So Ellie is 6 months old. Like SIX MONTHS OLD. That's half a year. I can't believe it. While this has definitely been the fastest six months of my life, it has also been the longest and arguably the hardest as well.
As a new mom, you get a ton of advice. I love advice, and I have no problem soaking it all in. You never know what little pearl of wisdom you'll want to try when all else has failed. So, here are a few things...call it advice if you want... that I wish I would have known during the first few months.
[ONE]Sleep. Oh sleep. You've never been so tired in your entire life. What I didn't know was that you have to work to get your newborn to sleep. Ellie wasn't the baby that you could rock to sleep, then ever so gently put down in a bassinet. She wanted to be held, 24/7. That made things really difficult during the first few weeks. I thought it was going to be like this forever, and it was not.
[TWO]While on the topic of sleep...they will sleep through the night. When you're so used to waking up 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. times per night, you're running on fumes. You don't know that it will be like to actually get a full night of rest. It WILL happen. You feel like it wont, but it will. Some sooner rather than others, so try not to compare to other babies. I thought that Ellie would never sleep through the night, and she does now.
[THREE]Everything is temporary, the good and the bad. Nothing is your new normal, whether it be good or bad. Even with the sleeping thing, I know that once she starts getting teeth, things will be changing again. Every time you think, "I got this!", something knocks you down, and when you're down...things get better. I've learned to enjoy the good days and know that the fussy days are temporary. I feel like babies know when they've pushed you to the edge, then they give you just enough of a break for you to regain sanity before it starts all over again.
[FOUR]See lactation early. If you choose to breastfeed, and it's something you feel really strongly about... SEE A LACTATION CONSULTANT when you start to have doubts. Ellie was having some issues that were seriously stressing me out and making me want to quit. A lactation consultant recognized her/my problem immediately, and after my 45 minute appointment, I had a renewed sense of confidence. If you see one that you don't mesh with, try again. Of the three LCs I've seen, one is great, and the other two were "eh."
[FIVE]Guilt. There is always something to be guilty about. I feel like I wasted a lot of time struggling with feelings of guilt for absolutely no reason. "Why didn't I see lactation earlier?" "I didn't read to her enough today." "She has spent too much time in her car seat today." "Kathy and Hoda on in the background is probably turning her brain to mush." I mean...I could go on forever and ever, but I'm slowly learning to relax. I try my hardest to make sure that Ellie is happy, healthy, clean and fed. Sometimes, I need to make sure that those apply to me as a mom too.
[SIX]Communication with spouse and asking for help. This one is huge. For some reason, I thought it was the end of the world to "bother" George with tasks around the house. I felt guilty (see above, ha!). He works his butt off all day, and then he comes home and I'm asking for help. But, the reality is, that when I started asking for help, I became much less stressed, which made everyone happier.
[SEVEN]Networking! Having a support system of other moms has been so helpful. Whether it be a quick text to my sister in law (who is a total baby guru, I'm so lucky...she's amazing) or a friend who has a small baby Ellie's age, sometimes it's just nice to bounce ideas off others. Sometimes, it's also just nice to have a short bitch-fest about how tired you are or how chores are piling up. Misery loves company, ha!
That's all I have for now. What do you wish you could have told your "new mom" self?