Monday, September 30, 2013

Mama Wisdom

I can't believe that Miss Allison is 7 weeks old! Time has certainly flown. I have been surprised at how much easier mama-hood is the second time around versus the first time. As a mother of two, I'm certainly far from being an expert but I feel like I have learned a lot between baby #1 and baby #2. Since I have a number of friends who have recently had or are getting ready to have their first babies, I offer these pieces of advice as food for thought:
  • Everyone will tell you to enjoy your baby and the chaos that arrives with them because they will grow so incredibly fast. They are correct that time will fly in an entirely new way after your baby arrives. The adage that the days are long but the years are short is very true when it comes to parenthood. I would also agree that you should enjoy your baby as much as possible, even though that can be tough at times.
  • This, too, shall pass. I remember standing over the crib and sob-crying at 3 am several times after Andrew was born. A fussy baby combined with sheer exhaustion can be overwhelming. I felt certain I would never sleep again. Just remember that this is temporary (see the first point).
  • You may not feel the instant magic that Hollywood portrays and that is okay. It doesn't mean that something is terribly wrong with you. I remember feeling very guilty because I didn't feel a lot of "magic" right after Andrew was born. I was tired and I felt awful. Of course, I loved him more and more with each day. Parenthood is a huge adjustment, so take it easy on yourself and don't freak out if everything isn't rainbows. You may have moments when you wonder what in the world you have done with your life (I know I did). Frankly, I still have those moments when I daydream of running off to nap my days away on the beach but those days are much, much less frequent. Don't we all love sleep and indulging in our hobbies? Yes. I call BS on anyone who claims that they just love parenthood 100% of the time.
  • Breastfeeding is hard. And it hurts in the beginning (despite so many books saying that it doesn't). I found it to be much more emotionally taxing at times than I ever expected. It is also incredibly rewarding as it is a bond that no one else can truly have with your baby. I fully believe in the benefits of breastfeeding but it doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with formula either. If breastfeeding doesn't work for you, that is okay. There is entirely too much mommy guilt surrounding this topic! If you want to breastfeed, I hope you will try it. But if it isn't working for you, then there is zero shame in reaching for formula. You have to do what is best for you and your family above all else.
  • Hold your baby. This sounds like silly advice, but I don't think I hardly held my first baby in the first couple weeks. Sure, I held him when I nursed him, but that was it. There were so many people visiting and everyone wants to snuggle the baby. I felt bad saying no, but it really meant that I hardly got to snuggle him during that time. I was much more selfish this time around and have thoroughly enjoyed my snuggle time.
  • Finally, enjoy your baby and try to embrace this crazy time. It really will pass so quickly. People often wax nostalgic about the time with their young kids being the best days of their lives. I agree with them, but these days are also very trying at times. Cut yourself some slack where you can and do the same for your spouse. Also, not everyone loves babies and that's okay too. It just means that your best times are still ahead of you :-)

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