Before diving into what is the latest craze worthy gadget or toy for the new born squish, we should take a minute to discuss something that often is pushed aside and ignored.
New Baby Survival
Women are battered with the idea that they will just fall into motherhood effortlessly. It will just “click on” as soon as you hold that little bundle of rolls and squiggles. Well ladies, it DOESN’T.
NUMBER 1 : Sometimes that bond doesn’t form right away
Of course it does for a lot of women but for some women (and men) that instant love bond just doesn’t magically appear.
And that is ok. Did you hear me? It’s OK.
Bonds take time to grow, just like any relationship, so for those of you out there understand that when the time comes; don’t feel guilty if you aren’t instantly gushing over your new little family addition. Take time to bond with your child. If your partner is experiencing that lack of “instant-oh-my-goodness-baby-love” try and give them extra support and time to be with the baby so that they can form that bond as well.
This is something I hear often but most people don’t (if ever) talk about. So know if you fall into this category that you are not alone and there is help out there and these things do take time…
NUMBER 2: Everyone is a critic/expert
Literally….everyone….will judge you.
You changed the diaper the wrong way. You’re holding their head too angled. You let them cry too long. You held them too much. Back when THEY had kids….blah blah vomit
There are some good bites of wisdom out there but the reality is that much of that knowledge has either been debunked, doesn’t work for everyone or simply just isn’t relevant for today. If I had a dollar for every time someone said ” back when my kids where little, we did THIS–” or “we use to do that and they were just fine” I would be able to put a solid chunk of money away for a college fund….
Of course it’s great to hear advice and let people think they are helping you, but there is a fine line between being helpful and being pushy. Sometimes that “helpful” advice can also come off rather brutish. Try not to let it get to you. After having a month of no sleep and little nutritional food in your system, you may find yourself on the cusp of snapping at the naysayers and overly helpful people.
NUMBER 3: Your body will never be the same
You may not lose the baby weight. That little pouch and droopy skin around your belly may never go away. The new spider veins could be permanent and every time you sneeze, you will piss yourself regardless of how many kegels you complete.
The beautiful thing about being a women today is that the post baby body is finally getting the love it deserves. The bad thing about being a women today is that still many people are awful and cruel to those women who don’t just magically “snap” back. Le sigh, a woman’s struggle.
Understand that sometimes you can work out and eat right and still never fit in those old jeans. Don’t let it get it to you. Also, don’t compare yourself to other women who perhaps did snap back. Every body is different, unique and moves and grows at it’s own pace. After baby, you need to heal. You do NOT need to worry about being a size 6 again. Take time to nourish your body and treat it well. You just made a damn tiny human, who cares if you have stretch marks from that!
Number 4: You need to do your own research on toys/formula/etc
One of the shocking things I found while pregnant was that the FDA has no real system on regulating baby toys or products. In fact, when you start digging, you start finding thousands of lawsuits for faulty or toxic products on the market. Those products are not always recalled or changed because the government has a process called “consumer responsibility” that it toots around. Basically it is up to YOU, the parent/caregiver, to research these items before agreeing to purchasing them.
Now you can simply live in blissful ignorance and hope nothing happens, and maybe nothing does, but it’s hard for some people (like me) to look the other way when you realize how much lead and cadmium is in baby toys and how destructive micro plastic is to a new babies neurodevelopment.
The best advice I can give to new parents who are concern over the toxicity and safety of their baby’s products is to do your research and look at the EU’s top toxic. Yes. The EU, not the USA.
Why is that? ….well…that’s because the EU has the strictest and most comprehensive list of banned chemicals and products. In fact in cosmetics and food alone the EU has over 400 chemicals BANNED that are completely 100% approved HERE. You heard that right, folks.
So do your research and choose accordingly.
NUMBER 5: Get a good support system
Like number 1 above, this portion covers something that is typically overlooked. No one talks about it. I have no idea why.
A support plan is more than just joining a MOM group or texting your bestie when your working on day number 3 without sleep. This is a complete support system. A system of habits.
At some point you are going to snap at that baby. It happens to everyone. If someone tells you they never did, they are a bloody liar. We are programed to believe that we will just be awesome parents, but the reality is that parenthood is just a sequence of fuck-ups that you hope end up well. You have no idea what you’re doing. No amount of reading on parenting will prepare you. No amount of time spent on Youtube will get you ready. You will think you are prepared and then baby will arrive and within 48 hours you are confused as hell and questioning everything you do.
There will also be a time when you feel yourself getting angry. Angry at your partner, angry at yourself, angry at the baby. The baby won’t stop crying and you haven’t sleep in two days or eaten more than a handful of oreos in the past 24 hours. You are going to snap.
My friends, this is where your support system comes into place and it’s not just people, its habits.
If you feel yourself getting to that place with your little one. Put them in the crib and walk away. Go into another room and give yourself five. solid. minutes.
I mean it. They are safe in the crib. NOT in your arms at that moment.
Every parents will reach this point, sometimes more than once. Not all babies who are hurt by their parents are at the hands of bad parents. A portion of those parents are people who never in a million years would have thought they would have snapped.
You need to know you are human and the first few months are incredibly tough. Having people to talk to is great but they can’t or aren’t always available. You and your partner need a system in place for how you will both handle the situation if and when it comes.
The crib is safe and it is ok for the baby to cry a bit while you take a moment to calm yourself. Don’t feel guilty for that, EVER. It doesn’t mean you’re weak or ill prepare for parenthood. By allowing yourself some moments to recollect yourself is a sign of good parenting. Knowing your limit and acting accordingly before something bad happens is a commendable thing.
So take a while to come up a good game plan. Maybe your partner will take over while you take a breather, or they know that if you put the baby down and go into the bathroom for a few minutes that you need to be left alone to calm down. There are so many options out there but you need to have some plan in order because it will happen. You are working on no sleep, no healthy food and you will be at your lowest working level (sorry folks, just being honest) so be prepared and know you are not alone. Yes it gets easier to manage but those first few months can be a doozy.