My husband and I always planned on having kids. We had a plan to get pregnant right after our wedding. We got our house semi-prepared for a baby, our insurance was well planned for pregnancy, we chose a hospital and doctor and we even got ahead on some work, knowing we’d have a busy year with our first baby. Our wedding came and we were pregnant 2 months later. We had planned it perfectly.. Maybe we were wrapped up in the excitement of being pregnant, but somewhere along the way we realized we didn’t know a thing about babies! Our ignorance continued to come to our attention; like when people mentioned terms we’d never heard of, or trying to register for gifts when we didn’t know what half the items were in the baby section, or acting excited about baby gifts that we had to Google their purpose afterwards… My point is that no matter how prepared you are, no one really knows what they’re doing! Prepared or planned, we’re all in the same scary boat.
If you’re pregnant with your first baby one thing is inevitable; you will be getting advice, whether you ask for it or not. At first I would take a mental note of the type of bottle I was advised to use or the best diaper rash cream. But after hearing ‘This is the only one to use’ about 5 different types of bottles or cream from 5 different people, I realized this ‘advice’ was just a preference for that particular person. I started to get annoyed and overwhelmed with all the words of wisdom I was receiving, and I kind of just stopped listening. Then I got a piece of advice that really opened my eyes, “Research everything, follow nothing.” In other words, you can never educate yourself too much, but ultimately, you take bits and pieces of all this knowledge and find what works for you. For some reason, this really relaxed me. Instead of just kindly nodding when I heard those ‘mom tips’, I started asking moms why they felt that way. I put parenting apps on my phone and did more research. I read books, watched movies and whenever I wasn’t sure of something I Googled it. (The fun thing about typing a question into Google is that a variety of feedback pops up. No right or wrong, just lots of articles on what worked for each individual.) When you’re not trying to memorize do’s and don’t’s, you become open minded to several strategies and products that may just work for you and your little one. The more you know, the faster you can think of solutions when you have a crying baby in your arms.
Now that I’m a mom, it’s my turn to start giving out unsolicited advice. I don’t claim to know a thing about parenting, but these are a few things I’ve learned so far.
You will know more than you ever thought you would. I have never considered myself a ‘motherly’ person, but God gave us this amazing gift of instinct. You’ll surprise yourself, I swear. You and this baby are meeting for the first time when he’s born. He’s scared and doesn’t know who to trust, and you get the wonderful job of showing him love and security. This may sound cheesy, but I swear, my baby acted like we were out to get him the first few days. We’d have moments of snuggles and feelings of trust, but he didn’t quite believe us at first. We did whatever we could to make sure he knew we were there if he was feeling scared. You really can’t love a new baby too much. They need to know you’re on their side! All the sudden he looked at us and he got it, we were there for him. His temperament instantly changed and he’s such a calm baby now.
Crying is communicating. And while this is inevitable, I feel their are ways to reduce it. If you couldn’t communicate with someone, you may start with gestures, then some words (sounds) and if you get frustrated, you just get loud! Same with a baby. Try to figure out their gestures and you really can start to communicate with them before they get upset.
They mirror your attitude and feelings. These new little people have an amazing perception of moods. And the only way they can learn attitude is from their surroundings. Get in a heated argument around baby and you’ll soon realize how they copy your mood. Stay relaxed and talk to them often, and they will hopefully do the same back.
Breastfeeding hurts. People will give you tips and tell you it’ll get better, but it doesn’t matter- it just really hurts the first week or so. Nursing and/or pumping is exhausting. Latching can be a battle, nursing can take forever, and it’s so hard to find that comfy position for both of you. If you’re pumping, you start to dread arranging the ridiculous apparatus that takes longer to put on than it takes to pump. ( BTW, invest in hands-free pumping bras. I can’t even get the pump to work without one!) Do whatever calms you when you nurse or pump. Your body is amazing (and kind of irritating) and will only give you milk when you’re relaxed. When you want to quit breastfeeding, look at the prices of formula. Your motivation will return.
Point the boy parts down in the diaper (after his circumcision has healed). I’ve changed approximately 50 pee soaked onsies in order to give you this valuable advice.
Stretch the clothes, not the baby. You’ll repeat this when it feels like you’re trying to get a Barbie outfit on a Cabbage Patch doll.
Ceiling fans are really entertaining. It doesn’t even need to move, but if you really need a distraction, give the fan a few spins and he’ll be mesmerized.They love your voice. And if you put a tune to it they instantly cheer up. If you’ve been waiting to see that sweet little smile, singing or humming might be the way. Newborns love books too. I’d heard that you can’t start too soon when it comes to reading. It’s no joke. At 2 weeks our little guy was captivated by books. He’s so focused he can’t even suck on his pacifier at the same time.
Ask for help. People really do love babies, and if they’ve offered to help, they mean it.
You’ll have a lot of regrets in life but no one has ever regretted a baby. When you see this precious child and hear their sweet baby sounds, you’ll be so in love. You’ll look at life differently and life is pretty amazing.
Our mission is to assist women and families in the Brookings area and SDSU who are experiencing unplanned pregnancy to explore choices by providing appropriate resources and support including counseling, educational programs, and mentoring.
CALL: (605) 692-1600
Life, Love and Lessons Series
Option 1’s "Life, Love, and Lessons" blog series provides small glimpses into the life, love, and lessons from a variety parents. Some may be just like you and some may not resemble you, but each is here to share their own journey.
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Phone: (605) 692-1600
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At Option 1 of Brookings, SD, we recognize that women have a right to make their own decisions about the outcome of their pregnancy and their sexual health. We are here to help women and their partners make informed and thoughtful decisions. The information provided on this website is not intended to diagnose any condition or pregnancy and should not take the place of your medical practitioner. Although option1.org provides valuable and credible health information, this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical, legal or counseling advice.