I don’t necessarily think I’ve earned my OG-Mom badge yet, but I’m also happy to say that this is no longer my first rodeo! Being a second time mom is surreal, because you’ve been here before but it’s still all new again. But the beauty of the second time is that you’re way less scared. The little things that freaked you out the first time seem like child’s play, and you just feel more confident. I’m so thankful for that confidence, because momming is scary enough in and of itself. So! For you first time moms, here are a few things that you can take off your list of scary things.
Breaking the Baby With Hanky, I didn’t know how to hold the poor kid. He seemed so tiny and fragile and I was so uncomfortable handling him for the first few weeks. After he got a little more sturdy I felt so much more comfortable, like I wouldn’t break him if I held him wrong. But when Maggie came along, I realized that babies are much resilient and strong than we give them credit for. (Just watch the nurses in the hospital while they’re tossing your kid around like a softball if you need reassuring.)
The Belly Button Ah, the belly button stump. So weird. So gross. So in-the-way for the first week or two. Don’t be scared of it. It’ll either be there or not. Maybe it gets knocked around a little bit, but the kid will be fine. Keep an eye on it for signs of infection, keep it dry, and you’re good. Side note: when Hank lost his we didn’t know where it went and it showed up in one of my socks a week later. NOT OKAY.
Spitup My kids are spitters, y’all. It’s unfortunate but true. Hank was a little dribbler and Maggie just barfs all over me all the time. I do laundry more often than I care to mention. But initially with Baby #1, I was so freaked any time he would spit up. I thought it meant that something was dramatically wrong and that my baby was broken. But guys, babies just spit up. Their little bodies don’t always have it together to keep food down and so it just… comes back up. Early on I learned the term “happy spitter” — a baby who spits up or vomits with no apparent discomfort or anguish. That’s my kids. Obviously if your little one seems to be in pain associated with the spitting, that’s a different story. But 9 times out of 10, it’s normal. Just ask your doctor.
Nighttime After Henry’s first night at home, I was convinced we had made a horrible mistake. It was torturous. Crying for hours, nursing nonstop, and approximately zero sleep. For every night after that for about 6 weeks I would dread what was coming. I hated the nighttimes because I was so worried I couldn’t help him or give him what he wanted, especially when I was so sleep deprived. But as the nights got better and better, a switch flipped and suddenly I looked forward to those quiet moments in the middle of the night, with just me and him. I have the clearest memories of walking him back and forth in our bedroom, getting him back to sleep, feeling his little breath on my neck. With Maggie, the nighttimes are equally hard but this time I’m relaxed enough about it to know it will soon pass, and that I just want to use the time to be near that sweet little baby.
Letting the Kid Cry I know, the sound of your baby crying is simultaneously like nails on a chalkboard and a knife in your heart. But sometimes, dang it, you just need to take a shower. Or go pee. Or, I dunno, eat a bite of food without a baby in your arms. So if the kid is fed, clothed, clean, and safe, don’t be afraid to let him cry for a couple of minutes.
Spoiling Your Baby On the other hand, if you want to snuggle that kid, snuggle away. We have done sleep training with both kiddos, and in that world there’s a lot of talk about not letting a baby get used to being held or rocked to sleep. And I understand that. But sometimes a baby needs to be held or rocked or snuggled, especially in the early weeks and months. I was afraid with Hank if we held him too much he’d always need us to hold him to get him to sleep, but no such thing happened. In fact, he was falling asleep by himself and sleeping for 12 hours at night by 3 months old. So with Maggie, I’ve let go of that fear and we just enjoy these days when she still needs some extra holding. Because those days are gone so fast. It’s all I can do to keep Hank still for 10 seconds to give me a hug these days!
All in all mamas, there are so many things that you could worry about or be scared of, but the bottom line is that you’re gonna be just fine. If you’re a mom I would LOVE to know some of the things that totally freaked you out when you brought home your babies! Or if you’re a mom-to-be, what are you scared of? xoxo