When we came home from our soft cocoon of the hospital with a brand-new daughter, I was terrified. Not of the usual stuff – I knew she’d be able to breathe all night on her own, that she was eating, I was okay with the knowledge that I’d surely fuck something up – but I kept worrying that I might suddenly stop loving her. Because I’m normal.
This is to say that when I dispense advice it’s not from some platform of how cool, calm and collected I was in the months after she was born, but to let you know that I too was as sticky and messy as the tarry diapers she produced at such an alarming rate.
I don’t have a lot of friends who are still in their baby-having years. I mean sure, they could biologically go on having babies but mostly they’ve moved onto the big bliss of getting ever closer to the end of childcare expenses. Still I have a few, and for those who are expecting their blessed bundles, here are some things I found personally helpful and that your mother-in-law might completely disagree with…
1. Yes! You can take your baby out of the house! If you have a healthy, full-term baby, the outside is a great place to be. I know, it can be scary taking that perfectly pure little body into the big, wide world, but it’s scarier being holed up in one room watching reality shows about porcupine hunters, staring at a sleeping or crying infant and waiting for something to happen.
2. Yes! You can still shower! This is why God invented bouncy seats and transparent shower curtains. It might be a short shower, maybe the water won’t even have time to warm up, but it’s really okay if your wee one cries a little while you rinse those last soap bubbles out of your hair.
3. Yes! You can still go out to eat! You might be tired as hell, and you might have to plan it around the hour your baby isn’t colicky, but these are the halcyon days when your child is totally immobile.
4. Using a bottle doesn’t mean you love your baby less. It might mean your tits hurt, or you don’t want to nurse in front of the cable guy, or that you’d like your partner to get their ass up at 3 a.m. for a change.
5. Pay attention, because this is important: YOU DO KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING. There’s enough information telling you how to do it better, how not to do it, how to do it like Gwyneth (this one involves kale I think) but no one else is raising your baby.
Then again you may want to ignore all of this – I totally let my kid nap in her Boppy.