New moms are tired. Really tired. They don’t know what they’re doing (even if it’s their fourth baby), but they certainly have huge range of freely given advice from just about everyone and their mother on just about every subject under the sun.
That being said, there’s this one particular saying that people spew out of their mouths that is probably meant to be encouraging, but is really just a statement full of lies and misgivings. It sounds something like this:
“Oh, don’t worry. Once she’s born she’ll just eat, sleep, and poop. You’ll have plenty of time to get stuff done.”
“Aw, he’s such a sweet baby. Isn’t it nice when they are so little and just eat, sleep, and poop?”
Or like this:
“What do you mean you don’t have time to shower? Doesn’t she just eat, sleep, and poop?”
Lies, I tell you. All lies. No, babies most certainly do not just eat, sleep, and poop. If they did, you wouldn’t see nearly as many new moms sleepwalking their way through the grocery store with three-day old hair, yoga pants, and a spit-up covered shirt.
Here are some truths about new babies:
Truth #1: Babies sleep a lot, but not a lot in a row. Unless you are one of the very lucky mommas with a magical sleeper, this means that you don’t sleep a lot in a row, either. Out of four kids, I got two of these magically sleeping babies. Even the fabulous sleepers still wake up every now and then, though, leaving you with a less than stellar nights’ sleep.
Also, babies don’t always “just sleep.” You have to rock them, or “shh” them, or bounce with them, or put them in a vibrating chair, or nurse them to sleep, or hold them while they sleep so that they stay asleep. All. Day. Long.
Truth #2: Babies eat a lot, and often. With certainty, they want to eat every time you sit down to eat yourself, meaning your food is always cold by the time you get to it. Furthermore, if you are breast feeding, the first few weeks are usually accompanied by sore ta-ta’s, engorged breasts, and randomly spraying milk. “Babies just eat” is far too simplistic of a statement, because “eating” is hard work and happens at all hours of the day and night.
Truth #3: Poop is everywhere, all the time. Ah, the poop. Once babies move on from that sticky black tar poop they have at birth, you’ll find pooping can be quite the event. Poop doesn’t just stay in the diaper. Nor do babies understand that they shouldn’t poop all over your face when you take their diaper off to clean them up. On top of that, they do it A LOT. And on the days when they don’t do it, you panic thinking that maybe something is wrong with them. You spend the first few weeks just trying to figure out which diapers fit your babies tiny bottom and actually (or at least, mostly) keep the poop in, and not on your clothing when the explode.
Truth #4: Babies cry. Dirty diaper? They cry. Hungry? They cry. Don’t like the feel of that blanket on their cheek? They cry. Want to be rocked instead of bounced? They cry. This may come as a shocker to some, but moms don’t particularly enjoy the sound of their babies crying. We want to soothe them, to comfort them, to figure out what’s bothering them and then fix it. A crying baby inherently means that we will NOT be getting anything done around the house any time soon, because we will, instead, be trying to stop their crying.
So, the next time you think to encourage a soon-to-be new mom about how her new baby will just eat, sleep, and poop, please think again. That statement is only setting her up for a huge shock as she realizes that those things take up most of the time in her day (and night). Instead, tell her how beautiful she is, how beautiful her new baby will be, or offer to bring her a meal so she doesn’t have to cook…you know, the practical things that a ready-to-pop mom needs. Because I promise you, new babies most certainly do not just eat, sleep, and poop.