The First Parenting Myth: "You'll Know"
You've probably spent very little time alone with your new baby. At the moment when the nurse or the midwife or your partner left the room, you also realized that along with the brand-new title of “mother” came the expectation that you were supposed to know, well, everything.
You're supposed to know how to fasten a diaper so it doesn't scratch the baby's leg or cover her umbilical cord. You're supposed to know how to breastfeed her when you've never done it before. You're supposed to know how to comfort her when you're not sure why she's crying. You're supposed to know how to bathe, feed, and care for this precious bundle, even if you've never even babysat before.
Right now, let yourself off the hook. There'll be plenty of time for parenting guilt later. Remember: giving birth doesn't mean that you instantly become a parenting expert or that you magically know how to care for a baby.
But here's what will happen — you'll learn. You'll ask questions (and you should never be embarrassed to ask); you'll read; and through trial and error you'll learn what works best for your baby and you.
Some things you'll figure out with the help of your mother, your doctor, or the women in the grocery store. All of these people will be sure to give you all sorts of advice, some of it even useful.
Some things you'll find out from the new friends you'll make as you struggle through the early days of motherhood. Some things you'll figure out for yourself — and you'll soon share your tips with your friends. Many of the answers you'll need are in this book, written after much research, consultation with professionals and other moms, and reviewed by medical experts.
In this section we'll examine what's happening to you and your baby in the first hours and days after birth. Welcome to Parenthood.