Posts made in February, 2015

Unsolicited Advice for Parents-to-be

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in Life in Writing, parenting | 3 comments

Unsolicited Advice for Parents-to-be

Alternative title: things I wish people had told me about becoming a parent. 1. Don’t sweat the messy stuff I wasn’t sure how cleaning up vomit, poop, dealing with the rotting-off cord, etc., would be. Four weeks in, I have had so many different bodily fluids on me that I have generally stopped caring. The biggest one was the huge blowout diaper that filled the diaper, got all through the onesie and went onto my pants. I was surprised at how little I cared. In fact, I was happy, because it meant the baby was getting enough to eat. If you’ve never changed a diaper, you will learn almost immediately after the child is born, and before long, you’ll be fine with any level of gross. You will likely be coated in vomit at some point. It’s cool. 2. Breastfeeding, for the first little while, really sucks There, I said it. Don’t go into breastfeeding with any expectation that it’s going to be easy or even feel worth it for the first few weeks. It will be worth it, and you are amazing for doing it. Also, you’re amazing for NOT doing it, because parenting is hard enough without having to learn and simultaneously teach how breastfeeding works. It is natural, but it doesn’t come naturally, for either of you. I’m glad I’m doing it, and I will continue to do it, but I can completely understand why some women choose not to do it, and especially why so many decide to stop in the first few weeks. It’s okay to be frustrated and it’s okay to cry. It will get better. The advice that my doula Elise gave me was to get through the first day, then the first week, then the first month. Taking it day by day is the easiest way to do it. I’ve gotten through a month of it, and it has definitely gotten much easier. Also, your baby may gain birth weight back at a slower rate than formula-fed babies at first. Do not see it as a failing if your baby hasn’t gained birth weight back in the first two weeks. All babies are different. You’re doing a great job. 3. Forget sleep–enjoy SHOWERS while you can Enjoy long, hot showers. Enjoy hot meals and hot coffee. Enjoy the feeling of being clean, because it will likely become a distant memory. If you’re at home alone with the baby to any degree, prepare to forfeit mealtimes, or to graze sporadically over several hours. Have a nice dinner out together before the baby arrives, and maybe even create a fond memory in the process. Do something you’ll remember, because chances are you won’t be wishing you got more sleep before the baby arrived when you’re sleep deprived. You can’t bank sleep. You can bank memories, and you’ll be happy you did. Brad and I had a really nice dinner together at the Schnitzel Parlour for our anniversary in October, when I was about seven months pregnant, and we’ll remember that for the rest of our lives. You won’t remember that one really great night of sleep you got. (A note that I’m not saying you shouldn’t get a good night’s sleep! Continue to sleep as you normally would before the baby arrives. Just, you know, don’t make a point of getting extra sleep.) 4. Find something fun, but low-key, to do together Days with a newborn go by very quickly, and are filled with, mainly, taking care of said newborn. A great way to unwind during a nap or a feeding is to watch a movie or a series together, or read a book to each other. Brad and I normally would play video games together, but lately that’s been impossible. Instead, we’ve been watching Community together, and it’s been awesome. Added bonus: read a long book to each other, and to your baby. We plan on doing this when Amelia’s more consistently alert. 5. It’s okay if you don’t sleep when the baby sleeps Honestly, you may find it exceedingly difficult to do so. The first...

Read More