Lessons learned from the first 24 hours with an infant

I finally have Harley home. In fact, as of the time of writing (or at least starting to write) this post, it’s been about 24 hours with her out of the NICU. It will still take a while to establish a new routine with her seeing as her NICU routine hasn’t really stuck since she’s been home. We have tried to maintain it to a degree, but there is no way that I’m waking her just to give her food at midnight or something. In fact, there’s no way that I’m going to wake her for much of anything unless she starts fussing or seems uncomfortable.

There is still so much to learn, and it will take a while to figure out what works best to keep her comfortable. I’m hoping Dean and I will also be more comfortable once the heatwave breaks – it will be way easier to cuddle with her and her baby blanket when it doesn’t feel like the fires of Mordor outside. Still, I have learned some things so far, that will probably be completely undone before I finish writing this.

  • Babies have the worst comic timing. After being quiet and chilled for hours, they will wake up as soon as you try to eat/relax/do something unrelated to baby time
  • Stay ahead of the hunger! Once the hunger sets in, the little baby can become inconsolable. Once she starts sucking at nothing, pursing lips and fussing, offer some food.
  • In related lesson, don’t get offended if she doesn’t want boob. I’m desperate to breast feed after expressing for a month while she was in the NICU. However, she isn’t always keen on boob. As long as she’s getting the good stuff, it doesn’t really matter if she’s on the boob or drinking from a bottle. We have plenty of time to keep coaxing her onto the breast, or to accept that she will always get food from a bottle and love in other ways.
  • Single mothers are truly superwomen. Having a husband around means that food gets cooked, dishes get cleaned and there’s a spare set of hands to grab blankets or burp cloths or baby wipes as necessary. I am already dreading the day he goes back to work – just hoping we have a set rhythm before then.
  • Use the time baby is sleeping wisely. She might wake up at any moment, but the best thing you can do is try to watch that video, read that book, or do whatever it is that you wanted to do while she’s asleep. You might get lucky and the sleep lasts a few hours. Except when the first lesson applies.
  • Babies are hard work. Nothing could truly prepare me for the fear of her scream and helpless feeling as we go down the list of things that could be bothering her. I’d rather change her dirty diaper/nappy every hour if that would work to never make her scream and cry like that. It wouldn’t work, of course, because the nappy is rarely the cause of her distress.
  • This will get easier. Already day two is less daunting than day one. I know there are difficult days to come, but there will be easier ones, too. Right?


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