th: We move into our new house in Baltimore!

So as you can see, life is a little stressful right now… but we’re rolling with the punches and taking it one day at a time.  Luckily, Ken and I have a good balance: he gets really stressed out by big things like this while I’m usually the calm one during big life changes.  We’ve always done well as a team when we need to get things done and I’m sure this won’t be an exception!

Julia’s Simchat Bat, 5 months overdue

I just had this very funny realization that, because I was on maternity leave at the time, I never posted about Julia’s Baby Naming Ceremony!  It happened way back in November… image_3

photoin the Jewish tradition, Baby Boys are circumcised during their Brit Milah ceremony on their 8th day of life.  At that time they are also given their Jewish name.  Girls are obviously not circumcised, but they are given their Jewish name during a Simchat Bat which can occur anytime after a baby girl is born.  Julia was about a month old when we had her Simchat Bat and we were very blessed to have so many family members come to town to celebrate with us.  Julia wore the dress that I wore to my Baby Naming and a very special hat that my mom knit for her.  I was wearing a lace shawl that my mom knit for my wedding and that Julia will (someday, hopefully) wear for her wedding!  My mom was there, as were Ken’s parents, Ken’s grandmother, both of Ken’s brothers and Ken’s older brother’s wife.  We also had a lot of friends join us to celebrate, both from the Synagogue and from other parts of our lives in New Orleans.

Rabbi Uri has a wonderful way of announcing the name for everyone.  He had us write her Hebrew name on a card and seal it up in an envelope, then when we reached the part of the ceremony when he was to announce her name, Ken handed him the envelope, he opened it and made a big production of pulling the card out of the envelope.  He then looked at it first and a big smile spread across his face as he read it, then he said it aloud for everyone to hear.  He then had everyone repeat it with him.  image_1

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After the official “ceremony,” Ken and I were given an opportunity to explain how we came up with her name.  I thought that I would be able to read half of what we had written, but I got about three words into it, and I immediately started crying, so Ken read what we wrote.  Julia is named after some very special people from our families.  We had Ken’s dad and my mom write out a little bit of information about each of the people she’s named after, and we’ve printed up what they wrote and put it in her baby book so that some day she’ll be able to read about how special her names are.

Julia’s Hebrew name is Shoshanna Mindel Bat Tova v’Kalman Leib Herzl (translated, it means Shoshanna Mindel, daughter of Anna & Ken).  Choosing both her English name and her Hebrew name was definitely a labor of love, and we put a lot of thought into all of her names.

Julia: Named after my Great Uncle, Jule, and Ken’s grandfather, Julius, as well as Jim’s family since they all have “J” names

Rose/Shoshanna: Named after my mother and her grandmother (Shoshanna means “Rose” in Hebrew)

Mindel: Named after Ken’s grandmother

In the little thing that we wrote, we explained that each of the people for whom she is named had very special qualities that we hope she will embody and take to new levels!  So far she’s exceeded our expectations!

Not-so-Wordless Wednesday

Hello and a Happy Wednesday to you!

If ever I am having a bad day or am feeling down, all I have to do is look at pictures or videos of my baby girl and immediately my heart feels warmed!

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I have a couple different things to talk about today…

#1) Seders.  The past two nights, we have attended Seders, and though they were very different, we had a great time at both of them.  Monday night we went to our friends Holly & Isaac.  The timing worked out perfectly–I got to their house around 7 PM, nursed Julia until she fell asleep and then put her in the pack n’ play that Holly set up in their guest room for us, and Julia slept from about 7:45 until about midnight, at which point the Seder was ending and it was time for us to go home anyway!  The Seder itself was lovely, and we had a great time with their family.  Holly’s parents were there, and a few of Isaac’s coworkers were there as well.  We had some great discussion, delicious food and some good laughs!  Holly & Isaac’s daughter is 3-and-a-half, and watching her really made me so excited for the future with our daughter!  She is so full of life and energy and curiosity about the world.

Tuesday night we went to the home of some new friends–the Rabbi at Anshe Sfard, his wife and their baby girl–Julia didn’t do quite as well, but once I got her to sleep, she slept for about 3 hours at their house in the pack n’ play that they had set up for her to use.  It was a very different crowd–the Rabbi’s parents and an older man who’s a member of their Shul–but we had a second great evening!  The food was especially delicious (don’t read this, Mom: their brisket was better than my mom’s brisket!)

#2) Breastfeeding.  This is a topic that’s pretty much constantly on my mind, and today the Breastfeeding Forum on the Bump is getting blown up with drama, so I’ve been thinking about a couple different things related to breastfeeding today!

