Our little boy is two and a half weeks old. How can that be? There's a lot I've learned in the past two and a half weeks. Of course, things are always changing, and I don't know everything, but here's what I've learned so far...
- Your mom instinct kicks in quickly and you learn your baby's needs right away. I wasn't expecting to feel so comfortable with our little boy or to know what he needs. I really thought it would be more of him screaming and me crying trying to figure out what's going on. I'm sure this will happen as he gets older, but for right now, he's been pretty consistent with his cries and fusses.
- You don't have to listen to everything the doctor says. When we first brought Matthew home from the hospital he woke up on his own when he was hungry every 3-ish hours and we would feed him however much he wanted to eat. Granted, it wasn't much and he didn't ever overeat, but when we went to the hospital for jaundice they were appalled! Then, the pediatrician said that he needed to be woken up during the day every 2 hours to eat and that just messed up his whole schedule.
- Trust your instincts. He didn't do well on the first formula that we were supplementing with and the pediatrician's receptionist said to keep trying it despite the fact that he was in pain and would wake up every hour when we fed him the formula crying and wincing. We switched and he's been a lot happier.
- Feeding your baby is the most important thing. Yes, breast is best, but we were unable to do that. I felt guilty all weekend for wanting to give up despite the fact that he wasn't getting enough out (our baby isn't an efficient eater in general) and pumping was exhausting. If you need to use formula, that's ok.
- Happy mom = happy baby. When you're stressed, they're more likely to be as well. All weekend I was exhausted and my husband did most of the baby duty. I feel better now, but still get so tired and need to make sure to get my rest as well.
- You will earn not to judge. I used to have such strong opinions about myself and others and now I'm learning that it's a lot harder than I ever thought. Do I still have my opinions? Yes, but I can understand why people choose different things and I don't feel the need to get on my soapbox about all of them.
- You don't want to leave your baby. I hate leaving him to go to the store. I can't wait to be able to take him with me, but with him being a late pre-term baby, they don't want to chance the extra germs.
- Use common sense and talk to your mom when needed. My mom and Phil's mom have both been amazing with questions or just with venting. We're all on the same side and we all seem to agree with most things.
- Do what you want, it's your baby. If someone gives you "advice" or tells you something you don't want to do, then just smile and say thank you. Sometimes you have to be firm if they are pushy, but trying to do it in a kind way will work out best.
I've learned a lot these past couple of weeks and know I will continue to learn so much more as he changes and gets older.