What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time to when you had your first baby?
Ask for the drugs earlier?
Don’t buy into the breast vs. bottle wars?
Or would you tell yourself to relax.
It’s easy in hindsight isn’t it?
That first year with a newborn is a heady mix of brittle tiredness and overwhelming love. It’s almost impossible to explain how tumultuous it is to someone who hasn’t been through it, and yet with a little bit of distance it is a time you can view with bemusement and fondness.
Oh, I got advice – heaps and heaps and heaps of advice, but there was almost so much I tuned out.
I wish now someone who I would have listened to had told my first-child self to chill the hell out a little and to spend more time going out for coffee.
As well as those wise words of wisdom, here are a few others I wish I could whisper in my ear while I was gently sleeping. (Very, very quietly so as to not wake my eight-years-ago self.)
1. No, you will not ever get any sleep but you will work out how to deal with it.
The whole sleep deprivation is tough. It’s a tiredness that hurts to your bones. It can turn into a type of mania spilling through into every aspect of your life. And at times you will be hardly able to imagine yourself surviving the next few days.
But you know that you will survive. You will in fact thrive. You will be more exhausted than you could dream of and yet you’ll be okay.
Know though: They will never sleep.
Not your first baby, nor your second or even the third.
But you will work it out.
2. You don’t have to be consistent with your parenting methods if you don’t feel comfortable with the method.
Want to try attachment parenting? Go for it.
Want to watch your newborn son sleep while cradled in your arms, want to bundle him up in a sling and carry him like he is still in the womb? You can if you want to. You’re the parent here.
But if it doesn’t work, if you want leave him to cry, gingerly re-entering every few minutes to shush him, then you can try that too.
Parenting is trial and error and success is how you measure it. You can’t actually choose a “wrong” way to do it if you do it with love and don’t harm him.
Some more parenting advice from some who have been there. Post continues after video.
3. You have the right to ask your mother-in-law to hand your baby back.