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September 13, 2018
When I first entered motherhood, I kept watching my seasoned mom friends with almost jealousy. I felt like I must be doing something wrong because it wasn’t as easy for me. Turns out, that’s not true at all. They just had this secret weapon up their sleeves: they knew what to expect. Not in that, “Oh yeah, babies are hard, I remember this” kind of way. More in a concrete, “I understand that this stage takes exactly two days to pass. I believe it will pass because there was a time three years ago that the very same thing happened and it passed” kind of way.
Baby’s initial sleepy stage: 24 hours
Body screaming out in pain as baby learns to latch: 1 week
Breasts engorged and throbbing: 72-90 hours
Fussy period: 2 weeks old – 3 months
Toddler tantrums: 2 years – 3 years
You know, that type of thing.
Now, have people written these estimates of time all over the internet? Of course. But if your baby arrives and you feel like none of that information made a difference, there’s a reason why: it’s because it’s hard to believe those stages really are just a stage until you’ve lived through them. Yep, motherhood is a learn by doing kind of experience.
It’s like running a long race. If you’ve run one before, even if it was years ago, it still feels somewhat attainable in the heat of it. If you’re a race “virgin” it’s kind of hard to believe you will actually come out on the other side without collapsing. If you haven’t had a baby before, visualizing what’s ahead and asking others about their experiences, plus reading credible information from reliable sources can make those early days easier and can help you become a parenting pro, too.
There is so much advice about babies out there. How to have a strong pregnancy, how to give birth and then, of course, how to take care of a baby in the first months to a year. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and, maybe, a little irritated, you’re not alone. It flustered me at first, too, when my mom would give me parenting advice. She hadn’t done the early motherhood thing in 30 plus years, what did she know? But the reality is, she had the ability to see things about my daughter that I could not. She also was not exhausted like I was. Same goes for friends with older kids – they can be a huge wealth of information.
Being a pediatrician made some aspects of baby care easier for me but not all of them, by any means (by the way, if you want some new mom pediatrician tips I DID learn along the way, click here to get our free guide). As my friend said when I was just four weeks into being a parent, “Don’t feel bad if you don’t always know what to do. You went to medical school, not mommy school! I imagine the things they teach in mommy school are much different than what they teach in anatomy class.”
Take everything as a suggestion and as an interesting perspective and then filter, filter, filter. Not everyone’s opinion is something you will use with your own child but, if you are open to others’ observations, you will be less frustrated and more successful (you can get our free guide to successful parenting in the baby and toddler years here).
Want more information about how to parent and cope when you’re a new mom? Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care For Your Infant and Yourself.
Looking for baby registry or baby shower gifts? You’ll love our Newborn Gift Boxes (in Baby Boy, Baby Girl, and Gender Neutral). They’re full of information, inspiration, and a little love for all the mamas and mamas-to-be in your life (including you!).
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