The helmet and the heartache
You guys... I had a baby and suddenly I'm like OMG, it's been 8 months since I've really written anything! You know, no one tells you that having a baby means essentially two years of being under water! First pregnancy, then newborn haze.. I haven't even begun to think of what year 3 will bring in this cycle.
Anyway. A lot of you are asking why JJ has a helmet. It's a simple answer: he has a little flat spot that we want to help correct. Once corrected, he will be able to fit into a sports helmet (please oh please let it be baseball) when he gets older. Some people think that helmets are merely cosmetic, but there is a real health benefit to having a head that fits properly in a protective helmet. And some babies have more head to round out than others -- we are lucky JJ's is pretty slight, but nonetheless, it requires some help.
Here's what I've learned about the helmet:
1) It's hard on parents. There is a whole Facebook group for Moms of helmet babies, and I thoroughly use it as a resource. You have so many worries, concerns and questions through the whole journey, and it's nice to have a support network.
2) The helmet is heavier than what you might think it should be. I didn't realize it is slightly heavy! It's made of foam, so I thought it would be super light. NOPE. That's why when you first put it on your baby, it's so hard -- JJ's head was a little wobbly, and it made him very tired as well at first. At the same time, I felt like it made his neck stronger...
3) Your baby will sweat his head off. In the beginning, all you do is worry about your baby's head -- will he overheat? will he pass out? We went from long sleeve onesies and sleepsacks to short sleeve onesies and no sleepsack at night. JJ would wake up so flushed in the beginning, and it was really scary because he would also act kind of lethargic. And then the question -- how do we dress him for daycare?
4) Your baby will have to wear different clothes. JJ now wears short sleeve onesies and long shorts and socks to daycare. I got 12 month old shorts for him because they were long enough to cover his knees (I don't want him to get rug burn at school), and then I put socks on him because I don't want his feet to get dirty. BUT that being said, it's still too hot for him, and sometimes his daycare workers take off his helmet for the rest of the day. At home, he wears nothing but his little onesie and bare feet.
5) We take it off more than we should. I hate this about myself because sometimes I think I'm a weak parent, but then I remind myself... I know my baby. We take it off for about an hour in the morning, and we take it off a little bit before bath until it's time for bed. So we don't quite hit 23 hours. I do this because his head is so sweaty, and it gives us time to clean the helmet well (did you know it ends up stinking?!) and after bath, he needs time for his hair to dry. Also, if we are out in the summer, it comes off -- we went to a baseball game, and it was a hard no on the helmet. And that was the right decision for JJ -- it was super hot!
6) If you're reading this and need a helmet, know you have to clean the helmet. Jim said that he was told to clean it with the shampoo we use for JJ. I've also read you can use alcohol wipes (70% alcohol) that are easy to buy on Amazon. I bought the wipes, and Jim still washes it out with shampoo, so I guess the wipes will be used for something else.
Anyway, long story short -- it's hard to make decisions for your baby. Jim knew that he wanted JJ to get the helmet, and then after we got it, we realized it was a lot harder to follow through on -- we just had a reality check. To make it more fun, there are people who paint helmets, and you can get fun decals... I bought a STL Cardinals decal for JJ, but then it was way too big for his helmet... so I need another plan. I think you have to get smaller decals and then Modge Podge it on -- too much work for this mama right now. I may get to it eventually!