I know one thing about babies: they are mysterious. I learned this when my two year old was a baby, but I buried this nugget of truth in the recesses of my brain, which is disorganized to begin with. I can barely remember where I put my phone.
I sailed through my second pregnancy, blissfully unaware of what was to come. My carefree life had already been obliterated with the birth of our first child. We’d barely notice the addition of a mere 8-10 pounds worth of additional human in our household. This was what I told myself, along with a few other handy lies…
1. Newborns are easy. They don’t do anything and you can take them anywhere!
What was I smoking?! While it is true that they don’t do anything, consequently, you, as the parent, must do everything for them. Burp them, feed them and change their diapers. If you’re not too busy with the hourly feedings or weekly baths, you can conveniently take them anywhere you want in their car seat. Affectionately known as “the bucket,” this torture device was surely invented by someone who despises parents. You might as well give ergonomics a big fat middle finger every time you take your baby out in one of these.
2. Big babies are good sleepers.
I used to go around saying this as if having given birth to one large baby made me a sleep guru. As I predicted, my second baby ended up being big as well, over nine pounds. But she is not a good sleeper. She is a horrible sleeper, in fact. She wakes up to nurse every two to three hours and sucks like it’s her last meal. I wish there was a way to make her understand that her cankles alone could sustain her for three weeks.
3. Nursing is easy!
I nursed one baby easily, so I figured it would be the same with my second. Except my breasts didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to make milk for only one baby. I could have fed my entire block for the first 12 weeks. Every time she latched on, she would pop off within a minute, cough, and wail, milk dribbling out of her mouth. Meanwhile, my exposed nipple would be spraying milk in three separate arcs, soaking me, and anything or anyone within a two-foot radius of me. We repeated this cycle five to six times, then switched sides to do it again, 10 times a day. Eventually, my supply backed down. In the meantime, washcloths, burp cloths, hand towels, and dried breast milk littered every surface of our home.
4. I’ve done this before. I know what I’m doing.
Actually, I remember nothing from the first time. I know that it happened and we all survived, but the details are hazy. While I call my mom far less frequently with baby questions this time around, I more than make up for it with frequent calls to my sister, who had a baby just a year ago. Thankfully, she still remembers all the things I forgot over the last couple of years.
5. We will sleep train when the baby is four months old.
I’m still traumatized from when we sleep-trained our toddler over two years ago. Saying you’re going to sleep train and actually doing it are two entirely different things. The baby will definitely be sleeping through the night before she goes to college. I can’t make promises beyond that.
I’ve told my husband I won’t rule out having a third. What’s one more lie?