Baby Advice from a Recovering Perfectionist…

My little guy is a little over a month old now and my God, it has been such an incredible learning experience. As all mothers know, raising a child is hard. The worries, the sleepless nights, the constant crying that pulls at your heart strings… motherhood is most definitely not for the feint of heart! But that innocent and content face and those inquisitive eyes make it all so worthwhile. It still boggles my mind that I actually cooked this guy up for nine months and now he’s this living, breathing, beautiful little person. Just…WOW.

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What surprises me most of all, however, are the many things I have discovered about myself in the process. The boundless patience and newfound ability to calm myself down, the incredible instinct to nurture and protect, the desire to be the best that I can be while allowing myself room to make mistakes, and the amazing capacity to thrive on little to no sleep! Don’t get me wrong, deep down inside of me is still this person that strives for perfection, but luckily the more logical, sane, and imperfect part of me has taken the drivers seat.

So, from one new mom to another, here are a few words of advice from a recovering perfectionist:

1. LET IT GO. That mess will still be there for you to clean tomorrow. Your post-partum belly will not disappear in a day, a week, or even a month. And your precious little package (aka…baby) will not die if slightly off his feeding schedule. Instead, get some rest! TRUST ME. Letting it go is the best that you can do for yourself and for everyone around you. (And sometimes I need to learn to take my own advice…!)

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2. Speaking of a feeding schedule, and for those that are breastfeeding: DON’T PANIC if your babe doesn’t feed by the books. I still struggle with this one, but it’s imperative to your sanity and peace of mind. Putting it nicely, most babies become pretty darn vocal when hungry. If they seem perfectly content after a feed, and if they are gaining the appropriate weight, there is no need to freak out. This said by the Queen of Freaking Out.

3. DON’T BE AFRAID. I’ve heard stories of mothers that are too afraid of making one little mistake to handle their own baby. Fortunately, babies are malleable, squishy little creatures. They are meant to be handled, cradled, snuggled, and often contorted into awkward positions. They will be ok, and so will you. Just give them that hands on comfort they will inevitably crave…and scream for.

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Snuggles

4. Watch out for what I have dubbed as the “MONSTER PHASE.” It is something I am currently experiencing and I cannot understand for the life of me why this phenomenon isn’t more often vocalized by mothers around the world. For all you newbies and moms-to-be out there, if you think you have a quiet, sweet baby…just wait until the 6 week mark. I will tell you now, shit will hit the fan. That innocent baby of yours will become the devil reincarnated. This may last for a few days and even up to a few weeks for some of you poor souls out there. If you hear nothing else, hear this: it will get better! Those horrific screams will slowly subside into laughter and smiles. At least, that’s what I have been told…

5. Lastly, if you do choose to breast feed, don’t ever let anyone undermine your feelings of frustration and despair. Breastfeeding can be hard. It puts all the pressure of sustenance onto one human being. Add to that the fact that you are feeding every 2 hours or so and you quickly begin to feel like nothing more than a milk machine! And yes, there may be production problems, allergy problems, and/or extreme gassiness problems. I’ve already had numerous meltdowns over breast feeding and have on occasion substituted formula just to give myself a break. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, feel like a failure if you choose to give your baby formula sometimes or all of the time. I was a formula fed baby and I turned out ok (if I do say so myself!) so turn a deaf ear to any naysayers out there! No one knows what’s best for you and your baby but you.

Perfectionist or not, the most important thing you can do is enjoy this time with your little one. Despite the screams, despite the messy house and dirty diapers and the sleepless nights, take pride in this little human you created and remember, there is a very bright, sparkling light at the end of this tunnel. It will all be worth it in the end!

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ps….for all you non-mommas out there, I will get back to the basics soon! Please bare with me while I revel in babydom for just a little longer Smile

8 thoughts on “Baby Advice from a Recovering Perfectionist…

  1. I have to say your 6 weeks comment confused me. At about 6 weeks my little guy was settling into a schedule and I was starting to see the light. Also a little around 6 weeks I think we figured out he was having a reaction to dairy. I stopped eating all dairy and he became a much happier baby. If your little guy was a lot different and now you are finding it harder, stick with your mommy gut and look out for signs that something else might be going on. I thought he was having gas because of garlic (an aunt had this problem) So the third time I ate pizza I said no more! A little while later we couldn’t calm him down one night. Turns out I had eat something else with dairy and it was really the cheese on the pizza that had done it before. I hope you and your little guy smooth things out and you start to feel better about it. 🙂 Cute pictures!

  2. What a precious little guy! And he looks like his momma! Keep up the good work. It’ll be a neverending quest for balance. Forever and ever, Amen! Savor every moment as there aren’t any do-overs. Blessings to you and your family.

    Kim

    • Kim, thank you for your sweet comment! When he was born he looked like a miniature version of my husband but as he grows I’m finally beginning to see little bits of me in there 🙂 And YES, it already is a never-ending quest for balance – I’m still working on finding some kind of routine but continue to find myself in a bit of a survival mode. But I know the sleepless nights and frantic days are utterly worth it. Thank you for reminding me to savor every moment of it!

    • Thank you Tobi! I know you’ve had some heartache in this department, but it will most definitely apply to you one day! And when it does, you will fall fiercely in love like you never have before – your little one will become so much more important than your need for perfection. And, of course, there is a point in which you just go into survival mode and anything beyond eating, sleeping, and taking care of the babe becomes moot!

  3. Wow he puts the A in adorable! I absolutely love your comment about breast feeding. I think so many women go through this especially when your mother in law is watching with that breast is best face on. Lol. My little lad and I used to battle it out at meal times because he was so keen to get on the breast that he’d get frustrated trying to get on and so would I. Switched to bottle at 4 months and we instantly fell in love with each other. Mealtime was enjoyable for both of us. Thanks for sharing as it will help others. I chuckled as I relived my ordeal through your post. All the best and thanks so much for sharing!

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