9 Things I Wish I Knew About Life After Baby
The famous saying is “hindsight is 20/20.” For a new mom this can be a touchy subject. The good news is it doesn’t have to be. Part of our mission at Bessie’s Best is not only to help moms produce more breast milk and unclog blocked milk ducts but it is also to help!
Help comes in many forms. We have put together a list of nine “I wish I knew post-baby” moments in hopes that this could help another mom.
Practice everything with one hand.
You have to relearn how to do basically everything you’ve done before to allow you to do it with one hand. Cooking? You have to become the master at stirring the pot with one hand while not holding the handle with the other. Folding laundry? Not only do you have to invent new ways to fold clothes one-handed, but it becomes a timed Olympic sport to get it finished before your little helper decides to knock over the pile. And don’t even get me started on one-handed trips to the bathroom.
Your hormones are out of control. Ok, to be fair I was warned about this one. But I wish I’d had specific examples. Like I wish someone had told me that the songs played by my son’s swing would bring me to tears within 5 notes. Or that as nighttime approached, I would be able to literally feel my anxiety level skyrocketing as I dreaded not knowing whether I’d be up 3, 4, 8 times that night. Which brings me to my next point…
It’s not all rainbows and that’s OK.
You don’t have to enjoy every moment. Yeah I know, time goes by so fast. And I will wish my kids were little again (I already miss them being babies!). But the age-old saying “Enjoy every moment” should really be adjusted. As a brand new mom, I felt an overwhelming pressure to be happy all. the. time. I would get frustrated with each stressful situation, then feel insanely guilty that I wasn’t enjoying my baby like everyone told me to. Baby won’t let you put him down? Enjoy every moment. Baby waking up every 45 minutes at night? Enjoy every moment. Baby crying off and on every night during his “witching hour”? Enjoy every moment. You know what? No. As mothers we do NOT have to enjoy every moment. Some moments are hard. Some moments just downright suck. It’s ok to not enjoy your child screaming. It’s ok to not enjoy being woken up multiple times a night. If I could go back and tell my new mom-self something, it would be to “enjoy your baby when you can”.
Opinions for Days
Everyone (and I mean everyone) will have an opinion about your baby/your parenting/breastfeeding choices. This one is huge. Apparently after women have babies, a sign goes up on our backs saying “Please, give me your opinion on how I’m doing as a parent. I haven’t heard enough unsolicited advice today.” Seriously. Relatives, friends, co-workers, even random strangers….suddenly everyone’s an expert parent. It’s absolutely soul-crushing to get advice that contradicts what you’re doing as a parent when you didn’t ask for it. It made me feel like I wasn’t doing my job as a mom correctly. Couple that with the rollercoaster hormones, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Anxiety, low self-esteem, and even postpartum depression can be brought on by well-meaning people who just don’t know when to keep their mouths shut.
NO FUN ZONE
Your boobs will no longer be for “fun time”. I wish someone had told me this so I could have warned my husband. It would have saved me many guilt-ridden nights. If you are a soon-to-be dad reading this, sorry to tell you, fellas. After having a baby and using those things to keep that little human alive, the last thing we want is to have them touched in *that* way. Hell, in ANY way, really. Just leave them alone.
Extra, Extra: Nursing Pads, Shirts and More
When you do feel like having some fun-time, your boobs may become sprinklers. Who knew that a much anticipated night of fun would turn into a waterpark adventure? Not this girl! Breastfeeding mamas, you have been warned. Prepare accordingly with a towel or some good nursing pads.
Breastfeeding is 24/7
Breastfeeding is like a full-time job. Now before you get upset about this one, let me clarify. As a mom of two who has had time to look back on things, I wish I’d been told how much your life revolves around feeding the baby/pumping milk/talking about feeding/etc. Yes, it’s a full-time commitment! But like a job, it’s also extremely rewarding. Looking down at my daughter as she enjoys nursing, I often find myself in awe of what my body is capable of. And then I have some inner talk with myself. Look at you, supermom. Your baby has existed for 6 months solely on your breastmilk. You go mama!
Pump & Store, Pump & Store
Building up a milk stash is like an addiction. Ok, if someone had told me this, I probably would have looked at them like they were crazy. Kind of like some people look at me. But hey, I’m nothing if not honest, so I feel the need to share this with you. If you are able to freeze milk and build a stash for when you go back to work, putting the milk in bags and counting up the ounces is like Christmas Day. Other than holding my babies, my favorite part of the day was when they were napping and I could bag up the milk I’d pumped that day. An even better bonus was when I’d filled up a plastic shoebox with bags of milk and got to total up the ounces and add it to my “milk log” that hung on the side of my fridge. So if you also are working on building up a stash, enjoy that feeling of satisfaction, breastfeeding mama! You deserve it!
You’re Doing Great!
You’re doing the best you can, keep up the good work. Maybe above all else, this is what I wish I’d been told about life after having a baby. Those days when you’re exhausted and can barely manage to dress the kids and get them fed? It’s ok. Those days when you realize you forgot to brush your child’s teeth/give him his vitamin D drops/insert one of the million other things moms have to do? It’s ok. You are providing for your baby, you love him/her, and that’s what’s important.
This is only nine of what feels like hundreds we could have chosen from. What are your top “I wish I knew” moments?