This week's posts are all about flashbacks (check back tomorrow to read my flashback to my first year of teaching)! I titled today's post what I wish I had heard rather than what I wish someone had told me because I have a sneaking suspicion that somebody actually did tell me most of these things as some point either before or during my daughters' newborn stage, but I just either didn't pay enough attention or just didn't have the capacity to comprehend how true their statement was. So, here are the things I wish I could go back and tell my new mom self (and find a way to make sure I really listen). **Warning: this post may be a bit TMI for some**
1. Sleep deprivation is no joke
I know people say this all the time but I really didn't get it until I went through it myself. I had a baby who was extra sensitive to noise and light, and didn't really feel like it was a good idea to sleep more than 20-45 minutes at a time. Also her twin. I kept telling myself, "I can do this, millions of other mothers have done this, sure I'm tired but all moms are tired! Suck it up!". You know what? I made my babies' sleep a top priority- I rearranged my entire life around their sleep- but I wish I had made mine a priority as well. I wish I had listened when people told me that I needed to stop and take a break before I seriously damaged my own well-being.
2. Cracked nipples are no joke either
Ladies, if you EVER get even a tiny cracked nipple, take it seriously. I took care of mine to a certain extent, but I was too busy to take proper care of it consistently and I paid for it big time with two bouts of mastitis that ended with a abscess that had to be drained and the end of nursing for me. And boy was it painful.
3. Whatever they end up eating, it's only for one year
Related to my last point- clearly I pushed to nurse way harder and longer than I should have. I know some people are going to seriously disagree with my sentiment on this one, but you know what, whether they get breastfed, pumped milk, formula, or any combination thereof, IT'S ONLY FOR A YEAR. I feel so silly for stressing out so much about it in hindsight. We humans live for a lot of years. And sure, I believe that breastmilk is better than formula, and that nursing can help prevent certain illnesses, etc etc etc. But I also believe that there are a lot of other things that can help or hurt your children's health, and they remain a factor of their lives far longer than what kind of milk they had for their first year. My kids are excellent eaters. They munch on raw spinach leaves and beets for lunch and enjoy it. I think that's going to have a much more lasting impact on their health than the kind of milk they had for their first year of life.
4. Nobody else knows what they're doing either
It's amazing how little we know about babies. There is a lot that not even doctors know for sure. I wish I had realized that my level of confusion and uncertainty about what in the world my babies wanted, were feeling, or were trying to tell me was equal to everyone else'- experienced parents, doctors, and others who seemed like they knew more than me about my children were just more comfortable making an educated guess and going with it.
What are the things you wish you had known as a new mom? Let's hear them in the comments!