There are a ton of lists of what to do to prepare for a baby and even more for what to expect afterwards such as medications and pads to have for your recovery and things to have in a babies room. This is not that list. This list, however, is the list of what most people won’t tell you and are good to know. No, GREAT to know! Yes, they are my opinion, but after my third time around I wish I would have known all of these before #1.
- Take the maternity leave…. you will never get this time again. With my first 2 kids I felt like I had to go back ASAP, like it would be frowned upon if I took the whole 12 weeks. So with the first ones I went back after 6 weeks ( even after c-sections ) and guess what, nobody cared. Yes it would have been 6 more weeks of unpaid leave, but it is 6 weeks with my other 2 kids I will never get back. So with baby #3 I took the whole 12 weeks and it was amazing w/ zero regrets. There are no promotions or bonuses for those that forfeit those extra weeks, I promise!
- You can travel. For real. There are of course situations where you need be careful, but live your life. Sure, keep them at home for the first month, but if they have their shots and are healthy then go ahead and enjoy your time with them. We went to Florida, museums, the beach and amusement parks to name a few and it was great! It kept me from going stir crazy and had the older kids just as excited about summer as ever.
- Try to breastfeed. I am not saying you have to, but if you are even thinking about trying, then try. If you don’t like it, stop, but there are a lot of people I know that a few weeks or months in wish they had tried for the health and bonding benefits. Is it hard? Yes. Is it annoying? Yes. Painful at times? Yes. So worth it though. If you don’t try though, trying to relactate later on is so much harder.
- People will act like you just had a vacation if/when you go back to work. Ignore them. Only you know there were days you went without changing clothes… even after being spit up on, nights of sleeplessness and delirium as they try to find their eating schedule and so much cleaning of bottles and bedding and clothes and buttcracks! Amazing motherhood? Yes!!!! A vacation? No! The fact that most of us take it sans pay…. even more of a non-vacation. So ignore those that have no clue what maternity leave is really like and go back to work like the boss that you are.
- Everyone will judge you about something with your baby. Even your best friend and sister – you will just have to ignore this. They may not verbalize it, but you will notice the side glance or pause in their demeanor. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. Everyone parents differently and you are keeping your child happy and healthy right? Good job!
- You will have poop on your hands more than once. Not a little, probably a lot. We are talking the mustard looking smeary poop that stains and is impossible to scrub off. In fact, don’t be surprised if there is a belly button filled with poop or it is coming out of their neckhole in their onesie because it was too much for the diaper to handle. It is a shi**y part of the job…. pun so very intended.
- Order stuff from amazon and have it delivered. Like everything. Diapers formula, books, there is nothing you should feel bad about having delivered to your house. The sooner you start, the more sane you will keep yourself.
- You will forget what day of the week it is. More than once. Don’t feel like you are going crazy, this is normal and totally ok.
- Your baby will more then likely lose its hair in the first few weeks and look like a middle aged fat bald man. You may even question their cuteness for a brief moment. Don’t worry, it will grow it back and they are still always cute – I mean look at them! Laying them in the crib a different way wouldn’t have helped either, if it wants to come out it is coming out!
- You need a break to stay sane. Even if you don’t want to, please hand off your baby to your mom, the hubby, someone and walk around Target (or a mall) with a Starbucks for at least 2 hrs. That break will feel amazing!! Remind yourself that other people are really living out in the real world as though nothing has changed, even if it feels like your entire world has been flipped upside down. Breaks are necessary and you deserve it. Just remember, you are out in the real world so no more talking to yourself 24/7, without a baby you will look insane 🙂
BONUS TIP: Wear your maternity clothes forever. I still wear some of the baggy shirts and stretchy pants to this day around the house or if I just wanted comfy clothes. It is ok and I promise that nobody will check the tags on your clothes! You just had a human growing inside of you, it is ok if you don’t squeeze back into you “skinny jeans” – maternity jeggings are just fine 🙂