Things motherhood has taught me in the first month

  1. I will always be interrupted in any non-child-related activity I happen to start, so I’d better get used to it. I’ve been crocheting a hat for my mother in five-minute increments. It’s coming along, albeit a lot more slowly than it would have pre-baby. I also acknowledge that I probably won’t finish this blog post today. But it’s ok, because that’s what drafts are for.
  2. When they say “breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful”, pain is a relative concept. They’re probably comparing it with childbirth.
  3. Seriously though, breastfeeding shouldn’t be that painful, and any pain should pass within a minute, or you should consult a midwife.
  4. Sometimes all my baby needs is to scream a bit in our arms in a dark room with no other noise than us murmuring reassurances to her.
  5. Likewise, it’s not the end of the world if she cries on her own for a few minutes while you warm a bottle or finish using the loo. In fact, parents like me who (initially) wanted to avoid her crying altogether, are in fact preventing their children from expressing themselves the only way they know how, and learning to self-soothe (so said my doctor after we both nearly had a mental breakdown because I couldn’t stand to let her cry). I’m still against letting babies “cry it out”, but that’s not the same as never letting them cry at all.
  6. There will probably always be something wrong with her, for the first year or so at least. First it was jaundice, and we couldn’t keep her temperature up long enough to bathe her. Then the colick started, or so we thought, only it was just me having too much milk and her eating too much. Once that was dealt with, she woke up with conjunctivitis on the day we were going to a family reunion with my in-laws. That lasted a couple of days, and in that time the REAL colick has started, and now the conjunctivitis is gone, but she has a rash on her face that looks a lot like an allergic reaction, so now I’m giving up dairy to see if that helps. She turned one month old two days ago…
  7. Replying to calls, texts, facebook messages and knocks on the door, can wait, and is no longer even mandatory. “I was feeding/changing/bathing the kid” is the ultimate excuse to be rude and unsociable, because most of the time, it’s true.
  8. There are good days and bad days, and the bad days might seem really bad at the time but they’re usually followed by a good day. This is because how good or bad a day is is directly proportional to how much sleep we got the night before, and she has to sleep sometime.
  9. She doesn’t have to cry to wake us up. My baby grunts and snuffles in her sleep.
  10. I have levelled up in multitasking. I can pump milk (with an electric pump and an old bra I cut up to hold it in place), crochet, and watch videos while cradling my sleeping baby in my crossed legs (preferably covered with a duvet so it’s softer). Of course, this only works as long as she’s sleeping soundly.
  11. You can totally interact with newborns. Mine started cooing (making noises other than crying and farting) two weeks ago. Her expressions are so funny I’m seriously considering starting an instagram (I don’t have one for myself), and a week ago, she started smiling real smiles. The interaction does make up for lack of sleep.
  12. And finally…
    Much as the people around us love and care about my daughter, nobody’s quite as crazy about her as me.
    To illustrate: when my first sister was born (I was eight), my parents made a home video of her staring into the camera, flailing her tiny fists a bit, and just basically being a newborn baby. This scene lasted at least fifteen minutes, followed by maybe 3 minutes of me shouting “MUMMY MUMMY LOOK AT ME!!!” and basically being an annoying little brat. Both my parents do acknowledge that they may have been somewhat neglectful of me back then, assuming that eight was old enough to understand without being told that babies need a lot of attention. And though I joke about it as an adult, I never did understand how my parents could spend fifteen minutes filming her at less than a month old, and very little time filming me, who, though admittedly very annoying, had to be more interesting than a newborn baby simply by being older.
    Now I get it.
    I have, in fact, made several videos of my darling baby girl squinting into the camera and sucking on her fists, because to me, she’s the most adorable thing in the world, and sad as it is, I doubt she’ll be quite as kawaii at eight years old as she is now.
    Conclusion: Maternal instict exists, people, and it turns you into a babbling idiot.
  13. BONUS: sometimes, you CAN finish a blog post in one go. 😀
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