When the baby is crying (again), your nipples are cracked and bleeding, and you want to hide in a corner and cry, you can't seem to think past the baby phase and into the future. Right now, you're in the thick of the lovely, yet stressful newborn chaos, and in most cases, you probably don't feel it to be lovely at all — you can't see beyond your fatigue.
Your heavy-lidded eyes are too stuck in the throes of sleep exhaustion to remind yourself that this too shall pass and will be over in a blink of an eye. When it's your first baby, you don't have the past experience to remind you of that.
So when you're utterly exhausted and wishing your baby could just sleep through the night, here are eight things to remember in the middle of this newborn blur — straight from a mum who is done having babies.
1. You Must Know That This Too Shall Pass — All Too Quickly.
Right now, it seems like your baby will never sleep through the night and that you will never get the hang of it, but that's not true. In a blink of an eye, your "up all night, sleep all day" baby will be getting on the bus to kindergarten.
Soon, your baby will be telling you "no," and then in a few blinks more, they'll be saying saying, "Don't embarrass me, Mum." In a blink of an eye, you won't have a baby in your arms, you will have a book or a remote control in your hands and will be wondering what time your teen will be home from a night out.
2. You Must Let the Small Stuff Wait.
Your baby will only be a baby once. Even if you have more babies, THIS baby will only be a baby right now (it's happening now!). Let the small stuff wait. Let the laundry pile up. Let the dishes stay dirty. Let dinner suck for a few weeks, and hold that baby that needs you so much.
Everything else around you seems so large and pressing, but the reality is, it's all small stuff. The big stuff is the little person you just made. The big stuff is the little person who wants to be held for hours on end.
3. You Will Get the Hang of It. Believe It.
It seems like you won't ever get quite the hang of the routine with this baby, but you will. In fact, once you did get the hang of it, your baby will change it all up again, requiring you to figure it out All. Over. Again. But you will learn to adapt to the baby, and it will get easier.
4. Your Baby Is Not Manipulating You.
Your brain says sleep, but your baby says "I need you." This is not manipulation. This is not trickery. This is pure development. That baby still needs great comfort. Every cry is a survival cry.
You may be hating life on two hours of sleep, but this baby needs you. Soon enough, that baby will sleep through the night, and you will get rest (but only until your child starts teething, has a nightmare, misses his or her mummy, etc., and wants to hop in your bed). Sleep will come, but for now, the baby needs you. It's their survival.
5. You Can't Be Perfect — and That's OK.
It is OK to feel like everything sucks right now or to feel like you don't know what you are doing. You are healing from labor or a C-section. You are running on less sleep than you ever have in your life, including those days of midterm cramming.
You can't be perfect. Just do you. That's good enough.
6. You'll Never See Such Rapid Growth Again!
The first year of my daughter's life was such a joyous whirlwind of developmental milestones. Now she's 5 years old and still growing fast, but that first year, the growth was huge. Watching and documenting it was such a thrill! This time is so precious, and no other period of development will be quite like it. Savor these moments, please, before they are long gone.
7. You Are So Important.
Bottle or breast, cosleep or not — no matter what choices you make, mama, realise how important you are — how valued you are in your family. How much your baby already needs and loves you. You are so important, and what you do each day, even if it feels boring or tiring or heck, thankless, is still so important. Don't doubt yourself!
8. You Must Trust Your Instincts.
If you have an inkling that something is not right, or something just feels off with you or the baby, don't necessarily shrug it off! Pediatricians know a lot, but you are Mum. Listen to your instincts — they're present from the start. If something seems wrong, don't be afraid to speak up to doctors and to family. Be an advocate and believe in yourself. Your instincts are more powerful than you know.