Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Baby 101

Let me confess to you that I have no idea what I am about to get myself into with this whole "Mom" thing. I am the youngest of three by six years, and I did no babysitting. As such, I have never changed a diaper or sanitized a bottle. I have no idea how often babies eat or nap. I even still sit down when I hold my friend's newborns. Needless to say, I am no expert on babies. So, I make this post partly because I hope it makes you laugh, partly because I hope some of you will confess the same, and mostly so the experts will chime in with tips. For now, here are a few things I didn't know (or still don't)

1. Not all bottles are created equally. From the nipple size to the material the bottle is made of, all of the baby bottles in the baby bottle section of Target look different. Some of them same they reduce
 gas. Others say they are great for breastfed babies. A week ago, Lucas and I were standing in Target staring blankly at the bottles. I bought a few Dr. Browns. I bought a few extra Medela ones too. Even still, it is my understanding that the baby will express her own preference. Also, am I really supposed to just put all of these things in a pot of boiling water?

2. You don't have to bathe a baby every day. Well, I didn't know! To this day, I still have no idea how to properly bathe a baby. If she ends up clean and uninjured, then I will consider it a win.

3. How many ounces and how frequently babies eat. I feel like I look this up at least once a week and never remember. I am {hoping} the baby will just be able to give me cues about when she is hungry and when she is done eating. I also don't know (if I am able to breastfeed) when to introduce the pump into my life. I bought one, so that's a start right?

4. Swaddling. Pinterest taught me how to swaddle. I've practiced on stuffed animals. You guys, I'm not bad! {Here's How!}

5. What the heck goes in a diaper bag. I did an embarrassing amount of research on this. I found helpful tips such as "bring one diaper for every hour you'll be out...and then some more." I am still convinced that between diaper bags, car seats and strollers, moms are expected to have like six buff arms.

6. The hospital gives you things. Well, that might be inaccurate. You are paying for your hospital things, so the things they give you are yours. And you should take them. This goes for mesh underpants, diapers, blankets, feminine junk, etc.

7. Babies and sleep. This one still confuses me. I've heard everything from "never wake a sleeping baby" to "wake them to feed" to "they'll wake up and let you know what they need. Just learn the cues." And they sleep on their backs with nothing in their cribs or bassinets.

8. Strollers, age and adapters. I have two awesome strollers that I am very excited to use. With the proper adapters, my car seat will snap into each of them. Should she even be in a stroller as a newborn? If so, does she need to be in her car seat or lay perfectly flat? Or should we just use the Baby Bjorn, Ergo Baby or wraps while she is a newborn? I don't know the rules!!!!

9. There is absolutely nothing intuitive about maternity leave, the paperwork, short-term disability, determining pay, choosing when/if to take vacation and how much of the FMLA you are entitled to is worth taking. So, in TN I am entitled to 16 weeks of job-protected leave, but that has no bearing on my income. My income is based on what AutoZone offers, whether I am enrolled in optional STD (I am) and whether I opt to use vacation. Even still, if you take the maximum of 16 weeks, you are not paid the whole time (unless your company does progressive things). Many women, despite desiring to stay home longer with their children, are forced to go back to work for monetary reasons. I'll withhold my opinions on the matter {for once in my life, perhaps}.

10. Sizing. I think it is funny that clothes are sized by age as though everyone's  0-3 month olds are the same. Heck, Eila might start out in 3-month old clothes. Diapers are equally as confusing. And don't get me started on shoes.

There's no shame in my game, friends. I am confident that I will learn most of this "on the job" or from trusted friends in the mom alliance. Until then, I am completely fine with the "fake-it-Til-you-make-it" approach.

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