People will tell you all sorts of unsolicited advice about becoming a parent. But hardly ever do you hear the hardest part of all.
The hardest part about having a newborn
Newborns are a lot of work. They seem to constantly need fed, changed, or just held. Then there are the growth spurts where they “cluster feed”–aka eating what seems like every five minutes. It can be exhausting, especially when you’re a new mom and have no baseline to reference.
I had no clue about how much work was involved before having my first baby. People told me, but it just didn’t really register until I was holding that newborn in my arms. What, I have to feed him every two hours? He goes through 10-15+ diapers a day? He constantly wants skin-to-skin contact, and will cry if I leave him in his crib for just a few minutes to jump in the shower?!
Slowly, ever so slowly, a day passes. Then the first week. Then the second. The sleepless nights turn into sleepless weeks. You feel a bit like a puke- and poo-splattered, flabby mom-zombie.
Then you realize, that baby face is changing already. That sweet newborn that you once cuddled every couple hours, all night long is now sleeping a bit longer, and you see less of the moon and more of the sunshine in their eyes.
That baby is starting to explore. Starting to see the world around them, and marvel at it. Those little fingers and toes that once only grasped at you are now reaching for other things.
You realize, my newborn is not a newborn anymore.
My newborn is an exploring, roly-poly, happy baby, who will grow into a curious toddler before I can blink.
The hardest part about having a newborn goes beyond the hours of sleep lost and the many, many parts of “me” I give up, to be everything this baby needs. It’s realizing I only have this once with them–that very soon, my weary mom fog will be replaced with sprinting after a toddler who is now more interested in exploring the world around them than clinging tight to the first safe place they knew.
These tiny newborn toes in my hand will soon be chubby baby feet that push off to take steps toward the world beyond. The eyes that look deep into mine will soon be lost in books and adventures.
This newborn will be a smart, happy little boy (or girl), always learning something new or making us laugh–but I will not have these moments of midnight cuddles and tiny sighs again. Because the hardest part of having a newborn is savoring every moment, all while knowing each exhausting, exhilarating phase is so very short.
So we hold the sweet, tiny baby a little closer, and breathe in his newborn smell a little deeper. We caress his soft, fine hair and silky cheeks with gentle hands, and are thankful we have yet a few more moments.
Christina Cook Lee
Brought back so many memories of the exact same feelings and reflections. You are the gifted woman I dreamed you would grow up to be…
So true and beautiful said!
Wow, your words are spot on. This made me cry!!!! Fantastic writer.
Wow this is so beautiful….will remember your words thruout the first few months of my soon-to-arrive baby!
You have a wonderful way with words. Your post is a great reminder to savor the moment because children grow up so fast that you wonder where the time went when you watch them receive their high school diploma.
Melissa | Persnickety Plates
I’m two weeks into baby #2 & this is perfect 💜
Beautifully said! Maybe it’s because I am currently 37 weeks with my first and completely emotional at this point but this post is so incredibly true and made me burst into tears! You are so right, no one tells you this and it is so true! Thank you for putting positivity and joy into the thoght of having a newborn!
Thank you for these words
After feeling super exhausted at 5 weeks post-partum, this is just what I needed to hear. Thank you for your reminder that I need to cherish these moments.
I have a 6 month old and loving it! I do NOT miss having a newborn for one second. I guess I enjoy my sleep and seeing my little baby turning into a little person who crawls and loves to explore. To all those in the thick of sleepless nights and wondering if your life will get better, remember it does get better!! Oh so much better. Yes enjoy the newborn stage if you can but personally I wouldn’t go back…ever. I hear it just keeps getting better too!!
When I look down at my little girl when she sleeps I take it all in. Her face has changed in the last 7 weeks and she is smiling more and more. I cuddle as much as I can. Thank you for expressing your words to fit my emotions.
I needed this at this exact moment. Thank you!