Top 10 Lessons Learned in Baby's First Month
As I typed out the title for this blog post it just didn't seem real! How has it already been a month since our precious Ruby Ann was born?! More shocking than that, my husband and I have survived our first month of parenthood! It's so true what they say, it really does go by so fast. The days sometimes seem so long, but it is truly flying by!
As I sit and reflect back on this past month, there are several lessons I have learned as a first time mom. Some of them are pieces of advice I heard going into motherhood and others I just learned on my own.
1. The hospital provides all you need during your stay. Prior to delivery day, I read all the blogs about what to pack in my hospital bag. It was a little overwhelming reading over the laundry lists of items that were "essential" to pack. The reality is that the hospital provides all the necessities, you just need to pack what would make you more comfortable such as comfy lounge clothes to avoid wearing the hospital gown the entire time.
2. C-sections aren't near as bad as some say. I ended up having a scheduled c-section because our baby was measuring so large. I was nervous going in because I had never even been hospitalized much less had surgery. The reality is the medical staff walks you through every step making you feel comfortable throughout the whole process. I had a friend tell me to get up and walk around as soon as permitted. This was so critical to my recovery! It's tough to make yourself get up that first time, but the sooner you do, the quicker you will regain your strength. Just be sure to do so with assistance!
3. You need very little the first month. If you're like me, you have the nursery setup and organized and all the fun gadgets from showers put together! The reality is in that first month you just need some onsies, diapers (LOTS of diapers), wipes, swaddle blanket, burp cloths, a place for baby to sleep, and bottles/formula if you aren't breastfeeding. All the fun and fancy gadgets will eventually come into play, but they are not needed initially.
4. Let your guard down if you plan to breastfeed. It was always important to me that I breastfeed. There are SO many health benefits for both baby and mama, not to mention the financial savings from not buying formula. I feared I wouldn't be able to relax to breastfeed and would constantly be worried if she was getting enough to eat. However, I made up my mind to relax and let the medical staff help me. If your hospital provides lactation consultants, USE THEM! They will answer all your questions and will get right in there with you to make sure you know how to breastfeed your baby with confidence before you ever leave the hospital.
5. Essentials for sleeping baby. The first week our baby slept great! After that she became a real challenge to get down after the middle of night feeding. I had a good friend recommend the Ollie swaddle and to read Becoming Babywise. I immediately ordered the items along with this white noise machine and it was like magic! Ruby went right back down after each feeding in the night.
6. Eat, sleep, & poop. It's so true. This is all your baby will do in the first month. There's very little awake time and I learned that's completely normal in the beginning. As you near the end of the first month, your baby will start staying awake more during the day, but will still spend most of their time sleeping.
7. Rely on friends and family. This one is huge! My mom stayed with us for the first week to help us transition into parenthood and keep our house in order while I was still recovering and focusing on baby. In addition, we had a handful of friends that had babies right around the same time. It was so comforting to reach out to those friends to ask questions. If anyone understands what you're going through it's fellow mamas!
8. Emotions will be crazy. Blame it on hormones, lack of sleep, or just stress of a new baby, but your emotions will be all over the place. There would be times I would just start crying. My poor husband would ask what was wrong and I literally didn't know. Everything would be fine, but tears would be streaming down my face. Don't hide your emotions and just know it's short lived.
9. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE! Either pack your baby up and take them along with you or have your husband or someone close to you watch your baby for a short time while you get out. I was bad about staying in the house all day, every day and it eventually just put me in a bad mood. Getting out and about (even if it's a quick trip to Walgreens) will help your sanity!
10. ENJOY! This time is so incredibly special so be sure to enjoy it. Push your to-do lists aside and put your focus on your new bundle of joy.
The reality of it is that we are all just learning as we go. Every baby is different so what works for your friend's baby may not work for yours. The important thing is to just love your baby and do your best. Mamas are the strongest people around and if you don't hear it from another person, I think you're doing a great job!