Wednesday, August 21, 2013
What I've Learned About Parenthood as of August 21
1. Giving your baby a bottle of formula before bed does not make you a bad parent, nor will it tank your milk supply. Formula takes longer to digest, which means you'll get more sleep; after weeks of sleeping in 2-hour increments, 4 hours will seem like a vacation.
2. It's okay to still wear your maternity jeans 7 weeks after your baby is born. Likewise, it is okay to wear your pre-pregnancy jeans with the button undone AS LONG A SHIRT COVERS THE WAISTBAND. Honestly, let's keep some modicum of decency here.
3. When your baby is screaming and fighting sleep, place him in a baby carrier and vacuum a room. The white noise from the vacuum mimics the sounds he's used to in the womb, and the baby carrier leaves your hands free in case you need to down a beer to maintain your sanity.
4. The best thing you can do for new parents is bring easy-to-prepare food for them to eat, and offer to do laundry. Seriously, where do all the dirty clothes come from?
5. Don't pass up an opportunity to pee. Your baby may decide in 2 minutes that he's hungry and will be attached to the breast for 45 minutes; you'll wish you'd hit up the bathroom when you had a free moment.
6. If nursing, a Netflix account is indispensable. I nurse anywhere from 3.5-6 hours daily, and have worked my way through some great TV shows during that time.
7. Remember all those people who said, 'Enjoy this time, they grow up so fast?!' They weren't kidding. August has gained 4ish pounds since he came home from the hospital, and those preemie pj's he wore at first seem like a distant memory.
8. It's okay to change your plans about parenting. I truly thought I would love breastfeeding and it would come naturally to us; I didn't love it at first, and it didn't come easily. We had to use nipple shields (which some people are vehemently against, unnecessarily so), pump to get my supply up, it would take him over an hour at each feeding, and I still ended up having to supplement with formula to help him get rid of his jaundice. I thought to myself, 'This is not how I envisioned this going, and I'm a bad mom.' I had this idea in my head of what a good mom looks like, and I was not meeting it.
You know what? August is doing great. He can down a bottle or a breast now with no problem or extra assistance. Most of our feedings take 45 minutes now, and they're spaced further apart. I actually like our late-night meetings; it's just the two of us, and he makes the cutest faces and hand motions while he's eating.
9. No one cares what you're wearing as long as your baby is happy and well cared for. A couple weeks ago, August was dressed in an outfit consisting of socks, a polo onesie, pants, a cardigan and hat- all matching. I was in pajama pants, a nursing tank, and Converses. When I got to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law's for lunch, they didn't even mention my pj's, just went straight for the baby. Expectations for your appearance pretty low right now.
10. In order to be a good parent, sometimes you have to let someone else hold him while you take a nap. It is simply impossible to be good at anything when you're going on just a smidge of sleep. Take the offer of someone else watching your baby and crash for 45 minutes. It's amazing what it will do for your psyche.