Welcome back to Risky Baby Business, our Saturday series here are More Cowbell! If you’re new over here, the previous posts in this series can be found here.
I’ve talked before about all the advice that people give you that is so often useless because every child and every pregnancy is different. I remember thinking: Why can’t people give me advice about things that are pretty much the same across the board?
The simple answer? (There’s really three.)
- They don’t want to scare you.
- They forget. Exhaustion does that to you.
- They DO tell you and you don’t believe them.
“Oh, sure…” you might be thinking to yourself. “Because that story about the 38 hour labor was guaranteed to keep me CALM.”
I can only say that there are some things that nothing can prepare you for — you have to experience them for yourself. Having a child is one of those things. (Although that whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” is really golden advice, if you can just make yourself do it.)
Still, in the interest of giving to all the new parents out there, here’s the 5 things I wish someone had described in more detail BEFORE the baby came:
1. It will take you an hour longer than you think it will to get anywhere the first year of your child’s life.
Seriously. First you have to figure out through trial and error what all your particular kid needs. Then you have to stock several of those things because there’s nothing worse than running out in the middle of the night, or in the middle of a night out. Then you have to figure out a way to efficiently cart all of that crap AND THE BABY around with you. It’s a challenge for a while.
2. The first time you take your child on an outing by yourself, you will feel like you ran a marathon.
I highly recommend you take your infant everywhere in the first 3-4 months. This is actually when they are the easiest because they’re not moving yet…they stay where you put them!
But you need to know about Murphy’s Law of Babies once you take your child into the world: If they’re going to blow out of their diaper, or projectile vomit, it’s going to be when you are alone with them IN PUBLIC with nary a changing table or spare outfit in sight. This particular law is why parents arm themselves for everything but a nuclear disaster when they leave the house with their infant.
Plus, you’re just so worried about keeping them safe. Here’s a post about how I felt when it was time to leave the hospital and take my new baby home.
3. Just as they did when you were expecting, scores of people will offer you unsolicited (crappy) advice.
There are many people who feel they need to give you the benefit for their experience when you have a new baby (or a toddler, or a pregnant tummy) and they WILL walk up to you and offer you their advice. While some of it is very good, most of it is ridiculous.
One of my in-laws said the first time he took his oldest daughter out alone (at about 5 months), they stopped into a Starbucks together and he grabbed one of those green straws to keep her busy while he was going through the line. A woman marched right up to him and said, “You know, you can cut a potato with that straw. You need to take that away from her.”
He was new at this daddy business so he took it away and, of course, she cried. He put a pacifier in her mouth and the same woman walked over and told him he shouldn’t give his daughter a pacifier because it would screw up her teeth. He lost it and yelled, “Get out of here, Lady! I’m trying to get some coffee, not kill my child.”
4. The directions on the gas drops lie.
I breastfed my daughter and it seemed like, no matter what I ate, she got gas. It was awful. She’s always been a sweet-natured kid but the whole gas business was the pits. I changed my diet plenty of times, and gave her gas drops religiously.
Finally, when we went to the pediatrician for a check-up, we asked her about it. I could NOT believe what she said: “Oh, don’t follow the directions on the Mylicon box! They’re wrong. They tell you to give the drops after you start feeding her. You need to give them before you start.
Oh, really??! How nice of them to tell us WRONG information so we have Banshee Baby!!
5. Your child’s fever will always be highest between midnight and 4 am.
This is another gem from our marvelous pediatrician. We were freaking out at how our daughter seemed to go from “not sick” to REALLY sick in the space of three hours. When we told her that her fever spiked at 12:30 am, she said, “Oh, that’s really normal.”
Say what? Nobody told me that! And it’s not written in the kids manual (that none of us get). I wanted to bitch-slap every parent we knew for not clueing us in on this one. When I fact checked my pediatrician, they all just said, “Oh, sure. Everyone knows that.”
Yes, everyone who has woken up to their hot, feverish children for many years might know this. Us newbies?? Not a clue.
It’s your turn now…what do you wish people had told you before the baby came? Was there advice you got that was really great? Or did you get advice that was truly insane? Enquiring minds love to know these things here at More Cowbell!