3 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Had a Baby
Eric and I tried as best as we knew how to prepare our house and our minds for a baby before Rooney was born. We took a breastfeeding class and a birth class, Eric took a father's class, we took a hospital tour, and I read countless blogs and birth stories in hopes it would help me achieve my goal of an unmedicated birth.
We thought we were prepared. But then she came, and we felt like we had no idea what to do!
Three things I wish I had known before I had a baby:
The baby blues are common and very real. I was hit with the baby blues, postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression (a mighty combination!) about a week after Rooney was born. It was a very difficult time in my life and marriage. I had no idea these feelings were so "normal." I wish I had known some common ways to recognize depression and also how to ward it off. (It totally gets better!)
Sleep tricks and patterns. Sleep is a very important part of a baby's first year. As parents, we are responsible for teaching our daughter how to sleep and when to sleep. Luckily, I was able to borrow a book about sleep from my sister in the first few weeks that helped us immensely. I learned that babies have 45-minute sleep cycles, that earlier bedtimes can mean longer sleeping hours, and a whole lot more. Our daughter was sleeping through the night (9 hours straight) at 7 weeks of age, which is really great, but prior to that it was quite stressful. Sleep deprivation can really affect the way you feel and act.
A basic understanding of health and sickness. I didn't have a working knowledge of what to do when a baby has a fever. It has only happened twice for Rooney (most kids have seven fevers a year!), but I had no idea what to do when the thermometer showed a temperature of 100.4°, or what to do when later that day it read 103.4°. It got up to 104.6° at one point. Having a sick baby can be a scary time, and I'd rather not add to it finding time to research when to take them to the doctor or chiropractor, or when to administer medicine. I was actually surprised to learn that fevers are a good, natural reaction to an infection, and most times it is best to let your child fight it off on their own without acetaminophen or antibiotics.
P.S. My tip? Choose a pediatrician close to your house, because you will be there a lot in the first months! Rooney went to the doctor at least once a week for the first four weeks.