Dear Future Amie,
Eight months ago you embarked on a never-ending adventure. There have been good times and there have been bad times. The truth is that those chubby cheeks and deep belly laugh are slowly but surely pushing away the memories of labor pains and colic. Oh, how easy it is to forget how badly it hurts to walk up and down stairs for six weeks or the sleepless nights that come along with a new baby. And without a doubt, Future Amie, the day will come when Jellybean is more of a kid than a baby, and you will let your guard down and make the decision to embark on another adventure—life with two children. Although I haven’t the slightest clue on how it will work, having a newborn and a toddler at the same time, but such is likely to be the case.
The first time around with Jellybean was unexplored territory. You experienced so much for the very first time. But as time goes by, those little tidbits of information you picked up along the way may very well become a distant memory, like the pain and fatigue that come along with new motherhood. So I thought ahead to write you a note so that you can focus more on the joy of a new baby and less on wondering why you forgot so much.
• Use the nurses at the hospital. Use the heck out of them. When you had Jellybean and they offered to keep her so you could sleep through the night, you chose to pass, saying that you would not have the nurses’ help at home and you needed to get used to it. I am telling you, crazy lady, those are the last two nights of sleep you will get for the next two or three months so don’t you feel a bit guilty!
• Breastfeeding is good and don’t forget it. You almost gave up on nursing Jellybean a few times, but you should be proud that you stuck with it. It hurts so badly at first, but do remember how it gets better! Don’t pass on giving your other babies the same good start that Jellybean had just because you have two children now. (Also—don’t be afraid to call a lactation consultant. If she didn’t want to be called at 2:00 a.m., well, then her card shouldn’t say, “Call Me Anytime!”)
• Remember what Similac Sensitive did for Jellybean.
• Stock up on some nice nursing bras. Three or four simply will not do. You will leak and leak and leak, and don’t you remember how miserable it was to sit around in a nasty milk-stinking bra for two hours while you wash more? Forget about it! I’m talking twelve or more bras. Nice ones—don’t even bother looking at the price tag. It’s so worth it. And don’t forget the shields!
• Make W. help you. Forget the fact that you are on maternity leave and W. is at work all day. Screw him! You are at home 24 hours a day taking care of the kids, the pets and the house—and he even gets a lunch break! He will need to take Jellybean off of your hands every day when he gets home from work, no matter how tired he is, and should be up with the new baby at least every third night. You did, after all, take care of this new baby for the last nine months, and fair is fair.
• Make it a point to find your “golden ticket” early on. Running the vacuum cleaner, cranking up heavy metal, and the sound of the breast pump all calmed Jellybean down, remember? And don’t freak out when what used to be your “golden ticket” is no longer working. It may change a few times, and then change again.
• Making a schedule for a newborn is much easier said than done. Even if you do, by some miracle, get one set—chances are it will change next week. Go with the flow and don’t put so much focus on the clock.
• Finally, Future Amie, I must beg you to please, please don’t even consider another one until Jellybean is out of diapers.