Sure, there are plenty of books on how to change a diaper, when to feed solids, or how to give your baby a bath. Sure, Dr. Google can basically help you find anything wrong and Mr. Google has thousands of results of when your baby should start crawling. And oh, the unsolicited advice on every.single.aspect of raising an infant. But none of them prepare you for the real life.
“I was a great mom… until I had kids.” Ain’t that the truth? I had it all figured out in my head of the kind of mom I was going to be. Of how I was going to raise my kids. What parenting style I was going to adopt. That all went out the window when I gave birth to Bailee. I was absolutely scared shitless to be sent home with a brand new baby. I had no idea what I was doing. Wait, you want me to get the hang of this breastfeeding thing on my own? And I’m supposed to help this little one start sleeping through the night? What do I do when she projectile spit ups on me and has a blow out at the same time?!
I spent almost all my waking hours (and her sleeping ones) reading my “What to Expect: First Year” book, googling hundreds of websites and even asking friends and family for advice on what I should be doing. I didn’t know what to do when Bailee would be up crying for hours at night. No idea what was wrong with her; going through every single thing in the book to calm her down: walking, rocking, swaying, singing, feeding. What. The. Hell. Matt and I even discussed co-sleeping and how we wouldn’t do it. That was until Bailee wasn’t sleeping more than 45 minutes at a time and I was desperate for some sleep. It was the only way I could get her to sleep 3-4 hours at a time.
And what am I supposed to do with a newborn all day? Can I play with it? Or do I just have to sit around on the couch watching my life away on Fixer Upper? Tummy time? You want me to put my child on their belly? And then watch them freak out and start crying because they hate it? How am I supposed to help her build her strength? Sleep train my 3 month old? Where am I even supposed to start? Which program do I follow? How do I even know if it’ll work?
While I may be 5 months into this motherhood gig, I’d like to think I have a general concept of how to do things now. But I’m not even going to lie, there are some days that I just am still dumbfounded. The start of feeding solids and teaching her to stand. What milestones she should be hitting. What things I should be teaching her to increase her brain development. It’s all a learning game. For both parents and baby.
One day, I might have all the answers. But for now, I’m still just winging it.