THIS IS NORMAL
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
What 3 words best describe your parenting experience to date?
Chaotic, humbling, powerful
What’s one of the hardest or most surprising things about being a parent that people wouldn’t expect or don’t usually talk about?
The first few weeks of breastfeeding are SO hard! It’s presented societally as this easy, beautiful, natural thing – which makes any related challenges feel particularly isolating. From sore/bleeding nipples to low breastmilk supply to hand expressing (hi black & blue boobs!) to pumping constantly to living life in 2-3 hr increments (with no ability to plan ahead)… the time, energy & commitment it takes is overwhelming. I knew babies ate every 2-3 hours, but I didn’t do the math on the hours I’d spend each day breastfeeding, pumping, burping, hand washing bottles, sterilizing, etc. – it’s truly a full time job!
What were some of your “wait...is this normal??” moments once you became a parent?
It’s hard to say outloud (let alone share with the world) but it honestly took me a few weeks to truly fall in love with my baby. It wasn’t as immediate as I expected, and that’s really difficult to admit when everybody is bombarding you with questions & comments like “Isn’t parenthood amazing?!””Aren’t you the happiest you’ve ever been?!” “She’s perfect! You must be head over heels in love.”
Let’s cut ourselves some slack and be able to admit that we just met this tiny human! In the early weeks, we’re sacrificing so much of our body & brain for him/her, our hormones are still all over the place, our bodies are recovering from serious trauma (regardless of if you had a vaginal birth or a c-section), we’re mourning a fun & independent chapter of married life, and our babies don’t recognize us or seem to appreciate us yet! I wish somebody had told me this was normal… and that the smiles (read: feedback loop!) were just a few short weeks away.
What’s one of your favorite parenting hacks that helps keep you sane (that other parents should know about and start doing ASAP)?
A handful of good friends had babies within a month of myself, which instantly turned them into best friends (funny how that works!). The ability to send “Is this normal?” texts during a 4am breastfeeding session makes all the difference in the world. Real Q&A from my text threads:
– Do you know how many ounces of breastmilk you’re producing each day?
– Have you started interviewing nannies yet? Why is it so hard?!
– How did your baby react to their last round of shots?
– How’s the mastisis going? Is massaging in a hot shower working for you?
– Why don’t they sell the disposable hospital underwear on Amazon?
– Lillie’s only 3 months – is she really supposed to be on a schedule already?!
Regardless of whether or not you and your friends ultimately make the same parenting decisions, it’s so helpful to be able to share questions & concerns with somebody going through the same monumental life change you are.
Last but not least, the Hakka manual breast pump & (if you’re trying to breastfeed) Legendairy supplements to help with breastmilk supply!