Five weeks ago we brought Tommy home from the Hospital. It feels fast and slow at the same time, somehow. I never want to be that mom that thinks she has everything figured out because I don’t think I ever will, but I did want to share the 10 things that I have learned since becoming a mom. If you are already a mother, you will probably laugh at this list. If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant in the next year or so, book mark this to read again before the baby comes!
#1. Don’t buy newborn clothes, or at least not much if you know you are having a bigger baby or you were a big baby yourself.
Tommy was 8 lbs 14 oz and 22 inches long when we was born. We knew he was going to be big but had already bought some items before given this knowledge. I was over 8 lbs so I should have known. The sizing of baby clothing is based on weight and length. Newborn is up to 8 lbs and 21.5 inches long at Carter’s where I bought most of my baby clothes. We got to wear a few items 2 or 3 times before accepting defeat. The biggest bummer were my newborn swaddles like the wombie which is too short and chokes him around the neck. At 5 weeks, he is wearing the 3-6 month sleep sack/swaddles. My sister, a mother of two, basically told me this but it didn’t resonate until Tommy had arrived. Don’t be like me.
#2. Stock up on nursing bras and tanks before baby arrives.
I haven’t been able to wear a regular bra since my milk came in. I had two nursing bras and two tank tops. They are covered in milk by the end of each day so at a minimum, I have to do laundry every 4 days. I should have bought more and have since. Be careful of buying structured bras before your milk comes in. I have an underwire nursing bra that I never wear because it is too small now and so damn uncomfortable. Again, my sister-in-law and sister told me this but again, I didn’t listen. My sister luckily gave me a tank for Christmas.
#3. Just because they slept well two or three nights doesn’t mean they’re going to be good sleepers.
“Oh great, you had a big baby! He will probably be a great sleeper.” And he was… for the first three weeks. Tommy went from sleeping 4 hours at a stretch in the night to 2.5 at 5 weeks. Last night he slept for 5 hours straight but I’m not going to act like I’m the sleep expert. It happened once. My fingers are crossed it happens again but who knows!? I’m reading this book that my sister and her friends swear by but I have only implemented a few things so far because it is 600 pages long! When am I supposed to have time to read it?
#4. Fight the urge to be that annoying parent the brags about your child online.
Someone who gave birth a few weeks before me shared her sleeping tips on Facebook for fellow new moms with a humble brag that her 2 week old has been sleeping 6 hours through the night since birth. What!? I thought babies were supposed to wake up every 4 max? You aren’t an expert after just 2 weeks (or one month) of giving birth and most people on Facebook don’t care unless they just had a baby, and those people are probably miserably tired and don’t want to hear that you are getting 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. If it potentially could make someone else feel negative, don’t share it. Why not just share the sleeping book and say, “This book was a life saver!” There’s no need to add the part about your own kid’s success, right?
#5. Baby acne really does go away on its own.
Tommy had baby acne. It didn’t bother him but I was self conscious for him. Did it make me look like a dirty parent? I had a few people give me suggestions for getting rid of it, breast milk, dandruff shampoo and a prescription (!?!) from the doctor. We did a little breast milk and I would take a warm face cloth and gently pat his face and sure enough it cleared up in a couple of weeks! I’m glad I didn’t seek out any prescription though. If 50% of babies get it, it must be normal and natural and since I don’t see toddlers with acne, I wish I had stressed less about it. I suppose there are extremes but don’t freak out if this happens to your kid.
#6. Breast feeding really does get better!
I shared my struggles with painful breast feeding early on. It was hard for me because it was so painful. I had enough milk but I literally couldn’t do it on one side. By two weeks it was manageable and by 4 weeks, it was fine. It now feels like a sense of relief when he latches and I enjoy our bonding time – mostly.
#7. Newborn photos have potential to be adorable but they also can be an expensive failure.
While in the hospital still, I reached out to a few newborn photographers without much research on price or personal recommendations. I was shocked at how expensive they were but booked an appointment anyway! Tommy was 9 days late and it is recommended to shoot your newborn within 2 weeks to get those sleepy poses where you can position the infant. We scheduled our visit a week after he was born and Tommy did not want to play. He stayed awake for most of the shoot and our pictures were cute but they weren’t the Anne Geddes whimsical images I had in mind. It wasn’t our photographers fault, it was ours and it wasn’t Tommy’s. It was just bad luck and poor timing. We did get some good photos of our little family that I’m really happy with but this was my first lesson in parenting on how you have to just go with the flow. The “no plan” plan is best.
#8. Your child will inevitably hate the most expensive item you buy for them.
I knew I needed soothing places to put Tommy so I could attempt to work a little. His first 5 weeks of life, he pretty much hated everything we put him in. We ended up buying a Fisher Price Rock and Play that saved us. It happened to be the cheapest thing we bought. If you want fancy stuff, look to buy it used because I’m sure there are many other parents out there who paid big bucks to soothe their kid and was only used a handful of times. I’m waiting until 3 months to see if Tommy’s preferences change.
#9. Don’t change the diaper in the middle of the night unless you have to or your kid demands it through crying.
This should be filed under “Duh” by veteran moms but I didn’t know this! When Tommy would cry at night for a feeding, Nick would change his diaper and then bring him to me to feed. Isn’t that what were told to do??? This would totally wake him up, and cause him to hysterically cry and then I’d have to soothe him, feed him and get him back to sleep somehow in a timely fashion. Now, I can feed him still half asleep and put him right back to bed… except for this past week when he was going through a “wonder week.”
#10. Not all reality stars have bad advice.
I still love Kristin Cavallari, the Laguna Beach alum. She was interviewed recently for her upcoming book and had a really interesting comment on mommy-hood. When you have your first, you don’t know how long phases last. You don’t know when it get’s easier. With a second or third, you’ve been down the same path and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Nick and I joked that Tommy might be an only child this past month. I’ve always wanted three. This comment from my favorite reality star made me realize that I can do it. That it is getting easier. Once he is 3 months old, I’ll be able to bring him around with me where ever I go. I won’t have to worry as much about germs, I can bring to him to babysitting at the gym and there will be a sort of predictable schedule with nap time! I hope Tommy isn’t an only child but I don’t think I have total control over that one.