The first few weeks of motherhood have been full of the most beautiful moments, mixed with the hardest. I can genuinely say that I am beyond happy and grateful to be a mother. I just want to make it known that you don't have to have it all together as a new parent. Before I delivered, I felt a lot of pressure coming into motherhood. I met a few mothers that raved about being a new mom and made it all seem VERY easy. They took their babies out by themselves in the first week, threw parties, looked completely rested... And dang, good for them! I mean it. Some women just roll right into motherhood no problem and that is by far something you should be proud of. But what if that wasn't how things would go for me? I didn't want to let myself or husband down.
I'd like to say that I have had it fairly easy so far. I am by no means throwing parties and shopping on my own with him yet, but the house is clean and I manage to shower most days, so I definitely have that going on. And the fact that every other day Parker likes to sleep around 20 hours, makes Mom and Dad very, very happy.
But let's be honest... it isn't all a walk in the park! So, in all this crazy/beautiful, here is what I have learned so far in my immature two weeks:
1. Invest in some under eye concealer. I love when people say, "you look so tired." Well, yeah! I got 3 hours of sleep yesterday and I haven't even brushed my teeth yet. That is something a new mom doesn't need to hear.
2. Do what YOU have to do. I am no baby expert, but we have had a much easier time with our little guy ever since we did things our way. Not what babycenter.com told us to do. We stopped swaddling after the first 4 days. He was so much happier with the freedom to stretch his limbs. He sleeps in bed with us (you are probably rolling your eyes). Not always, but he does about half his time in bed and the other half in the bassinet. He sleeps a lot better in bed. We also gave him a pacifier at a week old (which I thought I would never do, but I figured if the poor guy is sucking on his hands or Dads finger to calm him down, a pacifier seemed a bit more sanitary). He loves it. We don't give it to him all the time, but when all else fails, it works like a charm. And while I am breastfeeding, we introduced a bottle to him at just over a week old. I was to the point of not being able to drive I was so tired. I figured, mom go insane or mom get a few hours of sleep and Parker can try a bottle? It worked out great. Our pediatrician made a good point... She explained how many people will advise these specific timelines for everything with a newborn. Start this at ___ weeks and you shouldn't do this until at least ___ months. She said the way she sees it, is that the later we introduce things the harder it is for the baby to adjust. They are used to it the way they've already had it for awhile. And I concur. Luckily Parker can breastfeed and bottle feed (although we only do maybe one bottle a day) like a champ.
3. Don't be startled by your breast pump. Quite possibly the strangest thing I've ever done is pump. I'm actually pumping as I write this. The noise it makes, the fact that I am practically milking myself... It gets a little less weird after the first week, but I still laugh when I tell my husband how excited I am that I got an ounce more than the last time around.
4.It is okay to cry. I've had two moments so far... One was when my husband put his finger in Parkers mouth to calm him down (this was pre-pacifier). I realized we had just left the doctors office and Tyson hadn't washed his hands. I started balling. I am not going to be that ultra sanitized Mom, but I started thinking about what would happen if he got sick, etc. etc. It was an accident and I quickly realized my hormones were getting the best of me. Sorry again, babe.
My second cry was on a day that my husband had work for a few hours and I had him by myself. He cried for about 2 hours straight and after trying everything, I began to cry my heart out. It was a combination of "please don't cry, it is breaking my heart to see you cry" and "holy s**t, this my new life..." I saw my freedom slowly crawl out the door and I wasn't quite sure how I felt about that yet.
5. Be open with your friends and family. My husband is a lot more patient than I am, but there has been a few times he's had to pass Parker off to me and go in another room. I've done the same. When you are feeling overwhelmed, when you are feeling frustrated, when you need to take a solo drive, do it. I have found the most comfort in knowing that all new parents go through this stuff. It isn't just us. And when you need to tap out for a second, let your partner know or call a friend. You don't need to be superwoman and you are definitely not alone for feeling overwhelmed.
6. Embrace the little things. I know I am supposed to sleep when the baby sleeps, but I have the hardest time. I find myself starring at him for hours. The way he stretches his little arms, his small smiles that come and go, the cooing and gentle whimpers. I take it all in. I know time flies with a newborn, so I try not to overlook those moments.
7. Eat! But eat healthy... Making proper dinners and snacking on healthy food throughout the day is key to getting through your day. You can't run on fumes all day and expect to function with a crappy diet. And don't forget to make leftovers.
8. Less is more! Most moms-to-be are consumed with figuring out all the things you need for your baby. If I could do it again, I would start out with less and then use amazon prime for the items you need later on. Babies are pretty simple and don't need much. I was panicking over not having all the best gadgets like everyone else. But the good old kitchen sink works great for baths, his $50 bassinet will do, his 5 newborn onesies that fit are just fine (don't worry, we wash them), a blanket works great for covering up while you breastfeed, and you can return your white noise machine and download a free app on your iphone instead.
However, that dang baby swing wins every time. I'm not sure what I would do without that. I would have paid hundreds for that.
9. Laugh it off.Hey I just got all ready and now I have spit up down my shirt and in my freshly washed hair. Or, I just put my favorite outfit on you and you just pooped out of your diaper and all of your other onesies that fit are dirty. Skin to skin?
At some point you just have to laugh about it. No one over said being a new mom was glamorous.
10. Enjoy being a Mom. I give thanks every day for the opportunity I have to be a mother. I don't take raising a child lightly and I feel honored to get to guide our little one through life. I thought I kissed my husband and told him I loved him excessively until Parker came along. You can never show a baby enough love.