We are a little more than 2 weeks in to the whole parenthood thing. There is nothing like that learning curve. But something happened around 2 weeks… the sun emerged and thoughts are a little clearer and I am able to talk about being a mom without ugly crying. Those first two weeks though, they were rough. Not in a I Never Want To Do This Again Way (because I would do it a million times again, although differently at times…), but more of a Push You To Your Breaking Point And It Is So Worth It kind of way. This is by far, the hardest and best job ever. I tend to process things through writing, so here are some things that if I could, I would have told Kellie of Two Weeks Ago.
Find time to just hold your baby. Not feeding. Not changing a diaper. Not consoling. Just snuggles while he is asleep. People are going to be in and out and wanting to snuggle too, but you get priority. You pushed him out? You get first dibs on sleepy snuggles.
Find a pediatric practice with a lactation consultant on staff if you are planning to breastfeed. That junk is hard. Sitting down with someone who is an expert on getting babies their full caloric intake from mama is awesome. Before baby, this seemed totally awkward to me, post baby, I don’t even care. Please help me, anybody! Also, it is totally ok to have your breastfeeding mom friends come over to look at your latch. After pushing a baby out, you really aren’t bashful. Boobs are boobs. Also, also: supplementing with formula is okay, mama! It does not mean you are a failure. The priority is to get your baby’s weight up and while someone else is feeding him you can pump to get that supply up, or shower! Or sleep!
On that note, you can switch pediatricians. Follow your mom instincts and do what is best for your baby. Find a practice that you love. It exists.
It is okay to cry. Ugly saying incomprehensible words with snot running down your face, cry. Hormones, lack of sleep, no baby instruction manual and postpartum pain have all conspired against you. Cry it out. Chances are you might feel like crying whenever your baby cries. That is totally cool, just hold hands and cry together.
Drink a lot of water. This is key for breastfeeding, and is necessary for staying hydrated with all the crying you’ll be doing.
Maternity bands in pants double nicely as a post-baby-gut-holder-inner. Rock those (maternity) skinny jeans, girl. Get those compliments. Don’t show anyone the band in your pants…
Sleep. Admit defeat. It may feel worse to sleep at first, because, let’s face it, after 2 weeks of not sleeping and now getting anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours of sleep is just adding salt to the wound. It gets better. Soon 2 hours will be just what you need to fill up your tank to get to and through the next feeding. 36 hours awake is good for no one…
Mascara, a pair of earrings, a cup of coffee and real clothes change everything. All of those things together are amazing, but really any of them will make your day bright and feel a little more “together”.
You are going to make mistakes. Learn from them, don’t make them again. Tell your husband (if he didn’t witness them) and if needed, cry it out some more. And forgive yourself. Give yourself some grace, you are new to this job.
Use your village. Let friends help, however that may be. Holding baby so you can sleep, bringing dinner, offering advice… however they can.
Soak it up. These days are fast, even though the minutes seem long. Those minute and a half long contractions seemed to last an eternity but are already a distant memory, and now these cluster feedings seem to take forever and come quickly together, but too soon your baby will be awake after feedings and looking around, holding his head up and wearing 0-3 onesies instead of newborn size. Savor it. Snuggle after those 1am feedings when just the two of you (ok, one of you) are awake.
The best is yet to come. Somehow, each day gets better. Not that the day before was bad…but each day brings better.