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10 Things I Wish I’d Known before I Had my Baby

PregnantWoman_Reading_400Instead of spending eight months making a birth plan, I should’ve spent eight months reading books on how to take care of a newborn. Birth plans rarely work out, but babies are sure to come.

Birthing classes are not for everyone.
I had to leave the class early. I was devastated from the birthing videos. I sobbed and told my husband, “I can’t do that. I don’t know what we’re going to do because I seriously can’t and won’t do that.”

When people tell you that you need to “Ferberize” your baby and let him cry it out
in his crib… well, if it goes against your grain, as it did mine, and makes you rip your hair out, then pick your baby up and hold him. I sang my son to sleep every night.

On co-sleeping: If your toddler wants to sleep with you and it’s all right with you and your husband, I say go for it. If he or she still wants to sleep with you at age 16, then you have a problem, but children are precious, and I don’t think you can nurture too much.

If your friends don’t like babies, you probably need to find some new friends.
Pronto.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or sad or generally freaked out, it’s because there’s a new human being in your life, and you are totally responsible for him, for his every need. You should be freaked out. (I asked my doctor for more Percocet. He said, “No. That’s not going to help.”) Don’t be embarrassed to find a counselor if you need one.

Find a mommy-and-me group. Nine years later, two of these moms are two of my dearest friends.

Purchase, read, and reread The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D. This became our baby bible. The 5 S System works! My husband and I would flip through this thing at 3 a.m. trying to figure out which ‘S’ we hadn’t tried yet: Swaddling? Swinging? Sucking? Shushing? Side position?

Don’t be a competitive parent. If your child isn’t talking, walking, or eating solid food at the exact same time as his peers, it’s okay. All babies are different.

You can never love your child too much.
Maternal and paternal instincts exist for a reason. Go with your gut. Don’t sweat what your parents or in-laws or friends think. This is your child. You know what you’re doing, and if you don’t, get one of Harvey Karp’s books.

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