Christmas Eve 2016, we welcomed our baby boy into the world. The 7 weeks since then have been an absolutely life-changing, amazing roller coaster.
Becoming a parent is hard. Really, really, hard. And no book on earth can explain what it’s really like.
But, before you go buy a Costco-size pack of contraceptives – let me tell you this…it’s also is way more rewarding, and fills your heart with more love than you ever thought possible. Literally, when you look at your child, your heart does this thing. It bursts at the seams with a kind of love that is unparalleled. At the risk of sounding like a total new-parent-cliche – it’s magical, and wonderful, and totally, totally worth every sleepless night, every labor pain, every scream-filled night your baby can’t sleep.
Here are 7 things you’ll learn in the first 7 weeks of your baby’s life.
You will have moments of extreme highs (and you WILL also crash, hard, at some point.)
The first months after childbirth can be really emotional, and for me, I had insane highs for about 2 weeks after my baby was born. I was constantly happy all the time. Until one night, when I accidentally had the water in baby’s bath a little too cold. He cried, and his little lip quivered, and I broke. The floodgates opened and I started to get so scared that I wasn’t being a good enough mom. Once I started questioning that, other ridiculous thoughts came along with it like “what if my boyfriend doesn’t find me attractive anymore because he’s been around me breastfeeding and healing from my c section and watched me pee the bed in the hospital, etc”. Like I said, extreme highs, and extreme lows.
You will but heads with your partner, and maybe even feel resentful at times.
Parenting styles are different, and it’s really common (especially for women) to be a little resentful of her partner. Even having the most supportive husband in the world who jumps at the chance to change your little babe’s diapers – it doesn’t change the fact that baby NEEDS mom (especially if you’re breastfeeding). I think this was the hardest thing for me to get past in these last 7 weeks. It’s not at all my boyfriend’s fault, and he is being so wonderful and helpful – but when I am the only one who has to wake up multiple times a night to feed babe while he snores next to us, it gets a little frustrating.
Suddenly, the word “gross” doesn’t really exist in your vocabulary. And if it does…too bad, you’re a mom. 😉
Cleaning someone else’s bodily fluids (and/or being covered in them) every day for 7 weeks will do that to you. Poo, pee, vomit, spit up, umbilical cord discharge…it’s all just part of the package, and within the first week or so you’ll learn to just wipe it off and laugh because, what else is there to do?
It’s okay to need a break from your baby.
Seriously, this is probably the most valuable lesson I’ve learned so far. A few deep breaths of fresh air or setting baby in the crib, having someone else hold them (even for a few minutes!) is enough for you to gain your sanity. I love my son more than anything and in ways I cannot even express, but I also need a few minutes to myself every day (which, when you’re a new mom, is really uncommon!) Needing some time to yourself is not a crime! To shower (without worrying if baby is crying and you can’t hear it), to eat a meal (and not choke on your food because you’re trying to wolf it down before the next feeding), to drink a hot beverage (without worrying you’ll spill it on your baby while you’re holding them)…it’s not too much to ask. And it definitely doesn’t make you a bad mom!
You will welcome help…until you feel like you’ve got things under control. Then you will maybe find it annoying, insulting, intrusive and/or overwhelming.
In the beginning, it was SO nice to have help. My mother in law helping with the laundry, my mom and sister offering to soothe baby so I could step outside for a breath of fresh air…all of that, in the beginning, was so helpful. It wasn’t until around the 6 week mark that people constantly asking if I needed anything started to get a little overwhelming. I am unbelievably grateful for the help, but I also need to be able to stand on my own as a parent (and be given the room to do that). Be sure to be clear about when you’ve got a handle on things, and politely decline help when you feel it’s too much for you.
You will probably swear off having another baby.
Okay, so this happens, most of the time in the first days after your baby arrives. While you’re delighted to meet your little baby and may be bonding really well together, it’s so difficult to think of having another when you’re healing after delivery! Stitches, incision pains, blood, nurses poking at your private parts every day, and don’t even get me started on the first poop after you have a baby…OUCH. There will no doubt be a moment in your first 7 weeks where you go “oh, hell no, I am not doing this again.”
But at some point, when your baby is quietly sleeping in his crib, you’ll have the thought: “…maybe I should do this again sometime.”
I have always wanted one baby. Coming from a family of 7 siblings (whom I love!), I did find our family to be a bit overwhelming and chaotic, and that’s just not what I wanted for my own family. But, alas, when Lukas makes his adorable little coo-ing noises in his sleep, I find myself thinking about having more children someday.
What Products Did I Use in My Baby’s First Seven Weeks?
The products below honestly made the first weeks of my baby’s life so much easier, I can’t imagine not having these things and I suggest them to you in hopes that they can help you as much as they helped me!
Having a nursing pillow is helpful in more situations than just nursing your baby! This thing literally went everywhere with me, acting as a pillow, a prop for my arms when baby got heavy and an actual pillow for me at one point when a midnight feeding got the best of me.
A baby bouncer is great and all, but baby bean bags are the way to go in the beginning weeks (in my opinion). They are so soft and my son still sits in his sometimes (and he’s 1).
Breastfeeding was hard for us in the beginning, my son wouldn’t latch. The 4th or 5th day in the hospital (I can’t remember, the first week in the hospital was such a blur for me, recovering from a c-section and caring for our son), we finally got him to latch using a nipple shield. The ones I liked most were the Medela brand.