Originally Posted 7/3/07
I'd love any advice on surviving (& enjoying) the first months after your first baby is born. Any tips, thoughts, suggestions that you wish you had known before diving into motherhood? Everyone says to "enjoy your sleep now" and "go to the movies with your husband", but what about the day to day reality of having a new little person in your life?
First, its so wonderful. There is really something remarkable about babies.
But, in truth, there is also a lot of awkwardness as well. And knowing about the awkward, less than marvelous moments help prepare you for the truth of it all. So, in the name of truth...here are things I wish I knew.
1. Newborns take forever to eat. So literally, out of three hours, babies nurse an hour of that. A third of your entire day is nursing (or bottle feeding). And its really awkward and painful at first. So just hang in there. Did I mention its painful - I would say far worse than birth - but it often gets over looked!
2. You have to wear a bra 24 hours a day. Especially at first, your body produces a lot of milk, and if you don't want to wake up soaking wet - you wear a bra to bed (with your Lansinoh disposable breast pads - hands down the best). So be sure to buy at least one nursing bra without an under wire.
3. You will be doing laundry every moment of every day. I swear - babies spit up on every piece of available cloth - and you! - so keep the extra blankets from the showers - they will come in handy! And be prepared to change clothes a lot - its not the baby clothes that fill up the washer - it will be your clothes.
4. Those mean doctors - literally they will cut a slice out of your baby's foot (heal to be precise). Apparently little finger pricks aren't enough. About a week after your baby is born - there is one blood test that literally starts with a slice. I was so shocked - I wish I would have known. (Oh, and I really liked my doctor - just not the 4cm heal slice.)
5. You cannot hold your newborn too much. I remember feeling worried I was starting off spoiling my child with all the family attention - and then I would literally hold him through most of his naps to help him sleep. But, don't worry, you can't even dream of spoiling them until they are six months old. Just help them feel secure! Its ok, hold them as much as you want.
6. It's so busy. The first few weeks you will really wonder how to do it all. So, keep expectations of yourself really low. Making dinner was really too much for me in the beginning...so don't feel like a failure. Give yourself two months to do nothing but get accustomed to the new routine.
7. It's so slow. That just sounds awful. But, after you get the routine of it all, you find yourself with extra time. Babies just sleep a lot. I loved to read with the extra time - but if you don't - plan projects for yourself. Things in the house. Buy some cook books - and think about trying out new recipes. Start a journal. Plan a trip. Just know that you will have a lot of down time.
8. Baby gear - there is so much and its hard to know what is important. Maybe people can expand on the gear topic...but I know that a changing table is surprisingly nice. Your back really starts to ache after using your bed so many times - its just at an awkward height. Oh, and I did really love my rocking chair - but be sure to get soft sides!
Painting: Mother and Child by Gustav Klimt