I had my first son when I was 23. Although I went through the classes at the hospital, read every page of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and talked with the moms in my life, I still had a lot to learn. Looking back, I was one of the first of my friends to have a baby, so I didn’t have many mothers my age to turn to for advice. Now, as my friends are getting married and having babies, I find I want to pass on some hard-learned lessons of my own, as a “seasoned mom” of three boys under 5. Here are some things I wish someone had told me before I became a mom:
Breastfeeding is a team sport
You and your baby have to learn together. Give yourselves a break and don’t expect it to happen perfectly right away.
With a new baby, you know you won’t get much sleep at night. No one told me that babies also wake up ready to play very early. I found getting up was better than trying to go back to bed, and eating breakfast helped me wake up. I really like coffee cup eggs. Try this recipe and remember: you can always take a nap later in the day!
“Sleeping Through the night” may take awhile
My mom told me I slept through the night at 3 months old. In fact, statistically, that is the average age babies sleep through the night, so that’s what I was expecting. HOWEVER, none of my children slept for longer than 6 hours until they were 6 months old. So don’t get your hopes too high too soon. Your baby will sleep longer when he is ready!
Routine is Important
Doing about the same thing at about the same time helps you and your baby form expectations for how the day will go. Start your routine early, and adjust it to your baby’s needs. Everyone will be happier when they know what to expect.
When my oldest was 4 weeks old, my husband gave him a bottle so that I could continue to nap one afternoon. I freaked out and yelled at him, which is something I regret now. If someone offers you help, feel free to take it. Give guidelines, but don’t overdo it. If you trust someone to watch the baby for a few hours while you sleep, or fold your laundry, or cook you dinner, let them do it! If they need more advice, they will ask!
Moms and Dads out there, what other tips would you give new parents? Sound off in the comments!