I cannot believe it took me so long to realize that a new mom needs a good friend to tell her the truth about motherhood.
Dear my precious friend that just had a baby,
Welcome to the club. Today your world changed. Not in any way you could prepare. You thought reading baby books, knowing friends/relatives who have children added to your knowledge base. You thought that having a baby would be a blessing and never realized that it would be the most challenging adventure of your existence. The past nine months have built your anticipation.
It has only taken one day with your baby to realize you do not know what the freak you are doing and made you hesitate to ask questions. You are afraid of looking foolish, or worse, appearing as you are an over-reactive new mom. I am here to give you a few simple truths:
You are not alone. Unless they are lying to you, there is not one mother on this earth that immediately knew what to do when the baby was laid upon their chest. (Or in my case, ewwww give it a bath first) Hint: find a friend who has done battle and make that person the first number on your most-called list.
Do not fall victim to the bottle versus breast battle. Sometimes it is not a choice, but what is best for your baby. Sometimes it is a choice. Guess what? That is still best for your baby.
Hint: Follow your instincts, because just like butt cracks everyone has an opinion on what you are doing. Having an opinion (or butt crack) doesn’t make them correct.
When you gave birth you did not realize you would have to learn a new language. Babies cry, a lot and for different reasons. It can leave you feeling like you landed in Switzerland where there are three versions of Swiss. You have Swiss, Swiss-French and Swiss-German. Babies’ cries are like that. You have the cry for hunger, which can be easily mistaken for the I’m tired cry or the just pick me the hell up cry. They all sound so similar at first, until you learn the nuances.
Hint: when in doubt, pick up baby.
You will be woken up throughout the night. However like basic training this is to prepare you for war of the night. No child gets sick at four in the afternoon. No, they get sick at four in the morning. Your baby is training you right now to hear them just start to gag six years from now. Your feet with hit the ground, you will dash to their room in the dark to comfort them. Hint: leave a nightlight on in the hallway so you do not accidently step in the puke with your bare feet at four am.
Any bodily fluid within your baby will one day be on your clothes. This will generally happen about five minutes before your leave the house. You may not notice for a few hours.
Hint: if you see someone staring at your shoulder, look for baby evidence.
Speaking of leaving the house, with a newborn it will take you approximately 5 hours to get ready to go on a 10 minute car ride. This does get easier.
Hint: have a “go” bag permanently in your car stocked with back-up diapers, pacifiers, blanket and outfit (in case #5 happens in public).
It’s difficult, but within the first month or so plan a date night. The minute you leave the house put the “no baby” rule in effect. The first one who mentions something the baby did/needs is the one that has to get up for the 3am feeding.
Hint: call one of the grandparents. They are probably dying to babysit but do not want to seem like they are hovering.
There are a lot of things I wish I had known when I had my first baby. I cannot believe it took me this long to realize other new moms might need the Cliff notes to life with a newborn.
What would be your advice for that new mom, who is feeling overwhelmed and realizing her entire world just got rocked?