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15 Lessons From Baby's First Year

Photograph by Getty Images

As the first year of my baby's life arrived, I looked back on the previous year and realized I'd learned some pretty darn important lessons. These lessons:

1. Breast-Feeding Is My Frenemy

Moms know. Breast-feeding is a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I’m still not sure how I feel about it other than I have mixed feelings about it. I’m glad I did it, but I’m not sure I’ll do it again. I loved it and I hated it. It made me feel so maternal and on track, and it also made me feel like a loser, like a misfit, like a monster.

RELATED: To Breast-Feed or Not to Breast-Feed

2. Postpartum Depression Is No Joke

It’s real. It’s horrible. And thank God for the friends and family who help you through it.

3. Mesh Panties Are So Underappreciated

They held it all together in the messy birth aftermath. They housed those Maxi pad mattresses without pinching my post-baby fatness. They were so understanding, so supportive. And I missed them so much when I left the hospital.

4. Sleep Will Only Be a Passing Acquaintance for the Next Several Years

Sometimes I daydream about that kind of deep slumber that I used to get that’s so deep you don’t even dream or change positions the entire night. I’m just going to pretend that I put that kind of sleep in a time capsule that I will open and enjoy five years from now.

5. Late Night Ragers Aren’t All That Worth It Anymore

Yeah, I’ll still rally every now and then because, for God’s sake, this mama needs a break; but that hangover on top of months of sleep deprivation punishes me for the next 48 hours. And then I ask myself the same question every time: Do you hate yourself?

6. Witch Hazel Is Better Than Diamonds

When your punani feels like someone just lit a firework on it—witch hazel. When you’re in that kind of vagina pain, you will give up all other pleasures in life just to have 10 minutes of relief. My girlfriend told me to douse maxi pads with witch hazel and put them in the freezer. I can never fully repay her for this advice. I bow down to frozen, witch hazel maxi pads.

A baby WILL fall off the bed.

7. There’s No Reason to Rush Milestones

I was always so anxious to see my baby sit up and then crawl, and then walk. There’s no need to rush those things. Now, as I’m chasing my 1-year-old around trying to catch her before she walks off the concrete steps or before she sticks her hands in the toilet, I’m thinking of ways I can bind her legs without it being abusive.

8. A Baby WILL Fall off the Bed

And she will do it three times before her stupid parents learn better.

9. Don’t Walk Down Hollywood Boulevard With Your Baby

That is, if you don’t want your baby to be touched by a dingy, bootleg superhero. (Just FYI.)

10. Blowouts Happen Exactly When You Don't Want Them To

Nine out of 10 times your baby will blow out in the middle of a fancy dinner or at the beach. There’s nothing like carrying your smelly baby through a nice restaurant in a really awkward way which makes it obvious that you don’t want to get poop on your silk-blend shirt that you shouldn’t have worn anyway (duh, you have a baby) that makes you realize you should always, not sometimes, but always carry an extra outfit with you.

11. I Did Not Need That

That big, ugly, cumbersome, expensive baby exersaucer, after all.

12. Never Pass up an Opportunity to Flaunt Your Big, Nursing Ta-Tas.

Milk those babies for all they’re worth. Pun intended. Who cares if they are full of breast milk. It’s a lot sexier than the billowy scones that you’ll be left with after that milk is gone.

13. You Can Easily Gain 5 Pounds From Goldfish Crackers

RELATED: Why I'm Thankful I Waited 10 Years to Have Another Child

14. Enjoy and Revel in Every Minute of Parenthood

Yeah, sometimes it sucks. But most of the time it is amazing. Don’t take it for granted. That baby phase ... it goes by in a flash. And she will be gone, out of the house before you know it.

15. Take It Easy

The biggest lesson learned is that all we can do is try our best. Parenting is a big job. And it’s not easy. It’s important to not be too hard on yourself.

Here’s to a wonderful, joyful, but sadly mesh-pantyless race into toddlerhood!

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