These next few months will become a major learning process, from teaching your baby latching techniques to figuring out how to change a diaper without gagging every time. Nothing will be easy, and you'll make plenty of mistakes, but that's what becoming a mom is all about. Just remember to take a deep breath every now and then, because before you know it, your tyke will be all grown up.
1. Discover What It Means to Get Zero Sleep
The baby doesn't operate on your schedule as much as you want it to. No matter what you do, your little one will probably choose the most obscure times of the day to take naps and go to sleep. Sure, the baby will go to bed at night, but how long will he/she actually stay asleep?
2. Learn That Poop Will Always Suck
Poop is never cute, even if it's your baby's. And oh there will be poop... everywhere. Don't worry though, it's OK to cry about it. Just know that you're not the only one going through this torture.
3. Become Closer to Your Significant Other Than Ever Before
You guys are a team. You always have been since the day you both said "I do," but now you're working together to take care of your little bundle of joy. Taking shifts to get the baby when he/she wakes up? Playing a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who gets to change the diaper next? Have fun with it!
4. Have Sore Breasts All the Time
It's safe to say that though feeding time is fun for the baby, it's probably not always great for you, especially at the beginning. When your baby is learning to latch for the first time, you might experience sore nipples from improper techniques. However, if the pain persists, definitely make sure to consult your healthcare provider.
5. Trust the Baby with No One
The hardest part about raising your baby is trusting him/her with someone else, even if it's with your own parents, siblings or close friends. And these are the people you would usually trust otherwise! But that's understandable. After all, you don't want anything to happen to your precious baby.
6. Embrace the Few Minutes or Hours to Yourself
Is the baby napping? Well if you're not napping too (though that would be advised) use that time to relax and do something enjoyable for yourself. Stop fretting about errands you have to run or random things you might have to do for the baby. It'll all be OK! Read a good book, catch up on that Netflix show, or try meditating! Whatever you do, release all that stress.
7. Test Your Patience
As much as you love your son or daughter, it's totally normal to feel the urge to just lose it. Raising this kid will require a lot and he/she will need your constant attention even when you want to be alone. Take a step back. Inhale. Exhale.
8. Have Arguments with Other Mothers
No mother is perfect, but there are probably some moms out there who think they're doing the whole parenting thing better than you are. Helpful advice, even constructive criticism is fine, but if they're telling you that what you're doing is wrong, it's OK to ignore them. Everyone learns to be a parent in their own way and discovers how to raise their child so that it feels right to them. Everyone is different.
9. Know It's OK to Not Be In Control All the Time
Feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? Don't panic. Let loose a little. Being a mom is a tough but rewarding job, and just know that not everything will go your way. That's just part of the process.
10. Have Many Disputes with Your S/O
Sure, you'll both have your good moments (teamwork remember?) but with the stress of parenting, you're bound to bicker with your hubby. But you'll laugh it off later. Things will be said and there might be some tears, but you'll work through it together as you have with everything else pre-baby life. You are strong.
11. Lose All Sense of Time
Wait... when did your baby become six months old?! Lawd.
12. Become a Complete Recluse
Although it's likely that many of your friends are also having babies of their own, don't feel guilty for not being able to spend time with any of your gals during these first six months. Becoming a hermit because you want to take the best care of your baby totally makes sense during this part of your life. They'll understand.
13. Realize Your Body's Not What It Used to Be
Even the fittest mothers will experience drastic changes to their bodies, stretch marks and weight glain included. However, don't be ashamed and embrace how beautiful your post-baby body is! You just gave life! That is something to be so proud of.
14. Frustration with Your Adorable Baby Is Inevitable
They're so cute, you just want to squeeze their cheeks! Until you don't want to squeeze their cheeks and they're not cute because they're driving you crazy.
15. Fall Asleep On the Nursery Room Floor
At some point, you might be so tired from tending to your waking baby all day and night that when you go to their room you'll just lie down on the floor and PTFO. Accidentally fell asleep while patting the baby's back to get them to sleep? Casual.
16. Freak Out About All the Potentially Harmful Things Out There
Is this baby food safe? What allergies does the baby have? Am I doing this right? These are probably a few of the many things you'll worry about when taking care of your baby.
17. Talk to All Your Mommy Friends
When you do have the opportunity to sit down with your girl friends, there's no shame in asking for as much advice as possible from your more experienced mommy friends. They'll want to help you because after all, they've been in your shoes as well and might still be going through it!
18. Laugh a Little
Whether it's a running-on-absolute-no-sleep laugh or a what-did-I-get-myself-into laugh, laughter of any kind is the best medicine. Sometimes you just need to throw your head back and acknowledge the humor in it all. Sure, your initial reaction to all the poop might far from amused, but you'll probably laugh about it later.
19. Have Tantrums of Your Own
Sometimes mama just needs to scream and shout a little. Get it out, girl!
20. Learn You're Not Perfect & Will Make Mistakes
No one is perfect. We've all heard that for decades and it's still true; that also applies to parenting. Be the best mom you can be and that's all that matters. You won't be able to get everything right and you'll probably experience many hiccups along the way, but that's just mom life for ya.
