So you’ve done it! You and your partner have just given birth to your first bundle of joy and you are heading home. Welcome to the world of parenting. Perhaps you’ve been around kids for your entire life, and perhaps this is the first newborn you’ve ever held. Regardless, you are now responsible for a tiny human.
Whether you’re feeling extra confident in your coming parental responsibilities, or maybe a little overwhelmed at the abundance of advice pouring in, there are a few things your brand new bundle would like you to know.
“Sleep Like a Baby” refers to mattresses, not actual babies
Babies are often fitful sleepers. We have this idea that our new bundles are going to be still and angelic in their sleep. However, most babies jump and startle just as much in their sleep as they do while awake! Between the little jumps and jerks, frequent feedings, and diaper changes, most brand new bundles only get a couple of good hours in a stretch. No worries though, you will one day sleep again. 🙂 In the meantime, invest in some good coffee and try to start some healthy sleep habits.
Babies are actually pretty tough
The birthing process is not for the faint of heart. In a vaginal delivery, you can expect your newborn to exit a cervix that fully dilated, is about the same width of a softball. With a caesarian delivery, your uterus is cut open and the baby is tugged out. Although exactly how uncomfortable this is for the baby is not really known, it’s safe to say it’s probably not very pleasant for them (we know it’s not super fun for the mommas). At the very least, we can expect that there’s a good bit of pressure involved. So take a deep breath. You’re not going to hurt them by burping them or changing their clothes.
Crying doesn’t always mean something is wrong
Our littles are brand new and testing out their voices. And it takes some time for them to figure out the best ways to get their needs met. But they do come with some pretty nice lungs and crying is always good at getting our attention. So before worrying that something is wrong, remember that they can cry for LOTS of different reasons. Hungry, wet, dirty, hot, cold, tired, bored, uncomfortable. Too much noise, too little noise. Crying can mean anything. So go thru your list and fix what you can. But sometimes, they just need to cry and it doesn’t mean you’re missing something or doing something wrong.
You have to take care of yourself too
When you get in a plane and are ready for take-off, you are reminded that in the event of an emergency, first put on YOUR oxygen mask, and then help those around you. This is an important message for new parents as well. You cannot properly take care of a baby if you’re not taking care of yourself. You need to eat, hydrate yourself, and rest. Take turns if you need to. Ask for help. Have a friend come hold your mini while you take a nap. Set a cooler of snacks and waters next to your bed. But however you choose to do it, make sure you are taking care of you.
There’s not just one way
First time parents often get a bad rap. I am forever having parents apologize for asking very reasonable questions with the qualifier that they’re “first time parents.” You do NOT have to apologize for this. Every single parent enters the parenting business with their own individual baggage. And every single baby is different. So do what’s right for you and your family. You don’t have to apologize for being a first-timer. And you don’t have to second guess every single decision that you make. Do the best you can and ask for help and guidance when you need it.