Parenting my first newborn is one of the most challenging tasks that I've ever taken on. I don't think that anyone could have prepared me for the challenge either - I wouldn't have believed a word they said until I went through the experience on my own. (then again I'm just stubborn that way.)
Mr. CrazyCat has been my rock. I know this has not been easy for him either as we're both dealing with taking care of a newborn and my recovery from a c-section. I usually forget that having a c-section is MAJOR surgery, so I feel the need to be somewhat productive around the house and feel guilty when I take a nap with my girly.
Since my girly was born, I've learned a few things along the way...
Transition from the hospital to home -
During your pregnancy & while you're in the hospital all of the focus is on you. I felt like royalty at the hospital. The nurses were very helpful and caring and made me feel like the center of the universe. I (half-heartedly) expected some sort of fan-fare when I was discharged. The best I got was "room 1344 is discharged." while we were walking out of L&D. Not even a "Good Luck" from anyone. What happened to being the center of the universe? Oh yeah - that was given to the woman in the room next door who just delivered her baby minutes before. I was old news with my 4-day-old. And by the way - you're totally on your own once you leave the hospital.
Return policy for newborns -
It is totally normal to want to return your child on day two at home. I've done the research and cannot find any return policies posted on the hospital website. I know they've done this intensionally and am convinced it's a conspiracy.
Pushy lactation consultants - I have a lot of respect for lactation consultants. Breastfeeding is not intuitive. I really believe it is an art form where LC's are the art teachers. Now there are LC's who are there for you and there are others LC's who seem to have their own agenda. Beware of the latter. The pushy LC will tell you do not need to feed your babe anything other than your colostrum before your milk comes in (and then makes you feel guilty for even questioning her knowledge.) When it is 3:00am and the colostrum you're offering your screaming 10lb. is not enough to satisfy her hunger - supplementing with formula is OK.
Baby Spit Up - Nothing is more traumatic that watching your babe hork up breastmilk through her nose - especially when she horks up the same breastmilk you are currently feeding her. Note to self - keep a change of clothes for mom in the diaper bag too.
My girly really likes to be swaddled. I watched the nurses in the hospital and have watched video's on the Internets. I however am swaddling impaired. I cannot swaddle my girl using a receiving blanket to save my life. For the other swaddling impaired out there - this - is the worlds best solution. It has been a life saver for us.
Usefulness of sound machines -
One of the most useful gifts we received was a sound machine. One of the 'sounds' is a heartbeat. It makes sense that a newborn would feel comforted by the sound of a heartbeat since she's listened to mum's heartbeat for 9 months. I learned the hard way how comforting the sound is when I set the heartbeat on a timer for only 60 minutes. At minute 61 my girly started crying.
Growth spurts & cluster feedings -
Nothing will make you feel more like a cow hooked up to a milking machine than growth spurts & cluster feedings. When your babe, who regularly eats every couple of hours, is eating every hour just give into the fact that your sole purpose in life is to be milked for the day.
Baby blues -
Feeling overwhelmed? Your life has transitioned into a new dimension with your old life never to return. Let yourself have a good cry. Talk to new parents - you'll be surprised that you're not the only one experiencing the same problems. And let me tell you it is very reassuring to know that you're not totally screwing up your two-week old child when you feel your world is about to implode because of her latest cluster feeding which sent you to the hospital website searching for the return policy.
All in all these past two weeks have been, well while stressful, very rewarding. ...and if I could figure out how to upload a photo to this post, then you'd see a pic of my beautiful little girl. Blogger obviously has other plans for me today.
edit: I've been told that the picture does display. There must be something wierd going on with my computer.