It’s hard to believe that next week Madison will be 1 month old. We’re doing good and she’s growing a lot! I’ve done some rough calculations (weighing myself and then weighing myself while holding her) and she’s gained about 1 1/2 lbs in the past couple of weeks. I thought it fitting to document some of the lessons I never knew I would learn as I began raising a newborn. Makes me wonder if my mom had as much fun raising me! I hope you find these helpful and maybe even a little funny…well, as funny as they can be given how much sleep I’ve had.
- Sleep when you can, when she sleeps, when the sun is up, when the sun is down… it doesn’t matter where she is to get some zzz’s…just let her get them!
- Time Management/Scheduling – hahahaha – Consider asking people to text you when their on the way over so that you can try and quell the little monster with some milk and try to pull yourself together before your friend’s car pulls in the driveway.
- If you don’t want people to knock on the door don’t put a sign on your doorbell announcing it’s broken. Let them keep pressing the broken doorbell button. That way you and baby can finish your screaming competition or your nap uninterrupted, depending on the time of day.
- Cluster F***…and by that I mean Cluster Feeding (which feels like a cluster f*** some days) – Did you know that you can make enough food to feed a baby every 20-30 minutes around the clock??? Me either!!! A newborns tummy will only hold a couple of tablespoons of milk at a time, but babies that do cluster feed would make you think that they can hold their body weight in milk all the time! It really is fascinating – to watch – not be an active participant in…I kid…until it’s 3am and it’s the 40th feeding of the day…
- Baby Dolls – If you take prenatal classes, take a cloth diapering class, get your car seat inspected, etc. Don’t worry about “practicing” with the baby dolls. When your baby is kicking, rolling, squirming, crying…when you’re trying to support the head, not drop the passy, make sure the blanket’s not under them…no amount of practice on a baby doll will come in handy. The only benefit to putting a baby doll into your car seat is to make sure you know where to put the straps (if you don’t know already).
- I’m raising a night owl – and apparently others have raised/are raising them as well. I had no idea that some babies tend to have a fussy time in the evening. I found this article on fussy evenings and cluster feeding helpful. It helps breakdown some of the reasons why. Knowing why helped me deal with the fact that we ate, pooped, slept, in that order, all day, on queue, until around 5pm and then all hell broke loose. It hasn’t ended for us yet, but apparently they will out grow this phase.
- Heating pad and a space heater – If you’ve ever had a newborn photo shoot done, chances are you’ve watched a complete stranger calm your baby down quicker than you’ve ever been able to with a simple heating pad and space heater. If you don’t have kids yet or are expecting your first, add these 2 items to your baby registry if you don’t already own them.
- Your new shut-in status – In the first month, when your baby is cluster feeding, and you’re not medically cleared to drive, and your husband has gone back to work – you essentially become a shut-in. It’s temporary and hopefully you have friends and family you can call to come help you if you need it. Meanwhile, you’re at home all day cussing your cable company because they have no decent programming. You online shop when you can because you need to feel like your contributing to society in some way and you’ve essentially secured a visit by another human being when the Fed-Ex/UPS guy drops your stuff off.
- Change of clothes – If you’ve done any reading on what to keep in a diaper bag one staple will always be a change of clothes. That’s typically assumed to be for the baby. I would recommend keeping a change of clothes for you too or at least take a change of clothes for you any where you’re taking your baby and part of that visit will include your baby being naked (including no diaper). For instance, newborn photo shoots. You will get peed on at least once and, if you’re lucky like me, right at the end of the shoot when the photographer is trying to take a couple of shots of mommy and her sweet baby girl together you’re baby will smile for the first time and you’ll think it’s so cute and just as your husband starts to walk over to see that first smile your baby poops all down the front of your shirt. That’s when you realize that you’re sweet baby girl may not be 100% sugar, spice, and everything nice.
- Social Networking – If your social networking sites have been all but abandoned due to morning sickness, sleep, work, and baby showers while you’re pregnant – don’t worry – you will ramp back up your social status in no time once you and that sweet baby are at home. It may take a few days, but between posting pictures and reaching out to other mom’s to find out if what your baby just did is “normal;” you will make sure that the world doesn’t forget you.
- Pictures – You will take a ton of photos in the first month. They’ll start out all baby specific; baby sleeping, baby awake, baby trying to smile, baby on their stomach, baby on their back….a lot of pictures of baby! Over time these pictures will transition to the things you desperately don’t want to lose touch with….margaritas, wine, post-baby body, laundry you managed to get folded in record time…it happens. Instagram it all!!!
I do have to end this post with a note that while this past month has been the most challenging of my life, I have also had the most fun falling in love with this little girl. Yes, there are moments when you don’t know what to do, you cry when she cries because you don’t know what’s wrong; if anything. However, when she starts to look you for you as you call her name, when she starts to coo, when she’s peacefully sleeping after a successful meal – you know you’re both better than ok and that’s enough!