The first month with a new baby is one of the most emotionally charged times of a mom's life. Between hormones and the learning curve of taking care of a newborn, it can be as stressful as it is amazing. Thankfully, most newborns are pretty similar. They sleep, they eat, they cry, they poop, and that's about it. They are so similar, in fact, that I'm pretty confident in saying there are things that are bound to happen during your baby's first month of life, even though every parent and every baby is undeniably different.
When my older son was brand new, we were in a new town, far from friends and family and my husband was working 12 and 13 hour days. I was alone with my son from the time we woke up until mid-to-late evening. Every. Single. Day. I felt wholly unprepared to care for a newborn and had no idea what I was doing. I had no real support system outside of Facebook and the online friends and groups it had to offer me, and I spent the majority of my time over-analyzing every single situation as a new mom. I was the textbook definition of hyper-vigilant and I had no idea that all the things I was doing and thinking were completely normal. Instead, I thought I had lost my freakin' mind.
Turns out, most (read: all) new moms are completely puzzled by their newborns and their new lives as parents. So, if you find yourself doing the following things during your baby's first month of life, please know that you're normal. You're probably sleep-deprived, unsure, and exhausted, but you're definitely normal.
You'll Think Your Baby Is Possessed
Babies are so weird, y'all. They're like tiny aliens and the way they function can seem nothing short of odd when you've never been around a baby every hour of every day.
For example, did you know babies sleep with their eyes open? Oh yeah, that's a thing. Creepy.
You'll Freak Out
You will go completely bananas over something that, in hindsight, is relatively mild.
I'll never forget the time my son spit up while lying on his back. I panicked, convinced he would develop aspiration pneumonia from sucking spit back into his lungs. I called the pediatrician. I called my mom. I called my husband. I asked about it on Facebook and Twitter. I was all the way freaked out. Yeah, turns out he was completely and totally fine.
You'll Want To Vomit
One word, my friends: meconium.
What in the the actual hell is that stuff, and why is it stuck on my baby's ass like slime? God be with you if you get it on your finger.
You'll Be Obsessed With Your Baby's Breathing
For months after my son was born, I never slept. Instead, I opted to constantly watch him breathe. Every evening I would check on my son in five minute increments. I almost invested hundreds of dollars in one of those fancy vital signs monitors, but then I decided it would malfunction and I'd miss it when he stopped breathing.
You'll Call The Pediatrician. A Lot.
I called my sons' pediatrician so often, the receptionist recognized my voice. I mean, I called about everything. "My baby just spit up, but it wasn't like his normal spit up," or, "He just coughed, do I need to bring him in? No, just once, one cough," or, "He has a tiny red spot that is so small I had to turn on my phone flashlight to even see it, do you think he has eczema? Should I bring him in?"
I was off the rails, y'all.
You'll Keep A "Poop Log"
Yep. You'll record bowel movements. Frequency, color, consistency; you'll be like a scientist recording an experiment. You will keep a detailed log (puns on puns on puns) of everything that comes out of your baby, and you won't think it's weird at all.
You'll Feel Like A Crazy Person
Between the sleep deprivation and the stress, you'll most likely be a total wreck. My advice? Embrace it. Lean heavily on your support system, even if they tell you because you've lacked the ability to take a shower this week. Keep leaning, my friends.
You'll Feel Out Of Your League
Every new mother ever feels like she is completely out of her depth. You aren't. Really and truly, and even when you don't feel like it, you're the best, most capable person to care for your newborn. You got this, mama.
You'll Google Everything
If Alexa (or Siri) had been around when my 4-year-old son was a baby, she would've been my best friend. "Alexa, why is my baby crying?" "Alexa, how often should my baby nurse?" "Alexa, how do make sure my kid doesn't turn into a sociopath?" "Alexa, why does my baby's poop look like brown cottage cheese?"
I could've saved myself the repetitive stress injury and carpal tunnel from constantly typing on my phone.
Hormones, y'all. Hormones make you cry about everything. I cried because my son's toes were so tiny. I cried because my husband brought me a glass of water. I cried because I found out there was a Castle marathon every Wednesday. I cried because "Single Ladies" is such a good song.
No shame, mamas. Motherhood is hard. You're doing a great job.