Wednesday, February 1, 2012

On Being a New Mom, Part 2

*All of what I am writing about is based on my experiences. Take or leave anything you see below. It is all merely my opinion and a smattering of insight gained nine years later.

So, now that you feel like your old self, it's time to be a mom to this wee little baby. Right?

I really wish you could have your first child second. Once you get through being a new mom for the first time, combined with all of that great hindsight, you realize it wasn't as hard as you thought it would be.

Like breastfeeding. In my mom's day, when she had me, it wasn't done. In my day, it is done. So, I had this baby knowing that I would be breastfeeding him. Well, it wasn't happening. I don't know why. But I started to feel really bad about it, like something was wrong with me. At four weeks, I filled a bottle with formula and fed it to my baby. And we lived happily ever after.

I felt guilty about it, at first, like I needed to hide the bottle from the breastfeeding police. I got over pretty quick with the aid of some good, old-fashioned, deductive reasoning. I was going back to work when he was six weeks old. Because I couldn't even pump, I knew he'd be getting bottles for most of his feedings once I was back at work. Also, the poor baby was hungry! That's when I really felt bad. Because I was worried that there might possibly be a person who thought I failed as a mother because my baby was on formula, I neglected my baby's real needs. He slept better, he grew like crazy, I slept better. A good time was had by all.

Then there is the whole "where-should-the-baby-sleep" issue. Educational toys vs., well, toys. Organic vs. homemade vs. store bought baby food. Let them cry themselves to sleep vs. rocking them to sleep in your arms. Etc. Etc.

My advice? Do what you think is right. If it doesn't seem to work for baby, try something else. This is not rocket science. That little baby may be small, but he is also pretty strong and resilient. He is at your mercy, mom, so do what you think is right and he'll, usually, think it's right, too.

Also, remember that any habit or routine you start can be stopped. But you have to be willing to do the work involved in changing a routine or habit. What I mean is, if you like rocking your baby to sleep every night, go for it. Just know that someday, your little peanut is going to weigh fifty pounds and rocking him to sleep will cause your arm to fall asleep. You are going to have to help your child change their routine. But, don't be discouraged. It can be done. And, when you look back on that time when you had to wrestle your fifty pound peanut into their bed every night, you'll see that it actually only took two nights.

And, find some other moms to talk to. We may sugar-coat the whole miracle of child birth thing, but once we have that baby, we're ready to talk! You'll find that there are plenty of other mothers out there that are experiencing some of the things that you are experiencing. You are not alone!


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