Lessons Learned During My Baby’s First Year

November 9, 2016


This post was a whole year in the making. I started writing it shortly after Lachlan was born and I added to it with each lesson learned. I wanted to list them as they came to me. I hope any new mamas will find it informative! Of course, everyone has their own experience with raising kids, this is just mine during our first year as new parents.

The lessons are pretty much chronological to his age with each category, so the ones towards the top were from when he was brand new, and the ones at the end are more towards age 1.

Baby

  1. Bring a bottle no matter how quick the trip
  2. They will outgrow newborn clothes really fast so don’t spend too much on newborn sizes
  3. Same for diaper sizes
  4. It takes practice to get out of the house, and this builds your mommy confidence. So practice a lot.
  5. Cradle cap looks awful but isn’t harmful or contagious
  6. It’s normal for a baby to have a white tongue and it’s not thrush
  7. Beware: holding a post-fed baby facing you may result in spit up down your shirt, between the boobs
  8. Take off baby’s socks before changing a poopy diaper
  9. It’s really hard to dry a wet baby who doesn’t want to be laid down by yourself without having 4 arms. But if you place the bottom corner (opposite the hood) of a hooded towel on your shoulder with the hood side facing out, then place baby on that shoulder, you can flip the hooded corner up to cover his head that way.
  10. Babies may not like the taste of frozen breast milk. You can mix it in half and half (or whatever ratio works) with fresh or formula to disguise the taste.
  11. Make sure to find a formula your baby likes before you stop giving them breast milk
  12. People have told me, and I agree, that baby’s tend to poop while in their jumpers/exersaucers
  13. No matter how perfectly you try to replicate what you did on the night they slept all the way through, you will never get the same result. It’s totally random, there’s no rhyme or reason no matter what you do. Just accept this.
  14. If their cry sounds like a hunger cry but you think they can’t possibly be hungry since they just ate 20 minutes ago, it’s probably because he’s hungry.
  15. Once they can roll over and crawl, diaper changes become a ‘shit show’
  16. Give them a new or favorite toy during these diaper changes to keep their hands out of the poop
  17. Baby proofing is more like rearranging an entire room by removing everything from the floor up to 3 feet
  18. Things that will entertain your baby the most are usually things that aren’t typical baby toys: (water bottle, wipes container, piece of paper, tissue box, string, decoy cellphone, decoy remote control, clothes they are wearing taken off, giant box)
  19. Beware playgrounds with wood chips. Even if you SWEAR you watched them the entire time to make sure they didn’t put a piece of wood in their mouth, you will find a piece of wood in their mouth when you get home from the park and then you’re blood will run cold because, hello, choking!?

Products

  1. Save the $$ on a diaper genie and just get a garbage with a lid
  2. Buy the lightest/less bulkiest car seat/stroller you can find. It’s worth the extra expense.
  3. Buy a baby-wearing device that doesn’t take 20 minutes to put on
    1. But if you do get a difficult one, make sure you know how to put it on fast before the baby starts screaming
  4. Sign up for rewards programs & coupons wherever you can find them
    1. Pampers
    2. Babies R Us
    3. Enfamil
  5. Buy baby clothes with zippers or snaps when possible. Buttons SUCK.
  6. Buy two types of baby monitors: One with video and mount it in the nursery, and one with just audio where you can put it anywhere the baby actually falls asleep safely (like the rock n play in the living room, etc).
  7. Baby clothes will vary in size, even within the same brand. So one brand’s size 6 months might look just as big as 12 month.
  8. Join a local garage sale group on Facebook to buy and sell baby things
  9. As awesome as a Rock N Play is for sleeping, it was a bitch to transfer baby to a flat crib when we were ready! Moving them into the crib before habits form (my doc said ~5 months), will make it easier on you both.
  10. Baby clothes that don’t stretch are reeeeeeally hard to put on, especially after a bath
  11. It’s really hard to put on baby shorts. As soon as you go to put the other leg in, the first leg will pop out
  12. They will most likely want to play with the diaper wipe container or a water bottle than that $50 toy you bought them
  13. Buy the bigger, more expensive toys (like jumpers, walkers, activity tables) from garage sales or consignment shops for cheap because for all you know, they’ll scream bloody murder while playing with it and hate it
  14. Also, don’t be afraid to buy clothing used too. Seeing how my own kid wore an outfit only twice before outgrowing it, it seems like such a waste to pay full price
  15. Never underestimate the power of food. My kid will shut up to eat puffs.
  16. We’ve been in size 4 diapers the longest than any other size. So if you want to plan ahead, I’d recommend buying size 4s because they have the widest recommended weight range than the smaller ones do.
  17. Those really awesome jogging strollers with the big wheels are prone to getting flats so buy lots of spare tubes
  18. I LOVED the Wonder Weeks app: it gave us a pretty accurate timeline of when to expect our baby to go through a grumpy period and it was nice to prepare mentally for it.
  19. Tension gates work great for keeping babies off the bottom of the stairs. But I’d install a stronger gate at the top.

People

  1. People love babies and will take no notice of your resting bitch face to interact with them. This is nice.
  2. You’re the mommy so you know best. Ignore people who judge.
  3. You will lose social media followers
  4. But you will gain social media followers who have this mom thing in common with you
  5. Disable your doorbell, especially if you have dogs
  6. People typically don’t like when you say your baby’s age in weeks once you get past like, 12 weeks old
  7. It’s hard to plan anything with anyone, kids or no kids
  8. No matter how many times people say how cute my baby is, I will never tire of it
  9. Older ladies LOVE baby feet and will walk across a room/store/restaurant to see the baby they are attached to
  10. Babies make great ice breakers. Strangers will start talking to them, and then to you.
  11. Arranging a babysitter to come over during a nap or after bed time will make it so much easier for you to leave on time and enjoy your date
  12. Chose your child’s pediatrician wisely. They will be your “baby sherpa” and help guide you along as you go through all those crazy stages.

Being a mom

  1. Beware the baby blues. I found the hormone crash after birth to be really awful. Mix that in with sleep deprivation, postpartum pain, and stress, and you can feel like a hot mess. Don’t be afraid to seek help or medication if it lasts longer than 2 weeks.
  2. Have help and support at home during the first few weeks. You really don’t want to do this alone no matter how much you think you do.
  3. I had temporary short-term memory loss after birth, and still have a hard time remembering things a year in. I couldn’t retain any new information at first, and forgot my own cell phone number at the pediatrician’s.
  4. Fed is best. Don’t stress over breast milk vs. formula vs pumping, etc.
  5. Your period may return if you don’t breastfeed/pump for that middle of the night feed. I was not expecting that!
  6. Your first few postpartum periods are going to be like Niagara Falls so buy the biggest pads you can find
  7. Postpartum hair loss is no joke! It’s scary, but you won’t go bald.
  8. I noticed a correlation between when my hair loss stopped with when I stopped breast feeding but I don’t know if this happens with everyone.
  9. Get out of the house anytime you have a chance no matter how tired.
  10. Sex really freakin hurts the first few times after birth but give it time, a lot of time even, and you should feel better eventually.
  11. It’s easy to loose yourself. Find something you like to do for yourself.
  12. Your sanity is more important than breast milk/the pump so don’t feel guilty if you want to quit.
  13. Even after you completely wean off breastfeeding/pumping, your breasts will leak a few drops every now and then. So annoying!
  14. You might feel like crying just because of how cute they look in an outfit
  15. Kiss those baby toes as much as you can now before they start to get stinky
  16. You will now know what that cliche of your heart walking around on the outside feels like
  17. Trust your instincts. They are probably right!
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