Holy Canoli...never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be writing a post about mommy anything... much less how to survive it! That being said, I had a total mommy meltdown this morning after bringing Ledoux to school...her teacher, Miss Heather, mentioned that she thought Doodle was ready to start eating more solids (as in actual solids...not the mushy baby food stuff!) and I realized, holy shit balls batman, my baby is not a "baby" anymore... she is almost a toddler. Where the heck did the time go? I was that mom... eyes tearing up, not ready to accept the fact that my baby was getting to big. (Oh, and then tonight, she crawled. I don't want to talk about it yet... I will cry!)
So all of this reminded me that ALL of our close friends are having babies. soon. Let's do the count:
1. Think of the first 3 months as your 4th trimester- think of it this way: this is your 4th trimester. Your little baby knows nothing about this world, and is brand new. It is up to you to transition them to this crazy world... and it cannot be done overnight. Make the environment for your baby as "womb friendly" as possible, meaning swaddle them (the tighter, the better!), sway them, "swoosh" at them (make the swooshing sound) and use a white noise machine. As your baby adjusts to the outside, you will do less and less of these things. You are attached (literally, in some cases) to this little baby 24/7, so although the baby is now outside of your body, your job is far from over.
2. Share your feelings!- You will compare yourself to every other mommy out there. And you will read baby blogs and stories and will think to yourself "How am I such a hot mess, and they are so perfect?" Don't get it twisted girlies, those people do not have it all together. We all go through the same things, so be open about it! You will find comfort in opening up, and seeing that others will too.
3. Shower Daily- Serious. Just for a minute. You will feel better.
4. Baby blues are real. You are exhausted, you are emotional (hellooooo hormones!), you are adapting to a new life, and as the mommy- you are the babe's main life line. You feel huge, un-attractive, and sometimes a bit like a milking cow. Um Hello! Who wouldn't have the baby blues? Its ok. I cried everyday. For 3 weeks. It is completely overwhelming. Trust me, it will get better, and if it doesn't, tell your doctor! They can help you get back to your normal self.
5. Welcome help: You cannot do everything with baby, and cook, clean, etc. If someone offers to help, let them help. And if someone doesn't offer to help, ask them to. This is not the time to have the "I can do it all" attitude. You need to rest. When baby sleeps, mommy sleeps. I thought I would be able to do it all- until I came home from the hospital and realized it was impossible. I am so thankful that I had a supportive hubby to play Mr. Mom... but if you don't have that same situation, find someone who can support and help you.
6. Make meals before hand : This is some of the best advice ever. Take the time now, while you are in full on nesting mode, to make food and freeze eat. Think lasagnas, enchiladas, etc. You can easily pop it in the oven and eat a home made meal, in no time flat.
7. If you need to cry, cry! Nothing is better then sitting in the shower, let the water hit your back, and crying.
8. Nap when baby naps. My friend Andi gave me to best advice ever: think of your sleep as power naps. Throw your idea of sleep out the window (no more 8+ hours a night for a while, sorry...)but instead, think of your your sleep as power napping. You take the naps when your baby sleeps. If baby falls asleep, turn off the tv and the phone, and do the same. Your only focus is baby, and you simply cannot be the best mommy you can be if you aren't well rested.
9. Walk away- You are not a bad mommy if you have to take what I call a mental health break. If you have done everything in your power (your baby is clean, fed, changed, swaddled, and still crying) and you are at your breaking point, put him/her in a safe place and walk away. Regroup, find yourself, and go back. I did this more than once... even just having 30 seconds to regroup was helpful. If you have help, have them step in so you can take a moment and have a break. You are not a bad mommy!
10. Breast Feeding is HARD- Breast feeding is hard work and typically does not happen naturally and requires alot of planning, trying, and frustration. Is it best for your baby? Yes. But please Mommy's, don't get down on yourself if you find that you have to supplement. Heck, some Mommy's have to do formula exclusively. No one out there knows what is best for YOUR baby but you. I had a low supply, and beat myself up about the fact that I couldn't make enough milk for my baby. And then I realized, I was sressing out and beating myself up about not being able to feed her the way I wanted to... key word being "I"... so because I wanted it to go one way, my baby wasn't eating enough. How in the heck does that make any sense? so what did I do? I supplemented with formula. At the end of the day, I have a healthy, happy baby, and I was a mommy who wasn't stressed out and beating myself up at every feeding. There is nothing I hate more than people who make you feel bad about deciding how you will feed your baby. Trust me, everyone has an opinion (most pro-BFing), but it is soooo not the end of the world if it doesn't work out for you.
11. Burp often- easily stated. Burp them, it will get the gas and air bubbles out and help prevent colic and babies that have upset little tummies. Which translates in you not having a screaming baby.
12. Keep Snacks, Magazines, and your DVR close by- nursing is a FULL time job. When you breast feed your baby it will feel like it is a never ending task. My baby was a comfort sucker, and every night, like clockwork, starting at 6pm, she would nurse FOR HOURS. That isn't an exaggeration. Also, remember that baby goes from the time the feeding was started not the end time of the feeding (which means she start at 1 pm, you end at 2 pm, and baby is ready again at 3 pm). Keeping things within reach before your feeding session is started will make breast feeding much easier.
13. Keep those Maternity Clothes! 2 reasons: first of all, your skinny pre-baby jeans are not going to fit... don't depress yourself with trying. And two, you want to be comfortable... and there is nothing more comfy then maternity clothes. period. I may or may not still wear my maternity leggings and tank tops sometimes. :)
14.) It gets better. I remember thinking to myself, what is so great about this? All my baby does is cry, eat, and poop. I do not see the magic in this baby stuff. And slowly, but surely, Ledoux started growing up and showing her personality. And playing. And smiling. And now, looking back, all I can say is trust me... if you don't love it yet, thats ok. You will. It will come!
And just a reminder, time goes by so fast...cherish every moment (as hard as it can be at 3 am when your baby is screaming.) Trust me, it gets better! So much better! And yes, baby will eventually start sleeping through the night :) Here are two pics that proove how fast time flies. Ledoux's first bath at 7 days old, and a bath last week. What a change!