5 Things I Really Wish I Would Have Known Before Having A Baby: His & Hers Edition
It's been an absolute whirlwind for the Park family since Christmas and I feel like just now are we getting the opportunity to catch our breath.
But we've been very mindful about cherishing every little moment… (Advice we've received from so many of our friends and family!)
And in an effort to share our own experiences and keep our sanity while snowed in during Seattle's Snowpocolypse, we each decided to come up with a list of "5 Things I Really Wish I Would Have Known Before Having A Baby".
Please remember that these are from our own experiences and we're not at all setting ourselves up as experts by any means, I mean come on… we've only been parents for about 50 days.
But nonetheless, we committed to documenting our journey to the best of our abilities and sharing to not only keep our family scattered everywhere up to date with Harley but provide any value to others headed down the same path.
Her 5 Things "I Really Wish I Would Have Known Before Having A Baby"
1. Breastfeeding is a Full Time Job.
I thought breastfeeding was going to be a piece of cake! (Ha, I was so naive) I felt lucky that Harley latched on right out of the womb so I figured that this part of motherhood was going to be easy.
Boy, was I in for a surprise. Little did I know breast feeding was only a small fraction of the entire process.
In order to produce breast milk and have milk in stock because babies feed every 2-3 hours; you have to pump.
You gotta pump to produce the demand, You gotta pump to feed, You gotta pump to store! You gotta pump, pump, pump!
I really didn't know how much of a time commitment breastfeed would be before we had a baby. It really does become a full-time job to get that liquid gold!
What I Do Daily:
I eat oatmeal everyday to help with milk production. (I also really like oatmeal compared to all of the other "Lactation" foods. Watch our for Fenugreek and it's side effects of making you smell!)
I prioritize drinking 100+ oz. of water.
Pump 4-5 times a day.
Shoot for 20oz + a day of breast milk.
Breast feed the baby as well.
2. The Secret behind Korean Seaweed Soup (Miyeok Guk)
I didn't know about Korean Seaweed soup before we had a baby because well for one, I'm not Korean (my husband is) and how else would I hear about this.
But, I've found out that the soup, rich in iodine, helps with postpartum recovery and I am fortunate enough to have my mother-in-law make this for me right after I gave birth to Harley. I ate it almost every day for about four weeks.
The biggest thing it helped me with was bowel functions Number 2) and milk production.
A little history...In Korea, women who gave birth are fed this seaweed soup for a minimum of two weeks following delivery to resupply the mother's body with mineral and vitamins lost during pregnancy and giving birth.
3. Eating Fast All The Time
I am that person who loves to take my time preparing my food and eating it. This has definitely changed since having a baby because now I barely have time to eat.
When I can, I will eat while breastfeeding and there's been many occasions where Albert is feeding me.
4. Clogged Milk Ducts
Another breast related thing I learned is the painfulness of clogged milk ducts also known as mastitis. It's when breast tissue get's inflamed due to clogged milk ducts resulting in your breasts getting tender to the touch, hard and lumpy, and of course no beast milk coming out. If left untreated, you can get an infection and experience more severe symptoms like a high fever.
Massage and hot compresses are the only things that have helped me to release the milk. and this is seriously one of the most painful things I've ever experienced.
PRO TIP: Put an e-stim or powerdot on your breast! It really helped me. (Make sure to check with a medical provider before doing this.)
5. Team No Sleep
People warned me to sleep during my pregnancy because I wouldn't sleep when baby Harley arrived and they were right!
I really didn't know exactly how much sleep I would lose but I don't think it's anything you can prepare for until you got though it. The sleeplessness makes me walk like a zombie some days and even talk like one where I can't formulate complete sentences.
It's an ongoing cycle and even a short 5-10-15 minutes of shut eye makes all the difference in the world. I am thankful for the nights Albert feeds Harley so I can get more sleep in but even he's a walking zombie most nights.
