It’s official. I’m a mom. Somehow I went from a pregnant person who spent her time waddling around and complaining about the perils of bending over with a watermelon stuffed in her belly to a lady with a baby who spends her days changing diapers, making shushing sounds, and marveling that a life came out of her you-know-what.
Seriously, after 37 (and a half) hours of labor, the first thing I said was “that just came out of me?!?!?!?!” I mean, in theory, I understood there was a baby in my belly, but, in reality, it’s a whole different story. Half the day I wander around my house in a sleep-deprived state wondering who the baby belongs to and then realize this cute little bundle of joy is mine (well, ours). Our responsibility. Our new life. Our everything. And I don’t say “everything” in that sappy “he’s our everything” love struck kind of way (though it’s a little bit true…I mean, look at that sweet face!). I’m talking “everything” in the “we don’t have time for anything else” kind of way.
It’s eat, sleep, poop, rinse and repeat 24-7 – and I’m not just talking about the baby. I originally planned on getting my baby blog out a few days after delivery. HILARIOUS. It’s taken me about two weeks to write and post this blog and it will probably be another few weeks before I can scrap together a new recipe. But you know what? That’s OK. When you have a crying newborn, I’ve learned you can’t sweat the small stuff. And, as much as I’m going into blog withdrawal, I know that I don’t want to miss any of these first moments with my son. Everyone always says the time goes by so fast, and it really does. The first week went by in a blink of an eye…and the second week, where did that go??
Despite the fast-moving pace of my life, I’ve been able to sit back and take stock of the important lessons that I learned (you know, at 3 am when everyone else is asleep and I’m breastfeeding for an hour….), and I would love to share those lessons with you because we’re friends, right? And, like most new parents, I just have an overwhelming need to share everything about my new life.
LESSON #1: Co-Sleeping Can Be A Necessity
I swore to myself that I would never let the baby sleep in our bed. I am way too paranoid and anxiety ridden for that kind of cuddly parenting. But, that first night in the hospital, after 37+ hours of labor with no epidural, when the only way to calm our crying baby at 2 am was to lay him on my chest, I gave up on my anti-co-sleeping position without a second thought. Of course, 2 weeks in and a few nights of better sleep (and, by better, I’m talking 4-hour stretches), I am back to insisting he sleep in his pack ‘n’ play. But, we would not have made it through those first couple of days without some snuggly sleeping time and I’m ok with that.
LESSON #2: A Pinterest-Ready Nursery Does Wonders for the Psyche
Alasdair and I argue all the time about aesthetics versus functionality. No surprise that I’m into aesthetics and he’s into functionality… It was no different with the nursery. He did not understand why color schemes and matching curtains were important for a newborn who has no appreciation for design – and I totally get that point. But, its not really for the baby. It’s for me. Maybe it’s shallow, but when it’s 3 am and he’s crying and I walk into that beautiful, organized, calming nursery, I feel better about life. Oh, and the expensive rocking chair? Worth every penny.
LESSON #3: Diaper Changes Are the Devil
Baby hates them. I hate them. ‘Nuff said.
LESSON #4: Frenulotomies Are All the Rage
Frenulotomy, tongue tie – these are words I’d never heard until I took a breastfeeding class and had a baby, and, now, I hear these words ALL. THE. TIME. I won’t get into the details, but let’s just say it’s a super quick procedure that is harder on mom than on the baby.
LESSON #5: Breastfeeding Does Not Come Natural
I’m not sure how pre-modern woman survived without lactation consultants, breast pumps and nipple shields, but, let’s just say, I’m glad I live in the modern age. I haven’t met any first time moms who have not been frustrated to tears at one point or another by breastfeeding, and I’m no exception. It takes work. Lots of work. It also takes up the good majority of your day which is awesome if you have a ridiculous amount of DVR to catch up on like I do but not so awesome when you have a pile of dirty laundry and dirty dishes starting to resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa like I do.
LESSON #6: Don’t Sweat the Weight Gain Because You Will Never Have Time to Eat Again
Seriously, you all know that food is my number one obsession. I have never understood people who are like “oh, I forgot to eat today or I didn’t have time for lunch.” WHAT??? There’s always time to eat. Food is constantly on my mind so there’s no way I could ever forget about it. Till now. This is the first time in my life where I have chosen to nap rather than eat a meal. Breakfast? Not if I get the chance to sleep in till 11 am after being up all night. Lunch? Whatever I can grab while I’m breastfeeding. Snacks? Not a thing anymore. I worried so much during pregnancy about the 5-10 extra pounds I gained that I hadn’t planned on, and, now, I can’t believe I wasted the mental space. I lost more than half the weight in the first week. I’m sure the second half won’t come off quite as quickly, but, with my new breastfeeding/sleeping 24-7 diet, I’m not worried.
LESSON #7: Swaddle is the New Word for Lifesaver
Once you get it right, that is… Swaddling can be controversial. Some moms swear by it, other moms swear their babies don’t like it. Our baby does sooooo much better when swaddled. Sure, he looks like a baby burrito, but, when done right, it can work wonders.
LESSON #8: Practice Makes Perfect
This is true for swaddling, breastfeeding, diaper changes, basically anything baby related. At first, it all seems overwhelming and impossible – especially when you’re sleep deprived. But, after some practice, it really does get easier. And, if you don’t want to practice on your baby, I recommend a hockey-playing stuffed monkey.
LESSON #9: You Can Never Have Enough Onesies
Between hand-me-down onesies, baby gifts and a huge box of onesies I bought from a neighbor for $10, we had onesies coming out our ears. I could barely shut the dresser and I was feeling some major first-world guilt – surely we don’t need all these onesies, right?? I just knew that all the unused onesies languishing in the dresser would weigh on my conscience as our baby grew into different sizes week after week. NOPE. Not a problem. Between spit up, pee issues and general baby grubbiness, within the first couple of days we had gone through the huge stack of newborn onesies (and baby blankets) and were frantically doing laundry so that our baby didn’t have to stay wrapped in a dish towel. Seriously, my husband wrapped him in a dish towel.
LESSON #10: Babies Are the Best Kind of Drug
Between the highs and the lows, the hormones and the oxytocin, babies just may be the strongest drug out there. One minute you can be hating life and wishing you weren’t covered in spit up and the next minute your baby looks up at you with those big eyes, cute little nose and adorable old man face (I swear he looks like Benjamin Button) and you just fall in love. It happens to the best of us. With their tiny little feet and hands and their soft baby skin, babies are addictive. Just watch out for the withdrawals….