Expectation vs reality - Life with a new baby
Honestly, life as a #newmum has been easier than I anticipated. I expected to be constantly exhausted, barely having time to shower and an emotional rollercoaster. And yes, of course there are moments (especially at 3am) where she's crying non-stop and all I want to do is sleep. But for the most part she's been a really good baby. Right from day one, she's been an excellent sleeper and eater (she already did 8 hours straight at 5 weeks). Her main struggle is with bad gas/reflux, which makes the 7-8 feeds each day an hour-long puke fest, with lots of moaning and crying. I'm hoping its a phase that she grows out of, but we've tried probiotics and gripe water (for her), apple cider vinegar shots (for me), essential oils and Osteopath appointments. I really don't want to modify my diet (i.e. many sources suggest eliminating dairy, etc), since I already feel like I spent my entire pregnancy eating super clean and avoiding all my favorites (wine and sushi I missed you so much!). Ugh, I'm so selfish. But I really love yogurt. And ice cream.
Since most of my friends already have children and I'm at later stage in my life, I think I was pretty prepared for having a baby. There were a few things though where I was overly-optimistic about life post-pregnancy:
1. Sleep on my stomach. Throughout most of my pregnancy I had horrible back pain, and in the last few months, sleeping was incredibly painful. The big belly made it so uncomfortable to sleep on either side (without numerous pillows to prop it up), and sleeping on my back and stomach was impossible. I dreamed of the days when I could sleep again on my stomach. Yes, the belly is now gone, but I didn't anticipate that it would be replaced by huge breasts, which leak constantly all night. Sorry TMI, but I've never had a big chest before, and it just isn't comfortable (or possible) to sleep on my stomach. So annoying. Even if the baby sleeps through the night, I still can't!
2. Wear cute clothes. I'm so sick of maternity clothes. I didn't want to buy too many, so my options were pretty limited those last few months. I couldn't wait to wear all my old cute clothes again. And even though I fit into most of them now, it's just not worth it. Since I need to nurse every 3 hours, I've realized that if a shirt isn't designed for easy breast feeding, it just isn't practical to wear. Not to mention, I get puked on after most of those feeds, so I'm sticking to the boring basics. That doesn't stop me however from longingly filling up my online shopping cart on Zalando.
3. Read books. I had visions of leisurely flipping through magazines and reading tons of books while breastfeeding. I didn't realize that you actually need both your hands to position the baby and it's just not possible to hold a book at the same time. Then there's the 30+ minutes of burping and trying to calm a gassy baby. So unfortunately I have no choice but to watch non-stop episodes of Gilmore Girls. Sigh.
4. Daily laundry. I'm not sure we would survive if we didn't have an in-unit washer/dryer (which many Swiss apartments don't have). We decided to use cloth diapers, so I already knew we'd be doing laundry probably every few days anyway, but I didn't realize it would be daily (and sometimes twice a day). It isn't just the diapers...it's the hundreds of muslins/burp cloths, breast pads and milk-soaked sheets and clothes. We're already planning our first week away (to England over Easter) and my only requirement was that our accommodation must have a washing machine, otherwise we'd have to pack an entire suitcase just with burp cloths and muslins.
5. Enhance my relationship with my husband. I had really braced myself for the worst. Everyone always said the first few weeks/months with a baby are so difficult. I pictured us over-tired, stressed out and snapping at each other. But it's been the complete opposite. I know it's only been 5+ weeks, but I've never felt more supported and loved. And (sorry for the sappiness), I'm overwhelmed with the love I feel for my husband when I see him as a father. He has seriously been amazing. Anyone who says that there isn't much for a father to do with a new baby is lying. Warren has done EVERYTHING. And it has made a huge difference.