If you’re a new mum, or mum to be, you’ve probably been there. The endless scrolling and googling on parenting a newborn, the antenatal classes and seeking out advice from friends and family. How do you do this? How do you approach that? Why does my baby do this? Why won’t my baby do that?
You would have searched out the “best quality” advice, the advice that you were positive was correct. However, when that (sometimes not so) tiny bundle is plopped on your chest, it all becomes very clear that your baby did not get the memo on all that research.
As a new mum (my little guy is only 3 months old), I thought that I would collate 5 things that I wish I knew before attempting to tackle parenthood – it might’ve saved some stress and tears, and I hope that it helps you!
5 hour wake windows, refusing naps, but baby is happy & content? Don’t stress. Support baby to fall asleep when they’re tired but don’t tie yourself in knots trying to get baby onto a schedule or adhere to those prescribed wake windows when they’re that tiny! I was obsessed with making sure baby got enough sleep and was only awake for the appropriate wake window, but then would stress myself out (and baby in the process), trying to get him to sleep before he was ready. Baby is happy and content? Don’t watch the clock (unless that works for you and your family), instead watch for tired cues and go from there. Interestingly, BBC has recently published an article collating a bunch of information from different studies that is hugely helpful.
2. Snotty Eyes
Parenting a newborn brings a whole new level of emotions around things that wouldn’t worry us about ourselves. That feeling when the dog has had conjunctivitis, you’ve been really vigilant to keep the dog from licking babe’s face (a feat in itself when you have a dog that can’t wait for a new hooman to throw toys), but you look down and see baby’s eye is suddenly gunky? The guilt! But don’t worry, tiny newborn babies have tiny tear ducts, so get gunky eyes easily. My GP explained it as the mucus from their nose going the wrong direction, which sounds delightful… Wash with warm water & if it doesn’t clear in a day or two, speak to your GP.
Advocate for more assistance in the hospital. I had a fairly straight forward birth in the end, and as such, didn’t need a huge amount of aftercare so we were left by ourselves a lot. I wish I’d asked for more time to chat to the maternity care assistants & midwives in those first few days, especially getting more help with feeding.
To swaddle or not to swaddle. Due to #thatpandemiclife we took online antenatal classes with a popular online baby academy. They told us to not swaddle baby in blankets because you can’t know the number of layers baby is then wearing. The postnatal ward then told me off for not swaddling baby, but no one explained why (even though we asked, it was just shrugged off) until I asked my community midwife during a home visit. What it came down to? You do you & what you think is best for baby. You’ll know if they’re too hot/cold!
UVC sterilisers are the bomb dot com. Steam / water sterilisers? Don’t know her. But seriously, we started with a steam steriliser and got so frustrated at it always getting dirty, and bits always being wet. Upgrading to a UVC steriliser made a huge difference, plus, we can pop our phones in to sterilise. A huge bonus in this post-pandemic world we live in!
So, whilst I’m yet to figure out why on earth baby clothes have functional pockets, while I have to pay an arm and a leg to get pockets on my clothes, I hope the above 5 tips on parenting a newborn help!
Now, if only someone would invent an in-home dishwasher that actually sterilises…
Interested in our postpartum essentials? Check out our post here!