Amid the well wishes, name discussions and diaper recommendations of pregnancy, there are a few things your foremothers leave out when passing the torch.  

Maybe lies of omission? They’d never admit your butt looks big in that skirt when asked, but instead steer you to a more flattering cut. It’s not your butt’s fault, but rather the skirt’s fault. Focus shifted.

Likely, they have just forgotten. You’d have to, if you want more than one child. It has taken me two years (and chats with friends who’ve recently given birth) to believe that you really do forget the minor details of those early weeks and months.

Here are some of my recent rememberings:

Breastfeeding can be challenging. A good latch is key, but just one on the ring.  In the early weeks (or months) your baby may nurse, round the clock, every 2 hours for up to 30 minutes. That leaves you 90 minutes in between, and less time for sleep. Pumping too? There is algebra involved in calculating free moments. Essentially, you will have someone (or something) attached to your breasts most of the time, and unless you have hobbies I don’t know about, that takes getting used to.

If that sounds intimidating, know that you can reach your goal, and that you’re bound to be more successful with support systems in place pre-baby. Find a lactation consultant or breastfeeding group and/or a friend or family member with experience. Kellymom.com is also a fantastic resource.

*(mymomgenes is Switzerland on the issue of breast vs. formula feeding — what works best for your family is best).

You are about to lose a hand. Or two. Birth rarely causes amputation, but babies take up free hands quickly. You’re still going to be hungry, thirsty, need to pee, etc. Stock up on one-handed foods. Keep beverages close to any feeding or rocking location. Have several baby carriers handy (such as slings, wraps or the perennial favorite, the Bjorn) and you might just get both hands back for a few minutes at a time while your baby stays close to you.

And, your baby might not want to be put down. My biggest mom shock. Yikes. I thought babies slept in cribs, bounced in bouncers, played on playmats. Some do, I’m told. Some don’t. Carriers help. From experience, I can agree with the experts who say meeting your infant’s need for comfort and affection during awake time (and unrelated to sleep training – another Switzerland issue ) builds self-soothing capability. Yes, I know it seems counter-intuitive. Thank you to the Dervish for forcing this realization upon an unwilling pupil. The girl is nothing if not tenacious. And confident.

To quote my labor midwife: “I was totally unprepared for how un-fun the first sixth weeks would be“.  Vacations featuring umbrella drinks are fun. Trying to figure out your newborn  is — different. There is awe, there is love, but there is little positive reinforcement from your taskmaster, and an abundance of criticism, if you take infant protests personally (who doesn’t take them personally? I need to meet this person).  It gets much, much better. Soon.

Bonding isn’t always instantaneous. I’m sure you know parents who say it was, and that’s great — for them. If it takes some time for you, you’re not alone,  you’re not deficient, and you’re probably someone I would be friends with, if you’d have me.  Relationships take time to grow, usually through shared experience. Why should this one be any different? Now, if you feel like you can’t function, or your baby would be better off without you, or you’d be better off without your baby, everyone who loves you suggests you talk to your ob/gyn or midwife yesterday. You deserve to feel better than that, and you can. Get support today.

Carseats are hard to maneuver. Why doesn’t someone design an ergonomically friendly model that doesn’t force funny bones askew for the banging? Secret: no one is judging as you load and unload the seat and baby from your car or shopping cart. There isn’t a spotlight or an announcer crowing, “Here’s a new mom who doesn’t know what she’s doooingggg!”

You’re doing great. Honestly.

What am I (happy to be) forgetting? Please share so other moms and moms-to-be can benefit from your experience:

 

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