Before my baby was born and I had the big fat belly that apparently reads, “GIVE ME PARENTING ADVICE,” I heard a lot of crap from the mouths of strangers. I didn’t know what was true and what wasn’t, so I’m going to share with you what my experience has been. As always, I’d love to hear your experience too!
“My baby slept through the night at 6 weeks.”
-sleeping through the night is technically 5 hours. That’s a bunch of bullshit, if you ask me. Whoever came up with that term wanted to be Braggy McBraggerton and make everyone think their kid was a freakin’ genius. Most babies do not sleep through the night - as in, 7pm to 7am - for a very, very long time. If your baby is breastfed, this is especially true because breastmilk is more quickly digested than formula. Charlie is 7 months and I wake up 2-3 times per night to feed her (usually at 10-11pm and 3-4am). Also keep in mind that sleep habits ALWAYS change in babies. People who say their baby is sleeping 8 hours straight at 3.5 months will probably be in for a nasty surprise in about 2 weeks, when baby starts waking up 4x per night for awhile.
“if you breastfeed, the weight will just drop right off”
- this has not been my experience. At all. Charlie is 7 months old, and I weigh a good 10 pounds more than I used to. That being said, I am only about 1 pants size bigger, so the weight must be mostly up top (as in my muffin top, haha). It has taken me 7 months to get here. People who have told me that they are in their pre-pregnancy jeans one month post-partum usually still have a muffin top, but decline to mention that in polite company (read = public). Don't listen to these people. I don't know why they think this is helpful "information" to share. That being said, I do have a couple of friends who look exactly like they did pre-baby - so there must be some kind of magical body type that a few really, really karmically gifted people possess.
“You will never sleep again.”
- Not true. The first 4-6 weeks are brutal, for sure. Baby will wake up a lot to eat. But after that, they’ll start sleeping longer stretches (5-6 hours) and you’ll start to feel rested again. There’s a “four month wakeful period” in which Baby may turn into a complete disaster and start waking every 3 hours. Charlie did this. We had to do sleep training to get her out of it, and now she wakes twice per night to eat. This is not terrible - she eats for 10-15 minutes and goes back to sleep immediately, so it’s not a huge production, and I can go right back to sleep. That being said, I am still tired.
“You will never sleep IN again.”
- Uh...I wish I could say this weren’t true. A lot of babies wake up at 6-7am. You can sleep in if you have a nice partner and you aren’t breastfeeding.
“I couldn’t even take a shower”
- This is a bunch of crap. You can take a shower for sure. You just might not be able to spend a bunch of time shaving your legs or individually conditioning each strand of hair. It’s about priorities; you have a certain amount of time, and you can spend it showering, sleeping, updating your blog, or painting your toes. I personally have always taken 5-10 minute showers and haven’t had any trouble taking two showers per day. However, you’ve seen my blog, and my toenails aren’t exactly fit for open-toe shoes.
“I was too busy to eat.”
- too busy/tired to COOK most definitely. But eat? Really? Yes, I eat regular meals and lots of snacks. Then again, eating is a priority to me. I can't imagine being too busy to eat.
“You will never be able to plan things again.”
- This is sort of true. You don’t know what kind of day it’s going to be for Baby, and if she hasn’t napped, napped longer than you expected, or doesn’t feel good, your plans go out the window.
“You will never be on time anywhere ever again.”
- Not sure if “ever again” is accurate, but I am finding this to be true. I swear, as soon as I’m ready to walk out of the house, she spits up on me, or I realize I forgot my own jacket because I was busy making sure I had 10 bibs in the diaper bag. One time when she was 6 weeks old, Charlie literally puked, pooped AND peed on me, all in the same 5 minute span. I was already 10 minutes late.
“Your house is going to look like a circus.”
- With the addition of a few baby toys, our house looks fine. It is not piled full of crap. I think a lot of this is a choice: do you put away the toys, or leave them out in the living room? Do you keep every big toy (like the swing), or do you donate, sell or store them when you get a new toy (like a jumperoo)? We have only one large toy out at a time. Yes, it looks like a baby lives here, but it doesn’t look like a circus. And yes, I realize aesthetics will be compromised when we have to baby proof - but my friend Sarah has a toddler and her house looks lovely.
“You will talk about poop a lot.”
- HAHA! YES. This is true. You will have conversations about poop that go on for 15 minutes and will find them FASCINATING. I have called Y into the nursery to look at a poopy diaper, and he has actually been interested in looking at it. Ah, my glamorous life.
“Parenthood will ruin your marriage.”
- The beginning was really hard, I’m not going to lie. Sleep deprivation + major life change + being responsible for an entire human being = lots of stress. However, my marriage is a lot stronger now than it was pre-Charlie (and I didn’t think it was weak). I have learned more about Y in the past 7 months than in the previous 2 years of marriage, and we understand each other a lot better now. Also, watching him be the most awesome dad ever is really, really wonderful.
For those of you who ARE moms (or dads), what were you told that turned out not to be true?
For those of you who AREN’T moms (or dads), what have you heard that you’d like to know is true or not?
Got a burning question? Ask it here!