First: Julia is almost 6 months old and so far she has only ever had breast milk and rice cereal (which we started at about 5 months and 1 week because she seemed ready for it).  Of that, I am very proud!  I’ve put in a lot of work to be successful at breastfeeding and it has not always been easy but I am so happy that I put in the effort and stuck with it.  Especially at the beginning, when Julia was nursing for hours at a time and it felt like I was a human pacifier, it would have been so easy to say to Ken, “Just make her a bottle of formula and feed that to her so she’ll stop nursing and I can sleep!”  But I knew that any drop of formula she got would potentially hurt my milk supply since the best way to tell your breasts to make more milk is to keep nursing.  I am really proud of myself and Julia for sticking with it and we’ve gotten to a point now where it’s really enjoyable.  Once she’s a year old and I don’t have to pump anymore, I think it will be even more enjoyable since I’ll be able to nurse her whenever she wants to nurse but I won’t have to make sure that she gets a certain number of ounces of breast milk.  I’m sure there will be more bumps along the way, as she hits growth spurts, or when she gets teeth, or when we’re ready to wean, etc. but I’m just feeling really proud of myself this week!

Second: I have a confession to make.  Before Julia was born I definitely judged women who didn’t breastfeed.  My thinking went like this: “If you’re going to have a baby and put your body through 9 months of pregnancy to bring a child into this world, you should do what’s best for your child and that is so clearly breastfeeding.  Sure, you say you don’t want to use your body in that way, but that’s what  your body was designed to do.  Sure, you say formula will be easier, but it’s not the best thing for your baby…” you get the idea.  Basically I judged hardcore.  I judged people who didn’t want to try breastfeeding and I judged people who gave up too easily.  I judged everyone!

But now that I have a baby, I don’t judge any of those people anymore.  My feelings now?  As long as you’re feeding your baby, I don’t really care how you feed them!  Breastfeeding is hard work, it consumes you, it becomes an obsession, and it takes a lot of time and dedication.  It’s not for everyone, and I definitely see the appeal of giving formula, so I don’t judge anymore.  If you don’t feel like breastfeeding is for you then don’t do it, but don’t judge me for pulling out my boob in public when my baby wants to eat!  Thanks! 🙂

5 Months!

Today my baby girl is 5 months old!  It’s truly amazing what a difference 5 months makes when you’re that young!  She’s like a totally different baby now than she was 5 months ago.  She’s changed in so many ways.  The most obvious, of course, are physical.

Birth: 6 lbs. 9 oz, 19 inches long.  Wearing newborn sized clothes.

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We’ll find out later today how big she is now but the last time we had her weighed/measured: 12 lbs. 12 oz., 23 inches long.  Now she’s wearing 3-6 month and 6 month sizes.  She’s growing out of a lot of her 3-month sized clothing and she’s completely out of anything that’s sized 0-3 months.

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There are also obvious differences in terms of strength–at birth we had to support her head because she couldn’t lift it on her own.  Now, she can hold it up consistently and just this morning she was trying to sit up!  She rolled over 5 times in one day 2 weeks ago (hasn’t since then) but during tummy time she loves to wave her arms and legs around as though she is trying to start crawling.  She doesn’t really reach out for toys yet but if we give her a toy she’ll grip onto it, wave it around, stick it in her mouth, etc.

Sleep: Julia’s sleep is still pretty inconsistent.  Most nights (I’d say 4/5 nights a week) she sleeps anywhere from 5-7 hours as her long stretch (usually from about 8-2) and then she’ll wake up to eat and go back to sleep until about 5:30 or 6.  Some nights though, her long stretch of sleep is only about 3 or 4 hours long and then she goes back to waking up every 2 hours to eat.  At daycare she takes 3 naps a day, usually lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.  I’m hoping that when she starts solids and is eating more during the day, that she’ll sleep a little better at night time since she won’t be so hungry.  We’ll see though…

Eating: During the day when she’s with me she nurses every 2.5-3 hours.  When she’s at daycare she takes 4-ounce bottles pretty much every 2 hours.  I’m proud to say that up until now she’s had nothing but breast milk!  We’ll be talking to the pediatrician today about starting solids a month from now.

Diapers: She’s still wearing size 1 diapers but that’s mostly because we haven’t run out of them yet.  As soon as we run out of size 1’s, she’ll be moving up to size 2 diapers.

The Magic of Infancy!

OBJECT PERMANENCE: “Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched.”

