Looking back on the days after my son was born, I have a difficult time pinpointing what the best part of having a baby would be. Before he was born I assumed, "no longer being pregnant" would be at the top of the list and, honestly, it still is; my pregnancy ending was a definite plus. But when other moms share the best part about having a newborn, I'm always reminded of absolutely everything else that made having a newborn so unbelievable and life-changing and, well, wonderful.
Of course, having a newborn is also exhausting. I was up every two hours, without fail, and was nothing short of a human cow; constantly dispensing milk whenever my son deemed it necessary which was, you know, always. I was scared of everything, even going to sleep, for fear that I would wake up to see that my son hadn't, and wouldn't. I didn't leave the house; I didn't speak to very many people; I didn't do much of anything except care for a baby and attempt to adequately adjust to something as profound and new and overwhelming as parenthood.
But amidst the constant fear and self-doubt and exhaustion, there was so much awesome. Just, like, all the awesome you could possibly handle. I loved watching my son's small body rise and fall as he slept on my chest while I wrote or read or watched television. I couldn't get enough of my son's smile, especially when he flashed a grin as he slept. I couldn't stop staring at my partner when he rocked our son to sleep, kissing the top of his head and whispering in his tiny ears how much he loved him. I was infatuated with my son's smell; a delightful mix of myself, my partner, lavender and spilt milk.
Having a newborn can be challenging, but it's also so damn wonderful, which is why I asked 13 moms to share the best part about having a newborn. Babies: when they're not totally exhausting, they're totally amazing.
"Being introduced to a new love that is instantaneous. The new experience of having your first child changes everything. For me, having a second and third [child] was a little different. I loved the child growing inside of me each time, but having a face to that love made my heart full and actually grow with each child. Plus newborns are easy! They eat, sleep, and cry, but they don't talk back like a toddler."
Feeling [my daughter's] heartbeat as she slept on my chest; this tiny little miracle. And looking at her face, wondering what amazing things her future had in store for her.
"The best thing about having an infant is that they're adorable and extremely portable, especially when they're sleeping. So, I found with my kids that I could go out and do the things I normally did, I just had to baby wear or cart them around in their car seat. Go to dinner? Just go when you know the baby is going to be napping. Want to go to a party at your friends place? Just set the baby in another room while you mingle with guests. They're actually pretty convenient."
With my first [newborn], I was so overwhelmed that it was kind of hard to enjoy the newborn phase. This time [with my second], I am able to appreciate it so much more. My favorite part is naps on the sofa with him snuggled on my chest.
"My favorite part of having newborns were those quiet moments, when I'd just be lying there with one of the boys on my bare chest, feeling their breath synchronize with mine as they slept and being in complete awe of the fact that I managed to create and grow two healthy little babies. Oh, and the intoxicating 'newborn smell,' which was an odd mix of baby shampoo, lavender, and spoiled milk."
Having a newborn is one of the most unexpected and amazing moments of my life. I didn't know what to expect. No amount of prepping by reading cover to cover of What to Expect When You're Expecting would really be enough, until I actually experienced it. Even though I was exhausted 98% of the time, just watching [my son] sleep and watching his facial expressions as he dreamed made me forget about how tired I really was. His intoxicating newborn smell was my favorite part. I could literally snuggle him all day long; smelling his head and neck and knowing that this is what perfection really was. I will never forget it and almost miss it now that he's older.
"I'd say the best thing(s) about newborns are how snugly they are and how good they smell. And also, though this is more in retrospect now that I have a toddler, how they are perfectly content with every little new thing and how they aren't mobile (because chasing toddlers is hell on my back these days)."
The quiet moments when they're asleep and you just hold them, marveling at their every tiny feature; fingers, toes and little ears. At the same time, realizing you have a love and bond you will share with them forever. I remember saying to myself multiple times, 'This is real! I get to love this little person forever!'
"Can I say more than one thing? Snuggles, tiny clothes and swaddling that turns your baby into a cuddly burrito."
One of my favorite parts of having a newborn was changing [my son's] clothes and having him look like a baby model. All babies are perfect and newborns have the best little costume-type clothing! I must have taken thousands of pictures!
"Hearing his first cry and meeting him for the very first time. No greater feeling in the world because, in the end, all the pain, tears and anxiety were worth it. I also loved listening to him make noises in his sleep; they were the cutest.
I wasn't a huge fan of the newborn newborn stage, but I absolutely love the stage he is in now. Nursing has become one of my favorites; watching him kick his legs as I unclip my bra, feeling his fingers tickle my side and his one hand placed in between my breasts, holding him close to me and watching him fall asleep contently. That's my favorite thing these days."
It is not easy, because having a newborn is overwhelming. It involves all of the senses; smell, touch, sight. You are raw and delirious and sleep deprived and withdrawing hard from pregnancy hormones, feeling like a shaky junkie.
And still, at the center of there's this absolute miracle bringing clarity to it all. So what is my favorite thing? When you're skin to skin with this tiny love, feeling his fragility and incredible strength, lightness and weight, listening to his heartbeat. You remember that very first moment when you pulled that wet baby onto your chest. The sheer awe of that, 'I *made* a person' moment; it makes you feel goddess. You take stock of where you are, and you see with perfect clarity again what matters. This moment. This baby. This life. None of the rest of the crap that weighs you down matters. And if you were vacillating on a decision, hesitating on a direction to take, a newborn anchors you to reality.
"My favorite part about having a newborn was the completeness that I felt. I felt so at ease and so fulfilled during those first few weeks. It was like waking up every morning to the sun coming through the blinds and the smell of flowers."