Ok….so now I have a baby. What do I do now?
The weirdest thing about having a child is that there are a million things books leave out, your friends leave out, and doctors leave out. They just hand you this little person to take home, all alone, for the rest of your life. They come with no instructions, and no help. It’s a real mind trip. What’s even more fun is the fact that you have had zero sleep, your body basically just got done fighting a war, you feel like walking death, and you are the sole nourisher of this little creature. So, you are constantly on duty from the moment this person arrives. And you already feel like you need a month vacation, or at least a really good nap.
I’m just going to list things that no one told me. Because someone out there is about to give birth, will read this, and will hopefully feel better prepared than me.
- You will be going home wearing very unsexy undergarments. But, you probably won’t care since your significant other has now seen you at your most unsexy, and all hope for every feeling sexy again is shot. (you actually will feel sexy again, but it takes a little while) Ask for extra skivvies to take home. You will need them, and they are expensive at the store. The hospital will happily give you some to take with you.
- You’re going to smell weird. If you are breastfeeding, there is this weird odor that emits from your body at the beginning. There is no deodorant that is going to make it go away. Just get your hippie on, and be content to know your baby appreciates the smell of its mommy. Your lady bits are going to smell weird too. You are releasing blood, mucus, and uterine tissue (lochia). It stinks. There is no amount of bathing that is going to make this go away. It’s a natural expulsion from the body, and it’s gross. If it gets really stinky you should get checked out to make sure your don’t have a bacterial infection.
- You will lose some hair. I thought this was a wives tale. Turns out, it’s not a wives tale, and for me it started aroud 8 weeks postpartum. Don’t freak out. New hair will grow back in its place. Until then, just back comb to give fullness.
- You skins gonna go nuts. I suppose all the hormones are getting back to some sort of normalcy, so of course, that means your skin is effected. I found that a good facial once a week made a big difference. Salicylic Acid is your friend.
- Drink Water!! All the water that you can drink. Your body is incredibly dehydrated from pushing a tiny person out. Also, they are now taking all of your nutrients away by eating around the clock. You will feel better, look better, and make better milk with higher water intake.
- You’re going to cry. I’m not a crier. I did not even cry when Emma was born. But, I sure did cry at 5am when she would not go to sleep and I had no idea what to do. It could be from exhaustion, hormones, postpartum depression, or maybe something cool happened, but you will cry. And it’s ok. Let it out and keep it moving.
- You will be terrified to shower. I think this was one of my biggest fears. I’m a huge shower lover first thing in the morning. I need the shower to start the day. I am miserable without it. So, when my husband went back to work, and I had to take a shower with just me and Emma in the house, I freaked out. What on earth do I do with the baby? My first solution was to bring her in the bathroom in her chair. That worked great. Once she started napping better, I hopped in while she napped. And now that she is 3 months, she plays in her bed while I shower. Figure out a system, and time, that work best for you so you can enjoy the only few minutes you will actually have alone that day.
- You no longer get to eat in peace. As soon as you think you have the kiddo down for a nap, you will make a sandwich, and they will wake up. That’s just the way it goes. Sorry
- Breastfeeding does hurt. Not like insane pain, but there is a learning curve. And there is about a 2 week time frame that your body must get used to a tiny person gnawing at your nipples. As long as you properly moisturize them, and wear a nice soft nipple cover, you should be ok. But, it’s not this magical moment instantly. It was something I dreaded the first week for sure. I almost considered giving it up because it was awkward, I was so tired, and it wasn’t pleasant. But, I am so so glad I kept going. There is nothing better than knowing you are solely the nourishment for your child. It’s amazing what we, as women, can do with our bodies. Embrace that notion and you will succeed at breastfeeding.
- Your baby will not sleep well on it’s back. Babies don’t know how to sleep yet on their own. They jerk. They cry. They wiggle. They don’t really know what to do to sleep comfortably. The doctors will tell you to swaddle them. My baby hated to be swaddled. So this whole swaddle sack investment was dumb for us. I had all these lovely swaddles, and Emma hated them all. So 2 weeks in, we dropped the swaddle. Guess what? I also let her sleep on her stomach. (Shame on me, I know.) At 4 weeks, I flipped her over, and she has slept like a champ ever since. Once she could fully control her head, I felt comfortable with it. Best decision ever. I’m not advocating stomach sleeping because I know doctors don’t recommend it due to an increased chance of SIDS. But doctors do and don’t recommend a lot of things I don’t agree with….so, for me, I did what I felt was right.
- Sex hurts. You will be asked to wait 6 weeks until engaging in the act that got you in this shape in the first place. We patiently waited until then just to make sure all was ok. The day I was cleared for a good romping, we gave it a shot. It was less than pleasant. I was immediately aware that a traumatic event had occurred in that area, and I needed a little bit more time. If you have a good partner, they will understand. It gets a little less painful each time. Just take it slow, and eventually, you will be back in the swing of things with no problems.
- Don’t wear nice clothes. Ever. The baby will puke or drool on you as soon as you look cute. There’s really not much more to say about that. I put on lipstick to feel pretty now. I may be wearing sweat pants, but by God, my eyebrows and lips are done.
- Every day is different. As soon as you think you have something figured out, a new curve ball comes into play. Just learn from each experience and keep going. Because like I said at the beginning, no one gives you an instruction manuel on how to be a mom. Someone should though….what a money maker that would be.
To close this section up, just know that every single thing in your life is now different. You no longer have priorities outside of your new baby. Your social life is on hold for who knows how long. You no longer get to be lazy. You no longer get to be selfish. You are a mom. You are a protector. You are a strong, beautiful, magnificent, covered in baby puke woman. And I promise that you will be the happiest you have ever been.