You know the #1 thing I wish I knew before giving birth the first time? Something I wish other moms had told me?
Something that could’ve helped prepare me better for parenting?
No, it’s not how to have the perfect/easiest birth. Or how to survive teething. Or how to get your baby to sleep through the night.
It’s that the hardest points during your baby’s life are the transitions. Yes, those periods of change they go through, such as:
- a large developmental milestone is being reached (thanks to the concept of the Wonder Weeks, this makes sense and is easy to navigate … pro tip: do a google image search for “wonder weeks calendar” to determine which are stormy weeks of clingyness/crying/fussing, and/or borrow the somewhat helpful but repetitive book from your library)
- a nap transition, like going down from 3 to 2 per day
If your kid is anything like mine are, these changes are just too much for their brain to process well while still functioning and interacting. So they cry, want extra mommy affection (cute but difficult when, say, you need to cook dinner or change someone else’s diaper or – heaven forbid – visit the bathroom yourself), and get overtired really easily.
And an overtired baby is the worst baby to have around!
I think the hardest times might be during nap transitions, because you can’t get your baby settled to sleep for the nap she kind of still needs, but yet she still can’t stay awake long enough to skip that nap. It’s rough for her, rough for you, rough for siblings….
If you can pinpoint when a change is occurring and either/both 1) Figure out a strategy to get through it (easier when it’s your second baby and you have some experience about what the next stage is like!) and 2) Just grit your teeth and know the upheaval will end.
Like the old G.I. Joe saying, knowing is half the battle!
Sometimes just knowing what’s going on helps us get through the situation by realizing it’s just a temporary hell. Because going from a cheery baby one week to a frustrated and fussy sleepy-pants baby the next week is baffling unless you realize a big change is happening!
Good luck out there, parents….