Things I've learned in my first month as a parent

Since it is (at least in my time zone) now August 6th, I’ve been a parent for a full month now. It seemed like a good opportunity to reflect on a couple of things I’ve learned about myself, babies, and being a parent. And nsince baby’s asleep and I’m chained to the breast pump, you all get to benefit from my newfound wisdom! So, in the spirit of fighting ignorance, here is what I know to be true for at least one baby on he planet:

*Babies have a sensor that alerts them to when mom is trying to take a nap. No matter how peacefully they are sleeping, when you lay down they will get up.
*Everyone says that the early smiles are just gas bubbles, but it doesn’t matter. They’ll make you feel like the best parent ever anyway.
*You might think it’s cute that your baby is farting while you change his diaper. It will rapidly become less cute when he sprays poop on the wall.
*Becoming a parent really cements your awareness of your own mortality. I haven’t changed much in the last several days, but my son is a new person - larger, stronger, smarter, more aware - every single day.
*When you get distracted by profound thoughts like the previous, your child will keep you humble by peeing on your hand.
*watching your spouse become a parent for the first time, and interacting with your child together, opens up a completely new dimension in a relationship.
*It is possible to love someone with all your heart, even while exhausted, frustrated, and covered in their rapidly-cooling vomit.

So - anyone else have lessons, horror stories, or warnings to share? I’ll need something to read when he wakes up for his next feeding!

Maybe a couple of things I remember from being a new dad:

  • Never feed a child under 2 years old curry, unless it’s part of their regular diet. (Very caustic bowel movements [BM])
  • The messiness of their BM is in inverse proportion to the number of wet wipes you have in the diaper bag.
  • Make sure your video equipment is fully charged and tape/memory card has plenty of room, so one-of-a-kind moments are quickly recorded.
  • When you find a movie/video that calms your baby for those late-night insomiafests, be prepared to watch it ad nauseum for the next few months. (Myself, I have “Shrek” & “Monsters Inc.” memorized.)
  • Curtail your cursing. Your child will remember and mimic you at inopportune times.
  • The proper answer to “How old is he/she?” is not “Zero”, but rather the number of months. The former will make people think you’re a pedantic prick.

In retrospect…

  • Start getting them used to be groomed long before the grooming is necessary. Run combs over their heads, hold their fingers and toes as if to trim nails, rub lotion on now so you can rub sunscreen on later.

  • Don’t bring them home to a quiet house. Teach them to sleep through normal household noise.

  • The baby might not be capable of taking long naps until going on six months old. This is completely normal but none of the baby sleep books tell you that.

  • Try not to rush toward milestones… I know it’s so exciting but they’ll be someone different after it’s achieved. Enjoy who they are right now.

  • Corollary: don’t rush into giving them solid food if you don’t have a good reason. It creates a whole new dimension of crazy.

Poop. She means crazy poop.

Oh, yeah, and that tongue thing. Get a dog before solid foods, if you don’t already have one.

*Enjoy the time they just lay there passively when you change their diapers. It’ll change pretty soon… you get used to it, but having someone else around can be handy.
*Distraction: it’s a great tool against tantrums

When they get a bit older, and you read them a book before bedtime, and have a ‘bedtime routine’ - hold fast to a short (5 minutes) routine, generally speaking. It has a way of growing and growing, as more ‘stuff’ gets added. I won’t go into my own experience, it’s too embarrassing, but a simple ‘goodnight story’ and ‘kiss Teddy Bear goodnight’ grew into a monstrous huge production, lol! Had to go cold turkey, take a hard line, and read ONE (ok, maybe two) stories, and then nighty-night. (Oh, and it will be the same story over and over, and don’t try to skip over any parts - they know!)