I remember learning in my college Developmental Psychology class about this concept of “Object Permanence,” which is a person’s ability to understand that even though one cannot see an object, it still exists.  I forget when, exactly, this develops in a child, but Julia certainly does not yet have it.  In watching her and in observing her interactions with the people and things around her, I’ve realized that there are certain things that must be so strange for a baby who has not yet developed Object Permanence.  Certain things also must seem so magical and supernatural!  Here are some of those things:

1) When she’s sitting in the car-seat facing backwards, and therefore cannot see me driving or Ken in the passenger seat, but she can hear our voices!

2) Also when she’s in the car seat, if she becomes upset or distraught and one of us reaches around to put the pacifier back in her mouth… she can see Ken’s arm or his hand but not the rest of him!

3) In the mornings when I shower, I put her in her bouncy seat in the bathroom… it must be very strange for me to disappear behind the shower curtain and then to suddenly reappear!

One of my favorite things, so far, about being a parent, is watching Julia’s face and eyes light up with amazement as she learns something new, or as she experiences something for the first time.   The bouncy seat we have is a hand-me-down from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law.  It has sensors where the baby’s feet sit that, when kicked, start the music and lights on the bar that goes across the seat.  I don’ t think Julia yet has control over the movements of her arms and legs, but when she kicks the bouncy seat and the music and lights start, she gets this look of absolute amazement and excitement on her face!  It’s the cutest thing in the world!

On another completely separate note, I think that the fact that we have a baby is still settling in sometimes for both me and for Ken.  Ken still says to me sometimes, “I can’t believe we have a baby!” or “Can you believe that we made her?!”  That just goes to show what a miracle it is!  I don’t want to get all religious or anything, but it really does seem miraculous that we have created a little person who is growing and developing into her own personality!  And to think… a year ago today, I wasn’t even pregnant yet.  She really didn’t exist at all!  We also are constantly amazed by how absolutely cute and adorable she is.  Ken often says to me, “She is so cute!” and it’s true… she’s the cutest!

 

Back to Work

When I’m at home with Julia, I don’t really have much time to spend on the computer, so I haven’t been keeping up with my blog very well but now that I’m back at work (today is my first day back) I will have a bit more time to keep it going (it helps that I spend the entire day on the computer when I’m at work)!  I have been holding up surprisingly well today, given that today is the first day I’m away from her for more than 3 hours.  I’ve only been crying when someone says something like, “Oh! You’re back?!”  It helps that Julia is at a daycare close to where I work, so I can go visit her during my lunch break today (I’m leaving in 8 minutes to go visit her!).  I also spoke with my supervisor this morning, and she is going to let me start working 7:30-3:30 without a lunch break starting tomorrow, so that way the baby will only be at daycare for 8 hours instead of 9, and I’ll be able to be home with her for a good part of the afternoon.  I’m also hoping that will help with breastfeeding, since I’ll only have to pump 4 times when I’m at work and I’ll be able to just breastfeed her the rest of the time.

For now I just wanted to say I’m back and should be able to blog more regularly now, but in the not-too-distant future, I have some bigger, more content-heavy blog posts up my sleeve.  I’ll just leave you with a few photos of my beautiful baby girl (who holds her head up like a pro now, and has started laughing a little bit!)   image

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Julia Rose’s Birth Story!

Sorry it’s been a while since I last wrote… but I hope you will agree that I have a good excuse.  I’ve been busy taking care of my beautiful baby girl, Julia Rose!  I thought I would share her birth story as well as just a few photos.  So here we go…

Early early Monday morning, October 8th, at 2:30 AM, we were sleeping and I got up to go pee (this was probably the 3rd or 4th time that night that I had to pee (I was, after all, 37+ weeks pregnant!).  When I got back to bed, it felt like I was either still peeing a little bit or like maybe my water had broken and was coming out in little dribbles every few minutes.  So I woke up Ken and (this may be TMI), I asked him to smell my underwear to tell me whether it smelled like urine or like amniotic fluid.  He smelled it and said it smelled sweet (which is what they say amniotic fluid is supposed to smell like) so he said we should probably go to the hospital.  I wasn’t convinced, so I said there was really no reason to go to the hospital, and I told Ken I was just going to go to work and keep my 2 PM appointment with my OB.

