So, I've been a mom for 3 whole weeks, which makes me basically an expert now ;) hahaha. Here's what I've learned so far...
My Thoughts On:
Labor & Delivery
Everyone's experiences will be different - from person to person and child to child, but, in my experience, it's NOT AS BAD AS THEY MAKE YOU THINK IT IS! My labor and delivery was so smooth. Yes, contractions are painful, but by no means were mine excruciating, and I was at more than 8 cm and 100% effaced before I got an epidural. BTW, my epidural was not scary at all. It didn't hurt, it didn't take long, and it was definitely a wonderful thing to have. Not being in any pain helped me to have a calm, peaceful, happy birth experience and I loved it.
It's hard. It really is. The first few days really were the worst. It's hard because it's frustrating if it doesn't work out easily from the beginning, it's hard because it's painful sometimes, it's hard because it feels like all you ever do is sit on the couch nursing your baby, it's hard because you want your baby to get plenty to eat and get all roly-poly like the Michelin man and you're just not sure if you're giving her enough. Also, breastmilk....everywhere. Just everywhere.
Why do we put cute changing pad covers over the waterproof changing pad? That's dumb. It will just inevitably get poop, pee, and spit up all over it, and you will change it every single day at least once. Also, it's unfortunate that babies can't just be nekked all the time, because their poop, pee, and spit up will also get all over their adorable clothes and stain them beyond redemption.
**Update: So, now I've been a mom for 3 whole MONTHS! So, I'm for sure an expert now if I wasn't before. Ha ha ;) Here's a few more things I would add to this list at this point:
I bought a cute, sort of expensive diaper bag. Then I found out it was really too small to fit all of the stuff I needed (*cough* firsttimemom *cough*). So, I ditched it and bought an equally cute, waaaaay cheaper, and much more useful diaper bag from WalMart. WalMart ftw.
Here's just a gigantic list: muslin swaddle blankets, Avent natural bottles & binkies, Burt's Bees baby wash (best smell everrrr), Boudreaux's Butt Paste & diaper rash preventer spray, Huggies little snugglers (seriously THE BEST), Similac total comfort formula, Angel Care baby monitor, vinegar (I know, you didn't think that was a baby product...but it is. I use it in laundry, washing bottles, cleaning, etc. It's my favorite thing ever), binkie clips, Grow With Me socks.
The first few weeks of JoJo's life were so hard. Now I understand that what everyone tries to tell you really is true: you really do know what your baby needs better than anyone else. Your mother's intuition IS enough, you are doing a wonderful job, and everything WILL be okay. And the stress does get easier to manage. It doesn't go away, you just adjust and learn to be happy through it all and not take life too seriously.
In my experience, most of the "judgy-judgers" aren't actually trying to bring you down. They usually have good intentions when they make little comments or give you unsolicited advice. Listen to them, then decide for yourself whether or not it's worth taking to heart. If you don't feel like it is, or if you're somehow bothered by it, learn to brush it off and say to yourself, "Well, I'm the best mom ever, so I'll just do things my way, thanks." ;)