You see the enthusiasm of these parents-to-be. They’re so excited and just want to know everything. Well, not exactly – the mums-to-be do. The dads-to-be usually think it’s going to be ‘easy’, or are completely avoiding thinking about the logistics of a baby (good on them!).
My firstborn, our boy, is turning two in a couple of months. Eeek. Where the hell did that time go. I remember what it was like to be expecting our first. Well, I kind of remember – it’s all a bit of a blur! But I do recall that it was both an exciting and anxious time.
In the lead up to his birth, I was obsessed with reading ALL the advice. I had at least five baby books - some on routines, some on pregnancy and some on the all-important first year of a baby’s life. I drove myself, not to mention my husband, a little bit crazy obsessing over every little detail.
And you know what? You don’t need any of it. Not while you're pregnant.
Two years on, and a second baby later, I’ve decided it’s better to just live in denial while you can. Having a newborn is the most amazing, wondrous, hard, stressful, beautiful, all consuming time of your life. You never can fully prepare yourself for the complete life upheaval that having a baby brings.
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“But I don’t even know how to change a nappy,” I hear you cry. I feel ya. I was the same. Both my husband and I had never dealt with babies at all. No nieces, nephews, baby cousins, friends’ babies…no experience whatsoever, NADA. And you know what? You learn so much on the job. You just have to. And a lot of it is instinct. All babies are different, and you’ll learn what your baby needs.
I'll admit the books can be helpful as references when the baby is actually here. We used a routine book, which I read from the first trimester of my pregnancy and took notes from (OCD much?!). Our baby boy was only up once at night from eight weeks of age (something I wouldn’t DARE repeat at Mothers’ Group!). We used the routine as a guide, but we didn’t take it as gospel.
There is so much advice out there and lots of it is conflicting. From routines, to sleep programs and theories on parenting, many of these promise the world. You could spend forever reading this stuff, and during pregnancy I did. I spent a great deal of my time thinking about what my baby would and 'should' do. I should have worried a lot less.
So, take it from someone who’s been there – do yourself and your partner a huge favour, and put the baby books down.
Revel in that small human growing inside of you, enjoy every kick and every second of being just a couple with no one else to worry about. You'll never get this time back - so sleep in, go on a baby-moon, stress less and dream about your baby and the beautiful future you’re about to have.