Today I attended a baby shower for our dear friends Jeannie and Chris, who are expecting a baby boy in a matter of weeks. Their families were wonderful hosts and J+C raked in a ton of great stuff for baby.
It brought back a wave of memories and emotions for me. I remembered how I felt the day of my shower... Excited, uncomfortable, grateful, overwhelmed. I didn't realize that all those same emotions would multiply by eleventy billion once Des got here.
As a soon-to-be new parent, you get a TON of advice. Some solicited, some not. Inspired by Jeannie and Chris, these are some things that we learned along the way about the early days.
- Listen to advice, but don't take it as gospel (including this blog!). You have no idea how many times I heard, "Sleep when the baby sleeps!" Obviously sometimes you'll be sleeping when the baby is too. But many times, especially during the daylight hours, you will have to get shit done when the baby is sleeping. Don't freak out! Everything will be okay! Shocker, you're going to be sleep deprived. You will get through it.
- What works for some families, doesn't work for others. We were told by a close friend to sleep in shifts, or face rapid burn out. Sometimes this worked, but mostly both Tony and I would be up with the baby. Feedings, changings, rocking. Neither of us could sleep if the other was up. And this was fine for us. Tag team is just not how we work.
- Don't feel like you're offending someone by returning a gift, even/especially if it was on your registry. People swear by certain baby gear, but your baby might be all, "Oh hellllz no." EXCHANGE IT. There's always something else you'll need.
- If at any time someone asks if they can do anything to help, one word: FOOD. Gift certificates to local take-out joints, a variety of home cooked meals that freeze well, etc. You won't want to cook or go to the grocery store or leave that 10x10 area of your house for a while. You're gonna need some easy, healthy eats, especially if you're breastfeeding.
- Get some comfortable loungewear that also makes you feel human. Real clothes are out of the question. You'll still be healing and in some pain, and the baby will be spewing fluids left and right. Those ragged PJ's are cozy, but they'll get old after a while. I bought a couple pairs of stretchy yoga pants that are suitable to wear to bed as well as to Target if necessary.
- Take advantage of the hospital while you're there. The nurses encouraged us to keep the baby in our room. It was easier for feedings and it would get us all used to eachother. My older, wiser sisters WITH KIDS told us to send the baby to the nursery at least one night and do not feel guilty. We did the last night and by god, it was glorious. The nurse brought the baby in when he was hungry, and then back to the nursery after. Tony and I got like 5 solid hours of sleep. And we woke up refreshed and ready to take a baby home!
- I know people always say 'Enjoy every moment.' Debbie Downer's here to say, you will not enjoy every moment. It's not all magic and hugs and rainbows. Things might straight-up suck at times. But like I've said before, there's nothing like the light of a new day for a fresh perspective. Newborn cuddles are pretty great too.
Best of luck to Jeannie and Chris in this exciting time. I can say with absolute certainty that you guys will be amazing parents.