a few things i'd tell new parents

There was a lot that I didn't know about being a parent until I was knee deep in onesies and mommy blogs. Now I'm one year in, and these are just a few of the things I'd tell a brand new parent.

1. It's going to be OK. Just like with pregnancy, newborn days are full of so many variables. Things Lana did in the first seven days of life that totally freaked me out: sleeping for nearly 24 hours straight, hiccuping nonstop to the point where she couldn't eat or sleep, get a weird rash all over her stomach that resulted in a trip to the ER just to be told she had sensitive skin, and basically just exist. Babies do all kinds of stuff, and most of it is totally normal. Stay off the internet, and give it a little time to work itself out. More than likely, it's not even a big deal.

2. The pediatrician will be hyper cautious, don't let it scare you. Lana had a little trouble getting back to her birth weight, and we had to visit the doctor every day that first week. I'm totally thankful that our pediatrician was so diligent, but it wasn't a reason for me to be afraid. They're doing their job really well so that you won't have anything to worry about. Take it in stride as much as your insane hormones will let you.

3. Seriously, sleep when the baby sleeps. This is an old classic, but it is so for a reason. You are going to be a literal zombie for the first month. Grab hold of every single second you have to shut your eyes. Also, tell the haters to shut up, and take a few naps with your tiny baby. We didn't co-sleep, but there were a number of times Lana and I would fall asleep together after she nursed. It was the absolute sweetest thing ever.

4. Gush about your baby as much as you want to. You just spent nine months carrying that baby in your stomach, and now they're laying in your arms yawning and stretching and smacking their lips. It's amazing. It's surreal and awesome. Talk about them nonstop, it's your right. When someone asks how they're doing, tell them. Stand over them while they sleep and bask in the tiny miracle that has taken over the entire house and filled every corner of your heart.

5. You don't have to feel anything that you don't feel. I spent a lot of time trying to fit the new mom mold I'd built in my head. But this is the first time I've ever been a new mom, so nobody can tell me what kind I will personally be. Don't try to be, do or feel anything that doesn't flow naturally. Give yourself the space to experience it all as yourself. You are the exact parent that your baby needs.

6. Say no, and say it a lot. I absolutely cannot stress how quickly that first month flies by. One minute you're so pregnant you think you might actually, literally explode. The next you have a month old baby and no idea where the time went. So stay home soaking up every minute with your little family. Don't worry about the dishes. Linger a little longer in bed with that baby snoozing next to you. Say no to stress and obligation and anything else you don't want to do. You just birthed a human, and basically anything is your prerogative.

7. Get newborn pictures done. I'm talking about those ones where it's you and your family in your beautifully messy house just hanging out. I didn't do this, and I seriously regret it. The first few weeks are magical, but your memory of those days will be so hazy (due to lack of sleep and the insane emotional roller coaster you're on). So let someone document them for you.

8. Breastfeeding is really hard/totally worth it/not the only way to feed your baby. The first week of breastfeeding Lana was hell. I wanted to give up basically every single minute of the day. I was in so much pain. Lana fell asleep every time she started to nurse, therefore not actually eating or gaining any weight. It did not seem worth it at all. But a year in, I can promise that it is. It so is. Nursing has been an incredible experience for me, and I feel so lucky to have been able to do it this long. That being said, if your body or baby don't cooperate and you can't nurse (or you don't want to!) that is beyond OK. Do not feel guilty, do not beat yourself up. What matters is that your baby gets the nourishment they need and that feedings are a time of bonding. You can absolutely accomplish both of those things with formula and a bottle.

9. You will sleep again. I promise. After the first seven nights of no more than four hours at a time I just gave up on the idea of sleep. That was it. I would just be a mushy-brain zombie for the rest of my life. Then one night Lana blessed us with eight glorious hours of uninterrupted sleep and the world shifted back into focus. Sleep is a crazy cycle with babies. One week they'll sleep through the night every day, and the next they're up three times a night. Don't stress about it. One day they'll be surly teenagers who will never want to get out of bed. So do your best to appreciate each season for what it is.

10. In the words of Tom and Donna, treat yo' self. All of a sudden your entire life is about someone else. You'll be covered in spit up and have changed fifteen diapers that morning. You most likely won't have showered or gotten dressed. You're sleep deprived, and (despite my first piece of advice) desperately trying to decipher every breath your baby takes. It's insane and exhausting, and you will cry so much. So, get that cheeseburger and that milkshake. Sneak out for 45 minutes and get a pedicure. Use those marathon feedings to binge watch Pretty Little Liars. Whatever it is, do something just for you.

I could go on forever, but this feels like a pretty well rounded list. Just remember: its's all going to be fine, and you're doing great.

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