I'm the new aunt of a 2 week old baby. Sharing this experience with my sister has meant trotting out all of my old experiences with nursing, swaddling, pumping, preferred diaper rash creams, and foods that can cause gas in a nursing baby. Digging through my memory banks for these morsels of wisdom has done two things for me.
First, it's made me realize that my babies are no longer babies, in that terribly nostalgic way. As I watch my niece jut out her lower lip in preparation for a full-body cry, I remember that exact expression on my first daughter's face. As she fights heavy eyelids in the swing, I recall how my second daughter loved the swing so much that she napped in it for the first eight months of her life (second-time moms have none of the shame of first time ones, we do what we have to for peace and quiet).
Secondly, I'm oh-so-grateful that those zombie days and sleepless nights, bouts of inexplicable tears and swings between fatigue and manic elation are behind me. I remember several moments, running on a few hours sleep, gazing down at a fussing infant in my arms, at a loss for how to soothe whatever mystery problem was tormenting her, and thinking how ironic that a mother of a newborn is the least equipped person on the planet to be entrusted with the care of such a fragile new person.