Sunday, September 23, 2012

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before C Showed Up

1. Babies are actually pretty smart.

     I avoided giving C certain toys when she was only a month or two old because I thought they were 'older' toys and that she wouldn't really know what to do with them.  Every time my mom came over for a visit, she ended up pulling toys out of their packaging and giving them to her.  C always got super excited and of course she thought Nana was the best.  I was left wondering why I didn't introduce them to her sooner, ie. her Exersaucer that she was instantly pro at.  I wish I knew how quickly babies learn and not to be afraid to try new things earlier on.

2.  Keeping a baby alive takes ALL your patience.

    Not just a little patience, but a whole heaping pile of it.  Nothing tests your patience like a fussy and exhausted baby that won't sleep.  You try everything.  Every position, every motion, every pacifier, and nothing works.  The only thing left to do is cry yourself.  So now you're both crying and you feel like a piece of shit parent because you can't help your kid.  And then, after doing absolutely nothing different, she passes out.  You finally get downstairs and plop down on the couch, and take a big fat sigh of relief, and she starts screaming again.  PATIENCE

3.  Gotta be flexible.

     Babies can't be put on a schedule per say.  Sometimes, if you work hard enough you can get a routine going.  And sometimes that routine might last a week or two.  And then something changes, be it a growth spurt or teething and the comfy little routine that was working so well goes to shit.  It's best just to face early on, that shit is never going to be consistent, for any length of time, ever again.  Awesome.

4.  Make it home for nap time, or else.

     If you have a million things to do and you attempt to tow your baby along with you, you're setting yourself up for failure and most likely a massive crying fit in public.  Plan your outings to be shorter than 90 minutes, until your babe can handle staying awake for longer than 2 hours at a time.  So don't plan on being efficient at errands until they're 6 months old.

5.  ALWAYS bring the diaper bag.

     Once, I thought I would only be out for half an hour, so I figured I didn't need the diaper bag.  I foolishly thought that I'd be able to shoot back home if C needed her diaper changed that bad.  NO!  Sometimes, babies take huge craps and they can be super acidic.  The instant it hit C's skin, she started wailing, gut wrenching screams... she was clearly being murdered.  I pulled the car over, crawled in the back seat, and ripped her diaper off.  She felt better instantly.  Then I had to figure out how to get her back home with poop everywhere and no diaper.  Wish I would have brought that fully loaded diaper bag that's just sitting uselessly beside the front door.

6.    Gas is a big deal.

     Cracking the code of why your baby is crying is never as simple as feed, change, rock.  Sometimes it's gas and I definitely underestimated it's power.  When you think you've exhausted all options, try a good burp session.  I never really thought it was all that important.  I always did one good burp at the end of a feeding, but usually it takes more than that.  If you're nursing, burp in between boob changes, if you're formula feeding, burp every 5 minutes.  Even if that seems a little much, you'll be surprised how much it helps.  Also, have some gripe water on hand.  It was especially helpful when I messed up huge and ate some spicy Thai for dinner.

7.  Newborn clothes are pointless.

     They grow way to fast to spend money on a million tiny outfits.  Get a handfull of onesies, some long sleeve and some short, for the first month.

8.  You can't bring your newborn to the beach.

     When I was still in pregnancy la la land, I had all these visions of bringing C along with me to the beach, where I would spend endless hours working on my tan.  Reality Check: We did not go to the beach once this summer.  What the heck are you going to do with a newborn at the beach?!  It's way to hot for them to nap, they can't sit up and play all cute in the sand, and newborns get heat rash like it's their job.  I have no idea what I was thinking... must have been all the hormones.  I'm pretty sure the same goes for winter babies.  Don't plan on taking your baby to the ski slopes this winter.   Obviously it's good to get out and get some fresh air but newborns are so sensitive to the elements. We always planned for walks in the evenings once it was cool enough.

9.  Cradle Cap is a real thing.

     It sounds made up but it's basically baby dandruff.  Some babies get dry, crusty scales on their scalp.  It's caused by leftover hormones from pregnancy.  NEVER PICK AT IT, as tempting as it may be.  Thank god for my mom because with C it started out as one scale and I was about to pick it off.  At bath time, I washed C's hair with Aveeno Baby Shampoo and lightly exfoliated her scalp with a washcloth.  Sometimes I put some baby oil on the area and it eventually went away.

10.  Set your pride aside.

     At first I felt like a big fat failure when I needed to accept help.   'What mom can't take care of her baby?'  Asking for help when you need it is important.  It's impossible to properly care for and love your baby when you're exhausting and out of patience.  Don't try to be a hero at your baby's expense. Even just a 20 minute nap helps.  Usually friends and family are more than willing to help a Momma out.

xo,  Kiara

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