1. Just because you’re lucky enough to have the most amazing pregnancy, doesn’t mean labour will follow the same way. I was blessed with 9 beautiful months – no morning sickness, back aches, heavy weight gain, high BP, swelling, etc. – blissful! Labour on the other hand was soo not what I expected. 24hrs active labour ended in an emcs – its all worth it in the end ofcourse, I just wish I had a heads up!!
2. Breastfeeding doesn’t just happen…you have to work at it. It sometimes takes weeks, its painful and you’ll sometimes want to give up but as they say breast is best so if you can, give it your best shot.
3. Following on from no. 2, if you can’t, drop the guilt. Make a decision and be okay with it because formula these days is pretty close to the real thing and I’ve seen lots of very healthy formula fed kids. It doesn’t make you less of a mom, it doesn’t mean you won’t have that bond with your child, it just means you couldn’t breastfeed (and thats okay too).
4. Your hormones will be all over the place. When you’re pregnant your endorphin levels are high because progesterone and estrogen increase your innate endorphin levels. Post partum your progesterone and estrogen levels crash, bringing down your endorphin (happy molecules) levels down as well. The first 2 weeks after you give birth is when you’re most likely to experience “baby blues”. Its like being on an emotional rollercoaster because your hormones are all over the place. One minute you’re blisfully happy gazing down at your beautiful creation and the next minute you burst into tears and you have no idea why. This is a transitional period and doesn’t last forever, ride the waves and you’ll get through it before you know it.
5. Go with your gut – There are so many guidelines out there these days that weren’t around even 10 years ago and they’re constantly changing. They are also called “guidelines” for a reason. When it comes to weaning, the NHS in the UK state 17 weeks (about 4 months) as their guideline. The WHO states 6 months (although apparently this is going to change soon). You know your baby, you know what your baby needs. Everyone is going to have their own opinion. If you feel your child will benefit from alittle cereal at 4.5 months then go for it. If you think you should wait till 6 months, thats fine too. If you think giving your child a pacifier will help them sleep better, go for it. They don’t call it mama’s instinct for nothing, listen to it!
6. Give yourself a break – When you have a baby, for the first 3 months you’re on autopilot. Feed baby, clean baby, bathe baby, put baby to bed. Its exhausting to say the least! Let someone help you. If you’re formula feeding, let your partner or parent or friend do a couple of feeds a day while you rest. If you’re breastfeeding allow someone else to change a few nappies so you can just SIT! In the first three months its not uncommon to get to 1pm and realise you haven’t eaten anything yet or get to 3pm and you’re still in your pyjamas.
7. You don’t need that many clothes for the first 6-9 months. Okay so honestly I was infact told this but I didn’t listen haha. Baby Clothes are just soo cute, I couldn’t help myself – first time mom and all that. I was smart enough to not buy everything I liked in the size S was in (I bought bigger sizes) but I still had way too much stuff!! When babies are older and they’re playing with their food and spilling things, running around and whatnot, you do get through alot more clothes per day but not for the first few months.
8. Don’t believe everything you read. Gina Ford claims she can have babies sleeping through at 6 weeks (and I’m sure there are many babies she can) but a) every baby is different b) you have to take into consideration teething, gas, colic, reflux, etc. So if you’re going to read The Contented Little Baby or Baby Whisperer, just read it with a pinch of salt. Don’t get angry at yourself if you’re following the routines but your baby is still not sleeping through the night.
The last two are not really things I wish someone had told me but 2 things I’d like to share with you:
9. Chill! Relax! Babies will scratch themselves, they’ll throw up, they’ll do poo explosions. When they start crawling, cruising and walking, they’ll fall, they’ll get hurt, they’ll often get back up and be fine. Ofcourse I’m not telling you to be careless but alot of the times children cry at our reaction to an event (falling or hitting themselves) rather than the event itself.
10. Enjoy every moment of it. When they’re 3 months you’ll love that you can leave them on a bouncer and go about doing things. When they are 6 months you’ll love that you can leave them on their playmat and they’ll be in the same place when you get back. And often you’ll look forward to the next stage but honestly it goes by sooo quickly (I’m still in denial about S just turning 1), enjoy every moment!!
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