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A letter to new parents: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Part 1

I have a friend who just gave birth to seriously one of the most perfect babies ever. Squee! Friends with babies are the best thing ever because you get to hold squishy balls of love and joy, and then give them back and go home and sleep.

I also have a few friends who are on the road to fostering-to-adopt, and during a heart-to-heart with one of them, I realized that parents waiting to adopt their first child are just like parents waiting for the birth of their first child in one particular way – they all freak out.

This is where I point and laugh.

Kidding. Sort of.

I’ve been around the block a few times with this parenting thing. I’m sitting from that place where I know better about some things, and I know absolutely nothing about the rest. But one thing I do know: there are so many, many things we freak out over that we don’t need to. So, in honor of my friends and parents-to-be, I give you:

The List of Things Not To Worry About

  • Bottle v. breast. Some experts may want to smack me right now, and I know several crunchy granola moms that are probably strangling me through the screen, but do you know what breastfeeding and/or formula are for? Feeding your baby. And do you know what they both do? Feed your baby. I breastfed all three of my girls, and I totally agree that if possible, it has benefits formula simply cannot offer. But. I have personally encountered far too many new moms, crying themselves to sleep because breastfeeding just isn’t working. Sweetie, you’re feeding your baby. YOU WIN. No matter how you do it, you’re taking care of your child, and that’s your job. They know you’re holding them and meeting their needs. That makes you their favorite. 

    In a few months, you won't be worrying about what brand of diapers to buy. You'll be trying to figure out how the heck this happened in the time it took to pee.

    In a few months, you won’t be worrying about what brand of diapers to buy. You’ll be trying to figure out how the heck this happened in the time it took to pee.

  • Which brand of diaper? Universal answer to this question: The one that holds the poop in. Super fancy brand with cartoon characters and lace trim? Rock on. I opted for the buy-in-bulk brand because we may or may not have gone through so many that Punkin’s very first nickname was Sergeant Poopy Pants. Just saying. Some people swear by Pampers. I hated them. I adored the Target brand. Others hated them. Find a pair that mostly holds the poop in, and you’re good. Disclaimer: No diaper always holds the poop in. I kind of see it as a milestone in parenting when you first have to cut a onesie off because it’s so full of poop. We had to do that with each of ours to avoid poop getting in their eyes/ears/every other orifice. So new parents: Try them out. See what you like. Always bring scissors and an extra onesie. You’re welcome.
  • Waking them up to feed them. There are absolutely situations where a baby’s weight is at a critical point and feeding them is basically all you think about. However, all three of my girls were healthy weights at birth. My skinny minnie Goo topped the charts at 8 lb 2 oz. She’s lucky I delivered her, since I told my children in utero that 8 lb was my limit. Anyway. The doctors all told me to wake them up every 2-3 hours to feed them. I did this exactly ZERO times. Punkin slept through the night from birth. (Don’t hate me, because I now have a kid with cancer, and I would totally rather have been extra tired and avoided this.) She slept 7-8 hours straight through the night from day one, and was consistently in the 95th percentile for height. I don’t think she was malnourished. And I wasn’t a zombie. Win win.

This is only the beginning. I mean that in every way possible – this is only the beginning of your parenting journey. It’s only the beginning of finding 482 million things to worry about. And it’s literally the beginning of this post. Part 2 comes soon. Try to contain yourself.


About Mediocre Mom

I am a wife to the man who was made for me, and mom to three amazing girls: Punkin is eight, Goo is four, and Smush is two. I'm a Christian, a science geek, and completely addicted to coffee. Trying to stay sane one day at a time. Lowering the bar for moms everywhere.

8 responses »

  1. How much do I love this post?! The one piece of advice I give my friends with new babies that are struggling with all these issues is this: no matter what you do the first few years, no matter how much you “mess up”, your child won’t remember even a little bit of it. Not the good or the bad – they won’t remember a thing. This is your time to make mistakes, learn YOUR best way of doing things and just love them a lot.

    • Right?!? The memories I have of my mom are of her being…perfect. I don’t remember her losing it, “messing up,” or having a bad day. I remember her love. That’s what they know, that’s what they remember.

  2. Totally agree with you on the waking them up. My daughter was 8lb 3oz and she too slept through the night from day one (11:00 pm to 6:00 am). I don’t think I was told to wake them up every 2-3 hrs to feed them and even if I was, it was not going to happen 🙂 as she obviously needed her sleep more than food and me too!! As for the poop, can definitely relate to that. Everybody seems to find their own favorite diaper, I remember back in my day it was Huggies that I liked and Luvs, I think cost is a big factor these days, but being good poop holders is really important. LOL :-). I did not breast feed either of my children, sort of wished I had though, but they both turned out perfectly happy and healthy, so again, I guess it’s just a choice. As you say, don’t sweat the small stuff. Your writings are just too cute and informative Beth! I so enjoy reading them. Thank You and don’t ever stop 🙂

  3. My niece had a baby a couple of months ago. He was eight weeks premature. Otherwise healthy, but he stayed in the hospital for about six of those weeks. She was agonizing over how poorly pumping was going and I gave her the exact same speech you just did. And told her that one of my boys was breast fed, and one was bottle fed (since I was so stressed feeding son #1, I just decided to not even try the 2nd time.) And that between the two of them, son #2, bottle fed, was the healthier overall. My niece gave me a huge hug and said it was the first time anyone had said that to her. And she’s now bottle feeding and baby is gaining like a champ. Having a stressed out Mommy doesn’t help newborns either, so AMEN to you for saying it like it is. And ditto with point #2 and #3.

    Love the way you keep it real. Your girls are very lucky to have you for a Mom.

    • That’s exactly why I wrote this. Goo was born with a heart condition that left her in the NICU for several days after birth. By the time we got her home, she wanted nothing to do with nursing. I agonized over it for weeks, blaming myself, wishing I had been with her more in the early hours of her life (while doctors were frantically trying to lower her heart rate, mind you). No mom needs that. It’s hard enough without beating ourselves up.

  4. You truly are awesome. This is something I wish I read four years ago before my son was born!!!! Love your spirit and the way you have handled all that life has thrown at you… and you manage to make others smile in the process. Thank you…

  5. Thank you so much for your comment about breast vs. formula. While I was pregnant I had such vivid dreams of breast feeding my son and when I had him I had a C-section and was in the hospital for 5 days and during that time I tried breast feeding. My son and I had such a tough time with it. I was a wreck. Anxiety over feeding him and stressed about going home and having trouble and not having anyone there to help me and the last nite in the hospital I turned to formula. For the next 3+ years I beat myself up over not breast feeding and was wracked with guilt every time I saw someone else breast feeding their child. My son is now a healthy and happy 4 1/2 year old and I am finally starting to “let go” of the failure I felt for not breast feeding. I know there is currently this giant Pro-Breast Feeding campaign out there. Which is great but almost to a fault because it is so intolerant of those he can’t breast feed whether it is due to physical or emotional issues. Thank you for not passing judgment. I hope your child wins his/her fight with cancer!

  6. Pingback: A letter to new parents: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Part 2 | Confessions of a Mediocre Mom

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