A lot has changed in the last month since I wrote my last post. From a mommy-to-be, I am now a mother and the feeling is taking its own sweet time to sink in. More than anything, I am staring at the tiny tot's face longer than what is considered humanly normal and that behaviour, to me, is the epitome of completely normal.
Speaking of parenting, I have had the craziest 20 days growing up with Baby Hashtag (to the uninitiated, that is my little one's name on the blog for all intents and purposes)
Together with the husband and my family, we are cruising along just fine barring a few hiccups I faced in the start. My first week with my new baby were the toughest and you will know why.
But first, know this.
For new parents, a few pointers. Surviving the first week with your baby is going to be a real task. The easiest part will be nursing the baby, because babies are born stronger than we think. They are designed to be tough cos they are going to be handled by new parents, who try as they might, do not win at the parenting game. Not in the first couple of weeks at least. As time passes by and you get used to the new addition to your life, the baby is already used to you and guiding you through day-to-day with an unmatched dexterity. You think you have it under control, but in reality, it is the baby who runs the show and frankly you have to be okay with that. Whenever you can, hold your baby close. Learn how to swaddle the baby.
New moms, pay heed. You are going to be an emotional wreck. How much ever prepared you are in advance and no matter how much pre-natal yoga you did, this is going to be your reality. The sleeplessness and the raging hormones will make you weep like a wimpy kid and weep, for no solid reason, you will. My image of being the crazy bad-ass comfortably took a tumble when I was bawling my eyes out on the second day after the baby for no reason at all. Let's just say, the waterworks will be your steady companion, especially in the first month post-baby. Teach yourself on all the feeding and nursing basics and be prepared, mentally at least. Choose the paediatrician well in advance because you will have a lot of questions about your baby that only they can answer reliably. Research about a competent Lactation Consultant in your area and stay in touch with them as well, for obvious reasons. Then there is the first round of vaccinations that will be administered to the baby in the first week of her birth. Stay strong and do not crumble into a crying heap at the sight of your baby in pain. Be practical about the coming fever post-vaccination and stay sharp. Cold sponges and cluster feeding your baby helps when they are running a high temperature.
New dads, your turn now. Your wife is in that constant state of wanting attention. And now with the baby being the centre of everyone's universe, her feeling of being unwanted has only further deepened. Be patient to her temper tantrums and hysterical crying episodes. You made it through her 9 months of mood swings, a couple more months won't add to your woes. Be kind to her, but not sympathetic. Most importantly, help change diapers and do other baby-related chores. Ease her out of the overwhelmed self she is slowly sinking into. Keep the spirits high and treat her like the queen.
Amidst the tears, hormones, sweat, midnight feeding sessions and short naps, exhaustion, there are going to be those glorious moments when you will look at your baby and all this will seem too petty. Make that feeling your biggest incentive and dive into a new day with the baby with renewed zeal and love. I am in love each day, falling for the little Baby Hashtag over and over again. And that, keeps me going.