Hope is six weeks old, and for the tenth time, I'm in love.
There's nothing like a new baby. Without fail they remind me how brief the time is. And because I thought I wouldn't have anymore after Silas, I realize more than ever what a gift Hope is. I cry when she smiles at me, squeal with delight when she coos. And I spend a lot of hours in the rocking chair. Last night, in fact, I inhaled the scent of her head over and over like an addict on drugs.
Having a new baby has given me ample time to once again ponder the first few months of mothering, to narrow down what I consider the essentials. So here they are. Some advice has been passed along to me, the rest I have figured out on my own.
After all, I've had lots of time to think about it.
Baby Advice: Top Ten from a Mom of Ten
- Get the epidural if you need it. Eight out of ten times I have been induced. Eight out of ten times I have had an epidural. Ten out of ten times I have needed it.
- Take advantage of the overnight nursery while you're at the hospital. Like the nurse so knowingly said, it is the only time a new mom will get to sleep.
- Bathe the baby every evening. I learned this from my own mom (mother of 8) when I moved in with her for three days after I had my first baby. She believed a bath in the evening relaxes the baby and sends a signal that it is almost bedtime. I have followed her advice with all ten, and I agree.
- Accept all help offered. Ask for help if it isn't offered. My church family and a few friends volunteered food--ridiculous amounts of food--for two weeks after I came home. I froze half and over a month later I still had meals in the freezer.
- Keep the baby home for a month. Just solid, common sense advice. Target, TJ Maxx and even Walmart will go on without you.
- Nap when the baby naps, then get done whatever you can. (A mentor of mine passed on to me to try and make your bed every day. Since the bed takes up most of the room, she said, making it every day will give you a sense of accomplishment even if that is all you get done.)
- No screens for infants. I am certain there are dozens of studies out there that show face to face time is crucial to healthy development.
- A no nonsense nurse simplified feedings for me several babies ago: Wake the baby up for feedings during the day. Let her wake you up during the night.
- Allow siblings to help with and play with the baby. Dorothy likes to pick out her clothes, Silas likes to give her horse back rides on all fours (with my assistance, of course). And how many Sims kids does it take to give Hope a bath? Six is the record so far.
- Live in the moment. This is hard with the first one, a breeze with the tenth one. But it took me a long time to get here. Three babies just to learn to relax, six to really let things go.
And with the tenth? I am nothing but a noodle.