They say hindsight is 20/20 and as a new parent, that couldn't be more true. Now that all three of us have survived six months together, I started thinking about what I would've done differently had I known any better. That's a normal parent thing, right?
1. I would've admitted breastfeeding wasn't for me sooner. I really hated breastfeeding. I didn't feel a connection with Henry through it and the pain was overwhelming. But I kept going with it because I was afraid to admit I couldn't or didn't want to do it. I didn't want to let Brandon down. I was afraid of feeling like less of a mother. And that was all just crazy. Once I finally stopped, it seems a huge fog was lifted over our whole house. And four months later, Henry is thriving just fine on his all formula diet. And it didn't make me a bad mom. He's still being fed, and that's what is important. Being willing to admit it would've saved a lot of tears, anger and sleepless, guilty nights.
2. I'd fight stronger and harder when I knew something was wrong. In the beginning when Henry would scream every time he'd eat, I knew something was wrong. I knew it in my gut. But being a first time parent, I had no idea what it was. I didn't want to continue to argue with the pediatrician because I figured, he's the doctor. But I knew he was wrong. It took longer than it should've to figure out that he had acid reflux. And I wish I would've just kept fighting to get it figured out sooner.
3. I wouldn't have given him a pacifier. Though it's not a huge problem, I wouldn't have given him a pacifier. He relies pretty heavily on it at night and since he still likes to be swaddled to sleep, he isn't able to put it back in his mouth himself, which means getting up at 3 am to do the pacifier shuffle. But we're taking it one thing at a time and working on getting rid of the swaddle followed by the pacifier.
4. I would've put him on a schedule sooner. And I would've been insistent about him sticking to it, no matter where we were. He sleeps great and through the night when we're able to keep him on his schedule. But when he's not? Let's just say there isn't a lot of sleeping that happens in our house. And it's even worse when we're out of town because he doesn't get to take his naps like he needs. I've learned just how important schedules are and we do our absolute best to keep him to it these days.
5. I would've moved him to his room sooner. In the first few weeks of his life, Brandon and I took turns sleeping on the couch with his bassinet five feet from our faces, and often with our hands on his chest to make sure he was still breathing. New parent syndrome, I'm sure. But even after we decided we had to stop sleeping on the couch, we had him in our bedroom for another month or so. And he is a VERY restless sleeper, and since I'm a very light sleeper, that meant I was seriously lacking on the sleep front. At one point when he woke me up yet again, I just sat on the edge of our bed and cried in the dark. It was shortly after that that I took a long weekend break and we headed to my Mom's house so she could take care of him through the night, I could catch up on sleep, and Brandon could do the same at home. When Henry and I came home after that weekend, he was immediately moved to his room (albeit still in his bassinet for another couple weeks) and I can't explain how much better I finally slept.
Though I wish I would've done all of these things differently, I'm still pretty proud of how these first six months have gone. I have a happy baby. A VERY happy baby. A happy baby to the point that strangers frequently stop us to tell us how happy he is. And Brandon and I have figured out life with an infant, too. We have a routine. We've had people tell us we should do this, or we should do that, but what we're doing works perfectly for us and we're all surviving. And anyone who knows me personally knows that I had reservations about myself as a Mom. I didn't think I'd be good at it. But you know, I think I'm doing okay. And I'm proud of that. I'm proud of us.
As a parent, are there things you wish you would've done differently?