How Many of These Things Did You Do During Your Baby’s First Weeks of Life?

The first weeks spent with a newborn typically provoke a range of emotions from their brand new caregivers. There is often deep joy, for the new life that’s entered the world, serious exhaustion due to lack of sleep, and some very real fear about the fact that the baby is wholly dependent on them.

first weeks
Image via Pixabay

Those first weeks also often provoke some strange behavior. If you’re a brand new parent (or remember being one) you probably did most (or all) of the things below.

Stare in wonder at their tiny ears. And feet. And fingers. Normally, people don’t spend time staring pointedly at other peoples eats and feet and fingers but, when you’re a brand new parent its almost impossible to resist. A newborn baby’s soft skin and tiny features invite staring and you probably spent countless hours examining them from head to toe.

Wonder if you’re allowed to leave them in a room alone. Perhaps before you brought baby home you thought someone would give you a handy list of do’s and don’ts you could live your life by. Unfortunately, the hospital let you check out without telling you how to handle things like needing to cook dinner or use the restroom or answer the phone you left in the other room when you have a newborn. Can you leave them alone in their crib? How about their swing? What if they’re laying on the floor mat? You probably wondered these and many other “can I …” questions in your baby’s first weeks.

Be shocked by a blowout diaper. You knew you would be changing diapers, you didn’t know that there would be times the diapers didn’t come close to containing the blowout. Sometime in baby’s first weeks they probably blew out a diaper to the extreme, leaving you wondering how someone so small did something so messy.

{ MORE: 5 Things to Stop Worrying About in Your Baby's First Weeks }

Give them the gentlest bath ever. “Babies are fragile.” This thought was probably key in your mind the first time you bathed your baby, lifting them with comical gentleness into and out of their tub. Giving the first bath can be a little terrifying so you probably read about how to do it in advance, called for backup during the actual bath and felt a great deal of relief when it was done and they were swaddled, warm, and cozy again.

Be excited to finally use the baby products you’ve been stockpiling for months. For nine months you probably researched baby products and bought or registered for the ones you were most excited about. Now that baby is here you were thrilled to get to use them! You tried out the carrier on walks to the mailboxes, made excuses to get out of the house so you could use the stroller and re-dressed your baby in one of their cutest outfits after the slightest bit spit-up stained the one they were wearing.

Watch a lot of Netflix. It was likely a shock to discover that, while having a newborn is super hard, there’s also a lot of downtime. Or, if not downtime exactly, a lot of time when you’re sitting to rock, bounce, or feed the baby. For most new parents this downtime turns into a lot of Netflix time.

{ MORE: This Too Shall Pass … Is a Damn Lie }

Experience a new level of exhaustion. Everyone told you that having a newborn baby was exhausting and, even though you believed them, a small part of you questioned if it was really that bad. Well, in those first few days and weeks you got your answer. Having a newborn is exhausting in a way that almost nothing else is. From now on you’ll probably be the person telling pregnant women to “sleep before the baby comes!”

Call someone in tears. Newborn babies cry a lot. Often, so do their caretakers. Whether it was tears of gratitude towards your own parents, frustration about the inability to help your baby feel comfortable, overwhelming joy at the sight of your tiny person, or the fact that parenthood is just a lot, chances are you called someone in tears during baby’s first few weeks.

Wonder how anything so wonderful ever came to be. For all the frustration, exhaustion and overwhelming feelings there are so many moments in a baby’s first few weeks of life that their parents look down, in total amazement, and marvel at the brand-new, wonderful life in front of them.

What do you think?

How Many of These Things Did You Do During Your Baby’s First Weeks of Life?

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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