Friday, July 1, 2011

Lessons Learned

After 3 weeks of parenting a newborn, I thought I'd share some things I've learned thus far.  For those of you without kids, hopefully this will be amazingly informative.  For those of you with kids, you already know this and can probably skip reading the whole post.  In no particular order:

1)  Life with a newborn is no different than life pre-newborn... long as your life pre-newborn involved caring for another human who cried incessantly, soiled britches, did not allow you to sleep, and routinely "gave back" (all over your clothes) some portion of every meal consumed.

2)  I never knew how little sleep I actually need to function.

Since we're giving the whole breastfeeding thing a whirl, I'm the only one who can feed the kid.  We're doing one bottle/day just to get him used to eating from a bottle, but even during that time, when Scott is feeding the baby, I'm pumping.  This means that every 1, 2, or 3 hours, I'm feeding the baby.  The feeding process can take an hour.  (feeding off and on, changing a diaper or two, burping, etc)  You do the math.  Even if he eats every 3 hours (on a good day), at most I can get 2 hours of sleep.  I don't call that a night's rest.  I call that a nap.

Correction:  I used to call that a nap.  Now I call it a night's rest.

3)  Putting socks on a newborn is an exercise in futility.

Newborns, according to my wise friend Andrea who has two kids, will only wear one sock at a time.  I've found this to be true. I put on two socks on my child.  I turn my head for a second and look back and somehow only ONE sock is still on said child.  It's truly a mysterious thing.

4)  Even die hard Dave Ramsey fans such as Scott and I would be willing to sacrifice LARGE AMOUNTS of money if it would help our screaming child settle.

James doesn't cry all the time.  In fact, he probably cries less than 2.5 hours every day.  Total.  But when he DOES cry, and we've tried everything we can think of to make him happy and nothing works, it is in those moments that we'd bust our budget in a heartbeat if we knew it would make a difference in the cry-fest.

5)  Newborns are hilarious to watch.

The total lack of coordination with every movement and the contorted facial expressions of newborns make for some great entertainment.  Especially if one has had very little sleep (see #2 above), these type things make one laugh.  A lot.

6)  Working as a NICU nurse only mildly prepared me to care for a newborn.

Yes, I was already comfortable changing diapers and holding/handling a baby when I came home with my son.  However, at my job when babies are crying, it is almost always food-related.  Feed them, problem solved.  If the problem is not food related, it is often dirty diaper or possibly position related.  Change a diaper, reposition the baby and Wahlah!  Happy (or at least quiet) baby.  Being at home with a newborn is a whole new ball game. My recently fed, clean diapered, warm baby can be down right unreasonable.  And that leaves me going "Wha?!?"  So then we begin the cycle of trying out different comfort measures to make him happy.  Swaddle him, walk with him, put him in the bouncy chair, take him out of the bouncy chair, play with him, turn on the vacuum/sound machine/bathroom fan, double and triple check his diaper, offer to feed him more...wash/rinse/repeat.  Eventually, one of the things we tried 3 times already will finally work.  And then there will be peace and quiet.  And there is much rejoicing.

7)  I definitely underestimated the amount of bodily fluids that would end up on my clothes.

I figured, since I work with babies for a living, I would be better than most new parents at avoiding getting spit-up, peed or pooped on.  I was sadly, sadly mistaken.  I thought our laundry would increase because of the baby's clothes and blankets and such.  I didn't count on having to wash my own stuff so. much. more. often just because I can't stay clean to save my life.

8)  I don't think I will be able to do any single task start to finish, in one sitting, ever again.

As soon as I start to do anything, on the computer, make a phone call, take a shower, watch a 30 minute show on tv, the baby needs something.  For example, since starting this blog post, I've stopped and started at least 3 times.  In 40 minutes. :)

Well, that's all for now.  Stay tuned as this adventure continues!!


Mimi to 3 said...

So glad you are keeping your sense of humor intact, because as hard as this seems right now, it will be a faded memory! I think you are doing a fabulous job, and James is very adorable. Keep on keeping on and soon you will be having 4-5 hour stretches at night! Love you!

Lisa said...

Betty Anne, you my dear, need to consider writing as a career! Your witty outlook on all life topics is refreshing and so very true and to the point!!!! I used to think, when my children were babies, that I was the only adult that lived with spit-up on every item of clothing that I, I know that I was not alone! James will grow and change so quickly that all of this will soon be a distant memory....sleep is in your near future, as is a clean well, take care, sleep when you can, and maybe have a glass of wine every now and then to "promote relaxation" are doing a wonderful job, and it is indeed the most rewarding (non-paying) job in the world! Hugs to you sweetie!