My husband and I tried as best as we knew how to prepare our house and our minds for our baby before she was born. We took a breastfeeding class and a birth class, Eric took a fathers' class, we took a hospital tour, and I read countless blogs and birth stories in hopes it would help me achieve my goal of an un-medicated birth.
We thought we were prepared. But then she came, and we realized just how little we knew!
There are three things I wish I had known before I had a baby:
- The baby blues are common, normal and very real.
- Sleep tricks and patterns.
- Basic understanding of health and sickness.
First, I was hit with the baby blues, postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression (a mighty combination!) about a week after Rooney was born. It was a very difficult time for me in my life and marriage. I had no idea that the baby blues were so common before I experienced them myself. I wish I had known early signs to recognize the blues, and also ways ward them off.
Second, sleep is a very important part of a baby's first year. As parents, we are responsible for teaching our daughter how to sleep and when to sleep. What are common sleep signs? How does sleep work? What should be expected for daytime sleep and nighttime sleep? Luckily, I was able to borrow a book about sleep from my sister in the first few weeks, which helped us immensely. Our daughter was sleeping through the night (9 consecutive hours) at 7 weeks, which is amazing, but prior to that, it was quite stressful. Sleep deprivation can really effect the way you feel and act.
Lastly, before I was a mom, I didn't have a working knowledge of common illnesses for children or what to do when a baby has a fever. It has only happened once for our daughter, but I had no idea what to do when the thermometer showed a temperature of 100.4, or what to do when later that day it read 103.4. How high is too high? Does it go up at night or down? Can I put her to bed with such a high fever? Having a sick baby can be a scary time, and I'd rather not add to it finding time to research when to take them to the doctor or chiropractor, or when to administer medicine. I was actually surprised to learn that fevers are a natural reaction to an infection, and at times, it can be best to let your child fight it off on their own without acetaminophen.
P.S. My tip? Choose a pediatrician close to your house, because you will be there a lot in the first months! Rooney went to the doctor at least once a week for the first four weeks.