Dear First Time Momma,
I love using this picture.
We were only home about a week when I took this picture of myself and Maddie. In looking at it, I can tell now how rough I felt. I probably really liked the picture of me initially. But looking at it now, I look exhausted, pale, and probably in pain. I was anemic, and definitely was running on very little sleep.
I can imagine that is how you’re feeling too, no matter how old your baby is now. And odds are, your baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet. Maddie didn’t start doing that until she was a year old.
Maddie turned a year old on February 18th, 2017. So I know how over a year of sleep deprivation feels like.
Because I know. I know that even before your little one was born, you had trouble sleeping. I know I did. The further along I got in my pregnancy, the harder it was to get comfortable. And if, by some odd chance, I got comfortable, it would end quickly when I would have to go to the bathroom five times a night (that’s actually pretty accurate).
Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts, advice and stories of our first year. Maybe it will encourage you. Maybe it will make you feel a little less like a newbie. But hopefully this will make you feel better as a mom.
You’re going to make mistakes. I know I’ve made my fair share of them in the last year. Don’t dwell on these mistakes. They are few and far between and you’re doing the best you can. You’re learning how to take care of a very needy infant and they are learning how to live. There may even be times when you feel like your baby deserves a better mommy than you. Guess what? God gave you to that baby. God gave you this huge blessing. God doesn’t make mistakes. He gave you that baby because He knew that baby needed you as their mommy. Go easy on yourself and accept that you’re going to mess up.
You’re going to cry…a lot. If not from hormone changes, you’ll cry from sleep deprivation. You’ll cry because you feel like a failure. You’ll cry because the first year really does go by so fast, just as the ones to follow will too. I cried quite often, for all these reasons and so many more. The first time Maddie got a boo boo, I cried because I felt like it was my fault and I should have protected her better. I mean, I even did that this past weekend when she busted her lip and bled for the first time. Bawled like a baby myself. But guess what, Maddie cried for a few minutes, and even with blood in her mouth, she moved on. I need to learn a little bit from her.
Always go with your gut, especially when it comes to an illness. In the first few weeks of Maddie’s life, I had to take her to the doctor. I actually took her because I thought she was breathing funny and it was scaring me to death. Doctor checked her out and her lungs were perfect…but she did have an eye infection that needed eye drops. And honestly, I’ve taken her more times than necessary to the doctor, but I would rather be safe than sorry.
Formula feeding? Great!! Breastfeeding? Great!! A fed baby is better than arguing over which method is better. Some moms can’t breastfeed and that’s okay. Moms shouldn’t put down other moms just because of the way they feed their baby.
And breastfeeding is hard. I was able to feed her for a year, but there were times when I swore she wasn’t getting enough milk from me and felt like a failure. Again, go easy on yourself. It can be extremely difficult and very tiring. Especially during growth spurts when they decide to cluster feed (those were my worst nights). There will be times when you’ll wonder if you should switch to formula. I know I had nights like that. Thoughts about how much easier it would be. How I wouldn’t have to go in my dad’s bedroom to feed Maddie when we went to visit. But I’m very grateful that I was able to go a whole year. That was my personal goal. And there are many ways to help your milk supply. Pinterest was my best friend and it still is. Anytime I have a question, that is typically where I go.
And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Taking care of a newborn is hard work. I absolutely love my daughter, but it was always nice when my husband could take her for a half hour or so while I took a shower. And it’s nice when I go visit my dad, or watch WWE pay-per-views with my brothers, I have other people that can help entertain her. I always have someone I can lean on. Find people you can lean on.
And my last thought is this…enjoy every minute. Yes, even the moments that you are bawling your eyes out because you feel like a failure. Even the moments when you’re so sleep deprived that you almost put tea in your cereal instead of milk (yes, that almost happened). The housework may not get done. Dinner might be take-out more often than not. But you know what? They aren’t gonna be little forever. Eventually, they aren’t going to need you all the time. Eventually, they will be able to feed themselves and will be able to occupy themselves while you get chores done. They’ll (hopefully) start napping better and sleeping through the night. But for now, that little infant needs you. As tired as I would get, I always loved holding my baby girl and playing with her. Because time, and life, is too short. And if you plan on having more babies, this is the only one that will get your undivided attention. Enjoy it. Treasure this time. Because it goes by way too fast.
I’m praying for you, first time momma. You’ve got this!
What would you tell your first time mom self?? Any advice you would give to a first time mom? Comment and let me know!!