On Being a New Parent: Truths and Myths

by Nicole on October 17, 2013

In 3 days I’ll have been a mom for a whole year. I think this means I can stop using #newmom?

Where does the time go? I’m amazed every day at how much babies grow and advance in a year. It’s HUGE. I mean, you probably know this, but I don’t think you truly realize it until you go through the year with your own baby.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what the past year has taught me and what people told me and didn’t tell me about parenthood. What was actually true (for me) about being a mom and what wasn’t.

So to dispell any myths and talk about any truths….here we go. (Obviously, this was true for us, your family may be different!

The first thing: sleep before the baby comes because you’ll never sleep again. First of all, I HATED hearing this. I was prepared to not sleep with a newborn and it wasn’t so bad. Turns out they sleep A LOT. Even without having the best sleeper, we sleep trained and guess what….we get sleep! Liv sleeps from 7:30-7 (ish). I sleep from 9:30-6 generally. Plus, now that we sleep, we don’t even remember the days/weeks on end when we didn’t sleep through the night.

Enjoy every second because it goes too fast. This is the understatement of the year. They are not tiny for very long. When you’re in the trenches of newborn-ness and your baby isn’t napping it feels like forever, but really it’s a blink.

Don’t compare your baby. Your baby has no clue about a timeline or what the next baby’s doing. Don’t worry about when they roll, sit up, crawl and walk, etc. I did this a lot with sleep. Liv didn’t sleep through the night until we sleep trained. Also, Liv didn’t roll until what seemed like late, then she crawled at 7 months and she’s just about to walk. Don’t even give it a second thought about the milestones, they will come. (Of course, talk to your pediatrician if you have any true concerns.)

Teething sucks. You’ll get a little teething gremlin occasionally. No one told me teething can be ROUGH. And guess what, 16 of those suckers need to cut through.

The beginning can be boring and isolating. Life with a 1 year old is on the go. She’s moving and I’m moving. In the beginning there’s a lot of sitting and sleeping. Try to make mom friends and hang out. Find things to do. Suddenly a trip to CVS is FUN!

Tell your husband how he can help/communicate with him. Whether you stay home all day with your baby for maternity leave or long term, when your husband gets home from work let him know how he can help out. Do you need him to change/feed/play with your baby? Do you need a break? Sometimes it can be hard to ask for help, but we all need it. AND you need a break, so make sure your husband knows what he can do to help out. They’re not mind readers.

It’s normal to hate your husband a little bit after you have your baby. Enough said? It goes away I promise, but it’s a totally normal feeling to have. Obviously you don’t really hate them, you love them under the hate, but it’s a legitimate feeling and don’t be worried by it. Sometimes it feels glamorous that they get to go to work and talk to adults…and like, get a coffee if they want one (without a diaper bag, stroller, diaper change, outfit change, burp ¬†cloth, etc). If you’re lucky enough to have a husband like mine, then he’d rather be home than at work but he goes (and does a great job) to support our family.

You’ll be so busy, you’ll forget to eat. Um…never happened to me. I did have days where I’d be feeding Liv and starving…and thinking about eating but had to wait an hour to so…but I never forgot. I also had meals (and still do) where I’m eating while following Liv around or on the counter.

Get on a schedule. Schedules worked best for us. They’re not set in stone and they’re not by the clock. Pay attention to awake time and you’ll be golden. So for example, instead of thinking your baby will nap at 9,12 and 3…they’ll be awake for 1.5 hours and then need a nap. (Just making this up, refer to chart for actual help.) This finally changes around 9-10 months. Now we nap at 9 & 2:30 generally. I say generally, because if her first nap is long, then sometimes she’ll wait until 3 to nap and guess what, sometimes she won’t take a second nap. (We’ll be in this 1-2 nap transition for awhile I’d imagine.)

Eat, play, sleep. Your baby MUST EAT, PLAY, SLEEP!!! Just kidding. I was so worried when my baby did: eat, sleep, play. Sometimes she’d even eat, play, eat, sleep. What was I doing wrong??? NOTHING. And it doesn’t matter. Do whatever works for you guys. Olivia doesn’t need a bottle to sleep and hasn’t since we sleep trained…which brings me to my next point…

Survival! For the first couple of months you’re just trying to get by and keep your baby happy and growing. Whatever you do to get there doesn’t matter. Maybe this s bad advice, but we did whatever we had to for the first 3-4 months and we dealt with it later. Swing, pacifier, rock n’play, feeding baby to sleep, bringing baby to bed to sleep, rocking to sleep, letting baby sleep on you, are all things considered to be creating “habits”. Well at 12 months we haven’t done any of those things for months and we are doing just fine. (P.S. if Liv would ever let me rock her to sleep or take a snooze with her, I would love to occasionally….girl loves her alone time and her crib, so this doesn’t ever happen.)

