"Every midwife will have different advice": The 9 things I wish I knew before having a baby.

Having a baby? This is what you actually need to know.

1. Breastfeeding is hard.

Like really hard. 

A friend of mine described it as the 'most unnatural natural thing you will ever do’. It takes weeks to get the hang of it. But if it’s not working, that’s okay too. Buy some formula just in case and remember, a fed baby is better than a starving one.

Watch: Breastfeeding around the world. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

2. The sleep deprivation honestly is brutal.

Nothing can prepare you for it. I was so naïve even with everyone’s warnings.

I’m a really light sleeper, so when people warned me I usually responded with ‘don’t worry, I’m a crap sleeper anyway, so I don’t think it’ll affect me.’ 

Newsflash: It did.

There’s a huge difference between waking up and being able to roll over and go back to sleep, compared to being up 3-4 times a night for 1-2 hours each time. 

Like I said, you can’t prepare for it, but when you’re in the midst of it, remind yourself that it’s not forever. 

3. Your body won’t feel like yours again for months.

Pretty self-explanatory, but regardless of whether you had a natural birth or caesarean, you are beyond exhausted, stressed, hormonal, and if you’re a normal person (ie: not a model or celebrity) you won’t fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes for a while either. 

Go easy on yourself, you’ll have plenty of time to get back to F45 when it doesn’t hurt to sit down.

Image: Supplied. 


4. Having a baby during the COVID-19 pandemic is a blessing and a curse.

When I found out I was pregnant in November 2019, there's no way I could have predicted that we would be in a strict lockdown when I gave birth. 

It has meant that I couldn’t rely on family to pop over to help clean and cook. But it also meant that I didn’t have to entertain guests every day while I tried to figure out what the hell I was doing.

Bottom line: your mum's second cousin doesn’t need to visit you in the first few weeks. Keep it to quick visits of close family, and make sure they’re bringing a lasagne when they come over. Seriously. 

5. If you want advice or have questions, get your answers from people who actually know what they’re doing.

As soon as people know you’re pregnant, they feel it’s their duty to tell you their stories. 

It’s inevitable, so listen, smile, and take it all in - but you’re the parent and it’s your baby, so you decide what advice to take and what to ignore. 

And while we’re on that, advice from Instagram influencers is in the ignore category for me. Don’t buy a product just because someone on Instagram says you must have it or ‘swears by it’. I’d swear by something too if I got it for free and was getting paid to endorse it. 

6. If you don’t feel that rush of love and connection to your baby straight away, that’s okay.

For some it takes days, some it takes weeks or months. It took me eight weeks. Two whole months. 

And it’s so important to seek help if you need – PANDA supports new and expectant mums and dads. They have a helpline (1300 726 306), online chat and checklists, so if you’re unsure if you should even speak to someone, their website is a great place to start. 

7. Every midwife will have different advice, and it’s confusing as hell.

Similar to advice from people you know - listen and take a bit away from each one, they’re only trying to help. But remember their advice and help are not the rules. You do you. 

Listen to Mamamia's parenting podcast, This Glorious Mess. Post continues below.

8. Your boobs will be unmanageably huge.

They’ll leak and hurt for days, your nipples will bleed, and that huge maternity bra you wore pre-birth will be way too small post-birth. 

Get some ice packs or cabbage leaves and about eight packets of Panadol. 

And don’t run, anywhere.

9. If you thought your mood swings when you were pregnant were bad, just wait.

Once those hormones hit post-birth, it’s better not to see or talk to too many people. 

For the first six to eight weeks, every time someone asked me if I was okay, I burst into tears. 

And don’t even talk to me about that Cadbury ad where the little girl says: “I’d like a bar of chocolate please” and pays with her little toys? Stop it.

Would you add anything to this list? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Feature Image: Supplied.