This is the introductory piece in a four-piece series entitled “Infancy. Again.” by guest contributor Rachael Ringenberg. Rachael lives in Boston with her husband Joe and their two daughters, 2-1/2-year-old Lux and six-month-old Joan, and writes about having another baby on her blog Erstwhile Dear. I’ve asked her to share four pieces with us here—one each week in the coming month. Rachael’s writing always resonates with me; she has a beautiful, relatable voice that I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.
To begin, her “Ten Thoughts for New Moms” (to which she, generously, agreed to add four more for second-timers like me).
Ten thoughts for new moms
Sleep with a favorite bed companion for your baby before they arrive and infuse it with your scent.
Since this is your first: Relish nursing them to sleep. Relish falling asleep with them. Relish getting stuck under them for their whole nap. It will be the rarest of occurrences with any baby after this one.
Things that are easiest when the baby is smallest: day trips, plane trips, eating at loud restaurants, and evening adventures.
Never post about how well your baby is sleeping on Facebook. Nothing marks a new parent more than this boasting and, unfortunately, it can really hurt some friends’ feelings who’ve had more difficult babies. Stay savvy and avoid this topic.
Three questions you might ask yourself and later look back and wonder if you were insane: Is little Lux getting enough stimulation? Am I keeping her from learning? Am I being a “good” parent at all times?
Your assistants—baby carriers, baby swings, bouncy seats—are only as useful as you give them the chance to be. Babies in suburbs typically like sleeping in cars, babies in cities typically hate it. Frequency develops fondness.
Avoid sleep training until, at the very least, three months. Do not spend hours Googling methods when they are two weeks old. Your hips have to learn to sway, your mouth has to learn the comforting noises, your baby has to stop being a foreign alien to this world. It takes time, and no one’s cheap tricks will help.
Here’s what the hours of Googling inevitably results in: Yes, other babies do it. No, no one knows why. Yes, it will stop soon.
The sooner you can quiet the fear of your own intuitions, the sooner you and your baby will feel confident in your decisions.
and for 2nd timers:
You will not satisfy each one all the time. But both of them, most of the time.
Start dinner in your early afternoon lull. If it’s 5pm and happy hour has kicked in, abandon ship. Opt for cheese and crackers or cereal. Dinner never seems to be worth it in the end.
Before the baby arrives, begin a morning “playtime alone in your room” habit for your toddler. You’ll be surprised by how quickly they might take to it. This 20-40 minutes could allow for the baby to have an morning nap and you to have a cup of coffee in solitude!
As each day ends: forgive and forget. As each morning begins: today is a new day.
P.S. Thank you all so much for the sweet, sweet comments on my last post about our first week with Skyler. I’ve loved reading them.