Wednesday 24 April 2019

Life with a Newborn

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. Or, we just survived the first month of having a little clingon in our lives - a little almost 10lb turkey who has completely, entirely & irrevocably changed our lives; completely for the better, but sometimes a little harder to admit than others. The last 5.5 weeks have been blissful, learning his little quirks and squeaks, somewhat deciphering what certain squeaks mean over others, melting over his baby snores and laughing hysterically over how loud he is when he eats and the faces he makes when he fights waking up. To put it bluntly, we’re obsessed with him. But that doesn’t mean it’s been a breezy month and a bit; I feel like I made it by the skin of my teeth - but we did it. 

Compiled is a list of what we have learned in the last 5.5 weeks: what will happen when you experience life with a newborn. Now that I’m a seasoned expert and everything (wink wink nudge nudge *SARCASM*). 

1.The cliche is true - you will forget to brush your teeth and remember in the afternoon sometime, and that coffee you made with great intentions will be chugged hours later - cold. Who cares, caffeine is caffeine girl. 
1a. When a support person accidentally dumps that 4 hours old coffee and you want to cry because wasted coffee is only secondarily tragic to wasted breast milk. 
2. Your husband/partner will start using phrases like “babe he’s starting to root” and you’re like, you’re correct but when the hell did you learn what that means. 
3. Take. It. Easy. Now - I was SHOCKED how little stamina I had the first few weeks after baby. I assumed that once the big belly was gone, I’d have my stamina back. You won’t, you just went through something maaajor - reward your body with kindness and gentleness. It’ll come back.
4. You still look pregnant. I told myself I’d leave the hospital looking exactly as I did going in, so that way anything less was a success. I left looking about 6 months pregnant, albeit with one helluva squishy belly. My belly admittedly did shrink fast (those uterus cramps are REAL), but dont worry, there's still lots of squish there. 
5. Baby blues are real. Thankfully for me they only lasted a few days, but for others they last longer and don’t be afraid to admit to it; it’s human, it’s normal and you shouldn’t suffer in silence. There's nothing to be ashamed about or feel guilty for. 
6. Breastfeeding is HARD. Your nipples are really sore, and you’re both still learning how to master this “natural” act.. natural doesn’t mean seamless. Relax, take your time with each other and get comfy. & take advantage of all the professional lactation advice you can receive within your community. Personally, breastfeeding hasn’t been something I enjoy - but that’s a whole other post I’m working on. 

7. Thirst & hunger is real. Breastfeeding burns a ton of calories and it feels like painful cardio. Have healthy, nutrient dense snacks on hand to chow down quickly. & Chug water. Have a tall glass in every spot you breastfeed, and invest in (glass or steel) straws. Extra points for a husband who holds it up to your mouth when one hand is holding a boob and the other is holding a baby head. 
8. Take the help - it honestly takes a village and between both sets of parents and siblings, I don’t think I would’ve made it through the first week - especially when Jake’s back spasmed two days after we got home and he could barely move. Laundry was done, dishes, dinners taken care of, floors vacuumed and bathrooms done. It felt extremely weird and wrong to have people do “my” chores, but it made life so much easier. 
9. Don’t turn inward, but don’t feel afraid to turn away visitors if/when you feel overwhelmed. Like I said, Baby blues are real and everything can feel daunting and hard. I’m someone who instinctively turns inward when anxiety hits me, but was surprised how refreshing *SHORT* visits could be. Have a gatekeeper who enforces the visit time limit. 
10. Cuddle cuddle cuddle - they’re only this little once, and even the hard moments are ones you can’t get back. Can’t get him to sleep in his crib for his nap? Hold him and inhale all that baby smell. They’ll figure it out sooner than you think. 
12. Every cough, squeak, grunt, snort or funny coloured foot will panic you. It’s normal.

13. Nipppple. Paaaaaads. I’ve been very fortunate that my milk supply has been very good, it’s a great problem to have in the grand scheme of things as I know some women really struggle with supply. However, with a healthy supply comes with serious engorgement and pain, as well as major leakage. Nipple pads were and are my saviours. I have extras stashed everywhere.
14. Do what works for YOU. Myles slept on me for part of the night for the first month. We would manage to get him down in his bassinette for the first portion, but then that would be it. I felt like such a failure - until I realized ALL new moms do this to some extent. I’d say it’s 50% comfort for the baby, 50% mama’s only hope for sleep. He won't be sleeping on me when he's 3, so I'll just embrace it now and know it will eventually not be the normal. 
15. Are you like me and having a set schedule/day plan is important to you? Well SAY GOODBYE TO THAT because baby don’t give a fuuuuu. True story: I had to be somewhere for an appointment at 9:30, and had to leave the house at 8:45. I had my morning planned out and it involved feeding Myles at 8:15 so I could burp him, change him and go. He decided however he wanted to eat at 7:30. No big deal right? Well it fucked my whole type A personality right up; I HATE schedule deviations. However, we still left the house on time, I was just less “presentable” than I would’ve liked, and it didn’t matter. It was a quick lesson that you’re only in control so much and you have to be able to take the divots with grace, and flexibility. Or you will be a snap show. 
16. You still send your husband photos that include your breasts, but slightly different now because there’s a baby attached to it and it’s usually in response to “whatcha up to?” While he’s at work. 
17. You WILL say out loud to each other “what the fuck were we thinking?!” At least once. A week. If you don’t, that’s great but pretty sure you’re lying. It’s okay to admit it - your baby can’t read this. I won’t tell. It doesn't mean you don't love this little human to death, it means that raising this little human is HARD, and didn't come with a manual and it can get frustrating sometimes. 
18. Sleep. When. Baby. Sleeps. It took me a week to actually do this; mainly because adrenaline was so high that I wasn’t actually tired. Well, when that wore off I felt like a train hit me. Now I try to grab at least an hour or two nap during the day when he goes down, because I still don’t know what our night will look like. Everything else can wait, you need sleep. 

19. Baby's tummies are not fully developed when they're born, and gassy bellies happen and it's horrible for everyone. Stock up on Gripe water, Ovol drops (we have 3 bottles), and learn the bicycle pump - become a master at it. 
20. Unless you want to be a human pacifier, teach your baby to love a soother - and don't feel mom guilt for giving it to your baby at 2 weeks instead of the 5 weeks like you were planning, like I did. It'll save those sore nips and your sanity.  
21. Take moments for you and your spouse; you can't pour from an empty cup is what I always say, and that extends to your relationship. You two need to depend on each other and exhaustion can easily cause squabbles. Take mini dates, go for walks, keep lines of communication open. 

So there you have it, the few things I've figured out in the short almost 6 weeks we've had our little Bubba earthside. And now that I've put it in writing, Baby Murphy's Law means it's all going to go to shit and I will be back at square one. But that's okay, because it's a learning process and it's an adventure and I couldn't have better adventure buddies on my side. This little family of mine is everything I could ever want - but I would gladly take another hour or two of sleep a night ;)