They say your first baby is a steep learning curve. You bumble away until you find a way that works for you and your baby. Some mums say read the books and other say get rid of them because you’re dealing with your baby…. not the baby described in the book. Either way, here are 5 things I wish I’d known before having my babies. Maybe you might relate or you could add some of your own in the comments below?
- Advice from midwives, doctors and books will conflict with each other. Just take it in and work out what is best for you and your baby. And by this I mean should you demand feed or wake baby from their sleep to feed? The right age to introduce solids? The research changes frequently. When I had my last baby, Phoebe, a midwife told me to get rid of my microwave sterilizer as research showed the steam created pores in the plastic that would retain left over milk which is why the bottles would go cloudy after a number of uses. And yet, I also got conflicting research that every bottle needed to be sterilized after each feed. I didn’t end up using my sterilizer because I was able to breastfeed my baby exclusively this time around.
- Breastfeeding is an acquired skill for both you and your baby. Don’t get anxious when it comes time to feed, although it’s hard not to if the feeding doesn’t go well and your baby is screaming for its tummy to be full. Formula is not cocaine for babies. It was designed as a food alternative for babies. If you can breastfeed, go for it, but if you can’t, get rid of the guilt and feed your baby formula. Feel proud that you can nourish your baby.
- Babies don’t sleep through the night from get go. This one may seem a bit obvious, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks before my delivery date that I thought I should read a book about what to do with my baby when she arrived. So I read Babywise and the biggest shock came when I read that babies don’t sleep through the night and would need to be fed every 3 hours. What the? I have followed a loose routine with all three of my girls resulting in my first sleeping through the night at 9 months and my last two sleeping through at 6 months. And they occasionally wake through the night as toddlers. Some mums follow a strict routine that gets their baby sleeping from 6 weeks and others may not have the same success. It’s easy to be envious of mums who are getting more shut eye. I felt it recently when I had Phoebe and mums who had similar aged babies had them sleeping through the night when they were a couple of months old. That has never happened to me, but I took advantage of the night time feeds to snuggle with my baby and focused on how I wouldn’t have these night time feeds forever.
- You can’t save up sleep. Meaning, even if you have a good night’s sleep one night and suffer a deprived night the next, that good sleep from the night before, while it will get you through, won’t necessarily make you feel better rested. Motherhood is tiring and it becomes even more exhausting when you’re sleep deprived at night. Take time to rest when your baby rests, or if you have multiple children, try and wing them all to have a nap at the same time or at least some quiet time. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, take the chance to rest yourself.
- The first year of your baby’s life will feel slow, but go fast. It is an intense year and you won’t love every moment. You won’t get around to doing nearly half of what you thought you would with that year of maternity leave. I’m nearing my third daughter’s 1st Birthday and while I’m sad she is no longer a little baby, I’m excited to watch her grow and become more independent.
I can probably think of a few more, but now it’s your turn. What took you by surprise when you had your baby? What do you wish you could have told yourself before you had kids to prepare for their arrival?