21. Lose Your Fear of Breastfeeding In Public
Revealing your breasts in public was probably something you associated with that one time on Mardi Gras, or not at all, but whatever the case, it's something many women might feel uncomfortable with when they first start breastfeeding. But when baby's hungry, baby's hungry. Thankfully however, nursing covers will become a lifesaver.
22. Cry... Cry a Lot
It's totally OK to cry and it'll happen... a lot. The stress of raising a child will get you down from time to time so don't feel like you have to hold back those tears. In fact, it's probably better if you just let it all out.
23. Accept That Losing the Weight Will Take Time
Even if you've come to terms with your (once again) beautiful post-baby body, it's normal for many women to want to get back into shape. That's 100 percent normal, but learn to accept that your baby weight won't just come off with the snap of your fingers. And since you'll be busy with your baby non-stop once he/she is born, it'll be that much more difficult to find time to work out. Losing the weight is possible, but don't be discouraged if you don't see immediate results.
24. Come to Understand the Expenses
Oh, the money. Having a baby will burn a whole in your pocket, that's for sure, especially with the nursery room furniture, baby food, breast pumps, diapers and the like. Your financial situation might be tough but keep your chin up.
25. Turn Down Date Nights or Social Gatherings
Flaked on your friends who haven't seen you in months? Though you should definitely take some nights out with your hubby and other loved ones, it's OK to turn things down on occasion. There's nothing wrong with putting on some sweatpants, sipping a glass of wine, and just vegging out with your husband.
26. Experience a Complete Mood Change with Your Baby's Happiness
Sometimes you might feel like pulling your hair out, but with one smile or laugh, your baby can turn your whole day around.
27. Prepare for a Crazy Schedule
There's really no telling when your baby will want to go down for naps, when they'll be hungry and the like. Some people are able to figure out a routine, but be prepared for the unexpected. If spontaneity wasn't your thing before having a child, it certainly is now.
28. There's No Need to Worry About Your Appearance
Throwing your hair up and sporting those mom jeans? You do you! You're taking care of a baby for crying out loud, so don't let people judge you for how you rock your pajama pants out to the grocery store. Haters gona hate... but they probably won't, because they're moms too and will completely understand.
29. Find Out How Awesome Baby Baths Are
From the bubbles to the rubber ducks, bath time is fun for everyone!
30. Learn to Deal with Any & All Bodily Fluids
Yeah... you thought the poop was bad. It's probably the worst, but there will be spittle and baby vomit. Oh and don't forget the pee, which will be quite interesting to deal with if you have a boy. While it might not be a pretty sight, you'll get used to it eventually. Hopefully.
31. Cope with the Messes
Aside from whatever might come out of the baby (TMI?), you'll also have to deal with other messes. Your kitchen might become a food war zone, so be warned. Those Bounty paper towel commercials aren't looking so silly now are they?!
32. Become Attached to the Baby Monitor Like It's Your Phone
The baby monitors are a godsend when it comes to letting you know when your baby needs you whether during the day or at night.
33. Realize How Much You Took Sleep for Granted
Remember those all-nighters you used to pull at college? Or what about those times you stayed up late for absolutely no reason whatsoever, excluding the fact that you just wanted to binge-watch one of your favorite shows? Yeah, that's nothing compared to what you're dealing with now as a new mama.
34. Feel That Natural Instinct
Now that you're with child, you'll notice that you've become like a mother lion protecting her cub. The maternal bond you form with your baby is so strong, which is probably why you'll always be in panic mode whenever you have to leave your child with a babysitter or loved one. Not being by your child's side is completely nerve-wracking to say the least and separation anxiety is a real thing!
35. Secretly Enjoy the Baby Food
So, you ate the mushy baby food and you secretly liked it. Don't feel bad about it. It couldn't be that horrible if we're feeding it to our kids... right? #notashamed
36. Eat Whatever the Hell You Want
Just preparing your baby's food on top of all the other chores you have to do is stressful enough. But you have to keep your energy up and feed yourself too?! Sometimes it feels like there's not enough time to do everything you want to, like cooking up a well-balanced meal every day. Did you eat a bowl of ice cream for dinner? Oh well!
37. Accept Help From Friends & Family Even If You Don't Want It
Taking advice from others can be difficult, especially if you're an independent type who wants to learn everything on your own. You might not want to admit that you need help or bombard your friends and family with all the questions you have, but you'll regret it if you don't. Everyone needs a little guidance.
38. Complain a Lot
Tired of the smelly diapers? Tired of the baby crying? Are you just tired in general? No one will blame you for complaining here and there. Being a mom isn't easy, and if anyone tells you otherwise, you can complain about them too.
39. Adore All the Adorable Baby Clothes
Baby onesies are the best and you'll likely want to buy every baby outfit you see when you go shopping. Just don't go too crazy spending money on clothes, as adorable as that teddybear onesie might be. Besides, babies grow pretty quickly.
40. Remember to Prioritize
Don't concern yourself with the little things like whether or not you should clean up before you have guests over for the first time since the baby's birth, or if you need to shower today. OK, showering is important, but it's not as important as caring for your baby. Don't sweat the small stuff.
What experiences did you have during the first six months of parenting? Tweet us @wewomenUSA!
This article was written by Emma Goddard. Follow her on Twitter @egoddardhokie.
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