Becoming a parent is totally life altering. My pregnancy was spent reading, mentally preparing and buying things all in anticipation for the baby. After 41 weeks of pregnancy, labor and delivery, my daughter was placed in my arms. My heart melted and I was completely in love.
I now realize no amount of preparation could have ever prepared me for how much I would (& do) love my child. There are, of course, the not-so-glamorous parts of motherhood that preparation plays no part in … like getting pooped on! Believe me parents-to-be, you WILL be popped on. =)
As we made the adjustment to life with a baby at home, navigating the waters of parenthood and attempting to get as much sleep as possible made the time passed QUICKLY. Before I knew it the newborn stage was behind us.
Looking back through non-sleep deprived eyes, it’s easy to identify things I should have done (before and) after my baby arrived.
1. Asked for and/or Accepted Help
There is a reason they say ‘it takes a village’. While we might like to think we are super woman, hear me roar and all that … the truth is you now have a baby and simple things, like finding time to shower, become a little bit more difficult.
Family and friends want to help out after a new baby arrives, but asking for or accepting their help may be difficult. I found myself not wanting to put people out by asking for help. What I failed to see was that I wouldn’t be putting them out, and people are very happy to help!
If someone offers to help, ask them to bring over a meal, pick up a cup of your favorite coffee (coffee is an essential food group when sleep is so limited!), hold the baby while your shower, help you tidy up or just come over and keep you company for it little while. Believe me, you will be glad you did!
2. Nursed in Public
I know, this is controversial (for some) and people tend to lean one way or the other … there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground from what I’ve seen online. In any event I was petrified to nurse in public and I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve seen SO many moms nursing their babes and don’t think twice about it. If I hadn’t been so petrified to breastfeeding in public then we probably would have gone out more (see #3).
3. Gone Out More
Most of our trips out of the house were only for short periods of time. In part this was due to having a winter baby and not wanting her to get sick at such a young age. The other part was the fear of being in public. What if she cried, pooped or wanted to eat (see #2). The unknown variables were overwhelming to me and so we spent much of our time at home.
Little did I know the older and more mobile my daughter got the more difficult going out would be. In retrospect, going out in public was not as daunting or difficult as I thought. Though as luck would have it, be aware your baby will absolutely poop right as you are ready to leave … so be prepared – hehehe.
4. Had Newborn Photos Taken
As I mentioned before despite all the research I did on newborn photographers, I never actually booked anyone prior to Jellybean’s birth. After delivery newborn photos didn’t seem all that important. I convinced myself all the pictures I was taking were enough, but the truth is they weren’t. We have very few photos of the three of us during the newborn stage and had we done newborn photos there would have been plenty of cute shots of Jellybean and our little family of 3 (plus the fur baby makes 4)!
5. Taken Time for Myself
I really struggled with the idea of being separated from Jellybean for the first several months. Sometime after the 8 week mark my husband insisted I go get my nails done and spend sometime with a friend. I somehow managed to tear myself away from Jellybean and headed to the nail salon. After a little pampering and some girl talk I went home feeling rejuvenated!
So, what do you wish you had done after baby arrived? Any lesson learns for those who are expecting?