Dear new parents,
Are you sitting comfortably? You’re doing great. How’s the tiredness? Figured out a routine yet? Argued over the endless crying or who’s getting up to feed them?
Emily is 28 days old. Time has flown like you wouldn’t believe or you will in the next few weeks. When she was born she looked like me but within 30 minutes she looked like Sam with my colouring and my hair. It’s weird how time flies by though.
Nothing on this planet will prepare you for when your baby arrives. Nothing. You’ve done the 9 months and then the labour, then out comes a little tiny baby that literally throws everything up in the air. Everything. We got home and managed to make the house look like a bomb had hit it within 10 minutes of walking through the door. How on earth that was possible I have no idea, but it happened. Having a baby is honestly one of the most scariest things in the world but I couldn’t imagine my life without Emily.
Everything I’ve done in the past, doesn’t amount to this feeling. I know I get little sleep, sleeping around her, eat (if I remember) around her and most days look like a bum who hasn’t showered in time but it’s all completely worth it. The baby sick, the poo (there’s a lot of it for a small person), the tears and the pain of labour, but I’d a million per cent do it again. I’m sure all you new mummies out there feel the same. It is hard work though. No one said it would be easy. Looking after myself in my 20’s was the easy part, this, this is something else. It’s crazy. But perfect. You know what I mean?
Nothing at all will prepare you for your baby’s poo but funnily enough you won’t clean other baby’s poop like you will your own. If you breastfeed your baby, their poo will probably be a mustard yellow colour with what looks like poppy seeds with a questionable smell (it is one to be experienced for sure!) and if you feed your baby on formula the smell and look is way worse! They’ll poo either all the time or not at all and constipation is horrible. It will keep them up all night, be painful for them and it’s not pleasant to watch them go through it but sterilised water, a tablespoon of prune juice & water or brown sugar & water (1oz per day) helps after each feed.
Parenting as a team
When your little one arrives every couple will clash about something. There’s something you or they do that you or they won’t agree with. It’s important to talk it through and discuss with each other. There is really no right or wrong. But communication is key or you’ll end up arguing or killing each other.
Sleep when your baby does
Sleep isn’t that important is it? Well you may have lived your previous pre-baby life on little sleep but when your baby comes you won’t experience extreme tiredness till then. You survive on so little sleep it’s unreal. Your baby may sleep as much as they want but being a new parent any given moment you want sleep it will be tested by everything they do (or don’t do) when they’re sleeping. After the first few weeks of sod all sleep and the constant need to watch your child breathing, you’ll learn to give yourself the time to sleep around your child. It may not happen much but when you can, do. Or you’ll make yourself sick. And if your partner says go to bed, go, it’s not a test, it means sleep and treasure it, even if it is a few hours, a few hours is better than nothing.
New hot bod
You’ve done the leg work. You spent 9 months growing the most incredible gift in the world. You then spend a lot of hours painstakingly being your baby into the world, it’s hard work and that’s not even the difficult part. Your body is truly amazing, a masterpiece. Your tummy may be squishy, you may have stretch marks, your boobs may feel hard and heavy with all this extra milk, but you have a body like no other and something that you should be proud of. Admire every stretch mark, admire every inch of your amazing body, your body has done the unthinkable, be proud. There’s no need to rush to lose weight, focus on being healthy and on your baby.
If you’re breastfeeding, do it ASAP
Colostrum is super important for baby in their first few days. The yellowish liquid is locked with all the immune system fighting nutrients that helps give your baby the best start to their lives.
If you’re using formula, you’re not a bad parent
It’s nobodies business how you feed your baby. As long as they’re getting the nutrients they need, the love and attention they require, that’s the most important thing.
Wait till after your milk comes in (or leaves the building) before you buy nursing bra’s
Whatever you choose to do with your baby feeding wise, make sure you invest in a couple of good bra’s, your back will thank you for it.
You will worry a lot, most of the time over nothing but you’ll worry
We’re parents and now we’re looking after something else besides ourselves that creates all sorts of worry, a new level of worry. You will worry about anything and everything. You will worry about the future, money, if they get sick, how much they’re feeding, if they’re poo’ing enough, if they’ve had enough sleep, if they’re warm enough, who’s breathing near them etc. Worry will come and make its mark and unfortunately it’s here to stay. Sorry.
Be prepared for people asking dumb questions
“Is your baby a good baby?”
“Does she enjoy Breastfeeding?”
“Is that real hair?”
