Before I became a mom, I was clueless about how my life would change once my baby was born.
I wasn't sure what I needed.
I wasn't sure what I wouldn't need.
I wasn't sure how to burp my baby, or how to hold my baby, or, let alone, how to hold my baby and vacuum with the other hand.
I didn't know how little sleep I'd get, or how my stomach would look for weeks (months, years) after giving birth.
I didn't think I'd ever pee myself as I changed my newborn baby's diaper.
I didn't know I'd have no idea what the hell to wear those first few days after having my baby.
Well, with time, you learn. You do your kegals.
And eventually, you sort of become an expert in motherhood.
Of course, everyday is still an adventure, everyday, a challenge. And, everyday, there will be the happy, proud 'heart is about to burst' moments, and there will also be the moments you feel like ripping your hair out, the times you want to cry out in frustration, sure that no one is having as hard a time as you.
If only... if only I had a list. A list of things new moms experience after having a baby. Helpful tips on making life with a new baby easier, advice from other moms.
As you know, my baby sister is having a baby girl in a few months.
Luckily for her, she has spent a lot of time with my boys, so she's way more ready than I ever was.
She knows the basics. She's seen me in action. She knows, basically, what to do. How to hold a baby. How to change a dirty diaper, how to feed a squirmy 13 month old.
She also knows that there are a lot of things she will not do - for instance, she is not a fan of co-sleeping - at least, not to the extent that I've taken it. She's more independent that I am, and she'll likely get out of the house earlier than I did with my first-born.
However, I thought I'd be the nice big sister and offer her some tips that might come in handy, as her life is, no doubt, about to change in a huge way.
1. Giving birth is not that much worse than a brazilan wax. (Get the epidural.)
2. Going to the bathroom after giving birth sucks.
3. The pad you'll have to wear after having your baby is massive and humiliating.
4. Don't bother packing those novels you wanted to read. The nurse laughed at me when she saw I brought 3 books with me to read after the baby was born. I soon learned why...
5. Breastfeeding is pretty easy. Try it. Ask for help. I buzzed the nurse a million times that first night, asking her if I was doing it right, until I was comfortable enough.
6. Eat! I had a pizza right before having my baby, and chicken fingers and fries right after. You'll need the calories, and really, right after you give birth is not the time to start thinking about losing weight. It's far too despressing a thought.
7. There is nothing on earth as magical as holding your baby for the first time. This thought alone is making me ovulate.
8. If you're too scared to bathe your baby at home for the first few days, let your husband do it. I learned by watching.
9. Find a comfortable place to breastfeed at home. It took me at least one month to find the right position.
10. You don't have to accept visitors for the first few weeks. You don't even have to answer the phone.
11. Make sure the Purell is visible for anyone who does drop by unexpectedly!
12. Write thank-you cards as you receive presents. I know you'll be tired, but it's better than having a huge pile to write later.
13. You will be so tired, you won't even remember your own name, what day it is, or what season it is outside. Eventually, you'll sleep for longer than 2 hours at a time. And that day will be a very happy day, indeed!
14. I'm a huge fan of soothers.
15. Always have your diaper bag ready to go. Prepare it the night before.
16. Have extra supplies in a bag in the trunk of your car - extra diapers, wipes, change of clothes for baby - and a top for you - as well as toys, blankets, and books. They will come in handy!
17. You don't need a diaper genie.
18. But you will need the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper for your bedroom.
19. And a pack-and-play on the main floor.
20. Television is okay!
Also, I feel like it's important for me to say here: "Don't sweat the small stuff", even though you all know I am not one to follow that rule - I worry far too much, all the time, about everything. The worry that comes with being a mom is unavoidable, but hopefully, you'll handle it better than I did and do.
Do any of you moms out there have any other advice or suggestions you'd like to offer a mom-to-be? I'd love to hear what you have to say - so I can write it all down for my sister and give her a little book at her shower called Advice from other Moms!