We’re officially into the last month before our sweet Sophiapea turns one. It’s very hard to believe how quickly this year has gone, and I have it on good authority that time will continue to fly by. Everybody has a different experience as a first-time mom, and I’m sure that everybody has a different list of “Things I wish I knew”. That notwithstanding, I hope my little list will help some other new, first-time momma out there.
1) Really appreciate the time that you have left with your husband. It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of waiting for the baby, and especially in those last couple weeks of pregnancy when you feel like a swollen platypus the easiest thing to think of is, ‘WHEN will this child get here already?!” The knowledge that you are only weeks away from holding your little darling for the first time is exciting, but just remember that your days of randomly popping out to the movies are numbered, and be very, very greatful for every sweet, quiet moment with your spouse. The moments will be just as sweet after baby, but probably a lot less quiet.
2) BUY MATERNITY CLOTHES. This is a huge one, and I have been regretting NOT doing it for almost a full year now. I didn’t develop much of a bump until around the 3rd trimester, and then it was still pretty manageable as far as bumps go. Believe me when I tell you though–just because you CAN fit into some of your pre-prego clothes does not mean you SHOULD. I wore several of my looser, stretchy tops, and any skirts with elastic in them, right up until the day I delivered. There are several problems with this. Firstly, regardless of whether you think you are stretching them out or not, you are. It’s hard to tell, because you have a bump the size of a watermelon, but all of your shirts are stretching out in the tummy. Those shirts will never look the same again and eleven months after you have the baby, you’ll be frowning at your stretched out wardrobe and wondering why you didn’t just buy maternity clothes. I know if you’re not feeling very good, or feeling particularly platypus-like, clothes shopping can be the last thing you feel like doing, but you won’t regret it in the long run. Also, if you plan on having more than one child, maternity clothes are a really great investment. The few things I did buy, I have saved for our next pregnancy.
3) Trust yourself when it comes to breastfeeding or not breastfeeding. I really wanted to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, but it just didn’t work out. I was upset because everything I read said “you’ll produce more milk if you nurse more/drink this tea/eat this food/ let the baby eat whenever she wants” and my baby was grumpier every evening when she tapped out my milk supply. I am one hundred percent certain that breastfeeding exclusively works for some people, but if you are not one of those people, don’t freak out. We started giving Sophia one bottle of formula in the evening, and PRESTO–happy baby, happy mommy. She didn’t have any nipple confusion, she still breastfed, and life was a lot more pleasant for all three of us. My superman loves the special Sophia-Daddy time of giving her a bottle in the evening, and having a little break is nice for me too. Breastfeeding is one of those things that everybody has an opinion on, and if you try to listen to everybody you won’t get anywhere and you’ll be stressed out. Educate yourself, do your research, but when it comes down to it, do what is best for you and your baby.
4) Do things with your baby. This kind of goes in tandem with my first point. Having a baby absolutely does not mean that you have to stop going out and doing things. Yes, you may have to prepare more. Yes, some things may be more difficult. Ultimately, however, you will enjoy yourself more outside, doing whatever it is you love to do. Take your baby to the beach, the park, the museum, the store, the library, hiking… everything! I feel like society has tried to discourage parents from doing things with their children because “oh, the baby is crying–it might bother somebody”. Within reason, yes–of course you try to avoid letting your child be a brat in public, but everybody knows that babies make noise. That doesn’t mean that you have to go crazy of cabin fever until your child is old enough to be told to be quiet. It is harder to do some things with a baby–we’ve had to improvise and change some of our habits, but we ALWAYS enjoy ourselves more when we choose to go out.
5) Celebrate bedtime. For real, people, bedtime is the most awesome time in the world. I love playing with my sweet girl all day long, but when that clock strikes seven, she goes to bed, and my Superman and I dance gleefully around the room. And then we eat ice cream, because, as all children suspect, that’s what parents do when they put the kids to bed 🙂