As I’m exactly one week away from dropping Annabelle off at daycare for the first time, it’s causing me to go into uber reflection mode on the first few months of her life. And as I think about all the things I’ve learned during this time, I wanted to share them in a blog post so that other *brand new moms* or moms to be can keep them in mind when the going gets tough. This isn’t rocket science that I’m about to bestow on you, you’ve heard it all before, but this is my version…
Appreciate their newborn stage, it’s so fleeting
Everyone always told me to enjoy the newborn stage because it goes by so fast. But when you’re in the thick of it, you can find yourself wishing it would hurry up and be over so you can get some SLEEP! I remember at one point Annabelle was just crying crying crying and I didn’t know what to do. Frustrated, I flipped on the soundscapes music channel on the TV and started dancing around my bedroom with her on my chest. My heart melted within a few minutes as she quieted down and I caught our reflection in the mirror as the wedding music of Canon D played in the background. She was sound asleep on my chest with her mouth wide open and her little tiny legs dangling at my hips. In that moment I pictured her on her wedding day and suddenly tears were streaming down my face. I realized then that this stage of her life is so fleeting, and I shouldn’t wish any part of it away. She has the rest of her life to be independent, so I should enjoy her needing me so much now.
Try to stay calm when your baby is upset – they can sense your anxiety
I truly believe that your baby can sense your anxiety. If your baby is crying in public and you’re frantically trying to grab diapers or a bottle, she can sense your unease and may get increasingly more upset. Sometimes when Annabelle is crying in public and my husband is on daddy duty (ha, when am I not on mommy duty?!), I can definitely tell she gets more and more frantic as sweat beads are rolling off my husband’s forehead and he’s shitting panic bricks while handling her. So try your best to keep calm and hopefully your baby will not get any more out of sorts than necessary!
If breastfeeding is challenging, stick with it because it can get better.
It drove me bananas when all those snooty lactation consultants and hippie La Leche League ladies would say breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt if you’re doing it right. Hey, all the experts said I was doing it right and that shit hurt like hell! I’ve blogged about the pain of breastfeeding before, but in the early days it was mind numbingly painful. I found out I had a condition called Vasospasm in which circulation was being cut off to my nipples while nursing and it was excruciating. Cold air became death to my boobies with Vasospasm. I had to wear wool breast pads in my bra AND heat packets to keep from getting cold. I took Vitamin B6 pills and the most extreme thing I did was take Hypertension medicine which is supposed to help. It didn’t. Then at 10 weeks it suddenly got even more painful and I was bracing myself during each nursing session. What the hell? Was it ever going to get better?
I’m happy to say at 12 weeks all my problems just sort of went away. Now it no longer hurts and it’s become a very pleasant experience for me. I enjoy the bonding and that it doesn’t hurt from my head to my toes while nursing! Thank you God!
Letting a baby cry it out isn’t that bad
I used to run and pick Annabelle up when she would so much as breathe heavy or grunt. But I’ve since learned that babies just make noises and sometimes they’ll wake up in the middle of a nap and start crying for no reason and then fall back to sleep. I realized that with me picking her up as soon as she cries that I was interrupting her naps. I now have a 3 minute rule on crying. Before I pick her up from a nap or from her crib in the morning, I give it about 3 minutes to see if she’ll go back to sleep. And most of the time, she does. 🙂
Don’t obsess over “baby milestones”
Being in a moms’ group, it’s easy to obsess over your baby meeting certain milestones when you see other babies doing super advanced things that your baby isn’t doing. But you need to remember that every baby is different and will develop at their own pace. Some babies are a little more advanced – I saw a 10 month old walking the other day!? – and some are kind of snail-ish about certain milestones. But they all eventually get there. Hey, I’m not in any hurry for Annabelle to be crawling and walking because that means I have to baby proof my house and chase her around constantly. I’m good with waiting.
Throughout the last 3 ½ months of motherhood I’ve learned a lot and I’m looking forward to all the new things that Annabelle will be doing at the 6 month mark, which apparently is when babies start to become little functioning humans that actually do stuff. But for now, I’m just relishing her tny little self. I find myself begging her on a daily basis to stay a baby for as long as possible. And then she giggles for the first time and rolls over from tummy time and I get giddy for her advances and sad that her itty bitty baby days are numbered. Ahhh…the joys and perils of motherhood!