Having a newborn is a mix between extreme tiredness and overwhelming love. It’s almost impossible to explain how much your life truly changes to someone who hasn’t been through it but here’s a few of my thoughts about those firs5 few months. Its a long list, so be prepared!
1. You can’t predict your labour. It is worthwhile jotting your birth plan down so people know what you would prefer, however don’t expect to stick to it! Please also note, that every person doesn’t get that rush of love when they give birth and it’s ok. Believe me on a daily basis I can go in and out of loving my son! If you don’t feel bonded to your baby, don’t worry.
2. All that matters is the baby is being fed, at the end of the day. If you plan on breastfeeding, do not let yourself feel like a horrible mother because the baby doesn’t latch on right away. Breastfeeding is hard and relentless and you will question yourself constantly. If you don’t want to breastfeed that’s ok too, you don’t have it easy either – the endless crying when a bottle isn’t warm at the right time! For those parents who don’t have a choice, know you are doing the best for your baby! Make it your mantra because when that child is ten years old – how they were fed at the beginning really won’t matter to you!
3. Be prepared to do a load of baby laundry every day. You’ll get through more daily changes of baby clothes than you could imagine in the early days. So double the amount of baby grows you think you’ll need and be prepared to do a load of laundry every day to keep on top of it. Just to add to this, be prepared to spend crazy money on new outfits for your little one, I swear all my wages goes into buying Tobias garments as he seems to have a growth spurt every other week!
4. Sleep or rest when the baby sleeps. This is a crap statement that no one follows! I would recommend when it’s feeding time to take time out for yourself, watch tv, read a book or even just stare at your baby and soak them all in! I do agree that you will need to make time for yourself though, so remember to use your partner, friend or a family member where possible to take a bath or get a cat nap.
5.It doesn’t last forever. Everything is temporary. People tell you how quickly time goes when they’re babies and that you’ll miss the baby stage – that’s true. This also goes for when you’re struggling with colic, teething, sleepless nights etc. It doesn’t last forever, so deal the best way you can in that moment and remember, it’s temporary. You’re going to have some bad days, and it’s OK! Especially at the beginning. There’s going to be days when your house looks like a tornado’s torn through because you’re too exhausted to handle it. There’s going to be times when the baby’s crying and no matter what you do, they still cry and you can’t work out why. After each phase comes another one, just be prepared. I found the wonder weeks app useful, to be able to look at it and say ”it’s not just me and it’s not forever”!
6. Trust your instincts. I read so many books and watched you tube videos to the max but somehow no one knew my baby or explained my situation at the time exactly. I had to rely on my own judgement! Gavin had no clue and looked like a deer in headlights constantly. Your world has changed and it does take time to adjust – so do not expect to be perfect immediately. Every baby is different. Just because something worked for one mum and her baby doesn’t mean it’ll work for you and yours. Everything is trial and error, so if you have to try different things before something works for your baby, that is OK.
7. Take pictures. At least one a day and don’t forget! As the years go by, you’ll be happy you took all of those sleeping baby pics. I love my memories on Facebook now – Tobias looks like a different child but it reminds me how far we’ve all come, together, as a family!
8. Accidents are inevitable, it’s part of your child’s development and helps them to become the individual they were born to be. There’s so many horror stories that I’ve heard whilst being at mummy groups, thankfully I don’t have many of my own, but it’s nice to know your not the only one.
9. Solid food or weaning is a mind field! There’s meetings in your local area that can tell you how to approach food and how to start giving less milk. I used to be put off with people telling me to just let him make a mess, I had crazy visions. The best advice I can give is go at their pace and just go with it! Some days they love mango, other days it sends them into a tantrum! Some days Tobias eats like a horse, other days he refuses everything. There could be 101 reasons why, but usually it’s because of those dreadful teeth coming through!
10. Don’t do the “who is more tired” game with your partner. You will, even though i say this and you will hate your partner. You will look at them sleeping peacefully whilst you pace back and forth trying to get baby to settle and want to stab them in the face. This is the lack of sleep. Things do get better, you will both find your way of doing things!
