We were pretty calm new parents, according to my baby’s pediatrician on our baby’s first checkup. I’d say we were ducks – composed on the surface, paddling like crazy underneath.
After attending a newborn baby care class and reading a bunch of books and online references, I was pretty confident we’d take baby care in stride. Boy, was I wrong.
Battle with Time
Because baby had to be fed every 2 hours, I was literally tied to my corner of the sofa all day, because my baby would nurse for 45 minutes to an hour. I would hand him to my mom after a feeding for a diaper change (she volunteered) – another every-two-hour task.
And then there was the cleaning of his umbilical cord which had to be done 3x a day. Add this to the million other baby hygiene tasks. Hollywood celebs were no match to my baby’s high-maintenance!
Wet and poopy diapers also had to be counted for the first week to see if baby was getting enough pre-milk. This was to be reported to the doctor on his first checkup.
Battle with Fussiness
Honestly, we were blessed not to have a colicky baby. My baby didn’t fuss a lot, night or day. He was relatively easy to comfort, using Dr. Karp’s 5S’s from “Happiest Baby on the Block” -- it worked like magic. Milo didn’t like being swaddled though, and no matter how tight our swaddle was, our escape artist always managed to wiggle out of it.
A lot of holding with a little rocking, swaying and singing worked for our baby most of the time – so in this area, I had no complaints. I’m glad this was an easy one for us.
Battle with Priorities
I had to add the “taking care of me” part to baby care – something I didn’t take into consideration beforehand. How could I forget that we (especially me, because I was producing my baby’s sole nourishment) needed to eat a hearty breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between?
We were really lucky my mom was with us -- we took turns watching the baby, so we got to eat enough. I particularly had to remember to keep myself hydrated – to drink at least a glass of water each feeding session.
The hardest part to squeeze into the daily routine – a shower. It was hard, but not impossible, that’s why I made it a point to shower everyday, even for a few minutes. I didn’t want my baby to associate body odor with his mother (eew).
Battle with Housework
And then there were chores – cooking meals, dishes, laundry, cleaning. I’m glad my husband is a neat freak, because he would take care of whatever was left to fix up or clean while me or my mom were busy with the baby. I seriously wished we could do all the housework Harry Potter-style: everything would take care of itself with a flick of a wand (I still wish for that now).
Battle with Hormones
Oh by the way, I was supposedly “recovering” from childbirth, so I had to deal with both physical and emotional strains WHILE doing all of the above. Thank God my mom was there to take care of me while my husband was at work or doing the rest of the chores, because I know I wouldn’t have otherwise taken care of myself that well.
I knew caring for a baby was going to be a lot of work, but I completely underestimated the number of battles we had to face on a daily basis. Even my mom didn’t realize how much harder it was to do it all by ourselves, without a maid or a nanny (two things that were staples in most households back where we came from) to take care of a number of items on my list.
Luckily, we learned to roll with each punch – surviving the first week, then the first month, then the first week without my mom, and then for me, the first weeks with my husband at work. I’ve managed to get the hang of juggling things after a couple of months. I could say I already have it all under control – for now. Seeing how fast my baby is growing, I should really be ready for the next unforeseen baby battle everyday.