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I would LOVE to hear your advice and what was true for you. What did you figure out after the first year? Did any of these things ring true for you too?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

MIZCarla October 17, 2013 at 7:50 am

all all all of it and with a nonapper and COLICKY babygirl I second the loneliness.

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Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family October 17, 2013 at 8:15 am

I love this! Such a great post. It’s funny because now that I am about to have baby #2 I have to remind myself these things because you truly forget the newborn stage fast.

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Presley @ Run Pretty October 17, 2013 at 8:24 am

CVS really is fun.

& the whole “spoiling” your baby is such BS. We did all the things you did like rocking him all the way to sleep, feeding him to sleep, co-sleeping, etc. Yeah, he sucked at sleep for a while (hence the need to do those things), but he sleeps just fine now. Now he’d definitely rather be in the crib than be held or sleep with us. That’s kind of sad, because sometimes I DO want to cuddle! So, yep, I agree with you totally! haha Obviously, since I basically just retyped your whole post…

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Michelle October 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm

All of this is soooo true.

I will add — that the things I was SO concerned about the first year (or two) were very, very trivial as my babies got older. I’m sure this will be the case when my 7-year old is 14 as well. Lol. It’s so easy to get caught up on doing everything “right.”

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misszippy October 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Great post that brought back some long ago memories! I do think there are lots of alarmists out there who love to dole out the doom to new parents. Yes, it’s hard but the payback trumps all. You’ve learned a lot in one year!

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Caitlin October 17, 2013 at 2:41 pm

oh my lovely adorable liv. keep the pics coming! i think that the only thing that one can call a “rule” is to LOVE and i know that you do plenty of that for livvy. parenting seems to me (i have no direct experience!) to be a lot like the world of healthy eating and fitness…no one formula works for everyone. rules can often do more harm than good. you can’t see things in black and white. i could go on and on with similarities but love for yourself and your baby is definitely #1 or so it seems to me and so it seems that you practice each day with your darling!

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Sarah @RunFarGirl October 17, 2013 at 3:29 pm

I love this because it is so true and the thing is every baby is different! And the time does fly. In someways I wished away this year because I wanted the hard parts of it to be over, but I’ll never get that baby-Jack back. He’s turning into a little boy now!

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kc putterman October 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm

All of this is SO TRUE! great myth busters! and every baby is on their own schedule i have learned… hmm what else? I def agree that you forget about being up all night (and Sydney was a good sleeper) and they do sleep alot. Teething sucks! but def moms groups are the key to survival. i dont know what i would do without my mom friends and our playgroups!

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Sara October 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Wonderful post! All of this true and it frustrates me when new Moms and veteran moms and soon to be moms forget that everyone is different and we do what works for us. We aren’t bad parents because we choose to do things differently or are having different experiences! One thing that worked for us was having lots of family and friends around and that wanted to help and letting them help out from early on. It was nice to be able to go out and see a movie together or even go grocery shopping alone sometimes. I was told I might feel too attached or scared to leave our baby with anyone, but family and friends did a wonderful job and I think our daughter is more friendly and social now because she got to spend time with others without us. Plus we had time to breathe and regroup when feeling lonely or frustrated. Sometimes an hour apart from your baby or an hour alone with your husband makes a world of difference!

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Xanthe October 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I really love this post. My children are 6 & 4 now so it doesn’t apply to me but I just spent the weekend with my nephew (3 weeks) and spent a lot if time chatting to my sister in law about the challenges of parenting. My biggest bit of advice was similar to your point about survival. I firmly believe in spending the first 4 months doing what you have to so that you can bond with your baby and love them. And that means you need to both get sleep and not be crying all day. I have the same ideas about routines. My kids had routines but it is much more about patterns throughout the day rather than time schedules. This post will be invaluable to any new parent I’m sure! Well done!! X

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