10 Things I Learned the First Month of Being a New Parent
Eager, wide-eyed, vulnerable and somewhat ignorant, I jumped into motherhood seemingly ready to take on the world. Well, my little world that is. From the day Avery was born, Steven and I marched arm in arm to the beat of our own drum. Sure, we listened to the copious amount of advice we received from parents, friends, co-workers, grocery store clerks, passersby, Whattoexpect.com and all the other resources that are available to new parents. But what we learned from day one was that nothing can fully prepare you for parenthood.
That first month is a roller coaster of emotions, a series of ups and downs. It’s joy and pain, laughter and tears, heaven and hell. On one hand you are celebrating this new little love of your life, and on the other you are ripping your hair out trying to figure out why she’s crying for four hours straight in the middle of the night.
But day by day, little by little, the crying fits begin to get shorter and you realize your baby's intention. Once I began to understand Avery’s cries, I became more confident in my ability to comfort her. So why was she crying incessantly every night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. those first few weeks? Well, I was starving the poor child. My bad.
1. Don't Rely on the Internet
That’s No. 1 on this list — the tiny baby needs to eat more than you think. I consulted the Internet on how much to feed a baby her size and 2 oz. was the consensus. This also is lesson No. 1 — don’t rely on the Internet for parenting advice. Two ounces was not enough. Once we decided to try more food for that late-night feeding, the tears dried up and the screams became snoozes. It was a Christmas miracle.
Here are nine other things I learned the first month of being a new parent:
2. Put Them in a Crib
Arguably the best piece of advice we received was to put her in her crib in her room as soon as possible. At first we didn’t listen. We tried the Pack ‘n Play in our bedroom. But no, she would have nothing of it. So, one of us slept on the couch while she slept in her momaRoo each night. But we couldn’t do that forever. After about two weeks, we went for it. And to our glorious surprise, she took to the crib. Today, two months later, she sleeps from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night. Heaven.
3. Do not Consult the Internet About Formula Feeding
People have opinions. This is your life, not theirs. You do what is right for you. Breast isn’t best for everyone. Some women can’t produce enough milk for many different reasons. Formula has been around for decades and we all survived. If it’s not right for you, don’t beat yourself up over it.
4. Dr. Brown’s Bottles Are the Bomb
These bottles have this venting system that helps baby not take in air, helping her avoid excess gas. They don’t solve the issue, but they sure do help.
5. Have a Phone With Tons of Storage
Steven has an iPhone 5 and continues to have to download his pics and delete them to make room for more. I have the iPhone 6 and haven’t had any problems, even with keeping over 700 pictures and 49 videos, which I took that first month (that’s not an exaggeration). An iPhone also allows you to FaceTime with far-off relatives.
6. Colic Is a Made-Up Word That I Refuse to Use
It’s a generic diagnosis for incessant crying that pediatricians use because they don’t know what the heck is wrong with the baby. Thankfully my pediatrician never used that term. I might have left him.
7. Flu Season Is not a Good Time to Have a Baby
I learned how to keep us busy while in a pediatrician-recommended home quarantine and found success in neither of us getting sick. Just stay inside and enjoy your time together.
8. There is No Need to Buy Clothes
Avery lived in onesies and jammies that first month. And people love to gift baby clothes, so you will be all set.
It saved our lives. Babies love to be all bundled up as if they are still in the womb. Swaddling Avery and placing her on her back helped her sleep for longer stretches.
10. Learn True Love
The last thing I will say is that I learned what true love is — in the purest form. No one can describe the love you feel for your baby. For some, it takes a few weeks to understand; for me, it was instant and continues to grow deeper and deeper with each passing day.
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