So I got up and went to work.  Around 1:15 I left for my doctor’s appointment.  When I first got to the doctor, they did all the usual tests… had me pee in a cup, took my temperature, took my BP, etc. then the doctor came in and asked how I was feeling.  I told her about what had happened, so she checked the fluid using a methylene blue test, which came back positive (basically it’s like litmus paper that turns blue in the presence of amniotic fluid), so she said that she would be delivering me that evening.  I asked her if I could go home first to get my stuff, then she did an internal exam and said she could feel body parts, so there was no way she was going to allow me to go home.  She said I should go straight to the hospital and that Ken could go home to get our stuff.

I then had to make a few phone calls… first I called Ken: “Hello?”  he answered.  “Hi!  I have some news for you!”  “Yes?”  “We’re having a baby tonight!”  So he quickly got dismissed from work for the rest of the week and went home to get our hospital bag as well as some last minute things that we hadn’t yet packed (we weren’t supposed to be having a baby for over a week, after all!)  Then I called my mom and Ken’s parents and they all spread the word to all the folks they needed to tell.  I went over to L&D at the hospital, where I changed into a hospital gown and got hooked up to the monitors.  I got all checked in and waited for Ken to get there.  When Ken got there, we both had a big rush of emotions… excitement, nervousness, shock, etc.  When my OB came in and told us that they would be delivering me within the hour, Ken quickly changed into his scrubs and got ready for the surgery!

I thought the next few hours would go by really slowly but they went by surprisingly quickly, and around 5:30 PM they started wheeling us back to the OR to get prepped for the C-Section.  The Anesthesiologists came in to consent me, and then they inserted the spinal (which was, by the way, a very weird feeling!).  Ken had my phone with him to take photos during the C-Section, so here’ s a photo of me on the table, waiting for everything to begin.

The C-Section seemed to take forever, and the one thing that was the most distressing about the whole thing was that Ken could see everything that was going on and I had no idea what was happening.  Finally, Ken told me they had gotten through the uterus and they got to the baby… there are a few photos that are not exactly the most beautiful photos to share with the world wide web (i.e. they’re kinda bloody) but here’s the first semi-decent photo of the baby. 

After they got the baby out, Ken went to stay with her while the Doctor and the upper-level resident finished sewing me up.  After what felt like hours (it was probably only about 10-15 minutes), Ken finally brought the baby over to me to give her a kiss and see her. 

After the surgery, they wheeled me back to the recovery room and then about 20 minutes later they brought the baby in from the nursery and I had a chance to nurse her for the first time and hold her.  It was such a wonderful feeling to hold our baby girl–it was like I fell in love instantly and immediately felt as though I would do anything for her! 

That first night is kind of a blur… I was on a lot of pain medication and was very very sleepy, but for some reason I couldn’t actually sleep.  I also just wanted to hold the baby all night… look at her, get to know her, watch her, etc.  There’s no feeling quite as special as holding your baby for the first time.

The advice I had gotten from everybody I knew who had a C-Section was that to recover as quickly as possible, I had to push myself to get up out of bed and walk as much as I possibly could, so I was determined to do that.  I got out of bed early Tuesday morning shortly after the nurses took out my catheter, and I made a point to stay on top of my pain so that I could get up and walk back and forth up and down the hallway a couple of times a day.  Tuesday and Wednesday we had a lot of friends come to visit, and then Wednesday evening, my mom arrived from San Francisco to stay with us for a week and a half to help out with the baby.  She’s still staying with us and will be here until Tuesday (at which time she will be 2 weeks and 1 day old!) 

We went home from the hospital on Thursday, and Ken’s parents arrived later that day for a long weekend visit.  Julia is so lucky to have 4 grandparents who love her so much and who are ready to spoil her!  Jim also came a week later and just left this afternoon, so he also got to meet his granddaughter.

While we were in the hospital, we took a lot of photos of Julia, and we also had a professional photographer come in to take her “official” newborn photos!

While Ken’s parents were in town, we also took Julia for several of her “firsts”–her first brunch (at our favorite breakfast place), her first walk in the stroller, her first bath, etc.

Now that she has been home with us for over a week, we are settling into a new lifestyle as parents.  It definitely takes a lot of adjusting and it will be a big learning process, but we are slowly getting the hang of it as she teaches us how to be parents and as we learn from her, from our doctors, and from other parents that we know.  One thing that has been the most challenging is that nobody can tell us about our baby because every baby is different.  The pediatrician has one piece of advice, the OB has another piece of advice, the lactation consultant and La Leche Leader have another piece of advice, and other parents have other advice but when it all comes down to it, we have to take every little piece of advice that we get and figure out how to make it work for our baby.  She is different from all other babies and may need her own very unique parenting style that we will need to figure out as we go along.