I have found myself literally rocking myself to sleep as I am rocking Harley to sleep. I can even fall asleep standing up now! The crazy thing is that once I hear any little movement, squeak, noise or cry... my eyes pop open in a heartbeat.
And I can't always sleep when the baby sleeps! I have things that I need and want to do like EAT or watch Ellen. :)
But don't let anyone scare you about how much sleep you will lose and the sleeplessness because it's manageable… Simply because of the strength you'll receive from that baby is beyond anything in this world. You'll see!
I am not perfect.
I am a first time mom.
I have googled something in regards to the baby at least once a day. I wear my pajamas sometimes all day and that is okay with me. I love to prepare myself breakfast. I eat oatmeal every day.
I have become a huge fan of Ellen and I am currently caught up on all major current events. The couch has become my new best friend.
I am doing the best that I can and learning along the way!
His 5 Things "I Really Wish I Would Have Known Before Having A Baby"
I'm going to write this as if it's for an expecting father and/or couple. It's an article, post, blog, "end of chapter review" that I wish I would have stumbled upon during Mesha's pregnancy and I truly hope it brings whoever is reading this some value.
If not value, maybe some entertainment.
Quick Note: I did in fact read quite a few "You're Going To Be A Dad" Books, spent quite a bit of time researching online, and watching "how to" videos. The following information was not found in any of my research. Enjoy!
1. Hacking Your Fitness
Time really becomes a hot commodity (obviously) when you have a newborn baby and the harsh reality is that your days of 1-2 hour workouts are long gone.
If you're not connecting with my fitness example... the point I'm trying to make is that you will need to change how you're doing things now due to the unpredictability of "free" time. I really didn't know that some days I would only have 10-15 minutes for a workout… (How Naive I was…)
But limited time doesn't mean you have no time. What it does mean is that you'll need quite the variety of workouts in your arsenal to utilize whenever you can and understand this right now…
"Do whatever you can to be active. If that means a 10 Minute Workout then get it done. If it means running a few miles on another day, tie up them laces and take off. You can't rely on a plan because plans change but you have to commit to the process of being active because it will work."
2. It's All About Teamwork
Whether it's the birthing process, setting up the home, or taking care of the baby…
Everything is about the team.
There are no star players (well your wife/partner is the real MVP, you're Scottie Pippen), no entitled treatment for you Dad, or winning individuals. Everything has to be about the Team winning.
I really didn't understand before the baby, how much teamwork would be involved on every level. I knew that we worked together well on the business and understood each other's strengths and weaknesses but a baby will challenge the team. I'm truly thankful for a wife whom I've worked with for over 6 years who never stops thinking about our "team".
Gentleman, Scottie Pippen understood his role. Everyone on championship teams understand their role and then they do their jobs at high levels.
Understand your role and then perform at a high level without complaining.
3. Learn To Cook
I'm going to write an entire post on just this so I'll only briefly talk about cooking. (It really does deserve a lot of attention here.)
If you don't know how to cook, learn now before you have a baby. My suggestion would be to learn how to cook 2-3 breakfasts, 2-3 lunches, and 2-3 dinners well and make sure your wife/partner enjoys them all.
Because once that baby comes and the visitor food train runs out, you'll have two options…
Cook or Buy Take out and trust me when I say your wife/partner is going to get sick of take out or else we wouldn't be talking about this.
Before we had a baby, my skills were limited to chili and grilling. (pretty typical I know) Neither of which Mesha has requested since having the baby.
Don't just learn how to cook, invest some time picking up some decent knife skills and learn how to season food properly. You don't have to be an iron chef by any means but you will need to provide decent nutrition for your wife/partner on a regular basis so start practicing. I will say that it is an incredible feeling when I cook something that Mesha enjoys and she crushes the plate.
I've since learned to handle the defeat of a dish coming out unseasoned, overcooked, or event too spicy! All part of the learning process I hope and Mesha has been a trooper but I"m pretty sure I'm responsible for her preference for extra salt now.
