You don’t realize the lush life you’re living at 41 weeks pregnant until your newborn suddenly departs the womb and you’re tearfully huffing essential oils in a tub of lukewarm bath water at 3 a.m. It’s safe to say I would prefer to go through the first trimester face-in-toilet phase while experiencing active labor contractions than repeat the hormonal amusement park that is postpartum. Fortunately for you, I made note of the few trap doors I found in those early months of new motherhood. Use them wisely.
1. Have a cup of coffee. (Or a glass of wine.) Or two. One midwife told me all caffeinated beverages make babies colicky. OK midwife, I’ll give up caffeine, but I will also give up being awake and attentive to my child’s immediate physical needs. I’ve heard from the progressive, urban moms I roll with that one cup won’t kill anyone. So most days, I find myself at a coffee shop. Though it’s what I really want, I skip the $5 latte due to budgetary restrictions, but I still need something. Preferably something cold, because all hot drinks remind me of the time I threw up coffee in my bathroom sink before my glucose screening. Coke sounds good. But what about losing my baby weight? Maybe a Diet Coke? Nope, aspartame causes all the cancers. There’s no winning. Pick a reasonably-priced caffeinated drink that makes you happy and drink it in moderation.
2. Get Hulu Plus. And Netflix. And Amazon Prime if you’re fiscally able. The freezer meals and visitors were helpful, but honestly, I couldn’t have done the first few weeks of my son’s life without TV. My best friends in those early days were the Kardashians. I learned many moral lessons about important social issues like gun control and plastic surgery from Kourtney, Khloe, and Kim. And Bruce. Always Bruce.
3. Don’t be afraid to customize your pee experience. Unrelated to how you rear your baby but closely related to other kinds of rears, sitting in warm bathwater may make your postpartum urinary experience a tad more tolerable. #glamour.
4. Break the rules sometimes for your own convenience. Desperate to snooze another hour? Use sleep props. White noise machine not cutting it? Try a blow dryer. Pacifier not staying in the mouth? Try washi tape. Gearing up for a night out and scared to disrupt your nursing schedule? Wake that baby up.
5. Don’t lose sleep over nipple confusion. It’s a good band name at best.
6. Make rules for visitors. Love you, but if you’re not bringing a humongous casserole or “new mom essentials” gift package full of body sprays and organic foodstuffs, please wait until I’ve accumulated a minimum of 25 hours of sleep per week before you come over to tell me all about the 10k you’re running tomorrow and the extraneous graduate degree you’re pursuing with all your free time. I probably don’t have a category for anything that doesn’t add to my physical and emotional comfort at this point.
7. Don’t feel obligated to share the details of your birth story with anyone. Unless it’s in emoji.
8. Befriend a naturopath. She will find you magical medicinals with names like “Wu Tang Clan” that will somehow restore your hemoglobin and make your tongue more pink. Great for those with excessive blood loss during delivery and even better for hypochondriacs.
9. Put that phone down and sleep. You will have plenty of time to survey the Internet about the color of your baby’s poop in the morning. Dr. Sears does not belong in bed with you.
10. Don’t try to instill a sense of logic in your newborn baby. He will inevitably confuse days and nights for several weeks. He will love to be swaddled on a Tuesday but hate it by Friday. He will wake up the second you set him down in his crib, and he will have a meltdown at Panera, while nursing, when you’re seated next to a group of executives about to make an important business transaction (their fault for doing it at Panera).
11. You do you, mama. Trust yourself! The haters on BabyCenter have never met your baby. Only you know what’s best for your family, so do it. No apologizing.
Related post: 4 Truths About Our Post-Baby Bodies