So, I've been a mom now for roughly two months. 9 weeks. 64 days. 64 nights.
That is approximately 320+ diapers. Or more. I've learned a lot, but there's still a lot to learn, too.
1. If you are a mother to a little boy, you will be peed on. There is absolutely nothing you can do to not be peed on. It will happen.
2. You will be pooped on. Maybe not directly, but there will be poop on you at some point. You may not even know it. There may be poop on your elbow and you have absolutely no idea until someone points it out to you at the grocery store. Or, you may be holding your naked child while they are getting their professional newborn photos taken and they have a poop explosion all over your arms and the carpet. (Yes. That happened.)
3. You will become used to being spit up on. Spit up is a daily part of being a baby and it isn't anything to worry about unless it's projectile vomiting. You will have a permanent wet spot on your shoulder. Forever. (Okay, maybe not forever. But mostly.)
4. If you are breastfeeding, the ladies no longer belong to you. Or your husband. You are a 24/7 milk buffet. (I'm nursing as I type this.) These feedings will also be your favorite part of the day. They make eye contact with you, hold on to your shirt, smile while still eating.. there isn't anything else in the world like it.
5. You will be sleep deprived for the first few weeks (or longer). For the first week or so, getting up to feed every 2-3 hours is tedious and you may feel like it will never get easier. But it does! I promise! If you are nursing and not objected to co-sleeping (read up on it. It's way better for brain and emotional development than one would think) you can bring baby into your bed and lay on your side to nurse. This takes a few tries to master, but once you do, you get way more sleep. Piece of cake. Your baby will slowly add to their sleeping time. Every 2-3 hours becomes 3-4, then 4-5.. baby Arlo currently sleeps 6-8. Magical.
6. Changing diapers gets easier. Rusty and I had never changed a diaper before Arlo. We had no idea if we were doing it "right". Each changing would take a good 10 minutes and then I would worry that I didn't do it right and I was just a sitting duck waiting for poo to leak out from somewhere. Now we can change a diaper in 30 seconds. Boom.
7. If you are cloth diapering and using a toilet sprayer - try that sucker out before using it for real. Don't let the first time you use it be on a poo filled diaper. That shit will get everywhere.
8. Swaddle them! We watched a few YouTube videos on how to do it right, and boy. It works. Think about it - your child was all snug and warm for 9 months. They are used to having their arms close to them and being sort of restricted in movements. Swaddling helps them transition easier into the "real world" and helps them feel secure. We have some of the aden + anais swaddling blankets that were gifted to us. The price tag originally deterred me, which is why I never bought them for us, but seriously - these blankets are amazing. They are so so so so amazingly soft. Arlo doesn't like to be swaddled anymore, but they are the perfect light blanket as well. I even use one sometimes. Seriously. The softness.
9. Prepare for teething early. Arlo started teething at 8 weeks. EIGHT WEEKS. He has three teeth coming in right now. We thought he was sick because he kept spitting up and vomiting - but we finally figured out that he was teething and the only thing that helped him was nursing - so he was spitting up/vomiting up all the extra milk he was eating to try and soothe his gums. We were not prepared at all for teething. We didn't expect it to happen until he was at least 4 months. But anyway - we had to make an emergency run to Babies R Us for teething tablets and toys. And trying to do that with a poor baby who has no idea why he's in pain is very hard. And very, very sad.
10. Don't feel guilty for making choices that make sense to you and your family. You don't have to listen to every piece of advice that someone gives you. Take what works for you and leave the rest. Following your heart/gut in every situation works best. Getting advice daily from people who have "been there" really gets annoying, but just smile and nod. Smile and nod.
11. They will make you cry. Not because you're sad. But because they make your heart so full. They will make eye contact with you. Their gummy smiles. Their coos. My heart! While nursing Arlo a few days ago, he reached out and put his hand on my face and just stared at me. He probably didn't do it intentionally and he probably had no idea how it would affect me, but oh man. I bawled. There is nothing that will prepare you for the amount of love you have for your child. And your husband! Having Rusty there for every part of labor and delivery.. he is the one who handed Arlo to me as he was born. And then seeing Arlo for the first time. You literally could not have had this beautiful child without the help of your significant other, you know? Makes me love Rusty that much more.