11. You have the right to ask someone to hand your baby back. It’s the strangest feeling, your proud of your newborn and you want to show them off but when someone else holds your baby you want it back, straight away! Whilst talking about relationships with friends, expect this to change – you may feel like the baby is sometimes your ball and chain (I certainly did at the beginning) those friends with kids will get it and give you time to adjust, the others who haven’t had children yet will one day be in the same position, so just bear with them!
12.There is plenty of time for the mummy groups. With Tobias I wanted to get out and about as much as possible, I went to music classes, story time, sensory classes and swimming as soon as he turned eight weeks old!
13. There is no such thing as spoiling your baby. Embrace this time and smother them in love. By the time they’re a toddler (which isn’t long away) you’ll be starting to set rules, but newborns don’t need that!
14. Playtime. As a newborn they don’t do much apart from tummy time and yes it is important, I did this every day with Tobias. He rolled over at 3 months, crawled from 6 months and walked from 9 months! When they start getting bigger ditch the cleaning and enjoy every second of playtime with your little one, it’s how they learn. Give them plenty of different activities, take them to the park or even go swimming, it’s all worth it!
15. Other parents lie. All the other parents are lying about how well their babies are sleeping, they don’t tell you about certain parts, just giving you snippets of information, so don’t listen!
16. Don’t be ashamed of your body. Yes your body has changed forever. Ignore celebrity postnatal photos. Remember, all new mums have a very altered body. I must admit I’m still working at this!
17. Work. I’ve been fortunate enough to not need to go back to work full time, nor part time really, my current job I call my hobby, it’s fun and isn’t like a job so I don’t feel I can call it that! Always remember to have that work, life balance once children arrive, it’s crucial and more satisfying. There is more to life than money and speaking from experience you always find a way to make ends meet. One thing I have noticed is once you and your mummy friends go back to work you see an awful lot less of them and that can be terrifying, so rely on social media to keep those relationships going – you need these kind of friends in your life for sanity!
18. When people say “don’t put them into a routine” ignore them, babies thrive on routine! Just call it a structure that your following instead! There’s plenty of different theories you can research. My’n went as follows for a newborn; eat, nappy, play/ activity, sleep and repeat (over and over again, until you go dizzy)! Make sure you seperate daytime naps to bedtime – I did this by introducing a bedtime routine; bath, book and a change of clothes.
19. Nappies. Test every type of nappy that you can purchase. What works for one baby doesn’t work for all! It’s also worthwhile preparing for dirty nappies and blowouts. I’ve been fortunate enough to never experience this – so don’t always believe the horror stories!
20. Bath time is the best time but it can take a baby a few attempts to come round to the idea of being in water. Make it part of the bedtime routine so your newborn knows to wind down ready for sleep. When they get to a year the dynamics change and it becomes another playtime in their eyes.
21. Worries. This is a constant thing, everything in the world becomes dangerous to your baby – my biggest worry was climbing the stairs whilst holding my newborn, i was scared of dropping him over the side of the railings! What I’m trying to say is, it comes as part of your new role, so don’t get too hung up on worrying about dangers as you may give yourself a nervous breakdown!
22. Teething lasts a lifetime, it’s endless and every time Tobias is grouchy I use it as the excuse (it’s usually true). Calpol is my biggest friend, together with teething granules (I think they’re just a sugar rush for him) and anbesol (which Tobias hates using). The dribble is horrendous, how do they have so much saliva, but just bare with them as it certainly helps to have teeth when eating!
23. Guilt is setting in with me now that baby number two is here. How can you find more love to give or does it split in half – who knows. I believe some (most) parents feel guilt when they go back to work. How to overcome this is by keeping in constant contact with whoever is looking after them at the time. With regards to the second child worries – I’ll let you know in a few more weeks.
24. Sleeping is the hardest part of raising children. FULL STOP. It will be the only thing you want to talk about with other parents and it’s also the main thing all parents compare! I can’t give any tips of what to do or how to do it, just know that if you’ve done everything for them, sometimes it’s ok to let them cry a little.
25. Burping! I was told the worst advice ever by midwives so don’t always believe what you are told. I was advised that breast fed babies do not need burping! Believe me, all babies need burping (ALOT) and men can usually do it better than women so let them do it, give them a job – it’s the least they can do! (I’m sorry I had to admit this).
My final statement is you’re doing amazing. You just brought a child into this world and that makes you amazing, no less than a superhero! No one gets it perfect, but your doing great!