Well it’s been a little over a month since my sweet baby girl was born. Let me start off by saying that I am still brand spanking new at this whole thing, and I am so NOT an expert. That being said, the first month has taught me many things, and I feel it is important to share them with other new mommies and future mothers.
The first month of your baby’s life is how what I would expect bootcamp to be like. You are up at the crack of dawn (or any other hour your baby is), you are constantly working (feeding, changing, bouncing, laundry), and you follow all commands your tiny adorable general gives you or suffer the consequences of ear piercing screams!
Don’t be scared future mamas, because it is also the most amazing time of your life. Yes it’s tons of work, and you will be exhausted; but, you get to bond with the little human you housed for 10 months. There will be lots of smiling, laughter, and adorable, heart melting moments as well that make everything else so worth it!
So let’s get into all that I have learned this past whirlwind of a month!
There No Holy Bible for Parenting:
(image from http://www.scienceofmom.com)
There is sooooo much information out there about parenting it can be overwhelming. There are so many books out there written by parenting experts that all claim to be the book that will teach you all you need to know. There are so many schools of thought on how to care for your newborn, talk to them, respond to their cries, etc. that it may literally leave your overly tired head spinning.
Wanna know why there are so many? That’s because not one of them is the right one. I recommend reading one or two (because too much can drive you nuts) that you feel you can get on board with, and take what you want from them and leave the rest.
Every baby is different, every mother is different, every family is different. How can one book on parenting work for everyone? Do you! Heck don’t read any if you don’t want to, you’ll figure it out!
Nobody Knows What the F They’re Doing:
Seriously. Even the most put together, calm looking mama is winging it.
The general consensus is that we are all just fumbling around, trying to do the best we can. I don’t know a single mother, whether their children are young or grown, who feels like they have all the answers. We’re all just doing the best we can, and hoping we don’t screw up our kids too much in the process.
Welcome to the Club, You Aren’t Alone:
You may feel like you are detached from the rest of the world the first few weeks. Your husband is back to work, all your friends are going about their normal social schedule and posting pics of it on Instagram, and you’re stuck on your couch all day with your baby attached to your boob. You’re gonna have a LOT of questions, and you may feel weird bothering your friends who have been through it before while they’re busy living life.
Don’t worry mama, you aren’t alone. A big thing I read before having the baby was to join mothers groups to make new mom friends once baby was born. So what are you supposed to do the first two months (especially during cold and flu season) when your pediatrician advises you to keep the baby away from crowds and children until they are vaccinated?
Well, no matter how bad of a reputation social media has these days, there are some amazing things that it has created. Mom groups are all over Facebook, Instagram, and baby apps like the Bump, and Baby Center. You literally just have to search for them and book you found your new mommy group!
My favorite for the past month has been the Mama Said Facebook group. This group is for listeners of the Mama Said podcast (if you haven’t heard of it, and you’re a mom, do yourself a favor and listen to it! Thanks for the tip Lew!). It is a group of women who ask any and all questions you may be thinking of about motherhood: breastfeeding, sleep, how to deal with postpartum, bottle feeding, etc., and also talk all about things like mommy guilt and openly confess our (pardon my French) “shitty mommy” moments. Ask a question or share a story, and within minutes I promise you will have supportive uplifting responses. I’m so glad I found this group!
Sleep When the Baby Sleeps, Clean When the Baby Cleans:
I mean how annoying is the age old advice “sleep when the baby sleeps!” Ok Karen… because that pile of dirty laundry, and that sink full of dishes aren’t giving me agita! You can only sleep so many hours during the day and avoid your chores before you run out of dishes and clean underwear.
Yes your husband should help out around the house now that your full time job is baby care; but, odds are he’s working full time too and is also lacking sleep thanks to baby. I’m not gonna lie the first week or so I took naps when baby was napping. You are gonna feel like a truck ran you over that first week. You’re also gonna have lots of family and friends around bringing you meals, and offering to help clean or hold baby for you while you do some chores. Well folks, that gravy train ends and you better be prepared for it!
My biggest piece of advice and what I think has been the most helpful, is go to bed with the baby, and make sure it’s early. Yeah, it’s hard to imagine getting into bed at 7pm when you’re usually up with your husband watching Netflix til midnight… but trust me.
I accidentally started going to bed with her around 7pm the first week we were home because I was so shot from being in the hospital and giving birth. It happened to be a VERY happy accident. I get in bed with her and nurse her to sleep, so she’s usually out by 8pm, and I turn the nightlight out and fall asleep myself. She wakes up about 3-4 times a night, giving me at least 2 hour stretches and according to my Fitbit (I totally recommend wearing one to bed to see how many hours you’re getting) I usually get between 7-9 hours depending on how she sleeps that night.
Babies tend to be up for the day around 6:30-8am, so if I went to bed any later I would probably get about 6 hours or less. By going to sleep when my daughter does, I no longer require naps during the day. I’m not saying I always feel refreshed, because let’s face it interrupted sleep isn’t the most restful; but, I feel good enough during the day to skip naps and get whatever I can done while she’s sleeping.
If you can, give this a shot. Sure you’re not gonna be able to watch that show you’ve been binging with the hubs, and you’ll have less alone time with him for these weeks, but this is just a season. Once baby is sleeping longer you can go to bed at a normal time.
And there you have it folks; all the most important things I have learned over the past month. Like I said, I am no expert mama by any means, but I figured that if I shared some of the knowledge I picked up over the last 5 weeks. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that moms have to stick together and help each other out, especially during the most trying times.
I hope you find this helpful! Would love to hear what you’ve learned as well in the comments. Don’t forget mama you are not alone, and this is only a for a season: a beautiful, crazy, sleep deprived, love filled season I know we’ll all miss.