The moment you break the news of being pregnant, free advice starts flowing from all directions, even from the people who haven’t given birth before! A lot of times you only get to hear the good things and that classic phrase –“life changes after a baby”
But there is so much more I wish I had known before I held my baby for the first time. When I found out I was pregnant (after I got over the initial excitement) I started reading, researching, investigating and preparing myself for every possibility that I could fathom. I realized there is so much that I did not know about being pregnant, giving birth, babies and being a mother.
This is my small attempt at putting together the ten things that I wish I knew before becoming a mother.
1. Work Those Arms:
While I was pregnant, I did my usual stretches and walks so that I could have a normal delivery. What I wasn’t entirely prepared for was the weight of the baby, I would be holding almost 24×7. Of course, you will develop those mommy biceps soon enough, but I wish I had worked on my arms a bit to make them stronger. Work on your back too, while you are at it!
2. Feed, Feed, Feed:
Your little one is going to be hungry most of the times (let’s say- all the time). You would have just nursed & burped your baby for the umpteenth time, put him down to go shower and next thing you know it’s time to feed him again! Don’t get crazy or lock yourself in your bedroom while breastfeeding. Keep books/mobile/tablet handy to read, browse or connect. Go sit out on the couch or comfortable chair in the living room if there is privacy. This will keep you sane, entertained and happy. Also, your baby will be comfortable feeding in different positions. My advice would be to feed from both sides every time. Trust me, you will feel lighter.
3. Don’t Keep It Too Quiet When Your Baby Sleeps:
When you manage to put your baby down to sleep during daytime, don’t keep your surroundings quiet. Let the usual noises go on- usual talks, music playing in the background, washing machine spinning, traffic noises, etc. Your baby is used to all these noises while in the womb so let it be the same. Just make sure the noises should not be too high to disrupt your angel’s sleep.
4. Go Easy On Baby Stuff:
All you initially need are diapers, wipes, baby clothes, caps, socks, mittens, napkins, swaddle, towels, bottles, rattles, nail clipper, bathing seat/tub, body wash, body lotion, a crib and a car seat. Don’t overload your wardrobe with clothes. Your baby will outgrow them faster than you can imagine. Things like stroller, baby carrier, high chair, baby bouncer, walker, Playmats, toys, Teethers, baby monitor, etc. can come once your baby hits a 3-month mark.
5. Listen, Smile, and Forget:
You will continue to receive advice for every little thing that your baby goes through – from pooping, to burping, to tummy pain, to superstitious beliefs and so on. All I did was Listen, Smile and Forget. Go with your mommy instincts, even though it’s going to be wrong 7 out of 10 times. In the wrong times go with Daddy instincts.
6. Bring Out the Hand Sanitizer:
If you have family, friends, neighbors coming in to see your baby often hand them the hand sanitizer shamelessly before they come close to touch your baby. They are definitely going to hold your cherub and it’s quite alright even if they get offended about you indicating that their hands may not be clean. Motherhood and mannerisms need not coexist!
7. Be Shameless:
When you reach the delivery room what you will notice is that there are a gazillion nurses, doctors, sometimes male nurses as well, moving around in the room. Most likely you will be all opened up and there will be people looking down at you, the last thing you can be worried about is how you look. So just be shameless and let the doctors do what they have to do- Get the baby out!
8. Postpartum Depression:
Postpartum Depression and experiencing the “baby blues’ following childbirth are two different things. With the “baby blues,” there are short periods of crying spells, poor sleep, on an emotional edge, grouchy, anxiousness that go away on their own in about a week.
Some mothers experience postpartum depression (PDD) after the birth. It involves the above symptoms, along with depressed mood, loss of interest in activities, and many other physical and emotional symptoms which become debilitating and interfere with performing everyday tasks. Contact your doctor and discuss psychotherapy and medication options for treating PDD.
9. Sleep Like A Baby’ Is A Myth:
This is the greatest myth that I ever heard! You are going to sleep mostly 6-7 hours every night or sometimes about 2-4 hours at night only, if you are lucky. This fact is not to scare you, but just to prepare you.
10. Treat Yourself:
You are allowed to take a break once in a while even if it’s for just 30 minutes. Go take a nice long shower, eat your meal in one sitting or get a manicure/pedicure that you so badly need. If the mommy is happy, everyone is happy.
This could be an endless list and I could add 100 more things I wish I knew. But it’s a joyous journey discovering new things too and it’s absolutely fine to be surprised by your motherhood experiences.