I’m sitting here flipping through pictures on my laptop of when Aiden was first born. He was tiny. He used to sound so squeaky. Sigh. I miss those sweet little squeaky cries. Everytime I flip through the pictures though, I am instantly transported back to those feelings of intense love and intense fear. Postpartum hormones are no joke. Looking back I can now see how the mix of sleep deprivation and hormones caused my judgement to be foggy at best.
Aiden is almost 8 months old now (insert tears still because time flies). This time last year, we were planning our gender reveal party. Oh how I wish I could go back and tell myself a few things that I have learned in these last 8 months.
Everything will come in time
I do not know why but in those first few weeks I felt this intense pressure to automatically know everything about my baby. I felt like I should know his different cries, what he likes, what he doesn’t like, the list goes on an on. I downloaded so many apps to keep track of his milestones. I researched when he should be doing different things. It could have been postpartum hormones, anxiety, sleep deprivation, or that just normal fear of doing something that you think is going to scar your kid for life. I wish I could tell myself to calm down and that within time, you will know all of this and more. You will be able to tell strangers the last time your baby pooped without batting an eye. You will be able to look at your baby and know automatically the reason they are fussy is because they are tired. You can literally see it written on their face. You will be able to tell the doctor how many times they eat during the day and how much they are sleeping without even thinking about it. They will hit their milestones the moment you aren’t watching. New mamas, just breathe through those first weeks. As hard as it can be to do, just sit and breathe in your newborn.
Do what works for your baby
I am a Google queen. If it is something I don’t know about, you will find me looking it up on Google. I researched TONS prior to the delivery. Everything you could imagine, I looked it up. I took advice from people like it was going out of style. I was going to be on top of this parenting thing. Then I had an actual baby. It all went out the window. He hated to be swaddled, he hated the swing, breastfeeding was a challenge (more on that in a later post), I developed postpartum anxiety. It was literally trial and error for us. He slept on my chest majority of the nights in those early months. Why? Because we were all exhausted and needed sleep. I kinda can tell you a nap schedule but that changes on a daily basis. Babies are just little people. They have their own routines and schedules that best fit their needs. Find what works for your baby. Then don’t worry about it.
Your first few nights home will be a sh!tshow
Our first night home from the hospital was well, not my favorite. We were discharged about 10 in the morning and were home by lunch. I did not realize how exhausted I was until later that afternoon. I was fine all day but then my dad stopped by while my sister was still here. The exhaustion/hormones hit. It was all overwhelming. I wanted everyone to leave but obviously couldn’t ask them too. So instead I decided to FaceTime with my aunt in Alabama. Why? Exhaustion and hormones. Once they all left, my mom and stepdad brought us dinner. I had walked back to the kitchen where my mom was holding the baby. She just looked at me and asked if I was ok. Immediate tears. She just came over and held me and told me that the first night home is overwhelming. It is. I had in my head that we would go to bed at 10 and everything would run smoothly. Yeah, about that. The baby started crying 30 minutes after I laid down. It wasn’t time for him to eat yet. My dogs kept jumping off the bed (which I was convinced is what woke him up). I had a complete and total meltdown. It was the ugliest one I have ever had. My poor husband was like a deer in headlights. Nothing in anything I had read prepared me for what a hot mess nighttime was. After those first few weeks, I finally was able to get a handle on it. Didn’t make it any easier but we got through it.
You are your baby’s safe place
Aiden is the 5th grandchild on my husband’s side and the 1st on my side. We both have large families. I also have some family members that are little overbearing. They tend to talk like they know everything about what is going on with Aiden. For months, this drove me crazy. I was worried sick that he wouldn’t like me. Why I had this fear? No clue. However, once he started to recognize me. It didn’t matter how long he had been away from me, I get looks that no one else gets. He looks at me like I am the best thing in the world. I soak it up every time. Everyone had told me that boys LOVE their mamas. It is so true. I am also the first one he reaches for if he is scared. He loves his daddy, but he knows I am his safe place. New mama’s this will come in time. Your baby will choose you over anyone else. This is good and bad. It is good because you have a bond that no one else will ever have with that baby. It is bad when you just want to go to the bathroom in peace! Do not worry about in those first few weeks/months.
Don’t believe others on miraculous milestones
Inevitably, there will be at least one person you come across that will tell you this story about how their baby was walking by 5 months. Facepalm. I had people telling me stories about how their baby was talking at an early age or they had them sleeping through the night at 2 weeks. Imagine my anxiety when my baby wasn’t hitting these milestones when I was being told other babies were. Fast forward a few months and guess who has been hitting milestones on his own. Yeah. People mean well when they tell you what miraculous things their baby has done because as parents you want your kids to do well. Your baby will eventually roll over, sit up, pull up, clap, talk, etc. when they are ready to. I will say though always talk to your pediatrician at every well child check-up. They are the best ones to tell you if there is something you need to watch out for.
To all the expectant mama’s out there, there is nothing that can prepare you for the incredible journey you are about to embark on. You will have hard times. You will be exhausted. You will see your baby smile at you for the first time and it will all be worth it.
To all the new mama’s out there (that are reading this during those late night feedings), you may be right in the middle of that hard/exhausting early stage. You will survive this. It does get better. You have an entire community of mama’s right ahead of you to cheer you on!
To the mama’s who have been there/done that but are still in the middle of the first year, you have realized how strong you are. You have kept a tiny person alive for this long (yay you!). You have started to find your new self. You have come out of that fog and are loving the stage you are in!
To the mama’s of bigger kids, teenagers, and grown kids, you are reading this and might be nodding because you can remember those early weeks/months. You know that it does get better and better. You know that hard times are still ahead but it is those first weeks/months that lays the groundwork to be able to handle those next hard things.
Wherever you are at in your mommin journey, what are some things you remember about those first few days/weeks/months? Were you given any ridiculous tips or stories? Let me know in the comments below.