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I thought I’d take a break from Christmas posts to voice something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Why do we talk about labor?
It seems like the main thing that we talk about with pregnant women is labor, and, honestly, I didn’t want to hear it.
We’ve all seen the movies and heard the horror stories. I know just how wrong it can go, and the US’s maternal mortality rate was ever foremost in my mind . . . but it’s one day. It’s just the beginning.
If you go on Pinterest and search, you can find all kinds of “New Mom” tips and tricks, but I only really remember three things that moms actually told me in person.
Why don’t we skip the terror talk and start offering lifeline advice? It’s like these things only come up when I start the topic or someone hears that we’re struggling. Then they tell us how it was when they were experiencing the same things.
I’d like those conversations to be more open. Why don’t we tell new moms to be prepared for breastfeeding to be difficult? Let them know it may not all click, and that it’s okay. Recommend products that have worked. “You may not need it, but one thing I used was . . .” Just so it’s in the back of your mind when it comes up.
Talk about what it’s like sitting up with your baby crying and you don’t know how to fix what’s wrong. Tell new moms that it’s okay to let the house be a mess because you can only focus on you and the baby.
So here are some things I’ve learned that I hope helps a new mama out:
It’s ridiculously difficult to get your kid in and out of a onesie. (Tip: the flaps at the shoulders allow it to be pulled down and off in case of a messy bottom.)
Your child may have health issues; it’s heartbreaking, but it’s not your fault.
A wet baby is slipperier than an eel, and trying to bathe a baby by yourself is a monumental task. (To rinse her off I’ve had good luck placing her on top of my entire forearm and bracing her against the side of the tub while I use a cup to rinse off the soap.)
There are about a gazillion and fifty different breast pump options, and all of them have different size flanges, and one of those may be a good fit. Good luck.
Remember how cleaning up cat puke used to make you gag? Those were the good old days. The first time your kid projectile vomits, and it goes all down your top, three feet across the floor, and yet somehow soothing your fussing child is way more important than that ick factor.
Everyone has an opinion about your choices. Stick to your original plan. If it doesn’t work, try someone else’s advice.
Baby outfits that look like tiny adult clothes are cute, but if your kid lives in footy pajamas (bonus if they have the built-in mittens) for the first few months . . . that’s a solid life choice.
Getting PJs that have two zippers, so you can unzip from the neck or the foot is a valid reason for legitimate excitement. Along with that, buy nothing that has legitimate buttons, especially as leg closures.
Buy baby Tylenol, gas medicine, gripe water, diaper cream, and formula before the baby gets here. Better to have it and not need it, then to have to go out in the middle of the night.
Having a mom friend who you can text about things is wonderful. Also, texting your mother about mom things is incredibly special.
Yes, it’s okay to take 1,000 cell phone pictures of your child. Yes, it’s also okay to text them to friends and family.
Sitting in the back seat of your car, holding your baby, and crying because you took them to the doctor, and they had to get shots, a heel prick, or blood drawn is okay. You need to soothe them just as much as they need to be soothed before either of you can leave that parking lot.
Some days it’s okay to just sit and hold your baby and rock them telling them how much you love them. Everything else can wait.
What do you wish someone had told you before your first baby or that you wish we talked about more frequently? Let me know!