People will ask stupid questions about you and your baby for no apparent reason and most of the time you’ll wonder if they actually thought about it before asking.
- Is your baby a good baby? She’s 28 days old, of course she’s a good baby, she’s perfect.
- Does she enjoy breastfeeding? Who doesn’t like boobs?
- Is that real hair? Nah, it’s a wig.
- I bet you’re tired… Is that code for ‘I look like shit?’
You’ll become Usain Bolt
You may be upstairs or downstairs tidying up, cleaning up their poop or feeding them, but anything can happen and if you don’t have it to hand, you have to run like you’ve never run before and get it, wherever it is and stat. That pile of nappies you’ve stacked downstairs under the coffee table for all those accidents you want to clean up won’t refill itself, don’t forget, I know you’re tired but try keep an eye on it…
You can do it, put your back into it
If you really want to test something apart from your patience, it will be your back. Your little one starts off tiny but in just a few weeks that changes and they can become heavy putting extra strain on your back. Emily has gone from a teeny 6 pounder to over 7 & 1/2 pounds which doesn’t sound like much but when you’re rocking your baby at 2am, eyes falling out the back of your head, for 10-45 minutes, 2 or 3 times a night, 7 days a week, you’ll feel that back pain. Invest in painkillers, a good support pillow when feeding them and go wild on each other with the back massages. Back pain + babies do not go together.
Getting ready to go anywhere will require the same manpower as leaving for the airport
Last week I arranged to meet Emma at 10.30am at Corby’s in ramsgate. I had started getting ready at 9am making sure my bag was ready with all of Emily’s bits and bobs in it. At about 9.20am I thought I’d start getting Emily ready -now this took commitment even though I had, two hours prior put her in her outfit for the day. A full blown challenge. I got her dressed, hat and gloves on and all wrapped up in her buggy, but right before we were about to leave she screamed the place down, she was hungry, so I gave her a bottle, afterwhich I burped her and she decided to barf up the last few drops and I had to change her. By the time I got to Emma it was just after 11 but there have been times where it can take 2 or so hours because of random feeds, she’s decided there and then she’ll do a poo or whatever and you’re not any closer to the final destination.
Everyone’s an expert, except you, you know nothing
Consider yourself warned because everyone will butt in with their ‘expert’ opinion and you my friend will know nothing. That mothers instinct isn’t worth shit with all that free expert advice people have for you. How you thought you were feeding, changing, wrapping, swaddling, carrying, pushing in a pram, communicating, breathing near your baby was done, forget it because whatever you though is 1000% wrong. You know what’s best for you and your family, stick to your guns, no one knows your child better than you so ignore the experts and stick to your guns.
Dads you’re doing great
Sam’s been a dad for precisely 40320 minutes or 2419200 seconds (that’s 28 days to you and me). 4 weeks ago his world changed, not only did he see me through labour and experience joy, frustration, anxiety, exhaustion and ecstasy, she arrived and it literally changed everything. She was finally here. He’s now got a new person to look after, a little princess that’s going to look up to him and call him daddy and be his world. Don’t lose heart when your little one reaches for mummy in the first few weeks/months/early years, its comfort or because mummy has boobs and you don’t, it’s not a personal thing it’s a comfort because-of-the-womb thing. But like everyone has said, once your little one turns 3+ you’re all they’ve wanted and more. They want to experience the adventure that is the world and there’s only one person in the world they want to do it with and this is you. Mummy will be there, but you’ll be catapulted to the front of the queue and like all those dads have said it’s the best years.
Remember, it’s all worth it
It’s hard work. Bloody hard work. It’s tiring, stressful, it will drive you mad, but it is all worth it in the end. Every parent will tell you that. There will be days where you’ll feel like you’re losing the plot and other days where you think this is easy but it’s all worth it. There will be times you won’t get it right the first time, it will take practice but you’ll get there, you’ll get your routine and practice does make perfect and when it happens, you’ll join the millions of other parents who, like us, pulled their hair out those first few days and weeks, trying to figure out why after changing, feeding and sleeping your baby won’t stop crying, they just want cuddles or you to constantly jiggle them on your tummy for no reason whatsoever. Every inch of their delicious cuteness is worth the limited sleep, bad diet, crap posture and insanity. There really is nothing as amazing and wonderful as your little person. So enjoy it, have fun, there’s so much to learn and so much to experience, we’re 4 weeks in and loving it but it’s awesome, so awesome.