I am 4 months and some change later from my first day of being an actual mom and here are a few things I've learned along the way:
1. Breastfeeding is not easy
Oliver struggled to stay awake during his feedings and we literally tried everything. One of the doctors who worked on Oliver while he had RSV was giving us pointers along the way and NONE of them worked. We tried frozen peas on his back, loud noises, tickling his feet...absolutely nothing worked!! After a month of struggling, Josh finally said enough was enough. Having such a big baby, nobody prepares you for the defeat you feel when you have to supplement. My poor baby had chapped lips he was so dehydrated while we were in the hospital. I would definitely not completely stress yourself out about breastfeeding because, in the end, as long as your baby is healthy, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING else matters.
2. Life won't always be rainbows and butterflies
I went into my first few days at home as a mother thinking I'm going to fall madly in love with this baby and life is going to be perfect. Ha! I had a csection so I was dealing with that on top of hormones AND a sick baby who eventually had to spend a night in the hospital. I felt like such a failure that all I wanted to do was cry at times because I didn't feel like I could catch a break. Little did I know that it's perfectly normal to be frustrated and not want to be a mom for a moment. Please don't mistake what I'm saying for a hatred for my child; on the contrary! I love Oliver almost as much as I love his daddy but I'm still human and constant screaming will grate on anyone's last nerve.
3. Take advice with a grain of salt
Early on, our pediatrician okayed us giving Oliver a little cereal in his bottle to: (1) help with reflux; and, (2) help satisfy him because he is such a big boy. The looks we got and whispers I heard still make me want to punch someone. Absolutely no one can tell you what is best for your baby, no matter what they say. You do what's right for you and who cares what anyone else has to say? If you get the okay from your doctor, that is all you need to concern yourself with.
4. Be crafty!
Oliver, like many other babies, had his days and nights mixed up so we eventually had to resort to letting him sleep in his swing at night. Whatever, it made him happy and we got a few hours of precious sleep.
5. Babies are going to get sick
I have spent the better part of the past 4 months being absolutely obsessed and paranoid about every sniffle, cough and sneeze Oliver makes. In our experience, breastfeeding did not keep him from getting sick but he might be an exception. I have forced myself, especially now that he's a little bit older, to relax and let things happen as they are going to happen. If he gets sick, I just need to love on him and go with it. Leaving a baby inside a bubble is not realistic and they will eventually need to build their immune system. As much as I'd love to keep him sheltered, he will go to school one day and I'd rather he gets sick now then when the days off will count against him.
6. Take the help, even if you don't want to
Josh and I left Oliver with someone pretty much from day one and it was the best thing for both of us. We were able to get a little away time, without being worried about vomit, crying, pee, etc. Do not try to do it all, seriously. Give yourself a break and enjoy being a grownup every now and again.
7. Soak in every moment
I know it's completely cliche and that's fine but enjoy your little one. I know Oliver is only 4 months old but even in those few months he has changed completely. He's gone from a dark haired blob to a blonde who loves to laugh and smile.
8. Cut yourself some slack
Okay, this one is huge for me. I've felt like a horrible mother on quite a few occasions because I get frustrated or angry or, I'll admit it, I even remember what life was like before I had a child. But then I realize, everybody feels like this. We all reach the end of our ropes sometimes. We all get tired and cranky. I felt so guilty that I had friends who either could not get pregnant or it took them years and hundreds of dollars to do it. I am truly blessed to have a child and even more blessed that my pregnancy was easy and getting pregnant the first time around was not difficult at all. I am so thankful for that every day and whenever I need a reminder, I just go and look at my little guy to remember how truly lucky I really am.
9. Give birth however you and your doctor deem appropriate
Oh, nothing pisses me off more than these overzealous women who tell you that having a csection or epidural is an easy way out. I could spit nails that makes me so mad. Sure, women all over time have given birth naturally to 10 lb 4 oz babies. Oh don't worry, a little incontinence or tearing never hurt anyone. You go to the bathroom on yourself, no problem. I mean, really??? Just because I scheduled a csection doesn't mean I didn't give birth. My doctor told me about three weeks before I had Oliver that he's NEVER done a csection he regretted but he has done plenty of natural births that he did. So, think about that. Do you want to take the high and mighty road or have a live baby? Who doesn't have broken shoulders.
I know I'm by absolutely no means an expert on any parenting tips, advice, etc. These are just a few things I've gathered along the way so far. So many more things to learn!
My little guy from this morning. Figured he should probably wear this outfit one more time before it's too small :( Thanks for the cute outfit Aunt JCC!!