This past Saturday we celebrated Olivia’s 12 week birthday! By celebrate I mean we just cheered a little…although we did take her for her first trip to NYC and a housewarming in Astoria! She was perfectly behaved and just hung out the entire time. With her 12 week birthday, comes me being a mom for 12 weeks (although I guess I was a mom from when I got pregnant…but a mom to an actual baby on the outside!)
I can’t believe it’s been 12 weeks. Dare I say labor and delivery seems like a distant memory and I can barely remember how tiny my baby once was. Danny and I look at pictures and can’t believe how much she’s grown in 12 short (or long?!) weeks. Nothing can really prepare you for being a mom (or a parent) until that baby is actually in your arms. You can read and read and read, but every baby is different and you just have to figure out what works for you and your baby. I think Danny and I are doing a pretty good job over here. We certainly don’t know everything, but we do know how to love and care for Liv. (I DO wish we had the secret to sleeping though!)
What have I figured out in 12 weeks of being a mom:
1. I remember everyone telling me that I “just had to get through the first 6 weeks” and that the beginning was the hardest, but for me I disagree. The first 6 weeks were not bad at all. I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t know why everyone says it’s so hard. I EXPECTED to be tired at the beginning and to be up all the time. And I think we actually slept better the first 6 weeks than we are right now. I think the past 4 weeks have been WAY harder than the first 6. (Note: I did not have PPD and also did not have hormonal extremes, if you are feeling like you are drowning, then please talk with your doctor!)
2. Don’t let your baby get overtired. Olivia is actually a REALLY good baby and typically (note: typically) only cries when she’s hungry or tired. She (so far) isn’t a crier for no reason and thank goodness. I can count on one hand the amount of times she has cried when she hasn’t been hungry. Usually her cries come from her getting overtired. I usually am on top of that by making sure she doesn’t stay up for longer than 2 hours. That seems to be her max (and from what I’ve read, it’s most baby’s max at this age.) Sometimes she’ll end up getting overtired because she just can’t fall asleep no matter how much rocking I do. At the beginning we would wake her up or keep her up for company. This is okay for the first two weeks when they are tiny newborns…but after that DON’T do it. It will just back fire and create an angry, overtired baby.
3. Having a sick baby SUCKS. Liv and I were BOTH sick, which meant I didn’t want to take her out of the house (except for walks, but most of the week it was too cold). Talk about CABIN fever…and about a million text messages to everyone I know. Last week was HARD.
4. There are no magic (metaphorical) sleeping pills. Olivia’s sleep hasn’t been too stellar. She’ll sleep from anywhere from 6-10, then wake up again at 2 and then close to 5 and then 7 for the day. Friday night she slept really well and Saturday she slept pretty good. Last night she was up literally every time we put her down which is SO unlike her because girl likes her independence. My friend Ashley and I were talking about how no one tells you is that there is ALWAYS something. You think you have a great sleep schedule down (and yes my “great” sleep schedule involves 2 wake ups…a great improvement from 4 wake ups) and then BAM it’s a “growth spurt” or “wonder week” or a combo. It’s always something! Obviously the good ridiculously outweighs the tough parts and you actually just want your baby to sleep because you know they need it (and obviously you too).
We tried the dreamfeed for over 2 weeks. It did not work for us. We tweaked it, tried different times, everything but we decided it messed up her sleep cycles. Now sometimes she’ll get up at 9, 10 or even 12:30 and we’re just following her lead for now.
5. Every baby is different and don’t compare your baby with the other person’s baby (not literally) next to you. Don’t worry about who’s baby is sleeping or not sleeping…because like I said, it changes in a FLASH.
6. I’ve said this a million times and I’ll say it again: find mom friends. And I’m not talking about mom friends with 2 year olds…mom friends in the thick of it. When you have a two year old you don’t remember how you didn’t sleep for a bajillion months. You need people you can email, text, tweet, and call to just VENT, say help, and just swap stories from the trenches. Also if you’re on twitter look up #zombiemoms. (Note: Not to discount mom friends with kids of any age…all friends and mom friends are great but I have found the ones with the best advice are the ones who have young babies!)
7. The good days and moments FAR out weigh the tough ones. When you’ve having a tough day or tough moment just remember that it will pass. I will (knock on huge pieces of wood here when I ) say there is rarely two tough days in a row. (Unless you’re in a growth spurt…then give it 2-3 days…) Being a mom is ridiculously awesome and having your baby look at you and turn towards your voice are basically the coolest things ever.
8. There are growth spurts & wonder weeks. I had no clue. Look it up so you can be aware. It’s basically like your perfect baby is taking over by a hungry gremlin…just kidding…sort of. They will be extra hungry, moody and not the best sleepers (at least in my case.) And they’ll want extra cuddles…but that’s the great part.
9. You will celebrate everything and say OMG about a million times a day…and you should. You also will take 500 pictures in a week and send them to everyone you know. Your heart will melt at every smile, laugh and “talk”.
10. Trust your gut and your instincts because they are basically always right. And if you still doubt yourself get your peditrician’s email and text every friend you know.
[Edited to add: I thought of one more very important thing....]
11. Make time for yourself! I try to go out by myself once a week. It doesn’t seem like much, but as a SAHM it rejuvinates me for the week ahead. Sometimes Danny literally has to push me out the door, but I’m always so glad when I get out alone. Remember you do have an identity beyond [insert baby's name here]‘s mom. Also try to do one thing for yourself everyday. I have to admit 95% of the time this is easy with only one young baby who still sleeps a lot. Whether it’s a coffee or a workout, just take 5-30 minutes to sit down and breathe! It works wonders! And it can always be done during nap time. The dishes can get done later…but you taking a mental break needs to happen NOW! (Also I will NOT count showering as my “me” time during the week. My showers are usually 1.5 minutes and done either talking through the shower doors to Olivia or staring at the video monitor praying she doesn’t wake up crying. )
I can honestly say I don’t know how single parents do it. I rely on Danny so much and he does on me. We are a team and figure things out together. I give so much credit to all those out there that have to do this alone.
I will do a complete update on Olivia Sunday or Monday for Liv’s 3 month birthday! Where does the time go? So fast, yet I feel like she’s been here forever.
If you’re a mom…any advice? What’s the best or most important thing you’ve learned?