1. Breast feeding is HARD!:
Okay, so this is probably not true for everyone but for me it was ridiculously hard. In fact, it was so hard I claimed that it was harder then the 23 hour labor I went through. I won't get into details but for me it was one thing after another. Once I finally felt like I got it down there was problem, after problem, after problem causing me to be an absolute emotional mess. And in the beginning it hurt like heck. That's actually a lie... it still hurts!...though I have to say I can tolerate the pain a lot more. Once I made the decision to bottle feed and nurse my life instantly became a lot less stressful. *Side note: you can do both. Don't let people make you think otherwise.
2. You know your baby best:
Jeeze, I could write a whole post on this one. In fact, I've started trying to write it multiple times but it usually ends up being a very angry post. Anyway, I've learned that you shouldn't let people tell you what your baby needs. I've spend more time with my baby than anyone else. I know (most of the time) what she's crying for. I know her personality, I know what she likes and doesn't like and what works for me and her.
3. Stick up for yourself:
This ties in with #2. And I'm still learning this one. Don't let people judge you for the decisions you make. Well... you actually can't stop people from judging you but you can stop them for being rude about it. I've had people comment about my daughter's weight, how often I feed her, the fact that I sometimes bottle feed her (mention this one to me if you dare), the fact that her nickname is Nella and not Penny. I could go on and on. And sadly, most of these comments have not been from strangers. Unless I'm putting my child in harm or your advice is truly meant to be helpful, I don't want it. I use to let people say these rude comments to me, behind me, and around me. No longer. Don't say something unless you expect to be confronted about it. And I should probably mention I'm no longer nice once you piss me off. Say what you want about me, fine whatever. But say what you want about my daughter? I promise it won't end pretty.
4. Accept the fact that you'll never be clean:
This was crazy hard for me. I don't like to feel gross, sticky, dirty, sweaty...you get the idea. Gone are the days where I can wear an outfit for a whole day. I've been thrown up on, pooped on, peed on, you think it, it's happened. At first, it really, really bothered me. To the point where I would beg my husband to change her poopy diapers or cringe when my daughter drooled on me. I've over come this now. My daughter slobbers all over my hand, arm, neck, chest and I simply just wipe it off onto my jeans. I can admit that sometimes my daughter will spit up on me and I don't change my shirt right away. Getting pooped on is still gross though...I don't think that will change.
5. Routine, Routine, Routine:
I don't know if this works for everyone but it certainly works for me. Our day is usually the same (unless I have somewhere to go, then obviously it's not.) Everyday I nurse my daughter at the same time, put her to bed at the same time, bath her at the same time, go for a walk at the same time, etc. you get the idea. She cooperates well because she knows what to expect. The routine probably is more helpful to me then it is for her. Not only do I know when I'll have the time to get things done, it also motivates me to do certain activities that in the past I wasn't so consistent at. I've never been very consistent at working out, even though I really enjoy it. I honestly wouldn't have enough motivation to go for walks everyday if it wasn't already a part of Penelope's routine.
6. Every baby--and every experience--is different:
Okay, call me crazy but when Penelope was born I didn't instantly fall in love with her. Gasp! That's not to say I didn't love her. I did. But it wasn't this burning passion I expected to feel. Honesty, I was a little worried! Ironically, the week after my daughter's birth one of my weekly Babycenter.com emails was about bonding (you can see the actual article here) in which is talks about how normal it is to not bond right away. I spent a lot of time comparing my relationship with my baby to others (I had a gazillion friends that had babies literally the week before, the week of, or the week after me.) I've learned over these last 11 weeks that comparing myself to other moms, or my baby to other babies only causes me to stress and worry about my abilities. Um, being a mom is stressful on it's own, why add that kind of pressure too? Needless to say, I've since choosen to just enjoy my daughter. I recognize now that she is an individual and will do things on her own time.
*And I did eventually fall in love with Penelope. It was late one night, we were all alone, and she was gazing intently into my eyes, like she was trying to know me. And she wouldn't stop staring; it was like she couldn't get enough of me. That's when I knew I couldn't get enough of her either.
|My lovable little Sweet "P"|
I'd love to hear some lessons you've learned! Share them in the comments section.