In honor of my cousin Brandie preparing for her 1st baby due in just a few weeks (YAY!!!), here is a list of things I have learned since becoming a mother:
1) Toys are not needed--your baby will prefer keys, cell phones, the remote, pots, pans, spoons, cooking/kitchen utensils. Save your money :)
2) Because you will be given lots of toys and all toys now require batteries--STOCK UP--yep, buy these in bulk and while you are at it--just buy stock in Duracell or Energizer or whatever brand you prefer (Dollar Store batteries work fine and are CHEAP!)
3) Put extra clothes for you in the diaper bag as well. You'll figure out why. And always check the bag before you leave. I can't tell you how many times I forgot that I used the extra outfits or left the wipes somewhere
4) You will be asked stupid or very personal questions--be prepared to be asked about breastfeeding, your labor, sex (yes, some people do ask), poop (yours and theirs....)....and so on. Plus someone will refer to your baby as "She" even if he's dressed in all blue and something very boyish (thinking sports or construction). Or vice versa--wearing all pink and in a dress with a bow, someone will say "He" (Don't laugh, I was referred to as a boy while wearing all pink--who cares that I was 10 at the time......)
5)Don't forget to eat and drink. Think this will be obvious? Yeah, not so. You will find yourself wrapped up in what your baby needs and will forget about you.
6) On that same note--take time for you daily to shower. Take the bouncy seat or whatever into the bathroom and just shower. Your baby will love the sound of the water. If they don't, do this while they nap or why the husband helps out.
7) And on that same note--accept help. Don't feel like "This is MY baby and I can do it all". Yep--did that and it's tough. Allow anyone you trust(key phrase there--don't just accept help from total strangers) to help, even if they simply offer to clean your kitchen or run your errands.
8) Be prepared to feel overwhelmed with love and cry because of how happy you are. This is not always a sign of postpartum depression--if you are like me, you'll cry over everything, especially things that make you think about your beautiful baby. This could be commercials, seeing a toddler hug his mother, a song.....
9) Don't rush to every sound when they are sleeping. Babies are very loud sleepers so expect to hear grunts, groans, murmurs....
10) Don't let people scare you. You will hear horror stories. Ignore these, cover your ears and say LALALALALA if you have to. Tune out, go to your happy place, PLEASE. I don't know why people feel the need to do this to new moms???
11) Accept handmedowns. If you feel like your baby should only have new clothes, be prepared to be in shock at how much something so small can cost--especially the shoes. ($50 for baby shoes--not kidding)
12) Go to 2nd hand stores/yard sales for this stuff if you can't get handmedowns! You can find great stuff
13) Forget reading all the sleep help books--your baby hasn't read these so they don't know what they are supposed to do. It may not be easy (or it may be super easy depending on your baby) so you will figure what works for them. I PROMISE--these books will make you crazy. Although if you do choose to ignore this--read "No Cry Sleep Solution"--it's the lesser of many evils
14) Join a mom's group or stroller group--you'll love the adult interaction and the chance to talk about your new baby! They can be a great source of information!
I could write all day, but I will end with this:
15) You will wonder how you ever went through life without a child. You will be amazed at how strong you can feel and expect to fall in love with your husband all over again when you see them snuggling up with him. You will see your parents in a whole new light as well. It's an amazing, beautiful and challenging time in your life. Congratulations!