Not only that, but the sensor continues working until… well, I’ll let you know when I found out. In some parenting thread a way back, someone observed that if there’s one thing a toddler can’t stand, it’s to see a parent comfortable. This is true and seems to continue into at least the 4’s. Napping, relaxing in a hot shower, just sat down in the recliner to get off the feet, just sat down with coffee and the newspaper, just sat down to watch TV, etc. Sensor activated! Must put a stop to that immediately! Parenting needed at once, STAT!

Don’t worry, though- you’ll be able to relax again in several years.

P.S. Your son is exactly 2 years and 11 months younger than my youngest. Yeah, it’s a 3rd birthday in our house today.

It might not seem this way now that you are sleep deprived and covered in vomit, but this is the easiest it will ever be.

You’re welcome.

Just because she can’t crawl it does not necessarily follow that she will remain wherever you set her down. LOL! Celtling learned to push with her feet and slide around on her shoulder blades at around 7 weeks. By 10 weeks she was looking over her shoulder now and then to adjust course.

Things I remember learning in the first month…

  • God and babies laugh at plans

  • Mommy hormones make sleep optional

  • Not all mom/baby pairs can breast feed, and it has nothing to do with the mother’s effort or intentions

  • Formula is not evil, it’s actually magical

  • Baby bodily secretions “count” as your own, so they bother you as much as your own would

  • They also have a sensor that goes off when you wake up. If they were asleep too, they wake up the second you do. No rolling over and going back to sleep.

  • Baby crying doesn’t hurt your feelings nearly as much as you thought it would, though it can make your nauseous

Haha, that’s the same advice, more or less, I give people with new kittens. ! :slight_smile:

They also have a sensor to detect a clean nappy. This stimulates the urge to poo immediately.

I know Happy Feet better than I ever wanted to :frowning:
I hated that film even before my daughter was born, so of course she picked it as her favourite!

Hmm, I found it was the number of weeks, up until around 6 months at which point people flipped over to counting in months. I’ve not flipped to years yet, still at 20 months here, guess I’ll change up again at 24 months :wink:

Surprisingly true!

Ah, it switches my brain off. Do not ask me anything when the kid is crying, I can’t answer, even if it’s a suggestion about how to make her stop crying. All I can focus on is “must stop noise! must make baby happy!”.

And belated congratulations **iftheresaway **:slight_smile:

Suddenly, picking another human being’s nose will become a totally normal thing to do.

I don’t have kids, but here’s something I learned while babysitting: babies can be a lot louder than you think they can. :stuck_out_tongue:

*A human being’s feces and emesis are suddenly not only a legitimate topic of conversation in mixed company, but somehow the most exciting possible topic.


I love all of these! I guess it’s possible I’m not crazy after all.

Happy birthday to your tiny human! Hope you guys are having a fun day.

I’m still working on the first two. I thought breastfeeding would be easy-peasy after all the work & stress I went through just bringing him into the world… not so much. I have been exclusively pumping since he was a week old, and still have to supplement with 2-4oz. of formula a day, which I try (and sometimes succeed!) not to let bother me.

I think your last point was the most surprising for me - I always thought that diaper changes would just gross me out completely. Now I often volunteer to do them, because my son is fascinated by the pictures on the wall above his changing table, and I love watching his facial expressions as he stares at them (although I have learned to finish the diapering process BEFORE leaning down to kiss his little belly or nose).

Yeah, I used to think that a diaper change only involved switching the old, dirty diaper for the new, clean one. Ha! Four-diaper changes are not uncommon in our household.

Despite the fact that my ex has major league yabbos she could not produce milk in any useful quantity. It happens. Natural is better but its not the end of the world.

  • With breast feeding, the baby’s poop was very sweet. Our dog loved that butt butter, so you may want to consider keeping the soiled diapers away from the dog.

  • Ditto on the bedtime routine. There was a point where we had a routine with my daughter that had me reading 4 books to her, then mom would go in and snuggle with her, then I would go back in and make up a bedtime story for her. With my son, we cut it down to just me reading to him.

How is that a “ditto” situation? :confused:

I posted a bedtime routine story. I would assume the ditto is from my story.