Being a new mom is hard. You’ve probably read a ton of books and sites with conflicting advice, not to mention lots of well-meaning but often frustrating tips from friends and family. It can sometimes feel like parenting a baby is a study in futility. So let me add to that pile with some things I have genuinely found useful to know, laughed at, or otherwise discovered in the past six weeks of parenting as a very new mom.
1. Absolutely nothing will go the way you hope/plan/expect, in both good and bad ways. In the six weeks since my daughter was born, she has had to spend a week in the NICU due to a (minor) infection, I found out I couldn’t breastfeed, our new car’s battery went to hell, and my husband developed a temporary eye palsy and now has to wear a patch like a pirate. So good luck planning anything, basically.
2. Babies do not give even a single fuck about what they are “supposed” to do according to any parenting “guide.”
3. All “guides” about things like making your baby sleep on his back, perfectly flat, only apply to ideal babies who don’t have reflux or care about being close to you. I’m going to tell you right now that your baby will probably have reflux and want to be near you, because most of them do. Adjust accordingly.
4. Your home will become a wasteland of baby paraphernalia, used and unused, like some kind of infant version of Mad Max. Mostly it will be unused things you thought you “must” have but your kid hates with a fiery passion. Like, for instance, the bassinet.
5. Baby poop comes out at roughly the same velocity as a rocket shooting for the moon. It’s pretty funny even when it’s shooting at you.
6. After feedings babies get milk drunk. It’s awesome.
7. Get a pediatrician you can call with all your stupid questions because you will have them and it’s OK and they will make you feel better instead of stupid.
8. What’s more terrifying than how much you love your kid is how much they need you and the sense of responsibility you now have for this tiny life. It can sometimes be paralyzing, but you get through it, and only check that they’re breathing every five minutes instead of every two.
9. Babies are pretty cute, but they also make faces like Dick Tracy villains and it’s pretty weird.
10. Make TV playlists of shows you can watch during 2 a.m. feedings so that you don’t nod off on your baby. I recommend Community or any 30-minute sitcom because that’s the perfect length for keeping up a baby with reflux after a feeding so they don’t yak everything up and, mostly likely, onto you.
11. Seriously, take care of yourself or you’ll be useless to your kid. It’s OK to put them down sometimes. Really.
12. I suspect that after another six weeks of parenting I will have a new set of revelations because none of us knows what we’re doing. PARENTING.
Related post: What I Wish I’d Known as a Newborn Mom
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