Introduce yourself and your son.
K: My name is Khyla and I live in Arlington, TX. I’m a hustle-from-home mother. LOL. I’m currently an independent contractor for a work-from-home company. I also complete surveys. Those are the two ways that I contribute to my family financially. I have one child, a boy. Xander is 4 months old.
How would you describe your son?
K: Xander is a happy baby with a contagious smile.
My husband would disagree because half the time Xander spends with him, he’s crying (don’t know what’s up with that). I love how he’s always looking. For example, when I’m nursing, his eyes are looking up to see what my husband is doing or trying to find out where a sound is coming from. When we go outside, he tries to sit up in my arms to get a better view of the trees and whatever else he sees. He looks so intrigued! I think he sees something different even on our daily walks to the mailbox. But one thing is for sure, he has his moods! What calms him down one day may have the opposite effect the next.
What is your birth story?
K: Well, I went in for my weekly check up with my perinatal specialist on February 28. As usual, they monitored me for the first 10 minutes to check Xander’s movement and he was only responding to the vibration ring. They called it “waking the baby up.” His heart rate was fine but they wanted to see more movement. So they sent me to labor & delivery to be monitored. 2 hours later it was the same thing. I had planned to travel to Mississippi the following morning for my baby shower that weekend. The doctor wanted to see me the next morning before I hit the road just to be on the safe side. So with the car packed with our things, we stop by the doctor first before we hit the highway. Well, apparently my fluids had gone from an 8 the previous day to a 3. You’d have thought I would have noticed something like my water breaking or something out of the ordinary…nope. Nothing was different. My doctor then says “I think we’re having a baby today!” 8 hours later, Xander was born 5 weeks early via c-section.
When he was born, his platelet count was really low. He was able to spend the first night in the room with me and my husband but the next morning he was taken to the NICU. He stayed there for 4 days until his platelet numbers improved. The doctors were very thorough and wouldn’t release him until his numbers were where they should be. He was then moved to the special care nursery where he stayed for another 4 days. Thankfully the special care nursery was set up as a private room and I was able to stay with him 24/7.
Do you breastfeed?
K: I exclusively breastfeed for all the known benefits. Plus formula is expensive!!
How do you balance breastfeeding and working/managing your household?
K: OMG! Sometimes (meaning a lot of the time) it can be a struggle. Being able to breastfeed is so important to me. At the time I’m the only one that can feed him, so if clothes are on the floor or dinner is a little late it’s ok because I know I’m doing what’s best for my son. I know you’re thinking ‘what do you mean you’re the only one that can feed him?’ Well around 6 weeks my son decided he wanted his milk straight from the cow. LOL. Despite my pumping efforts, he will not drink from a bottle. I’ve tried EVERY trick in the book and nothing has worked. So during growth spurts breastfeeding is extremely time consuming and tiring.
How do you balance work and being a mom?
K: I’ve now gotten into a groove of not trying to take on so much in one day, but to split it up. That’s working for now. Xander is on a semi self-led schedule but if I’ve learned anything from the past 4 months it’s that what works one day may not work the next.
What is your biggest parenting challenge right now?
K: I can think of a few but I’ll share only one. I want to make sure he’s exposed to other children. Because I’m home he obviously doesn’t attend daycare but I would love for him to interact with other infants his age. I think that’s really important.
How do you determine that Xander is thriving?
K: Physically there are his well-visits with his doctor. Developmentally I read books. I know each baby is different and develops at their own pace. While in the hospital I kept being told that he may develop some skills later because he was premature. I understand that but part of me won’t accept it (I’m just being honest). I want him on track with other babies his age. Another thing I want him to develop are social skills, which goes back to the previous question. I hope to get involved in some Mommy & me type activities soon to help with that.
How do you carve out time for yourself?
K: I’ve now become a morning person. After a 7 am feeding he usually falls back asleep so I get a chance to exercise, paint my nails and just woo-sah. Sometimes I can accomplish more during his nap time if I’m not doing household duties.
How does your husband/partner contribute to child-reading?
K: He does what he can. As soon as my husband walks through the door, he reaches for Xander. Because I’m with him 24/7 he tries to give me a break by giving him his bath & just spending quality time with him. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Who is your child-rearing support group?
K: Other young Moms. I know every child is different but I’m constantly asking advice from my friends who have babies under the age of 3 to see what worked and didn’t work for them and their families.
What advice would you give to a new mom?
K: Enjoy it! Time seems to be going by quite fast right now. Just 4 months ago I was holding a 4lb 9 oz tiny little boy. I look at him now and wonder where has the time has gone.