Dear Mom of a Newborn,
Congratulations! You did it! You gave birth to a beautiful son or daughter! Now the question is: who does the baby look like? You might not know yet, but what you do know is, you could stare at that little chubby face for hours, and you can’t quite bring yourself to put that precious little person down.
Maybe it’s been a few days or weeks since the big day, and the combination of hormones and sleep deprivation have started taking a toll. Everyone told you to enjoy your sleep while you could, but…you didn’t take them seriously. While you were pregnant, you woke up throughout the night and early in the morning, having a baby couldn’t be much worse. You could handle it.
After your first night with your little bundle of joy, you might have been kicking yourself. Waking up with a baby isn’t a matter of just emptying your bladder or finding a more comfortable position. Waking up with a baby means a diaper change, feeding, and burping. If your baby’s a slow eater, it could be a 40 minute process—every two to three hours. Which means you might get an hour or two in which you can sleep before you start the process all over again.
Nights are so very long. Because they’re so long, even though you are exhausted, you sometimes dread going to sleep because you know you will be awake in a couple of hours. You feel like a toddler who fights bedtime.
The days can be long too. All alone with your little guy or girl. All alone to handle the leaky diapers, multiple outfit changes per day because of the leaky diapers, and screams that make you feel inadequate, from a baby who’s already been fed, burped, and changed. And if your new arrival is a boy…you might have been a target during a diaper change.
You’re in survival mode. Exhaustion, coupled with new responsibilities, has stretched you thin. You’re so anxious for this phase to be over. Everyone told you time goes so quickly and that babies grow so quickly, but this feels like it’s lasting forever.
Dear Mom of a Newborn, just like they were right about the lack of sleep, they are right about time going quickly. Fully take in the moments with your napping baby who still likes to be cradled. I know you’re more tired than you’ve been in your life, but treasure the time you get to spend holding and feeding your little one—even in the middle of the night. Enjoy getting to try on all of the tiny outfits while they still fit.
Before you know it, your newborn won’t be a newborn anymore. Yes, you’ll get more sleep, but suddenly your baby won’t want to be cradled, you’ll be putting away those newborn size clothes and replacing them with size 3 Months. Despite the fact that you love seeing your son or daughter grow and develop, and you love seeing those smiles that melt your heart, your heart will ache a little because your baby will never be as tiny as he or she was just a few weeks ago.
Drink some coffee. Take a nap when your baby naps. Try not to feel too guilty for leaving dishes in the sink or letting laundry pile up. Whatever you do, treasure these days, take in every moment, because they were right, time goes by so very quickly.