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What the Newborn Days Are Really Like

Photograph by Twenty20

There’s a baby. He’s just a few weeks old and he’s yours. He’s adorable. He smells divine, like nothing you’ve ever smelled before. You love to watch him sleep.

He prefers it when you hold him and are completely unable to do anything else but hold him. He farts all the time. He blows out his diaper. He cries.

He’s beyond adorable. You can’t believe how lucky you are to be his mom. How can this perfect little creature be yours? It’s a miracle.

He eats constantly. You schedule your day around his feedings. They come so frequently. Why does this baby need to eat so often?

He slept for five straight hours last night. It felt like a victory. You are an awesome parent. You probably won’t even need to sleep train him—he’s that good.

You’re exhausted, sure, but mostly bored. It’s tedious, this newborn care thing. It’s constant and unending and cyclical and also, boring. Change diaper, feed, nap, repeat. Day or night, it doesn’t stop.

He smiled at you today. It was a genuine smile, not gas or sleepiness, and it made your heart light up. You almost wept with joy and gratitude. That smile made all the struggles worthwhile.

He falls asleep in your arms. He looks so peaceful. You can’t bear to move and wake him up, so you hold him.

The baby is napping. Time to do all those things you’ve been putting off. Unload the dishwasher. Put in some laundry. Empty the diaper pail. Contemplate getting in the shower just as the baby starts crying again.

Change diaper, feed, nap, repeat.

He falls asleep in your arms. He looks so peaceful. You can’t bear to move and wake him up, so you hold him. You inhale his scent and bask in the glow of motherhood. You could sit like this all day. He is glorious. He is yours.

You watch your spouse get ready for work. You’ve forgotten what it’s like to get ready for work. To get on the train and commute with other adults. To go to an office and talk about the latest headlines and Taylor Swift’s new song. What’s that like?

He’s the sweetest baby ever. Look at his little toes, his tiny fingernails. His swirl of a belly button. His delicate eyelashes. His rosebud of a mouth. He is perfect.

He spits up all over himself and you. You frantically wipe up the mess and wonder if he got enough in that last feed. When was the last time you showered?

Change diaper, feed, nap, repeat.

He coos, he gurgles. He makes cute noises when he poops. He smiles when you tickle his toes. It’s bliss.

He doesn’t want to sleep in the swing. Or the bouncy chair. Or the bassinet. So you pick him up and hold him. Again and again and again, even though you have a thousand other things to do.

He is yours. He is perfect. Your heart is full.

Change diaper, feed, nap, repeat.

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