Finding out you’re expecting is exciting, and nothing compares to the feeling of finally holding the new baby in your arms. But caring for a newborn has its challenges too. We asked two new moms to share their experiences and advice.
Karyn Meyer of Wildwood
Karyn Meyer and her husband, Lucas, welcomed their daughter, Autumn Kate, in October. Since Autumn is their first baby, Meyer says she was more excited than anxious about her arrival. “There were so many milestones to look forward to, the first kicks, finding out the sex, ultrasounds, etc. that I was just in a constant state of excitement,” she says. “But toward the end of my pregnancy, I began to realize that, wow, this was actually going to happen, a real baby, a life to take care of and be responsible for.” And when Autumn came, Meyer says she was euphoric. “She was here, and she was healthy, so I didn’t think of anything wrong that could happen or all that was ahead,” she says. “Looking back, I’m sort of surprised at how calm I was.”
As a new mom, Meyer says her main concern during the first few weeks was to make sure she was doing everything right. “I had this beautiful girl and I wanted to make sure she was always content. So it was difficult for me whenever she’d cry and I couldn’t figure out what she wanted. You go through the list: Is she hungry? Does she need a diaper change? Is she hot or cold?” she says. “Sometimes I got frustrated and people had to remind me that newborns just cry, that’s what they do!”
Meyer says that at around the 4-month mark, mom and baby began to get more in sync. “Autumn started to get into an eating and napping schedule. I also felt that I was beginning to get a feel for what she wanted,” she says. “Another major development is that I felt more comfortable taking her out with me, so I became more mobile. And Autumn was sleeping through the night, so that helped with everything.”
Sleep is important, and not just for baby, either. “Sleeping when the baby sleeps is a must or else you won’t be able to function when she’s awake,” Meyer says, adding, “Don’t feel bad about not getting stuff done around the house in the beginning because you’ll never get that time back with your baby.” Her advice? “Just take the time to enjoy it all. Autumn is 8 months old now, and I already forget some of what it was like at the very beginning,” she says. “Thank God for video cameras!”
Rachel Sokolich of Glendale
Having ‘been there and done that’ doesn’t necessarily mean motherhood gets any easier, says Rachel Sokolich, an advertising account executive at Ladue News. Sokolich and her husband, Matt, are the parents of 2-year-old Henri and 4-month-old Harper. She says each of her pregnancies came with a different set of worries. “With Harper, I was a little bit more confident because I knew more about what to expect, and I wasn’t as concerned about every ache and pain that came my way,” she says. But Harper came a week early, which presented some initial concern, and Sokolich also had to deal with a bout of food poisoning and other health issues of her own before the baby came. “Every baby is different, and you always want to make sure the baby’s thriving and that everything will be OK,” she says.
Now that Sokolich has had a few months to adjust to having two young children at home, she says the dynamics have definitely changed. “I’m not able to rest like I was when I had Henri,” she explains. “This time, there’s no such thing. Having a 2-year-old around means no downtime.” And whether she wants to or not, it also means being forced into a routine quicker. “Not only do you have a baby who wakes up every three hours, but also a 2-year-old who gets up at 6 a.m.,” she says. “With the first child, I was able to sleep more, but with two of them, I have to wake up regardless of exhaustion.”
Fortunately for Sokolich and other moms like her, it does get better. “For the first couple of months, you’re busy trying to figure out what the baby’s needs are,” she says. “After about three months, I felt more of a routine starting, and I’ve gotten to know her personality a little bit more.” She says Harper is more mellow than Henri, yet “her cry is much more ear-piercing!”
For expectant moms, Sokolich says her biggest piece of advice is making sure you take care of yourself before the baby comes. “Get as much rest as you can before you have the baby. People always say that, but it’s the honest-to-goodness truth,” she says. “If you can sleep in, sleep in.” As for managing two little ones when they both demand attention, Sokolich says she usually tends to Henri first. “Henri is more aware, and plus, as a 2-year-old, he can get into a lot more trouble. It’s a constant balancing act, but it’s all about enjoying the moment,” she says, adding a final nugget of advice, “Try to enjoy it as much as you can, time really does fly by.”