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Very early on in my pregnancy (truthfully, even before I got pregnant) I started thinking about what kind of mama I wanted to be. I started reading up on different options for delivery, “attachment parenting,” baby sleeping arrangements, breastfeeding versus bottle feeding… you name it, I had read at least ten articles on it. By the time my due date was approaching, I had it all mapped out in my head. I naively thought that most, if not everything, could be accomplished according to the plan. Then little Liam came along and quite literally shit on my whole parenting itinerary. SO! The list of things I absolutely swore I would never do and the reasons I ended up doing them anyways is as follows…
In my perfect world, I would come home from the hospital and my sweet angel would sleep peacefully in his bassinet next to my bed. As it turns out, newborns, at least my newborn, really despise being put down (seriously like, ever). I would feed him, rock him to sleep, hold him for a while, marvel at how beautiful he was, gently lay him down in his bassinet, and… Cue the screaming! Every. Single. Time. So, for about the first week, Baby Daddy and I took turns sitting up and holding him while he slept. All. Night. Long. Eventually, exhausted from running on about 2-3 hours of poor quality sleep per night, I looked more deeply into bed sharing (or co-sleeping, as it is sometimes referred to). I read up on safe bed sharing practices, decided to give it a go, and the most amazing thing happened. My sweet precious newborn, who had been running his mama ragged, slept for FOUR HOURS! From that night on, I was converted. Now that he’s a little bigger, Liam sleeps in his bassinet most of the time except for days when is isn’t feeling well, is in the midst of a growth spurt or a leap, or is just having a bad night. But for those first couple weeks, having him in bed with me wasn’t just easier, it was necessary for our survival. I really can’t recommend enough that you read up on bed sharing before you bring your baby home. Even if you don’t plan on doing it, having the knowledge as a backup plan absolutely can’t hurt! Kelly Mom has a great article on it. They are my go-to mom resource. Do plenty of your own research before deciding what is best for you and your family. You can read more about it here. You can check out my favorite co-sleepers here and here. Even if you don’t plan to bed share, I still recommend both of these co-sleepers as they are great for naps or lounging around the house or when you bring baby for a visit at someone else’s house.
Only Talk About The Baby
“I swear, I’m not one of those moms who talks about her kid all the time,” I tell the lady next to me in the grocery store checkout line as I pull out my phone to show her just one picture of my baby. Seriously, I can’t help myself. I’m with him 95% of the time. When I’m not with him, I’m thinking about him. Plus, he’s just so darn cute! So to the lady in the grocery store checkout line, thank you for at least pretending to be interested. Though I wouldn’t blame you if you immediately got in the car to call your friend and tell them all about this super weird lady that you just encountered.
Go Days Without Washing My Hair
Ha! What even is a shower? Gross, I know. But really, just invest in some good dry shampoo and deodorant because there is some kind of evil voodoo that makes babies wake up and scream the second you turn the shower on. You can order my favorite dry shampoos here and here.
Call My Mom At 2 A.M. Crying
I had done the research, read the books, watched the youtube videos… I had this. One week and no sleep later, I was at my wit’s end. I picked up the phone with tears running down my face, called my mama, and not-so-calmly told her “OHMYGOSH HELP ME, I THINK HE’S BROKEN, HE LITERALLY WILL NOT STOP SCREAMING, WHAT DO I DO, IM GOING TO LOSE IT, IS HE GOING TO DO THIS FOREVER, IS HE SICK, HE MUST BE SICK, WHY IS HE SO LOUD, PLEASE HELP ME.” Within 20 minutes, she was at my door. She took the baby, told me to go get in bed and that she would come get me when he needed to eat. I’m 99% sure that Baby Daddy and I both would have died that night from stress induced strokes if she hadn’t come to the rescue. I suggest having someone that you can call in moments of parenting-crisis on speed dial. Your mom, your mother-in-law, your sibling, your best friend, your neighbor, your grandparents, anyone. Just have someone. You’ll need them.
Take Pictures Of My Kid’s Poop
There will be lots of poop, and you will have questions about it. Taking a picture of it to send to the pediatrician is a whole lot easier (and cleaner) than saving a dirty diaper to bring to the doctor’s office with you. Seriously, ew. Don’t do that. I’d like to say that I immediately deleted them from my phone, but this would be a lie. Speaking of poop…
Take My Kid Into The Bathroom With Me
Sometimes it’s really the only option. I ended up keeping a blanket or pillow in my bathroom at all times so that I would have something to set him down on. Besides, after birth pretty much any sense of modesty goes out the window.
Give Up Breastfeeding Before 6 months (Ideally, One Year)
Breastfeeding is way harder than anyone tells you. Even if they do tell you, you won’t truly understand until you experience it. I had every intention of doing it for as long as possible. In my “ideal plan” my supply would be more than enough, Liam’s latch would be perfect, I would love it, and we would have this wonderful bond from it. When I went back to work, I would pump while I was gone and breastfeed when I was with him. I had high hopes right after his birth. He latched on and everything seemed to be going well. The only problem was it hurt. I don’t mean it was uncomfortable, I mean it genuinely hurt me more than labor. I thought that this was a temporary problem and my body just needed to get used to it. After over a month of crying every time I fed him, I broke down. I asked Baby Daddy what he thought about me starting to pump. He shocked me when he actually said, “Thank. God.” He hated seeing me in pain almost as much as I hated being in pain. So I gave pumping a go. For the first couple days it was working. Baby Daddy was still home with me during the day so he could take the baby while I pumped. Liam seemed a little hungrier than usual, but I had no way of knowing how much he had been getting from the breast, so I didn’t know if he was getting enough from his bottle. Then Baby Daddy went back to work and things went south. Liam would wake up and scream every time I turned the pump on (I suspect the same voodoo as the shower). Even when I did get to pump, it clearly wasn’t enough for him. He was acting hungry all the time. I talked about it with Baby Daddy and we decided it was time to give it up and start using formula. While it made me really sad, I absolutely do not regret it. I still firmly believe that it was the best possible decision for us as a family. Liam is a perfectly healthy baby boy, he is meeting all of his milestones, and his growth is textbook perfect. I encourage you to give breastfeeding your best try, but if it isn’t working for you, repeat after me. “I am not a breastfeeding failure. My child is being fed and will have every opportunity to be a perfectly healthy child no matter how he/she is fed.” Repeat as often as necessary for the message to really sink in. You are NOT a failure.
So, there you have it. I’m sure I will run into many, many more “I Swore I’d Nevers” over the next several years and I’ll be sure to update. What did you swear you would never do, but end up doing anyways? Share in the comments!
The Crispy Mama