10 Important things to know when becoming a mom.
1. Sleep will come again. My daughter came in this world and wouldn't go down for the night until 1 AM. Her night time sleep was maybe two 3 hours stretches. She would nurse for 30 minutes at a time. so the most sleep I was getting was 2.5 hours at a time. I was out of it. But it didn't affect me like I thought it would. No matter what time of day/night she needed to nurse I happily got her and nursed her. She would make me smile, and warm my heart, no matter how tired. Even when cluster feeding. (cluster feedings... I should write a whole post about those! They are a doozy, but so worth it!) The time will come where she will magically sleep through the night. It will be fabulous, and you will forget all too quickly about being up all night.
2. Breastfeeding is worth it (if you can/want to). In the beginning it is hard, it exhausts you, it is worrisome, but once you get your groove it is amazing and so worth it. And honestly, it is easier than bottles (obviously, I am just talking from my experience). I mean whip your boob out and she can eat. Wham, bam, thank you maam. No warming bottles, no dishes. Trust me.. they eat a lot, and that adds up to a lot of dishes. :) I was amazed at how easy it was... once I got the hang of it. I had a struggle at first, it took 4 days for my milk to come in, so Adeline was extremely hungry when it finally did come in. By then the nurse said she lost too much weight and I had to introduce her to the bottle right away, and she preferred the bottle, so it was a struggle to get her to latch and nurse. We fought through it all, and I breastfed for a year. It was great. She self weaned, one day she just refused to nurse, she screamed and cried every time I tried to nurse her. After 3 days of that (don't worry I was giving her bottles when she needed milk) I decided it was not just a nursing strike and she was done. My period had come back at that point and I think my hormones changed and the taste of my milk changed.
3. Trust your gut. You know what is best for your child. You know what works and what doesn't for your child (it takes trial and error). You know your child more than anyone else, you know how to care for your child. Don't get me wrong, I love asking other mom's questions and getting other's opinions. But remember they are just opinions. Things that work miraculously for my child, don't work for the next. Things that I feel are right for my child, aren't right for the next child. If there was a "best way" to mother/parent, WE ALL WOULD KNOW about it! Instead, we as mother's have to trust your gut and do the best we can.
4. Food helps. At least for my child. Once my daughter started on solids (at 6 months old) she started sleeping through the night. If your child seems interested in food, and your pediatrician recommends it, I suggest trying and starting your child on food! It really helped Adeline sleep longer and better.
5. Let go of all preconceived ideas. I had this idea that I could get so much done during the day while taking care of my daughter. I thought I could do it all. In some cases I am able to get a bunch of things done, but some days all Adeline wants to do is snuggle, or she needs extra attention some days. And it is usually at the most inconvenient time you could think of. I have learned to just embrace this. I put my hands up in the air, and just enjoy her snuggles. I throw my to do list away, and just provide whatever Adeline needs at that time.
6. You can't do it all. This kind of goes with the previous. I thought I could work for the church part time, have my photography business, and be a stay at home mom who takes care of everything, and have it perfect. I thought I would be SKINNY, be beautiful, dishes and laundry done, floors swept and mopped, dinner cooking and child playing quietly when dad arrives home from work. Let me tell you- it doesn't happen that way. In the beginning, food didn't get cooked, floors... I didn't even realize they existed and more often than not I had spit up on my clothes. As I have adjusted to being a mom, I am learning to balance it all much more nicely ( she becomes more and more independent as she gets older, that helps!) But I have also learned to roll with the punches. I now know I can't do it all. I can however, pick up, shower, smell nice, get dinner started and play with Adeline. I just am behind on laundry, dishes, floors, oh the dog... yea he hasn't been walked outside since before it snowed. Just go with it, and love it. You will be so much happier!
7. More clothes does not make it is easier. Jordan and I are on a budget, a tight one. Getting things for baby was not on the list, so I took any and everything I could from those giving it away. I ended up with twice as much as this picture shows. It actually has been a nightmare. Don't get me wrong, I AM SO THANKFUL FOR IT ALL! However, I kept way too much! Adeline wore EVERY outfit. However, I feel I didn't get to utilize her SUPER ADORABLE outfits as much as I wanted because I was so worried about not getting in the outfits. Bottom line: I kept too many clothes. Now I have a much different idea. Less is more when it comes to baby clothes.
8. Take care of yourself. I am embarrassed for myself when I look back at what I looked like most of the time after having Adeline. I never looked in the mirror, I only dressed out of pajamas if I had to. (my jobs allow me to wear whatever I want.. a blessing and a curse) I never did my hair, I never wore contacts, I wore slip on ugly shoes, I wore my maternity jeans if I needed to wear jeans, which didn't fit right not pregnant. I wore my belly band not pregnant (and it has seen better days) UGH. So embarrassing!! I now am trying to take care of myself and remember to take 10 minutes a day to just feel good about myself. And it is renewing. It feels amazing to do your hair and makeup and get dressed! I hope you listen to this tidbit. I know it feels like you don't have time. I know as a mom you are now on the bottom of the list to take care of, but just for a few minutes of the day, move yourself to the top. It is important. Don't lose your identity.
9. Keep dating your spouse. Having a child is not conducive to having one on one time with your husband. It is really important to keep your relationship fresh. Parenting definitely adds new stresses on the relationship. Keeping the relationship on the top of the important list will make your life so much easier. I mean your child was born because of the love you have for each other. I find reminding myself daily on reasons I love my husband makes me fall more and more in love with him.
10. Sneak in the snuggles when you can.