Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The speech I give to all new moms
The first six to eight weeks are the hardest
How well I remember when I first became a mom. I was thrilled, elated, joyful, and...CLUELESS.
Weeks of LaMaze training had not prepared a 23-year-old, who had never even had so much as a puppy. to care for a newborn baby and all its attendant needs and complications.
My mom has a photo of me holding Jonathan a few days after his birth. Jonathan is crying his head off, and I look like a deer caught in the headlights. The helpless feeling of "What do I do now????" is palpable and almost humorous in that picture.
Interestly, Jonathan wasn't even a difficult newborn! In fact, he was a remarkably good one, who slept long stretches at a time, was colic-free, and had a very peaceful (dare I say "angelic"?) disposition.
But the fact is, nothing can quite prepare you for the impact of your first child.
So, I have a little speech I give all new moms that I come in contact with--whether they ask for it or not! Just today, I posted it on the blog of the Lange Family, who welcomed Joseph into their home a little over a month ago.
It's actually based on something I read when Jonathan was a newborn, in the book Nursing Your Baby, by Karen Pryor.
I remember the book was a real help to me as a new nursing mother, but it there was one paragraph that really caught my eye. Pryor said that a turning point takes place when the baby is around six to eight weeks old. In effect, she was saying that things get easier then. Much easier.
I clung to that paragraph like a lifeline, and turns out--at least in the case of my three babies--Pryor was right on the money.
This is what I wrote in the Lange blog, and it's essentially my speech to new moms:
"The first six to eight weeks are the hardest. After that, things get much better. Baby will sleep more at night, plus he begins to get a little personality that rewards you with a smile or a coo, instead of just being a tiny little eating/sleeping machine.
Plus, you as parents are getting more accustomed to him by then--what his cries mean, how to comfort him, how to react to him.
If mom is breastfeeding, the worst of it (soreness, long feedings, uncertain schedules) will be over. Feeding settles into a routine, and baby gets so efficient at getting the milk out, feedings are much shorter.
Six to eight weeks is the magic milestone, in my opinion. And by six months? You'll think this child is the greatest thing God ever created, and the greatest thing that's ever happened to you. :)"
So if you're an overwhelmed first-time mom of a newborn, keep your chin up. Happier, easier, more well-adjusted times are just around the corner!
Related Tags: newborns, pregnancy, childbirth, nursing