I wish someone had told me these things when I had my first daughter.. what would you add?
1. It is very unlikely that your baby will look, sound or behave like any of the clean, shiny kids you’ve seen in your ‘baby manual’. Your child is unique and will probably be a bit smelly at times! Be prepared.
2. Breastfeeding is really, really difficult sometimes. You are not the first woman to struggle with it. Stick with it if you can, but not to the detriment of your health and emotional wellbeing.
3. Life with a new born baby will make you tired in a way that can only be compared to permanent jet lag. Everyone says it, but ‘sleep whenever you can’ is the best advice ever.
4. Modern parenting is highly competitive and it can be hard to drown out the voices, opinions and progress charts of everyone else, but it’s a life-saver if you can.
5. Unlike the world of work where you get feedback, reviews and bonuses, there is no HR department or employee reward scheme for mothers!
6. The first few months with a new baby can seem like an endless cycle of exhaustion, feeding and nappy changes. This, like every other phase of your child’s life, will pass. Try to see the positive aspects of every phase… they all fly by so fast.
7. Sometimes, parenting is boring. It’s ok to admit it!
8. There is no ‘correct’ way to do any of this stuff. Don’t be too harsh on yourself if you find it all overwhelming and ask for help if you need it.
9. If you find that, even months after your baby is born, you feel low and depressed more often than you feel ok, seek help and talk to your GP, friends and family.
10. Your relationship with your partner will change. Acknowledging that things are different now that you two are three is important. Keep the lines of communication between you and your partner open, and try not to lose sight of each other in the blurry exhaustion of the first few months.