15 Things I Wish I Had Known About: The Newborn Days

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Happy April! It's officially baby month for my sister-in-law and I am ridiculously excited to meet my new niece! Thinking about her giving birth brings me back to those first few weeks with Baylee. It was so tough, but those newborn snuggles made it oh, so worth it! There are, of course, a few things I learned, so that brings me to part 3 of my "15 Things..." series!

1. That I was going to learn to function on very little sleep. Seriously, nothing can prepare you for the lack of sleep that you experience with a new baby. I was lucky to get 2 hours straight at any given time. The human body is miraculous, though and you really just push through. It's not until that first night that the baby lets you get 5 or 6 hours straight that you even remember what it's like to get real sleep!

2. That the first few days newborns need to be woken up to eat. So, you're exhausted from laboring for 26 hours and all you want to do is sleep once you finally get settled in to your post partum room. Think again. Your little baby is going to knock out from the long day she had too, but you gotta wake her up to practice breast feeding and get some of that golden colostrum in her little body every two hours! Luckily, they usually go right back to sleep after they eat. What I didn't know was that she wasn't going to alert me that she was hungry. I accidentally let her go 3 hours between feedings the first night and my nurse gently explained to me about the two hour rule. Also, it is very helpful with getting your milk to come in!

3. That I was going to find out the true meaning of "paranoid". When the internet is filled with stories about families who lose their babies to SIDS or other illnesses, it's hard not to feel like that can happen to you too. I was overly paranoid about her safety. Was she breathing? Too cold? Too hot? That feeling of knowing you are responsible for keeping this tiny little human alive is enough to drive any mama crazy! Of course, the paranoia wears off and just becomes a perpetual state of worry. But that's just what
moms do...they worry. :)

4. That breast feeding is a roller coaster. I had big breast feeding dreams, and they just didn't quite pan out like my vision. I pictured my baby having a perfect latch and being able to breast feed for a minimum of the first nine months. Insert fake smile here. Oh, such a pretty dream, and for some it totally comes true, but it was definitely not the case for me. We started out great, but as soon as my milk came in and I was super engorged in both breasts, it totally threw Baylee off. Then, when I was still trying my hardest to make it work, Baylee had to be hospitalized for her jaundice. The pediatric nurses wanted to measure her intake, so they made me pump and feed her with a bottle. As soon as Baylee used a Nuk nipple for the first time she was hooked. The boob was a thing of the past, and I had no choice but to start exclusively pumping, which, truthfully, is basically twice the work. I hated pumping with a passion, but I wanted my baby to have the best! After almost 6 months Baylee started rejecting my breast milk completely. (I got my cycle back so it may have changed the taste is what I learned.) So yes, for the last three months we have been on formula. At first I felt super guilty, but I'm totally over it. Other than the fact that it costs an arm and a leg, today's formula is actually super great for baby's growth and development and has iron which they can't get from breast milk. Plus, it makes leaving her with a sitter a total breeze. Ultimately, I'm very proud of myself, and with baby #2 one day I will try, try again!

5. That the most helpful hands were the ones bringing food. Eat. Sleep. Poop. That's all newborns do, but they do it all day long. There was no time for me to make food for myself; not to mention I was so sore that going up and down the stairs was completely out of the question. Whenever someone came into my room with food I wanted to kiss them. Breast feeding makes you as ravenous as a teenage boy, so you want to eat ALL the time. Ever wonder what you can do to help a new mom? Bring food.

6. That my first day alone with her, I would be just fine. The last day of Brian's week home with us I cried all day. I was so scared that I wouldn't be able to do it by myself. But you know what? I did it! And when Brian came home at the end of the day we were both alive! I wish I had had a little more faith in myself. Then again it could have been those crazy post partum hormones. ;)

7. That I should have moved around and walked more and sooner. I was so sore that I spend the first two weeks in bed, but looking back that was probably the worst thing I could have done. The rest was good for me, but I bet I would have healed faster and felt a lot better if I had moved around more. Next time around we will be coming back to our own house instead of staying somewhere else, so I think that will make it a lot easier for me to get going sooner.

8. That the baby weight doesn't just "melt off". Please. I wish. Everyone told me that breast feeding burns so many calories that I was going to lose the weight quick. Fast forward 8.5 months later and I STILL have 6 pounds to go until I'm back at my pre-pregnancy weight. I guess everyone is different, but for me the weight didn't come off until I stopped breast feeding. Now I know not to stress about it though. It eventually comes off, but it took 9 months to gain the weight...it's not going to go away in two weeks.

9. That guests and advice get annoying. In the beginning, it's so great to have family and friends around to lend a helping hand, but a few weeks in you get to a point where you're pretty over it. I had to learn to just demand some alone time with my baby. As far as the unsolicited advice goes, sometimes you just have to smile and nod and then do it however you were going to anyway. 

10. That my maternal instinct would kick in like crazy. I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy worrying that I was going to be a mediocre mom. I had no idea what I was doing...how could I possibly be a good mom? But suddenly you have this little creature, and your body just knows what to do. Its so amazing how in sync you can be with your baby! 

11. That teaching my husband things about caring for a baby would bond us even closer. Brian really is the sweetest dad, and from the get-go wanted to make sure he knew how to do everything correctly. I loved how much he cared and it totally made me fall more in love with him.

12. That there's nothing wrong with doing nothing for a few weeks. I'm so glad I sat back and just soaked Baylee in when she was brand new. We snuggled and cuddled and I still remember her perfect newborn smell. If there's anything that I advise a new mom to do, it's nothing. Just sit and stare at this perfect new life you made. For all too soon they are wanting off your lap to go explore their world!

13. That I was going to be very emotional. She's so cute! *cry* I'm still so fat! *cry* She won't latch! *cry* You get the picture. Raging hormones make you super sensitive after you give birth and it takes a while for them to level out. Just go with it, but don't keep it to yourself. Luckily, my family was ready to listen to my craziness, and sometimes a good cry was all I needed to get back to normal.

14. That as much as it bonded my husband and I, we were going to encounter our first challenges as well. When you're hormonal and sleep deprived, it's really hard to remember how this baby came to be in the first place. I was definitely lacking in the showing love and patience toward my husband department. I would think about him all the time, but when he came home from work all I wanted was a break from caring for Baylee. I had to remind myself that I was not just Baylee's mom, but Brian's wife too. It's a balancing act, and I'll probably never get it right, but I think communication and effort are the key!

15. That it goes by way too fast! I honestly don't know how almost 9 months has already gone by! It feels like just yesterday I was holding my little 7 pounder, and now she's almost 20 pounds of pure energy! :) Take your time and enjoy every moment with your new little life. 

I have loved doing this three part series so much that I think I will continue it! I have some ideas up my sleeve. :) I'm also going to try to blog at least weekly now that Baylee takes longer naps finally! Yay! I'll be back on Monday to tell you all about Baylee's 1st Easter! Until then! XoXoXo

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