Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Things I Wish I Had Known Before Giving Birth

(and yes – I know these are these I could have found out prior to giving birth….I just didn’t know about them and wish I had. Hence the title…)

(and for the sake of this posting, I’m referring to the baby as “he”…I have a boy – it’s easier for me)

1. The popular opinion is that you breast feed your child. You will find tremendous literature on how it’s the best for your baby and blather blather blather. You’ll also find woven in all that blathering the tone that if don’t want to breast feed or if you decide to supplement with formula so that dad can take some middle of the night feedings, well you suck. You’re a horrible mother and your child will grow up deformed. THIS. IS. NOT. TRUE. Your baby will thrive whether you breast feed or formula feed. The key is that you’re both happy and healthy with the choice you make. What good does it do either of you if you force yourself to nurse when it’s uncomfortable or just not what you want to do?

2. On the subject of nursing – don’t expect your milk to “come in” right away. This, in fact, takes several days after giving birth. It can take up to 7 days for your milk to come in.

3. You can’t spoil your baby in the early months by responding to him when he cries. At this age, his crying signals to you that he needs something. He needs a diaper change, to be fed, to be snuggled & comforted…he may be too hot or too cold or something in his outfit may be irritating his skin. The only way he can let you know that something needs tended to is by crying. It’s not spoiling to go see what he needs. That comes later.

4. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet or in books or that even family passes on as helpful advice. Your own instinct is your best guide…I did read somewhere that when it comes to your baby, you are the expert. That I believe. When in doubt, ask baby’s doctor.

5. Don’t feel the need to justify or apologize for the choices you make for your baby. If you’re comfortable and baby seems fine – then it’s not the wrong choice. It may not be the choice someone else would have made but luckily for them – it wasn’t their choice to make.

6. Always, always, ALWAYS pack a spare outfit in your diaper bag when venturing out of the house with baby. They’re called “blow outs” for a reason, kids. You’ll be thankful you have the spare outfit.

7. If you’ve had a baby shower, you’ll probably have this anyway , but – have several different brands of diapers on hand. You’ll find one you love (I personally will endorse the Pampers Snugglers – they’re soft, they fit great and they have this nifty little yellow line down the center of the diaper (on the outside) that changes to blue when baby has peed – it’s magic) and those you hate (Luvs. I hate Luvs. They’re stiff and icky)

8. Don’t stress about getting the cool play stuff just yet. The first few weeks your baby will literally do nothing but sleep, eat, and potty. When it is time for play – home made things work well. Babies are drawn to high contrast, so showing him a striped shirt or drawing black lines on white paper is really all it takes to grab his attention.

9. Be prepared for your child to intensely dislike baths. To the point of their entire body turning red with anger and crying the entire time.

10. Love. Strong love will just radiate from you and on to your precious baby. I saw a meth commercial the other night where the boy is stealing from his mom and knocks her down. This made ME cry and wonder how the heck I’m supposed to teach him to be strong and say no to drugs.

11. And speaking of crying. I don’t know about every one else, but the first few days (ahem, okay almost 2 weeks) I had random crying fits. It started when we got home and my sister in law had decorated the front of the house welcoming us home. I bawled. I cried while feeding him – he was hungry nonstop the first few days, I was tired and overwhelmed and felt like a failure. You are NOT a failure. Just keep plugging along – you’ll get the hang of it.

12. Becoming 2nd place. For the past 9 (okay, 10) months, you’ve pretty much been the focus of attention. Getting comments on your growing baby bump, all the doctors appointments, getting special treatment cuz you’re pregnant…the constant barrage of gifts…suddenly the baby is born and you’re like a 2nd class citizen. The focus is now on the baby and you’re left slightly behind, emotional, overwhelmed and unused to this “new” body you have. This also will pass.

13. Never go out of the house without wearing your breast pads. Even if you think it’s a waste of time to wear them because you never seem to leak. You are tempting fate and Murphy’s Law if you go out without them.

14. Strangers. Strangers do odd things – it must be because they’re trapped in a tractor beam leading straight to your baby. You’ll get compliments and questions and yes, they may even think it’s appropriate to touch your baby while you’re attempting to change him in the bathroom at a restaurant. Don’t know why but they do.

15. Bottom line is know you can trust on your own instinct. You have one – it’ll kick it. It’s always okay to ask for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated or whatever. It’s okay to want to spend some time away from your baby – after all, this is new for you. You’re not used to having a little person that requires your total undivided attention. So it’s okay to wish for a few minutes of old normal.

What about you, mom’s? What sort of things did you wish you’d known before coming home with baby?

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