parents

The 8 things I wish I had known before I had a baby.

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?

Take the drugs! Drink more coffee. This is the advice I wish I had.

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.

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Just ask. “I’ll have him back now.” Five very easy words that actually won’t offend anyone. Mother-in-laws are going to get plenty of cuddles over the years.

Just as you have the right to hand your baby over when you need a break. Don’t let others overshadow your needs: This is your time to make decisions.

4. There is plenty of time for playgroup.

Years, and years and years ahead for that. With my first child, I was at playgroup and gymbarroo, music classes and story time. All by the time he was six-months old.

Ditch the playgroup. Go shopping while you can.

Just go get a coffee and browse the shops I want to scream at myself. You have years and years and god-damned years of playgroup ahead of you.

Your gummy baby is going to get as much pleasure from the windows of Westfield as he will from the people at playgroup when he is this age. Time is a-plenty, Mum.

5. There is no such thing as spoiling your baby.

Embrace this time. Breathe him in. Smother him in love.

6. Your baby doesn’t know the right way either.

This first time mummy business can be so confusing. So many experts and websites and books giving you different advice.

F**k em.

Just do it your way. He doesn’t know if his nappy is on the wrong way. He doesn’t know if his bottle is the wrong temperature.

He doesn’t know if you’ve given him rusks two weeks before the advised time. And frankly he doesn’t care. Laugh, love and lap it up. That’s what he will know.

7. People who answer questions on Yahoo Answers are crazy. Do not under any circumstances read them.

Especially when consulting about rashes.

He doesn’t know what is the right way either. Just love him.

8. You don’t have to savour every moment, every first.

There are going to be a myriad of those. That first year is a whirlwind and you will try and try to hold onto each moment because you have read all that advice saying you need to appreciate every second.

You don’t.

You are allowed to cry and moan and dwell as much as you want.

But try and hold tight to a few of those moments because it is pretty damn special.

What advice would you time capsule back to yourself if you could?

Want more parenting posts?

Is there always a reason – or could your kid just be a little sh*t?

Sometimes my phone is more interesting than my child. 

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