20 Things I Wish I’d Known about the First Year

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1. When the baby appears to be doing math in her head, she’s pooping.

2. Mirrors are magical to babies.  But new moms should avoid looking in mirrors at all cost.

3. People will tell you, “It goes by so fast!”  Those people do not remember what the first year was really like.

4. The sound of a blasting hair dryer can halt a newborn’s mystery crying.  Thanks, Dr. Harvey Karp (The Happiest Baby on the Block).  You seemed a little creepy, but you really know your stuff.

5. Appearing tired (unavoidable) is license for perfect strangers to tell you everything you never wanted to know about how they sleep trained.

6. The clothing you make fun of now – Ugg boots, jeggings, Slankets – will soon be known as wardrobe staples.

7. It’s nearly impossible not to keep score.   (He got 3 hours more sleep than I did!)   But it is possible not to vocalize your score-keeping.  In theory.

8. Keeping relatives and friends up to date with baby news, photos and videos is practically a full time job.  If only it paid in cash.

9. Breastfeeding is like Mardi Gras with no beads.  The baby will thwart your best hooter hiding efforts, so just give up and say, hello neighborhood, these are my boobs.

10. Do not get a high chair with upholstery.  The food goes in, but it never comes out.  Unless you like that smell.

11. Pajamas with zippers are so much easier than snaps.  Buttons are for masochists.

12. Choose a pediatrician who takes insurance or the first year will bankrupt you.

13. Even if your newborn is present, some idiot will notice your not-quite-flat-yet tummy and ask if you’re pregnant.  As if!

14. The cliché advice you get about making sure to schedule date nights to preserve your relationship?  Heed it.

15. Traveling with a baby is challenging, but the armrest on the airplane is a better toy than any of the dozen you pack in your carry-on.

16. Much like America’s TV viewing audience, babies don’t always know what they want until you show it to them.  Swaddling works.  Persevere.

17. Carrying a baby in a Bjorn feels like being third trimester pregnant again.

18. Have dinner out before it’s too late.  In the beginning, that baby can sleep through fireworks.    Soon enough, you’ll be a slave to bedtimes and the only dinner out you’re getting without paying a sitter is the 5pm seating at CPK.

19. By the end of year one, your attitude towards germs, TV and sugar will have relaxed considerably.

20. The yucky phases (teething, gas, screaming in the car, hating the stroller) are generally short lived.  The yummy phases (snuggling, being cute, making you laugh) last all year and beyond.

 

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36 Comments

  1. Melissa meyer
    Posted January 28, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    So true! So true! You captured the highlights for sure.

    • Amy
      Posted January 29, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Thanks Melissa! One of these was inspired by something you said…

  2. Cathy
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Your old kitchenware will be your baby’s best friend. Take out the tupperware, pots, pans, whisks and spatulas you meant to throw away and let your baby go to town. Just don’t give them a bowl of water to play with. Seemed like a good idea at the time but very messy.

    • Amy
      Posted January 29, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      We do that too! Sometimes when I’m cooking I have round up all the baby’s “toys” and give them a wash so I can finish my recipe.

  3. Posted January 29, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Ha, I love all of these! Especially the one about Dr. Karp. That DVD was probably the most valuable thing I saw (or read for that matter) about calming newborns. It made me a shushing, jiggling pro. But Dr. K gave me the heebie-jeebies.

    • Amy
      Posted January 29, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Thanks for all your support, Jerry! I was so skeptical of Dr. K and then he was right about absolutely everything.

  4. Matt
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Our 9 month old loves to tear paper, so on those rare occasions where we get out to a restaurant we give her napkins. Note that she will eat the napkins if given the chance so having a binky is a must.

    • Amy
      Posted January 29, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      I’m sure napkins are relatively harmless when ingested :)

  5. Trisha
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Great blog Amy! Good to see you’re doing so well. My daughter Sofia is about to turn 2.5 years old – and I remember those first days well.

    If you’re having second thoughts during the first two weeks, wait a few more weeks they’ll go away! I remember at about 1.5 weeks, and on shifts of 1 hour of sleep, 2 hours awake for 2 hour feedings – thinking “She’s not even 2 weeks old yet. Surely someone would adopt her!” Normal thinking for a sleep deprived mind.

    Hint: If you can influence what your child’s “blankie” becomes, try to make it something washable. I’ve totally pushed cloth diapers (Sofia has a penchant for the birds-eye cloth version) and in return got her attached to a “lovie” that has 24 replacements and goes through the wash seamlessly. On the other hand, my stepson’s “blankie” was handknitted by a relative and would fall apart bit by bit every wash – resulting in many tears. Not to mention the 8:30pm runs between parents houses when the blankie was forgotten. Try to attach to an item which is easily washable and you can keep mulitple copies.

    That’s the best I’ve got!
    Trisha (Kunst) Martinez

    • Amy
      Posted January 29, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Tricia! That’s good stuff. How old were the kids when they got attached to a blankie?

  6. Posted January 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I would say… prepare to bid farewell to your short-term memory! I’m not sure how long the memory failure lasts. We’re 13 months in and… wait, I’m sorry, what was I talking about?

