No two babies are the same, neither are any two mothers.
Let me preface this by saying, I am not a parenting expert. I’m a Mum, just like you. I’m pretty new to this gig too and I still have so much to learn. But, if you have or are about to have a newborn bundle of joy I’ve been there, experienced it, bought the t-shirt and survived.
This is everything I wish I could go back in time and tell myself knowing what I know now.
1. Labour is really, really hard work.
If it was easy, they’d call it picnic, not labour. But you can and you will get through it and all the decisions you make contrary to your ‘birth plan’ in the delivery suite will be the best choices for you at that time. You’re not a failure if you ask for an epidural and you need intervention to help you deliver a healthy baby. You are a champion – every single one of you.
2. It’s okay if you don’t feel that ‘wave of love’ people talk about washing over you when you first hold your baby.
I didn’t get that. My partner cried tears of joy for hours and I was something else entirely. Exhausted, overwhelmed, absolutely terrified. I knew I loved her, but it took me a little while to really understand the depth of that love. I’m still exploring that now.
3. Breastfeeding doesn’t always come easily.
I struggled terribly with cracked, bleeding nipples and a huge oversupply of milk. At the time it felt like it would never end and I wanted to give in and buy formula so many times. Persevering was the best thing I could have done and it feels like a drop in the ocean now. Hang in there, you can do it. It gets better, I promise.
4. Sleep deprivation will be enemy number one.
You really do need to sleep when the baby sleeps. I know you want to go and visit people and wash the dishes and eat something other than toast, but sleep deprivation will destroy you if you let it. There were days when I would cry endlessly for no other reason than I was exhausted, I felt as though never again would I have a good nights sleep. I understood very quickly how Mum’s with poor sleepers develop PND. Cosleeping saved my life, 7 months on and my daughter still spends roughly half her night in bed with me. Nothing beats holding the person dearest to you all night long.