I’m a mom. That still has yet to sink in, even though I’m caring for an adorable little baby around the clock, and my whole life has changed.
I am lucky to have a lot of wonderful ladies in my life who are excellent examples of mommas, and they were able to give me some great advice. But there were some things I’ve had to learn the hard way over the past five (!) weeks, too.
Tips from mommies:
1. Be patient with yourself, and Baby. You’re both learning.
This is the most heartening advice, especially when he’s screaming, and I don’t know what’s wrong, and I feel like the most horrible person on the planet. We’re both learning. He doesn’t know how to express what he wants (or even WHAT he wants some of the time). I don’t always know how to fix it. We’re figuring it out one step at a time.
2. Enjoy this stage – it goes by too fast.
I can’t believe we’re already at 5 weeks! In some ways it feels like it’s been forever, but now that I’m here, it seems like a blur. I’m trying to stay in the moment with every snuggle, remembering how he smells (not the poopy diapers though!) and enjoying his love languages.
3. Sleep when the baby sleeps.
I’m notoriously bad at this. (He’s snoozing a few feet away as we speak.) But then I’m practically delirious in the middle of the night, and I realize why so many people told me to do this. I’m working on it.
4. Use a stroller, car seat, or wrap/sling if you are bringing Baby with you but don’t want others to touch.
I was terrified of germs and colds when going out with others, but wise mommas helped me learn that people are respectful and will keep their distance from babies when they’re wrapped up. I’ll be happy to pass Theo around when he’s a little older.
5. Get into a routine!
I say routine instead of schedule, but it’s basically a schedule with flexibility. A friend suggested the books Babywise and the Baby Whisperer, with their routines, and getting on those was SO helpful. As weird as this sounds with a schedule, I actually didn’t feel like I was in anticipation of every feed, and I started figuring out when I would have time to do other things, like go out or have people over. (And if we need to change things, we can.) We’re not to the stage of sleeping through the night yet, but Theo has been sleeping longer at night, which is a relief for me 🙂
Things I’ve learned for myself:
1. Be prepared for everything you do to take much longer than you expect.
Bath time, feeding, and especially getting ready to go anywhere. Plan to start at least half an hour before you think you need to 😉
2. …But take your time.
At first I felt like I had to do everything completely normal right away. Be on time, handle grocery shopping efficiently, etc – and it stressed me out just thinking about it. I realized in the process of doing these things that I have to go slow, and that’s okay. It’ll take time to get back to normal. For now, again, I’m still learning.
3. Make sure everything is washable, and make sure Baby’s done pooping before diaper and wardrobe changes.
Sometimes I go through three diapers per change. (Huggies are the worst diapers ever. Lesson learned.) And my pile of laundry has never been bigger – but it’s become so much more of a joy. Folding and putting away (little, tiny!) clothes was never so much fun.
4. Get out of the house.
I don’t think I realized I was going to get stir crazy being cooped up in the house until I felt like I was going nuts. Whatever time you can get – meeting friends, running an errand, etc. – get out. I was a little apprehensive of going out with Theo on my own, so I took a practice trip to Target with a friend, and it gave me the confidence to take him out even more.
5. Go with your instincts and don’t feel guilty.
From day one at the hospital I felt bad asking for what I wanted or needed. Then later, people would want to hold him or pick him up and a lot of the times I’d want to say no but feel guilty – there were lots of things I felt guilty about doing or not doing. But I learned to trust my instincts and not just give in out of guilt. Peoples’ advice is great, but in the end it was important for me to do what I believed in. And if something didn’t work, we tried it another way.
What are things you learned with your little one? What were you prepared for and what came as a surprise?