Last week, Tracy Jensen, aka ChiMomWriter, wrote about what she has learn by being a parent for four years. I’m still a little wet behind the ears compared to her parenting experience and knowledge.
I was 34 when I got pregnant. I’ve babysat for years, been to too many baby showers, had many friends with kids and watched my sister raise her daughter. So, I was very confident in my knowledge of all things baby. I thought I knew it all. I was wrong. These are some of the important things I learn after my son was born, 16 months ago:
Your life will change and you need to accept it. For months after Mr. C was born, I was desperately trying to get back to normal. I wanted to get back to my daily and weekly routines. I was looking forward listening to NPR on the radio in my car while running errands on Saturday mornings. Of course, I could bring the baby along, right? They baby would tag along while I did what I was used to know as “normal.” Nope. Wrong. The baby was my NEW normal. Everything had changed. It was not in a good or bad way, it just changed. After struggling with it for months, I finally realized that I needed to make this my new “normal”: something that I was comfortable with. Sometimes, I do get to sneak out on Saturday mornings, listening to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” while driving to the grocery store and dry cleaners. And it feels great.
Breastfeeding is hard and you mostly likely won’t leave the hospital being good at it. I didn’t know much about breastfeeding before I gave birth. My OB didn’t encourage me either way. It was something I wanted to try but if it didn’t work out, I was fine with formula. Now I know that breastfeeding benefits baby and momma more than formula.
On the third night I was in the hospital and Mr.C in the NICU, my sister suggested that I might want to start pumping. To be honest, if she didn’t suggest it, I probably won’t have started the process. During the 7 weeks Mr. C was in the NICU, I was able to work with the lactation consultant. Mr. C and I got to practice nursing a few times a week. Breastfeeding is hard. Not many moms get 7 weeks to practice before bringing their baby home.
So, if breastfeeding is for you, my advice is to use those lactation consultants as much as you can. Page them, call them, lean on them. They are there to help. If you get a bad consultant, ask for another. Talk to the OB nurses. When you are home with baby, lean on your pediatrician, mom, mommy friends, sisters, cousins, and neighbors. They will help you. I frequented our hospital’s support group lead by my LC. This is your baby’s health we are talking about. So, don’t give up too quickly. There are also websites and other support groups that you can reach out to. I really like Respect the Breast’s site on Facebook.
Baby powder and scented baby lotion are not good for infants. Just because they sell baby lotion and baby powder in the baby section of the store, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe for them. Our pediatrician told us that baby powder is bad for baby. It’s not bad for their skin. It’s bad for them to breathe in the powder while you are applying it.
Any baby lotion with a scent could easily irritate baby’s sensitive skin. It’s the ingredients that make the scent that can irritate the skin. After we learned this, we started using Eucerin Original Brand that is unscented but any unscented baby lotion will work.
People like to give vague advice. I’ve learned that people like to give advice (well, some people just like to hear themselves talk). I’ve asked other parents for specific advice, and what I get is usually vague. For example: Cry It Out. If you are having problems with getting your baby to sleep, people will say Cry It Out. These are three words that parents dread. What does Cry It Out (CIO) really mean? It’s so vague to me! Well, I’ve found that it depends on the parents. Some parents’ definition of CIO is letting their little one cry for a long period of time until they fall asleep. To others it means letting their baby cry for only few minutes. So, I’ve learned to take what you can get from other people’s advice, but research and consult your doctor if you really need help with your baby.
We actually got sleep! The one thing that I was dreading about having a baby was not getting any sleep. I do not function well on little sleep.
As I mentioned above, baby got us into a new routine. Routine is key for sleep. Baby was up and fed every three hours, and so was I. My husband would get up once a night to feed the baby. We went to bed around 9pm. I did the 12am and 3am feeding. Daddy did the 6am and then stayed up to go to work. So I got to sleep from 3 to 9am. 6 hours of sleep is awesome! A co-worker stopped my husband in the office and noticed that he didn’t look sleep deprived! Of course there were nights that it didn’t go this smoothly. All I can say, if you thinking about going to bed, but the baby might get up in 20 minutes, still go to bed. That will be the time that he/she will sleep 5 hours and you missed that extra sleep. So sleep when you can, even if it’s for 10 minutes.
Love of your baby. Part of the reason why I wanted to have a baby was because I knew I would love him like no one else. I would have a bond and relationship that I could only have with him. And it turns out to be true. I never realized how much I would love him and want to care for him. He is perfect, sweet and handsome and he’s mine.
Daddies always have a good perspective. A quote from my husband of what he’s learned from being a father: “Living with a baby is like an oxymoron. They are really cute but really disgusting. They can smell absolutely wonderful and absolutely stink. And when you finally have time alone, you start to miss them.”
What have you learned from being a parent??