9 things every new mom should know
My little guy turned 3 months just yesterday. While that may not seem like a long time, I already feel like an old pro. Well sometimes. It helps that I have the best baby in the world, all easygoing and adorable and just super patient with me. I know there are many more changes in store for my husband and me, but for now we're enjoying each day, one at a time! There are some things I wish I would have known when I first became a mom, though. So here, I've compiled 9 of these nuggets of wisdom that I wish someone would have told me in the first days after I had Little Man.
- For the first few weeks, you really don't need all that crap! All you really MUST have are the essentials: some onesies, socks, hats, diapers, a place for the baby to sleep, bottles, and a few blankets. So don't stress out trying to buy every single thing on your registry--including that ergonomic diaper changer, steam bottle warmer, or formula mixing pitcher--before you're due. In today's 24-hour shopping society, you can buy items you need as you go along.
- Babies make funny noises at night--don't freak out! They also get stuffy noses and in general have all sorts of strange little habits. But trust that you'll get to know each and every one--and you'll even get good at knowing when to call the doctor and when to just let things go. I picked my pediatrician because the practice has a 24-hour hotline and the office hours are insane (8 a.m. to 12 midnight, 365 days a year!). But up to this point, I have called them twice, and never at 3 a.m. Let's hope I never need to!
- Your inner mom voice is real--learn to listen to it. You'll be amazed how fast you get to know your little one. After the initial shock that comes with the new responsibility of having this tiny little human being, he becomes a part of you, and it's as if you know what they're going through without actually having them verbalize it. It's amazing and normal--all at once.
- It's okay to feel overwhelmed. I know you've heard that becoming a parent is the absolutely hardest thing you will ever go through. It is absolutely true, and I didn't really know how true until I was actually living it, at home with my son for a few days. So it's worth repeating: Go easy on yourself--in every respect. If the laundry doesn't get done on time, relax. Dishes in the sink? Don't stress! As the organized, neat-freak Latina that I tend to be, this was the hardest for me, but realizing that I needed to be easy on myself has been a relief.
- Your hubby will probably mess up changing the baby, giving him a bath, and if you're bottle-feeding, making a bottle. My husband one time put the wrong nipple on the wrong ring and put both on the wrong bottle (granted, I use some fancy-schmancy multi-part gas-reducing bottle…but still!). Make sure you show him HOW to put together the bottle correctly, how to hold the baby and diaper to manage with one hand, and other tricks that become second nature to you after a few weeks. It will make your life easier in the long run!
- Everyone has an opinion. Everyone. (Your mami, the abuelas, mom-in-law, even strangers!) You have to learn to deal with people telling you what toys to get, how to lay your baby down, what formula to feed him, how to feed him, how to burp him—in short, unsolicited advice on things that you probably already know how to do. The best way to handle this? Just nod and be nice. If you're listening to your inner mom voice, you already know what to do!
- 7 Form a good network of other moms that you can go to. This was key for me--and still is! I have a group of good friends and old coworkers who are recent moms and I take to my e-mail or phone to ask all sorts of questions. I was lucky enough to have a coworker who was only 3 weeks ahead of me during her pregnancy, so we banded together at work, and then shared stories and advice while we were on maternity leave.
- The baby blues are real, so don't be surprised when in the middle of the happiest time in your life, you start feeling strangely depressed. For me, it was mourning a past, more carefree life, watching old Friends episodes that only made me realize how old I was getting and how time flies. But that lasted about three weeks and then I was over it. A word of caution, though: If you feel like this sadness lasts more than three weeks and is taking over your day-to-day life, seek medical help immediately.
- Don't throw out your maternity clothes right away! I have a confession… I still wear my maternity jeans. They look cute with long shirts, they fit, and they don't irritate my C-section incision. They are the most unsexy garments in the universe, but they are so darn comfy! So don't part with everything right away. I'm not sure I'll ever part with these pregnancy jeans. I might even wear them next Thanksgiving to make room for my mom's pernil!
What other advice for us new moms would you add to this list? Share in the comments below!
Image via ryanrocketship/flickr