Considering that this post was originally titled “What I Learned in the First Two Weeks” clearly lesson number one is that newborns take up a lot of time. Yes, they sleep a lot that first week – but you can’t help but let them sleep on you (they are great at cuddling) while you binge watch Dance Moms, or sneak a nap of your own. It has been a huge change bringing baby girl home- but I can honestly say that it really hasn’t been bad for us. She is sleeping well and we only had one night (the second night she was home) where she thought it would be “fun” to stay awake from 2am-6am – which made for two very cranky parents the next day, but it was nothing that coffee couldn’t fix.
Moving forward – here is the list of twenty-one things that I have learned over the past three weeks that you may not have thought about….
1. When possible avoid taking clothes over the babies head – it is far easier to pull them up or down (and results in less crying)- it is also quicker and easier for everyone.
2. It is okay to have a few days where you do nothing but hang out with the baby – the baby is new and exciting and quite frankly the dishes will be there tomorrow (the dishes are always there tomorrow- as is the laundry, dusting, organizing….and so on).
3. You will never love anything as much as you love the life that you have just given birth to – and even when you think you can’t possibly love them any more – you do.
4. A Rock and Play is one of the best things ever created: it folds up easily, is light enough to move from room to room (even with the baby in it) and it is a great place for them to sleep…
5. Speaking of sleeping, I was one of those people who swore my child would go in a crib on day one….nope, she sleeps in the Rock and Play in our bedroom- because really who wants to get out of bed for middle of the night feeding when you can just roll over and have the baby right there?!
6. Each night we fill bottles with water and portion formula before going to bed – the bottles and formula go upstairs- this makes middle of the night feedings simple (again you never have to leave the bed).
7. As small as they look – your baby will most likely need newborn clothes – we learned this after she was born and even at 6 pounds 15 ounces (and 7 pounds 2 ounces by her first appointment) she needed newborn clothes as the 0-3 months clothes were WAY too big.
8. Daily showers are optional – we rock showers (for me) and baths (for baby girl) every other day; and some days that shower doesn’t happen until 5pm and I have learned that this is okay.
9. When changing diapers – watch for more poop or pee- as it can strike at anytime! I cannot tell you how many times I have been changing the baby and she decides it is time to go more (usually in the split second I am removing the dirty diaper and attempting to put the clean one down).
10. It is okay to let the baby cry – I will admit I have trouble with this one – but trust me take that extra minute or two to finish up what you are doing and then pick up the baby – it will be okay, I promise.
11. Don’t underestimate the power of a pacifier.
12. Wake up your spouse- I thought Charger was just ignoring baby girl in the middle of the night – but then I realized he has this ability to sleep through crying (unless she is really crying out), me on the other hand wake up to any small baby sound.
13. Don’t be afraid to say no – you do not have to go visit anyone, let anyone visit if you don’t feel up to it, or let every single family member hold the baby.
14. On the flip side ^ – don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it. Don’t have any coffee left in the house and the in-laws are visiting? – ask for that coffee and hand over the baby once they arrive, so that you can enjoy said coffee.
15. Get into a routine that works for you – and make decisions that work for you. In other words listen to the advice of others (trust me everyone will want to give it to you), smile, and then just do your own thing.
16. Realize that you gave birth – the first couple days can be rough, steps are not your friend, nor is carrying laundry baskets up and down said steps.
17. You will learn to do just about anything while holding a baby- but don’t feel like you have to always be the one who holds the baby. If you have to – take turns eating dinner.
18. When you feel ready – take some time to get out of the house- even if it is just to grocery store, although I recommend taking the hubby (or someone else) with you if you plan on taking the baby – it really is a lot of work those first few times you take the baby out.
19. Babies completely have their own schedules- sure they will begin to nap/eat “about” or “around” the same time each day- but the one time you depend on them to be sleeping – will most likely be the day they are awake screaming for (what appears to be) no reason.
20. If something doesn’t work for you, or the little one, change it – again (and I can’t stress this enough) do what works for you – and remember to do something each day for yourself, yes are you a mother, but you are still you and don’t want to lose sight of that.
21. The first night you are home- just relax, order pizza, drink a (small) glass of wine, and enjoy time with your significant other and new addition to the family. You can skip the wine- but hubby insisted that I enjoy a small glass- considering I gave it up for nine months – and really a baby is a celebration that deserved a toast!
Honestly, coming home with a new baby can make you feel a bit crazy – you go from feeling on top of the world to feeling like you can’t even change a diaper correctly all within seconds- remember the hormones after you give birth can throw your emotions all over the place. Just hang in there – and focus on what is important- your baby and family. I know talking with Charger and sneaking in some time for the two of us has helped me to stay sane and to really enjoy each and every minute (even those where I have a screaming child, barking dog, and dinner burning on the stove). Speaking of dinner – I probably should go and check on it …. at least the baby and dog are both currently sleeping (for now!)
Ms. Officer Charger