HOW IT ACTUALLY "GETS BETTER"
Updated: Apr 4, 2020
"Hang in there mama. It’ll get better.” These are the infamous words every new mother hears from all the veteran mothers. These words are supposed to offer a sense of comfort and relief, but in reality, they do nothing for a new mother. There is no context, there are no specifics. It’s just a vague statement that’s supposed to help us make it another day. When I was a new mother, this statement did offer a minuscule amount of hope, but it left me with more questions than anything. How does it get better? When does it get better? If someone would have told me some of the checkpoints ahead to look forward to, maybe I wouldn’t have felt as helpless during those first few months. So for all you new mothers out there, let me enlighten you with how it actually gets better.
1. Your Baby Will Begin to Sleep More
This is the most obvious and exciting checkpoint to look forward to. If you’re a parent of a newborn right now, your baby is probably feeding every 2-3 hours, and in between those feedings, you’re somehow supposed to find time to sleep. It’s completely unfair. I often wonder why babies were designed this way. It doesn’t seem humanly possible for a mother to function like this, but somehow, we do. But before you know it, your baby will begin sleeping 3 hours at a time, then 5, and then even 8. And then something even more incredible happens. Your baby sleeps through the whole night, which sometimes can be up to 12 hours! It’s an absolute game-changer. I can’t tell you exactly when these changes will happen, but for me, my son gradually increased his sleeping increments up to 12 hours, which happened around 4 months. That may seem like a while from now, but enjoy those little victories, like your child sleeping for a whole 5 hours. I promise, you will miss those late night bonding sessions.
2. Your Baby Will Begin to Hold a Bottle
Right now, you probably feel like you’re being held hostage by you own child who needs you to do everything for them. The little critter can’t feed itself, change itself, or even go to the bathroom on its own. I know, how embarrassing. You are responsible for everything. So once your baby starts to hold a bottle, you will feel a huge sense of relief. Now you will be able to prepare a bottle and just hand it over to your little one to finish the job. This frees up so much of your time and means you can now accomplish other things while simultaneously feeding your baby. It’s pretty awesome. This happens for most babies between 6 and 10 months, so get excited.
3. Your Baby Will Begin Eating Real Food
I know how big of a hassle it can be planning ahead with sterile water, formula or breast milk, and baby food. If your plans get altered while you’re out, panic may set in if you didn’t bring enough food. Well, the good news is that around 8-9 months, you can start feeding your baby real, human food. It’s great, because you don’t have to worry about planning ahead and can just order your little one something off the kid’s menu. It definitely takes a huge weight off your shoulders.
4. Your Baby Will Outgrow the Baby Carrier
At some point, your baby will become too big for the baby carrier. This will be great, because you won’t have to worry about lugging around this absurdly heavy piece of baby equipment. Now, you will just plop your baby directly into their car seat and head out. At restaurants, you won’t have to worry about the whole carrier flopping over in one of those flimsy harnesses or upside-down high chairs. You’ll just simply place your child in a high chair from now on. Expect your baby to outgrow their carrier when they’re about a year old, but be sure to double check on the length restrictions for your carrier. So in the meantime, start looking for a new car seat for when you make the transition.
5. Your Baby Will Start Walking
I know what you’re thinking. How can a baby walking ever be a good thing? Well, I’m more of a glass-half-full type of gal. The great thing about your baby walking is that they now won’t rely on you to get from point A to point B. They can now roam freely in the playroom and entertain themselves. They love it. So don’t get all worked up when your child takes their first steps somewhere between 9 and 12 months. I promise, it will have its benefits.
6. Your Baby Will Ditch Bottles, Sippy Cups, and Pacifiers
I remember having to stop by a local pharmacy to buy a pacifier when we’d realized we’d forgot our son’s beloved companion at home. Leaving the house without it was a sure death-sentence. But literally one day, we just lost all the pacifiers and didn’t buy anymore and our son moved on. It has been great not relying on the darn thing to put our son to sleep. Our son has also moved past bottles and has even stopped using sippy cups at daycare. He’s a big boy now and uses big boy cups. It’s great not having to worry about packing these extra items in the diaper bag. Most pediatricians recommend ditching the bottle for a sippy cup at 12 months, the latest. When your child switches to a normal cup is completely up to you. You’ll have to deal with the messes after all. And as far as pacifiers go, our son’s dentist told us to call it quits at 6 months. But let’s be real, she’s not the one that deals with a fussy baby all day, so we waited until about 14 months to eliminate it completely. Just try to slowly wean your baby off, and they will completely forget about it in a couple of days.
7. Your Baby Will Get Potty Trained
Now I’m not saying potty training will be easy, but once you get there, it should make things a lot easier. I’m not at this stage yet, but it sounds wonderful to quit packing an excess amount of diapers in the baby bag, “just in case.” And not to mention the financial benefit of quitting diapers, too. Potty training usually begins when your child is between 2 to 3 years old, so get ready. But once you’ve made it over this speed bump, it should be smooth sailing from here on out, minus the occasional potty accident.
I know right now you may be right in the thick of it, but just hold on a little longer. The biggest relief will come when your baby starts sleeping more. Once you’re well-rested, you’ll be able to conquer whatever the day throws at you. Slowly, your baby will make advances and you will start to get your freedom back. Until then, take it day by day, hour by hour, because each hour is an accomplishment!