Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Things That Surprised Me Most About Having a Baby

While pregnant, I thought I did all the reading, watched all the YouTube videos and consulted with all my birth board gals and fellow preggos about life after baby. So I thought I pretty much knew exactly what was coming and how things would be.

But, of course, there are always surprises.

The Lack of Sleep
Duh!!! Right! Well, maybe I was too optimistic but I honestly thought you bring the baby home, you get up in the night often for maybe the first 2-3 months and that somewhere, somehow, the baby would fall into a nice routine and it would be over by like, I dunno, month 3.

I don't know where I got this idea that the lack of sleep would only be in the very beginning because as I type this, my son is 10 months and 2 weeks old and he still does not sleep through the night most nights. Yes, sleep training got him sleeping better and going back to sleep better but he still sleeps very inconsistently.

Of all the things I was worried about when I was expecting (breastfeeding, money, time, etc.) I didn't really think my #1 issue would be lack of sleep. I didn't know how obsessed I would get over sleep. I was sooo naive!

The Lack of Energy
Another one of my new-mom naivete's: I actually thought that after a few initial months, of losing sleep, I'd jump right back into my former routines. I'd put baby to bed, then go workout, do some chores, pack lunch, play on the computer or whatever, til I went to bed at my usual 11pm.

11pm!! There's still an 11pm? Cause for the first 6-7 months, I could barely stay up past 9pm!!

What I didn't account for was how incredibly tired I would be, for months and how ready for bed I would be immediately after putting the baby down. For the first 6 months, after the baby was asleep, I was in a mad dash to get some house things done so I could finally get to the most sought after place in my life, MY BED at around 9-9:30 PM!!! 7 days a week! When my friends were going out, hitting movies, watching all the good TV shows, my butt was curling up in PJs dying, begging for a good 4-5 hours before that middle-of-the-night wakeup call. What workouts? What computer time? None of this stuff existed anymore.

Yes, I saw this meme on Facebook and thought it funny but I didn't take it seriously!

Some Babies Aren't Good Sleepers in General
Maybe because I had friends whose newborns were sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, 2 months etc. and babies who seemed to sleep most of the day that I got the idea that babies, well sleep a lot. And some do. But some don't.

My dearest baby boy napped well in the beginning. You'd give him a bottle and he'd pass right out for a good 2 hours, several times a day, leaving me with precious time to do anything else. Then something happened and around 3 or 4 months, he stopped doing that. His naps became shorter and shorter. Some days he'd be down for a mere 20-30 mins. I became lucky if he napped for a full hour. All day!!!

But the worst sleep habit by far was the middle of the night party sessions. Around 6 months old, my son stopped falling back asleep in the night after a bottle and began not only staying wide awake but was ready to play and party for the next 1-2 hours. If you put him down, he'd scream bloody murder. So there we were holding this kid for an 1+ every night, while he kicked, hit, laughed, and played and I sat there stewing, waiting for him to pass out so I could return to my warm bed. This went on for about 3 months!!!

Thankfully, in time, with some sleep training and as he gets more active during the day, my little one is sleeping better and some days so am I.

How Comfortable You Become Handling Poop
This one just occurred to me last min but before baby, the thought of handling poopy diapers seemed, well, icky! After baby, I was surprised at just how easy it was to adjust to handling daily poop and how nonplussed I've become with the whole thing. Got it on my finger? No biggie. Some onmy clothes? yeah that happens? I can even look at a poopy diaper and determine what food baby had the day before. Oh yeah sweet potatoes! (I decided not to post an accompanying pic. Your welcome!!)

The Good Surprises!

My body bounced back fairly quickly, even after a C-section. Being a new AMA ("advanced maternal age") mom, I honestly thought bouncing back weight-wise was for 20-somethings. I expected to gain a good amount of weight and carry it for the year. But I was pleasantly surprised when most of the weight fall off during the first 6-8 weeks postpartum and by 3-4 months, I was back in my regular pre-pregnancy clothes. Skinny jeans and all. (I will blog more about how I got my tummy down later.)

Beautiful Nails (for awhile)
Not sure what postpartum hormones I had coasting through my body but for 3-4 months, I had the longest, strongest nails I ever had. It was wonderful...while it lasted.

Lack of sleep and energy aside, it has all gotten better with time. And I am sure there will be more surprises as time rolls on.

What things surprised you as a new parent?