Life with a newborn is really just one MASSIVE learning curve. Every day brings something new and many new parents find themselves saying "why did nobody tell me?" a few times a day.
As a mum of three (aged 6, 4, and nearly 4 months), I've definitely had my share of learning moments.
Here are my top picks for things nobody tells you about life with a newborn:
1. They don't need much stuff
Seriously, skip the shopping trips. For baby number one, I bought a car seat, change table (which was just a chest of drawers with a changing pad on top), a cot, a baby bath, a breastfeeding chair and a few bits and bobs.
People thought I was nuts for buying so little. No bassinet, no pram, no baby cologne, no toys, no rocker. Admittedly though, my parents did bring us a lot of stuff when they came to visit (including a dryer!).
For baby number three, I bought two fitted sheets for the cot (I think all of my previous cot sheets fell into a black hole at daycare) and a pack of cloth nappies. Yes – we still had plenty of useful stuff from baby one and two. So far, we haven't used the change table, cot or pram. Baby sleeps in our bed, gets her nappies changed on our bed, showers with either me or daddy and wears hand me downs. I haven't even opened the cot sheets I bought!
2. They fart and burp LOUDLY
It's pretty funny, especially when they get this cute look on their faces as if to say "was that me?!" Yes Bubba, it was you. And we still think that you are adorable.
3. They want to feed all the time
Yes – ALL. THE. TIME. Even at night. And when they have just had a big feed. Before a nap. After a nap. In the middle of a nap. They will want to feed just as you are sitting down to a tasty dinner. 9 times out of 10 this does NOT mean that you don't have enough milk. It just means that you have a normal newborn baby.
But... tongue ties. Seriously, why does no-one talk about this? Every man and his next door neighbour's dog are happy to tell new mums about all the people they know who just "couldn't" breastfeed. No-one tells new mums that sometimes it's a tongue tie and it is fixable!
4. That breastfeeding is hard
But it's totally worth it. Not gonna lie, learning to breastfeed can be tricky, especially if you have been told all manner of weird stuff. Some of these comments include: Nipple pain is normal. Formula top ups won't affect your supply. Baby should only feed every 3 hours. Wake baby for feeds. Don't wake baby for feeds. Don't feed the baby to sleep etc.
It's worth finding and chatting to an IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant).If you are struggling with breastfeeding, get support sooner rather than later.
5. You don't need to weigh them all of the time
I fell into this trap with my first two and OBSESSED over the numbers. Number three got weighed at 1, 3, and 7 days. She's now a perfectly healthy 3 1/2 month-year-old and I have no idea what she weighs.
How do I know that she's healthy if she hasn't been poked, prodded and weighed? She is currently in the process of outgrowing her size 000 stuff, she is meeting milestones, she is pretty happy most of the time, she poos and wees regularly, and she eats ALL. THE. TIME. Perfectly healthy!
6. They can be VERY boring
Especially in the beginning, when all they do is feed, poo and sleep. I thought that this was a great opportunity to just lie in bed with my baby and watch Netflix on my laptop. I would bring a plate of snacks into bed, lay down with Bubba, latch her onto my breast when she was squirming and catch up on my fave shows.
They can also be super fun. Especially once they get past the phase of doing nothing but sleeping, eating and pooing and start grabbing things, smiling, "talking" etc. It's fun to make up songs, dance together, or just chat. My baby has a favourite song and I love to sing it to her just so I can see her smile.
I'm sure that there is so much more out there that people don't tell expectant mums. What did you learn about newborns and wish someone had told you?
I'm a first-time mother and I've found that I can't go out with my son without somebody giving me advice on how to raise him. There seems to be a general assumption that new parents have no idea about children, and it is everybody's duty to share their wisdom.