I was uploading a boatload of baby Thor pictures last night, and came across some shots from my pregnancy. Guys, I feel sorry for Jessica Simpson. I remember what it felt like. I felt like I was a gigantic belly with arms, legs, and a head sticking out of it. There was a lot of baby in there.
I have some friends who are expecting for the first time, and since I do my best not to pester pregnant ladies with advice (other than telling them to start stockpiling diapers the moment the pregnancy test shows a positive) I’ve decided to put down my best offerings here.
- Everyone is going to feel welcome to tell you how to love/feed/carry/swaddle/sleep/medically treat your baby. Ignore them. They got to raise their babies, and you get to raise yours. Don’t let other people’s opinions make you feel bad about wanting to bottle feed/breastfeed/hire a wet nurse/Ferberize/cosleep/cloth diaper/disposable diaper your baby. As long as you aren’t abusing or neglecting your baby according to CPS standards, your nosy neighbors can go suck a pacifier.
- Parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do, and there will be days when you want to toss the baby out a window, or trade it for a full night’s sleep. That is natural and normal. Don’t give in to the urge. Also, don’t hate yourself for it. All parents feel that way at some point.
- Try not to take it personally when the baby cries a lot. Remember that your baby has no idea what is going on. Your baby doesn’t know you, doesn’t speak your language, doesn’t understand why it is outside the womb, and has no idea how to make you understand that that he just wants to shift a little to the left for crying out loud. Being a baby is frustrating. It isn’t you. It’s him.
- Call a friend when you feel frustrated. If you have friends who are parents, they will understand and sympathize, and they will help. Always ask for help. No one is going to judge you because we’ve all been there. We have all faced the terror of being allowed to leave the hospital. And trust me, it is terrifying to leave the hospital.
- Parenting is probably the most amazing thing you will ever do.
- You won’t remember a quarter of the first year because you will be sleep deprived, so take a lot of pictures and video.
- Show your baby the respect you’d like to be shown. Remember that she is a person with thoughts, feelings, and needs beyond just the first three month blur of diapers, bottles, and burping. If you were stuck in that crib crying, how would you want someone to treat you? If you were sitting in your own poop, how swiftly would you want someone to change your butt? If you were being passed around by strangers, how would you feel? If you were forced to wear clothes other people picked out for you…
- Take every nap you can. Ignore the housework. Take a nap. Buy paper plates if you are worried about the dishes. Take a nap.
- Remember to eat. It’s easy to forget your own meals.
- Start stockpiling diapers the moment you find out you are pregnant. It is impossible to have too many diapers. But don’t just buy newborn size, because unless you have a preemie, your newborn might be tipping the size scales on those within a month. Buy all kinds of sizes. You can never have too many diapers. Ever. Buy more. You’ll need them.
And, as a bonus, call the pediatrician’s office as often as you need to, without shame. They expect it. They get paid for it.
But most of all, enjoy your baby. =)