It’s true! Baby number six has been making its tiny presence known in this house for the last many weeks. I just read the other day that hormone is the Greek word for impact. SO insightful. I mean, I try to be a pretty mellow person. But give me one whiff of a pregnancy-related hormone, and my body goes off like a bottle rocket of over-reactions. Luckily for me, there is a houseful of children here to sprinkle humor all over life. Blaire pretends to puke, rushing off to the bathroom, making everyone else howl with laughter. The bigger kids love to hush each other up whenever some kind of food is mentioned, “DON’T TALK ABOUT FOOD OR MOM WILL PUKE!!!” And we are old enough now to know that we forget about this phase later. We know that the baby at the end is worth anything in the middle, and more than anything we know that this baby is a gift. So, happy times all around!
But I am not the only one growing a baby these days, it seems to be quite the trend. I’ve been thinking back on having the other kids, about being a first-time mom, about being new to the world of nursing sagas. Thinking about welcoming babies, about things that could have been easier. Thinking of things that I’ve learned now, but wish I had known the first time. Terribly incomplete, but I can’t focus for very long these days, so you will have to forgive that!
Ways to Ease the Welcoming of Babies
1) Buy some new make-up, get a haircut, paint your toenails, and get some cozy new stretchy lounge clothes that are cheerful and fresh before you have the baby. It makes you feel so much better, and the pictures will thank you. With my first baby, I gained 22 pounds. She was almost 9 pounds. I figured with the placenta, the water, and everything else (besides the fact that you feel super skinny right after delivering), I could at least get into a few of my old clothes. Pulling out what I had deemed a loose button up shirt, I was unable to button any button but the neck. Nice. Don’t do this. Just wait until you are in a mentally and spiritually stable place before trying on your pre-pregnancy clothes! Now I have a pile of fat pants and fat-chance pants, proving that I have traveled this road before.
2) In the very beginning, trust your instincts, and look to your baby for answers. Do not let other people tell you what your baby needs, figure it out yourself. Of course I am not meaning to disregard medical advice or serious situations. I mean, in the normal scheme of “Is she hungry? Is she gassy? Is she wet? Is she tired?” Try to figure it out with your baby. Don’t stress about the baby crying and run look somewhere else for answers. Stay calm, look to your baby and work on figuring it out. And then, don’t take this too seriously. If you can’t figure it out, and you are sleep deprived and desperate, get help! Ask for ideas from people you trust.
3) About worry. I’m sure every mother remembers the first baby worry. Little burbles in the night, squeaks, choking while nursing, etc. Just remember that your baby is a gift, not a statistic. God created and sustained that life inside you. He gave you this child, open your hands to Him, and trust Him to protect what He has given you. I can remember specific times when I had to think, “Do not cling to this baby like it belongs to you. Open your hands to God, and trust Him to protect and preserve this little life.” Your protective instincts are good, but don’t let them rule over your heart.
4) Take advantage of the help you hopefully have in the first week or so. Everyone tells you this, but sleep when the baby sleeps! I did not do this the first couple times. Now, I know well that the help will end, the days will come when you cannot snooze in the middle of the day. Sleep when you can! It pays off when you are up in the night.
5) If you have other kids – especially little ones, put a baby gate in your bedroom door. I did this with Blaire, and it really helped. She slept in our room, so first thing in the morning I would clean our room, make the bed, etc. Then step over the gate into the real world. When I needed to nurse her, or change a blowout, I would go into our room. The little kids could come to the door, ask questions, and shout observations about how cute she was. It enabled me to not spend all the nursing time saying, “No, don’t climb on my lap. Don’t lean on the baby! Back off!” The gate was a simple way to enforce a boundary that everyone would have forgotten to obey in the excitement of a diaper change.
6) I used gallon ziploc bags to make what we called “blowout kits.” They smashed flat easily in a purse or diaper bag, and came in excessively handy more times than I could easily tabulate. I included Bitsy Bug baby girl clothes (usually pajamas), a cloth diaper or two (the cheap kind – in lieu of a changing pad). Diapers and wipes we always have in my purse, in the glove compartment, and in my husband’s back pocket, so I don’t include those. The best part is that you simply insert all the soiled goods right back into the ziploc, later to be plunged into oxyclean. If your child is a blowout hobbyist, you might want to keep one in the car too. And a stack of cheap cloth diapers kept me from always having to change the changing pad, or sanitize the diaper bag.
7) Do not mind telling people who want to hold your baby, “No thanks.” If you don’t feel like passing your baby around, don’t. This is a great reason to have a baby carrier of some description. It keeps people from just trying to take the baby away from you, and might make you feel less awkward about saying no. Especially when the baby is new, and when a lot of people are around, feel totally free to say “I’m gonna take her back now, thanks!” or “I’m gonna keep him right now.” Babies are not public domain, it’s ok to say no. You and your husband are the only people who have rights, everyone else is just asking.
Enjoy yourself. You know babies- they don’t stay that way long!