Bringing a baby into your home will change everything. From the way you think, to the way you go to the bathroom (suddenly you’re going as quickly as possible- forget the phone, you have a baby to get back to!), having your little one around will revolutionize your life.
You’re going to be stressed. You’re going to be tired. You’re going to be stinky. But, you’re going to survive! And, to help make these first few months a little easier, I’m going to share with you the things I wish I knew before bringing my baby home from the hospital.
*Note: This is different than my 15 Things I Wish I Knew Before Giving Birth post. This is about raising baby, not delivering it.
Ready? Let’s get this thing started!
The first three things relate to breastfeeding. The fourth is a MUST READ. And the rest are all things I would have loved to know seven weeks ago. Hope this helps all you new or soon-to-be mamas out there!
1. Breastfeeding is hard
BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE!
I’ve talked so much about breastfeeding in this blog. That’s because what I said is true: breastfeeding is hard. It took weeks of work and hours of crying, but in the end, it all paid off! Read about our breastfeeding journey in these blog posts:
2. Watching what you eat is a serious thing
If you’re breastfeeding, you are definitely going to want to keep track of what you eat and when. Why? It’s not because of weight or health or anything related to you.
It’s because what you eat, Baby eats. And Baby might not like everything you eat. Better said: Baby’s tummy might not like everything you eat. I learned this the hard way when I had curry one night.
Long story short, Hubs and I were up for HOURS googling and trying everything we could find to help our poor baby feel better.
(Newbie) Pro Tip: Baths are great for calming Baby down. Their tummy might still hurt when they get out, but while they’re in the water, they’re relaxed and happy and you can breathe again for a few minutes.
3. How to identify lip ties and tongue ties
There are multiple reasons why breastfeeding doesn’t work:
– Poor supply
– Baby not gaining weight
– Pain for mama
The thing is, all of these problems might be caused by one thing: ties. If a baby can’t move their mouth or tongue correctly, they can’t transfer milk well. What does this lead to?
– Poor supply
– Baby not gaining weight
If their mouths aren’t able to move correctly, they aren’t able to get a good latch. And what does this lead to?
– Pain for mama
If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, consider getting your baby’s mouth looked at. It seriously revolutionized our breastfeeding experience.
4. Wonder weeks, leaps, and growth spurts
If I could only pass along one tip to new moms, this would be it: Learn about Wonder Weeks! It will change your life. At least, it will make sense of your life when your screaming baby is making it impossible for you to make sense of anything.
I was well into the first leap before I learned about this nifty little guide to baby’s development. I was up late one night, (cradling my baby who refused to be put down in one hand, phone in the other) sleep deprived and desperate, when my google search for sanity lead me to a term I had never heard before in the world of baby raising: leap.
A little more googling, and I realized that I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t crazy. My baby really was being ridiculously fussy. And it was completely normal! Three dollars later, I bought the Wonder Weeks app from the App Store and haven’t looked back.
No, it doesn’t tell me how to make my baby not be fussy. It does warn me of when a fussy time is coming. And it explains why baby is in a “stormy period.” And understanding makes is so much easier to deal with.
Want more info on leaps? What better place to get it than right from the source? Check out the link below for information on The Ten Leaps:
5. Heart murmurs are common
This would have been nice to know when the nurse who came for the home visit dropped the “heart murmur” bomb on me and shook me to my very core! Of course, I didn’t believe her when she told me not to freak out and I spent the entire night worrying like crazy.
It wasn’t until I went to the cardiologist the next day that I was able to relax. Read about that lovely little experience in my blog post:
My Baby Has a Heart Murmur… What if Yours Does, Too?
6. Mom Brain- It’s a Real Thing
You know that feeling when you walk into a room and forget what you walked in there for? That’s what mom brain feels like… and it’s constant!
Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation, maybe it’s the fact that I now have another person to take care of and keep track of, or maybe it’s just me, but I always feel like I’m forgetting something or missing something or can’t remember something (even though I’m not quite sure what it is I can’t remember).
Taking care of a baby adds a whole slew of things to your to do list, and it’s hard to keep track of when was the last time baby ate, did I change her diaper, I need to get eggs, and it’s about time to do laundry again. I should put on a load of… oh, crap… she’s crying again. Mama’s coming Baby Girl!
Wait, wasn’t I about to do something?
7. Buy clothes because they’re easy to get on and off, not because they’re cute
You won’t care how cute an outfit is when it has too many buttons, and needs to be pulled over baby’s head, and baby just pooped all over it and OH MY GOODNESS how do I get this thing off?
I had a handful of cute newborn outfits for Norah, and she looked so adorable in them! But she only wore them once. Why? Because they were so annoying to get on and off.
I honestly ended up not even really using onesies because pulling them up and on (or even down and off, which is an easier option) was too much work for my sleep deprived patience. Instead I opted for rompers. The ones with snaps all up the front. Yes, I know, a ton of snaps? Are you crazy? Trust me, they are amazing! Get one, try it, and thank me later.
8. Speaking of clothes- They outgrow them SUPER fast!
Sizes LIE! They LIE! 0-3 months? I’ll be surprised if Norah is still in 0-3 months in three weeks (she’s 7 weeks old, by the way). According to the size things on Carter’s (the baby clothing store) website, 0-3 months fits up to 12.5 lbs. I don’t know about your baby, but my baby is getting pretty close to that number already (considering she was only 6 lbs when she was born!).
Either way, she outgrew her newborn stuff before she had a chance to wear everything! It’s a shame, too, because she had some super cute (although not necessarily easy to get on and off… maybe that’s why she never wore them?) outfits.
I’m sure this is something everyone has heard, but please, take it to heart: Don’t waste your money on tons of clothes for your little one. They will never use them all!
9. Sometimes even babies don’t even know why they’re crying
Babies cry–a lot. Say that with me: “Babies cry a lot.” Accept it now because it’s going to be your new normal. Your baby’s cry will become the soundtrack of your life.
There are times you’ll know why they’re crying. They’re hungry. Their diaper is dirty (although, here’s something that surprised me: they don’t always cry when they need to be changed. This doesn’t really start happening until they’re a little older). They want to be held. They’re tired. Maybe they’re going through a growth spurt. Maybe it’s leap time (Wonder Weeks– Seriously, check it out!).
But then there are the times they cry for no reason. I’m convinced they don’t even know why they’re crying. What can you do? Soldier on! Love your baby and play with them, sing to them, give them a bath… Do what you have to and eventually they will stop. It might take an hour… or four… but they will stop.
10. You’ll be amazed at how fast they grow and change
It’s super cliché, I know. But, honestly, it’s so true. I’m only 7 weeks in, and I can honestly say my baby has changed so much! She’s a baby now! Not just a squishy newborn. She’s already outgrown clothes and diapers. Her! That little tiny baby over there is already outgrowing things!
And it’s just going to keep happening. She’s going to change and grow and one day, before I know it, she’s going to be a person. A real live functioning, doesn’t-need-me-anymore person. And even though there are long, sleepless night that I can’t wait for that to happen, I know I will look back at these moments and smile one day.