what i wish i would have experience

i don't feel qualified in any way, shape or form to be writing this- but it is funny to look back at what i used to think was "important" and what i now think is "important." maybe that's a sign of progress? that you always think the past you was a bumbling idiot. currently, i feel like my present self is a bumbling idiot, anyone know what that means?

i don't feel qualified to write down what  i wish i would have known before i had kids that i know now. because each lesson i've learned (read: mistakes i've made) have helped me to grow and become a better mother.  but, i do know there are some things about labor and post-partum time that i wish i would have either known, or listened to my mother's advice about.

  1. trust your body before anything else and be patient. the baby is much better in than out before 40 weeks. oh heck, 42!
  2. after 38 weeks, buy a soft bristle toothbrush and, in the shower, ahem, get your ladies ready for nursing. tmi? my girlfriend, who is a nurse told me this with lucy, best advice ever!
  3. drink grape juice right after delivery. i don't know why, but that is the best thing in the world!
  4. hold your baby those first few hours. other people can wait their turns.
  5.  pack your own binkies. unless you want that gross icanseeintoyourmouth binky the hospitals have, bring your own. we started doing this and are very grateful. bonus=no nipple confusion! 
  6. all those months of no periods?! yeah, they didn't forget about you. stock up now.
  7. buy lots of comfortable onesies for baby. that's all they really need beyond diapers, binkies and milk. the dress ones are the best for newborns and make midnight changes a cinch when you are sleep deprived.
  8. have good sized swaddling blankets. nothing is better than a good swaddle for a newborn.
  9. nurse that baby every 3-4 hours, even if sleeping. change their diaper, wake them up and feed them. do not let a newborn go longer than 5hrs! you will end up crying and the baby will be crying and it will be stressful, which doesn't help your psyche or your tatas. it takes up to 8 weeks to establish your milk supply. rest, drink water, chill out.
  10. have a schedule written down for the other kids. what they like to do. when they are supposed to eat and nap. where they need to be etc. even if your caretakers don't follow it, it's peaceful knowing it's there.
  11. stock your freezer and fridge with easy meals for the entire family. you are not going to cook for awhile.
  12. your boobs are going to have crazy stretch marks. eventually they fade and you get over it.
  13. if there are older siblings, get a small gift for each of them for when they come to see the baby. we have done this twice and it is a lifesaver. it also makes seeing the "new baby" a fun experience, even if they were just dethroned.
  14. encourage all visitors to acknowledge the older children first before the baby. this is really important to us. besides, the baby won't know the difference at all if they have to wait 5 minutes to be held by aunt suzie.
  15. have lots of new books and movies for the kids to watch after the baby comes. check them out from the library or raid your friends' houses. ps-it's ok that they (and you) are going to watch a ton of tv for about 3 months.
  16. give yourself 10-12 weeks before travel or other large commitments. this was always my mother's resounding advice. i always feel the need to be "superwoman" and accomplish everything at the same rate after baby is born. it is hard to just hang out at home and be peaceful because i have a huge energy rush the first 8 weeks after baby, but then i crash. i'm going to try harder this time to stay still and breathe in that newborn goodness. goal: no mastitis!
  17. sleep when the baby sleeps. for reals- do it.
  18. let other people take care of you for at least a week. 2 weeks if you have other little ones at home. it's hard to accept help, but do it for your husband and kids.
  19. and a few books i always recommend that i've liked: this one, this one, this one and especially THIS ONE.
  20. do not, under any circumstances, try on your old pants for at least 2 months. make that 3.
  21. 7 out of 10 newborns have a milk protein intolerance. i have to stay away from dairy, tomatoes, chocolate and too much leafy green foods for at least 4 months. and i've learned all of this the hard way. it is very worth it though, in my opinion.
that's all. boy do i sound like a bossy know-it-all or what?


Rach said...

Annie, this scares me...only because I realize how unprepared I am! I need all the advise I can get! I have much to learn from you!

Allyson said...

I love when you write about things you have learned being a mother!
I think you are an amazing mom and I definitely look up to you!

Annie Leavitt said...

rach- we all feel like that! you'll do great : )

and thanks allyson! you are too sweet.

Stephanie and Paul said...

I don't have 4 kids. But the biggest thing I've learned from these three is that you can never predict whats going to be your greatest challenge. Remember how anxious I was about nursing? Hahahahaha...turns out i should have been much for anxious about tantruming two year olds (and 3, 4, 5, 6 yr olds...)

Melanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melanie said...

I love it. I thought it was funny too how my list is practically the same! :) (Haven't tried the grape juice though.) :)

And not once did you mention the fancy crib set or the newfangled whatever that some corp. tries to convince you you must have...we've come a long way. :)

Can't wait to see #4

Bowler Family said...

I firmly and deeply agree with #20
Nothing is worse that thinking they might fit and they don't!!

my name is becky kelly said...

in agreement. the problem with this list is that everyone reading it with multiple children already knows and probably learned the hard way too. and people reading it with no kids probably think it's all old wives tales! :) very good advise!
i like the idea of encouraging people to greet the older kids first. I never really thought of it that way. I am always very appreciative of the people that give gifts to ALL of the kids, not just the baby. even just a small treat for the big kids helps tons!

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