If you're like how I was before the baby came...
You will be starting with no skills whatsoever which can be a good thing. You're a blank slate. So, turn to resources like books and youtube to help you build a foundation of some basics.
Good luck and let me know when you find a good recipe!
Adulting Tip: You only need one good knife in your cutlery arsenal. Ditch the big sets and invest in one amazing chef's knife that can do it all. 10 krap knives won't equal one really nice knife.
4. Take Advice From The People You Trust & Respect
It's no secret that you're going to be getting some advice.
Okay, to be really honest you're going to be getting a lot of advice. Some that you did ask for and a LOT that you didn't even want. This is something didn't know before we had a baby. (I really didn't expect it)
You'll be getting advice from everyone on everything from...
Which hospital you should be delivering at, what to pack in your overnight bag, what you really need and don't need on your baby registry (this one get's a little crazy), what strollers to buy, how to set up your nursery, the best natural products, sleep training, whether or not you should eat the placenta, etc.
My advice is to listen, smile, nod, and take it all in. Be Respectful.
But when it comes time to sift through all of that information and advice you received, be cautious of who and where you're getting it from.
Red Flag the following advice:
Advice you get from people who don't have kids: Although their intentions may be really good it's just not quite the same. (I don't mean to hurt anyone's feelings here.) When it comes to newborn and infant care/child care, you just need to have the experience in order to give the advice largely because the best conversations we had were with parents who could empathize with us.
The empathy factor changed the tone of our conversations from "telling us how we should do something" to more of a "listening to our situation" empathizing, then sharing their experiences. Look for this when you talk to parents or people in general.
I'd say the exception is professional healthcare providers or individuals in childcare that can offer advice from that experience.
Advice you get from burnt out parents: I get it. Parenting is on another level of difficult but when it came to advice, I wanted to to talk to parents who were enjoying the experience of raising a family and not individuals who were hating life right now.
Advice from burnt our parents was never really helpful and seemed more like them trying to scare us with what we'll have to endure. The… "just you wait…"
What do you do: Listen, smile, nod, be respectful.
Then go talk to people who are excited about being parents and still love every minute of it. (Find parents with kids of all different ages from newborn to Teenagers to 20 and 30 year olds.) What I did was talk to Father's who have daughters, mainly because that's what I was getting into, and really delve into questions that touched base on the fragile but very special relationship between Dad and Daughter.
You'll know the difference when you start talking to them right away.
One of the best tips I received so far:
"I wish I would have taken more photos and videos of our baby because things happen so fast. Cherish every moment and capture it when you can." - Ceybom
I've been taken pictures and getting video of Harley every moment that I can!
Advice you get from people who don't practice what they preach:
It's pretty simple here...
If they give you advice on time management but they're always late… maybe not the best person to talk to for advice on balancing your schedule.
Advice you get from youtube, social media, and online:
These days, everyone is an "expert" and anyone can put content up online. Gone are the days where you need to build credibility through experience and reputation.
With this low barrier to entry, the amount of information out there is overwhelming and often times difficult to navigate. Don't hesitate to question something you read, watch or listened to. I usually ask myself:
✅ Who is the individual producing the content?
✅ What credibility do they have and what is their reputation amongst following? Reviews?
✅ Do they practice what they preach or is just show for social media? (A lot of people have a certain persona on social media and are nothing like who they say in real life.)
My tip would be to first reach out to people you respect for references on everything including books, websites, methodologies, doctors, and any online content.
5. Fart Machine:
I swear to you that I didn't know this.
Babies fart a lot.
I guess I wasn't around my nephew and niece enough when they were babies to realize how much they really do pass gas.
Heads up gentleman, you're not the only farting machine in the house anymore.
It really is quite hilarious and entertaining.
Enjoy every moment (not just when they're farting) because you'll never get back the days.