If you told me any of the below before Ella was born, I might have not believed it true because of the pregnancy haze I was in. While I was pregnant many people were giving me advice that I may have taken it all with a grain of salt.
Don’t be afraid to try things. We attended both childbirth and breastfeeding classes in the last months of the pregnancy. Learned a bit. Mainly it gave me time to practice breathing. The breastfeeding class was good, I think it really helped me know what to do right away. But… it also made me wait too long to give Ella a bottle. I wanted her to know how to breastfeed well first. I wanted her to know how to drink from a bottle so that if I wasn’t around and she was hungry, she could still get some nourishment, it would also give David an opportunity to spend that time with her. Unfortunately we waited too long because in the class they told us about “nipple confusion” and I didn’t want our baby to be confused. Therefore, when we finally offered a bottle it took a lot of work and tears to get her to take it. In addition, I know there’s mixed ideas about pacifiers. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that sucking is comforting to babies. We also waited too long to give her a pacifier so she only took it for a little while and only in certain situations and hardly could hold on to it.
Tell people what’s what. Often visitors won’t know proper etiquette because this is their first experience with a baby and new parents. Speak up in a loving way. Explain how things are and express gratitude to them at the same time. It seemed that people didn’t know what my body had just undergone and it’s current condition. It was difficult for me to sit and walk for a while it was just strange. Having a baby is a wonderful and joyous time, and so it’s not the easiest to communicate that your body is healing, and you are also undergoing the most emotional changes you have ever experienced. Even mothers often forget that time in the beginning, maybe because it was so long ago.
Sleep. Now, many many people told us to do this. I’m not the best sleeper. Often I’ll get a second wind in the evening and end up reorganizing a closet, baking a loaf of bread or writing a blog entry. This only intensified in the nesting phase. I didn’t understand how important sleep would be. It’s not that I wouldn’t sleep, it’s that my sleep would be interrupted, maybe forever. Perhaps when I do get a chance to get some really solid uninterrupted sleep, I will have a habit in place that will be very difficult to break. But who knows? We’re not there yet. Oh and in the first few weeks I didn’t really care about getting sleep, I just wanted to spend time with my baby. It was the new mommy hormones, I think. I remember dancing and singing with her no problem at three in the morning. It was after three months of sleep deprivation when I really needed to sleep.
Really, FOLLOW THOSE INSTINCTS. But don’t be too crazy with it. Now, more than one close friend did tell me to do this. But when you throw in social situations, sleep deprivation and first times of everything, the follow-through is not so great. There were times when I just got an uneasy feeling and I should have followed what I was feeling. The result was just a grumpy baby or an awkward exit. We always recovered.
Forgive yourself. Let go. Move forward. Easier said than done. Kids are resilient. It really will be okay.
There’s nothing like experience. It’ll be tough but you will learn as you go. Just like in anything you do.