I can’t believe that it has already been almost a year since our little 5lb 2oz. bundle of joy was born! Looking back over this past year, I realized that I have learned some things, as I’m sure any parent (new or old) would. Of course, I thought I would share those with the world, so here goes – in no particular order:
- Your sleep will never be the same. I may have a pattern here as a couple of these might have to do with sleep! Regardless of how your baby sleeps, sleep won’t be the same – and actually this goes both ways. I have gotten full nights of sleep on occasion only to wake up feeling worse than I did before. On other occasions, I’ve gotten a 10 minute nape in the recliner and felt the best I ever have! On those occasions that your baby does sleep through the night, you will still wake up wondering when your baby is going to wake up!
- Your house will never be the same. Just like your sleep will never be the same, your house will never be the same. There will be baby stuff everywhere – in every room! Then as they get older, there will be toys everywhere – all the time! If you like your sleep and like a clean house, maybe having a baby isn’t the thing for you! Just something to consider!
- Everyone has an opinion. Now, I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing. I will say I have heard so many variations on how to get your baby to sleep, what and when you should feed baby, how you should bathe her, and how you should burp her that it’s a wonder that any of us made it past infancy. Bottom line – every baby is different; what works for someone else, may or may not work for your baby. You have to find what works for you.
- Babies are not logical. I like to think that I’m a rather logical person. If it’s raining, you get out of the rain. If something hurts, you don’t do that again. If you are hungry, you eat. If you are sleepy, you sleep. Babies are not like this. Obviously, there are things they have to learn and be taught and I understand that. However, I quickly learned there are things such as “overstimulated” and “overtired”. If you are a parent, you understand this. I guess it essentially equates to a baby not being able to turn her brain off. I think if a baby is sleepy she should sleep – hungry, they should eat. Not always so!
- Changing diapers does NOT get easier. This may be something known to everyone else. I’ll admit had I thought about this logically, I would have seen this coming. Before our daughter was born, I had never changed a diaper – ever. After the first, oh, ten or so, I thought I was a pro. Then, she started squirming and rolling over! Yeah, things just got interesting.
- Don’t get used to anything. I realize that seems vague. Lemme put it this way – just when you think you got the little boogers figured out – they go and change! Just when you think you’ve fallen into a pattern of baby taking a nap for an hour and a half, she wakes up after 45 minutes or decides to sleep for 3 hours that day. Constantly changing – so stay on your toes!
- There are things you were probably told you needed that you find out you really didn’t! We thought we just had to have Dreft detergent – it smelled good, it was recommended for the baby’s clothes – yeah, clothes didn’t come out smelling like the detergent! We went and got us some good old free & clear ALL. Or just use your favorite free & clear detergent. This could even include certain pacifiers or butt creams – whatever it may be – you are gonna have to figure out what it is you like/want and go with it. So don’t buy cases of anything until you know your little one likes it!
- Forget your own expectations. I never will forget as soon as we got home with our daughter, I went and wheeled the bassinet we had just bought, I had just put together, into the living room for her to sleep in. Every baby needs a bassinet right? Well, we quickly found out that she did not like sleeping in it. Then, learned she did not like being flat of her back. She didn’t sleep in the bassinet till she was probably 3 months old. Where did she sleep the rest of the time? Her swing. We’d move that thing all over the house and into our bedroom at night. So just because you bought it, put it together and put the frilliest comforter in it – she may not sleep in it for a while – or ever.
- Enjoy the ride; it will all be over soon enough. I realize this is similar to #5, but when you are going through having to wake your little one up every 2 hours to feed her or she’s not sleeping because of teething – or better yet you aren’t sleeping because she’s teething, an expression comes to mind – this too shall pass. It’s gonna seem horrible while you are going through it, but pretty soon you are gonna look back and it’s over. You may be on to something else new and more challenging, but hey, at least the other thing is gone, right? Liz and I don’t really remember feeding Maddy every 2 hours for the first month or so – talk about sleep deprived, but we made it through it.
- It is absolutely the best thing I’ve ever done. I realize that I did not do much. My wife is the one that went through 9 months of carrying her, taking shots twice a day and countless other meds and procedures just to get her here, not to mention the c-section – but of all the things I’ve done in my jobs, schooling, or personal life – being a dad is honestly the best thing I’ve ever done. There are days you want to pull your hair out, throw your hands up and run around the house screaming – but then that little baby will laugh or smile at you and you instantly forget how tired and how frustrated you are! I have found that I love my wife more than ever and she never ceases to amaze me with her strength. It has truly brought us closer has husband and wife. Neither of us thought we could love something or someone like we do our little girl. Definitely, the best thing I’ve ever done!
So, there you have it.