Lessons From a New Mom

B and I have learned a few interesting lessons over the past two weeks of being parents.

Your child can and will poop immediately after being changed, reswaddled and put back in bed: I feel like Ben does this at least once a night. There is little more frustrating than having to redo what your baby just undid in a matter of seconds, especially at 3 am.

You will get pooped or peed on soon after bringing the baby home: B was first, I was second. It’s usually when I’ve taken Ben’s diaper off, thrown a washcloth over his privates and then he explodes all over the changing table. All I can do is laugh at that point. What else is there to do?

You will have more time for movies: The baby is awake anyway so you might as well enjoy a movie or two.

Night and day don’t matter at the beginning: Baby doesn’t know what days and nights mean so you won’t either. Naps are wonderful things.

Zipper clothes are better than snaps: Zippers are quick, snaps are almost impossible. I don’t know if I’ve successfully snapped up an outfit on the first try yet.

Socks suck: Baby socks do not stay on their feet. The only socks we have that do stay on are super high that go up higher than his knees. Embrace the child’s inner nerd and rock the thigh highs.

Nighttime feedings always seem to take an hour: Our nighttime feedings usually go: Unswaddle, diaper change, eat, burp, eat, reswaddle, snuggle, Ben to bed, bathroom break for me, chug a glass of water, bed for me. No matter how quickly Ben eats or how many (or few) times I have to change his diaper, it seems like feedings always are an hour long. I’ve learned to accept that and am thrilled if it takes less time than that.

You will eventually figure out a routine: The first few days when we got home, it felt like we were floating around without any sort of solid footing. We had never parented before and I had never cared for a newborn overnight by myself. It took about a week but a routine started to emerge. Ben eats every 2-3 hours during the day and almost exactly 3 hours on the dot at night. I’ve learned to trust that Ben will wake me up when he’s ready to eat so I can fall deeply asleep between feedings instead of jumping at every little noise Ben makes (there are many).

He eats between 12 and 1 AM, 3 and 4 AM, and around 6 AM. After the 6 AM snack, he may or may not fall back asleep. If he doesn’t sleep, I wake up B and he takes Ben out of the room to snuggle elsewhere while B starts work. I usually sleep until 9, feed Ben immediately again and get on with whatever our day holds. He naps pretty solidly between feedings so I can get housework done. B quits working around 6 and gets to spend time with Ben while I make dinner. Ben sleeps through dinner, usually in his swing and B and I hang out, watching movies or reading. A bath, a last feeding, and B snuggles Ben to sleep while I wash up and fall sleep myself. I get about an hour of sleep before the 12 AM feeding. Rinse and repeat!

This was the hardest part about becoming parents. The diapers, bottles, laundry, rocking are all easier than feeling completely ungrounded and unsure how to make it through the day. The best advice I can give is to give yourself time, be patient, get out of the house if needed, talk to women who have raised children, and find a way to relax when you have time. The internet is a wonderful thing and gives us a great outlet and way to connect with other women going through the same thing. Use that resource!


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