There are hundreds of blog posts out there that tell you all the things you need if you are having a baby- especially for those crazy newborn days. Registry sites will bombard you with crazy long lists of things you MUST have. So it seemed like a good idea to put some balance out into the internet with a post about four things you DO NOT need to be a great parent and survive the newborn days…
- The FANCYBABY3000 (aka the newest, fanciest carseat or stroller): This post is not an anti-registry guide. The rest of the items on the list aren’t even things, but when I went to register for my firstborn, I walked back out of the baby store in tears because I felt so overwhelmed by all the choices. I felt like if I chose the wrong product I would be putting my baby in danger in some way. My husband still claims he felt like looking at strollers was more stressful than shopping for a car, with some of the same sales tactics! Luckily, we had wise friends who became parents before us and reassured us that as long as we were buying a new, unexpired car seat, it had to meet certain safety standards. And, after the first baby, it turned out that a stroller was something you do not need during the newborn days at all if you babywear during family walks and errands instead! If high end baby products are your jam, good for you! But it is definitely something you do not NEED, and something I think many parents can worry about a lot less than we are pressured to sometimes!
- A full milk supply: I have a complicated history with breastfeeding, but I can tell you that though you may feel pressured otherwise, a full milk supply is something you do not need during the newborn days. I felt so much shame switching to formula with my first baby, and so much stress when I supplemented with my second. (I eventually did get a full milk supply with my second baby, but I also have no regrets about exclusively formula feeding my firstborn after his first month.) How you feed your baby does not define your success as a parent, and if nursing your little one is important to you, please know that it is not an all-or-nothing game! (I could write a separate post all about this…)
- A perfect sleep schedule: Even the strictest parents I know did not try to sleep train their baby in the first month or two. I think the sleeplessness gets easier if you just accept the “mombie” (mom zombie) stage for a while before coming up with a sleep strategy after those crazy feeding frenzy newborn days.
- Your “body back”: Please, PLEASE take your doctor’s recommendation seriously, and skip the exercise during those six weeks of recovery time. Our focus should be on healing, not even THINKING about pre-pregnancy jeans. Even after initial recovery, I think one of the most radical things moms can do during the “4th trimester” is to focus on our health and wellness – think pelvic floor strength, healing diastasis recti, using exercise to help mental health and regain energy, etc. Don’t make this time about getting back to a magical number on the scale. Pressure to “bounce back” quickly is just something you do not need during the newborn days.
Fellow mamas, did you feel pressured to have any of these as soon as your baby arrived? Is there something else you’d add to this list?