There’s a lot of knowledge that you acquire once you become a parent. Some of it is hands-on, things no one can really teach you. But some of it, like what I’m about to share today, is knowledge that needs to be spread! These are all things I wish I would’ve known before I became a mom.
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1) I wish I would’ve known more about car seats
All the car seats sold (in America) pass the same general safety tests. This was my knowledge going in. So I figured I’d find a car seat that was affordable and had good reviews. I knew I wanted a snap in base so I could easily get my son in and out. I knew I wanted a stroller. That was it.
That being said, all car seats are NOT created equally. They may pass the same tests, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same quality. Think of it this way: all shirts are created to clothe your torso, right? But fabrics, styles, and sizes vary wildly. Same goes for car seats. I’ve only used two so far, but I’ve already learned a lot.
I feel a future post in the works for everything I wish I’d known about car seats.
Our first car seat was an Evenflo seat. It was super affordable, came with a stroller, and had a snap in base. It also had plenty of good reviews. Those were my requirements, remember?
Now, hindsight being 20/20 and all, I’m actually not completely disappointed. I think during the newborn stage, it’s REALLY nice to have that base. I don’t know how people use car seats with their newborns that don’t come out. Also, I’ve got a stroller. Win. It’s nothing special, but we don’t do much off-roading, so it does the job.
BUT… Our first seat was not as nice as our current seat. Not by a long shot. This seat is so much nicer, I actually envy my little man, his seat looks more comfortable than mine! It also has more bonus safety features that make me more comfortable. Granted, on sale, it was still more than my car seat that came with a stroller, but still.
All in all, I don’t fully regret using our old car seat (which is why I decided to link to it), there were a few benefits. But I’m SO glad we bought a new one.
2) I wish I would’ve known babies can be expensive… But they don’t have to be
We all want the best of the best for our kids. That much is true. We also generally have different ideas of what “best” is. But I think it’s a safe bet to say we want to meet their needs, and make them happy.
It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to do this, though. It costs an arm and a leg to buy ALL THE THINGS. That’s what gets tricky. You want to buy everything. And THEN having a baby is expensive.
I’m gonna let you in on a secret: the majority of things marketed for babies are really marketed for their desperate parents. This is why sleeping devices can cost upwards of a grand. And why there are 700 results (as of the day I’m writing this) when you do an Amazon search for white noise for baby. When we’re sleep deprived, we’ll try anything.
There are very few things a newborn baby actually needs. A place to sleep, some clothes to wear, and if you aren’t breastfeeding, then some bottles and nipples.
3) I wish I would’ve known spit-up is normal
… To an extent. Let me clarify by saying I am not a doctor, this is not medical advice. If you’re worried about your baby, call your pediatrician or 911.
But I’ll tell you what my doctor told me (that I didn’t really believe till recently):
“The only time you should worry is if he’s projectile vomiting–as in it’s a large amount and travels a long distance. If his spit-up shoots across the room, bring him in. Or if he spits up after each feeding and immediately seems hungry again, as in he’s really keeping nothing down. Or if he stops gaining weight, or loses weight.”
I’d add: if your gut really just is screaming at you that something is wrong.
My son would spit up multiple times every day. He would soak his clothes. He would soak MY clothes. He’d soak our bed, the boppy, and his sleeper. This was after almost every feeding. But he was never instantly hungry again.
Now, I still worried. I thought this couldn’t possibly be normal. But now that my son is 8.5 months, he’s almost completely stopped spitting up. He’ll spit up maybe once a day, and it’s just a little bit. I could’ve saved myself a lot of concern if I would’ve known this.
Related: Anxiety and Motherhood
4) I wish I would’ve known to go on more dates in the third trimester
People say, “Get all the sleep you can!” When you’re very, very pregnant. What good does this do? You can’t store up sleep in a bank vault and use it later when you need it.
Dates, however, kind of can be used that way. Okay, not exactly. But hear me out. By my third trimester, I was HUGE. I didn’t want to go out, and we were short on money, so we really just didn’t make ourselves a priority.
Oh, how I regret this.
When my son was born, there was no way I’d leave his side for longer than a shower. So a date was out of the question. I also had really bad anxiety that made me scared to leave the house. So again, my husband and I didn’t go on dates. Months passed. Sleep was scarce. It became hard to think of my husband as a romantic partner instead of just my helper.
I desperately wish I could go back in time and squeeze in a few dates. In the newborn stage, I was a rotten wife. I had not a single romantic bone in my body. I blame a huge chunk of this on my anxiety, but I think this is good advice even for those who aren’t struggling with anxiety.
Date your husband, fall in love all over again. I know you don’t feel sexy, I know you’re tired, I know you’re focused on your future baby. But date him, and bank those feelings of adoration for when you desperately need them (maybe at 4 am when the baby is screaming and your husband is snoring soundly and you just want to rip his eyelids off and force him to feel your exhaustion… Or something, ya know…)
5) I wish I would’ve known that I’ll know a lot
The last thing I wish I would’ve known is that I know so much more than I thought. If you listen to your gut, you’ll be fine. You’ll make the best choices you possibly can. Half of your initial questions, you’ll be able to answer. There is a STEEP learning curve to motherhood, but by about 3 months, you’ll learn so much about your baby.
I used to worry that I wouldn’t know how to meet his needs or decipher his cries. Honestly, I can tell you this: even if you can’t tell the difference between his hungry cry and his tired cry, you’ll still be a great mom. And your baby will still love you so incredibly much.
What did you learn (if you’re reading this before having a baby)? What would you add (if you’re already a seasoned momma)? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.