During pregnancy you tend to get a lot of people telling you a lot of stories, some birth horror stories and lots of people telling you how well-behaved their babies were, or some other nugget of wisdom (rusk in the bottle anyone?!)Even my midwife told us in Parent Craft / Antenatal an utter load of crap about somethings. SIGH. You expect them to be the one decent source of information out there, after your Mum obviously but even she sometimes can get those rose-tinted shades on!
So here is my guide to babies…only from my experiences, I’m not about to write a book 😉
- Feed them every four hours.
Errrrm, what now? My toddler is 20 months and still wants food every 2/3 hours. And a breastfed baby?! Don’t make me laugh, but even midwives will tell you every four hours is the norm. Now I can only speak from a breastfeeding perspective as I have been lucky enough to feed both of mine so bottle fed babies may well actually go every 4 hours. And then you have those wonderful people who ask you if you’re fed up of feeding on demand…SERIOUSLY who isn’t fed on demand?!
- Breast or Bottle.
Whatever works for you. There is no shame or stigma…well that’s how it’s supposed to be in reality they both have a whole lot of opinions from a whole lot of people!I have been lucky enough to breastfeed both of mine but I am under no illusions that its easy or for everyone, your baby your boobs, do what you will and aslong as you are comfortable with your choice and your baby is ok, do it. Seriously, Happy Mummy = Happy Baby. And that’s what it’s all about in the long run.
Everyone will ask if your baby is ‘Good’ and when they ask this what they will actually mean is “Are they sleeping through the night yet?” and your answer will invariably be either to lie and say yes or be honest and say no! It takes a while, and the sleep deprivation is killer, but it will come I promise, so just do what you can and sleep when (!) you can, which leads me to my next one…
- Sleep when they sleep.
Great advice, will you do it? No.With the first one you will pretty much spend anytime you actually manage to get them to sleep in their beds (haha) you will spend the whole time watching them sleep, marvelling at how incredibly amazing they are, and making sure they aren’t dead. And yes I am serious, it can’t just be me is it?! The time I must have spent with my head over my little ones face to make sure she was breathing, even when I remember being told that newborns have bizarre breathing patterns, it still didn’t stop me checking her. Every minute or so. But they will be fine so GO AND SLEEP, the housework or whatever will wait. Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleeeeeep.
- Newborn phase doesn’t last forever.
This one really is true I’m afraid, although it does feel like forever when you are living it. Your tired, more than you ever have been and for the first time in your life you are actually counting the weeks as your lil’ one grows, each a very special milestone. Enjoy them, before you know it those ‘windy’ smiles will be real ones and they’ll be gurgling away and trying to roll over. Bam, no more newborn snuggles. So really treasure them.
- Don’t spoil them.
This one normally comes from Mum’s or Nan’s, when they walk in to find them asleep on your chest…ignore them! You CAN’T spoil a baby!!! A toddler, yes, a child, yes, a BABY – No. Do what works for you, everyone and their mother will have a piece of advice for you as will a thousand books. You are the parent and if it works for you roll with it, do what you’ve got to do and more importantly what you want to do. I know everyone means well but never has the old adage ‘follow your heart’ been more true. And for Mummies, no one knows your baby better than you and know one knows YOU better than your baby, you are all they have known for 9 months your very heartbeat is the most comforting thing to them after all that and your voice has been the soundtrack to their very existence. Remember that on the hardest of days and you’ll be ok.
- They Cry.
And that’s ok. really it is. Some babies hate to have a damp nappy, others couldn’t care less, and so on. They are all different (they are people after all) and each and every one of them will have a ‘crying time’ both mine were evening bawllers until about 8 weeks old and it was the worst time of day and there was no reason, well not known to us I am assuming they knew what they were crying for ;-)But it’s one of those things people neglect to share so when your baby is going off on one after they have been fed, burped, changed and temperature checked a million times and still the tears flow, put them down and take minute. It will make you feel a bit better and sometimes they have had enough too and when you pick them up they give a resolute last sob and fall fast asleep. Bliss!
In all seriousness, it sometimes does feel like you are navigating a minefield but really just listening to your instincts is key when it comes to your baby and try to take a deep breath when it feels likes it’s too much. Reach out to people and try not to feel guilty about every decision you make, speaking from experience that one is the hardest of them all and not a day goes by where I haven’t chastised myself for something with regards to my babes BUT I am getting there and I am really really enjoying being a Mum to these two at the minute!