I’m a mum of two boys aged 3 and 1, and I am no way an expert on parenting! My mum used to say to me, “You didn’t come with instructions!” which I didn’t understand when I was a kid, but now that Im a mum, I completely understand! I think I know what works for my boys, and whats right for them. I’ve gotten a lot of things wrong, and I’ve gotten things right, and some things were lucky. We have successfully tackled the toilet training with my eldest, and I am such a proud mum right now, but it’s also a development that I can “check off the list”. It’s the hardest job in the world, being a parent, and even though I like to figure things out on my own now, when I became a first time mum, any advice was helpful to me.
So even though I’m not an expert, and every mum and dad’s experience will be different, I thought about some things I discovered along the way, that I wasn’t prepared for, or didn’t know I needed at the time. I know a few expectant mums, including Jemma over at Dorkface, who is having a wee boy, so the following advice and tips are for you all, and hopefully they will be of some use to you…
I had no idea I would need SO MANY! And trust me, I did not have enough when Jacob was first born, and I didn’t know what they were for or if I needed them. So when you’re feeding your baby, whether it be breast or bottle, they are handy to have for spit-ups, dribbles and SPEWING! Yes, when they projectile vomit all the milk they’ve just had, those muslins are there to help! I used even more muslin cloths for Finnley because he was a sick-y baby. I’d recommend having at least 20, cus there were days where I went through 10 easily in one day lol. And weirdly, they’re not cheap either, so if you’re stuck on what to ask for as a gift, ask for muslin cloths.
YOU DON’T NEED THAT!
You don’t have to get EVERYTHING right away. For example, you don’t need to have a high chair until you need to use it, cus it’s just gona get in the way. Depending on what kind of house or flat you live in, you might not NEED to get a baby bath. The sink is fine for when they’re first born, they are so small, the sink is the perfect size. And instead, maybe get a bath seat and then you and your baby could bath together when they’re a bit bigger. Just make sure you’ve the essentials for the first few months. Plus, you can then pick up what you need when Aldi or Asda has they’re baby events on, and then you’ll get it cheaper. Or use those vouchers you got as a gift from a family member for the baby.
TAKE ADVANTAGE WHEN THEY SLEEP!
As soon as you get your lil one down for an hour or two, DO SOMETHING! Sleep if you want (I didn’t do this cus I can’t nap in the day), write a blog post, EAT, draw, paint, or binge watch a tv series! When I got Jacob to sleep, I watched Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning, and started my blog!
LABOUR/BIRTH IS NOT PRETTY!
People will tell you “Oh you forget it all once you hold your baby for the first time”, RUBBISH! I HAVENT FORGOTTEN! And I took the drugs! Yeah I don’t care what people say, I had the epidural and I had it BOTH TIMES! I did NOT want to feel that pain. And sorry Dads, but Robbie Williams was right, it is like watching your favourite pub burn down. Ask my husband. Mums to be, I’m sorry to say, but the reality is, you’ll probably pee yourself, poop yourself, and you might throw up! I did all three! However, the female body should be worshipped, cus what it does is amazing! And depending on how your laobour/birth goes, in a weeks time, you will start to feel normal again.
YOU DON’T NEED TO DO IT ALL
Single mums I applaud you. You are amazing, because unfortunately you don’t have that partner to take some of the weight. Mums to be, don’t try and do everything yourself when you have a perfectly healthy partner, who’s not had they’re fanny turned inside out, to help you. And don’t worry if they don’t do it the same way you do. And if they make a fuss about the smell, and moan about how they’re gona vomit, IGNORE THEM! they will have to get over it. Take advantage of their paternity leave, and get them cooking and cleaning, cus trust me, when they go back to work, you’re on your own, and its scary, but you’ll do it. When grandma comes round to visit, pass the baby over and go sleep, or eat or do whatever you want to do. Trying to do everything yourself, and not accepting help, will make you go crazy, and you might become a recluse and lonely too.
As soon as possible, Mummy and Daddy, you need to get away from baby and have a date night. It’s going to be hard, but it will be like ripping off a band aid. The sooner you do it, the better. I had friends who never allowed themselves a date night until their child was nearly three, and it did not do them any favours. And if you’re a single mum or dad, then arrange to have dinner with a friend, or go and have a shopping spree. You are not being a bad parent by wanting time for yourselves. You need it.
I could give you other bits of advice and tips but I think I’ll leave it at that. I don’t want to over whelm you. Oh and speaking of expecting mums, you have to watch “What to expect while you’re expecting” that movie is hilarious, and probably the most honest movie I’ve seen about pregnancy and birth.
All the best to all the new mummys and daddys. Your baby is going to change your world, but for the better. You won’t be able to imagine life without them.
“Never, I mean NEVER, make eye contact with a child on the verge of falling asleep. They will sense your delight and abort mission immediately!”