November 28, 2011 by Melissa
We have had so many friends welcome babies into their lives lately and quite a few that are welcoming them soon that I feel I have to write what I would have written myself before bringing Lucy home.
First of all, you did a fantastic job, however you did it. Natural or drugged, vaginal or c-section, quickly or not, early or late-you have brought into this world a beautiful baby. They’re here! They are lucky enough to be a part of you and your family, isn’t that amazing?
Second, every week gets a little better. Especially after week 6 or 7 if you have a fussy baby (fussy is not an appropriate word for what some babies can be-we called Lucy Lucifer for a while-only slightly tongue in cheek). They learn to sleep at the right time, they sleep for longer stretches, they can be calmed easier, they get used to the car seat, etc. So congratulate yourself on each week passed and know that the next will be even better.
Third, you don’t have to sleep when your baby does. I know every book says that but I say just do whatever you need to do to recharge yourself. Maybe that’s reading, or cleaning, or watching tv, or checking facebook, or just sitting in a quiet room, or calling a friend. Don’t feel guilty for not sleeping-you know what you need. I’m one that doesn’t benefit from a nap unless it’s an hour and a half long so when my baby was sleeping for 20-30 minute stretches, why bother? I found other ways to feel less stressed.
Fourth, you don’t have to have all the “stuff” that everyone and every book tells you that you need before the baby comes home. Every baby is different and every family is different and, with online shopping, you don’t have to drag yourself out of the house in the weeks after giving birth to get an item. We discovered after having our first that we really didn’t need the huge stroller system or even a diaper bag. I carried Lucy in the Baby Bjorn most places and had mini diaper packs in my purse. Both our girls aren’t fans of the swings either, but we have two of them…get whatever you need to make yourself feel comfortable beforehand and gather the rest later.
Fifth, don’t compare yourself to other new moms and don’t compare your baby to other newborns. There’s such a wide range for what normal is at this time and it all evens out eventually. I know our firstborn was a little late in the physical milestones but early on the verbal ones. Our second baby is rolling over already so you never know and it’s rarely something that you are or aren’t doing-that’s who they are.
Sixth, allow people to help you when they offer. Think of how good you feel when someone asks you for your help. Be gracious, say thank you and ask them to take out your garbage, or wipe down your counters, or sweep your front sidewalk…anything. I made a list of things I could ask others to do if they offered. Or you could just ask if they could hold the baby while you get stuff done. That’s what I’ve learned to do.
Finally, a few tips: invest in some stain sticks and have a lot scattered throughout your house, car, purse; save some fun things for your midnight feedings like a favorite magazine or book or the box set of Sex in the City-it makes it so much easier when you have that to look forward to ( I’ve read the Hunger Games set, several issues of Time, even gone through recipes online); and don’t underestimate the power of a good swaddle-it really does work miracles-so if you don’t know how to do one, ask someone to show you or watch the DVD “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Harvey Karp, MD.
Congratulations! Isn’t it amazing?
What would you have told yourself?