Yesterday, the babies turned 1 month old.
As annoying as it is to hear, and as impossible as it is to do, I GET why people say “cherish every moment”. Its not possible to cherish EVERY moment of anything unless the world suddenly became nothing but butterflies, rainbows and rain showers that produced Skittles (seriously, how awesome would that be?), however, the comment makes sense. Time really does fly, and sometimes when I catch myself thinking about how I look forward to feeding a little less frequently (usually at 2am) I try to stop and remind myself that this stage only happens once. When its gone, its gone forever. All that are left are pictures, videos and memories.
There has been a shift I’ve noticed particularly in the last few days, too. I said for weeks as I looked at my babies that it all felt so surreal and that I felt like I had to return them to someone. Finally its beginning to sink in. These are my children. My kids. I have 2 kids. This realization has only made me love them more.
On a less serious note, my words of parenting wisdom now having had an entire month behind me follow below.
A Novice’s Tips to Surviving Parenting – Month 1
1. If you are planning to breastfeed, be prepared to smell like sour milk. Also, be prepared to be covered in it. I was warned of this but didn’t understand the true nature of the statement. Perhaps feeding two exacerbates this a bit, but seriously, you’ll never be covered in so much of something you didn’t drink in your life.
2. This is particularly true with multiples, but if someone offers to help – TAKE IT. Don’t try to be a hero. TAKE THE HELP. Seriously. Take the break. A happy mama equals a happy baby/babies. For me, this included introducing bottles EARLY, despite all advice to exclusively breastfeed for at least 3-4 weeks first. I’m sure this is partially due to the fact that I’m feeding two. Obviously what you decide to do is completely up to you and every baby responds differently. We were fortunate that neither baby responded with nipple confusion or preference. I did, however, speak to a LC at the hospital about specific bottle types and feeding techniques to most closely resemble breastfeeding. For me, this little break I could get once a day where dad or someone else could feed was huge. I won’t go into details about the bottle feeding here but if you’re interested I’d be happy to elaborate.
3. I highly recommend the book “On Becoming Babywise”. I started it from the get go and so far the babies have taken to it very well. Yes, it involves scheduling, however I do not in any way, shape or form ignore a truly hungry baby. (If you are one that believes in feeding exclusively on demand and is against scheduling, great. I do not judge you and I ask that you do not judge me. I will not accept any negative comments regarding my decision to use the method in this book.) Read the same pages over and over again because in your sleep deprived state, you totally forgot what it said the first time.
4. Take a shower and put on clothes. Real ones. Its amazing how much more human those two simple things make you feel. It’s like an instant sloth zombie to human zombie (what? you’re up all night and tired, you’re a zombie) transformation. Try it, I dare you. Your human zombie self will appreciate it.
5. Get out of the house. Unless you’re a hermit by nature. Its absolutely harder, and more stressful. Do it anyway. Take a cover and nurse in public (if you’re not shy). Babies need to eat, too. You can tell this to anyone who proceeds to give you the evil eye in Target. Hell I’d nurse in public without a cover if it weren’t such a faux pas. But then again I am not shy and have no shame.
6. Keep a hobby or activity. Make your husband/family/friend watch the baby/babies for a couple hours. Don’t have a hobby? Make one up. Bird watch, take up knitting, learn how to shoot a gun (handy for when your husband says something stupid….kidding), perfect your tomato soup recipe. Whatever.
7. Don’t feel badly if you don’t instantly fall head over heels in love with your baby/babies. I loved them from the day they were born, but like I stated above, it felt so surreal for awhile.
8. Make to do lists. Easy ones. Be sure to always include the one VERY important thing every day that you can always cross off:
- Wash bottles
Keep baby alive
- Keep baby alive while maintaining an ounce of sanity
Nap Laun– ah screw it. Nap
So if your husband comes home and asks what you did that day, you always have a couple things (important ones!) crossed off your list.
9. Get newborn pictures taken. But when you do, prepare to be covered in more milk. And possibly poop. Likely both. It’ll be worth it though I promise.
10. Keep tally of the number of times your baby sprays poop or pees on your hand/the table/the picture frame above the changing table/your baby’s sister’s head. Its simply more fun this way.
11. Have a handful of endearing nicknames for your baby. When Miles is hungry he goes from zero to famished in .2 seconds and lets out a scream I can only compare to that of a Pterodactyl. Therefore he is known as my little Pterodactyl. Abby is sometimes known as my little fuss bucket. Chunky monkey and super spitter have also been used.
12. Name your boobs. And your pump. Then its more fun when you can say something like “I’m going to spend some quality time with Roger”. You know, my pump. (My boobs are named Betty and Sally McCrazyboobs, in case you were curious. I’m still working on a fun pump name).
13. Moo while you pump.
14. Invest in a hands free pumping bra. Be sure to make fun of the picture on the box of the lady pumping with said bra while typing. Then chuckle to yourself when you find yourself doing the same thing. Oh the things you never even imagined you’d do.
15. Don’t keep track of the number of diapers you’ve used. It will make you sad. Very, very sad. And poor. (we estimate between 600-700, currently, so far)
16. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself using breast milk for things other than feeding. Recently, it was recommended I try applying it to Abby’s diaper rash. During changes, the following phrase is known to have been used: “Hey, do you want to squirt Abby’s bum with your milk?” (it helped).
17. Take lots of pictures. Send all of them to your annoyed friends.
18. Bite your tongue when someone asks if your boy/girl twins (assuming this applies) are identical. Resist to urge to say “um, one has BOY parts and one has GIRL parts you stupid idiot”. Should it in your head though because it’ll make you feel better. Tweet about the idiocy to all your twin mom friends once that person turns his/her back.
19. Keep track of the number of small things that send you into tears. It will NOT be funny then, but it WILL be funny later. (My husband ate the last candy bar once and I found myself tearing up)
20. Remember that no matter crappy you feel, no matter how much you feel like you have no idea what you are doing, no matter how much you question yourself as a mom, that you are the BEST mom for your baby, hands down. Do not forget this, and I will say it again, you are the best mom for your baby.
Rock on mom.