7/25/17

The First-Timer's Guide To Week 1: Let The Hazing Begin


Truth be told, I barely remember the first week of motherhood. I was doped up from the c-section, nursing around the clock, hardly eating and barely sleeping. Thankfully, below are a few of the things I felt were important during the first week...



 February 9, 2012: Seven days into being a new parent.

1. While I wish delivered via natural childbirth, the bright side to the c-section (in addition to my son and I surviving delivery) we had four glorious days in the hospital. Those four days provided us with nurses, a nursery, a lactation consultant, a cook, a drug dispenser, doctors and most of all answers to all of our questions. Even though we truly needed a month,  those four days gave us a supervised crash course in caring for our brand new baby human. Including things as simple as dressing his sweet, fragile body. The hubs and I were so scared, we called the nurse in to help us get his little onesie on after doing our first solo parent changing. We were sure we were going to break him getting him dressed.

2. SURPRISE! A newborn loses weight once they are born. I swear I never read that in any of those damn perfect baby books. My son went from 8.4 pounds to 7.8 pounds before we left the hospital. FYI: Newborns can lose up to 10% of their birth weight without it being an issue.

3. Babies crap more than grown men after an all-you-can-eat buffet. At least, my baby does. I'm not sure how, but he pumps that black tar crap out by the bucket full. Oh, how I wish I had a picture of my husband's mortified face the first time he saw the black tar flow from his son's bum. #Magic

4. Silly me, I thought breastfeeding was this beautiful act of nature. Holyfu*k, how wrong I was. Miserable, painful, exhausting, frustrating and hard is more like it. Every day I have to tell myself, "one more day, then I can give him formula is I want. So far, the little man has only had breastmilk. From me. Bottles and pacifiers are not happening.

5. It's possible to survive seven days without sleeping seven hours total. It's not pretty, but it can be done. (Think: Walking Dead Zombie.)

6. Babies are professional hazers. The parent initiation process is painful, so watch out. You can expect no sleep, cold meals, 2-minute showers, SIDS-induced debilitating anxiety, and much more!  You seriously have to earn your stripes, the hard way, every step of the way.

7. When you see your child smile for the first time, don't listen to the doctor or nurse that, "It's really, Gas." It ruins it. I know the way my son looks at me when he smiles. He definitely is smiling because he likes us, or at the very least, finds us amusing. Gas? My ass.

8. Babies need three general things; A full belly, dry nappy and sleep. If Baby has all three, he will be tear free. Also, when Baby is crying, ALWAYS check all three before freaking out. And what ever you do, NEVER put Baby to sleep without first making sure his diaper is dry as a bone. Nothing sucks more than him waking five minutes later because he's cold and wet.

9. Speaking of pee, ATTENTION PARENTS OF BOYS, always make sure the proverbial fire hose is pointed down during changings and stays that way in the diaper.Think: Off position. Otherwise, you'll have leaks out of the top of the nappy, every freaking time! It's embarrassing how long it took the hubs and me to figure that out.

10. A newborn can, and will, sleep up to 22 hours a day. Seriously. But don't get excited, the sick twist in that is baby sleeps for more than 2-4 hour stretches. This goes back to the constant feeding, changing and napping.

11.  If you are going to breastfeed, get used to having an audience, especially at the hospital. Have been to New Orleans eight times, and never once showed my ta-tas. I have a baby and the next thing I know, I'm flashing total strangers, family and even the person who brings the food at meal times. It's  a mom-instinct thing when baby needs to eat, you will oblige, and innocent bystanders will watch. Thankfully, I brought a nursing blanket cover-up to the hospital with me and covered myself when the door to my maternity room would open.

12. Mothers instinct is very real and shows up quickly! By the end of the first week, I was waking up 5-20 minutes before he would wake for a feeding.  It's amazing how it all works. The only problem I have is listening to my instinct. Please learn from my mistakes and go with your gut!

13. Newborns only can have a sponge bath until the umbilical cord falls off, and at most,  every other day. Cotton balls with warm water are awesome for the face. Beware, those first sponge baths are difficult, and babies HATE being cold. I made the hubs do it, I was so scared my little newborn would slip out of my hands.

14. Newborn's eyes kind of float around at first. It's VERY freaky, but normal. Not knowing this until I Google, "What's wrong with my newborn's eyes, they are floating all over," I kept turning his head and saying, Mommy is right here. I told you I was hopeless! It goes away once the infant has, and can control his eye muscles.

15. From everything I heard, I thought my son was going to be a little eating, sleeping, pooping slug-baby for the first six weeks of his life... Not even! He is filled with sweetness, good smells, smiles, a beautiful face and fingers that already squeeze mine. While there is not a lot of interaction from his side, there is still enough to melt my heart and fill my world with bliss and love!

16. I've been terrified my whole life about becoming a mother. So much so, I never wanted to be a mother. Now, I LOVE being a mommy and wouldn't trade it for anything. This little guy is my world.  There is something so miraculous about growing a baby in your belly, then meeting him for the first time.

NOW: July 25, 2017

Reading that list brought back so many crazy and wonderful memories. Thankfully, being a parent gets easier every day. Looking back, the one thing that sticks out the most is the sleeplessness and feeling like a zombie. Thankfully, it's a phase just like the many I would face over the next five years. If I could say anything to my old self, I would say, just focus on you and baby. Heal, feed, sleep. That's it. No pressure or worries. Your perfect little bundle of joy is going to be just fine, and so are you...

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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