    • Amy
      Posted January 30, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      I think that might be a topic for an entire blog, Hannah.

  7. Gina
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Loved these Amy! I laughed out loud on most!
    I would like to agree with Trisha’s comment. We did the same thing. Mason’s ‘lovie’ is the cloth diaper/burp cloths we got from the hospital and we have about 15 of them!

    I would also like to add to not worry too much about when your baby hits their milestones in comparison to other babies. They will get there eventually!

    • Amy
      Posted January 30, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Gina. Good point about the milestones.

  8. Epstein's Mother
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Full circle! To my direct knowledge, you didn’t sleep through the night until age 10. What goes around …

  9. Rachel
    Posted January 30, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Here’s one for you….terrible twos are a myth. It’s when they turn three that they become unruly!

    • Amy
      Posted January 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Rachel, you’re scaring me!

  10. Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Hi would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    • Amy
      Posted January 31, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Sure. It’s WordPress. I wish I could take credit for the layout but a great designer did it for me as I am not very technical. I can put you in touch if you’d like or I can refer a follow up question.

  11. Connie
    Posted January 31, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    My advice would be to stop spending money making your house look nice. Everything you buy to accessorize your place will just end up on the floor. multiple times. We’ve lost the battle, and our coffee table is now perpetually a baby activity table with toys all around the perimeter. DVDs are constantly scattered all over our floor. Toys are *everywhere* – under the bed, in diaper boxes, in the bathtub. The same is true for things that aren’t toys (e.g. pens, vaccuum parts, remote controls, watches, post-it notes, receipts…you get the gist). I’ve come to accept the fact that my house will never look nice again…but it’s okay…it adds character to the place, right?

  12. Epstein's Mother
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    You are going to take LOTS of pictures. Try to find time every few days to select the one or two you are going to want 20, 30, 40 years from now. Since these pictures are all going to be digital, put the special selected pictures in their own dated directory. Create a diary telling you what was going on in the picture. Get rid of the pictures that don’t make the cut.

  13. Lisa
    Posted February 13, 2012 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    Twos and threes are so difficult but will be much easier with one baby. If you have that second one when viv is between two and three you will probably need a lobotomy. I got one but it was from a quack so hasn’t worked as well as I had hoped..

  14. Aubri
    Posted February 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Great blog Amy – love your writing style!

    No one told me I would shed all the thick, healthy hair I had grown during my pregnancy (plus some!) Washing my hair everyday was a bit alarming, as was the receding hairline! It lasted for a while too, but does eventually grow back (never quite the same however). At least that was my experience :)

    I also would highly recommend purchasing a good humidifier. If you don’t have one, inevitably someone (most likely your male counterpart) will end up at the 24 hour pharmacy at midnight, scrambling to get the last one in stock. It always feels like babies get sick in the middle of the night when you feel most vunerable and half awake.

    • Amy
      Posted February 15, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Aubri! If you know any moms who like reading blogs, please pass it on. Great tips. We live for humidifiers.

  15. Posted July 20, 2012 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Glad I saw this in the favorite posts sidebar! Very true and well written.

    The best “newborn” advice I got from a friend who became a mom about 2 months before I did, was to buy enough wipes to wipe all the heinies in China. There are never too many and you will never not need them!

    • Amy
      Posted July 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      That’s a great tip because unlike diapers, wipes never change size… you will always need wipes!

  16. Posted November 12, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

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    • Posted November 13, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

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  17. Julie
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The 5 S’s from Dr. Harvey Carp is phenomenal information and works! SwaddleMe (google it) and the original sleep sound machine (http://www.hammacher.com/Product/60586?promo=search) have been the driving force behind our little girl sleeping through the night (only with the occasional waking) since she was 3 weeks old. I’ve been addicted to the sleep sound machine for years before I was pregnant. Now we all use it; it’s very therapeutic for everyone’s sleep. Train your little one how to sleep and you’ll all get rest. :) Happy Sleeping!

    • Posted February 5, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Great advice, Julie! We were big SwaddleMe fans too.

  18. Lalena
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    These are great and all true :) I would elaborate on #11 that, while awesome, zippered sleepers should be approached with care, especially if overtired and in a hurry…. which will be almost all the time LOL. (I may have caught a tiny bit of neck or tummy once or twice.) Oh… and when it happens and your infant gets a minor injury like that caused by you there is no need to fall apart and panic that you are the world’s worst mother. Almost always five minutes later the baby will be fine. You may not be but they will. Mine are 9 and 5 now and somehow have made it through :)

    • Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      That is so true!! I once accidentally let my 6-month-old roll off the bed (don’t tell her!) and I cried way longer than she did. Thanks for commenting!

      • Lalena
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Yeah one of my first ‘oops’ was similar. When my eldest was three months I fell asleep with him on my chest on the couch and, so sleep deprived, I drifted deeper than expected and my arms opened and he rolled onto the floor. My husband spent maybe 40 seconds calming him and about an hour calming me…

        • Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Exactly! Babies should come with stoppers so they can’t just roll off of things :)

  19. Cat
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Little known fact, but thank God babies are made with a wee bit of Flubber!

    • Posted November 18, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Ha! There’s a reference I haven’t heard in a while. Yes, they really are.

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